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T O P I C    R E V I E W
kumard Posted - 01/10/2016 : 2:19:51 PM
Today I'm starting my new model railway called 'the Town'. It will be another location on the same branch line that my other model 'The Depot' (at Carendt) is situated along.

I'll spend some time in the next couple of months fleshing out the universe that this branch line lives within - namely history, geographical, location, time period, other stations/depots/stops etc. For the moment this is what I have:

  • Somewhere in the upper Midwest.

  • The time period is a mixture of the late 50s, early 60s.

  • The branch is over 100 miles long. It's connected to a mainline in the south-east.

  • It's crossed in several places by other railroads.

  • It ends in a small terminus in a small town in the north-west.

  • The branch is a Soo Line branch that was taken over in some kind of merger or purchase and has never been a favorite of the administration. Its financial returns, marginal at best, are now no longer able to sustain it and it has been marked for closure within two years.

  • Passenger travel ended in the early 50s but the occasional fan trip from the Soo Line Historical Society sends a steam engine up the line with eager rail fans every few years.

Here's the photo that will provide the aesthetic foundation for the model. It has been a favorite of mine for some time now. Although the picture is set in winter or early spring I'll keep the model within summertime but with the usual muted colors.
1/12/15 - With the assistance of another forum member I was able to trace the source of the image (thank you Robert Chant). As I suspected it is copyrighted. I've written to the owner to allow me to post it here but in the meantime I've removed it and have replaced it with a link to the official source.

Here's a sketch of the layout. It's of a simple loop but crossed by another line. The other line is the remains of a local traction company that also serviced several industries. The traction company has long gone along with its electric power and a few remaining industrial tracks are now serviced by the Soo.

I'll post more this week. I'm trying to learn a rail design program to produce a proper working diagram. I intend to start construction in March beginning with the benchwork. The size will be 72 inches with 18 inches.
15   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
quartergauger48 Posted - 04/03/2018 : 7:27:56 PM
This is excellent wiring work! Very difficult to foresee any problems developing down the line'. Congratulations on your outstanding work'.
kumard Posted - 04/03/2018 : 3:35:12 PM
Thanks Frank. I look forward to see your latest progress in the coming weeks.
Frank Palmer Posted - 04/02/2018 : 11:06:54 AM
Very nice wiring job Kumard, I like your use of blocks to secure the wiring to. Our O-Scale switching layout should be approaching that phase in a week or so.
kumard Posted - 04/02/2018 : 01:08:18 AM
Thanks Michael and Dave. I'm going to use the rivets method on the next module.

With the two/three buses now fitted and powering all the track it was time to start fitting the turnout motors. I decided to use Circuitron Tortoise switch machines and purchased a set of six from Ebay.  I paid around $16 per motor.

If you've never used a Tortoise machine or powered up a handlaid turnout it can seem quite a hill to climb to figure out the wiring. Not only are you powering the motor to switch the turnout but you are also sending power to the frog of the turnout which has to switch poles depending on the direction the points have been set to.  It's been a couple of years since I last did this task so I went online to double check the power inputs.

The motors rely on a 12 volt system separate from the controller and therefore my first task was to get that rigged up using a small 12v DC adapter.  The layout now has three separate wiring systems:

  • A mains AC system for the lighting and the internal power adapters

  • A 15v AC system which then converts to a 12v DC system for the throttle

  • A 12v DC system for the turnout motors and miniature lighting around the model.

Once this new power source was installed I tackled each stage one at time and just mass produced each set of components.

This is very fiddly work but with the assistance of my 'third hand' I was able to cut, chop and solder to create the components very quickly.

Having all the pieces constructed before I started fitting the motors saved an immense amount of time and energy.

I built a second staging platform that sat on the first one. This allowed me to keep the turnout wires separate from the power wires. Not the best solution but I do have access to all the wires (kind of). If I ever rebuild the layout in the years to come I may reorganize this staging platform. The wires connect to the 12v DC adapter and then send power to the DPTD switches that power the switch machines.

Each motor requires five inputs as indicated and is fed from two separate DC systems.

I used a special adapter to fit the wires to the motor. This adapter then connects to a block and the various input and outputs required to make it work: frog, bus, and DPDT switch.

Anyhow each switch took about 30 mins to fit and 30 mins to power - so 1 hour per machine. I did the work over two weekends. It was tiring and stressful and not much fun. Nevertheless after fixing a few minor shorts and other small gotchas the whole system worked really well. My little locomotive was able to navigate the whole layout with ease.

I ended up with quite a tangle of wires. Nevertheless the underlying system is quite easy to understand and I labeled as much as possible. Shorts are quick to trace because I can isolate sections quite easily - all the wires have removable connectors. I don't know if there is an easier way to do it but anyhow it all seems to work really well. Only time will tell how robust the whole system is.

The whole video is on my blog - scroll down the page: http://thedepotonline.com/all/dc-wiring-part-3-turnout-motors/

Anyhow I am really glad this stage is over but I'm not quite ready to start modeling. I still have to build the exit points for the track to connect with the cassettes and also finish off the control panel (it needs a new diagram and re-positioning of the brackets).

I'll get to those in the next week or so and then I'll be ready to start with the structures.

Thanks all.
Grubes Posted - 03/18/2018 : 09:33:52 AM
Very nice Kumar;I always enjoy your posts.

Michael Hohn Posted - 03/17/2018 : 08:03:34 AM

Looks very realistic. Excellent.

kumard Posted - 03/17/2018 : 02:45:03 AM
Hi all.

I'm on a break from wiring up The Town.

I've started building models of track landscaping. I did a couple of tests with the Brook Smith method and managed to produce this turnout:

For those interested in tracklaying with rivets (the Brook Smith method) I've posted a description here: http://thedepotonline.com/currentprojects/the-brook-smith-tracklaying-method-for-usa-track/

Back to wiring the Town tomorrow. I'll post more on that project another time.

Thanks all!!

Tyson Rayles Posted - 03/09/2018 : 08:01:37 AM
Wow, that's a massive amount of wiring for such a small layout. My layout is 31 feet long and is DC with block control and doesn't have half that much wiring! I thought DCC was supposed to make the wiring simpler?
danielb Posted - 03/09/2018 : 06:11:05 AM
Truly superb work on that track. :)
kumard Posted - 02/21/2018 : 2:50:50 PM
James >> My layout does use two 4PDT slide switches so I can 1) control polarity of a frog, 2) tell turnout position to the signals and 3) select block feeders >> I'll purchase a couple of 4PDT switches and see if I can using them for my crossovers (X-section). The powering of the crossovers by each section was a particular issue that I couldn't figure out. Maybe these 4PDT switches will do the trick.

Thanks all. To be continued.
Grabnet Posted - 02/21/2018 : 06:08:09 AM
Very nicely done.......and it works!

Michael Hohn Posted - 02/20/2018 : 6:04:36 PM
I learned them as “x-sections”. I think it was from one of Don Fiehmann’s books. Probably one of the most useful yet simple wiring ideas I encountered.

jbvb Posted - 02/20/2018 : 12:35:56 PM
Solid state logic opens up a whole world of tinkering, but I have not gone there. My layout does use two 4PDT slide switches
so I can 1) control polarity of a frog, 2) tell turnout position to the signals and 3) select which block feeders are
poweringa piece of track ('swing block' or 'x-section', depending on where you first read about it).
kumard Posted - 02/20/2018 : 12:13:18 PM
Thanks all.

James >> I was able to use the DPDT slide switch controlling the polarity of a turnout's frog to control the two changeable corners of the diamond >> That's a great idea James. I had not thought of that. I'll give it some thought as to whether I want to rewire along similar lines.

This wiring project has awoken an interest in electronics. I'm particularly curious to find out if there is a way that more than one action (1. turn off sections, 2. switch polarities, 3. do other things etc) can be controlled from a single switch. I suspect a circuit board and electronic 'thingys' that I have absolutely no knowledge of might do this sort of thing. As such I ordered a book on basic electronic projects (Ebay, used, $7.50 including shipping). I shall see what magic tricks might be found and applied from within its pages.

I'll have more on wiring a couple of weeks. I'm doing a small track project using rivets this week. I'll post something on that next weekend.

Thanks for the comments.
Frank Palmer Posted - 02/20/2018 : 10:23:46 AM
Kumar, it's obvious you have a PHd in Bus Wiring.


Your action photos are pretty neat too.

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