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Thread: It Begins - Practice Layout

  1. #41
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    Yes I will be putting up the backdrop panels before I do the track. They should be up by the time the track shows up.

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  3. #42
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    The first of the items I ordered came in today. Things are coming in faster than expected. This may be a small update but I am excited to keep the progress going. Going to try to work on the backdrops this Wednesday since I am going to be busy with non-train stuff this weekend. I think I am going to hold off installing the decoders until I get a small section of track up and running. All my locos will be DCC at that point. I am also finishing setting up an older computer today I will be using to program the decoders.

    IMG_0057-crop.jpg

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  5. #43
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    Another day and another box came in. Today I got the terminal strips and spade connectors. These will be used to connect to bus with the feeders. If any issue comes up with wiring it will be painless to unscrew that wire from the terminal strip.The main power bus will connect to the top screw post in sections. Then the E shape connector bridges the power on the whole side of the terminal strip. The next bus bus section then connects to the bottom post and goes on to connect to the top post of the next terminal strip.

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  7. #44
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    To better show how it will be wired I mocked up one strip to show how I will be doing it. I used the black jumper so the red spade for the bus would stand out more. The real setup will use the red jumper. The opposite polarity will use the black jumpers and blue spades. Section one uses 38 six position terminal strips. 19 strips per polarity. 14 strips on the outer power district and 24 on the inner power district. A similar setup is use to split the power from the command station to the PSX units for each power district. I am also hoping this can help aid in keeping the wiring organized and clean.

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  9. #45
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    Other than a few more turnouts for the branch line everything I need has come in. Today I got the last parts of the backdrop fitted and cut. I also mounted the backdrop as well. Somehow I messed up cutting a straight line on one of the 4x8 hardboard panels. Yup should have measured twice haha. I was able to piece together my mistake well enough that I am ok with it. The panels are nailed into the studs. The backdrop will get painted before I start any scenery.

    IMG_0135-crop.jpgIMG_0136-crop.jpgIMG_0137-crop.jpg

    So with that done I cleared of everything on the table to moved it to the shelf. I got the table track plan laid out. Now I am in the process of transferring the track plan to foam. More pictures to come when that is done.

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  11. #46
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    I finished transferring the track plan to the foam. Next up is starting to layout the sub-roadbed and roadbed. Then I will start test fitting the track before I start gluing the sub-roadbed and roadbed down. Will likely be another week or so until that happens. Still have a few more turnouts coming in.

    IMG_0140-crop.jpgIMG_0141-crop.jpgIMG_0142-crop.jpg

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  13. #47
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    I started laying out the sub-roadbed risers and quickly released push pins get used up crazy fast. I see the value of the foam pins Woodland Scenics sells now haha. Need to dig out a box of thin long nails I have to approximate those. Then I am going to recover the push pins I used and use them for laying out the road bed on the mainline. That will be the focus on the progress tomorrow.

    IMG_0144-crop.jpgIMG_0145-crop.jpg

    I also started carving out the embankment on the scenic side as well. The original layout I modeling this one on had this area as a water feature. I will be skipping the water and modeling a mix of rock face and vegetation.

    IMG_0143-crop.jpg

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  15. #48
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    Lots of little updates this week. I notched out the backdrop around a light switch. Note this area will be inside a mountain.

    IMG_0161-crop.jpg

    The main focus has been on laying out the roadbed. I have been holding the roadbed in place with track nails. I have also been verifying that the track plan lines on the foam are correct. All the switches have been lining up so far. I have also been laying some track down on the roadbed to check if it was laid correctly. I have had to make slight adjustments to the roadbed. I will be finishing that process on all the town side track during the next week. Once everything looks good I will start to glue down the roadbed. Then glue down the track except the switches. I will then be wiring up a small section of track and thoroughly test it. Then repeat that process until the whole mainline is complete. Finally repeeting the process with the branch line. Rather take things slow and make sure the track work and wiring is solid instead of rushing ahead and having issues.

    IMG_0162-crop.jpgIMG_0163-crop.jpg

    I also drilled holes under the table for the branch line bus wires. I also started working on making the PSX panel. The empty space on the right will be a future PSX-2 for section two.

    IMG_0165-crop.jpgIMG_0164-crop.jpg

    I will be using the unitrack I have for the program track. The program track will sit on the shelf right under the PSX panel and above the computer. The goal is to get each PSX unit setup, the panel mounted, command station wired up to each PSX, program track setup and if I have time start installing DCC decoders in my non-DCC locos. I want all my locos running on DCC so I can use them for testing of the track work and wiring. I may find one of more of them are picky about the track work and now is the time to get all of that smoothed out. I wish I had my Big Boy and Challenger back from the shop but they are both still waiting on repair.

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  17. #49
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    I didn't reach my goal this weekend but I sure did learn a lot. First off I tried to solder for the first time. Yeah didn't go well. Was trying to solder some wire as a jumper on the PSX units and failed to secure the wire in any meaningful way. I am going to need to practice a bit before I try again.

    I also started working on installing the DCC decoders in my DC locos. I started with my Kato P42. Between the instructions that came with the encoder and watching a video of the install I was able to do it with little fuss. Everything tested out great after the install. It was a nice boost coming off of the failure with the soldering.

    I have three Atlas SD60M so I started on those next. Again I read the instructions and watched a video of the install. Looked a little more complex but I was feeling good about it. Oh boy didn't go well. Just about any part that could come out did. On the plus side I have a good idea on how everything goes together now. So the first loco done the light can turn on and off and doesn't really run. It tries but can't get going. Pretty sure I know what I did wrong. I worked on a second SD60M and ended up with a pile of parts again. made lemonade out of lemons with this one. I took the time to go slow and fully understand how everything was put together. That will come in handy for future servicing. I also learned to put together and take it apart way better. With everything back together loco number two worked great! Progress! At that point I was at a stopping point for the night. Still need to go back and fix the first one and complete the third SD60M.




    I did take a video of the P42's first run with the DCC decoder. Not much to look at but a major personal victory.

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  19. #50
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    One more quick update for the day. Got the remaining two turnouts in I needed today. Couldn't find #5 left Atlas turnouts anyplace but thanks to pbender he had some extra I was able to buy. Got them laid out to check my plan on the foam. Everything fit great!

    IMG_0169-crop.jpg

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  21. #51
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    on your soldering failure are you using flux? Just a dab will help. so will using rosin core solder and thin solder.
    Yours,

    Gene

    Turtle Creek Industrial RR

    Link to my Flickr account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/epumph/

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  23. #52
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    Yes I am using rosin core solder and it is very thin. I am not using flux. That may very well be the issue. Looks like I need to pick some up before I try again.

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    the rosin core is the flux so you might need it. Ii use flux -- both the paste and liquid.
    Yours,

    Gene

    Turtle Creek Industrial RR

    Link to my Flickr account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/epumph/

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  26. #54
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    Yours,

    Gene

    Turtle Creek Industrial RR

    Link to my Flickr account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/epumph/

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    Is the tip of your iron clean? And tinned? If not, it will not transfer heat properly, and soldering will be a ... real pain.

    Get it hot, swipe it a few times on a wet sponge. Then apply a small amount of solder to the tip before trying to solder the components. If you can't get the solder to melt onto the iron tip, it's not clean enough. You may have to take more drastic cleaning measures.
    Never mistake a guy who talks a lot for a guy who has something to say...

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  29. #56
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    I haven't watched the whole video but what I did watch I was not doing it right. Next weekend I will make the focus on practice soldering. Thank you for the video link and tips. I think I will be in good shape with a little practice. I will need to ramp up on this soon and I really need to get the PSX units going and start the track wiring. Depending on how I am progressing I may find someone that knows how to solder and give me some hands on learning.

    This weekend I have been focusing on finishing all my Locos running on DCC. I finished the third Atlas SD-60M. I keep improving with each one done and had a lot less issues. I am starting to get a solid feel on how these locos are designed. I am still fighting with the first one. I have a clear idea of what I need to go to correct it. Problem is getting one of the screws out. I think I over tighten it and I am still working on getting it out. I hope to get that loco down tomorrow. I also started on the last loco I needed to convert the DCC, the Kato FEF-3. I am going DCC with sound on this one. The extra wiring for the sound was the new challenge for me. At first I thought I was clever in how I routed the wires. After running it I learned the error of my ways. The instructions advised running the wires I certain way for a reason. Don't get it right and the loco doesn't really like to turn and derails often. I got that all fixed up and now it is running well. I still need to adjust the volume a little higher. Right now it is to quiet.

    The other focus of the weekend was making adjustments to the roadbed. I have track laid down is several key sections now and have been adjusting the roadbed to match the track radius and the switches. I have also been marking off where I will need to make some custom cut roadbed around the turnouts and crossing. I also have a minor 1/8 inch elevation difference between one corner or the table and the shelf I need to level and smooth out. That very section will be my starting point for gluing down the roadbed and by where I start gluing down and wiring track. I will take pictures of the progress done on this tomorrow and post.

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  31. #57
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    Been enjoying following along with this build. Can't wait to see the pictures.

    Robert

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    No more progress was made over the weekend. Spent the rest of the weekend out as family time. I did go back today and take pictures of the things I noted last post. The focus for next weekend is soldering practice. Going to use a pierce of flex track and practice soldering feeder wires to it.

    IMG_0188-crop.jpg

    First up is the area between sections that the elevation is off a little I have a few ideas I am going to try out to smooth it all out.

    IMG_0189-crop.jpg

    I also made sure the turnouts lined up with the track plan in the area as well. I further marked out the foam where the turnouts meet. That will help with placement when I put the roadbed down.

    IMG_0190-crop.jpg

    Here I marked on the foam the radius of the curve I wanted so made sure I was using the correct track. I then adjusted the roadbed to roughly center under the track. The process will be repeated for the track next to it but with the addition of also verifying track spacing. The final check is using the longest cars I have on both tracks to make sure they are not at risk of clipping each other.

    IMG_0191-crop.jpg

    I also felt the urge to put one of the bridges together. Nothing has been glued. Just wanted to get a feel for the bridge.

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  34. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digitallagasse View Post
    The focus for next weekend is soldering practice. Going to use a pierce of flex track and practice soldering feeder wires to it.
    Great idea. A clean, hot tip properly tinned and rosin-core solder should be all you need, and perhaps a little jar of acid-free paste flux.

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    Minor update but major progress for myself. I watched the how to solder video a couple times and also watched a couple more how to videos as well. Yeah so I was very much doing it wrong. I found a local hobby shop that carried a selection of solder supplies. Picked up some acid free flux and some extra rosin-core solder. I also followed the advice on having a hot cleaned tinned tip ready to start my practice session. I cleaned the rail in the spot where I wanted to solder and put a small amount of flux with a tooth pick at every spot I tried. The weekend was spent watching the how to videos and gathering the supplies from across town. The practice session happened today.

    First attempt didn't go well. Was using too much solder and had the tip on the rail too long. It resulted in melted ties and solder bubbled up on the rail. On the plus side the mechanical connection was strong.

    IMG_0213-Small.jpg

    For the next attempt I used less solder and didn't keep the iron touching as long. I got less melting on ties but still got a little solder on top of the rail again. Second attempt on the right.

    IMG_0214-Small.jpg

    For the last attempt I cut back on the solder a little more and was quick with the iron. The ties look good and no solder on top of the rail. Next up will be a few more practice sessions to get consistent and make it look better.

    IMG_0215-Small.jpg

    Sorry about the blurry pictures.

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