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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,
I am going to start a thread here to post progress and pictures and such on this project and hopefully get some good feedback along the way.
The goal is this:

- Shelf layout across the top of the windows and doors.
- Go through the walls to span across 3 bedrooms and through the closets.
- Turnouts set up so the train can be routed through just son's room, son's and sister's room, or all three rooms including mine.
- Parallel siding section for switching between 2 trains.
- Hopefully automate the train switch every loop using some relays and reed switches. (My other thread on auto-train switching)
- House all the controls in a nice in-wall mounted box.

Thus far, I have collected all the track, both trains, and am currently staining shelves and should start installation very soon. I am using MTH Realtrax track and turnouts.

I am pretty much a total newbie to O scale (and model trains in general). So I am learning a lot as I go. Feel free to point out obvious things that may not be so obvious to me.

Thanks.
Rob
 

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Discussion Starter #2
OK, so here is the starting point. This is the layout I have generated using the MTH track layout software I got with my set.

The truss bridge shown is right next to my son's pillow as he is up on a bunk bed. This should keep him from accidentally knocking the train off track when he's up there.



Let me know what you think. Do you think I need to have a straight section between the two turnouts butting each other at the siding entrance, or do these do a good enough job of keeping the train on track?
 

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Yard Master & Research
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You have me thinking about block control and running two trains.
You have plenty to do now but you could run them both without DCC.
With magnets and reed switches Each train would be a left magnet or a right. You can control the switches with two reeds. One train could circle the bedroom and the other, the outer loop of the two other rooms.The outer loop only enters at two switches so a block delay would be needed there to stop the inner train. Just a thought. I am still trying to make a circle collision proof.

Not to mess with your plans but do you have room to make two separate loops? Only two walls and a corner would have to be expanded. One wall already has two tracks for a crossover if wanted.
 

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Excellent idea. Postings like yours are a great deal of help to anyone starting off. If I can make a request, include discussion of any mistakes you make. For the person coming behind you, it could spare him/her doing the same if you explain what you did wrong and why it was wrong.
Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
You have me thinking about block control and running two trains.
You have plenty to do now but you could run them both without DCC.
With magnets and reed switches Each train would be a left magnet or a right. You can control the switches with two reeds. One train could circle the bedroom and the other, the outer loop of the two other rooms.The outer loop only enters at two switches so a block delay would be needed there to stop the inner train. Just a thought. I am still trying to make a circle collision proof.

Not to mess with your plans but do you have room to make two separate loops? Only two walls and a corner would have to be expanded. One wall already has two tracks for a crossover if wanted.
Not sure I can see what you are thinking...do you mean adding an extra section of track on the 4th wall of the lower bedroom in the pic? If you could mark up the picture to indicate what you mean that would be great. I am still open to any ideas. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Excellent idea. Postings like yours are a great deal of help to anyone starting off. If I can make a request, include discussion of any mistakes you make. For the person coming behind you, it could spare him/her doing the same if you explain what you did wrong and why it was wrong.
Thanks!
I'd like to post my mistakes for others, but since I have everything thought out in advance, everything will go exactly as planned. :laugh: Yah, sure, that's the way it will go.
 

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Tman brings very interesting idea. from what you wrote it seems like you will be pre selecting a "current route" for a train and then running it.

suggested is automated route control. assuming clockwise running, train A leaves the station and continues straight into right top room, completes the circle and stops in his siding. train B leaves the station and taking a diverging route and instead going through the bottom room.

As Tman suggests train detection for route control can be accomplished with pair of reed switches (for every turnout, facing AND trailing) positioned on sides of track and each train having the magnet mounted on different side tripping corresponding switch.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Tman brings very interesting idea. from what you wrote it seems like you will be pre selecting a "current route" for a train and then running it.

suggested is automated route control. assuming clockwise running, train A leaves the station and continues straight into right top room, completes the circle and stops in his siding. train B leaves the station and taking a diverging route and instead going through the bottom room.

As Tman suggests train detection for route control can be accomplished with pair of reed switches (for every turnout, facing AND trailing) positioned on sides of track and each train having the magnet mounted on different side tripping corresponding switch.

These are some interesting ideas. I will have to do some more thinking on this. I am still trying to understand how this block control / train detection works that you are talking about. Are you envisioning using this to have both trains out on the track at one time ever?

As far as my current plan, yes I was planning on setting a static "current" route, mainly to be able to bypass the little one's room for nap times, etc, and still allow the boy to run the train through his room. (Son's room is the middle one, daughter's is the one on the right, ours is the bottom). For the siding section, I want to use the reed switches to simply alternate 2 trains running this static route. One pulls in, trips the switch, cuts power, and the other pulls out and runs. I could then also have one of them run clockwise and one CCW for a little variety. Also I want to have an override for this to keep the auto-switch from happening. Then I will be able to run a longer train than the siding can handle at times.
 

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one train at a time (to make sure the faster one doesn't rear end the slower one)
I am still trying to understand how this block control / train detection works that you are talking about.
when train A passes by ie the left reed is tripped. train B trips the right reed. based on this input systems determines how to position the turnout.
 

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Yard Master & Research
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I am glad you like the idea. I don't have time to digest what you replied.
But my last idea solves the the block problem, by creating two loops.

You eliminate the black switches. Add the rest. Keep the blue.



Two more things. This will take a large transformer, three rooms is a lot of track.
With a reed switch they are not momentary so two magnets will be needed. One to activate the switch and the second to reset the reed.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I am glad you like the idea. I don't have time to digest what you replied.
But my last idea solves the the block problem, by creating two loops.

You eliminate the black switches. Add the rest. Keep the blue.



Two more things. This will take a large transformer, three rooms is a lot of track.
With a reed switch they are not momentary so two magnets will be needed. One to activate the switch and the second to reset the reed.

I have the Z1000 transformer (100 watt) that came with my MTH set. The dude at the train store said that it this should be plenty sufficient as long as I daisy chain several lock-ons throughout the track. He said to place them about every 10 feet of track to be safe. Is this not the case?

Are you using a different type of reed switch? I got a couple and they are momentary. The reed springs back when the magnet is removed. Do you use some sort of a latching reed switch or something?

I will do some thinking on your drawing. Thanks. Some good ideas coming on this thread already. Much appreciated.
 

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Are you using a different type of reed switch? I got a couple and they are momentary. The reed springs back when the magnet is removed. Do you use some sort of a latching reed switch or something?
rob i don't think you will need anything like that. it is only short pulse that is required to discharge a CDU throgh turnout coil. no need of anything other then momentary switches
 

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Discussion Starter #13
rob i don't think you will need anything like that. it is only short pulse that is required to discharge a CDU throgh turnout coil. no need of anything other then momentary switches
That's what I thought about those.

So, what is the verdict on the transformer? Is it correct that I can use my Z1000 as long as I wire multiple lock-ons throughout the track? I am hoping this is the case. Seems logical to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Brilliant!

T-man! I didn't really realize how nice your solution was until I mapped it out in the MTH software. This is the PERFECT layout!
It gives me many more options and is actually much cleaner.



Pros:
1. It eliminates 2 of the switches entirely.
2. It puts all the switches on a single wall, which will be nicer to wire and monitor.
3. Gives me the option to run 2 trains at the same time, one on the inner loop and one on the outer. (And the occasional side-by-side drive by :))
4. Still will allow me to create the optional auto-switching scenario I was thinking of.
5. The only loss of space is a little bit in the edge of the closets, out of the way.

Cons:
1. I have to buy 2 more O42 turnouts and sell or return my 4 O31 switches.

Seriously, thanks a lot for this idea. This is for sure the way I will be setting it up. :D:thumbsup:

Enough for now, I have some shelves that need building.

-Rob
 

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Yard Master & Research
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I am glad you like the idea. It is better to plan it out now than later.
The Z1000 may be small. It has to supply three rooms and how many feet of track?To make it work the wire is going to have to be a heavy gage. Normallly it's 18 but 16 would be better .Have any heavy speaker wire around? Then again everthing you have is new. I run the old stuff.
Just a thought.
I know of reed switches but have never used them.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I am glad you like the idea. It is better to plan it out now than later.
The Z1000 may be small. It has to supply three rooms and how many feet of track?To make it work the wire is going to have to be a heavy gage. Normallly it's 18 but 16 would be better .Have any heavy speaker wire around? Then again everthing you have is new. I run the old stuff.
Just a thought.
I know of reed switches but have never used them.
I bought a big spool of 16 gauge speaker wire to wire this all up, so that hopefully will be sufficient to get the juice to the other end of the track. I am going to set up a super long snake track in the rec room this weekend just to play around with track power on a long run. I have enough curves to probably snake a 80-100 feet of track back and forth.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Long test track setup

I set up a test track in the rec room which snakes back and forth for about 80 feet to test the "new" diesel train and cars out. The guy at the hobby store said to put lockons every 10-15 feet, but I just used 2 for the whole track and it worked fine. For the final install, I will probably put them every 20 feet or so for good measure.

The train ran fine and we kept adding cars. Now we are running with all the cars (15) and it is having no problem keeping up the load. Even with a bunch of O31 180s it is chugging along nicely. Here are a couple pictures and video of the test track setup.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTFMAC0We3o




Hacked up the Z1000 controller so I will be able to remotely mount the controls in a nice box in the wall eventually. Looks a little ghetto for now, but it works.




 

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Discussion Starter #18
Roadbed for sound deadening?

Since this will be running on 3/4" wood shelves high up on the wall, I assume it is going to be a little noisy. I assume something like a cork roadbed will help this a little, along with screwing the track securely to the surface. Where do you folks get your O scale cork roadbed for a decent price? I looked at home depot and their rolls of cork are still pretty small for the price. Or would you suggest a different material if aesthetics are not a concern? (IE : the roadbed will not be visible over the edge of the shelf.) I have appx 140 feet of track, so I'd like to get something cost-effective.

Thanks!
 

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You might try a plumbing-supplies wholesaler and look for cork that's used to wrap water pipe to insulate it. A good rule of thumb is that an item that's used in construction is cheaper than a similar item used for decor.
 

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I was going to say that one hookup for every 10 foot is over kill.

Once you get it all set up if you happen to have a weak spot just add another to it.
 
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