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Discussion Starter #1
I had an old tyco set when i was growing up my dad and i messed with, and now it is my turn to entice my son with a train set. He is 3 and loves the train.

I found a layout for a 4x8 basically a double loop 18 inside and larger 22 outside with 8 turnouts between the two in 4 locations.

Any way, I have been doing a ton of reading on here and a few other places.

My question is this to powering turnouts. instead of using the ac terminals on the cheep transformer that came with my bachmann santa fe flyer set can i just use a 12v ac power pack that i have lying around or does that transformer offer some sort of trip protection?

I am thinking that i will be upgrading to a MRC transformer i get the impression that are good :) other than being newer, is a 220 better that say a 2400 tech II?

Don't worry about being to technical I can take it :) my first pc that I built was an old IBM PC XT from the early 80's
 

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Ramimac,
I can't answer your questions about those specific transformers. I can, however, echo tkruger's suggestion. Used, small or old transformers are cheap on ebay and in junk shops....excuse me, flea markets. *L* One of them will power an awful lot of accessories. Or, satisfy your itch to buy that new one and use it for the track, leaving your old one for the accessories! If you need help justifying it to yourself, just remember the parent's mantra: "I'm only doing it for the kid....I'm only doing it for the kid...":D
 

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do you really need 4 crossovers? 2 will be plenty and operation wise you will still have mainline and passing line. i would look into creating a spur or two instead.
look at spacemouce's 4x8 contest
i really like the first two places. round-n-round layout with very strong operating potential (and thats what will keep things not boring after train does 5 laps)

for turnout control i would suggest looking into proper capacitor discharge unit (CDU). they sell them off the shelf but seem very easy to make.

as far as MRC power packs, i have thech II 1400, the one without fancy features, and it is awesome. i'd say just ask your wallet.
also keep in mind that your layout
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thanks for all the input.. I am a think out of the box tinkerer so making things is fun..

This was the layout i was trying to describe the very bottom is the goal. It is a hobby for my son (almost 4 years old) and myself. I was looking for something simple to start with.

But knowing my son the layout will change every couple of weeks.

I am also wondering if someone can tell me how good/bad the EMD FT engine that my barchmann set came with. mabe how much better a athearn gp40 would be.

Just trying to learn as much as i can.
 

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I don't know about the newer Athearn but if it is anything near what the older blue box was/is you can't go wrong with it. I think I would be safe in saying it is like the difference between a Tonka truck and a Mack truck. And yes I am serious, actually I might be giving the Bachmann to much credit saying Tonka truck. I believe you will find most modelers would agree with me.
 

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I do have 2 Bachmann locos that are good, a 3 truck shay and a 2-6-6-2 Mallet. But I have had many others both spectrum and non spectrum that have failed in short time. enough that I am really hesitant to buy another. Athearn on the other hand, I have never had one fail on me. I have about 15 Athearn blue boxes and have had many more that I have sold or given to someone just starting. I have some that are probably close to 15 years old and 2 that are older than that. I have never had one to fail. Even after a nose dive to the floor. Just pick up the pieces, put it back together and off it goes.I used to tell people just getting into the hobby to go with Athearn for everything MRC for power and Atlas for track. You couldn't go wrong. The only thing I would change in this now is, stay away from Atlas switches/turnouts. Peco is far superior for little more money. If you can find Athearn blue box stuff get it! Okay enough rambling from me
 
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