Shall I swap scale/gauge to 0-16.5?

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PinkNosedPenguin
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Shall I swap scale/gauge to 0-16.5?

Postby PinkNosedPenguin » Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:19 am

Following the completion (virtually!) of my N gauge Table Football layout - see link in my signature below - thoughts have inevitably turned to my next layout 8)
I enjoyed working in N, and the tiny space I had available made it the only option really, but a few things are beginning to frustrate me:
  • the obvious - it's so SMALL! My eyes are starting to get long-sighted now and working in this size is only going to get harder :o
  • to achieve decent running, the track needs to be SO CLEAN - a dust particle is a big deal to an N gauge locomotive :o
So I thought maybe a change would be good?

For my next layout I'll have much more space (well, once I've cleared out a huge built-in cupboard, dismantled it, redone the flooring, decorated the room etc. - not to mention decided how to dispose of my current layout - so its not exactly imminent!) so I started mapping out what I could achieve in 00 gauge. I want a continuous run, but only have about 3 feet depth (plenty of length). So I ran into all the predictable 00 issues = unrealistic tight curves, only being able to run short trains, trying hard to disguise the 'train-set' look . . . No, 00 is not for me, sorry.

So I planned out what I could achieve in N. Double track, long trains, sweeping curves - so much better than 00 - only I knew my frustrations above would still be there. What to do?

Then I thought about 0-16.5 :idea: (this is 0 scale 7mm:ft narrow gauge running on 16.5mm gauge track)
  • huge scale where you can actually see everything!
  • tight curves are realistic (ish)
  • short trains are realistic
  • these narrow gauge railways have so much character (e.g. Talyllyn)
So I thought I'd try out 0-16.5 to see if I could get on with it. Some research revealed that whilst there is not much RTR available, there are lots of kits and resources on the web to help. I stumbled across the Smallbrook Studios website which offered what looked like easy to construct kits that run on RTR chassis - seemed like the ideal place to start. The only problem was actually those RTR chassis:
  • they are cheap Hornby ones of relatively poor quality
  • they are largely only available secondhand
Hmmm, this sounded like it may challenge my second frustration above = to achieve good reliable running!

More research showed that actually some of the Hornby mechanisms are better than others, and there are other options (e.g. Bachmann, Model Power). Hence I sourced a good condition second hand Hornby 'Bill' on eBay - which I am told is a much better mechanism than the ubiquitous 'Smokey Joe', mainly due to reduction gears - and tried it out on a small length of 00 track. It ran pretty nicely on DC actually :D (though looks ridiculously toy-like of course!)
ImageIMG_8008 by Pink Nosed Penguin, on Flickr
ImageIMG_8009 by Pink Nosed Penguin, on Flickr
ImageIMG_8029 by Pink Nosed Penguin, on Flickr

But of course I am a DCC convert and am aware that a decent decoder can improve the quality of slow running. I also am vaguely aware of the concept of 'stay alive' modules (though they were always far too big for my N gauge locos). More research showed that the 'Rolls Royce' solution for this is the Lenz 'Gold' decoder with a 'Power-1' stay alive.

A stay alive is basically a large capacitor that stores energy so that, if contact with the track is lost for any reason, it can supply the decoder temporarily until contact is restored. Of course the larger the capacitor the more energy it can store, but such a capacitor is physically large too. Lenz have managed to get the largest 'energy-store to size' ratio currently available (AFAIK) through the use of clever electronics:
1. Use of very high performance capacitors to reduce the size.
2. Use of low voltage capacitors to unsure maximum charge can be achieved.
3. A DC-DC converter to get all the power out of the capacitor.
Ref: http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/51053-keep-alive-stay-alive-decoders/page-2

Not only that, but the Lenz system even continues to receive the DCC signal when contact has been lost!!! They do this (according to the same reference above) by:
4. Comparator input circuit to amplify a miniscule DCC signal to something readable.


The reference goes on to say:
The amount of increase in performance of all of this is huge, (1) gives you a 200%-300% improvement, (2) gives you a 75% improvement, (3) gives another 300%-400%, and (4) allows you to drive the train. Take all of this in to account and the Lenz solution is equivalent to having a capacitor twenty five times the size of the simple solution used by the other manufacturers.


So I just had to try this out!!! I purchased the two Lenz items (not worrying that combined they cost twice as much as the actual loco!). The small circuit board is the decoder, and the larger black-encased module is the Power-1:
ImageIMG_8032 by Pink Nosed Penguin, on Flickr

I used this Hornby link to show me how to install the decoder to my Bill. Here are before and after shots of my temporary attaching of decoder to the loco chassis:
ImageIMG_8013 by Pink Nosed Penguin, on Flickr
ImageIMG_8033 by Pink Nosed Penguin, on Flickr

With my hands in my mouth I placed the loco on my test track and connected to my DCC controller. It runs - yay!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgQw7XGZars

But not only that, it runs for several seconds when no contact with the track!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwddiMlLaCM

But not only that, it receives DCC instructions whilst not in contact with the track!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0H0vBXnlIc

Slow running for such a cheap 'toy' mechanism is not bad either:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mLjyhNK9NM

So, to continue my experiment with 0-16.5, I have now ordered a 'Mars' Smallbrook kit to convert my Bill into a Peckett style Saddle tank in 7mm:ft scale, in which I am hoping to hide the electronics! The arrival of this kit is now eagerly awaited (!) though I am away over half term so may not be able to continue with this for a short while . . .

Sorry for such a long post (did anyone reach the end of it?)!

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Re: Shall I swap scale/gauge to 0-16.5?

Postby mumbles » Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:26 am

I did!!! Great stuff.. I've contemplated this scale for my garden... Mainly so i can butcher some OO locos!! :mrgreen:

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Re: Shall I swap scale/gauge to 0-16.5?

Postby Emettman » Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:52 am

I've run narrow gauge 16.5 mm in the garden, with no insuperable problems.
(a fair number of minor ones!)
One odd one: Peco track and points were adequately UV resistant, except for the point tie-bar.
Once noticed a primer and a coat of thick paint prevented further deterioration.

Among the last of my OO battery loco experiments were three with (cheap, both ways) 2.4 GHZ R/C and 3.7 volt batteries.
I haven't checked yet to see what the reliable range is, or the duration of the batteries when loco is pulling a load.
(indoor the transmission connection is superb.)
Both *might* be good enough to side-step track power issues completely, depending on length of trains and length of layout.

Chris
"It's his madness that keeps him sane."

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Re: Shall I swap scale/gauge to 0-16.5?

Postby TimberSurf » Sun Oct 15, 2017 12:34 pm

Thats a great write up PNP, yes read it all, a subject I am very aware of and intend to follow, I need asymmetric braking and have always therefore been looking at lenz and zimo, Gold being the rolls royce, and for one or two trains, the cost is not important. Trouble is, I have 50 locos, so I think I will have to investigate home made caps and maybe Lenze Silver or Zimo. Still, yours is very impressive, just wish I could afford that set up for all! :(
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Re: Shall I swap scale/gauge to 0-16.5?

Postby PinkNosedPenguin » Sun Oct 15, 2017 12:43 pm

Thanks guys.

TimberSurf wrote:just wish I could afford that set up for all! :(
Yes agreed it would be a small fortune for 50 locos :o. If I build up a small collection gradually though, it'll hopefully be affordable . . .

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Mountain
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Re: Shall I swap scale/gauge to 0-16.5?

Postby Mountain » Sun Oct 15, 2017 12:47 pm

PinkNosedPenguin wrote:Following the completion (virtually!) of my N gauge Table Football layout - see link in my signature below - thoughts have inevitably turned to my next layout 8)
I enjoyed working in N, and the tiny space I had available made it the only option really, but a few things are beginning to frustrate me:
  • the obvious - it's so SMALL! My eyes are starting to get long-sighted now and working in this size is only going to get harder :o
  • to achieve decent running, the track needs to be SO CLEAN - a dust particle is a big deal to an N gauge locomotive :o
So I thought maybe a change would be good?

For my next layout I'll have much more space (well, once I've cleared out a huge built-in cupboard, dismantled it, redone the flooring, decorated the room etc. - not to mention decided how to dispose of my current layout - so its not exactly imminent!) so I started mapping out what I could achieve in 00 gauge. I want a continuous run, but only have about 3 feet depth (plenty of length). So I ran into all the predictable 00 issues = unrealistic tight curves, only being able to run short trains, trying hard to disguise the 'train-set' look . . . No, 00 is not for me, sorry.

So I planned out what I could achieve in N. Double track, long trains, sweeping curves - so much better than 00 - only I knew my frustrations above would still be there. What to do?

Then I thought about 0-16.5 :idea: (this is 0 scale 7mm:ft narrow gauge running on 16.5mm gauge track) [list][*]huge scale where you can actually see everything!
.


I have changed to this scale and gauge and I've been very happy with it. I have found it has large advantages over for me. The largest advantage is that it is so much cheaper to model in. I did fit a tiny Lenz decoder in my loco No.1 (As I have athe Lenz system for my 00 gauge collection) but I felt it was better to stay with good old DC, especially because I'm on a budget. I have made wagons for less then £1 each but I've found it better to aim at £1.50-£2 each to allow for better wheels. I make couplings from drawings pins and paperclips mounted centrally they allow me to run trains in tight radius corners. I'm building a layout with an oval of line being on a 2ft wide board.
I've found things so much easier to build and paint in this scale, and the real joy is that everything you build has character. I didnt want to confine myself to copying a specific railway as I like to build my own railway as I'm enjoying the freedom this brings.

The green loco is a Smallbrook Studio "Clio" kit (With added coal bunkers) mounted on a modified and rebuilt Triang 0-4-0 frame with modern Smokey Joe type running gear and motor. Notice the home made coupling used. The black loco is a simple RTR bashed Smokey Joe type loco. It is not quite finished yet as I've not fitted buffer couplings to it, though I've extended the bufferbeams ready to accept them.
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Last edited by Mountain on Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Shall I swap scale/gauge to 0-16.5?

Postby Mountain » Sun Oct 15, 2017 1:07 pm

I will add that with most narrow gauge lines they were fortunate if they had more then one loco. Most small lines used a horse!

(Actually horses had a big advantage in being able to haul wagons up gradients as steep as 1in 4, so when one sees some impossible gradients on ex narrow gauge railway remains and starts to puzzle as there is no rope incline, think horse!)

Narrow gauge was used in many small industries from quarries to mines to factories. One of the well known narrow gauge operators was the MOD, which operated steam, diesel, petrol, fireless steam and battery propulsion in various environments. Some MOD lines used human propulsion. The interesting buildings and tunnels add to the interest. Steam locomotives had spark arresters usually to the "Neath" design which visually took the form of a wider portion at the base of the chimney. They would burn liquid fuels like oil, kerosene etc. Even crude oil and tar were tried. Coal or wood was not used as it would provide an exposed flame, not safe for the MOD environment.

Narrow gauge for use with slate and other materials would usually be in two ton or three ton waggons which were small, and relatively simple to scratchbuild.

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Re: Shall I swap scale/gauge to 0-16.5?

Postby Dave » Sun Oct 15, 2017 1:52 pm

I first came across this scale when a Club member asked me to build a couple of hoppers for a narrow gauge line on a 7mm scale layout:

12-07-17-02.jpg


Subsequently, I knocked an old Lima shunter into a little loco:

14-02-05-01.jpg


And then made a micro out of card as a trial:

14-02-27-01.jpg


It is a scale that I think I will eventually move too, but I have a ton of 00 stuff at the moment.

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Re: Shall I swap scale/gauge to 0-16.5?

Postby Mountain » Sun Oct 15, 2017 2:39 pm

Dave wrote:I first came across this scale when a Club member asked me to build a couple of hoppers for a narrow gauge line on a 7mm scale layout:

12-07-17-02.jpg

Subsequently, I knocked an old Lima shunter into a little loco:

14-02-05-01.jpg

And then made a micro out of card as a trial:

14-02-27-01.jpg

It is a scale that I think I will eventually move too, but I have a ton of 00 stuff at the moment.


I saw the pictures and thought "I have one of those!" Well, not quite.

The waggon was scratchbuilt from Peco code 100 rail and baked bean tin. Wheels were bought secondhand where I assume they came from USA H0 freight cars.
The loco is one I've kept ready for conversion. After mentioning the possibilities of converting a Small brook Studio kit to use with this loco, Mike Raynor from Small brook Studio then made a kit to convert the loco. I've not bought one myself as yet as funds have been tight, hence why my donor loco is still waiting!
The odd looking track I made from curring PCB board for sleepers and the rails are made from metal from a biscuit tin. (I just wanted to explore the possibilities of making my own track). I use it for display or photograph purposes.
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Re: Shall I swap scale/gauge to 0-16.5?

Postby Bufferstop » Sun Oct 15, 2017 2:49 pm

Please no one take offence at this, other members of the team have raised this issue in the past. Quoting the whole of an already long post with numerous images helps no one to better understand the point you are making. If there is a phrase or sentence which you want to comment about use the (") quote
button but delete the rest of the of the quote. then make your comments after the [/quote] tag. PNP actually apologised for the length of the post, it's equally daunting in its quoted form. OK lets get back to playing trains and having fun.
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Mountain
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Re: Shall I swap scale/gauge to 0-16.5?

Postby Mountain » Sun Oct 15, 2017 3:02 pm

Sorry Buffer stop. Not sure how to delete quickly on this tablet. Will just stick to the reply button if quote looks long.

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Re: Shall I swap scale/gauge to 0-16.5?

Postby PinkNosedPenguin » Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:16 pm

Thanks for comments all.

Mountain wrote:the real joy is that everything you build has character. I didnt want to confine myself to copying a specific railway as I like to build my own railway as I'm enjoying the freedom this brings.
Yes I too have never modeled a 'real' railway, and I think narrow gauge will allow my imagination to flow even more freely :D. I have ordered some nameplates and numbers from Narrow Planet to further customize my locos 8)

Mountain wrote:Sorry Buffer stop. Not sure how to delete quickly on this tablet. Will just stick to the reply button if quote looks long.
I think you can just edit your post and remove the quoted section if you want . . .

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Re: Shall I swap scale/gauge to 0-16.5?

Postby Mountain » Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:17 pm

I make my own nameplates using aluminium fizzy drinks can cut to feed through one of those old label printing devices for sticky back plastic lables that were popular before the days of the internet and computers took off.

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Re: Shall I swap scale/gauge to 0-16.5?

Postby Bufferstop » Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:36 pm

No need for the apology mountain it's just a readability thing, once the old short term memory gets even shorter you've forgotten the point that's being made by the time you get to the end of the quote :)

Re the name plates, the original Dymo? It's doing well if it still punches a clearly shaped letter, particularly through an old drinks can. My Stationery Office standard issue one was kn******d by the time I left, so I didn't bother forgetting to hand it in. When I was even younger (some say during the ice age) there were penny in the slot machines that did a much better job on a strip of zinc, they even did decorative curly bits for the ends. The older ones just put a dimple in the middle of the curly bit, but others had an alternative that punched it through to make a screw hole. Lovely piece of Victorian engineering, wonder if any survived.
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Re: Shall I swap scale/gauge to 0-16.5?

Postby Mountain » Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:56 am

Is these thingies. I've had the red one since the mid to late 1980's. The white one is one I recently came across which came from my grandad things.
They are made from plastic, but as aluminium drinks can is soft and thin I've had them working OK with it. Sometimes it takes two or three attempts, but as the cans are free, it doesn't matter if they dont always print straight.
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