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Author Topic: Powering separate but connected tracks/trains  (Read 1795 times)
DADnBOB


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« on: January 06, 2011, 10:29:38 AM »

Hello everyone. We're new - so please excuse our ignorance.

We have several e-z track "sets" and additional track (turnouts, etc.).  We also have a number of older HO engines and cars that grandma had never sold.  Right now we have a large loop with two turnouts per side and an inside curve on each end.  We can run two trains with two people doing a dance with the remote switches to keep the trains separated.  Fun but limited.

What I'd like to do - for now - is have an outside loop and an inside loop with sidings, and be able to run two trains independently.  I've been trying to wrap my brain around blocks and power districts, and I'm going to have to figure that out eventually (or wait til my "partner" here is old enough to figure it out himself  Grin ) but I was thinking . . .

I have separate power supplies.  Could I simply "isolate" the two tracks at the turnouts?
I understand that if the second "line" wasn't powered up when the engine hit that spot it would die - but if the power was on to the second "line" the train would then continue onto that second track and then run off that power supply.

So is this just not workable? How would I isolate the two sections of ez track (where the switch meets the next section).  Are there nonconducting or insulating track connectors that could be installed in place of the metal connectors on the ez track?

I've seen a web page where there were explanations for how to separate an ez track switch (that was originally powered on both sides of parallel track) that involved cutting certain tracks with a dremel tool and then disconnecting power feed wires on the back side.  That seemed a bit much for me, but I have the equipment already to do it.  I was thinking that insulating the turnouts from the other sections at the junction would be easier if it was possible.

Oh, and if this has been answered in a thread I didn't find in my limited searching around please feel free to just link us to it.

Dad (John) n Bob.
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jonathan


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« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2011, 10:47:42 AM »

Welcome, DADnBOB!

The short answer is, yes, you can.  Most hobby stores sell pastic rail joiners, you can isolate an inside and outside loop.  Simply pull off the metal rail joiners and replace with the plastic joiners.  Then you can power the two loops independently. 

You will still have to 'dance' when switching from one loop to the other, but two trains will run on either loop.

That's the inexpensive solution.  I run DC (traditional power packs) and use the plastic rail joiners.  If you are permanently securing your track to your subsurface (plywood?), you can line up the tracks without rail joiner at all, if you are careful about lining them up and not allowing them to touch.

The more long term, and costlier method, would be to switch to Digital Command Control (DCC).  This is becoming a more popular method of powering your trains.  Although, I don't think DCC has surpassed DC, yet. Smiley

I'll let you research that one.  Hope this helps.

Regards,

Jonathan
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OldTimer


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« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2011, 11:53:38 AM »

Atlas sells a number of electrical parts that support a control system called "common rail cab control."  It is cost effective, easy to wire and essentially bullet proof.  Most hobby shops have a collection of Atlas track plan books that include detailed wiring instructions.  Once you grasp the principles, you can easily wire ANY DC powered layout of ANY scale for dual cab control using the Atlas electrical components.  Look here:

https://secure.atlasrr.com/mod1/items.asp?Cc=HN862&iTpStatus=0&Tp=&Bc=

Hope this is helpful.
OldTimer
« Last Edit: January 06, 2011, 04:54:13 PM by OldTimer » Logged

Just workin' on the railroad.
DADnBOB


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« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2011, 10:15:29 AM »

Thanks.  I'm definitely going to stick to DC.  And those premade "switches" from Atlas look very useful.  I have a third power supply so I think I'll divide the inside loop and sidings into two as a learning project on the "cab control" method.

I think I have enough of the ez-track powered re-railers, though it looks like it wouldn't be hard to wire up manually like old-style/Atlas track.
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Craig

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« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2011, 10:43:45 AM »



I have separate power supplies.  Could I simply "isolate" the two tracks at the turnouts?
I understand that if the second "line" wasn't powered up when the engine hit that spot it would die - but if the power was on to the second "line" the train would then continue onto that second track and then run off that power supply.



That's exactly what I did with my son's first layout. It was ez track with two connected loops. I used Atlas plastic rail joiners to isolate the loops. The only issue of concern is that we had to make sure the polarity switches on the packs were set identically. Otherwise (obviously) there was a conflict when the engine straddled the isolated regions.
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