A table-top train set: Track-testing

Discussion in 'Layout Progress' started by jonte, 8 December 2014.

  1. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Hopefully, Brian. The existing wiring should speed things up, but I’m hoping to get back to the ‘shed’ :)

    Thanks for your interest,

  2. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Took a break from welding wire to barely visible fish plates, fellow Westerners, and had a bash at some window dressing:

    BA7DAC08-8AA2-459A-8A74-B64CC5E787CC.jpeg 3C03F974-788E-4682-9B46-FB8721CF2CCA.jpeg 6EE1024D-8706-41C7-8261-4CDD9228FC41.jpeg A9F7F370-0E59-42DE-8088-A8B17A9D3376.jpeg

    This is my CP originally built for an HO project that will never see the light of day hence the skinny sleepers. Was going to fill in the gaps in the pcb sleepers, or ties as they were, but current thinking is that they’ll be buried in ballast or whatever leaving only the chairs exposed, so little point really.

    Speaking of chairs, they’re left-over bits from a C&L kit that was built to OO-SF standard; I won’t share with you what I think the ‘SF’ stands for ;)

    I’m hoping you can just make out the ends of the slide chairs in the third shot, but I doubt they’ll be visible on the layout.
    After much umming and ahhh-ing, I decided against chairs inside the rails as they’d be a little too proud for smooth running. Never mind, just a nod to the real thing anyway.

    When in place, I’ll fix another chair to the end of the diverting rail as in the picture of a CP at Llantisillio-gogogoch Road in Geoff Lloyd’s book of the TVR From Llangunllo to Llanbister Rd.

    Incidentally you might just be able to make out the drilled piece of flat brass I’m using as part of the TOU (sounds a bit fancy for a train-set) sticking out from the second sleeper from the toe end in the first couple of piccies :)

    And that’s about it for now, Westerners, as the primer coat dries in the late afternoon sun which rather reluctantly arrived eventually.

    So there you are. Yet another case of style over substance. Just like its creator, really.

    Luv and bestest,

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  3. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    You may recall, fellow Westerners, my mention of adopting Kadee couplers for the joys of hands-free shunting when the occasion arose. To that end I purchased some Neo.... magnets from Spider Magnets, to adopt a relatively discrete way of operating Kadees that I’d read about elsewhere.

    I was warned that these tiny mites of all but 3mm diameter were pretty strong, and oh boy, were they right. Blink, and you miss they’re escape velocity, as they disappear from hole, grip or any other device to secure them, faster than Ed Sheeran (who?) on reaching the Event Horizon (wishful thinking).

    Yep, pretty attractive to themselves, files, blades and any other ferrous based metal known to man (oops, human-kind;)) apart, that is, from the curly bit of metal sticking out of the bottom of a Kadee coupling :headbang:

    To be fair, they’re hit n miss at sleeper height with best results being obtained at rail height, but not only are they obtrusive at this height but also a possible obstruction to loco/stock wheels, so I’m afraid they’re a non-starter. Okay, it’s only a train set so the obtrusive bit is okay, but a bar to free-running is an absolute no-no.

    Conclusion? I’m still opting for kadees, but it’s over to plan B: shunting by hand using a wooden skewer as per American railroad layouts. A recurring theme here don’t you think?

    Anyway, a couple of photos to show you what I mean.

    9338D62F-A8DE-48AD-AB48-36703C8D27DF.jpeg 5F6D0F0D-A418-4618-860A-0FEA71159341.jpeg

  4. Yorkshire Dave

    Yorkshire Dave Western Thunderer

    Ah... but us as the observer they would appear stationary at the Event Horizon and never disappear from view.

    I tried a similar thing with these magnets using Peco N scale setrack with a degree of success. I mounted four 3 x 2 mm magnets between the sleepers and under the rails - making sure the polarity was correct. The track was mounted on double sided foam tape 10m Strong 20mm Waterproof Adhesive Double Sided Foam Tape For Car Trim UK 937235103056 | eBay
    Magnet 1.jpg
    Magnet 2.jpg
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  5. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Fair enough: just as long as we can’t hear him ;)

    You are indeed a font of knowledge, Dave. I’ll check the polarity of each and give it another go.

    Many thanks for your valuable help, Dave.

  6. JimG

    JimG Western Thunderer


    I've had a fight with reliable remote uncoupling of Kadee couplers in N scale and S scale over the years. One fairly successful setup I had was using the coils and "U" shaped poles of a Carpenter relay driven by a capacitor discharge unit which gave a 70V kick and 40V holding voltage. But I've much preferred a magentic solution and recently I tried using neodymium magnets on an S scale test track with #802 couplers with reasonably good results. What I did was to select several rod magnets of varying strengths to find the most suitable. I then mounted the magnets in push fit holes and adjusted the heights until I got the required magnetic field strength which operated the couplers properly.



    I selected the magnets from this web page in E-Magnets web site :-

    Neodymium Rod Magnets - e-Magnets UK

    ...and selected three types of 4mm and 5mm diameters with varying pulls. The ones that worked well were the 4mm diameter ones with 0.7g pull, and the other variable, the height of the magnet, was adjusted by pushing up/down until the pull was just right. I also used three magnets each side to give a longer acceptance distance.

    I've also re-discovered my N scale work from many years ago and I might try something similar with smaller diameter magnets.

    However, I have noted on messing around on the test track that unwanted uncoupling can be a problem if there is not sufficient tension on the knuckles to prevent them being parted. that would point towards using retractable magnets or electro-magnetic setups to avoid this but that involves a lot more complexity than might be desired on a simple layout.

    Last edited: 14 July 2019 at 15:03
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  7. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    A most comprehensive reply indeed, Jim. Thank you.

    Looks like it really is a case of trial and error and with many factors to consider.

    Funnily enough, I was thinking about increasing the number of magnets ‘in parallel’ to see if it increased the draw of the magnets if, for no other reason, there are about 25 in a packet; I see you’ve used three. Interesting too that increased diameter does not necessarily improve performance.

    I’ve used Kadees own under track magnets in the fiddle yard which work perfectly, but I found some time ago that ballast, depending on depth, reduces performance which is why I’m not bothering with them in the scenic section.

    Since Yorkie Dave’s helpful post, I’ve since ensured that the polarities are all the same (but opposite poles on opposite rails) and an early test suggests there may be some improvement in swing, therefore, will pop out and buy a new drill bit and do some further testing.

    Meanwhile, I’ve made a start temporarily laying the track and wiring up to test for faults.

    Thanks again, Jim, and I just wish there was more stock and accessories available in S Scale; seems to me to be the ideal scale for indoor modellers :)

  8. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    After what seemed like an eon of soldering, fellow Westerners, I’m pleased to report that each piece of track now has its own electrical feed - and live frog in the case of points - and then primed, with all rail tops cleaned and ready for testing.

    In fact, initial testing has already commenced (in between watching tennis) the ‘main line’ having been connected to the layout’s existing wiring:

    69EBB6FC-EF45-451D-97D4-9D3F7360D578.jpeg 76E9DE9B-C7A9-45E5-9751-0BB50A0E73DD.jpeg

    Thankfully no shorts yet, the SPDT switches seemingly doing their jobs on the proprietary replacements.

    Pleased to also report that ‘Jones’ seems happy enough with the altered geometry.

    Next will come the loop which I trust will also be okay as I’m wiring it up the same way as my hand built stuff, but knowing my luck, I won’t be lucky enough to get away without the odd hiccough or two:(

    Then the whole lot can be marked and lifted again before being replaced on a bed of adhesive (magnets will also be marked and placed if tests with the Kadees prove fruitful).

    But I’m afraid all of that will have to wait for now as I endure another short hiatus from railway modelling.


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