German loft layout

Re: German loft layout

Postby Juup » Sun Feb 09, 2014 8:28 pm

Hi Conducttor,

How's progress with yours?

Well actually yes there will be. Turnouts to enter and exit the staging areas which are just behind the purlins. My strategy is as follows (suggestions/comments are of course very welcome):

1. I should say first that there is access to these hidden areas by crawling under and poking my head up from behind. There is enough elbow room also to reach in and do some simple work. Access to the underneath of these areas is no more complicated than anywhere else under the layout. All storage (the main purpose of the space below the layout) is on wheels so can quickly be rolled out of the way. Only complication is that my son seems to enjoy the back of the layout crawl space as an extended secret 'den' (well, the main complication of that is that all electrics need to be insulated and be as flush to surfaces and tucked away as possible.

2. I will cut separate pieces of plywood for the areas containing turnouts, and then whilst still out in the open I will fit the track, turnouts, turnout motors (Cobalts) and various droppers of course. Then after testing I will fit the piece into place. I imagine using the Tillig extendable rail pieces to connect them to the other track, plus droppers on either side to ensure good electrical pickup. The piece of plywood will then be screwed fast, but without too many screws so I could remove them later if necessary ... the extendable track pieces will facilitate that later removal. Hopefully it won't happen too often. The droppers will then be connected to a bus that runs the length of the staging area.

3. For the turnouts where trains exit the staging I am thinking about using a variant on the 'spring switch' concept. Since the trains will go only in one direction (leaving the staging area), I am thinking that with the Tillig EW3's long and quite flexible blades that trains coming from either of the diverging directions will push their way through quite reliably, thereby eliminating the need for point motors. Of course, I'll have to test this with track actually attached to the plywood, with ongoing track in the anticipated radius, with a variety of locos and attached carriages and so on. If tests reveal any unreliability at all then I'll be doing the same as in point 2 above for the switches exiting the staging areas as well.

4. To minimise trouble in the staging area, I will isolate a section of track at the far end of each staging track, forcing the trains to stop in the right place - I think that will be quite fool proof. Equally, only when the electrical supply is activated on this bit of track (by push button) is a train able to leave the staging. I guess there are DCC solutions for this. Yes, I will be running trains on DCC, but want to avoid gadgetry for issues I can find simple manual solutions for.

Yes, quite slow. But I like the sense of project :)

Juup
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Re: German loft layout

Postby MacG » Mon Feb 10, 2014 4:31 pm

You can only drive thru a EW1 without a turnout motor. The EW2 and 3 needs a polarization and a current at the switch rails.
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Re: German loft layout

Postby j p » Mon Feb 10, 2014 5:08 pm

MacG wrote:You can only drive thru a EW1 without a turnout motor. The EW2 and 3 needs a polarization and a current at the switch rails.


EW2 and EW3 do not need polarization of the switch rails and they can get current in them without polariazation (see the guide) - but they may need polarization of the frog.
It can be done without a turnout motor, as a function of the interlocking.
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Re: German loft layout

Postby Dibbedabb » Mon Feb 10, 2014 5:17 pm

j p wrote: - but they may need polarization of the frog.

Not may, they definitely need a polarization of the frog.
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Re: German loft layout

Postby Juup » Mon Feb 10, 2014 6:49 pm

Okay. My electrical knowledge may be limited ... here is my thinking:

Polarisation can be supplied by the bit of isolated track at the end of each staging track. When power is supplied to such a segment it at the same time supplies the correct current to the frog as well as to the corresponding switch blade, thereby allowing the train from that particular track to pass through. Does that make sense?

But have to devise a system where no more than a single of the isolated segments can receive current at any one time. So a single multi-way rotary switch of some kind rather than individual switch buttons.
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Re: German loft layout

Postby ctxmf74 » Mon Feb 10, 2014 7:04 pm

"have to devise a system where no more than a single of the isolated segments can receive current at any one time. So a single multi-way rotary switch of some kind rather than individual switch buttons."

If you plan to use DCC you can buy electronic frog polarity controllers that will switch the current automatically to match the route selected. Much cleaner and simpler than trying to wire it up with mechanical switches....DaveB
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Re: German loft layout

Postby ConducTTor » Tue Feb 11, 2014 12:39 am

Juup wrote:Hi Conducttor,

How's progress with yours?


I'll start building after this year's NMRA National show - until then all my time is dedicated to my show layout and NA models.

It sounds like you have a good plan. The #1 thing is being able to access the hidden track and especially the switches.

I would not rely on trains being able to push their way through the switches. Some cars are pretty light and I guarantee they will derail instead of pushing through the switch. Also, you should make sure the frogs (and all parts of the switch) are polarized/powered. If you don't, I'm pretty sure sooner or later trains will stop there and you will have to help them. You should invest in doing things properly - it will make your life a lot easier in the long run.
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Re: German loft layout

Postby Dibbedabb » Tue Feb 11, 2014 5:06 am

@Juup
Tillig's EW2 and EW3 come with a contact soldered at the end tracks to supply it. If you use this switch motor it brings you an integrated relay for supplying the end tracks. From there I soldered a small wire to the switch blades.

These switch motors are quite cheap (especially if you buy at least 10) and powerful and until now I didn't have a problem. Downsides:
- They only work fast and loud.
- The holding arm is made of plastic. It will work fine with EW1, diamond switches and 3way switches. For switching EW2 and 3 you need thicker spring steel wire than delivered with the switch (I used 0.8mm and paid 50cents for a piece of one meter, so not a big investment), bent the way you can see in the second picture and tightened on both sides.
But if you don't care about that, they are ok and among the cheapest switch motors on the market. Conrad will deliver to the UK for 9.99 Euros p&p.
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Re: German loft layout

Postby MacG » Tue Feb 11, 2014 4:54 pm

Juup wrote:... Polarisation can be supplied by the bit of isolated track at the end of each staging track. When power is supplied to such a segment it at the same time supplies the correct current to the frog as well as to the corresponding switch blade, thereby allowing the train from that particular track to pass through. Does that make sense?

But have to devise a system where no more than a single of the isolated segments can receive current at any one time. So a single multi-way rotary switch of some kind rather than individual switch buttons.
Juup


It may be working. The switch rails get the current from contact with the outer rails. I think, it needs a wire, when You use it without a turnout motor. Build a test track and check the functionality. In my opinion is the force too high to bend the switch rails with the cars.
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Re: German loft layout

Postby Dibbedabb » Tue Feb 11, 2014 5:13 pm

Since I have already installed 3 EW2, I can confirm that they don't work without a switch motor. It needs a really powerful switch motor and a strong wire (as I wrote before). The forces in the EW3 are little lower, since the switch blades are longer (angular forces :wink: ), but both don't work without a switch motor - no way...
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