Questions so basic I can't find the answers

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by skeptic53, Dec 3, 2007.

  1. skeptic53

    skeptic53 New Member

    I am a TOTAL newbie to model railroading. At this point my interest is very limited, and for that I apologize. I already have other hobbies that consume a lot of time and interest. Who knows, I may get hooked on this like you are.

    I also apologize that despite several attempts with the search feature, I couldn't find this question, I assume it's been answered many times before.

    I want to set up a simple oval of Kato Unitrack, permanently mounted to an appropriately-sized board, for the cliche' purpose of having a train running around the Christmas tree. We had terrible problems with a previous Bachmann HO setup.

    I have the K1 basic track set, and a 22-014 power pack. The track set came with no instructions whatsoever. The power pack has some basic instructions, but it assumes that a step has been taken that I don't know the best way to accomplish.

    How do you attach the power wires to the S62F track piece? I unscrewed the little plastic plate on the underside, it popped off, one of the little copper wires went flying, and I spent 40 minutes before I located it. It appears that one is supposed to solder the bare ends of the power wires to the bare copper wires clipped in to this little plastic plate. Is there another method? I don't have a solder gun. Twisting the wires together seems doomed to failure, and I don't think they make wire nuts this tiny. Googling and following lots of links, one person recommended something called "dry epoxy", I've never heard of it and wonder if it works, and if so, where do you buy it?

    The track set also has a blue plastic piece that has a cross-shaped hole at one end. I failed this IQ test totally... what is it for???

    Thanks for your patience.
  2. Catt

    Catt Guest

    Actually the wires should already be attached to that track piece.Did you buy this set used?

    That little blue plastic piece with the cross shaped hole is for removing the track uni-joiners.Did you get a rerailer with your set?
  3. skeptic53

    skeptic53 New Member

    The track set was purchased new online from Model Train Warehouse in Eagle, Idaho.

    The connector I wrote about above, with the bare wires, came with the power supply. The track set came with two different power wires, one had large connectors at the end in a "C" shape, that would go over a post & be secured with a nut of some sort. The other one turned out to be the one I needed, it had gotten inadvertently placed out of sight under one of the empty boxes. It has a plastic oblong tab with two holes, it fits into the bottom of the S62F piece. At first it didn't work, probably because the copper wires inside the S62F were not in contact with the underside of the track. I took it apart again, put it together carefully, and it works.

    So I feel more like an idiot than ever, but at least the problem is solved. Thanks for answering the question about the mystery blue plastic bit. I assumed it had something to do with the track connectors but wasn't sure what.

    What do hobbyists do, if anything, to smooth the bumps where the track connectors fit together? The lighter cars tend to get hung up on the joint. This was what drove us nuts with the Bachmann set, we could only get it to run at one certain speed. A little too slow, and the cars would hang up. A little too fast, and they would derail. The Kato set seems much better but I'm still curious what solutions there are.

  4. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    There should be no bumps. Your rails should butt up against each other smoothly and perfectly aligned when using the supplied connectors. I'm not sure why your getting bumps.... perhaps you could describe how you are trying to join the tracks together in more detail.... ???? Pictures would be good if you have that ability.
  5. skeptic53

    skeptic53 New Member

    I have successfully gotten photos from & Flickr to show up in other forums, but neither will post here. I get a "broken image" icon. Best I can do is a link. Let me know if you can't see it and I'll try Picasa or something.

    The problem is more of a "crack" than a bump, although some of the joints have a slight bump as well. In this photo, the far side has a slight gap, the near side the left piece of track is a millimeter or so higher than the right side. The brown color of the rail is not rust, it's the color of the wood floor reflected.

    Part of the reason I want to permanently mount the track on a board is so that I can get the pieces all firmly pressed together and hopefully even in height also.

    The locomotive runs fine at fairly low speed, but at the slowest speeds it will proceed to a joint and then stop with it's wheels spinning. If I have a full train, the lighter cars tend to hang up at one joint or another.

    Thanks for any advice!

    Snapfish: Share Photo:Registration
    RR joint on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
  6. PWRR-2207

    PWRR-2207 Rogue Islander

    It looks like the connection point is under pressure... Did you use an even number of straight pieces to create the oval? For example:

    Kato K1 Set Pieces.jpg

    It is also possible that the oval is being twisted out of shape or a couple connections are not fully seated and causing the pressure. Please try disconnecting all the pieces and then reconnecting them to see if it relieves the pressure. If that does not work, it is possible that "Quality Assurance" let a piece go by that is out of tolerance (such as too long, too short, a malformed connection nub...)
  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    50 years ago, I was at a fellow's place and he had a loop of early snap track. There was a problem and we found that one rail on one piece of track was shorter than it should be. If you don't get the joints square there are problems. Sometimes when track goes together, one rail joiner goes under the rail instead of onto it -- this makes a bump. Also if the rail joiner gets spread a little and lets the rails out of alignment.
    You might take a file to the ends of the rails and knock off the sharp corner at the inside top.
  8. skeptic53

    skeptic53 New Member

    Thanks for all the help! The problem was unevenness in the floor putting pressure on the joints. Once we put the track on the board, it works great!

    What are the choices for attaching the track to the board? It is pressboard with very smooth sides sold for underlayment for floors. The only thing I could find in searching was advice about drilling holes through the track and using tracknails. Are there other ways that people prefer?

    I also tried to find an extension for the blue and white power cord from the speed control to the track, and struck out. I'm guessing I just couldn't hit on the right terms in the search box. The cord that came with the track is only about 3 feet long, I'd like to have the controller farther away.

    Thanks again, I really appreciate the prompt help.

  9. shelbys_dad

    shelbys_dad Member

    Here's a thought,
    You could do what I did with our Bachmann Alaska McKinley Explorer set under our Yule tree. Being in a wheelchair, reaching to the floor was not going to happen. I purchased 18awg wire, red & black...staggered the splices, soldered about a 4' length of the 18awg wire to the staggered cuts and shrink tubed all joints. It works fine and now the control unit sits on my computer desk.
  10. Arc

    Arc New Member

    I've been told that you can glue the track down with simple wood glue. I'm thinking of trying this myself.

    The extension wire is called a DC extension cord and the part number is 24-825. ebay sellers have them, online dealers have them as well as local hobby shops that sell Kato.


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