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Japanese Modelling & Japan Rail Enthusiasts Forum


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    Budapest, Hungary
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    Japanese trains and train models in N gauge.

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  1. Imho the easy solution is to use power feed joiners as they can be installed everywhere.
  2. As much as i can find out by looking at pictures, many lines have a rule to have the diaphragms installed on either the up or down end only. This means as long as every car on the line always has the same ends point todards the same direction, every car could be connected. This works with non cab ends too, so if you take out a middle car from a consist, it would keep either the up or down end diaphragm and the rest of the set could be joined. Yes, the european practice is to join diaphragms in the middle, which makes it a bit easier to connect cars and also allows slightly mismatched cars to be coupled. (like an accordion diaphragm car with an open platform lattice railing type) For model railway usage, installing the stowed plastic ones on both cars that will be coupled is a good idea, especially with kinematic close couplers as Kiha66 pointed out. On the car ends that will not be coupled, it's possible to follow the prototype standard and add it to either one end or none as dedicated head car ends often had no diaphragm installed. If you prefer mix and match for running (especially common for dmu-s), then adding them to both ends on every car could work too.
  3. Beginnings of T-Trak

    The standard ttrak height is 7 cm. The leg screws should be able to raise this to 10. You can go inch high only, but then you'll need tall legs to get to 10 cm. Btw. i use soldered joiner feeders, with pluggable screw terminal sockets hotglued to the module undersides. This means no loose wires on the modules during transport and i can add whatever plug or wire length i need. Also pretty easy to field service it.
  4. Beginnings of T-Trak

    The unijoiners are pretty good for conducting electricity, but just to be safe there should be two power feed cables on the modules, one for each direction. The polarity of the Kato plug should match the forward direction on the Kato throttle for each track. Then it depends on the size and shape of the layout if one feed point is enough or more is needed. Some clubs use Kato Y cables, some run a thick main wire, but all of this is not installed permanently. The Kato power feed connectos are enough and even those are optional (just recommended). If the two directions are connected by crossovers, then proper isolation must be added. The double track, single and double crossover pieces from Kato have these built in. Ttrak can be wired for analog operation or digital. For analog, you have two directions (up/down) or two loops (inner/outer), depending on the shape of the layout. For digital operation, you disable the power routing on the turnouts (with the bottom screws if accessible) or by adding power to every siding and also connect the two directions (with the right polarity). There is even the possibility to run digital on one track and analog on the other if there is no way for the trains to cross over. http://ttrak.wikidot.com/wiring-for-t-trak Wiring for larger setups is left for the clubs to decide. The page above lists three different club standards.
  5. Layout ideas and attempts

    Bad mobile phone photo showing my first sample of custom station name signs. Printed with a cheap monochrome laser printer.
  6. Beginnings of T-Trak

    The classic (or tram) ttrak standard is two Unitrack straights put next to each other, ballasts touching. This is the 25 mm or Unitram spacing. The 33 mm or mainline spacing is the newer standard and uses the Kato standard Unitrack track set spacings and curves. This means R282 and R317 curves, used for most starter set double track ovals. The 310 mm track length of the single ttrak module is 5 times 62 mm (which is the basic unit of Unitrack and most normal straights are multiplies of 62 mm). For module sizes in inches and metric see http://www.ttrak.org
  7. As a worst case option, we could use two standard Kato controllers and switch the polarity with the direction levers. (that would need 3 controllers, one for the inner loop, one for the outer and one for the T module and the terminus) ps: The best case includes a full japanese style relay based signalling panel with route logic.
  8. I think the idea was to make a drop in board that allows the cars to be restored to original state. Otherwise you could just wire in a decoder.
  9. Operating sessions - is this a local thing?

    I can't seem to find their website atm, but i'm pretty sure i've linked them here on this forum a few years ago. One video i could find from a JAM exhibition: (the section about the club starts at around 5:00) https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=318&v=AecfDBDYdvc
  10. Online Shops Selling Used Japanese Trains?

    Mandarake. They have several irl shops and an online english shop page. They sell many things, including trains. I've bought quite a lot of used Tomytec trains from them. (most of it was new old stock, opened but unassembled)
  11. That's not really needed as the register map and the detailed functionality is included in the programming guide. Most features that would be tricky is implemented by the hardware, so only relatively simple code is needed. And the open dcc community provides that. It's cheaper though to just buy the digitax decoders assembled and tested.
  12. Actually not really. Digitrax chips are much more transparent than most european brands. For example they don't use special hardware or custom chips, just what is available off the shelf at the time. The central units are usually midrange Microchip PIC-s and all other components could be sourced from multiple manufacturers. It's also relatively easy to reverse engineer their boards. On a basic decoder, you'll find a full diode bridge, a low current voltage regulator, a motor driver and an auxiliary driver besides the general purpose microcontroller. Their most simple designs are actually the Kato decoders. Just look at the components of a single output internal light decoder. Digitrax is also a pretty nice company as they published their protocol specifications to allow 3rd party developers to make additions. The whole Fremo DCC standard sprung up around the homebrew copies of their components. On the other hand, some european makers have dedicated custom chips doing all the work and these are in chip scale packages covered with the classic black glue blob. Those are totally unservicable and not worth the effort to reverse engineer. Also very hard and costy to update, so these decoders tend to remain as is for many years and lag behind in features. The worst offenders in this regard were the european SX decoders.
  13. http://www.gamesontrack.com All of the train related entries mention DDC with any DCC controller. This means you can have the DCC signal in the rails or sent over radio. The faller digital car system is also DCC over radio. There is an ultrasound system for positioning and a radio system for wireless control. The two systems are independent, but can work together. If you have DCC in the tracks, you only need the smaller ultrasound emitters and the positioning receivers and control everything from your own DCC system. If you don't, then they say the radio receiver/ultrasound emitter may fit into some H0 and N locomotives but it's meant for larger scales. There is a pc software and there are DCC bridge circuits available for different systems. http://en.shop.gamesontrack.dk/gt-xcontrol-n-h0-loco-uk.aspx This is DCC over radio. Pretty much how the Faller digital car system works. The only exception is the dedicated Lego train receiver which also supports IR functions to be compatible with the Lego PF1 system that uses IR remote codes. (the new Lego PF2 system also works over radio)
  14. Old Higashi-Kitazawa crossing

    I checked and it looks like the crossing was tied directly to the block system. This means a trains that has just crossed the crossing will clear the gates but any trains that are approaching or have the right to approach the crossing will block it. This means any train standing at the platforms off view on the right that has a clear path to enter the crossing will block it, along with any trains that are allowed to pass the station without stopping. This setup would have prevented accidents in case a stopping train overshot the platform. The side effect is that once a train is allowed to enter the station from the other side, this side had to be closed due to the crossing being way too close to the departure signal. I think getting rid of the level crossing here really helped everyone (except railfans). ps: One strange thing seen on the first video is that the gates close and the direction indicator is active when a previous train barely start to move, so the crossing seems to be locked during path setup and not just before allowing the route. This means when the operator (or automatic system) preselects the route, the gates go down and when then the block clear signal doesn't have to wait for the closed signal from all of the gates along the route as they are probably already closed by then. This system prioritizes trains over crossing traffic.
  15. Old vans at Takasaki

    Yes, the logos are very similar and both companies use(d) this type of boxcar.