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i hear ya. family is out so I thought Id fire up and connect the track to make a circle and see what train runs the best... 11 trains and not 1 worth a damn. might just need oil from sitting but man am i dissappointed. ive got 1930's-1940s toys im gonna sell and some lionel stuff from that era in O gauge to get $ to buy a new train or 2. then maybe someday try and fuss/care with these old trains...
I would suggest show case what you have here on this forum. May find its worth keeping, tearing down, cleaning, and re lubricating.

I am purposely buying Life-Like Proto 2000 E series locomotives from the 1980's due to model quality. In my opinion Athearn Blue Boxes with the motor in the middle have been a really good running loco's. In my fleet of 20 loco's, thats the majority. Out of 20 loco's I have less than 7 new ones.

John

John
this is the mix...
 

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Discussion Starter #42
John;

Equipping a bunch of locomotive with sound is very expensive, no doubt about that. I don't own any ESU LokSound decoders but they have a reputation for unusually good sound, and higher than average prices.

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After the initial "gee whizz" effect fades away, a small group of sound-generating model locomotives becomes a cacophony of irritating noise to many folks. So much so, that they tend to turn their expensive sound off most of the time. So, you might want to ease into sound gradually.

regards;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
Ok, so even though this is really off topic of the current thread, I will share my opinion. For starters I am not running Steam loco's at all, only diesel.

Also keep in mind the power need to run a bunch of Sound equip loco's. As such I am balancing out the sound loco's vs just dcc equip. As I only have 3A DCC system currently which is in need of help due to a power drain.

You are very correct about the financial cost of running LokSound. I will say I prefer LokSound over Tsunami2. In the stock configuration, LokSound has a cool feature where you can turn on and off the engine sound via start up and shutdown sequence. Where the Tsunami2 had to be re configured for this. The Tsunami2 has a something I wish LokSound had and that is select-able alt volume so when it is bothering me due to being loud, I can run the alt volume settings which reduce it quite a bit.

I am not running all LokSound, as for my Proto 2000 E series, I am looking at running a MRC style sound decoder for $40 each which is much cheaper than a LokSound by a savings of almost $80 per unit. And it is a bolt in option which requires NO modification to the loco chassis. And no soldering.

I have no interest in getting rid of my older fleet as I have alot of really cool loco's which are hard to get a hold of and will be cool to see running again such as my original Athearn Spirit of 76 SD40-2. My proto 2000 E series loco's. And of course my Southern Pacific 1984 Olympics SD40's.

Some of my F and E unit ABA set's, I may only sound equip the Dummy B unit with dual speakers. I even considered moving the dummy unit configuration to the front A unit shell, and putting the sound in that with the B unit being powered.

But sound is totally worth the effort in my opinion. I am just not in a spot to go all in at this time. As such I am working around that want with what i am willing to accept for the time being.

Something else I really dig is while my sound equip loco's sit idle on the track with power, they make random sounds related to various maintance work being done such as greasing, wrenching, and fueling. So this will be really cool when I have a bunch of loco's sitting in the repair yard for work to be done. The only thing I wish my Tsunami2 sound decoder would do is set the default volume low and Alt volume in the high range.

Thanks for the wisdom,
John
 

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Discussion Starter #43
this is the mix...
I may be wrong, but I see several Athearn Blue Box which in my opinion are always worth keeping. I believe that enough that I am putting in the time to convert mine to DCC. May not be as accurate as other models, but I have seen them to be a good solid running unit. My oldest Blue Box is my child hood one from 1983 which is a Southern Pacific F7 A unit. And I have converted it to a NON sound DCC setup and run it on my layout.

It also looks like your Pennsylvania RR E series maybe a Proto 2000. Note that in its day it sold for $60. And now they are going for over $100 just the A unit. I have paid $400 for a Proto 2k ABA Southern Pacific set on Ebay. That one I would recommend keeping if possible.

I dont know what brand that Spirit of 76 is, but I would look at that one production year. As it could be worth keeping.

But I am not an expert. And your not showing shells off so its hard to know from the telling signs. Hopefully others will chime in.

John
 

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Discussion Starter #44
John;
The popular "Tortoise" Stall motor switch machine, sold by Circuitron, does NOT have a DCC decoder inside it.
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They do it the old fashioned way with wires, rather than digital transmissions, however.

regards;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
I will want to open another thread on this later as I am confused. It looks like the DCC versions are powered by track power. And thats a problem currently when I look at how little track power I have. More so, I would rather turnouts being powered by a separate power source and only listen to the DCC signal for instructions.
 

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Discussion Starter #45

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You're right

It looks like the DCC versions are powered by track power. . , I would rather turnouts being powered by a separate power source and only listen to the DCC signal for instructions.
John;

I suppose it's possible that they can be/are tapping the 14-16 VAC constant output from the DCC system's bus wires, and then receiving the digital signals, riding on top of that constant AC, that are addressed to them. That is how locomotive decoders work. I thought that most stationary decoders just needed input power, and didn't care where it came from. They could draw that power from the DCC bus wires, (aka track power) or be fed power from a different source. I don't use stationary decoders, so I don't really know.

If you are going to run a lot of sound-equipped locomotives, which, themselves, use a good deal of power, and turnout stationary decoders as well, then maybe you should look at getting a booster unit for your DCC system. Such a booster could supply enough power to run everything. They are available from all the major DCC system manufacturers. Starting a new thread on the "Technical Forum" section, where many of our DCC gurus hang out, is a good idea, and will probably get you some better answers.

good luck;

Traction Fan
 

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Discussion Starter #48
John;

I suppose it's possible that they can be/are tapping the 14-16 VAC constant output from the DCC system's bus wires, and then receiving the digital signals, riding on top of that constant AC, that are addressed to them. That is how locomotive decoders work. I thought that most stationary decoders just needed input power, and didn't care where it came from. They could draw that power from the DCC bus wires, (aka track power) or be fed power from a different source. I don't use stationary decoders, so I don't really know.

If you are going to run a lot of sound-equipped locomotives, which use a good deal of power, and possibly turnout stationary decoders as well, maybe you should look at getting a booster unit for your DCC system. Such a booster could supply enough power to run everything. They are available from all the major DCC system manufacturers. Starting a new thread on the "Technical Forum" section, where many DCC gurus hang out, is a good idea, and will probably get you some better answers.

good luck;

Traction Fan
Earlier in this thread I commented about the need to get a booster. I think I really need a 10amp due to my wants in this, although I have a lot of people saying 5ams is enough. But my 3amp unit can barely push what I got now on the track.

I can run my ABA set with 2 F units LokSound sound equip, kick off a proto 2000 E unit with no Sound, and when I hit the engine start sequence in my Tsunami2 SD40-2, the Proto 2000 E unit will start to studder in the running. I may have power issues such as too small a gauge wire running from controllers to track. And that is something to fix ASAP before getting increase power.

So in short, I know I need alot more power. I just need to have done all that others have suggested before they dont feel I have wasted my cash and gone completely overkill in something I didnt need. Hence under minding my opinions when I make future suggestions in other threads.
 

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I really can't speak from experience, but I tend to believe that in most cases 5 amps will be enough. Take that with a grain of salt. But, i wouldn't do anything until I had a good feeder network to the track... if you're having the problems you've described, then I agree I'd start there first.
 

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Discussion Starter #50
I really can't speak from experience, but I tend to believe that in most cases 5 amps will be enough. Take that with a grain of salt. But, i wouldn't do anything until I had a good feeder network to the track... if you're having the problems you've described, then I'd start there first.
As I discussed with Erik from DCC Specialties, the 1980's bus looks to be all 18 gauge wire and feeder drops. I am going to remove the 2 controller switches (to ensure they are not causing a drop) and then re run new wire for 4 main bus's in 14 gauge. 1 per area. Protected by a Circuit breaker or Auto-Reverser / CB.

Right now the layout is broken down into 6 power districts, with the siding and yard taking 3 of them alone. The other 3 contain a upper level dedicated, and the remaining track broken into 2 districts containing one of the 2 tracks in the elevation change and portion of the lower loop.

In short, I will break it down into 4 districts as suggested by DCC Specialties and run 14 gauge main runs with 18 gauge feeder drops.

Another issue with my layout, the track is not soldered together at non isolated sections. I am going to fix that. And get the power districts soldered together and make sure there are few feeder drops going down.
 

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Soldering rail joiners

As I discussed with Erik from DCC Specialties, the 1980's bus looks to be all 18 gauge wire and feeder drops. I am going to remove the 2 controller switches (to ensure they are not causing a drop) and then re run new wire for 4 main bus's in 14 gauge. 1 per area. Protected by a Circuit breaker or Auto-Reverser / CB.

Right now the layout is broken down into 6 power districts, with the siding and yard taking 3 of them alone. The other 3 contain a upper level dedicated, and the remaining track broken into 2 districts containing one of the 2 tracks in the elevation change and portion of the lower loop.

In short, I will break it down into 4 districts as suggested by DCC Specialties and run 14 gauge main runs with 18 gauge feeder drops.

Another issue with my layout, the track is not soldered together at non isolated sections. I am going to fix that. And get the power districts soldered together and make sure there are few feeder drops going down.
John;

I only suggested the possibility of getting a booster because you had said that if the Snails, Tortoise/Hare combinations, or other stationary decoders, were going to draw power from the track, that would be a problem for you. Now that you have described your wiring, I agree that going to 14ga. bus wires, feeder wires, power districts, etc. should take priority, and might possibly eliminate the need for a booster. It sounds like a good plan. Good luck with it!

As you may have seen here, there are different opinions on the idea of soldering all the rail joiners. Some think its a good idea, others, including me, don't.

My rationale for not soldering every single rail joiner is based on two things. 1) The possibility of thermal expansion/contraction, and,
2) The idea of what the single function, (or dual functions, as some would have it) of rail joiners is. I feel they should be relied on only to join rail ends in physical alignment.
Of course they also act as electrical connectors, but not as reliable connectors, over the long haul. Soldering them all is one solution, but
if that's done then there is no slack anywhere for expansion. The amount of expansion of the actual rails is very minor, but the wood under them can expand, contract, and warp. It does so more from variations in humidity than temperature. The wood takes the glued-down track right along with it when it moves; and if all rail joints are soldered, the rails can be forced out of gage, or even to rip free of the ties.

I prefer to solder the rail joiners of flex track that will be used in curves. I do this while the two sections of flex track are still straight, to prevent kinks.
However, I leave rail joiners unsoldered on straight track, with small gaps between the rail ends.

I'm also a big believer in having a feeder wire soldered to each, and every, rail on the layout.(Note: Each rail of a soldered assembly of two 3' sections of flex track can be considered as one 6' long rail)
With those feeders soldered to the bus wires, it doesn't matter if any rail joiners carry electricity, or not. The feeder/bus wire network provides perfect electrical continuity without reliance on any rail joiners as electrical connectors.

This system was used on the 25 scale miles of my old club's main line, with no electrical failures resulting in dead sections. I've used it on all my layouts, and heartily recommend it.

regards;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
 

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I can run my ABA set with 2 F units LokSound sound equip, kick off a proto 2000 E unit with no Sound, and when I hit the engine start sequence in my Tsunami2 SD40-2, the Proto 2000 E unit will start to studder in the running. I may have power issues such as too small a gauge wire running from controllers to track. And that is something to fix ASAP before getting increase power.
Maybe more track drops would fix this issue for you.

I can run three sound equipped locomotives and three silent locomotives all at the same time. In addition, I have several lamps, indicators and two Walthers decoder equipped turnout machines all on track power without ill effect.

I don't normally run that many trains at once because it is too much to try and keep up with, but two or three sound locomotives and a silent locomotive running at the same time is normal on my railroad.
 

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Discussion Starter #53 (Edited)
John;

I only suggested the possibility of getting a booster because you had said that if the Snails, Tortoise/Hare combinations, or other stationary decoders, were going to draw power from the track, that would be a problem for you.

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This system was used on the 25 scale miles of my old club's main line, with no electrical failures resulting in dead sections. I've used it on all my layouts, and heartily recommend it.

regards;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
Please dont feel or think I was arguing or upset on your suggestion of getting a booster. I totally agree. And yes, Like Pizza, it seems everyone has a way or idea on how they like to do something (lets call that a opinion) which works for them, how that compares to pizza is it seems no 2 people agree... lol The big discussion on the booster is how much is needed or too much.

I live in Wa state at the foot hills of the cascade mountains. Humidity is not my friend as we are pretty moist most of the time. Luckily my layout is in the house, but even that can hit over 80% at times.

My current track is not glued down at all. Nor is the cork it is laid on. Its all held together by nails and rail joiners. I have known about the issue of expansions. And I have never experienced it myself, dont know how much of a issue it will be for me where I live and where its physically located.

This is another issue I need to resolve on my track layout. Getting all the track work glued down and balasted to it will sit in one spot. Currently, when a train goes over track, I occasionally see the track settle or raise as I come off it. And I know some of my turnouts are not sitting flat. It almost looks like those where never secured to the board.

As you can start to gather, this layout has a bunch of issues which need to be address in some form of order in order to make it usable. I also need to keep in mind that this is a temp layout till I can build my main Dream Layout, then this one gets rebuilt with more modern methods. Less wood and more foam board.

Thanks,
John
 

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Discussion Starter #54
Maybe more track drops would fix this issue for you.

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I don't normally run that many trains at once because it is too much to try and keep up with, but two or three sound locomotives and a silent locomotive running at the same time is normal on my railroad.
Yeah, as discussed with traction fan, I need to come up with a solution which will work. There will be a better evaluation of feeder drops, more drops added, and some soldering of track. And as of this morning, I am also thinking that just soldering a jumper wire over on each side of the gap to allow for expansion and still have a solid electrical connection. And then all this has to be ballasted and glued. This layout is not a long term layout, my plan is to learn on this layout and get it functional as I finish building the Jig's and tooling required for building my dream layout.

And of course my power needs evaluated and addressed for how I want to run my RR.

Thanks,
John
 

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It seems a waste of DCC power run the turnout motors with it. Seems much better to run the stall motors on their own cheap power supply. This does not prevent control of the turnouts from being DCC. If you use Digitrax DCC systems the Loconet bus can be run to stationary decoders (like the DS64) then the control of the turnout can be via manual switches and/or loconet (throttle or JMRI) yet the power to run the stall motors is on a seperate Power supply. Adding a booster because of turnouts seems a waste of money! Adding a booster because you run a lot of engines with sound makes sense.
 

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Discussion Starter #56
It seems a waste of DCC power run the turnout motors with it. Seems much better to run the stall motors on their own cheap power supply. This does not prevent control of the turnouts from being DCC. If you use Digitrax DCC systems the Loconet bus can be run to stationary decoders (like the DS64) then the control of the turnout can be via manual switches and/or loconet (throttle or JMRI) yet the power to run the stall motors is on a seperate Power supply. Adding a booster because of turnouts seems a waste of money! Adding a booster because you run a lot of engines with sound makes sense.
The booster needs to be added because I want more power to run Sound Loco's as 3A is not enough. This will be done after track power bus had been updated to 14 gauge wire with 18 gauge feeder drops track soldering has been done.

I totally agree with your point on the second power system to run turnouts. Which is why I suggested using a ATX power supply earlier in this thread. I have settled on using a HP server power supply which is capable of providing a stable 12v at 100Amps for all my accessory needs. And that cost less than $40 ready to use.

For now based on the conversation of this thread I plan to run my twin coil switch machines with my old DC controller until a second power grid is setup.

I do want to look for a switch solution which can be powered by a dedicated 12v power grid and listen to my NCE DCC system. NCE is a requirement for me. I am not changing my DCC control system and I dont want to intermix them.
 

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It seems a waste of DCC power run the turnout motors with it. Seems much better to run the stall motors on their own cheap power supply. This does not prevent control of the turnouts from being DCC. If you use Digitrax DCC systems the Loconet bus can be run to stationary decoders (like the DS64) then the control of the turnout can be via manual switches and/or loconet (throttle or JMRI) yet the power to run the stall motors is on a seperate Power supply. Adding a booster because of turnouts seems a waste of money! Adding a booster because you run a lot of engines with sound makes sense.
For the two seconds they take to move points I don't worry about power consumption. There is usually a stopped train waiting for the track to align anyway.
 

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I use Kato HO Unitrack.

For switch machine power, I took an OLD MRC power pack, then drew the 15v a.c. from it. I ran that to a Kato part number 24-842 "dc converter" which rectifies the a.c. to d.c. I used that in conjunction with the Kato 24-840 switch levers. Works fine.
 

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My layout uses a Bachmann E-Z Command system with the 5-amp power booster, hooked up to E-Z Track. To control the turnouts and nearby operating TYCO "Prestomatic" accessories, I use an old TYCO power pack...

For this purpose, it gets the job done very nicely. For several other lighted accessories on the layout, I have a few more basic train set power packs underneath the table. (One of them is an older black-and-red Bachmann power pack, and another is a blue Life-Like pack.)
The modern Bachmann power pack next to the E-Z Command unit's AC terminals don't work; I use it as an extra throttle for any analog locomotives linked to the E-Z Command unit.
 

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Discussion Starter #60
So I have a update as too what I did for accessory power on my layout. And I am really liking it.

2 months ago I bought a Gigampz CS v2 Adapter Board and a HP 1U server power supply good for regulated 12v at 100A. As its a server quality power supply, as the power output gets close to max, the power supply remains clean and at 12v with minimal deviation.

So far I am not loading down. Simply have some LED rope light for under the layout, and the turnout twin coil switches.

As the layout gets updated, I will be making full use of this power supply. Expanding the layout foot print, and adding a walthern's turn table.

As I said above, I would totally recommend this for clean 12v power source for layout Accessories.

Thanks,
John
 
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