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Discussion Starter #1
I just spent the day wiring turnout motors, frog polarity switches signals etc. on a section of my layout. Gosh what fun! NOT! I wonder if anyone has an opinion on whether layout wiring, or ballasting track is the worst Pita of the hobby? Certainly they're both strong contenders. No one I know of really likes either of these rather miserable tasks. What do you think?

Traction Fan :cautious:
 

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Whichever one I have to do next! If I could pay someone to do either or both tasks, I happily would.

At least the Tam Valley servos just involve plugging prefab wire sections together... One reason I like them so much.
 

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I love wiring a layout. Oddly enough I seem to never get to the ballast phase, nor the scenic phase.
 

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I prefer wiring over ballasting. With wiring, something moves or lights up afterwards which is gratifying to me.
Assuming you do it right, that is... :D
 

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I'd rather wire any day rather than ballast.

Ballasting is a PITA.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Wiring is the worst for me, have big problems with my knees working under the layout.
Ballasting not so much, the way I do it isn't so bad just boring and takes a long time but I'm standing up. (y) (y)

Magic
That's one of the many benefits of building a sectional layout. You can take one section at a time to the workbench and turn it upside down. You can sit in a comfortable chair while you work. I'm old and disabled, so crawling under the layout is not an option for me.
I hear you about the knees! After crawling a lot at work, and destroying my knees in the process, I had to have both of mine replaced a few years ago. Take some knee-saving advice. 1) Wear knee pads, and/or use one of those thick foam pads, about the size of a door mat, on the floor. 2) Better than either, sit, don't kneel. Use a short rolling stool at its lowest height adjustment. In many cases you can roll, rather than crawl, under the layout and work sitting down. www.homedepot.,com sells them.
The remaining bad news is that you'll still be working over your head, which tires your arms out fast. Also soldering over your head isn't just a (miserable) job, it's an adventure! Ever had hot solder dribble down the inside of your arm? I have, and I wouldn't recommend it! Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from solder drips too.

Traction Fan 😊
 

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They both are no fun but ballasting seems to be the worse of the two.
 

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Wiring isn't so bad, but mine's not at all complicated.

Ballasting takes me forever. I put it down, push it around, fiddle with it some more, put a little more down... and eventually I'll put some glue on it. :rolleyes:
 

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I used Kato Unitrack. Solves the ballasting issue because it's already "ballasted" (although a little to "cleanly applied" for some folks).

Also used the Unitrack "Unijoiners" for wiring (very clean), and their modular wiring connectors for track power and switch controls. Just snaps together, and very easy to undo for changes.

Works for me...
 

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Wireing to me is simple. Have had a few electrical job building low voltage panel in the past. Come second nature to me. I divide everything into zones and due any area at a time. I have terminal strip where each meats under the table. This way I can divide an concur the task. Any break down are isolated to one area. Biggest help is writing the note of what is what by the wire on the table in marker. Also I set my table night at the distance from me lying on my back and placing my arms up comfortably.
 

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I don't mind ballasting too much. Mind you it ain't no thrill. Wiring? Now that's another matter, don't like it. That is why all my wiring is color coded and runs in a certain direction and through several terminal strips. I like my wiring to be neat and clean. The one and done approach. No spaghetti bowls of wiring. Saves confusion. However, all is not as it seems. There is a lot of wiring that I knew where it was going when I first built the layout 14 years ago but made no schematic of it. Not a smart move. Memory fades so on the rare occasion I do have an issue, it can be traced after I study on it for a bit. My layout is high enough, 44", that I can sit on a rolling automotive shop seat and get fairly well under on the rare occasion I have to. My terminal strips are mounted on a fascia that is concealed by doors I made to cover the shelving that I added under the layout. I too have had both knees replaced and some body parts don't bend like they used to. When I built this layout, it was built looking toward the future as an "old man" operation and maintenance. Also why I added TMCC to this American Flyer layout. The future is now!!

Kenny
 

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Wireing to me is simple. Have had a few electrical job building low voltage panel in the past. Come second nature to me. I divide everything into zones and due any area at a time. I have terminal strip where each meats under the table. This way I can divide an concur the task. Any break down are isolated to one area. Biggest help is writing the note of what is what by the wire on the table in marker. Also I set my table night at the distance from me lying on my back and placing my arms up comfortably.
I never said it was hard... I said I hate doing it.
 

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Was piddling around the train room last night with a tipple in-hand and spied something that needs to be done that I dislike more than wiring or ballasting. Weathering/painting track.
 

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Ballast? "We don't need no stinking ballast mang!"
I got as far as ballasting once in my life. Hated it!
I definately prefer wiring over ballast.
On the subject of crawling underneath to wire things up. My knees and lower back are starting to give way like many others here. Returning to the hobby 2 years ago after a 10+ year hiatus, I put some thought into under the deck height. I settled on 40".
To get underneath, I strapped 4 milk crates together side by side. Attached that to an automotive creeper dolley. Put a patio furniture lounge chair type cushion on it and lay back to work facing up. Arms stay well bent so they don't get tired too quickly. Works well for me. There is still the issue however that was mentioned about soldering. Barrier strips aleviate a major portion of that but still. Goggles and long sleeves are the norm...
 

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Leaving the ballast off is certainly one option. Unfortunately, I'm not willing to sacrifice the appearance by doing so. Therefore, ballast track I must.
 

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Leaving the ballast off is certainly one option. Unfortunately, I'm not willing to sacrifice the appearance by doing so. Therefore, ballast track I must.
As I must also. It's a bane of model railroading. I could never leave track naked. Soldering upside down is also an experience not to be missed.
 

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I don't get it ! It's a hobby...There's no crying in baseball and there's no sying in hobby hall !
Every aspect of building a MRR is a treasure..
We design. We build. We power. We scenic. We maintain. We own. We run, a railroad... 🛤🚦🛤
 
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