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Old 02-28-2020, 04:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I've been lurking around the forums for a while collecting information and getting ideas so I thought that I'd introduce myself.

Although I have a few years of HO scale railroad modeling indoors, I'm new to G scale railroads outdoors.

I live in the high desert outside Santa Fe, New Mexico and am considering modeling anything from the 1880s to 1940s, the time period that the D&RGW overlapped with the AT&ST in Santa Fe, but I'll probably violate that in time. I'm not thinking about having many structures or anything other than native grasses and plants. I've attached a picture of the general area that I'm planning on using.

I've gone to a few HO scale operating sessions and enjoyed them. But I'm not planning for that in my G scale railroad. I'm thinking of a continuous layout where I can have a few trains doing their things while I sit back with a glass of wine and watch.

So far I've collected a couple of new Piko steam locomotives and some rolling stock. One loco came with DCC, digital sound and steam. I had to install DCC, digital sound and steam in the other. I was happy to have good instructions/videos from Piko and to have a loco substantially larger than I was used to with HO scale. Following that I converted both locos to battery power and Revolution DCC wireless control. I wanted large capacity batteries and one of the locos was a small Saddle Tank with no tender so I installed the batteries and Revolution DCC receivers in a trailing car. That went well so I extended the DCC bus from the trailing cars through a number of other cars for lights and animations.

I've been so happy with the Revolution DCC products that I'm considering adding another battery and Revolution receiver on the ground someplace just to control turnouts and accessories. That's not certain yet.

It's getting warmer outdoors so I'm getting ready to finalize track plans and lay track. I have a 130 foot by 65 foot space reserved in our yard between our house and a floating deck at the end of a crusher fine path. It has a gradual 1 to 3 percent grade along the 130 foot dimension and largely level across the 65 foot dimension. I've testing the range of the Revolution DCC transmitter/receiver and gotten good connection from one end of this area to the other. I've attached a satellite view of the area with my plans so far.

After seeing it in Portland last year I've chosen TrainLi brass code 332 track and intent to use their flex track and an EasyBend DuoTrack for everything except for TrainLi R4 (in a storage yard) and R7 turnouts. Since I am going with all battery power I don't really care about electrical connectivity and won't put power on the tracks. I do care about how it looks and how sturdy it is.

The plan starts with a folded figure eight of about 70 feet of track on a very level area near the house. It seems the easiest/best place to start. The curves have a 8 foot or greater diameter which is sufficient for the locos and rolling stock I have now. That part of the plan is in orange.

The next part of the plan, shown in magenta, is a pair of reversing loops or dog bone with only one connecting track in the middle. I had started with the more standard double track in the middle, but then it would be just one loop instead of allowing for every alternate cycle the train to go the opposite direction around the loops. I just need to use non-derailing turnouts or wire them to automatically switch as such. Piko's turnouts all claim to be no-derailing and would work, but I don't know how long the springs will last and if they'd just be too troublesome. That drives me to think about track magnets to control the turnouts. It also might drive me to JMRI, but I spent a career with computers and don't want to carry much of that experience into my hobby. Maybe a few Arduino's, but not too many. I haven't thought this though enough yet. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. ... The tightest curve/turnout would be 14 feet or greater in diameter. I may want to buy larger locos someday and want a portion of the track to permit that.

Following that I'd probably tackle the turquoise part of the plan next. It a basic oddly shaped loop with one opportunity to reverse directions at the left of the attached image. The tightest curve/turnout would be 14 feet or greater in diameter.

Next I'd do the green part of the plan. I have no idea what to call the pattern, but it allows a over and under crossing with a trestle that might be showy.

The last part of the plan, in yellow, is a storage yard with an adobe brick 'shed' to store rolling stock in. I'll probably build the 'shed' to hold 8 track each about 10 feet long and top it with a lean too roof that hinges up to open. That's way more space than I think I'll need and not too hard to build.

Anyway ... That's where I am with my plan so far. My biggest questions right now are concerning how to automatically control the turnouts between the reversing loops/dog bone track.
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File Type: png Train Area.png (585.3 KB, 28 views)
File Type: png The Plan.png (870.1 KB, 36 views)
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Old 02-29-2020, 06:56 AM   #2 (permalink)
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LGB brass track is the same color as Trainli track when aging. These will look great together and you can find used track at great prices. Look at the bottom of the track inside the hollow ties for the manufacturer.
USA Trains/Charles Ro, Aristocraft, have a brighter brass color but do mate with LGB and trainli as all are code 332. 2 years ago I got 1000 feet of used brass track for approx $1.00 a foot.
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Old 02-29-2020, 09:11 AM   #3 (permalink)
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LGB brass track is the same color as Trainli track when aging. These will look great together and you can find used track at great prices. Look at the bottom of the track inside the hollow ties for the manufacturer.
USA Trains/Charles Ro, Aristocraft, have a brighter brass color but do mate with LGB and trainli as all are code 332. 2 years ago I got 1000 feet of used brass track for approx $1.00 a foot.
Thanks for the tip, Dan. I'll look into it.
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Old 02-29-2020, 11:33 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Aluminum track is cheaper for battery power.


Describe more what type of operation you want your switches to do, please be specific.


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Old 02-29-2020, 12:08 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Aluminum track is cheaper for battery power.


Describe more what type of operation you want your switches to do, please be specific.


Greg

Aluminum is certainly an option. I just like the look of brass more and think that it would be a bit sturdier.

I'd like the switches by in the train shed yard to be manual (to save a bit of money and as I could easily be there to pull trains out of the yard with manual intervention.)

I'd like most of the rest of the switches to be DCC controlled from a Revolution DCC transmitter, although you might notice that they are all just a step or two away from a path or patio and could be manually controlled to start if I walked around a bit.

The two switches in the magenta part of the plan in the dog bone/reverse loops are the exception. I'd like them to switch automatically. When a train traverses a turnout in a trailing direction, as two routes converge into one, it should automatically throw the turnout if needed to avoid a derailment. When a train traverses it in a facing direction, as the route diverges into two, it should just take whatever path was previously used. That way the train will take a different direction around each loop on each successive trip. A spring-loaded switch, like the ones from Piko, would do this. I'm just not sure if they would do it reliably over time.

Curt
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Old 02-29-2020, 12:11 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by cvcanada View Post
Aluminum is certainly an option. I just like the look of brass more and think that it would be a bit sturdier.

I'd like most of the rest of the switches to be DCC controlled from a Revolution DCC transmitter, although you might notice that they are all just a step or two away from a path or patio and could be manually controlled to start if I walked around a bit.

Curt
Air operated switches are also an option. We have critters that bite through 1/4 and 1/2 inch irrigation hoses frequently, but that's mainly to get to the water. Air filled hoses might last better that water filled hoses.
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Old 02-29-2020, 12:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
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It is sturdier, and more common in the used market.


Either run power out to the switches and put your Revolution receiver and DCC switch motors, or a battery with solar recharging for the gar ones.


The automated switches would need a short sensing section and send a pulse to the switch motor to flip it the way you want, look at the DCC switch controllers from TAM VALLEY, should be easy.


Your issue is you want remote control AND you want the switch to flip over AND you want to have occasions to have the train go the way you want on a loop, not just any way, so spring switches won't do everything you want.


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Old 02-29-2020, 12:24 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Elmassian View Post
It is sturdier, and more common in the used market.


Either run power out to the switches and put your Revolution receiver and DCC switch motors, or a battery with solar recharging for the gar ones.


The automated switches would need a short sensing section and send a pulse to the switch motor to flip it the way you want, look at the DCC switch controllers from TAM VALLEY, should be easy.


Your issue is you want remote control AND you want the switch to flip over AND you want to have occasions to have the train go the way you want on a loop, not just any way, so spring switches won't do everything you want.


Greg
Thanks, I'll look at TAM VALLEY again.

And I'll think about solar charging. Our whole house is run from solar panels, but it never occurred to me that a small panel might keep a battery charged for the switches and any accessories. It would beat taking the battery indoors to charge every once in a while. Neat idea!

Curt
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Old 03-01-2020, 02:56 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
I'll think about solar charging.
Go in to West Marine and take a look at the 12V trickle charger panels. I have one on my boat battery for the summer when I am not in Florida. You can get small 12V batteries designed for home alarm panel backup and they will (probably) work your switches.
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Old 03-01-2020, 03:22 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Go in to West Marine and take a look at the 12V trickle charger panels. I have one on my boat battery for the summer when I am not in Florida. You can get small 12V batteries designed for home alarm panel backup and they will (probably) work your switches.
Thanks! They have some good options for charging.
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