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Discussion Starter #1
Well Magics not a happy camper tonight. :(

When I started I knew nothing, still don't know much. ;) I ordered all Walthers turnouts and so ordered Walthers flex track to go with it. The turnouts are fine, no problems at all.

The flex track is another thing all together. Had nothing but problems trying to make curves, if I started on a straight section not to bad but to start in a curve was a nightmare. Never did get it right, couldn't hold the ends in place and butted up to the other track always had to pull it up and trim both ends, not bad on a new section but if you're changing things not a pretty thing. :(

Ruined lots of flex in the process, Walthers is a little fragile and I'm a little heavy handed. I got so frustrated I almost gave up the whole thing many times. Ended up using much more sectional track as a result, now I got that many more joints that may need soldering and more feeders I needed to install.

So why am I mad now.

Well I'm redoing my yard and needed some more track, found some Atlas flex track and ordered it. Put in the first pieces today, Good lord what a difference, like night and day.

Started mid way through a 22" 180° curve and butted the rails to the old track and held fast with staples and worked my way around till I needed another piece, slid the movable rail down a ways and slid the ties onto the other piece and tightened the rails up. More staples and than continued around to the end of the run. One small solder joint on the sliding rails and I got a perfect 22" curve with staggered joints.

It was so easy I couldn't believe it. :smilie_daumenpos::smilie_daumenpos:
Now I know why so many here recommend flex track.

I love using the staples to hold the track. Why? They hold really tight and won't move but if you need to redo things they're easy to remove and put back in a different place so they still hold tight. In a different thread I said "standard office staples" this is wrong. The ones to use are T50 staple gun staples, much bigger.

Anybody can lay flex track this way, it;s just so easy.

If I had started with the Atlas instead of Walthers I would have finished this layout weeks if not months ago.

Why the rant and long post, well for you seasoned vets nothing new here but for someone just starting out maybe some good advice or encouragement. Don't be afraid of flex track, it's so easy even Mr. No Plan can do it. :D

Well rant over so I think I'll go back to my small but growing new business, Magic's Custom Shoe Repair. :smilie_daumenpos::smilie_daumenpos:

Magic
 

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So Magic, what I understand you are saying is that flex track is good, so long as it's Atlas and not Walthers...is that right? I'm using flex on my new layout, but am not sure what brand it is. I do know that it's working well, just requires some patience.

I have some that when you flex it and release, it returns to it's straight shape. Some other I have you wiggle into whatever shape you want, and it stays put. Two different brands, I reckon. Both have their difficulties in laying, but both can be solved with good cutters and some patience.

I say those things knowing that I am a very impatient man and expect things to work perfectly the first try!! So far I have managed to not destroy any track, or anything else for that matter. I keep reminding myself that this is fun!! LOL! :p
 

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Cannot contribute much of anything to what has already been posted but only to confirm as a vote of confidence to newbies of what others have said: Be not afraid of laying flex track...And that's IF it's Atlas brand flex track...In my case, 15 years ago when building my very first HO layout, I purchased the needed quantity of Atlas code 83 flex and the Xuron track cutter from my local model RR train retailer in Houston...And from that point on, I never looked back...The cutter and a small "jeweler's" type file is all you need to create a layout of tightly joined flex track sections that look "prototypical" and are trouble-free in straight and in curved sections of an appropriate radius...A slam-dunk experience, in so many words.

Enjoy.

Bruce /FRED On Board
ATSF, BN, SP, UP
 

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Yes, Mable, it does make a difference.

I was gifted a pack of Model Power flex track.
It was all but impossible to make a smooth
proper curve. I ended up using it on straight
yard tracks.

I have used both N and HO N/S Atlas flex track. It is
very easy to use. You should note, however, that
it flexes easier in one direction. So it's important to
check that before cutting.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter #8
NOW you tell me. :mad: :D :D

That's the purpose of this thread, maybe get all this info into one place so others don't go through what I did. For a smaller layout might not be too important but for a room size outfit every little trick counts. Had I bought Atlas, not tried to use a double crossover on the main line and had found this forum two years ago I would have had this thing running a long time ago and it would have been a much better layout.

A good example of this is, I've got 4 Peco #6 turnouts that I don't know how to use.
Many here recommend Peco but when I tried them the rail joiners just fell off, was supposed to be code 83 and I didn't see a way to hook Atlas track up without cutting off ties, didn't feel like messing with them so just got Walthers instead, had to search all over the web to find some. Still got them in a drawer, maybe someone here could use them?

peco turnout.jpg
How do you do this?

Sometimes people with a lot of experience at something forget just how much they know and how much the new guy doesn't. That's why I went into such detail.

Magic
 

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Even with atlas some ties had to be cut off, I cut the ones on short sections of track to try & keep all the switches in tact , some of my old switches that were previously soldered lost their end ties, was not easy trying to glue new ones on.
 

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Magoc

Let me wave a wand and murmur some abraa cadabra. :D

What you show in this pic is mentioned in the Peco
instructions. You must nip off the ends of the ties
of both the turnout and the adjoining track Do it so
they all but touch.

I do agree that the joiners don't fit on the Peco rails
as well as you'd like. I used Atlas joiners. It may be
that Peco joiners would do better. But with the Atlas
you have to do a deft plier squeeze to make 'em work.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Magoc

Let me wave a wand and murmur some abraa cadabra. :D

What you show in this pic is mentioned in the Peco
instructions. You must nip off the ends of the ties
of both the turnout and the adjoining track Do it so
they all but touch.

I do agree that the joiners don't fit on the Peco rails
as well as you'd like. I used Atlas joiners. It may be
that Peco joiners would do better. But with the Atlas
you have to do a deft plier squeeze to make 'em work.

Don
Ya Don I kind of figured that out but was so much easier to put them in a drawer and get Walthers, problem solved. :smilie_daumenpos: A deft plier squeeze does not make for a good electrical connection, you're either going to add more feeder drops or solder the joint. Something not necessary with Walthers. I found this out the hard way as someone gave me 10 sticks of flex track that had the same size issue as Peco, a deft squeeze was a hit or miss thing for me and I would never try that again.

Ive got 30+ T.O.s on the layout at $25.00 or so each that's $750.00 (I really wish I hadn't figured that out) in turnouts that don't really work if I had gone with Peco. They are a good looking unit and I'm sure are derail free but I'll never know 'cause I can't get them into the layout :( Anyway I all done laying track so it's a moot point now.

I do have some derailment issues but it's the same few cars on the same turnouts every time, so I think the problem is the cars not the TO.

The point I was making was there is nothing said about these kind of things.
It would have been nice to know this BEFORE I invested a hundred bucks in them.

@ RUSTY Cuda. What I found with the Walthers is to take a craft saw and cut under the rail and remove the little "spikes" from the tie, a rail joiner will than slip between the two. There is a very small hump there but it doesn't seem to bother anything and you end up with a nice clean joint and no ties you have to glue in the gaps. Unfortunately I discovered this after everything was almost done. Haven't tried this with the Atlas flex track but assume it would work there as well.

Anyway I got all that off my chest and I hope someone benefits form it.
My thanks to everybody that contributed to the discussion.

Magic
 

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The point I was making was there is nothing said about these kind of things.
It would have been nice to know this BEFORE I invested a hundred bucks in them.

Magic
I am sure if you had asked first someone would have said something. :dunno:























.......................................................
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Actually I just did ask that question and got speedy and accurate replies. :smilie_daumenpos:

There are so many on this forum that help whenever they can and I am not knocking anyone, maybe it sounded that way and if it did I'm sorry.
I don't believe for one second that anyone on this forum would misinform anyone it's just that they just never though to mention a possible compatibility issue.
I've done the same thing on many occasions, forgetting the I know a lot about something but the new guy doesn't.
I have picked up so much good information here, I wish I had founded this place two years ago.

The point here is WHY would I ask "Will Peco turnouts match up with Atlas or Walthers track.? :dunno: :dunno:
Here is Walthers page on Peco track. Note that there's no mention of compatibility with Walthers track.
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CCgQFjAA&url=https://www.walthers.com/exec/manuinfo/552/Peco.html&ei=GthIU8ylIMblyQGBzoDYBA&usg=AFQjCNHfba0lQprgaIJnYdZfbjYPk4u1Lg&bvm=bv.64542518,d.aWc

I did some research on Peco That very page, and no where did I see anything about this.

Someone new or just returning to the hobby after many years would just assume that code 83 track was code 83 track period.
Who would suspect that some manufacturers would build their own version of code 83 and it wouldn't readily interchange with other popular brands.
I most certainly didn't. I assumed that NMRA Standards would be used by ALL manufacturers. A wrong assumption and I am sure I'm not the only one.
And yes I knew that Peco is a British Company.

The main reason I didn't go Peco is I really couldn't figure out what they were talking about in regards to the frog types.
Walthers says "DCC Friendly" that's all I needed.
Seems to me that there is another member of this forum selling 20 or so Pecos for the very same reason.

Well now there is a post that points out this issue. The question has been asked and there are several good answers and options.

Magic
 

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OK

I added a tag so the subject might come up for someone doing a search in the future.
If you can think of a more appropriate tag add it.

I figured Walthers flex track might work?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks Big ED.

Well DonR is one of many here who's opinions and advice I highly respect, with that in mind I decided to give the Pecos another go.

Burned through a few joiners but was successful in getting acceptable results. :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Peco turnou 2t.jpg

I used a small pair of needle nose pliers. Using the fat part near the pivot and a gentle squeeze did the trick.
Took a little practice but not all that hard to do. I was using pliers that were too big before.

I used both Atlas sectional and Walthers flex.

Maybe at the time I was just too hasty in parking the the Pecos.
My thanks to all who contributed here and If I did offend anyone I'm sorry.
Get carried away sometimes.

Rats! now I've got to find a place to use them. :confused: :D

Magic
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Elecrofrog's are dummie proof. I mix match Peco and Atlas no problem.

DT
Dummy proof is what I need. :confused: :D
I'm the dummy that proves it. :smilie_daumenpos:

Ya it seems that mixing is not as big a problem as I first though.

Magic
 

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Magic.

Thank you, a shaky old man needs all the nice thoughts he can get.

So glad you stayed with Peco. You are going to enjoy trouble free
running. Which model did you finally select, Insulfrog or Electrofrog?
Either are equally friendly to DCC or DC. The difference is the
way they interact with the connecting tracks.

Physically, they are similar, the difference being that the Electrofrog
rails must have an insulated joiner to avoid short circuits. The reason
for this is that the frog changes polarity to match the chosen
route. That would be opposite to the current in the track rails
and thus a short. Some prefer to use a regular joiner, and use a
razor saw or Dremel cutting wheel to make a gap in a rail.

The Insulfrog is power routing so if you have a spur or yard track
that does not get power from the other end, it will lose power when
the turnout is set to straight. A drop from the frog rail will solve that
if you want it to have always on power.

I have never used the code 83 turnouts or track. Don't know if the rail matching
is different. There is a slight difference in the Peco code 100 rails
and code 100 Atlas Flex. However, the joiners can be squeezed to make
the match. I have 20 or so code 100 Peco Insulfrog married to Atlas
Code 100 flex track.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Don

Actually they are still in the drawer. :( Thanks to you I now know how to use them, problem is I have no place to put 'em. I'm all done laying track except for the tail end of the yard and have more than enough turnouts for this. Just waiting on a #7 curved turnout and I'm all done. Might put them up for sale here at some point.

They are #6 insulfrog and Peco gives pretty good directions on how to wire them. Work just like Walthers.

I'm quit happy with the Walthers, run trouble free if laid flat and level. I'll have 35 of them by the time I'm done.

By the way I did the dremel thing to two Walters #5 non DCC friendly turnouts.

The only places I had problems is when I messed up. My bench work is 6 modules cantilevered off the wall, as it turned out with my no plan plan several turnouts sat right over poorly joined and mismatched modules. Once I got them level were ok.

I'm consistently backing 20 car sets through a #4 followed by a #2 1/2 Y turnout and the #4 is on a slight up hill grade so the Walthers work pretty darn good as far as I'm concerned.


Just my 2 cents worth but if I had it to do over again I would seriously consider code 100. The only other layout I had was back in the '80s, code 100. I like the looks of 83 but 100 seems much easier to use. Back then I just laid the track and ran trains with no problems and I had no idea of what I was doing, still don't for that matter. :confused:

Seems to me that you were the one that solved my shorting problem with the curved turnouts. :smilie_daumenpos: :smilie_daumenpos:

Magic
 
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