Where to start!?!

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Wildcatfootball, Mar 14, 2008.

  1. Well hello all. Over the last year, I've slowly but surely gathered info and ideas on a layout that I want. While I was doing this, I built my tables, put out all my foam, and then drew out, and tested for clearance, all aspects of my track plane to scale on the foam. Now I'm at a point to where I could go many ways... But I'm nothing but stumped. I'm a little daunted by the sheer size of the layout, as it's my first layout. I'm thinking of doing it somewhat like modules. Doing small sections 3-4 feet at a time. The 2 things I'm worried about the most are soldering and wiring for DCC... I've read article after article about both, and they both seem not so difficult, but it's still daunting. Could anyone offer good advice to get over this hump and get on with the layout? Maybe some inspirational speech? Or maybe a great website I haven't looked at before?
  2. Trainiac77

    Trainiac77 Member

    Hold your breath and dive in! The water is great!(only hold your breath for a little while though!) Seriously I did some google searching using model trains + solder as the search criteria and there was many many good articles to choose from.

    Soldering just takes a little practice. Remember you don't have to "pour it on" to make a good solid connection. Always tin your wires and track before making the final joint, this will insure a good connection. But again it doesn't take much solder to "tin". In my opinion and if you can afford it, purchase a good soldering iron, preferably one that will allow you to set either temperature or wattage. This way you will only need one for the your different soldering needs. Here is the link to my iron of choice E D S Y N I use this iron with a long spade tip E D S Y N and always have good results. I know it's expense but your trackwork is only as good as the tools used to lay it down!

    Sorry can't help you with DCC wiring, I still prefer the "old school" DC layout" much more complicated I know, but so much less expensive. I rather spend my money on good tools and more equipment. The way it's going I can sometimes purchase 3 engines for the price of one DCC/sound equipped engine, but that's what makes the hobby great, there are enough choices for everyones tastes.

    Welcome to the hobby!:wave: (or should I say addiction!):thumb:
  3. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    I will suggest some off layout practice. A piece of scrap track, some rail joiners, some scrap wire, your articles on soldering. Get the basics down first then attack the layout. You have probably come across the type of solder and flux to use with rail and wire. Also check the threads here with reference to melted ties etc. As for the DCC wiring, that will be determined by the size of your layout, any reverse loops. For the most part you don't need blocks with DCC so that simplifys the wiring. I know that the following comment will probably result in some discussion but "you can use solderless crimp connectors for a lot of your under table wiring."
  4. radar

    radar Member

    Like Jim said practice a little bit first, then just DO IT YOU CAN DO IT!!!
    havent see your track plan but try to get a loop going first so you can sit back and just watch em roll .
  5. 91rioja

    91rioja Member

    I have two suggestions.

    1) Wear long pants and shoes when soldering.
    2) If you don't succeed the first time, you can always rip it up and start again. . . .

    I am beginning to start over on my railroad for about the 5th time. Now that the move is over and I'm somewhat settled in the new home, it is time to start building again.

    One of the most helpful things I have found to do is to go out to Wally World (or anywhere else for that matter) and get yourself about a million straight pins. Use them to tack your track down before using any kind of permanent glue. I have found out that thinks are not always as they seem, and what looks good on paper, do not work in the real world. Tack it down, run your trains over it and see how it feels and looks.

    As to the DCC, soldering a million feeder wires sucks, but it has to be done. Use a small gauge solid wire at the track, get you some 3M IDC's, and tap it into a good beefy bus wire. It will be well worth it in the end.

    Jim has good advice; test off-layout, work on-layout.

  6. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

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