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Author Topic: Issues for a Newbie  (Read 566 times)

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Offline Old Crow

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Issues for a Newbie
« on: October 13, 2017, 12:55:21 am »
I'm completely new to N gauge and I'll be needing to ask quite a few questions. I hope those of you experienced won't mind as there's so much I need to learn.

Just running some tests with setrack I can see there are issues with rail joints and tight curves. I intend to use flexitrack for my layout and I understand the best is to solder the joins. How do you guys do this? Do you use connectors and solder these or just butt the rails and solder? Do you fill any gaps and smooth these after? I have facility with soldering from electronics but I'd like to know how you guys do it, or if anyone considers it not necessary with fixed down track?

Another issue is isolatiion in sidings etc. Do you cut one rail or both?

Offline Bealman

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Re: Issues for a Newbie
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2017, 01:29:24 am »
I have soldered joins, and have used both the techniques you describe, depending on location and circumstances. The important thing of course, is to keep the inside of the rails clear of solder.

Regarding isolating sections, with a DC layout,  it is only necessary to cut one rail, and bridge with a switch, so you can run a locomotive onto the section, and then isolate it by flicking the switch. I have many of these on my layout.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2017, 01:30:33 am by Bealman »
Vision over visibility. Bono, U2.

Offline Webbo

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Re: Issues for a Newbie
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2017, 04:35:20 am »
I have always soldered the joins after rail joiners have been fitted. I've found it best to bend the rail first pretty much as it would be in position, trim the end of the longer rail, fit the rail joiners and close the gaps on both rails, then solder. When soldering I don't try to bend rail into its final position until after solder has set. If the rail is 'relaxed' when you are soldering the rail ends will not have any tendency to kink. After soldering, I use a Dremel tool inside and outside of the rail to trim it all up. If you are using rail joiners, the amount of solder necessary should be small.

By using a hot iron, you are less likely to melt the sleepers.

Webbo

Offline newportnobby

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Re: Issues for a Newbie
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2017, 09:36:00 am »

Regarding isolating sections, with a DC layout,  it is only necessary to cut one rail, and bridge with a switch, so you can run a locomotive onto the section, and then isolate it by flicking the switch. I have many of these on my layout.

As Bealman says, cut just the one rail (I use my Xuron track cutters)and then run a wire from each side of the cut to a switch. A momentary switch is of no use so make sure the switch is a latchable one, This can be either a toggle or push switch. As mine are going into a control panel I prefer the push type.....
https://www.rapidonline.com/sci-r13-512b1-red-latching-push-switch-sm-button-red-78-0233

Personally I just avoid joins on curves as I'm hopeless at soldering and won't rely on just fishplates  and track pins to keep things from moving.

Offline Bealman

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Re: Issues for a Newbie
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2017, 09:40:35 am »
Mick the good thing about a miniature toggle switch is that it indicates itself. Up is isolated, down is powered.
Vision over visibility. Bono, U2.

Offline newportnobby

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Re: Issues for a Newbie
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2017, 09:42:05 am »
Fair point well made :thumbsup:
My problem is that I will be using toggle switches for shifting section power from one controller to another (cab control) using a sideways motion so will just confuse myself if everything is toggled :dunce: :-[

Offline Bealman

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Re: Issues for a Newbie
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2017, 09:45:12 am »
Thanks! With a couple of Friday evening beers here in Oz, too!  :beers:
Vision over visibility. Bono, U2.

Offline Bealman

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Re: Issues for a Newbie
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2017, 09:50:38 am »
Regarding your edit:

I don't see a major problem. Have the switches horizontal for passing control, up and down for isolation.

The classic Clinchfield project layout from Railroad Modeller has comprehensive diagrams and instructions.
Vision over visibility. Bono, U2.

Offline Carmont

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Re: Issues for a Newbie
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2017, 10:51:11 am »
When joining flexitrack, where a curve is required, I always join them together straight first, with rail joiners, and then solder. Only once I've done that do I then introduce the curve. That way you guarantee a smooth perfect curve at the join, with minimal chance of kinks. It does mean you will have a larger length of rail on the inside of the track when the track then transitions to being straight again. But it's easier to judge for cutting when straight, than when on the curve.

Your mileage may vary.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2017, 11:19:04 am by Carmont »

Offline Bealman

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Re: Issues for a Newbie
« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2017, 11:18:49 am »
You've summed that up nicely.

That's what I did, but couldn't put it into words!  :-[ :thumbsup:

Thank you!  :beers:
Vision over visibility. Bono, U2.

Offline Quinn

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Re: Issues for a Newbie
« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2017, 12:46:30 pm »
My son tells me I should solder feeder wires to tracks away from the joiners and definitely not where a track joins to a point in case one has to be lifted out. The residual solder at the joint makes it impossible to fit a new rail joiner. I can't personally see a reason why track lengths otherwise shouldn't be soldered at the joints if the laying out is permanent. Though I have to go into the details, it seems the V end of the point will use insulated ones on the V track pieces if you have these electro frogs. 


Offline newportnobby

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Re: Issues for a Newbie
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2017, 02:49:31 pm »
Regarding your edit:

I don't see a major problem. Have the switches horizontal for passing control, up and down for isolation.


As opposed to horizontal for passing control and in/out for isolation? :P ;D

Offline ntpntpntp

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Re: Issues for a Newbie
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2017, 02:59:59 pm »
... cut just the one rail (I use my Xuron track cutters)and then run a wire from each side of the cut to a switch.

Why run two wires either side? One wire goes to the main section power feed (the "live" side if you like), so can be connected inside the control panel. Just one wire to the switched side of the cut is enough.   Only need half the wiring then! That's how I've done it for decades.
Nick.   2016 celebrating the 20th anniversary of "Königshafen" exhibition layout!

Offline ntpntpntp

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Re: Issues for a Newbie
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2017, 03:55:22 pm »
Do remember, if you solder the rail joints you are then reducing any capacity for rail expansion, which could be significant in an environment with a lot of temperature variation such as a loft or shed.

To be honest, I've rarely found the need to solder a rail joint and I'm surprised a beginner would want to consider it from the outset.

I deliberately used Settrack curves for a return loop I built last year, rather than flexitrack.  It's perfectly fine, it did 4 days at Stuttgart with no derailments at all.






Nick.   2016 celebrating the 20th anniversary of "Königshafen" exhibition layout!

Offline newportnobby

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Re: Issues for a Newbie
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2017, 04:14:37 pm »
... cut just the one rail (I use my Xuron track cutters)and then run a wire from each side of the cut to a switch.

Why run two wires either side? One wire goes to the main section power feed (the "live" side if you like), so can be connected inside the control panel. Just one wire to the switched side of the cut is enough.   Only need half the wiring then! That's how I've done it for decades.

Why run a wire either side of the cut? 'Cos I don't know otherwise :dunce:
I keep telling folks it's a black art, but they won't listen.

 

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