Tetter's Layout Progress and Other Pics.

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by tetters, Feb 3, 2007.

  1. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Still putting off cleaning my basement and re-doing that track work I decided instead to wire up an adapter for the final GP in my roster. I have four of these girls in total.

    Next on the list was CP, GP 9 #8829. She is the one that came with the circuit board that one could solder a decoder to. Mentioned in this thread here. http://forum.zealot.com/t153984/

    I said I was going to order one of these adapters and I did. I actually ordered three since I figured I may need one in the future...one never knows.

    I'll try and keep this in some form of sequence and explain what was involved up to a point. I will wire up the LEDs tonight sometime

    I used one of my existing locos as a reference. Noting where the coloured wires go and how to wire up the adapter to work the same as the stock NMRA plug.


    Sorry for the blurry pic. What I am trying to show in this photo is I ended up soldering two black wires for the trucks to one pin, and two blue (common) wires to another pin for the lights. This is how the wires are connected to the plug in the loco which came equipped with the NMRA plug.


    This was taken after the my first initial test run. I wired up both black wires to the trucks, the orange wire to the original red wire (I disconnected it before this pic was taken) for the motor, and the grey wire to the copper strip for the motor. Finally the red wire from the adapter as a ground to the frame just like my reference loco. I cannot tell you how many times I tested and re-tested all along the way, just to make sure I got my wiring correct.


    The adapter sits kinda tall. Too tall to just plug into the decoder and tape it down and go with it. So I modified the frame (bye bye warranty) so that I could invert the adapter and decoder inside the loco shell. I used a Dremel tool and milling bit to remove the excess material after I carefully marked where the adpater would nestle into the frame. After this, all I needed to do was make sure when I plugged it in that I had the adapter oriented correctly to the decoder pins.


    Once I carefully threaded the wiring back through the framework, I screwed it back in place and gave any metal frame parts that may come into contact with the decoder or adapter with a coat of Plati-Dip. I also coated the wire connections for the motor and trucks.


    Test run. Every thing okee dokey.


    Taped down the decoder and did another test run.


    Here is a pic of one of the other adapters I purchased. I ran into a bit of curious problem when I noticed the adapter I had chosen was missing a white wire for the front light. I thought it was odd, however went ahead and unsoldered the green wire and re-attached it to where the white wire should be. I wasn't going to need the green wire where it was located anyways. It never dawned on me until a bit later, once I was up to my elbows in this to see if the other adapters were wired the same way. They were not. The other two had all eight wires soldered to the pins. Leave it to me to pick the one that didn't have all the wires to work with.


    Test fit of the shell to the frame. I'll post up once the LEDs are wired and everything is buttoned up.
  2. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Pt # 2

    So I wired up the LEDs after dinner. Initially I had the resistors soldered on wrong so I had to go back and reverse the connection. I dunno what I was thinking when I wired them backwards in the first place???

    Testing the Front.


    Testing the Rear.


    Test fit with the shell on.


    Complete Assembly.


    I will fully admit that this was a real pain in the arse for me. :grin: Seriously though, little parts and fat little fingers do not get along. I took my time and ended up commiting almost a full day to do this conversion. I'm sure there was probably an easier faster way to do it as well. However, I'm the work with what you got kinda guy, so that is what I did.

    The downside is that I found out that the last decoder I have does not work. I keep getting a "cannot read CV" error when I try to program it. I've checked all the connections and everything appears to be in order...so I'm stumped. Thus # 8829's decoder is from another loco I'm having some "mechanical" problems with. I ordered these decoders last year too, so I doubt I can exchange it for a new one from Tony's Trains. Meh. No worries.

    Tomorrow...the real fun begins...:eek:
  3. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Wow...I really let this drop by the way side. Well, holiday nonsense and all I guess.

    Anywho...I finally got my butt in gear and began laying down the roadbed for the interchange track and sidings for my industries. I've also began laying ties again too in anticipation of a large order of rail due sometime this week I hope. I'd post a pic however its not much to look at right now. Just some weights holding everything down until the glue dries. I've also figured out a way to incorporate my double x-over into the plan. It will admittedly be mostly "ornamental" in the sense that it really will just be something nifty to look at when I'm tooling around. However, I do plan to have it fully functional at some point, as I have every intent of watching my locos rail over that sucker. From a financial standpoint, it ate up a ton of track building "resources", so to not use it in some form of another would be a waste.

    Footnote: I also decided to cut back on the number of industries as well for the sake of operational interest.

    So I will have three customers in total. A brewery (come on you didn't think I would seriously lay the guys off who make beer for a living...), a corn/vegetable oil refinery and last but certainly not least, the mighty GERN Industries has purchased a rather handsome plot of land inside what will be the urban sprawl of my layout.

    In the end though, by next fall I have plans to extend another 8 feet and add some more customers and non, RR buildings into the mix.

    I also spent sometime tonight changing all my couplers out (save a couple cars) to Kadee # 5's. 14 cars in total received the conversion.

    So that's all folks...I'm starting to get geared up again!
  4. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    I was digging through my benchwork this morning and found another PK2 hopper kit I never put together! Goodie! Guess I know what I'll be doing tonight while the glue dries! LOL!!!
  5. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Not much to brag about today. I finished a 19 degree crossing which I'm going to need for the layout. Took me a few hours to build it yesterday. Today, I'm going to run out and get some more glue so I can finish glueing down my roadbed and ties. I'm actually looking forward to finally completing all the track work now that its all finally coming together. It's been fun, however I'm starting to tire of it as well. I just want to run trains and have it all working. Then I can start building some structures. Almost there.

  6. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Looks very nice Tetters! Are you sure you built it, and that it didn't come from BK Enterprises :p Because it looks that good!

    You may be tiring of the trackwork, but you have some of the nicest (if not the nicest) track work on the forum!

    You wouldn't happen to have a double slip switch in your future? :)
  7. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    As a matter of fact...


    Heh...I posted this pic in another thread. Its a # 6 d-slip. Guess you missed it. :mrgreen:

    That said...I am not entirely happy how this one is turning out so far...the d-slip that is. The eight points need to be hinged otherwise they are too stiff for a conventional switch motor to throw. I did one end, however I'm not entirely sold on how the points are manipulated by the throw bar. I've been thinking about trying to use rail spikes soldered to the points and drilling four holes into the throw bar but allowing the spikes to pivot in the holes. That should allow the points to move freely from side to side, while the throw bar stays relatively straight. Right now when you pull on the throwbar the end noticably swings out of square.

    Thanks for the compliments...finding it hard to stay motivated lately...personal issues, non-train related. I've been distracted and not entirely focused...really sucks. :rolleyes:
  8. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Oooh Boy. I hope this works out. I finally manned up the courage to literally demo a section of my track work and makes some changes...It was actually easier then I thought too...maybe that's a good sign. Once I was able to get my paint scraper underneath the road bed it came up pretty easy...for the most part. I think the hesitation came from not really wanting to screw it up reeeeeally bad. I "cut" out the areas that I wanted removed and then went to town. I scraped it as flat as I could once I got the bulk of material off of the decking.

    So far so good. The pictures below are just a couple of progress shots on this reno of the East Yard Engine Facility. If anyone remembers I'm doing this so I can add a RIP track next to the engine garage. It will also help me correct an ugly alignment mistake i made with the stub track coming off the the east yard ladder.


    Ok so this picture shows a test fit of the right hand turnout in place after removing the rail. It also shows the stub track rail removed as well. See that little bend in the rails coming off the t.o.? That is the ugly alignment issue I was talking about. In my haste maybe 6 weeks ago, I realized I made a big boo boo, but went with it anyways. After a good solid amount of time messing with the trains I decided I absolutely hated the little shimmy my locos did when they travelled over this small piece of track...not very prototypical I imagine either...:curse:

    Except now that little curve will line up nicely with the new track which will curve to the left slightly and right to the outside corner of the decking just off camera.

    So say good bye!


    I was honestly hoping I could keep that small section I left up there at the top...I was going to use it as a scenic setting and make it look like an area of old abandoned ties...sort of like my railroad grew a little and decided to re-arrange some of its track work. Unfortunately I needed to scrap away all of it.

    That's all I have for tonight. Right now the roadbed is in place and wieghted down as the glue is dries. So not much to see. Tomorrow I'll get the ties glued down and in place. Then Friday night hopefully, I'll stain them and get the rail down on the weekend.

    Until then...:wave:
  9. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    I always hate it how you have to wait for the roadbed, and then the ties, and then the tie stain/paint to dry before you can lay rail. In my case, I figured out that the plain pine ties are actually the right color...and I wasted time with my coloring of the first several hundred ties.
  10. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    I know...the waiting is the hardest part for sure.

    The "paint" I'm using is a watered down acrylic paint. Mix a drop of black with some grey and then dip the brush in a bowl of water. If I don't put it on too heavy it actually dries quite quickly.

    However, i still need to ballast the straight sections of ties before I spike down the rail...and that takes a full day of drying time. So that said, I will probably still get the rail and everything running again at this end by Saturday night.

    Then I can concentrate on getting my sidings in for the industry tracks. I've been mulling over a particular section for the last few nights...not entirely convinced I'm going to like how it goes down...however, I believe I have a solution so tonight I'm also going to go ahead and finally tackle the track work for that area. It will look something like this when completed...except a little more compressed. :grin:


    I'm concerned about alignment issues as I want this as straight and true as possible. I've decided that I'm going square it all up and connect it all as a single piece on the bench before I install it on the layout. I figure it's construction is no different then the large double x-over I made so I'm not worried about expansion issues et al.
  11. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Hey Tetters:wave:
    I reread Rogerw's threads about resistance soldering and saw you were interested. Did you end up using it for your track work?

  12. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Naw... although the idea of trying it out still appeals to me. If I remember that was the thread with the homemade unit correct?

    I was seriously contemplating building my own, however I'm not one to mess with electricity. Low voltage I'm ok with, something that could potentially knock me clean off my work stool...no thanks. sign1

    I think I'd want to purchase a manufactured unit, thats just my own preference. However, money is tight and I'm going to finish off my track work and then take a hiatus from RR'ing. Spring is just around the corner and I have another season of Mountain / Road cycling to get in shape for. I have started to collect cereal boxes for card stock as I fully intend to kitbash/scratch build all of my structures.

    For now, lets get this trackwork finished up!
  13. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    I've been busy...


    Here is that section of track work I sketched up in paint. I think it speaks for itself.


    Ties freshly painted and left to dry...


    Ballast applied to the ties.


    Long ties trimmed to length and more ballast added to the side. I tried a different technique that I figured would save me some hassle. I left the areas of the copper ties clear while I ballasted only inbetween the wood ties. Figured it would save me some hassle down the road when I eventually get around to paint the pcb ties and finally ballast them.

    Last one.


    Whoo.... :wave:
  14. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    hey, I see you are using those caboose ground throws with the contacts. how are those working out for you?

  15. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Hi Kevin,

    Not bad really. They are pretty forgiving in terms of set up as there is a bit of lee way if you don't get them perfectly lined up and installed. A couple of them I didn't quite get right, so a simple nudge with my finger moves the points over and hold it againts the stock rail. Just make sure you order the ones with the springs in them...as the ones without, I've read, are a pain in the neck and need near perfect alignment in order to work properly. I'm using the ones with the ground throws as well (as you've noticed). Necessary since my frogs need to be powered with the handlaid t.o.'s. There are some small parts to assemble on that end and they can be a pain to install. Also, for the purposes of wiring you need to drill a slot through the deck in order to get the contact points underneath it all to wire it up. The instructions in that case asked for a 3/8 hole...which is kinda big and ugly. I ended up drilling two smaller holes, I'd don't remember which bit size, side by side and created a slot for the contacts to fit through. Much neater and less obvious. That said, once you've done a couple of these, they get a lot easier to do. Also...the instructions that come with them are not the great - IMHO. :rolleyes:

    Eventually, as I've mentioned before, in the distant future plans are to go entirely to decoder run switch machines. Especially since my east and west tracks for inbound and outbound trains (off layout) are along the back wall behind the yard...so there is the slight danger of knocking stuff over. Plus my crossover is going in back there and I'd love to see it automated! :grin: Aside from using skewers to uncouple my trains, I'd like my layout to be as hands off as possible.

    Hope you are enjoying the progress thus far. :wave:
  16. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    It's either life's stress or the sleep deprevation that comes with being an insomiac. One thing or another...It's...its...ALIVE!


    I had only one chance to get this thing right. Otherwise its was all for naught and nothing but a pile of scrap! I got lucky...I almost screwed this up a few times yet somehow managed to get it all together, and line it up fairly straight. The real trick was the opposing points. It took some liberal filing of the frogs after assembly to true them up, despite the fact that I tried to keep everything as straight and true as possible. Now I can roll a set of trucks through them with nary a bump. Guess its full steam ahead from here!

  17. cnw1961

    cnw1961 Member

    Tetters, you never cease to amaze me. When you built your first turn out, I never thought you would reach these heights in creative trackwork (sorry :mrgreen:). I hope you won’t turn to other modeling projects soon :p, as I really enjoy to see what special pieces of track you come up with next.
  18. Kevinkrey

    Kevinkrey Member

    Tetters, I love seeing your progress. I want to know how you put down your ballast, or rather, how thick, it looks great, I am currently doing the ground around my loco and caboose tracks. feel like I am putting mine down too thick, and wasting it, I might just be being cheap, but than again, Im only 16, making 80% of my money during the three summer months. I make good money, but while saving up for a plow truck, theres just not much in it for the trains (especially when I have three locos out of service $$$$$) so I guess I just try to be as "crafty" as possible.
  19. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Hi Kevin...well the ties are about 1/8 of an inch thick after I sand them smooth. So that would be the depth of my ballast. Going further back in this thread, DocWayne gave me some great advice for ballasting. You should re-read his post and take it to heart. I really helped me achieve some quality results.

    Don't fret too much about your progress. It's not a race to see who can build the fastest layout. After I finish up my track work, I probably won't do anything else until fall. Once I start cycling...there is barely time for anything else.
  20. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Tetters: one of the toughest track design elements is 2 frogs opposite. I think you've actually managed it. If the turnouts were just a bit closer together, you would have major problems from no guardrails.
    Are the crossings in the slip switched?

Share This Page