Failure and restarting

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aleopardstail
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Failure and restarting

Post by aleopardstail »

I have a layout, N gauge, there is a thread about it "dingleberry".

trouble is, its a failure, some bits work, mostly unreliable trackwork making it frustrating to work with, mix of poor running, fully automated derailing and uncoupling and a range of things that make me a sad little leopard.

that said it was always going to be just a test layout, and it could be said learning a lot about what not to do has been good.

anyway, moving on, but only after drawing a line under this sad affair without accepting any responsibility whatsoever for the failures.

working on another plan, this time OO gauge as I want to experiment more with some automation features that while workable in N are problematic due to the lack of space, that and N gauge prices have gotten silly where as OO have gotten silly but with a reasonable second hand range out there. to this end work has commenced clearing space in the cellar - set up last year for 3d printing down there and just needs a bit more lighting, rubbish removal, walls painting etc.

then have space for a 10'6"x6' layout, so long as it can be dismantled and stored - won't have to happen more than a few times a year but it is needed occasionally. have already obtained a few bits of rolling stock and nailed together a PWM based DC controller to test stuff with when some track finally arrives.

a good wind and will be starting work in the next month or two on the baseboards.

Key things learnt to not repeat:

- never depend upon turnout switchblades for electrical power switching, add droppers to everything up to an including passing cats.
- check all rail joints multiple times, otherwise "set track curves you can pull but not push stock over" syndrome sets in.
- keep in mind gauge clearance, especially at low level, point motors are wonderful but not when locomotive sideframes catch on the actuator bars.
- avoid set track points, full stop, just avoid, don't go near these fiendish derailing devices and accept the proper ones take more space, deal with it.
- plan electrical sections properly before any track touches a board, before the first bit goes down know where its all going
- plan where dropper wires are to avoid putting a drill through an AD/DC converter as said converter may not work afterwards...
- think about how a track plan operates so as not to have a siding that requires full circumnavigation of the layout to use from the track its meant to serve

oh yes and finally, no matter how much siding space you plan for, its never enough.
Phred
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Location: Queensland Australia

Re: Failure and restarting

Post by Phred »

aleopardstail wrote:
oh yes and finally, no matter how much siding space you plan for, its never enough.
So true, so true...
Looking forward to seeing how this new layout progresses. :)
Dad-1
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Re: Failure and restarting

Post by Dad-1 »

Your list of things makes great sense.
I would expect you to have success this time even if it takes a lot more time.

One thing I will say is do you know what period you want to aim at, and with that stock needed ?
When I started it was going to be Blue diesels only - tight control on numbers needed !!
I then found I liked freight best and for that I had to drift back into early BR days.
Now my 16 blue diesels never get used, but lots of kettles on the boil.

I once had a big layout, a white elephant, now best enjoyment from shunting puzzles and yards.
Now IF only I known that I would still have a decent bank balance !!

Just have fun !!

Geoff T.
aleopardstail
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Re: Failure and restarting

Post by aleopardstail »

aim is a "somewhere in Yorkshire" and "some time in the 1930's" look and feel with LNER stock plus various goods vehicles from all over.

scope has been thought out, I largely am playing with automation, I find that side far more interesting than counting rivets. "da plan" is essentially an out & back with some loops for through running combined. the operator (muggins) operates the station and a computer operates the "rest of the world" as that bit involves no shunting just taking trains through the reverse loop & fiddle yard and occasionally, when not striking for better mouse cables etc sends a train to the station.

naturally while thats the theme I'm not too fussed if something else that catches my eye gets bought and run.

there is an eventual goal of a move to a large double garage, needs a fair few ££££ spending first, this layout is basically a cut down version of one planned for there with the goal that the track should be, mostly, reusable if that ever happens but is perfectly good on its own.

train length is set at ~ 4 coaches and a maximum length including locomotive of about 5', signalling blocks generally about 6' minimum to allow a bit of stopping space however scenic sections will have longer blocks to avoid nose to tail trains.

there will be a small goods shunting area at the station, van traffic only, the fun will be integrating roundy roundy freight trains at the lower level
Bigmet
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Re: Failure and restarting

Post by Bigmet »

aleopardstail wrote: Mon Apr 29, 2024 4:42 pm ...OO gauge... have space for a 10'6"x6' layout... avoid set track points, full stop, just avoid, don't go near these fiendish derailing devices and accept the proper ones take more space, deal with it.
You may not have realised this, but a layout this size is typically cheaper made solely from a flexitrack system. (Which for most in the UK means Peco streamline, code 100.)
The points are more expensive than set track, but way superior, so you get what you pay for in reliable running. I would suggest medium radius as a minimum in the running lines should be possible in the area proposed
It's the plain track where the economy side kicks in. A double track circuit alone on that board area needs about 60 feet of track, most of a 25 yard pack, and that's before you even think about sidings. What is required is to have a good look at retailer offers for discounts on a 25 yard pack before buying, typically you can find the flexi at under half the price of the equivalent length of set track, even when several packs of the separate rail joiners you will need are added.

Now no pretending this is a walk in the park, you do need to learn the skills: how to lay the track, and particularly how to mark out and form curves, and to cut rails and sleeper base to length as required. But the upside of this is that once mastered you can use any curve radius from 24" radius and upwards, exactly tailored to the location. (A general rule is that radii smaller than 24" need extra care to form accurately, thus for many set track is the better choice if small radii have to be used. All OO setrack is compatible with code 100 flexitrack in terms of rail section so that's not a problem.

Give yourself time to think about this, and recognise that more time will also be required if you go flexitrack; you cannot just put the track pieces together like Lego.
aleopardstail
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Re: Failure and restarting

Post by aleopardstail »

100% this is flexi track, I was pondering the Bullhead stuff, track plan is for a mix of medium and large streamlined points. Suspect will end up with basic code 100 purely as likely running older stock and its way cheaper.

its only likely if I do go C100 to have a few bits of set track, basically because I've got a few bits. for now three of the PECO long straights are getting stuck to an old shelf so as to have something to test stock on and generally muck about with. its wide enough for an adjacent track of something else to be tried.

This is far from my first layout, dating back some 35 years to N gauge experiments, through a reasonable sized, if very basic loft layout in OO then the dingleberry idea, and now looping back to OO again. pity the OO stuff from last time isn't still about (was in a garage in boxes, roof leaked, so in boxes also full of water, got binned along with the Lenz100 system, that was also swimming badly).

still we can rebuild, we have the technology.

today the J72 that has arrived moved under power, a single length of set track powered up with an ESP32 driving a L298N PWM motor driver.. and it mostly worked.. and worked better after some cleaning of the guts of the locomotive. hopefully will get the shelf straight track powered up over the next week or so (waiting some cork underlay to arrive) and will be driving back and forth nicely.

Wooo!
aleopardstail
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Re: Failure and restarting

Post by aleopardstail »

See if this loads...

Image

not the largest layout in the world, of the most beautifully enclosed controller, but its working

Edit: not sure if anyone else can see the image, broken link here but right click and new window and it works. seems to be because its "http" and not "https".. hosting is as hosting does
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fourtytwo
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Re: Failure and restarting

Post by fourtytwo »

Still no image!
I also recently switched from N to OO using second hand stock.
My beef with N was the constant track cleaning, my layouts gradually got smaller & smaller (less to clean).
Now my first OO in over 30 years is a terminus to fiddle and it needs very little track cleaning even if not operated for weeks.
I am strictly kettles man and find some loco's have poor pickup arrangements, example only 4 wheels of an entire 4-6-2T chassis (Hornby). Some of the best are the Bachmann split chassis designs despised by some but nice and heavy plus plenty of extra pickups.

Some of my very large N layouts were heavily automated using PIC16C84's (yes that long ago) including a predecessor to DCC using a controller per-section with locomotive speeds passed from section to section as the train progressed, good fun for those who like lot's of hardware & software with there railways lols

I thought when I finally gave up N that was the end of my modelling days & sold the lot but after 2 years the bug bit again and I decided to restart in OO....as an experiment too :D

Something I almost forgot to mention on the electronics front is RC servo's, there very cheap, easy to drive and I use them mostly for points & semaphore signals but almost anything can be done (level crossing gates etc). Avoids all those capacitors and loud clunks from the solenoid variety (I had well over a hundred including vintage H&M's when I sold).

Good luck with your new layout
Last edited by fourtytwo on Tue Apr 30, 2024 8:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
A fresh start in OO, DC Steam
Bigmet
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Re: Failure and restarting

Post by Bigmet »

aleopardstail wrote: Tue Apr 30, 2024 2:46 pm 100% this is flexi track, I was pondering the Bullhead stuff, track plan is for a mix of medium and large streamlined points. Suspect will end up with basic code 100 purely as likely running older stock and its way cheaper...
Ah, good, you have some prior OO experience. The code 75, both FB and Bullhead, is way easier to form curves in, and the Bullhead is very much 'gently does it' because of the weaker chairs for this rail. Worth it? Certainly so on scenic sections, it simply looks so well.

As for running older stock, very much your choice, but there is a rub which I have seen several folks come up against. The choice in recent OO productions is now very large indeed, so it is probable that sooner or later there will be a model or two that are 'must haves' for you from the current selection. These may well shine a very critical light on the performance and appearance of older stock.
aleopardstail wrote: Tue Apr 30, 2024 2:46 pm ...along with the Lenz100 system, that was also swimming badly)...
Ouch! Did you ask A&H if they would take a look at it to see if it might be repairable or some of it salvageable? Ever the optimist, I certainly would have...
Bigmet
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Re: Failure and restarting

Post by Bigmet »

fourtytwo wrote: Tue Apr 30, 2024 8:07 pm ...Now my first OO in over 30 years is a terminus to fiddle and it needs very little track cleaning even if not operated for weeks.
I am strictly kettles man and find some loco's have poor pickup arrangements, example only 4 wheels of an entire 4-6-2T chassis (Hornby). Some of the best are the Bachmann split chassis designs despised by some but nice and heavy plus plenty of extra pickups...
The main downside of the Bachmann split chassis for this enthusiastic operator was the plating wear out. Once all the nickel plating has gone on the tyres and in the stub axle to chassis block contact areas, so what you see is some remaining copper plating and the underlying mazak, that's them all done: about six years on my operation. They should last much longer for you on a terminus to fiddle yard layout. (The Mabuchi motos in these are excellent, I have salvaged them and used them elsewhere, likewise bodies and tenders, bogies and trucks, cylinders, outside valve gear and rods.)
aleopardstail
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Re: Failure and restarting

Post by aleopardstail »

I did wonder on repair of the Lenz100, however it had been in manky water for quite some time, aware electronics can be cleaned (heck its a job I used to do), but the locos and rolling stock (not all that much thankfully) were in a state I thought "nah"

and yes aware some new toys will arrive at some point.

the track choice is still up in the air a bit, I mean worst case not afraid of making my own point work, done that before with success and now I know how to use servos to drive it thats an option, but RTR looks better.

just not wanting with BH stuff to find half the stock I have still won't run. its a "maybe" for any follow on though.

main reason for going with older stuff is basically for the price of one new loco I have bought five, for the price of one new coach likewise bought five - they are no where near the quality of modern stuff, but "will do for now"

freight stuff may be 3d printed, will be trying it at least
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Mountain
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Re: Failure and restarting

Post by Mountain »

Remember that failures are stepping stones to success!
aleopardstail
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Re: Failure and restarting

Post by aleopardstail »

Mountain wrote: Tue Apr 30, 2024 9:27 pm Remember that failures are stepping stones to success!
Experience varies in direct proportion to equipment ruined :)

I must be one of the most experienced modellers going
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Mountain
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Re: Failure and restarting

Post by Mountain »

Haha! Think most of us have done a bit of that from time to time.

I believe that you mentioned you were a small scale modeller. I tried N gauge but found that in general 00 ran better. I did spend £500 out on H0e in the days when £500 stretched further (Before RTR 009 came on the scene) and due to the increased loco weight on the wheels, there was a slight difference but not enough to make me continue with it when I found a more attractive alternative, though I really loved the cuteness of those tiny waggons and its ability to turn on a 2ft wide board. One can turn sharper BUT the heavier locos that run the nicest happen to be the larger ones which do not turn on such sharp curves, so a 2ft wide board it was! (Couplings also restricted turning ability).
For years I was into 00 with a smal amount of H0 that crept in. Noticably more reliable than N or the 009/H0e and even the most expensive sound loco (Bachmann class 37) was cheaper than the last ordinary DC H0e loco I bought (A little German 0-6-0 and its tender. It did have a 6 pin DCC socket in it somewhere but is cost a £5 more than the 00 gauge DCC class 37!)
But 00 does have a few negative aspects. It used to be the scale that gave modellers value for money but that has gone out the window in the last 25 years. True that models have improved to levels that most of us can't even see their fine scale detail (Though it is odd the couplings and the scale to gauge ratio has not been successfully addressed though that is more difficult to correct, but one would assume that modern finescale models out today would be built with easy P4 conversion in mind, but sadly they are not. In fact, they can be harder to convert than older models are as they have too much detail to move. Not that I was a P4 modeller. More that I see the puzzling issues with finescale detail on models that don't look consistent without converting to the correct gauge, as the finer scale the detail, the more other aspects stand out. Take it back a notch or two on the ultra fine detail and consistency comes back into play).
But 00 has set a type of medium point in the hobby in the UK.
I have not really owned 0 gauge apart from scenic bits and pieces and three quarters of an 0 gauge clockwork loco of considerable age but in considerably battered condition after being discovered by a metal detectorist in one of the old docks in Llanelli and passed my way along with a loco wheel of a loco that was way older and rarer with massive flanges... I have seen a picture somewhere of the loco it would have come from. Somewhere in those docks must be the rest of the loco! (A very early gauge 1 toy if I am correct!)
But I have enjoyed running other peoples 0 gauge locos and stock, and also spent time with SM32 and G scale, both of which can run on track so dirty that I was gobsmacked the locos made it! (Yes, they were electrically driven and track powered!)
But the gist of my learning through experience is that the larger the scale and gauge, the better the running qualities will be if electrically powered using the rails.

I did notice past trends compared to todays trends when it comes to value for money.
In the past larger scales cost a lot more when 00 had taken over from 0, but go smaller than 00 to N, and in the past locos were about a third to half more expensive than 00 and waggons and coaches were way cheaper than 00... About a third to a half cheaper. Why N gauge modellers in the days when Graham Farish could afford long trains but had less locos.

Then around 25 to 30 years ago things changed. GF was taken over by Bachmann. When other prices went up they did not really (At first) raise the loco prices, but they massively raised the price of their rolling stock. Prices then mirrored their 00 prices and overall N gauge enthusiasts had a poorer overall deal unless they wanted to overstock their loco fleet. But is horses for courses as some love lengthy trains and others love losts of locos, so some gained slightly and others lost in their value for money in this scale compared to how it was in the past.

Going back to value for money these days, two scales and gauges these days just can't be beat, though one will be resorting to kits... But these are simple easy to build kits and parts. SM32 and 0-16.5. SM32 waggon kits are so cheap these days it has attracted many narrow gauge modellers to switch from 009 and other scales to SM32. SM32 has really become a scale and gauge run by enthusiasts for enthusiasts!
Similar to this is 0-16.5 where most kit manufacturers in this scale are enthusiasts themselves. This keeps prices reasonable as they are not answerable to shareholders like the main RTR manufacturers are. Only recently has any RTR manufacturer seriously taken a look at 0-16.5 and while they will sell as this scale and gauge has a lot to offer, I do not expect them to take over from the smaller backstreet type businesses, as 0-16.5 enthusiasts are more of an independent bunch. What it WILL do and it is welcomed, is to open up this scale and gauge to enthusiasts who would otherwize not have discovered it.
The advantages are with 0-16.5 is that it is a larger scale so is MUCH easier to build things, and yet will (If one selects ones models carefully) turn in incredibly sharp spaces (Subject to coupling choice and the wheelbase and wheel arrangement of the items one is trying to turn). One is also running on 00/H0 gauge track width so if one does not have, or can not find 0-16.5 track, one can easily run on 00 as it is only really the sleeper size and spacing that is different. (Hide them with ballast!)
Another two aspects are that train length can be shorter than 00. My trains can turn on 2ft wide boards and siding passing loops on my layout are set to pass a loco and five 4 wheel coaches, which take up the same length as a 00 gauge 3 car Lima class 117 DMU. (Or three 00 gauge bogie coaches).
One can also pack in more weight on most locos so their track adhesive qualities and current pick up on the wheels can be improved. But as one is usually adapting old mechanisms to fit in locos one aspect I decided early on was to use DC to simplify things on the locos and also keep the costs down. 0-16.5 is incredibly budget friendly.Making ones own couplings which is relitively easy to do means one can build waggons from tea sturers or lollypop sticks with the costliest part of the construction being a pair of wheels. So overall due to ease of budget track, wheel and motorized chassis/mechanism availability along with the ability to run in a very small space, 0-16.5 has the advantage, and in this scale and gauge, one is more likely to spend out on modelling tools than buying other things.
Last edited by Mountain on Wed May 01, 2024 12:52 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Bigmet
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Re: Failure and restarting

Post by Bigmet »

aleopardstail wrote: Tue Apr 30, 2024 9:05 pm ...main reason for going with older stuff is basically for the price of one new loco I have bought five, for the price of one new coach likewise bought five - they are no where near the quality of modern stuff, but "will do for now"...
...and since you know how to fix stuff, it will work well.

I am regularly (pleasantly) surprised at what turns up s/h, not long past obtained a Bachmann 57xx 'non-runner' for £20; advertised as 'split chassis' but the photo revealed it wasn't, but instead an early Blue Riband version. No box, but if it had ever been run it was long ago, the gear train was glued solid by the liberal grease application common on these early releases, which was dried out. Already sold on the body, and the mechanism is destined for something of GNR design, as it has the correct Crewe standard wheelbase dimensions.

It's a very agreeable situation, that we are now approaching thirty years production of 'current standard' items from China, and some of it now turning up at properly low prices.
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