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First Base Board - Baseboards. - Getting You Started. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Wed Mar 12th, 2014 10:44 pm
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Chris Haigh
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I'm drifting towards the steam but may venture into the early diesel locos running hopefully (£££) on a DCC setup. Cost is the prohibiting factor. Some very reasonable kit on ebay and various other sites. Truth be told its like being given a sketch pad a small blunt pencil having your hands tied behind your back and trying to decide what to draw.

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 Posted: Thu Mar 13th, 2014 01:08 am
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Petermac
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Cash flow is always a problem Chris - whatever the level.

There are certainly bargains to be had on the bay but there are also some dogs. (don't ask how I know :oops::twisted:)

My advice would be to take your time (unless you're handy at doing repairs etc.).  Buy modern stock - you're far better off with 1 good loco than 3 bad ones ............:roll::roll::roll:

DCC locos will cost you slightly more than their DC counterpart but (IMHO) it is the future.  If you really are going down the DCC route, I'd caution against buying a cheap "starter" controller so, in this respect, DCC will initially cost you more. 

It took a lot of persuasion to get me to go DCC.   I was roughly in your position in that I was just starting out.  Not wishing to "waste" money on an expensive DCC controller if I ultimately decided to stick with DC, I bought a "starter" controller.  I very quickly upgraded that to a better "starter" (although, in it's day, the 2nd one wasn't exactly a starter).  Both now sit in their boxes because neither are able to cash in on the best of DCC.  I'd wasted almost as much as my current Lenz Set 100 cost me new and I doubt I used either of the first controllers for more than a month between them.



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 Posted: Thu Mar 13th, 2014 02:26 am
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Hi Chris,

Petermac makes a valid point. I started thinking about DC and fortunately only bought a very budget DC controller to test engines out as I had been accumulating them prior to starting the layout build.

Once I had joined the forum and submersed myself in the big debate ( DC or DCC ) I realised that, in my opinion DCC was the way to go. When you look at the various price ranges it would be easy to lean towards the cheaper options but I think it would be worth hanging off at the expense of not being able to run a train for a while if it means getting a better control system. The more expensive systems offer greater flexibility as to what you can do and you are less likely to grow out of the system as your needs and wants increase.

There again, if it just isn't attainable, then whatever suits your pocket and enjoy in any case......its all about running trains and enjoying the hobby at the end of the day.

cheers

Toto

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 Posted: Thu Mar 13th, 2014 04:05 pm
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Ed
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Hi Chris
 
Firstly, I forgot to mention how good your joinery looks, far better than my ‘rustic woodwork’ (which I don’t post pictures of :oops: ).

If you’re going to model 4mm/OO gauge then you haven’t got a vast amount of space and won’t be able to get a lot in, especially once you cut a hole to give access to the back of the baseboard. (Guess how I know that).

Don’t know if you’ve already got a track plan, but the link below has various designs for an 8’ x 4’ space.

http://www.freetrackplans.com/Layout-Plans.php

I’m not saying you should pick one, but it gives a good idea of how much you can get in.

As a good starting point, once you’ve got and initial track plan (I say initial because you’re sure to change it), you can work out roughly how much the track work will cost.

If you go with DC you will almost certainly want isolated sections, which will require appropriate switches and wiring, the cost of which needs to be added to the controller/transformer.

If you go with DCC you won’t need these, but the DCC console/controller will cost more than a DC one and you will also have the cost of locomotive decoders to add in, unless you buy DCC fitted locomotives.

As Petermac said ‘cash flow is always a problem’.

You may already know all this anyway, but since I have now probably totally depressed and disheartened you I’ll stop typing.
Whatever you decide, enjoy your railway.


Ed



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 Posted: Thu Mar 13th, 2014 04:18 pm
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Gary
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Just to throw my pennies worth in regarding dc/dcc, you could always purchase DCC ready locomotives and then equip them with decoders when you are ready for a switch. I believe you can still wire the layout as dc with isolating section, and it is just a matter of turning all sections 'on' and hooking up the new dcc controller and ofcouse installing decoders to your locos. Next time you are shopping for locos etc, take a look at the current Bachmann, Hornby, Heljan, Dapol range of locos. The majority are either made as dcc ready or dcc equipped. As Petermac has stated, one decent loco is better than 3 dodgy locos...

Cheers, Gary.



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 Posted: Mon Mar 24th, 2014 01:04 am
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BCDR
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Hi Chris,

Nice design, I'm tempted to use your approach for a wall layout (12" wide though, not 4', my back is too old for that!). Is that 2" x 2" (nominal or metric equivalent) lumber? I would follow Toto's suggestion and get some cross bracing in place (triangular pieces of 6mm ply works well, glued and screwed in place underneath), as well as cross braces on the legs (which are hinged?).  I see you are using right-angle brackets, did you glue and screw the cross-pieces to the longitudinal pieces?

I was in my lumber shop (not yard) yesterday, big warning sign up about lumber from the far east (China) being 14% moisture instead of 9%. 9% is stable, 14% will warp. I mention this because you already have one leg at the front doing a bendy. It's often better to use finger jointed engineered softwood lumber, which is dimensionally more stable than regular sofwood lumber, (and stronger and cheaper) and does not contain knots (which can act as warping centers). It always pays to buy wood with as few knots as possible. When finances get better it might pay to replace the current wooden legs with engineered finger joint or even some metal ones, which would only need to be 1/2" square (and you would only need 4-6 instead of 10). Stagger them slightly and more room for guests (or preferably trains).

DC or DCC. Go with DCC up-front, and invest in a decent controller with sufficient power to run 3 locomotives. If you're running with Peco track, go with insulfrogs unless you are prepared to do a bit of rewiring. Non-sound decoders add another £10-12 to a locomotive, I take a different approach and invest in good used locomotives and then install a decoder. If you're just starting out buy 2 with DCC on board instead of 3 that are DCC ready (or if like me, 4 non-DCC plus decoders). One of the DCC train sets is ideal for getting started but will be more expensive in the log run to upgrade. I'd go for individual components.

Nigel






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 Posted: Tue Mar 25th, 2014 12:17 am
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BCDR
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Hi Chris,

Just read the thread and the comments regarding space. If you have the space consider having something 9-12" wide (or whatever the metric equivalent) running off the back on the LHS at the same level as the baseboard. That's enough for 2 tracks, which gives you parking space, a small branch line or a mini-fiddle yard (or all three). Don't bother with constructing anything, use shelf components, the vertical slot type, B&Q Flexi system for example. Screw the shelf to the supports and it's very stable. Plus more shelves for railway essentials (engines, carriages, wagons).

Nigel



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 Posted: Sun Jul 6th, 2014 12:33 pm
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Chris Haigh
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Hi Guys, Had to take a small break away. Nothing worrying, just financial matters. Have had to put progression of my first layout on hold until around September. Going to get the mortgage paid off with Augusts wages. After that it's all downhill - apart from the uphill bits! Plus with the onset of the glorious weather way down west, I have also opted for playing outdoors - again sadly not with any train stuff. Soon be back up to full steam (pun very much intended).

Chris

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 Posted: Sun Nov 9th, 2014 12:31 am
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Chris Haigh
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Well, I'm back in the black financially speaking. House is mine bought and paid for. I now have a few extra pennies to play with each month. I've decided to go for the DCC option.

Question: Do all DCC controllers have to be run through a PC, or can you buy them that work in a similar fashion to a DC? ie not through your PC. My setup is in my spare room and my computer is in the small box room. 

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 Posted: Sun Nov 9th, 2014 03:54 am
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Gary
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Simple answer is no they don't. It all depends on what and how you wish to control your layout. I for one am using the NCE Power Cab, a simple hand held contoller. This system can be updated at a later date, if I wish to run more locomotives, but this as it is will allow for two locos to be run at the same time, without overloading the power supply.

DCC Cocepts have quite a comprehensive web site listing all their products and answer all those myths.

See Here : http://www.dccconcepts.com/

Cheers, Gary.



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 Posted: Sun Nov 9th, 2014 10:53 pm
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Chris Haigh
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:thumbs:thumbs:thumbs:thumbs:thumbs:thumbs:thumbs

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 Posted: Wed Nov 12th, 2014 04:37 am
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Chris Haigh
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I started laying a track, then I changed it a bit.

Then I changed it a bit more, and a bit more.

Then I bought some more track.

And a bit more.

Then I changed it again.

Then I took it all apart and started afresh.

Now I need some more track.

I suppose I could always buy a track plan book and go for set systems but I remember as a kid playing with Lego and making the model on the box. Then I'd acquire some more models, and some more
. Pretty soon I had a load of lego and I was making all manner of weird and wonderful things which all made sense to me. I'm having fun.

I've decided to start on analogue and move up to digital later. I bought a Bachmann Speed Controller, couldn't wait to get the trains moving. A friend of mine gave me an old analogue Great Western loco, coal wagon and a Pullman carriage
. I purchased a Hornby Great Western boxed set which is a fairly basic roundy round. It's starting slowly and gathering speed. Luckily the digital train runs on my analogue layout and the same friend has lent me a couple of his diesel locos and rolling stock to give me a taste of that era. I like steam though, I always have. All the rest of the gubbings will have to come later ie. stations, engine sheds etc etc.

I have to go play now before the layout morphs again :)

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 Posted: Wed Nov 12th, 2014 12:56 pm
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Ed
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Chris Haigh wrote:
I have to go play now before the layout morphs again :)


All part of the fun Chris.




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 Posted: Mon Nov 17th, 2014 07:39 pm
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Chris Haigh
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 Posted: Mon Nov 17th, 2014 07:47 pm
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Chris Haigh
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This is my first track layout. No scenery or buildings etc as of yet. The layout may morph again in short time. Still picking up the basics. Starting on analogue with DCC ready engines. May move up to digital later but couldn't wait to start the ball rolling. More rolling stock etc to be added later. Once I've decided on a more permanent layout I will add diorama

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 Posted: Tue Nov 18th, 2014 12:43 am
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shunter1
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Looking good Chris.Scenics can wait while you get the track the way you want it.Then you can start cutting up the cornflakes packets.
Cheers,
Derek.

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 Posted: Tue Nov 24th, 2015 09:08 pm
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Chris Haigh
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I am about to start with my first layout. I've finally decided on the track plan. Double roundy oval with sidings separate goods yard and a small station on a bend. Want to build a tunnel from scratch but with Peco tunnel portals. Other features may be added and it's very tempting to get carried away and spoil the effect with too many features.

My question is this. On straights I have foam underlay. Most of my track is Hornby with a little bit of Peco. Is there specific curved underlay for radius #3 & 2 or do I need to buy sheets and cut it by hand? Is there a specific bladed tool to keep the gauge accurate throughout? Is foam best? Ok that's more than one question.

I know this question has probably been asked umpteen times on the forums but they are so vast and the search criteria has to be too specific, searching 'underlay' throws up lots and lots of results and I could spend hours reading before becoming frustrated and throwing my teddy in the corner.

Anyone help please?

Regards
Chris

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 Posted: Tue Nov 24th, 2015 11:25 pm
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Spurno
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Hi Chris,if i understand your question correctly,yes you can get specific underlay for curves.The track fits in the underlay and mimics ballasting as well.If this is what you mean apparently it degrades fairly quickly.I used closed cell underlay myself but you do need to ballast this yourself.
As for the tool to keep the gauge accurate do you mean the distance between two tracks because there are gauges for this.



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 Posted: Sat Feb 6th, 2016 08:09 pm
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Lightray
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Hi Spurno
I'm in a very similar position to Chris gathering stuff together messing with computer track plans and having a simple linear test track with DC controller. I am wondering if there's a cheap way of providing track underlay eg from carpet type stuff. So I wondered what you meant by closed cell underlay?
Thanks
Ray

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 Posted: Sat Feb 6th, 2016 11:43 pm
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Spurno
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Hi Ray,just google closed cell underlay.You don't have to use it,some use cork.Whatever you do don't use carpet or similar as anything fluffy will eventually get in your loco running gear.Also you don't have to use underlay at all, a lot of people lay track straight on the board.



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