My (N gauge) table football layout!

Post pictures and information about your own personal model railway layout that is under construction. Keep members up-to-date with what you are doing and discuss problems that you are having.
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PinkNosedPenguin
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Location: Wiltshire

Liverpool visit

Postby PinkNosedPenguin » Tue Jan 07, 2014 6:03 pm

No progress on the layout :( , but just wanted to tell you we went up to Liverpool to spend New Year with friends, and our hostess was very keen (despite having very little interest in model railways herself) to take me to a certain famous shop in that city (rhymes with Batons - you know the one!). Anyway, we just 'happened' to pass it en route into the city and stopped for a quick browse. Two of the other guests were so against it they refused to get out of the car! (why does our hobby have such a bad rep?) but the rest of us enjoyed a half hour browsing the shop. "I've got that train!" I excitedly told our hosts' kids :D Anyway, I didn't buy anything on that occasion, although my son did find a set of N gauge nudists (German of course!) which he thought, despite the fact I have no scenic items on my layout whatsoever yet, would be essential for realism! I resisted!

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PinkNosedPenguin
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Reverse Loop

Postby PinkNosedPenguin » Thu Jan 09, 2014 8:32 pm

Had an unexpected hour or so tonight, so wired up my reverse loop :) .

It was amazingly simple - I bought this 'Dual Frog Juicer' for about £20-odd:
Image
IMG_2482 by PinkNosedPenguin, on Flickr

I configured the jumper at the bottom of the picture where it says 'Pair Outputs' for 'reverse loop' (un-jumpered allows you to use it as a frog switcher for two points = instead of 'real' switches on your point motors). I connected from the DCC bus to the blue input terminals on the left. I connected from the output terminals at the top to the rails of my reverse loop (which is completely isolated at both ends from the rest of the track). And Bob's your uncle 8)

I then ran a train round the loop (which is completely 9" curves like most of my layout!)
Image
IMG_2484 by PinkNosedPenguin, on Flickr

At any given time, the polarities at one end of the loop either side of the IRJ's will happen to be the same, but at the other end they will be opposite. When the train crosses that end, it will (very) briefly cause a short circuit. This is detected by the unit (before the DCC controller does) which then very quickly swaps the polarity on the reverse loop outputs so that they match the track the train is just entering (rest of the layout). When this happens, the two LEDs on the circuit board swap colour. The engine does not stall (a couple of times it has faltered slightly, but usually it doesn't) and then goes on its way. Clever :D A real 'fit it and forget it' solution. One of the marvels of DCC . . .

Having a reverse loop the way I do (see light green section of my track plan) is quite strange! Its takes a bit of getting used to that a train can simply run around it and then have its RHS wheels on the LHS rail without stopping. It is now going the other way down the track it just left (throw that point quick!!!). When I eventually get to my upper level I will have another reverse loop up there. I'm hoping these will add to the operating experience :idea:

Dad-1
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Re: My (N gauge) table football layout!

Postby Dad-1 » Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:36 pm

I know I would have played with that for ages ......
I still can't get my head around something detecting the short before the DCC controller says enough !!

Geoff T.
Remember ... I know nothing about railways.
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=32187 and Another on viewtopic.php?f=22&t=28436&start=60&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

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skyblue
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Re: My (N gauge) table football layout!

Postby skyblue » Fri Jan 10, 2014 2:35 pm

You've made good progress since I last looked. I'm sure that the reversing loop will add a lot to the operating experience.

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PinkNosedPenguin
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Stopping on one point

Postby PinkNosedPenguin » Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:16 pm

One point has been intermittently causing me trouble - sometime the locos will stall on it and other times they go across with no problem. I decided to fix it once and for all :)
Once when the loco stalled I carefully used my screwdriver to connect (electrically) the curved rail with the moving blade - the loco moved immediately. Ah, so some dirt had got between the two = the moving blade was not making contact with the fixed rail. BUT that is why I feed power to the frog to avoid this problem!!!
I thought it could be one of two problems:
1. switch on my Cobalt is not working
2. the wire soldered to the frog wire under the point has come loose :(
(Hoping not the latter as would require me to lift the point.)
So I removed the point motor and used my multi-meter to check the switch was working fine - and it was.
Then I used the meter to check the bared end of the frog wire was indeed connected to the frog - and it was.
Then I replaced the motor and slipped a piece of paper between the blade and the curved rail and, sure enough, there was no connectivity between the two. So I realised :idea: one of the droppers from my DCC bus to the other sides of the Cobalt switch must not be making its connection. Yes, confirmed by one side of the switch working and the other not. So I connected a new dropper wire to replace the faulty one (I use scotchlok connectors for this) between the bus and the Cobalt switch and now my locos never stall on that point :D The scotchlok connectors have been great though - this is my first problem with them and I've used lots! (and its so quick making the connections into the middle of the bus wires!).

Just two more reliability issues to address now (sigh):
a) my Dapol easi-shunt couplings have a habit of occasionally uncoupling when the train is just driving over the magnet - the couplings should be in tension and stay coupled. Anyone got a suggestion why this is happening (the couplers are un-modified from new and are fitted into NEM pockets)? Or maybe I should investigate electro-magnets rather than permanent ones?
b) dirty track - I've been using Woodland Scenics Clean Track Solution TT4554 applied with a cotton bud, but the track gets dirty SO QUICKLY that I need to clean it every day :o I expect N gauge to be more susceptible to dirty track than 00, but this seems a bit excessive! I think I read somewhere that some people have found this stuff attracts dust etc and they don't recommend it? Anyone suggest an alternative please?

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skyblue
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Re: My (N gauge) table football layout!

Postby skyblue » Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:21 pm

For cleaning my track I use a Hornby track rubber, as many other people do (I model 00 but I'm sure it would work with N). All you do is rub it on the rails, it is slightly abrasive and it removes the dirt. Here's a link to show you what it looks like. (Mine's grey but I'm sure they do the same thing).

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PinkNosedPenguin
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Re: My (N gauge) table football layout!

Postby PinkNosedPenguin » Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:22 pm

Thanks skyblue - so you don't use a solution at all?

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ElDavo
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Re: My (N gauge) table football layout!

Postby ElDavo » Tue Jan 14, 2014 9:31 am

Interesting progress on your layout. When it comes to track cleaning I try to avoid using anything abrasive even a track rubber. Sometimes you have to use one for something stubborn but for regular cleaning I use isopropyl alcohol (IPA) or lighter fluid on a bit of rag. Using abrasives just means you are adding tiny scratches to the rail surface that can hold on to dirt.

You will probably find that you will need to clean less as the layout develops and there is less dust etc. around. Make sure you keep the stock wheels clean as well otherwise you will simply spread the dirt straight back on to the track. The old adage "if you keep it clean it won't get dirty" is unfortunately true. Before an exhibition I clean every bit of track, every loco wheel and inspect and clean if required every rolling stock wheel. Even then I will probably have to clean some loco wheels during an exhibition weekend!

Once things settle down you will probably find it is less of a problem though short 0-6-0s will always be touchy.

Cheers
Dave

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skyblue
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Re: My (N gauge) table football layout!

Postby skyblue » Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:01 pm

PinkNosedPenguin wrote:Thanks skyblue - so you don't use a solution at all?


No I don't use any fluid. I find that the Hornby track rubber works quite well so long as you do it relatively regularly (once a month or so). I'm not convinced that it's abrasive enough to do any damage but others obviously have other opinions. I have occasionally used White Spirit to clean particularly dirty track, but my layout is in the loft (being in the loft there is practically no dust so the track stays relatively clean) with very little ventilation so I tend to avoid anything volatile with nasty fumes. Maybe I should use some sort of additional fluid. For cleaning wheels I use a fibreglass brush and PECO wheel cleaner - I have the attitude that since the fibreglass brush is designed for cleaning wheels, it can't do too much harm to them.

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PinkNosedPenguin
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Re: My (N gauge) table football layout!

Postby PinkNosedPenguin » Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:29 pm

Thanks guys - I've read other people recommending IPA - where can I get it and what brand names does it go under. Only having to clean once a month sounds like absolute luxury from where I'm standing :D

Maybe this stuff will do? http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/IPA-IsoPropyl-Alcohol-1L-99-9-/140573767514?pt=UK_BOI_Medical_Lab_Equipment_Lab_Supplies_ET&hash=item20bad9775a. I assume the alcohol evapourates so it doesn't attract dust like the stuff I've currently got?

nickbrad
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Re: My (N gauge) table football layout!

Postby nickbrad » Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:10 pm

That's what I use PNP, but I purchased it in a smaller bottle. A litre should keep you going for a couple of years or more unless you get really dirty track :D

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PinkNosedPenguin
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Re: My (N gauge) table football layout!

Postby PinkNosedPenguin » Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:03 pm

nickbrad wrote:A litre should keep you going for a couple of years or more unless you get really dirty track :D

:lol: Agreed - even with my track that seems to attract dirt like crazy...
I've just ordered this on eBay:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1-X-100ml-IPA-ISOPROPYL-ALCOHOL-ISOPROPANOL-LIQUID-99-9-PURE-WATERTIGHT-CAP-/251257817496?pt=UK_BOI_Medical_Lab_Equipment_Lab_Supplies_ET&hash=item3a80220998#shpCntId

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flying scotsman123
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Re: My (N gauge) table football layout!

Postby flying scotsman123 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:15 pm

If your track seems to be attracting dirt, check the wheels of your stock! All of my second hand coaches on ebay that I buy with plastic wheels are normally coating in horrible nastiness, a blade or screwdriver usually gets the worst of it off, then the last bit wiped off with some white spirit does the trick.
"listen carefully, i shall say this only once"

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nickbrad
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Re: My (N gauge) table football layout!

Postby nickbrad » Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:45 pm

I'd recommend swapping any plastic wheels with metal replacements, even with limited running on my test track I've noticed a big difference.

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flying scotsman123
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Re: My (N gauge) table football layout!

Postby flying scotsman123 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:52 pm

yup, I do now, but before I ran with plastic wheels so had to get all the crud off. metal wheels so much nicer
"listen carefully, i shall say this only once"

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