New member - first layout

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End2end
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New member - first layout

Postby End2end » Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:29 pm

Hi all NRM members.
Firstly I would just like to say hello and what an excellent site for us newbies/returners to our great hobby. Many thanks for bringing us all together :)

I am about to undertake my first OO railway layout after many years returning to the hobby. The layout will be a sort of heritage line like the Bluebell railway but with no exact period and it will be called ST. BLAZEY'S after a small station on the old Cornwall Minerals Railway line, running smaller locos, DMU's, coaches and goods wagons.
I'm not worried about being exact to any prototype, I just like to model and "play" trains.
I have never built a layout before, only owning a Hornby Inter-City 125 train set as a child which sparked my initial interest in an amazing hobby and which I still own although it will be too big to run on my proposed layout.
Over the years i've tried to research as much as possible on layout building by reading books, magazines and watching some videos, although a lot of it I didn't understand to be honest and some of the information is now redundant due to the digitisation of the hobby.
I'm not electronically trained so the whole power/lighting/control system is still a bit of a mystery to me, but i'm still trying to learn.
From the research I have done, I will be hoping to run a DCC layout with a difference.
DCC to control the running of trains, along with a 12v? power supply to control the points and lighting both on the layout and on a panel I want to build to control the points with green and red LEDs to show point position and LEDs for some sort of train detection on the panel.
I'm not sure how to implement the train detection and train detection panel LED's yet, but i'm thinking about some sort of track break/isolation on the fiddle yard roads so the trains won't hit the buffers when not in sight, especially as the trains need to run into 1 hidden track before being reversed into the fiddle yard proper.
I've seen an example of this online as a 1 sided track break with a diode that only allows power in one direction thus running the train into an isolated part of track, automatically stopping, then being able to reverse by changing direction on the controller...although I don't know yet if this is possible with DCC or how to wire up the panel LED???
Heres is the propsed panel layout I created
Panel Design PlanSM.JPG
Panel Design PlanSM.JPG (47.27 KiB) Viewed 3345 times

Due to size restrictions, I will be undertaking an end to end layout build of sorts, 7 foot 2 inches long by 2 feet wide with the fiddle yard at the rear of the layout rather than at one end, passing through the scenery to reach the fiddle yard tracks.
I have designed the layout using Hornby's Virtual Railway 2 software (hoping that the size / scale is correct within the software?), and will use mainly Hornby and PECO track and small locos and wagons / coaches due to size.
Heres is the track diagram I constructed within the software.
layout 723 trackSM.JPG
layout 723 trackSM.JPG (19.87 KiB) Viewed 3345 times

And here is a version with Hornby track piece numbers included
layout 723SM.JPG
layout 723SM.JPG (19.71 KiB) Viewed 3344 times

Heres is the layout diagram I constructed within the software.
layout Design PlanSM.JPG
layout Design PlanSM.JPG (45.69 KiB) Viewed 3344 times

The white line break on the diagram is the scenic break between the front tracks and rear fiddle yard tracks which will be under raised scenery with holes in the backscene for access.
The red and black lines are for the track power bus only, although i'm not quite sure if I have the track power droppers in the correct places??
The "road" on the diagram is actually inclined upwards from the station car park upto the scenic part covering the fiddle yard tracks.
The yellow dots are roughly where the lighting LED's will be, excluding the lights for the buildings on the upper scenery level.

And now for the questions.....

Firstly the 12v power supply.
I have seen an online video stating that an old PC power box/psu can be used for lighting.
Here is the link for the video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0f_UJTKuZ8
Can this also be used for point switching power and panel lights?

Track cleaning.
I have found this video which suggests using "automactic tramission fluid" to clean the tracks.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmOPOcxXPjE
Has anyone tried this? and is it succesful?

Electronics.

LED's for lighting / panel.
I have purchased some LED's and 1k resistors for them off a well known auction site that are 2.2v 20ma. Are these the correct LED's I should be using?
And also some wire that states it is 1.25Amp / 7x0.2mm. Is this correct for wiring the lighting LED's and point motors?

Controller.
My budget for this layout is minimal at best so I have been looking at the Bachmann E-Z Command DCC Digital Controller to start the layout with, may be upgrading eventually to another compatible system.
ezcontroller.jpeg
ezcontroller.jpeg (12.24 KiB) Viewed 3345 times

Does anyone have experience with this controller or have any pro's/con's for this purchase?

Extra power.
I have read that you can add more power for your DCC layout by adding an extra power supply booster added to the controller yet all the known model railway manufacturers model seem VERY expensive. Can a third party booster be used and does anyone have any reccomendations?

Train "on track" amount.
By this I mean, although the cheaper controllers can only run say 3 trains at a time, can more loco's/rolling stock be just sitting on the track/sidings without moving but with the lights on etc?
I am hoping to install LED lighting in my coaches which I would like on even if they are in the sidings/station, with perhaps a small circuit board which turns the lighting off after a period of time. I did find a video for this online but can't seem to find the link at the moment as I type.

Panel Switches for point motors.
I have also purchased a single SPDT so far as I wasn't sure if it was the correct switch to use. It is sprung, with momentary contact returning to centre Off position when released, rated 5 amp 120V AC. I'm almost sure the type is correct but is the power rating correct?

Points and Point Motors.
I have been looking at the SEEP PM1 point motors for the points.
Unfotunatly. again due to layout size restrictions I cannot use the PECO streamline electrofrog points as they are just too big for my layout.
But my questions are, can I turn a normal PECO or HORNBY point into an electrofrog point, or are electrofrog points even neccessary?
And also can the point motors be powered (via the panel) from the old PC psu mentioned earlier in this post?
I do have access to more than 1 PC psu if neccessary.

Decoders.
As metioned earlier, I will mainly be using shorter loco's (3 of which owned due to being a Hornby club member for 3 years), including the SMOKEY JOE loco, with maybe 1 or 2 longer loco's with 1 long coach each. Although these will only need travelling power, I would like to add cab lights in some.
My research has led me to believe to steer clear of Hornby decoders due to many problems with them.
So which deocoder / manufacturer would be suitable for such small loco's and for such small loco's with cab light function?

Well I think that covers it for now, but no doubt I will have more questions in the future but with so many experinced modellers on NRM i'm sure i'm in good hands.
Thanks to all for taking the time to read my post at the length it is and look forward to being part of a great site, a great community and a great and satisfying hobby.

end2end
"St Blazey's" - The progress and predicaments.
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skyblue
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Re: New member - first layout

Postby skyblue » Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:08 pm

Welcome to the forum.

Your plan sounds interesting and it looks like you've got it well thought out. Your control panel with train position indicators sounds interesting - it should make a change from the average control panel. I believe that there are train detection systems available - my local model shop has a set up in the window which shuttles a train backwards and forwards. If you have any issues it would be worth asking in the dedicated Electronics section.

I've looked at your plan and it looks interesting. I do have a couple of queries/suggestions.

1.Will your plan allow you to run locos round trains that are longer than a few wagons? I realise that this might not matter to you, and having short loops can add to the interest of operating a layout.
2. Are you sure that you have enough room for any scenery that you might want to add? Could you extend the board in width or remove one of the sidings at the front to free up some scenic space?

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Bufferstop
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Re: New member - first layout

Postby Bufferstop » Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:29 pm

Hi end2end welcome to the forum. You seem to have done your homework, one bit of good news the LEDs to indicate point settings are probably the easiest to do. By the time you get to fit your point motors you will have been recommended to fit frog polarity switches to them. All you have to do is wire the leds between the frog and the stock rails (getting them the right way around) and the AC component of the DCC supply will light one LED depending on the polarity of the frog. If you're going to model preserved stock, welcome to my world. My layout is based on the idea of an old junction station that now serves as a steam centre, with a short stub of a branch line to a second station. I've taken ideas from Tyseley, Bury Bolton Street, Toddington and probably half a dozen other places without realising it. Look forward to your progress.
John W
aka Bufferstop.
Growing old, can't avoid it. Growing up, forget it!
My Layout, My Workbench Blog and My Opinions

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End2end
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Re: New member - first layout

Postby End2end » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:30 pm

Hello and thank you skyblue and Bufferstop for your swift responses. :)

@skyblue
1.Will your plan allow you to run locos round trains that are longer than a few wagons? I realise that this might not matter to you, and having short loops can add to the interest of operating a layout.
For this, my idea was to use a shunting loco to shunt the coach back into one of the front sidings, releasing it from the orignal loco. Then for the original loco to then to be moved away from the platform, coach shunted back into position at the platform, shunting loco moved and original to be reconnected to the coach for the outbound journey. - Although, saying that, once I have bought another loco I can just switch locos leaving one in the front sidings ready for the next outbound journey.

2. Are you sure that you have enough room for any scenery that you might want to add? Could you extend the board in width or remove one of the sidings at the front to free up some scenic space?

The main scenery will be at a raised height above the fiddle yard tracks and should be enough for houses/shops/road to station etc.
Unfortunatly due to size restictions of the location of the layout 7' 2" x 2' is the maximum baseboard size I can have, but removing one of the front sidings could be a possibiltiy if I find that I wanted do do some "front of diorama" modelling.

I must admit, that is one good thing about Hornby's Virtual Railway software. You can actually place buildings form the hornby range onto the virtual layout for the design and you can "play trains", seeing which loco/rolling stock models will fit. I just hope it is as true to scale as it should be.

@Bufferstop
one bit of good news the LEDs to indicate point settings are probably the easiest to do.
Ah yes, one thing I forgot to add on the last post is on the sidings on the front of the layout, I would like 2 aspect signals (green & red) to correspond with the panel LED's. For example, the siding on the left of the layout at the front has, in the layout diagram, a 2 aspect signal. This would be changed from red to green when the point is switched to allow the loco to leave the siding. So both the panel LED and 2 aspect signal LED would both need to be wired together in some way and change accordingly to which way the point is thrown.

By the time you get to fit your point motors you will have been recommended to fit frog polarity switches to them.
I have not come across polairty switches before except as add ons for PECO? electrofrog point motors so I am not quite sure what these are or will be.
All you have to do is wire the leds between the frog and the stock rails (getting them the right way around)
Could you possibly show or point my in the right direction for a sketch for this please so I can get it correct first time.
Sorry to be a pain but I am a visual-spatial learner and sometimes find it somewhat difficult to follow written instructions.

"The simplest explanation of a visual-spatial learner is that they generally think in pictures, rather than in words. They also tend to learn holistically, instead of sequentially, or in parts. The visual-spatial learner can easily see the big picture of things, but might miss out on the details."

Thank you both for your great advice. :D
end2end
"St Blazey's" - The progress and predicaments.
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Bufferstop
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Re: New member - first layout

Postby Bufferstop » Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:27 pm

Hi End2end
Frog polarity on electrofrog points depends on the contact between the blades and the stock rails. This is just about acceptable in DC where loss of current due to dirt or paint on the face of the rails causes a (usually just) momentary pause, on DCC it's enough to cause the decoder to reboot causing a sound equipped diesel to go through the engine start routine before moving off again. Wiring a microswitch in parallel with the blades and operated by the point motor ensures that the the frog is always connected to the appropriate rail.
Yes I know what you mean about the wiring instructions, the wiring for the LEDs is covered somewhere onFlashbang's website. If he looks at this thread or you PM him I'm sure he will give you a link direct to the page.

I think visually too, but it can be quite a faff putting a simple drawing in a post, particularly on phpBB :) I'm hopeless at learning sequences, I have to think out the pattern of the days in the month to remember the stupid rhyme they try to teach you. Could never remember the six digit number for my online banking until they started putting a picture of the keypad at the side of the screen I can remember the pattern and by looking at the pad say what the 2nd or 5th digit is quite easily.
Growing old, can't avoid it. Growing up, forget it!
My Layout, My Workbench Blog and My Opinions

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Flashbang
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Re: New member - first layout

Postby Flashbang » Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:55 am

Hi
I would caution you against using any 'tower' style AX/AT etc PC power unit. The reason is they can proved far more current than you'll need on a layout, often in excess of 15 plus Amperes.
This sort of current under fault conditions can easily burn out wiring and even cause a fire! So be very careful.

I like the so called 'Brick' or laptop power supplies, where the current is lower, typically 3 to 4 Amps and is normally regulated. That is the voltage remains constant regardless of the loading up to its maximum.
These can be picked up new on ebay for around £4 to £9 each.

As for point operation, 12 volts dc for a solenoid motor (Seep PM1) is not sufficient! You need for dc operation to be looking around 19 volts dc at 3.0 plus Amp Or use 16volts ac at around 1.0 Amp or more and ideally fed into a Capacitor Discharge Unit. 7/0.2mm equipment wire is really too small for solenoid points, consider obtaining 16/0.2mm or doubling up each of the 7/0.2mm wires. 7/0.2mm will be fine for 12 volt LED lighting. Your non locking sprung to centre off toggle switches are correct.

Point indications on a DCC powered layout can use the DCC system and the actual position of the points switch rail to illuminate each LED via suitable current limiting resistors - typically 1K0 at 1/4watt. 12 volt rated LEDs do not need series resistors as they are already fitted inside the LED package. No need for addition point motor operated switches then for indications! Your 2.2volt LEDs and their 1K0 OHM series resistors will be fine. Wiring for DCC powered LED point indications is shown here.... http://www.brian-lambert.co.uk/DCC%202.html#Point

Electrofrog point has no plastic frog area. Trying to convert Insulated frogs to electrofrog (Hornby or Peco Setrack) serves no usefulness at all. To Hornby / Peco Setrack points either fit Hornby Electro point clips R8232 - 2 per point or instal rail feeds after the points. Or go for electrofrog points.

DCC loco decoders... Whatever your budget allows and that will fit into the loco.

For rail and wheel cleaning use Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) obtain the 99.9% one and use it on a line free cloth to clean the rail tops and a cotton bud for the wheel treads etc. Alternative is to use Meths. But IPA is better IMO. I wouldn't want to try brake fluid at all!

The Bachmann EZ Command DCC unit is ok but iOS very basic. It provides 1.0Amp to track which is ample for three locos all running at once. Those that are stationary with lights on will only consume a few milliamps form the system Typically 60 to 80ma with light on or 10 to 20ma without any lights. Sound fitted locos draw more when sounds are on. The EZ Command cannot right CVs and can control 9 locos in address number 1 to 9 (I think 10 which equals 0 is for a dc loco but stand to be corrected on that part).
Broken? It was working correctly when I left it.

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End2end
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Re: New member - first layout

Postby End2end » Thu Jan 16, 2014 1:25 am

Hello Flashbang and thanks for your advice.
Could you clarify a few points for me though please?

Is a PC power supplies 12v output not even good just for lighting for buildings / street lights etc as in the previous link?
The power supply type you did mention, I think I know these as "wall wart" types.
If so I have this one already. Would this be what you mean? and with the slider on it pushed over to 12v which way should the Polairty swich be set? Up or down?
acdc1.JPG
acdc1.JPG (27.94 KiB) Viewed 3265 times

acdc3.JPG
acdc3.JPG (30.51 KiB) Viewed 3265 times

These are the connections on it.
acdc4.JPG
acdc4.JPG (31.72 KiB) Viewed 3265 times

After your explaination about the 7/2.0 wire I purchased not being able to be used as point motor wire, all of it has now been assisgned to lighting ONLY, allocating yellow and blue for the buildings, but is this also the size of wire the lighting bus/12v bus needs to be or should that be 16/0.2?
Also with the 16/0.2mm wire I need to buy, can this also be used for the DCC power bus and the track droppers as well as the point motors?
Although I don't have the baseboard yet i'm doing as much "off layout" work as possible so today I have completed my first ever 2 small buildings inner lights using the 2.2v 20ma LED's I purchased after painting the insides black. :D
A Peko LK5 Coal Office and the garage that comes with Hornby's R279 Mock Georgian House.
2 shots of the garage -
garagelight1.JPG
garagelight1.JPG (17.98 KiB) Viewed 3265 times
garagelight2.JPG
garagelight2.JPG (18.43 KiB) Viewed 3265 times

On the issue of points, unfortunatly space denies the geometery of electrofrog points, but by adding the 2nd DCC track feeds after the points and the the Hornby Electro point clips, i'm hoping the small 0-4-0's can get across the insulated points ok.
A CDU from what I have come to understand is definatly an addition to the layout.

I will be starting to look more into decoders for back and forth motion only, for Smokey Joe plus 2 other same body type 0-4-0's and also a decoder with 1 extra feature to operate a cab light for my Hornby Train Virgin Shunter R2375 0-4-0 that i'd like to have installed.
Has anyone converted Smokey Joe to DCC yet and if so, what was your preferred decoder and what made you choose it?

For the suggested cleaning method on the link:- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmOPOcxXPjE ,"automactic tramission fluid" is gearbox fluid, not brake fluid as far as i'm aware.

The choice of the Bachmann EZ Command DCC controller is one of budget and a big knob that let's me drive trains easily and also (hopefully) a gentle introduction to DCC, but with that in mind, I am definatly open to suggestions on a beginner's controller choice with maybe something slightly more expensive as I try to keep my eye out for second hand bargains when I can.
After reading some reviews on the cheapest ones available it seemed it was either the EZ Command or Hornby's select, giving me the chance to upgrade slowly via the use of an added amp and the reviews always seemed to lean towards the Bachmann.
Which raises anthoer question for me.
Are there non "RAILWAY MANUFACTURER" boosters that can be bought and added to a DCC controller as named boosters seem to be so very expensive for what they are?

In time I would like to upgrade to a more feature packed controller, alas for now I need one that can run any loco I own (0-4-0's) and generally run my proposed layout.
This is why my thought's leant towards seperate power for point motors / panel / lighting etc. freeing up the DCC power just for trains and coach lighting.

I like the idea of the 2 aspect signal and associated points panel LED wired to the actual position of the points switch rail using the DCC power but wonder how much power will be needed from the DCC controller for the "always on" LED on both?
There are lots of points on my layout but not all have 2 aspect signals, so some points LED's will only be consuming power, permanently on, on the panel, rather than 2 LED's power consumption. (signal+panel)

Again, the running of trains is paramount for the DCC controller, eveything else, would be secondary unless a suggestion from a NRM member reveals a controller I should really take into consideration as a first DCC controller with regards to my layout design above.

Thanks Flashbang and all for taking your time to read my posts.
Great advice :D
end2end
"St Blazey's" - The progress and predicaments.
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End2end
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Re: New member - first layout

Postby End2end » Fri Jan 17, 2014 7:06 pm

A quick update on the plan.
As mentioned by skyblue in an earlier post "Are you sure that you have enough room for any scenery that you might want to add?"
I've now sharpend the roads corners on the layout plan to increase each main upper scenery area slightly.
The new blue dots on the plan are for proposed building lights.
layout Design Plan 2 50.JPG
layout Design Plan 2 50.JPG (47.18 KiB) Viewed 3225 times

The Black and red circles are the DCC track droppers.
Can anyone see any possible problems or suggestions on thier placement or any definate no-no positions?
I will continue with the plan adding possible track break positions but am still working out where they will be.

The isolated sections on the plan are only proposals at the moment.
end2end
"St Blazey's" - The progress and predicaments.
Welcome‎
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St. Blazey's Works & Depot thread

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End2end
Posts: 3793
Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:58 pm
Location: At the end....... and sometimes at the other end

Re: New member - first layout

Postby End2end » Tue Jan 21, 2014 2:08 am

Hi all
Thanks for all the advice so far.
I feel now it's time to move this topic to the more appropriate PLANNING forum.

Please see this topic as my layout grows and for any answers you can provide to the previous questions in this topic/forum - viewtopic.php?f=44&t=44866

Thanks members
end2end
"St Blazey's" - The progress and predicaments.
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