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Old 10-21-2019, 05:02 PM   #11
traction fan
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West Pick a track

Quote:
Originally Posted by Severn View Post
I just managed, and it's a hack-o-rama -- to connect up some of my micro engineering flex track to some bachman gray ez-track.

It was quite a bit of work but it's noticeably quieter when the train hits that portion ...


That's a big plus for me, but everything else about putting it is a big negative.

Severn;

I'm assuming that the "portion" where "it's noticeably quieter" was when you ran a train on the flex track, rather than on the EZ track.
The plastic roadbed attached to the bottom of any roadbed track makes a pretty effective "sounding board." It amplifies the sound of the train's passing. If you elect to use roadbed track, mounted permanently, you could cut down on the noise by attaching a noise-dampening material inside the plastic roadbed shell. Foam wetherstripping tape, cork, or Styrofoam would all work. Some of the noise that's absent from flex track when it's not mounted down yet, can come back when the track is mounted. It still won't be as loud as roadbed track, but it will likely be noisier when mounted. Using caulk, or glue, rather than nails, will help keep things quieter. So will using cork, or foam, roadbed under the track. The cork/foam roadbed acts just the opposite of the plastic shell roadbed on EZ track, or Unitrack. It reduces noise, rather than amplifying it. Track nails, and hard-glued ballast can bypass the cork or foam, and pass the sound right down to the really big "sounding board," the plywood table.A sub-roadbed that won't vibrate much can help reduce noise too.
It sounds like you've had a good look at several types/brands of track. For what it's worth, my advice at this point would be to pick your favorite type of track and go forward with that one type.
Yes, you can adapt just about any brand to work with any other brand, but why bother? Using up the track you have, makes some sense, after all you did pay for it, but, in my opinion, there are enough things to do on a model railroad to keep anyone occupied, without spending time, and effort, seeing how many different types of track we can cobble together.
I really like Micro Engineering's code 55 N-scale flex track, for it's highly realistic appearance. However, I did do some of the adapting two brands of track to each other, that you're now doing. I had lots of Atlas code 80 N-scale flex track around. It looks awful, not realistic at all, but it works fine, so I used that in the hidden staging yard.
In any case, I'm just giving you my opinion. Whatever track you decide on, will automatically be the right track for you.

Have Fun;

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Old 10-22-2019, 07:02 AM   #12
Severn
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I actually measured sound of the track decibels with a small hand held detector I borrowed from a friend -- sorry not clear -- and a small engine and half dozen cars going over it. The track, which is the shape of an oval of 10-15 ft by say 6 or so feet -- sits on plastic topped folding tables. On that is some partial sheets of 1/4 inch plywood. On that is some heavy felt -- yet there are gaps in these things.

The sound results are:
- plastic bachmann track: 72 db over wood
- same but over felt portion: 70 db
- micro eng. track over either: 60 db - 62 db

It's a very noticeable change to me over the flex. If I had 200 ft of the track strung around on that plastic stuff, I think I'd really get annoyed.

This is what happened to me with fastrak (O) -- and that's even louder -- so I ditched it.

The only thing is the bending and soldering of micro. eng. is annoying to me and I think I'd rather just have firm fixed curves or straights.

But this is against what I learned with the o-gauge stuff -- it's better to have longer pieces if possible. It's not only cheaper but there's less connections to go south (create a short).

And I'm still somewhat married to the idea of being able to take it all up...

So the flex is imperfect for me really but I have quite a bit of it that I bought before realizing all this -- so I'm just going to work with it for now.
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Old 10-23-2019, 02:51 PM   #13
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West Flex track differences

Quote:
Originally Posted by Severn View Post
I actually measured sound of the track decibels with a small hand held detector I borrowed from a friend -- sorry not clear -- and a small engine and half dozen cars going over it. The track, which is the shape of an oval of 10-15 ft by say 6 or so feet -- sits on plastic topped folding tables. On that is some partial sheets of 1/4 inch plywood. On that is some heavy felt -- yet there are gaps in these things.

The sound results are:
- plastic bachmann track: 72 db over wood
- same but over felt portion: 70 db
- micro eng. track over either: 60 db - 62 db

It's a very noticeable change to me over the flex. If I had 200 ft of the track strung around on that plastic stuff, I think I'd really get annoyed.

This is what happened to me with fastrak (O) -- and that's even louder -- so I ditched it.

The only thing is the bending and soldering of micro. eng. is annoying to me and I think I'd rather just have firm fixed curves or straights.

But this is against what I learned with the o-gauge stuff -- it's better to have longer pieces if possible. It's not only cheaper but there's less connections to go south (create a short).

And I'm still somewhat married to the idea of being able to take it all up...

So the flex is imperfect for me really but I have quite a bit of it that I bought before realizing all this -- so I'm just going to work with it for now.


Severn;

One reason that there are three basic types of track, (sectional, flex, and roadbed) and different brands of each type, is simply that not everyone wants the same kind of track.

I understand about bending Micro Engineering flex track, it is different, and does require more effort. To me the superior appearance is worth it, but not everyone feels that way.
Atlas flex track is super flexible. If you bend a piece of Atlas flex and let go, it will spring back to nearly straight.
If/when you get to the point of laying track permanently, Atlas may be more to your liking. They make a code 83 HO flex that looks pretty good.
Any flex track will need to be fastened down. Latex caulk is commonly used to glue the track down, and it can be taken up later, if necessary. Using a putty knife coated with WD-40, I have peeled up track that was fastened with caulk, without damaging the track. The other thing that holds track in place is ballast. Typically, ballast is held together, and in place, by diluted white (Elmer's type) glue. The glue is water-soluble, so If you get the ballast really wet, you can often loosen it with an old toothbrush soaked with soapy water. A Shop Vac will then remove the loose ballast. This procedure is not as easy as unhooking pieces of roadbed track, but it is doable. So, once you have decided on a track plan, you can use flex track, and ballast, and still be able to get it back up, should you ever need to.

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