Test track

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by jjqgenesis, Mar 15, 2003.

  1. jjqgenesis

    jjqgenesis Member

    I want to build a test track using Atlas N flex-track and mount it to a board. I plan to permanently attach a MT coupler gauge to one end with coupler pin plate as well. I want to be able to raise one end to check for rolling characteristics of cars.
    Is there anything else I should be thinking about for this test track?
    I have a small scale for weighing the cars.
    I seem to recall seeing this in an old MR issue years ago.
  2. billk

    billk Active Member

    Welcome to The Gauge! Were you thinking of powering the test track? The only addition I can think of is wrt raising the end - how about hinging one end of the board and making the raising deal on the other end calibrated so you can raise it to cause the grade you want?
  3. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi jjqgenesis
    Welcome to the gauge, I wouldn't permanently attach the Micro Trains coupler gauge to one end of your track if you are going to power it up. If it's anything like the HO version, it will short out the track being made of metal. If it's made of plastic, then it's okay.

  4. jjqgenesis

    jjqgenesis Member

    The hinge is something I will do for the grade. Hadn't thought about calibrating but good idea.

    If I do attach gage permanently to track will cut both tracks at gage to prevent short. Not my idea, something I saw somewhere on the web.

    Thanks for the imput.
  5. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Though a bit about your test track while at the show today.
    A rerailer track would be handy.
    A cube of some sort of foam at the bottom of the grade to catch run aways.
    An uncoupling magnet.
    You might find you need 2 test tracks. One dead straight with the grade measurement, the other with the coupler adjustments and power on it. With power you'll want a voltmeter and ammeter. You may also want a switch and curve to a parallel track.
    And then scenery and an industry. :D
  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    You could use a coupler height guage permanently mounted to the test track, even if it would short out the track under normal conditions. Just cut gaps in both rails immediately in front of the coupler height guage, and you will have isolated the guage from the rest of the test track. I model ho, so I don't know if this applies to n guage, but I built a straight test track to test my locomotives and found that some of my steam engines had problems with curves on the modular layout. Our minimum radius is 36", but I found an old Bachmann consolidation would allow the front drivers to slide sideways enough to foul the valve gear. I put shims behind all four axles, and found I couldn't get it to go around the 36" radius without derailing. I ended up removing the shims from the back two drive axles, but due to only having a straight test track it took two months to sort it out.
    A curve in the test track would have solved the problem first time out.
  7. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    Hi jjqgenesis. Welcome!

    One other thing you might want to consider is a test car like a gondola that you can add weights onto to determine the pulling power of an engine. It would be easier than hooking up a string of cars and would let you determine how much weight an engine could pull up a given grade.

    You might also consider using temporarily mounted flex track that could be set at various premarked radii. That way you could test almost any combination of loads on both straight and curved situations.
  8. jjqgenesis

    jjqgenesis Member

    Great input. Thanks very much. I will let you know what I finish up with and maybe take a photo.
  9. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Wow -- That is some test track David!! ;)

  10. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    I have two, no three, but I won't talk about the 3rd (Ultra Top Secret, if I tell ya, I have to sick a chihuahua on ya)).

    Here's what I have:

    The main test track is an oval, with one turnout. OK, two turnouts, but one off the loop. The loop allows the arguable break-in period of a new engine. The turnout leads to what will be a smaller loop or side that has at least one radius equal to or smaller than the minimum radius on my layout, whenever I figure out what that will be. This allows me to test and break in engines and rollin stock to include running through a turnout which can be problematic to the little switcher I run, and tight radii, which is common to the logging I have planned.

    Then I have a coupler height and engine testing/cleaning track. It's a straight 3 ft section on 1 X 4. It has a coupler height gauge on one end and it's isolated a foot from the gauge. This way I can test a loco after working on it, clean the drivers (paper towel/goo gone on the track), and not run into the gauge at the end, since it's unpowered a full foot away from it. The 2 ft of powered track is plenty to determine if a loco is wired right and is operational, and I can test low speed abilities.

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