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Hi…another guy returning to the hobby after a 20 year absence. I saved everything from my NTRAK club days. Used to be a member at Sun n Sand in Scottsdale, then moved overseas. Now back to Colorado. Hoping to join Pikes Peak Ngineers NTRAK. I model international passenger trains and Western Us freight and passenger. My future layout will be fantasy. I’m not a rivet counter, just like things to look good and run well.

Im an idiot when it comes to electronics. Need to learn DCC and begin a long expensive road adding decoders to 50+ Kato engines…going to be a long project. I’m only N Scale and hoping to learn everything again and get building.

Mike
Mike;

Welcome to the forum from another long time N-scaler.
DCC is actually easy, compared to traditional DC dual cab control. No insulated track blocs, no panel full of toggle switches to assign power to a given block. Just connect two wires from DCC controller to the track. Congratulations! you have just done all the wiring needed to control several trains on a DCC layout.
Things like switch machines*, & structure lights, will still need some wiring, but the two wires just described are all that's needed for train control, of multiple trains.

Installing DCC controllers in all those Kato locomotives may be a bit easier than you think. There are "Drop In" decoders made to fit many Kato locomotives. Typically you replace the factory circuit board
with a decoder designed to fit that specific locomotive. However, 50+ locomotives sounds like you are truly suffering from an advanced case of model railroader's disease! I'm afraid there is no cure for that. 😄
Do all of those locos need to be converted? For example, if you have a dozen F-units, could you install decoders in a few of them, and swap shells when you want to swap road names?

I recommend you order a copy of the Kalmbach book, "Basic DCC Wiring" by Mike Polsgrove. It could well be re-titled "DCC for Dummies." It explains the layout wiring, decoder installation, and all other things DCC, in plain English, and many clear color photos. Its available at www.amazon.com
The file below also explains how DCC works, and how it differs from traditional DC control. You might contact your prospective new N-trak club and ask which DCC system they use. The main brands are Digitrax, NCE, MRC prodigy, and Bachmann EZ-command. The first three are all excellent, but the Bachmann is limited in functions, and Bachmann DCC sound decoders have a bad reputation for emitting unwanted high-pitched squealing noises, so you might steer clear of that brand.

Good Luck & Have Fun;

Traction Fan 🙂

* It is possible to control switch machines with a DCC system too. You would need a "stationary decoder" for each switch machine, or possibly group of switch machines if you use a multi-channel stationary decoder.
 

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Howdy Folks! I'm an old retired road freight conductor and yardmaster from the NKP/NW/NS. I left when they took the cabs away. I've collected N and HO engines and rolling stock for years, now it's time to build. Want to get into DCC from the start. Expect to start with N and go from there. Space is always the issue, going to put it upstairs in my pole barn.
Chuck
 

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Howdy Folks! I'm an old retired road freight conductor and yardmaster from the NKP/NW/NS. I left when they took the cabs away. I've collected N and HO engines and rolling stock for years, now it's time to build. Want to get into DCC from the start. Expect to start with N and go from there. Space is always the issue, going to put it upstairs in my pole barn.
Chuck
cap187;

Welcome to the forum! I don't know what a pole barn is (city guy) but if its a barn, I guess it has plenty of room for a layout. You might consider a modular shelf layout that goes around the room. That way you can reach any part of the railroad easily. Another tip would be to mount the layout low enough that you can operate it from a rolling office chair in comfort. Your job experience should also be a great help in building a model railroad designed for realistic operation. The attached files have a lot of info on model railroads. Perhaps you will find some of it useful. If you're looking for info on DCC, you might benefit from the book, Basic DCC Wiring" by Mike Polsgrove. It covers all aspects of DCC in plain English and many clear color photos. You can order a copy from www.amazon.com

Again welcome aboard;

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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1 pole barn has 4x4 posts (poles) at the corners and strategically along the sides. You have sidewalls, which support the roof, and no main beam in the center. let me see if I can get a picture of mine...
 

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cap187;

Welcome to the forum! I don't know what a pole barn is (city guy) but if its a barn, I guess it has plenty of room for a layout. You might consider a modular shelf layout that goes around the room. That way you can reach any part of the railroad easily. Another tip would be to mount the layout low enough that you can operate it from a rolling office chair in comfort. Your job experience should also be a great help in building a model railroad designed for realistic operation. The attached files have a lot of info on model railroads. Perhaps you will find some of it useful. If you're looking for info on DCC, you might benefit from the book, Basic DCC Wiring" by Mike Polsgrove. It covers all aspects of DCC in plain English and many clear color photos. You can order a copy from www.amazon.com

Again welcome aboard;

Traction Fan 🙂
Traction Fan:

Thanks for the PDFs, I'll look them over. Well the barn isn't empty so I'll have to find a way to fit a RR in. I was thinking mainly a shelf set up with end loops and need a big yard for switching. The DCC wiring looks simple compared to doing blocks in DC.

Chuck
 

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Hi everyone,

Welcome to Model Train Forum, a brand new Internet discussion site for one of the world's greatest hobbies. My name is John (screenname: tworail) and I am the admin for this site. I hope it becomes a great online destination for model railroading, and keep an eye on the site as more features are introduced to make this site even better.

As far as modelling goes, I am currently into modelling German railways in N scale. I have a couple things on the go but will post pictures when I can. I also have NA HO scale equipment that I want to do something with, in the form of a small switching layout most likely as space is limited.

Please respond to this thread and introduce yourself!

John
Hello Everyone.
I have been a model railroader since I was 9 or ten and I am now 71 --- so do the math. Yeah, I'm an old hand at this. Attached is a photo of me at age 9 playing with my first train set. It was an old Marx set from Sears and I still have that old sucker and yeah, it still runs. Now I live in North Central Florida in a small town called Interlachen not far from Gainesville where I attended college and received a degree in Earth/Space Science Education in 1976. I worked as a planetarium director at a number of Museums and Planetariums in the south. I was born in Cumberland, Maryland where the B&O, Western Maryland, and the Pennsylvania RRs all crossed paths. My grandfather, Howard Cessna, was a carman (car designer and builder) for the B&O for thirty years throughout the 40s, 50, and part of the 60s, so railroading is literally in my blood. He helped design the famous Wagon-top boxcars the B&O was well known for. He used to take me to the B&O shops in Cumberland in the late 1950s and I saw the Mallets, Mikados and B&O diesels at work in the massive yards there. I have a small model railroad in progress in one room of my home. Like most railroaders, I'd love to fill the entire house with tracks, but I am a practical man and (most important) I'm on a fixed income. I hope to post tips, observations, and photos of my progress. Included is a photo of a helix I just constructed which will soon become a part of my pike. Thanks for the welcome and I hope to become a regular on the Model Train Forum.
Plant Tire Automotive tire Houseplant Gas
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hello ,
I'm a retired auto/diesel mechanic , run a small farm and have gotten back into model trains after a 30 year break .
This seems like a good place to discuss ideas with other like minded people . I did h.o years ago and now that I'm getting back into it I've decided on n scale . my current layout is running d.c
composed of (2) 4' modules with block control ( I'm cheap , old school and I enjoy wiring ... don't try to sway me ;) ) , one is a small switching layout with a transload facility, storage and a team track . the other connects to form a Loco runaround with a long team track for a logging company . I've recently made another module that interconnects the other two with some bridges I scratchbuilt crossing over a creek.
I'm currently modeling the current era and I'm into scrachbuilding, operations, scenery, building cars , well . all of it mostly ;) great to be here , thanks for having me .
Plant Wood Rectangle Grass Urban design
 

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hello ,
I've gotten back into model trains after a 30 year break and this seems like a good place to discuss ideas with other like minded people . I did h.o years ago and now that I'm getting back into it I've decided on n scale . my current layout is running d.c
composed of (2) 4' modules with block control , one is a small switching layout with a transload facility, storage and a team track . the other connects to form a Loco runaround with a long team track for a logging company . I've recently made another module that interconnects the other two with some bridges I scratchbuilt crossing over a creek.
I'm currently modeling the current era and I'm into scrachbuilding, operations, scenery, building cars , well . all of it mostly ;) great to be here , thanks for having me . View attachment 583285
rustyrails;

Welcome to the forum!
That's a nice looking scene you have built!
It looks like you're using Kato Unitrack. That's a good product, very popular with many of our members.
I'm also an N-scaler, and have a modular layout in my garage. It's loosely based on the Milwaukee Road's passenger operations near Seattle in the 1920s. Seattle Union Station is my centerpiece model. Its 90% of scale size and apart from the two long exterior walls, which are kitbashed, it is entirely scratchbuilt.

Good Luck & Have Fun;

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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rustyrails;

Welcome to the forum!
That's a nice looking scene you have built!
It looks like you're using Kato Unitrack. That's a good product, very popular with many of our members.
I'm also an N-scaler, and have a modular layout in my garage. It's loosely based on the Milwaukee Road's passenger operations near Seattle in the 1920s. Seattle Union Station is my centerpiece model. Its 90% of scale size and apart from the two long exterior walls, which are kitbashed, it is entirely scratchbuilt.

Good Luck & Have Fun;

Traction Fan 🙂
I've seen your stuff while I've been lurking around the last few months . excellent work sir ! and thanks for the compliment . its not anywhere near done yet . I gotta make more ballast since I ran out last night .
 

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Hello, my name is John and I still have the Lionel Train set I was given as a child in 1960. Unfortunately, the locomotive (#243) was stolen from our basement when I was a teenager and the set has been in storage since that time. I recently decided to resurrect it so that my 3 year grandchild could enjoy it and purchased a second-hand Lionel 243 on E-bay. To my surprise, it worked well, although I’ve had to do some maintenance and repairs. The original tender that I owned needed to be rewired and although I had not used a soldering iron since shop class in junior high school, I managed to get in working order. The newly acquired locomotive works well except for the smoking mechanism. It worked for a little while after I received it, but then stopped except for an occasionally small wisp of smoke. I took the locomotive cover off the frame (see photo) and all the wiring seemed fine. I am wondering if there is anything that I can do to bring it back to life again or will it need a new unit? According to what I’ve read, the 243 was only available in 1960 and is identical to the 244. I’ve got the Repair and Operating Guide of Lionel Trains, but the model is not very well described in the book and I’m not sure how to go about fixing the smoke mechanism. But the train and its light work and it’s good to see chugging along again. I am sure that my grandson who is crazy about trains will go nuts when he sees it, smoke or no smoke.
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Greetings,

I'm Liisa, and I grew up north of Milwaukee along a bike path that was previously the right of way for the Milwaukee Northern Interurban Railway.

It ran 57 miles from downtown Milwaukee to downtown Sheboygan from 1905 to 1948. It's headquarters, main shops, and power plant were in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, a village midway down the line. Today the passenger station survives as a museum, the car shops as an ambulance depot, and the power plant building as the city fire department.

My older brother had a 1/48 scale layout in the basement with a couple PCC cars in Philadelphia's green, pale yellow, and silver (I think they were ERTL, and identical to those Corgi now imports) and a box motor built from a LaBelle kit that hauled a half-dozen Athearn boxcars around-- kit-built, metal over a basswood frame, with real semi-scale working knuckle couplers operated by cut levers. It was a two rail system with live overhead. I scratch built a couple of structures for it, and a prototypical controller stand from an old MR article.

I "inherited" that layout-- temporarily-- when he went off to college, and built another LaBelle kit, a wooden combine. Today, it graces a 31 square foot "L" in his den along with all the other scratch built and modified items we both built as kids.

After I graduated from college and set up my own house, my interest moved to 1:87 scale and brass interurbans, particularly of the Niles design, partly influenced by the time I spent in northern Ohio. The Milwaukee, Cedarburg, and Sheboygan (Interurban) Railway (1:87 scale) operates Niles design Freight Motors, Passenger Motors, Powered Combines, and Passenger Trailers, and a few brass wagon-top and horizontal rib boxcars over 32 presently unsceniced square feet (with plans to eventually encompass 50 sq feet) perhaps even acquiring scenery some day.

Liisa
 

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Lisa

A big welcome to the Forum. There are many who are
fascinated with the aura of overhead powered trains. I've
been a streetcar fan since childhood and once had a
HO model of downtown St. Louis using both PCCs and
others. I'm a long time member of a Florida traction modelling
club. Does the layout you mention use overhead power?

Don
 

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Greetings,

I'm Liisa, and I grew up north of Milwaukee along a bike path that was previously the right of way for the Milwaukee Northern Interurban Railway.

It ran 57 miles from downtown Milwaukee to downtown Sheboygan from 1905 to 1948. It's headquarters, main shops, and power plant were in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, a village midway down the line. Today the passenger station survives as a museum, the car shops as an ambulance depot, and the power plant building as the city fire department.

My older brother had a 1/48 scale layout in the basement with a couple PCC cars in Philadelphia's green, pale yellow, and silver (I think they were ERTL, and identical to those Corgi now imports) and a box motor built from a LaBelle kit that hauled a half-dozen Athearn boxcars around-- kit-built, metal over a basswood frame, with real semi-scale working knuckle couplers operated by cut levers. It was a two rail system with live overhead. I scratch built a couple of structures for it, and a prototypical controller stand from an old MR article.

I "inherited" that layout-- temporarily-- when he went off to college, and built another LaBelle kit, a wooden combine. Today, it graces a 31 square foot "L" in his den along with all the other scratch built and modified items we both built as kids.

After I graduated from college and set up my own house, my interest moved to 1:87 scale and brass interurbans, particularly of the Niles design, partly influenced by the time I spent in northern Ohio. The Milwaukee, Cedarburg, and Sheboygan (Interurban) Railway (1:87 scale) operates Niles design Freight Motors, Passenger Motors, Powered Combines, and Passenger Trailers, and a few brass wagon-top and horizontal rib boxcars over 32 presently unsceniced square feet (with plans to eventually encompass 50 sq feet) perhaps even acquiring scenery some day.

Liisa
Welcome aboard Liisa;

Your layout sounds very interesting. We would like to see photos of your work whenever you're ready to post them. To attach photos or other files, to a typed post, you first need to have 5 posts under your name. Then just follow the directions in the "Forum News, Updates, & Help" section of this forum.

I model traction too, though of the heavy mainline variety, rather than interurbans. Specifically, part of the Milwaukee Road about as far as you can get from the Milwaukee end, Seattle, Washington. 😄
There are a few photos of some of my models earlier on in this thread.

Its a pleasure to welcome another skilled modeler to the forum. I'm also glad to welcome another female modeler. We only have a few women on this forum so far, and can use more. Most of us are old men, AKA geezers. 😄 Though we do have younger members too, and anyone with an interest in model trains is welcome.

Traction Fan
 

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Lisa

A big welcome to the Forum. There are many who are
fascinated with the aura of overhead powered trains. I've
been a streetcar fan since childhood and once had a
HO model of downtown St. Louis using both PCCs and
others. I'm a long time member of a Florida traction modelling
club. Does the layout you mention use overhead power?

Don
Yes, I currently (no pun intended) use the overhead as a common return and have the two rails divided into blocks. Previously, I had adapted motors to use "The Detroit System" an analog control system that can control four motors on a single block. But since some of the older imported brass interurbans I acquired do not have insulated wheelsets I have somewhat abandoned that system.

The Detroit System-- named for a 1950s era traction club in Cleveland...nope, Detroit... :) -- used a common overhead ground. But the two rails were insulated and each used a diode rectifier to split the power wave into two half waves at the controller and to isolate the desired half at the motor, so that each rail carried two separate power profiles providing separate control for four motors.

It is also possible to operate more than four when compatible units were operated together-- casual visitors not noticing that each powered unit's road number ended in 1-2-3-or-4, for it's cab assignment and road numbers ending in 5 to 0 were all un-powered trailers.

Liisa
 

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You describe an interesting 'control system'. A clever
pre-cursor to DCC. When I designed my HO Streetcar
layout using conventional 2 rail with overhead
power, I tried to create an automated control system
using truck mounted magnets and buried sensors
that triggered a multi relay set up. Never did get
it working...

Don
 

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hi all, I'm Kip, retired from southern New Jersey. I just bought a Bachmann N scale for in my office. Due to budget restrictions it will take some time. I picked up a couple remotes, however the instructions call for a bachmann 44212 controller and my set came with a 44211. The difference is the 44212 has terminals for this connection. since the remotes work on dc can I run them off a battery pack and if so at what voltage. thanks for any info. I am going to enjoy this forum
 

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Hello everyone. My name is German. I am 40 years old, I am from Montevideo, Uruguay. Since I was a child I have had a passion for railroads and North American diesel locomotives. My first electric train in HO scale was in 1987, a small Lima starter set that I put together with my father and we left it for a week in the living room of my house. (I must admit that I was lucky to have generous parents). At present I have a perimeter layout in a room as I always wanted as a child. I model Santa Fe from the 60s, 70s and 80s although my collection of locomotives and freight cars covers the entire 1st, 2nd and 3rd era of dieselization. I became a user of this forum to learn and share knowledge. Meet and enjoy the hobby that I love so much with people who feel the same for the blessed trains! 🚆
 
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