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Author Topic: Hollow core door, Si?  (Read 1934 times)

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« on: October 29, 2014, 07:40:20 PM »

Numerous participants in this forum seem to use one or more hollow core doors for a layout base, according to various comments. I would like to know how many different methods of wiring such layouts exist among this readership. Do some modelers run the electrical wiring through both the top and bottom skins of the door, and then deal with all connections from the underside of the layout/door? It would seem easier to drop wires through only the top, and connect them inside the door's hollowness after removing larger access holes from the underside.

How about making electrical connections to the "outside world?" If wires to the power source are fed through holes in the framing that forms the door's edges, then there would be no wires on the layout's underside to snag on the table or sawhorses that support the door.

I want the door to be as easy as possible to transport to a few public shows per year, as it should draw attention due to its northern Mexico desert setting. A year ago I decided to model a typical Mexican mixed train of 1980 vintage in N, HO, S and O scales. Although not planning to lay track in all four scales, I quickly discovered that N scale offers the most variety in adobe structures.

I selected 1980 as the era that I would model for two reasons. That was the year of my last Mexican rail trip, and the National Railways of Mexico (NdeM), Sonora-Baja California (S-BC), Ferrocarril del Pacifico (FCP), Ferrocarril Chihuahua al Pacifico (ChP) and the Ferrocarril Unidos del Sureste (FUS) were all actively operating both freight and passenger services then. By the year 2000 all five railroads were gone, along with nearly all passenger trains other than Mexico City's growing commuter network.

Although Bachmann has not yet joined the party, many N and HO manufacturers have produced equipment factory-painted with Mexican roadnames, and Microscale has added several new N and HO decal sets within the past year. I expect to operate 100% Mexican motive power and 90% Mexican rolling stock, the main exceptions being MoPac and Tex-Mex boxcars.

Gil Hulin   

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« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2014, 06:03:41 PM »

a Hollow core door is small enough that you can often get away with a single block, depending on your desired number of trains.

That said, I would suggest running any reversing loops, switch wiring, just on the top, disguising them with scenery (especially easy in a sandy desert scene, if you use wires of a similar color.

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« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2014, 12:31:49 AM »

You may be over-complicating this. There are two options, one takes a lot more planning but both work fine.....

As standard with most hollow core door layouts, the first thing you do is add a 1"-2" layer of high density insulation foam on top. It gives room to dig down and helps deaden some of the noise that a hollow core door by itself would resonate.

Option one - Simply drill through as you need and make wiring connections below. This is assuming you have added some sort of legs to the door. When adding the legs, you have to add some sort of framework which gives room to hide the wiring. It's not as safe to do this if you are placing the door directly on a banquet table, even then, a couple furring strips glued to the bottom can provide a stand off to keep the layout from resting directly on the wiring.

Option two - This takes a lot of planning but can be done. Before gluing the foam to the door, pre-run as much wire as you can between the foam and the door. You can even drill into the foam from the side by hand to run wires after gluing by sharpening a piece of brass tubing. I've seen people leave a channel around the outside of the layout to make a wire chase that is hidden by fascia once the layout is complete. The nice thing about the foam, it's very easy to work with.

Tony Hines

Modeling the B&O in Loveland, OH 1947-1950

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« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2014, 03:13:06 AM »

If you are taking this on the road, you may wish to build the layout on a thin ( inch) plywood sheet. Do all your wiring, etc. under the board (exposed for now), and bring your lead wires to the edge of the sheet.  When done, add inch furring strips around the edge with notches for the wires.  Add some internal furring strips for support, then glue or screw another sheet of inch plywood to the bottom. 
You have built your own "hollow core door" base with all wiring inside the door.

Good Luck!
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