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1996  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Length of E-Z Track turntable on: December 13, 2009, 12:46:04 AM
The deck appears to be the same length as the 9in straight in the picture, which would make it the EZ Track equivelant of the Atlas 9in turntable.
Converting that to HO scale feet would make the deck 65ft 3-3/4in long.

Can't say I care much for the $175.00 price tag for a manual turntable, even if it does include the roundhouse. Especially since the roundhouse is European style, and not much use to American RR modelers. It also bothers me there's no mention of whether this thing can be motorized, or when the motor will be available, and at what price, if it can be.

I realize this is aimed at Thomas fanatics, but there are a lot more American railroading HO folks out there that would love to see the turntable available seperately for a more reasonable price.

Especially considering the MSRP on the Atlas turntable and motor drive is $31.95 each. But they can be had from  Amazon, and other places, for roughly $22.50 each, giving a total of $45.00 + S&H for a motorized turntable. And it's not that hard to trim the ends of EZ Track to match up to the Atlas turntable.

Len


1997  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Need help in replacing plastic wheels with metal on: December 12, 2009, 12:50:59 PM
Generally speaking freight cars use 33in wheels and passenger cars use 36in wheels, although there are exceptions. Intermodal cars that carry double stacked containers may have 28in wheels to lower the overall height due to clearance issues.

Model passenger cars by IHC have 31in wheels, which can be hard to find metal replacements wheels for. Trimming off the brake shoes provides clearance for 36in replacements though.

A 'truck tuning' tool will greatly improve the rolling performance of your plastic trucks. It's basically a reamer with a 60deg point that cleans out burrs and gives the axle socket proper clearance for the axle end.

The can be had from Micro-Mark:

http://www.micromark.com/HO-TRUCK-TUNER,8241.html

And Reboxx:

http://www.reboxx.com/Tools.htm

I have both, and haven't noticed any real differance in how the work.

You don't need to use a lot of force to spread plastic trucks for wheel removal or replacement. A small screwdriver can be used for a bit of leverage when removing old wheels.

Replacing trucks can be simple or involved. It depends on the type of car, type of original truck mount used, and type of truck mount on the new truck.

For freight cars I normally use the appropriate KD trucks, mounted with 2-56 screws. You can get them in bulk fairly cheap from Micro-Fasteners http://www.microfasteners.com

On old Tyco, Life-Like, Model Power, etc. cars that have talgo type trucks with prongs that snap into a large hole in the car, I use a 7 step process:

1. Remove the old trucks.
2. Fill the holes in the car with epoxy (I prefer J.B.Weld 4 Minute)
3. After the epoxy sets, file it flat to the bolster, then drill and tap for a 2-56 screw.
4. Install body mount coupler/draft gear boxes of your choice.
5. Install trucks of your choice.
6. Check coupler height and trip pin clearance, adjust as necessary.
7. Return car to service.

I use the same general process for cars with trucks mounted using oversized sheet metal screws.

For Con-Cor, AHM, and IHC passenger cars that use a plastic pin to hold the truck in place, filling in the hole and drilling/tapping as above is the way to go. You'll find the trucks have less tendancy to fall off.

Len
1998  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Lighting with LEDs - some circuit design confusion on: December 11, 2009, 03:12:04 PM
One thing to keep in mind when using multiple LEDs in a parallel or series combination - make sure they all have the same specs! Electricity takes the path of least resistance (no pun intended), so if the specs are different you get one lit LED and a bunch of dim/dark ones.

If you want to figure it out the old fashion way, the resister formulas for a single LED, and multiple LEDs in parallel are:

LED current limiting resistor formulas:

Note: If the calculated value is not available as a standard resister, use the next

highest value.

Single LED and DC power supply:

    V t V led
R = -----------
      I led

Where:

V t = Total Power Supply Voltage
V led = Operating Voltage of LED
I led = Operating Current of LED in amps

Example 1: 12VDC power supply and a 2-volt 20mA LED gives:

R = (12 - 2)/0.02 = 500 ohms
--------------------------------------------------
Multiple LEDs in Parallel and DC power supply:

Voltage remains constant, but the current requirement goes up by the number of LEDs

used. The LEDs must have the same specifications and the formula becomes:

    V t V led
R = -----------
    I led x N led

Where:

V t = Total Power Supply Voltage
V led = Operating Voltage of LED
I led = Operating Current of LED in amps
N led = Number of LEDs

Example 1: 12VDC power supply and 4 2-volt 20mA LED gives:

R = (12 - 2)/(0.02 x 4) = 125 ohms
------------------------------------------

If your lazy, like me, use the resistor calculators at:

http://www.quickar.com/noqbestledcalc.htm

It even tells you what the next highest standard resister value is when the calculated answer is a 'between' value.

Len
1999  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: round the living room walls... questions on: December 09, 2009, 11:01:27 AM
I get asked this question a lot at my repair shop.

My 'stock' answer is: There is no such thing as too many power feeders.

To avoid problems down the road, at a minimum, use four power feeders. Either one at each corner of the room, or at the middle of each wall, or both! It's a lot easier to install them when you first install the track than having to retrofit it later.

One other point - I would also make sure the screws for at least every other bracket you use to support your shelf go into a stud, not just drywall anchors.

Len
2000  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: help needed with a forum & decoder question on: December 07, 2009, 11:57:11 AM
Since Walthers took over Life-Like, you should contact their customer service dept for a set of replacement gears/axles for the BL-2. They're actually fairly simple to replace.

The contact info from their web site is:

Quote
Contact our Customer Service Department at 1-800-4-TRAINS (1-800-487-2467). Because they're real people who have to go home at night, our Customer Service phones are only available Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm, Central Time.

Also, since the motors are already insulated from the frame, adding DCC to Walthers GP9's is fairly straight forward. The trick is finding room for a speaker if you're adding sound.

Len
2001  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: IS IT SAFE FOR KIDS TO PLAY WITH HO SCALE TRAINS SETS on: December 06, 2009, 11:59:13 AM
A decent explanation of those stupid warning tags can be found here: http://www.aristocraft.com/articles/warning%20label/Cal%20Prop%2065.pdf

In short, California has put itself in the positions of regulating interstate trade (which is supposed to be a Federal function) with this rule. Note that it also applies to items that are NOT manufactured, or sold, in Califonia - but that might be brought into the state by a third party.

Those stupid stickers cost consumers and business big bucks, just to avoid what have become known as "Warning Label Bounty Hunters."

Len
2002  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: 44597 Power Terminal w/Gaps Question on: December 06, 2009, 11:50:54 AM
ABC,

Thanks for the info. If that's the only difference, guess that one goes on my "don't need to buy" list. Sad

Atlas Cd100 terminal joiners, with the wires run down through the table, and insulating plastic rail joiners work just fine.

Len
2003  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: 44597 Power Terminal w/Gaps Question on: December 06, 2009, 01:07:20 AM
ABC,

The terminal tracks came with some sets. I also use Atlas terminal joiners for extra power feeders, and plastic insulating joiners at gaps.

My question specifically relates to the new $29.00 44597 Power Terminal track with gaps built in shown under the EZ-Track products list.

Does it do something a standard terminal track, or standard track with terminal joiners, combinded with plastic insulating rail joiners doesn't? In short, what makes this worth the $29.00 price tag?

Personally, I think a 4-pack of 2in straights would be more useful. Yeah, I know, the new 'fitter pack' includes 2in straights. But just like with the 90deg crossing, I'm still having to buy pieces I don't need to get the 2in pieces. Only now I only get 2, instead of 4 like the crossing has.

Len
2004  Discussion Boards / HO / 44597 Power Terminal w/Gaps Question on: December 05, 2009, 06:36:38 PM
Just curious, what does this get me I don't get wiring a DCC reverse loop with standard terminal tracks and plastic insulatiing rail joiners??

At $29.00 a pop, I hope is something majorly significant.

Len
2005  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: Radius Restrictions? on: December 01, 2009, 04:12:11 PM
If you ask me, the radius on HO is different from O scale. For example: O-36 means a 36 inch diamiter.

The terminology is different, but they are the same. O-gauge O36 = 36in diameter circle, HO scale 18in radius = 36in diameter circle.

The difference is the width of the O-gauge track limits the space available in the same space, e.g., 4' x 8', for sidings, scenery, and buildings compared to HO scale track.

I've seen basic O-gauge layouts built with Lionel Fas-Track using track plans from the Atlas track plan books that only used 18in radius curves and switches.

Len
2006  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Using masonite for structures? on: November 30, 2009, 11:56:15 AM
Jim's suggestion about the coping saw is a good one. If you have a lot of this stuff, you might look into investing in a scroll saw. They don't cost a ton of money, and take a lot of the tedium out of doing cutouts.

Another use for 1/8in masonite is bases for your plastic and foamcore buildings and structures. If you make the base a bit wider than the building, shrubbery can be attached to the base. Then it will move with the building if you decide to relocate it. This also allows those who must operate on the floor to dress up their buildings a bit, without having the trees fall over all the time.

Len
2007  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Metal wheel sets to replace plastic ones on: November 18, 2009, 05:31:37 PM
If the cars are IHC, the wheels are 31in. Most other manufacturers use 36in wheels.

If you trim off the brake shoes, Intermountan 36in metal wheels work okay in IHC cars.

Len
2008  Discussion Boards / Thomas & Friends / Re: Turntable on: November 18, 2009, 04:21:04 PM
Depending on how the access tracks are wired, there's a potential for polarity reversal as the table rotates. So I would think some type of Auto Reverse Module, such as those used on reverse loops, would be needed between the table track and any feeder tracks.

Len
2009  Discussion Boards / Williams by Bachmann / Re: FB-1 (dummy) Pickup rollers on: October 03, 2009, 01:21:48 PM
They make if fairly simple to install lights and/or a sound/horn kit yourself.

Len
2010  Discussion Boards / On30 / Any plans for 'Excursion Cars' on On30?? on: August 29, 2009, 01:45:20 PM
The new HO excursion cars look really nice. Are there any plans to do an On30 version of them? A set of the yellow ones would look really nice behind my yellow & black "Bumble Bee" 2-6-0.

Len
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