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N-Scale DoodleBug With Lights But No Drive Power

Paul writes:

“I picked up a supposedly never used N-scale DoodleBug the DCC version. After just a short time on the track, it abruptly stopped. The lights are working but there is no drive power. I am unsure what to check for. Any suggestions would be great thanks.”

Please add any suggestions below if you can assist Paul.

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Locomotive Pulling Power Formula

3 locomotives ho scaleOrjan is hoping someone can assist:

“A friend mentioned a formula I could use to calculate the pulling power of my OO trains, but he couldn’t remember the exact details of how it worked. He said it based on weights, number of cars, gradient percentage and some other factors he couldn’t recall. Does anyone out there know the details and how to use it? I would just like to know. Thank you.”

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Derailing Around Curves

Winston models N-scale and asks:

“I just purchased a new GEN 4 Evo. I love the look and sound. However, has anyone had a problem with them derailing? It only derails on 11″ radius curves. (I don’t have a 9 3/4″ on my layout). It always jumps off a quarter of the way through the curve. Yes, the track is level and soldered. I even added some superelevation. That made no difference. My GEN 4 Evo still derails.”

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Point Motor Extension Pins

Alan asks readers:

“I have point motors from previous layouts where the pin is to short for my new layout as the baseboard is thicker. How do you make extensions for the pins and what materials do you use .. and the measurements?”

Add your comment or suggestion below.

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How To Construct A Model Train Station Kiosk

This video tutorial runs for less than 4 minutes and demonstrates the construction of a scale model train station kiosk/newsstand. The model is made using cardboard and is one of two newsstand models available for download from the website. The models are downloaded in PDF format and can easier be sealed with a clear matt varnish spray of painted with clear matt Mod Podge after construction. This step is purely optional but does nicely seal the assembled model protecting it from dust.

You can view the full range of OO/HO, N scale models and download a free catalog here https://www.modelbuildings.org

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Swapping Plastic Wheels For Metal Wheels

ho scale wheelsArthur posted this question:

“I have a lot of HO cars (different makes) with plastic wheels and over winter want to gradually swap them for metal which I think will run better. What size should I get? I see there are 33inch and 36inch. Does the make matter?”

To view the answers or add your own suggestion, leave a comment below.

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Reversing Loop – Insulating Rail Joiners

Jacob seeks help from readers:

“I read where with 4 tracks I could install insulating rail joiners and wire a polarity reversing module, but I don’t really want reversing modules. Can I just connect another power lead to the dead loop section instead? I’m DCC by the way.”

If you can assist Jacob, please add your comments below.

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Rerailer Issues – What Am I Doing Wrong?

Ryan asks:

“My layout has 4 powered rerailers and I thought I would connect my first rerailer on one side to the control board and connect from the other side of that rerailer to the next rerailer and continue from there. I connected my main feed and all seemed ok until I joined up the next rerailer. My control started to flash quickly which I presume is a warning I have done something wrong. What? Thanks in advance.”

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Track Wiring Help Needed

Alex from New South Wales in Australia asks readers:

“I’m new to model trains and I need help to wire the 4 tracks. As you can see on my map I have 4 transformers to run 4 trains but not at once as they share the same track. Can you help me in wiring it?”

8x4 model train layout track plans

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How To Make This White House From Cardboard to OO, N, or HO Scale

Cardboard is recommended for the construction of N scale, OO, and HO scale models, however, foam board or corflute can be substituted on some of the side walls when building to OO or HO scale as is demonstrated in this video. Corflute and foamboard are generally too bulky for making N scale models.

You can see the full range of scale model houses and download your free catalog at https://www.modelbuildings.org

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What Is The Minimum HO Tunnel Height Clearance?

Kevin D asks readers for advice:

“I’m progressing with my HO layout construction and have some tracks already operational. I nearly reached the stage of building a long tunnel where the incline will be 2%. I don’t run double or tri-level auto racks or many high cars, but still need to allow enough height clearance. I’m thinking 3” to 4” clearance above the railhead if I need to rerail cars, but I don’t want to make the clearance too high and spoil the dark mystery of when the train disappears and reappears. What do you think I should go with?”

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Bachmann 0-6-0 Noise Problems

Ross writes:

“I acquired (for free) an old Bachmann 0-6-0 loco which makes quite a clatter from the side rods when running. I’m not sure if they are supposed to make so much noise? Does anyone else have the same engine and does it make a lot of noise?”

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8 Point Checklist For Servicing Locomotives

Michael R kindly sent in these tips to share:

I have had a bit of experience working on locomotives to get them working efficiently, so can share some things I learned so far. I numbered the key points:

1. Take your time. Fixing or servicing a locomotive should not be rushed.
2. An older or well-used locomotive needs to be disassembled to locate any faults or to be properly serviced.
3. That is the only way to see inside to inspect and clean everything including all the moving parts.
4. That involves checking and removing the trucks, U-joints, wheel bearings, gears, electrical contacts, and other things.
5. When taking things apart, you might find some broken parts. If so, replace them if doable.
6. Consider substituting spare parts from other locomotives that couldn’t be repaired.
7. Occasionally gears can get cracked and dirt gets can into things. Take your time because cracked gears are difficult to spot. A missing gear tooth on the other hand should be easy to see.
8. When your inspection is complete, you can lubricate everything when putting the parts back together. Use proper greases and oils.

I just tried to keep to the basics, but other people might want to add to my list.

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Peco Electrofrog Points

Barry from Lancashire in the UK asks:

“I’m about to buy my first track sections and am leaning towards Peco because they do electrofrog points which I will need for DCC. I’m trying to get my head around the technical stuff but am finding it all a bit confusing. If I went with Hornby instead, do they also have a type of electrofrog points? I had a look around and got confused because they have different names I think?. I just want to compare apples with apples, buy the best, and stick with one brand, so thought I would ask.”

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Video Tutorial -How To Make a Multi Roof Background Industrial Building

When making this industrial background building to OO or HO scale you can use card, and corflute or foamboard. Being smaller in size, card is recommended for N scale. The good thing about this model is that can be extended to the size you want. It is simply a case of downloading the plans one time and printing out one or two extra copies. The design is available in a tan color and the red brick texture seen here, so the two different colored buildings could be positioned side-by-side to add variety and interest to the scene. Although not necessary, this video tutorial demonstrates how the windows and doors can be cut out to further enhance the 3-dimensional appearance of the model.

You can download the plan for this multi-roof industrial background building here

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Trains Will Not Run

Mike posted this question to others in the hobby:

I have two o-scale trains on separate tracks with separate power sources (transformers).  The systems worked well for about a year or two, but now the trains will not move even with full power.  I can hear them trying to start, but no movement.  Any suggestions on how to get them to run please?”

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9 Myths Related to DCC Model Trains

1. DCC is complicated and too technical for new users and beginners.

Not at all. In fact, many users find DCC more convenient and easy to follow than their traditional DC or analog railroad models. There are no isolated sections that you need to worry about, nor any switches that you will have to throw.dcc technology for model trains

You can control more than one train at the same time without worrying about wiring and additional constraints.
Setting up the system and controlling accessories and other equipment like lighting and sound can be done by just pressing a few buttons. If you can use remote control, you can simply run a DCC layout as well! It’s that simple!

2. I will have to convert all my old and favorite locos to DCC.

Most of the trains today come with the option of adding a socket that can be used to install the decoder in. Thus, they can be easily used with a DCC layout without having to change them or discard them.

However, even if you have some older models of locos that cannot be used with DCC, you do not have to let them go.

The same DCC layout can be used to run DC trains as well, however, not preferably at the same time.
So, it is a good idea to purchase some DCC ready locomotives for your new layout and utilize the older ones in the traditional DC format within the same railroad model. Twin advantage!

3. I will have to get rid of my old DC blocks in the Layout.

It is not necessary. You can leave your old DC blocks in place and then turn them all on. However, the problem of reversing loop which will occur will have to be sorted out through a reversing loop module.

These reversing loop modules can automatically detect the loop and switch the power between the tracks so that a short circuit is avoided. So, in short, you do not need to make any drastic or major changes to your layout! A little touch up here and there will do the trick!

4. Only 2 wires are needed for DCC operation.

This can be both true and false. Although it is true that you need two wires to power up the tracks and send them the signals, you will need extra feeding wires to connect the BUS wires and power up the rails after every few feet.

So, in simple words, there will be two wires that will leave the controller with the signals, and then they will be distributed into a few feeder wires to power up the entire layout.

Actually, the DCC power BUS, the main wiring in the layout, consists of two wires, red and black, that can be attached to the track and make the train run.

However, extending it to feed the track every few feet will result in a more efficient and trouble-free operation. Also, some other wiring on the layout will include the feedback BUS and the booster connectors if used.

5. Without defining DCC safe or friendly points, my layout will not run.

DCC safe points are nothing special – it just requires that the connections are done keeping the right polarity in mind so that no short circuits occur in the layout. As DCC is more sensitive to shorts, therefore the point work needs to be done accurately and then soldered correctly.

To make the switches or turnout points DCC friendly, the polarity of the frog needs to be considered.
Either, it has to be made completely isolated from the adjoining rails, or if it is a live frog, there needs to be a switching mechanism present to switch the polarity so that the frog has the polarity the same as that of the inside rails of the exit track.

6. DCC involves computer control.

It is helpful to use computer control, but it is entirely not necessary. DCC can easily be controlled manually through the controller and the cab, and you do not need to work on a computer or use complicated software to run the trains on a DCC layout. It will just be like your traditional railroad layout – only with a touch of more ease and added control!

7. I am a programming novice and DCC involves programming before use.

When people hear the word “programming” they instantly think of complicated codes, computer interface, and complex procedures. However, when it comes to DCC programming, you can easily refer to it as “configuring steps” or “set up procedure”.

DCC does not require any extensive programming as such, in fact, if you are a beginner you can easily purchase factory-ready decoders and equipment that do not require any additional setup from your side. Just installing the decoder will make the layout work and trains will start moving right away.

The only “programming” bit that you will need to do when using a DCC layout is allocating each of the trains on the track a separate address so that they can be communicated with the right signals from the command station.
This involves just a few key pressing on the controller so you need not be afraid of it! When starting, just leave the settings as it is. As you advance, you can play around with the settings and make it more feasible to your requirements.

8. The layout will have to be rewired for DCC to work.

Wiring for DCC can give the chills to new users, thinking that they may have to rewire the layout from scratch and make complicated adjustments and additions to the layout to get the trains working.

However, this is far from the truth. DCC wiring is fairly easy, simple, and straightforward. Just the track has to be powered with the right polarity and the joints soldered correctly to avoid any short circuits. All your locomotives on the track will be electrically isolated, so you do not need to worry about individual wiring constraints at all!

9. There is no reference or help available in my area.

Having some extra help down your sleeve can always be a great resource, especially if you have friends in your circle that share your hobby or there are clubs where railroad modeling enthusiasts gather and discuss ideas.
However, if you do not have the right resources at your aid, the internet is always a good place to start. There are several websites that guide users from basic to a professional level. One such resource is http://www.dccmodeltrains.org

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Tutorial – How To Build Wild Western Buildings From Paper, Card, Corflute and/or Foamboard – Making A Stagecoach Station 3-Minute Demonstration

Watch this 3-minute tutorial demonstrating how to build a stagecoach station. The model made in this demonstration is OO, but you can also make this stagecoach station (with telegraph office) to HO scale or N scale.

Download the stagecoach station plan at https://www.modelbuildings.org

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