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Discussion Starter #1
I am working on designing a merged layout of the Granite Gorge and another layout, Tyco Extender (mid 1970s). Both of these layouts I had some years ago, and they were both torn down for different reasons. At this point, I have a SCARM design of the merged layouts, and an additional yard area. I have been working out the bench work with a woodworking design program. The table will end up in 6 sections. After reading this thread, I will likely build in 3 paired folding sections (2 5x10, and a 4x8). The 4x8 will have a siding yard, while the 5x10 parts will have the granite northern, and a Tyco expanded layout. They appear to interconnect well. While it is likely I will not be able to start building the layout until December or January, after my move to a larger area. I have an empty room, I have my eyes on, any may need to renovate a little. The wife hasn't figured out the size, but I suspect the grand kiddies will like it. I suspect I will be borrowing a couple of ideas from this site... Any suggestions would be helpful....
 

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If you can provide your track plan I am sure you will get the comments and suggestions you desire.
 

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My first take... TOO MUCH TRACK. Unless you enjoy wiring turnouts and running short trains you need to eliminate some of the track, mostly on the TYCO Extender portion. Why would you need or want so many concentric loops?

545743
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The only good thing about the loops on the TYCO extender is, when wired right, you get two trains running together. The TYCO portion was my original section, and the only thing I didn't like was the trains never went anywhere (out of view anyway).
 

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The GG&N can provide continuous running 2 trains. Since this is a rebuild, take the yard and turn table out of gg&n and remove most of the Tyco turnouts and loops. Add a real long and many track yard with an arriving/departing track and have plenty of room for a town next to the gg&n mountains.
 

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I never built that layout because after closely examining the track plan, I couldn't see how you can run two unattended trains at once without switching.

I've looked at the original again and I just don't see how you can do it. I was going to modify the track plan to enable two continuously unattended trains to run at once, but my plans changed.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Two trains, running unattended, looks to be difficult, without DCC. My original plans were to watch close enough. I think with at least two transformers, with the original wiring it may be possible. Got to be close on hand, to watch for sure. The Tyco part was designed with two distinct loops, with one transformer each (and a third to handle switches, and lights on the track circuit to control brightness), so no real problem there. I am still working out details, so plans might differ a bit. I still have close to 2 months before I will actually be on the site where I will be building, so the table size might end up with some limits to it, to allow for walking about and such.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Maybe so. DCC isn't something i have closely looked at. With a bachelors in electronic engineering and a masters in computer science I don't expect trouble, I just haven't looked at it too closely. Good sources appreciated...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
been pricing DCC a little... Cheap it isn't. DC to start, for now, just to make sure things work. I may upgrade next year, as the layout progresses.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well. I'm not intimidated, yet. Poking about the internet has confirmed a few things. I will likely create a small enclosure for a power supply, control unit, and power district boards, and a couple of muffin fans for cooling. Working with electronics and computers most of my life, I will lean toward protecting the not so cheap parts. That, and a good wiring plan. it has been suggested (not sure if here or elsewhere) that I choose colors for each wiring system (track power, booster and power distribution, sound, turnouts accessories and cab control), in order to make things easy to troubleshoot. I'm not sure its the best idea (maybe have the wife pick the wire colors). I am still taking notes on wiring the turnouts (some of the notes will probably be used to cover sound and accessories). and I will have a start....
 

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DCC can be cheap, just look at arduino-based command stations. DCC++ is a good intro to the concept and is compatible with all the commercial equipment. Including a 4.5A power supply, my setup cost about $30 to get me started (however I'm using an ESP32 version of this which provides a throttle via wifi). There are also various arduino-based DCC decoders that you can use for turnouts or other moving items. Of course cheap comes at a price -- you need to be familiar with arduinos and how to flash programs to them, or at least be willing to invest the time into learning.

A couple of google searches to get you started (after you have a command station to get DCC onto your tracks)... Geoff Bunza has an ongoing blog with a number of circuits and arduino code for decoders. And Rudy's model railway has circuits for an optical isolator to pick up the DCC signal from the track, plus articles and code for setting up an S88 sensor bus on arduinos. I believe both of these guys have arduino-based throttles. A relative newcomer to the scene is LCC (or OpenLCB) which seeks to replace a number of other methods with a CAN bus. It can be used to control turnouts, read sensors, and so on, basically item not running on the rails (although it can potentially control locos via wifi). There are the beginnings of arduino code available, but this bus takes a bit more horsepower so I'm hoping to find something for the ESP32 eventually.

Regarding wiring colors... Just think of it as having each bus color-coded. In my case, I'm using yellow and white for the track (which carries the DCC signal), and I use red and black for my 5vdc line to power the arduinos. If I stick with the S88 bus I only need three more wires and have been using a green/blue/purple ribbon cable for that. Some was chosen because it made sense (like the red/black), others because they matched the existing wires on the four-pin connectors between sections (the white/yellow), and the ribbon cable I just grabbed off the bench. It doesn't really matter what you use, as long as it makes sense to you and you stay consistent.
 
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