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1981  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Dynamis DCC Controller on: January 08, 2015, 03:06:41 PM
Yes, the Walthers GP9m locos are very easy to add decoders to. They are not 'DCC Ready', so some soldering is involved to hardware decoder. But there's plenty of space under the weight to tape a decoder in place to.

'How To' instructions here:

Shows using a TCS T1 decoder, but the steps are the same using a Bachmann, Digitraxx, etc. decoder.

1982  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: turnouts on ho track power both sides on: January 08, 2015, 02:02:03 PM
Sorry, I thought you were talking about a full blown wye using three turnouts or wyes.

If you're just using the #4 Wye as a turnout, then no, gaps aren't needed unless it's a situation you'd gap with a standard turnout.

1983  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Power Pack with no DC current on: January 08, 2015, 01:30:50 PM
Maybe not the shop owner, but sometimes the people who work there...

1984  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: turnouts on ho track power both sides on: January 08, 2015, 01:27:58 PM
Even with the scenario you suggested, wyes still need to be isolated. Draw a wye, with both rails, on a piece of paper. Start on one of the "mainline" rails and follow it up one leg of the wye to the common section. Now follow that same rail down the other leg to the "mainline". You'll find your on the opposite rail of the "mainline" from where you started, essentially connecting the two mainline rails together electrically. That's called a short, which is not a good thing, and has nothing to do with reversing the direction of the loco.

1985  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Boston & Maine smoke and sound?? on: January 08, 2015, 09:41:35 AM
Micro-Scale also has good early diesel and passenger car decals for the B&M.

1986  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: turnouts on ho track power both sides on: January 08, 2015, 09:35:53 AM
Because most of them were written before DCC became common place, and "that's the way it's always been done"??

For straight DC block control, with no plans to use DCC in the future, 'Common Rail' is fine, except for wye's, reverse loops, and turntables. On the plus side, it cuts down on the number of wires that have to be run, and some cost, while allowing the use of Atlas control switches designed around 'Common Rail'. On the minus side, on a larger layout you have to be careful to keep track of which rail is 'Common' to prevent shorts. Some early DCC power supplies don't like it much. It makes it harder to set up DCC power disctricts if you decide to make the switch. And it can make it harder to trouble shoot some DCC problems if you can't completely isolate both rails in a section of track.

If the plan is to eventually switch to DCC, or use DCC from the start, I would gap both block rails from the start. It's easier to do it while building, than to retrofit gaps and feeders later. Pluses: As the number of locos needing power grows, it makes it much easier to set up seperate power districts. And it makes troubleshooting electrical problems much easier. Minuses: Uses a bit more wire, and stops the use of certain Atlas power controllers that were designed for 'Common Rail' layouts.

There are pros, cons, and advocates on both sides of this issue. But it's your layout, so you get to decide which way to go.

1987  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Power Pack with no DC current on: January 08, 2015, 09:18:56 AM
Or possibly a 'generic' AC transformer for the 3-rail folks?

1988  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: planning a new layout / layout tables on: January 08, 2015, 06:13:01 AM
If the words "sewing area" enter the conversation, start thinking in terms of a 2'x6' N-scale switching layout. Or renting space elsewhere for a layout.

1989  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: storing trains in cold weather out in shed ? on: January 08, 2015, 06:10:25 AM
Not a great idea. Especially if you're talking about storing things until next Christmas. Attics and outside sheds that are not enviromentally contrlled, as well as damp basements, are the worst places to store model train equipment.

Except for water when it turns into ice, most things shrink as they get colder. When you get into temps that low, and parts shrink, things are going to start loosening up that shouldn't. Plastic cases also become brittle, and crack much easier than normal. You'll also have the potential for condensation on and around electrical and electronic components when things are brought inside, where it's warm and humid, from temperatures that low. When summer comes, the shed warms up, things expand again, and micro-cracks start developing in plastic and metal castings. Humidty generally goes up, and not good things start happening to PC boards.

The first year or two, you may not notice anything's happening. But over time, you will start seeing problems with model train equipment stored in areas exposed to temperature and humidity extremes.

1990  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: E-Z track turnout wiring on: January 07, 2015, 04:06:58 PM
Might work, but I've gotten used to just flipping the toggle one way or the other. It just seems simpler than the 'slide/press' action of the #56, or equivalant, type of controller.

1991  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: E-Z track turnout wiring on: January 07, 2015, 03:18:08 PM

True, they could physically hold it to one side or the other.

But the problem I had, and why I switched to toggles, wasn't they were operating the switch on purpose for too long. They just kept setting things, mainly books, on top of the flat Atlas switch controllers. This would hold the button down, and I'd get fried switch machines.

The toggle handles, sticking straight up, are less inviting as a place to set things on.

1992  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: HO Steam Loco Driver Size on: January 07, 2015, 03:12:32 PM
Mantua had 56" drivers, at least all of the ones I have seen did.

Thanks for the info. Never owned one, or looked that close at it.

1993  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Power Pack with no DC current on: January 07, 2015, 03:11:12 PM
I saw this once when my repair shop was open. Customer brought in a "bad" power pack with one track wire under an "AC" accessory screw, the other under a "DC" track screw. Double check the track wires are all in the right place.

Also, if you're using extra power feeders to the track make sure none of them are reversed from the others. That will create a short.

1994  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: E-Z track turnout wiring on: January 07, 2015, 02:00:07 PM
I prefer the toggle switches because you just have to tap them one way or the other. No sliding over, then pressing. And no burned out solinoids if someone, e.g., grandkids, sets something on the switch controller keeping the button pressed down.

1995  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Chuggington DCC on: January 07, 2015, 01:53:15 PM
I checked the on-line exploded diagrams on the "Reference" page, and Brewster, Koko, and Wilson are all DCC Ready, with an 8-pin dummy plug installed out of the package. It looks like the all use the same chassis.

This is the light board and dummy plug common to all three on the parts page:

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