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Nornicle

Starting a micro layout some technical questions (dodgy pictures added)

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Nornicle

something more like this then:

 

2x40013.gif

 

the site owners personal favourite is very nice for a 4X2' though!

 

2x40001.gif

Edited by Nornicle

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Nornicle

Can someone explain how to (using tomix) physically connect, but electrically separate at the turnouts?

 

Do tomix turnouts naturally do this or are there special turn outs to purchase? Do I need to insulate rail joiners like I am reading? 

 

switched_mult_source.gif(source http://www.trainweb.org/girr/tips/tips6/prime_power_tips.html)

 

So I understand the electrically separate bit, but I don't understand how I control the turnout to keep the circuits separate... it just looks like the moment I switch the turnout, my circuits will fry each other...

 

For example - both my power packs are on, and I want to shift a train from my primary powerpack 'loop' to my secondary powerpack loop...

 

do I need to:

 

1. turn off secondary powerpack

2. switch the turnout to the secondary power pack loop

3. drive train onto the secondary power pack loop

4. switch the turnout back to the primary power pack loop

5. turn on secondary powerpack to control train. 

 

And the opposite to move a train back to the other line.

 

or is there an easier way?

Edited by Nornicle

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kvp

Actually while both has double tracked parts, they are designed for a single controller, so only one train running at a time. The reason is that there are no two independent loops. The first one is a clever twice around layout, where the single loop goes two loops and has a small bypass section for single loop running. The second one has an incline at the brown colored part, so it's essentially a single loop with a two track station in the right part with a single track branchline going up the hill on the left. They are very good shunting and playing around layouts and follow a generally american prototype. Also the previous one even had a ballon loop in it, which is very tricky to get right and to avoid a short circuit, but with the fully power routing japanese turnouts that is relatively easy, compared to the common american and european track systems.

 

Sadly none of them are typically japanese in style and possible operations. Imho, you should decide what do you want to modell, then try to identify the features needed and find a track plan that has all (or most) of the features you want. For example if you say one double tracked commuter rail loop, one tram loop and one bus loop, then you can design a layout that has all of these. I'll post an example here i call 'a bit of everything'. It has two outer loops (red and blue) that can run full size japanese trains with a station that has an island platform for 4 cars of the common 20m commuter type. There is a small storage yard (green). The tram line is the yellow one, with curves that are large enough for most japanese tram types and a small tram stop with two tracks and a yard at the top, across the commuter yard. The grey one is the bus system with a dark gray bus stop. The tram and the bus paths run together at the left, so you can use street tram tracks and they will fit seamlessly. On the right, the tram runs together with the commuter line, forming a triple tracked section. As you see, the commuter station and the tram and bus stops are at the same place, forming an intermodal station, that is typical in Japan.

 

post-1969-0-40680000-1421630311.png
 

(i used scarm for the design, it's not too easy to use, but it's free)

post-1969-0-40680000-1421630311_thumb.png

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kvp
Can someone explain how to (using tomix) physically connect, but electrically separate at the turnouts?

Do tomix turnouts naturally do this or are there special turn outs to purchase? Do I need to insulate rail joiners like I am reading?

There are three ways:

a ) The common way is to put insulated rail joiners between the two loops and always set both controllers to the same direction and speed when a train is crossing the boundary.

b ) The Tomix way, with fully power routing turnouts, you only have to disconnect one of the packs at the same time you throw the turnouts. There is a connecting bar that connects two switches on your control board, so when you throw the turnouts with one, you disconnect the track power from one of the controllers. You need a turnout control switch and a power on/off control switch and a connecting bar. The turnouts will route power from the still powered loop to the other loop. This is the safer way and no isolating joiners are needed.

c ) Instead of using two control switches, it's possible to drive a dpdt relay (or switch) together with the turnouts and use it to select between the two controllers. (the linked image has the dpdt switch wired wrong, but the idea is good)

 

Personally i would use option b ).

Edited by kvp

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Nornicle

ah fantastic, so the japanese system is very much 'plug and play' lovely!

 

thats a really great design kvp I really dig it, what are the 'buf' end pieces in the storage yards, and also the un named pieces on the far left and far right curves?

 

I like this set out very much, as it has places to store unused trains.

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Nornicle

 

you should decide what do you want to modell, then try to identify the features needed and find a track plan that has all (or most) of the features you want

 

I don't know much about railway (I'm more of a general scale/ diorama modeller with an interest in railroads) but I would want something that can multi task (but not necessarily always be prototypical), so let's say freight and shinkansen on the outside loop, commuter local on the inside loop.

 

I think your layout achieves that, although I might add some viaducting to make it look more shinkansen like. 

 

I aim for more drama than realism, otherwise I'd  need a 30 foot track and lots of straight lines :P

 

I'm probably going to start with this set for power and building the outside loop first (and purchase additional rail). this seems like a solid set? Then purchase trains separately? This one comes with the constant lighting power controller and a couple of turnouts. 

 

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Tomix-90945-Track-Set-Layout-LT-Power-Controller-N-scale-/201267214866?pt=Model_RR_Trains&hash=item2edc75fa12

 

if I add this:

 

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Tomix-91064-Double-Tracking-Set-N-scale-/351278106354?pt=Model_RR_Trains&hash=item51c9ce86f2

 

then it will turn it into a double loop for me without any thinking?

 

this set also looks great (bridge double track viaduct set)

 

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Tomix-91073-Double-Track-Bridge-Approach-Set-N-scale-/351189255555?pt=Model_RR_Trains&hash=item51c482c583

Edited by Nornicle

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Nornicle

Thanks for everyones patience by the way, I have a learned a lot for someone who didn't even really think about a rail set 3 weeks ago.

 

I understand Nick Yee's layout below is for b trains, but why wouldnt this be able to handle proper size trains (up to 4 sections long?)

 

This also appears to have two loops, viaducts, sidings, and three stations. seems like an excellent use of space? is this because shinkansen would struggle to turn those viaduct turns?

 

 

Fig9.560.jpg

 

reference: http://www.japanrailmodelers.org/pages/modelingjapan/btrainshorty-pt2.html

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katoftw

the box set have very expensive shipping rate.  i have found it cheaper to buy the pieces individually as the packaging is alot smaller and lighter.  therefore the shipping becomes cheaper.

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katoftw

I understand Nick Yee's layout below is for b trains, but why wouldnt this be able to handle proper size trains (up to 4 sections long?)

Radi too small for normal size trains.

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Nornicle

the box set have very expensive shipping rate.  i have found it cheaper to buy the pieces individually as the packaging is alot smaller and lighter.  therefore the shipping becomes cheaper.

 

Thanks Kato - I was hoping to order a bulk lot and get bulk shipping from PlazaJapan (which I don't think HobbySearch really does)

 

and possibly buy my actual trains from Loco1Hobby as they seem to have a lovely selection. 

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katoftw

Plaza Japan's shipping is more expensive than Hobby Searches shipping options.  Also Plaza Japan will not cmobine items if they require 2 types of shipping.  ie Large-heavy items can only go via EMS, smaller-lighter items by SAL.

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kvp
thats a really great design kvp I really dig it, what are the 'buf' end pieces in the storage yards, and also the un named pieces on the far left and far right curves?

I like this set out very much, as it has places to store unused trains.

The 'buf' pieces are buffer stops, a section of track with a buffer on the end. The short pieces are the 'half track distance' S18.5 straights. They are needed in this setup to fit the standard rectangular Tomix station platforms (the ones without the tapered ends) between the two outer loops.

 

 

I think your layout achieves that, although I might add some viaducting to make it look more shinkansen like. 

Those curves are barely enough to run shinkansen. Maybe the mini shinkansen with the shorter cars. Instead of viaducts, i would use wide track and add barriers at ground level, as the layout i've drawn has no space for ramps. It's way too small to go up a grade and then still have a station and a storage yard.

 

This brings us to the question of tracks. There are many kind, normal, viaduct, wide, street and most of them come with various tie types, like wooden and concrete. Even street track can be asphalt or cobblestone. For the layout above, i would get wide tracks for the two outer loops, as it's a very simple way to get a double tracked oval with fences or walls on the side. Add some grass or dirt to the area between the tracks left and right of the platforms and you are almost done with the outer loop. For tram tracks, i used mini rails and these have very nice street tracks that could be used on the left, where the bus and tram runs together. You can also embedd the tram stop into concrete or cobblestone with a street track conversion kit and then run the tram on the right and top on normal track with some greenery on the lineside. Also you can even go for a hill on the top left corner of the double loop, since there is enough space for it. Or a railroad crossing at the top right corner.

 

For automation, you need 2 controllers, 2 TCS sensors and 2 TCS automation units for the two outer loops, one for each loop. (loop and stop pattern) You'll also need two TCS sensors and a third automation and controller unit for the trams (loop, stop, switch, loop, stop, switch pattern). It's also possible to set the top crossover to have a single train going over twice the layout (one loop on the inner and outer loops). If you switch one of the controllers out (as i described before), then the train will go twice around and then stop (if you keep the TCS active). The bus will go around once, stop at the bus stop and then repeat this after a short delay.

 

 

I understand Nick Yee's layout below is for b trains, but why wouldnt this be able to handle proper size trains (up to 4 sections long?)

There is a minimal radius for each train type that looks ok. It's R280 for commuter trains, larger for full shinkansen, R140 for trams and something much smaller for buses. A Tomix shinkansen can run on an R280 but it looks painfully bad. Also some Tomix commuters can run on R140, but that also looks horrible and would hit most lineside structures. R140 for trams is an absolute minimum, as most trams can't run on anything smaller. (except some Tomix and Kato multi section units) This is why the bus tracks got placed into the smallest loop, since they can run on almost anything and bus track curves are rather sharp. The layout i've drawn takes these limits into account and tries to squeeze as much into as little space as possible, while maintaining proper spacing and alignement between various track types.

 

This brings us to the question of how much space do you have? You need more if you want to run shinkansen and even more if you want to have ramps and elevated tracks. (btw some mini shinkansen run at ground level and even cross level crossings)

 

The sets you mentioned are good, but i would suggest getting the basic plan straight first and then buying the tracks or you could end up with lots of unused track. For anything double tracked, i would go with wide tracks as they look better. (they are the plug and play kind trackside scenery wise, so it's easy to get very good results by adding various detail parts like catenary poles or fences/walls)

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katoftw

I potential problem I see is the wide tram sensor pieces are 37mm long, not 33mm.

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kvp

I never used the sensor tracks, just the plug in connectors that can be added to any track. So actually, i would add them to the S70 and one of the C140-s. (depending on same or opposite direction running) These TCS connectors are more flexible and can be installed in curves and other unlikely places.

Edited by kvp

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katoftw

I never used the sensor tracks, just the plug in connectors that can be added to any track. So actually, i would add them to the S70 and one of the C140-s. (depending on same or opposite direction running) These TCS connectors are more flexible and can be installed in curves and other unlikely places.

I didn't even think of that.  Thanks.  Sometimes a solution is so obvious you look straight past it.

 

I wanted to use the brickwork style wide tram plating from one of the assessories pack.  But they did have a wide tram option for sensors.  Only the smooth concrete ones.

 

I'd have to use the newer PC track as the older wooden track doesn't allow feeds to be plugged in underneth.

 

Which leads me to a follow on question.  How does the sensors work that plug into the bottom if the rails?  Since one rail is a anode and one rail is a diode, what magic does the sensor do to comfirm a vehicle is above it?

Edited by katoftw

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kvp

The power feeds connect to both rails. The sensors connect to one rail and nearly to the other. The wheels connect the unconnected contact and close the circuit of the optoisolator in the plug. They work like classical threadle sensors, but require metal wheels to work. If you look at a wide tram rail you can see two slots, that is where the contacts go.

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katoftw

Thanks.  So the wheels act like a switch bridging the contacts and the current flows.  TCS box recieves the flow and does its thing.

 

Would the TCS Program Box have enough power to change the double crossover?

Edited by katoftw

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kvp

 

TCS box recieves the flow and does its thing.

Yes. Actually this flow lights up a tiny infrared led in the plug, that shorts an ir sensitive transistor to ground, so essentially the sensor outputs a digital low signal onto the TCS bus. It acts like a very nice, optically isolated pushbutton. Since leds are polarity sensitive, only one of the two leds will light up, so only one of the two side wires get pulled down to the center ground. This means the TCS box also know the direction of the train. Another nice feature is that these sensors can be daisy chained, so if you select the once around program (#6), you can add as many stations as you want and connect the sensors to each other. The train will stop at every station. For shuttle operation (#1), you can connect two end station sensors and an almost unlimited middle station sensors and the train will stop at each station, reversing at the end stations. The only limit is that only one train should be controlled at a time for each TCS box used. Imho this is a very nice and simple system and really easy to interface to more advanced computers like an Arduino or an S88 input board.

 

 

Would the TCS Program Box have enough power to change the double crossover?

Since one of the trackplans for it has a double crossover (#4), i assume it should work. You don't need a lot of power to switch a Tomix turnout. Once the polarity is set, the permanent magnet does most of the work.

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katoftw

Thanks!!!

 

post-1782-0-97331800-1421711493_thumb.jpg

 

See above dodgy/ghetto track plan.  The aim is to use Program 2 on the TCS box.

 

The tram plan is a representation of Kumamoto tram system.  The top right station is Kumamoto Ekimane.  Has a crossover leading to it and yards and sheds off it. 

 

The bottom left end station is Kengunmachi.  Offset platforms.  Tram pulls up, every gets off.  Tram move forward about 20-25 meters, then opens opposite side doors, and every gets on.

 

The bottom right corner section will be normal LRT running, similar to section between Shinmachi and Senbabashi.  No streets - just rails, ties ,ballast and peoples backyard fences.

 

Black rectangles are plaforms.  Black spray paint is 40-50mm width roads.  Unused white areas are scenery/buildings.  Will add 2 more stations evenly spaced apart from eachother also.

 

Hopefully you can see the Program 2 working on this layout.

Edited by katoftw
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Nornicle

Love the idea of the tcs controller, how does it now when it is at the 'last' station if I am using it single track shuttle mode? Do the sensors attach to the controller sequentially? So once I get the tcs controller and the throttle and sensors, will I be smart enough to just 'work out' where everything goes? I.e. Plug power to track, switched to controller and sensor to tcs controller?

 

Almost ready to put in my purchase order too! Very excited.

 

Any recommendations on starter trains there just seems to be a ridiculous selection, or do I just buy what I like?

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marknewton

The tram plan is a representation of Kumamoto tram system.

A plan that is simple and effective. Very nice!

 

Cheers,

 

Mark.

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kvp

The TCS controller has 4 separate sensor inputs. Each input has a different role in a different setup. Since you can connect multiple sensors to a single port by daisy chaining them, you can make rather interesting configurations and you can even combine multiple controllers (as long as you run them from the same throttle). For example the simple two point shuttle program can be used with the Tomix spring loaded turnouts to shuttle between 4 points in a rectangle arrangement by connecting the sensors in pairs, so the control box thinks it's moving the train between the two endpoints. Also, you can use the shuttle mode at the ends and insert the once around mode for the middle stations by using a single throttle, two control boxes, multiple power feeds, isolated sections and daisy chaining the middle station sensors (just watch the polarity of the sensors and the power feeds). This allows combining multiple automation units to construct a more complex movement pattern.

 

This (in theory) would also allow multiple trains on the same power district, but they would be run from the same controller and could potentially catch up to each other, so it's not recommended. (This is why i built a home made controller to run two trains at the same time on the same line, in opposing directions and still keep them synchronized.)

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katoftw

So if I wanted to use program 2 to shuttle a tram back and forth on 2 lines, and the have the tram stop at a few stations in between, then I'd need 2 TCS controllers?

 

If that is the case, then might start looking at the RU2-1 again, cos it will be a much cheaper option.

Edited by katoftw

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kvp

If you use a program that contains stops in the middle, then no, that will work alone. I was speaking about combining things, like the 3 train shuttle with stops in the middle.

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katoftw

Does program 2 have stops in the middle?  It already has 2 end stops and 2 points controlled.

Edited by katoftw

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