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Transformer Cord Residue

Kim has this question for readers:

“When I unpacked my O gauge Pennsylvania Flyer Train Set for under my Christmas tree this year, I noticed on my transformer cord that there is some kind of white paper like sticky substance, here and there on the cord. Is it safe to use? I have been trying to peel it off with my fingernail and wondered how, where and why this has happened. I am very careful with my set and I don’t remember this on the cord when I boxed it up last year. Thank you.”

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6 volt – 9 volt Variable DC Voltage?

Kevin has a power supply question for readers:

“Are there plans to build a power pack to supply a dedicated 6 volts and 9 volts instead of a variable dc voltage?”

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MTH Tripplex with Dropped Front Driveshaft

Dene asks:

“My 2 MTH Tripplex’s both have dropped the front driveshaft, so front drivers don’t turn round anymore. Does Anyone know how to dismantle the boiler to get into the front driveshaft please❓ Has anyone else had this problem❓ Any help would be greatly appreciated thanks.”

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Vaping Liquid as Engine Smoke?

Tom asks:

“My question is, can vaping liquid be used in smoking engines without doing any damage?”

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Red LED Glows Brighter – Why?

Online Train Club member Jaymie posted this question:

“I can’t get my green, yellow, and red LED’s to shine at the same intensity. They all have the same resistor value but the red light glows brighter which is weird?”

If you can answer Jaymie on why his “Red LED Glows Brighter” add a comment below.

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Where To Put Insulated Rail Joiners, Frog and Switch Turnouts

Ross H has this question for blog contributors:

“I have a reasonably small layout which I am wiring for DC operations. I am including blocks to leave engines when not in use. What I’m not sure of is where to position the insulated rail joiners in conjunction to the switch turnouts. Will the placement of the insulated joiner affect the placement of the switch turnouts and frog? Am I right in having the switch on the mainline or approaching block? What else do I need to know please?”

Have your question published on any model railroading topic. See the “Ask a Question” link.

If you want to see the answers to Ross’s question on “Where To Put Insulated Rail Joiners, Frog and Switch Turnouts” use the Comments link to view, or add a comment.

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1947 Vintage Lionel Train

Chris asks:

“We believe our Lionel train is a 1947 vintage train set. Our power source works. The lights come on the locomotive and the caboose. The train went around twice and then stopped. We can tell the engine is engaged and makes somewhat of a growling sound, but it won’t go forward or backward. We have checked the tracks and they are intact. Any suggestions?”

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Connecting a Prodigy Express and Booster

Tony who models in HO asks:

“I have a prodigy express and a booster. How do I connect them? I don’t understand the instructions on the back of the booster which says run a cable from the ‘Factory use only’ port on the prodigy (I don’t have a factory only port). When I connect the prodigy to the booster with the telephone type cable the power light and pilot dim and blink and there is no power coming from the track connector on the booster. I also have an ac/dc adapter with a telephone jack on the end which I assume should be plugged into the booster. Any help would be greatly appreciated”

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Now Available – 7 New Railway Station Structures To Download

model railway station structures

Now available from https://www.modelbuildings.org

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Making Rock Faces From Tin Foil

making rocks from foilBrendon sent in this idea to share:

I make rock faces using aluminum foil – the stuff found in the kitchen. It is cheap and easy to use. I put my gathered rock (s) on my bench and wrap in a piece of tin foil. I gently push the foil around the sides so the rock is wrapped tightly with one surface exposed. This is so I can remove the rock (s) without damaging the foil mold I just created.

I then fill the foil mold with plaster. I found tinting the plaster with a few drops of paint color is good because it takes away the stark white color of the plaster which makes it easier to paint when it is dry. I put small pieces of fiberglass mesh tape which I buy cheap in a roll from a DIY store into the plaster before it starts to dry. This gives the plaster rock or rock face more strength when it is cured and removed from the foil mold.

When the plaster rock is dry it is ready for some final shaping or smoothing off with a craft knife or coarse sandpaper before painting. The rock face needs to fit in a specific space so some minor shaping is usually necessary. I also scrape and chisel out some areas to rough them up a bit to resemble crevices and indentations in the rock. I hope this helps someone.

Next time I do this I will try using Hydrocal and perhaps experiment with spraying the inside of the foil mold with a fine mist of diluted dishwash liquid to make it easier to remove the plaster rock without damaging it. Worth a try.

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Voltage Amperage Ranges With Dropping Resistors?

This question is from Ray J:

“What voltage and amperage rating would I need for the indicator LED’s on the control panel I am building for my O scale setup? My trains are quite old. I know the switches use a standard voltage, but I heard LED’s need specific voltage / amperage ranges with dropping resistors? Sounds complicated?”

Add your comment and view the comments below.

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Why Does My Train Only Run In Reverse?

Warren asks readers:

“I have a Lionel engine with 8604 on side. It has been boxed for 15 years. It will only run in reverse and there are no switches on the engine anywhere. I think we used to change directions by moving the voltage regulator to off and then back on but that does nothing now. It just runs in reverse. Why would this be?”

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Simulating Smoke and Steam The Cheap Way

Online Train Club Member Terry sent in this quick tip to share:

“I know there are ways to simulate real smoke and steam with smoke machines, but I use an old tried and proven cheap method. All I do is take a tiny amount of cotton and stick inside a steam stack or diesel exhaust. The trick is to not use too much, or make it too high, because that could look fake and even catch on the top of tunnel portals and other things. Use a very small wisp of cotton, just enough to catch and trick the eye into believing the smoke or steam is real and moving upward. It works for me.”

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Kato 22-018 and 22-018 Power Packs for HO and N scale?

Allen P asks:

“Kato is said to sell power packs that are for both HO and N scale. I find that a bit far fetched??? The model number 22-014. I also saw one with the number 22-018, so I’m a bit confused?”

Add your feedback and suggestions below.

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How Do Old Locomotives Compare With Today’s Locos?

Colin T wants to here your thoughts:

“I have seen an old HO blue box Athearn EMD SW1200 locomotive that I can buy really cheap. I like it because it’s nicely detailed but heard that older locos like this are not as good to run, being more noisy, not so smooth, and less reliable than their modern counterparts? Is that generally the case? Are they hard to service? I am not so worried about the cost (about $30 to buy) but don’t want to waste loads of time fiddling with it to keep it operating. I know how frustrating that can be. Does someone have old and new locos who could comment? If you have experience with the same Athearn ever better.”

Add your comment below.

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Ideas for Making Tunnels

Download tunnel portals here

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Locomotive Service Sheets

airfix hornby locomotivesBrian asks:

“Where can I get the service sheets for a Deltic D9002 and for an Airfix class 31 please? I have been on the Hornby site but I don’t know the numbers. Please if anyone can help?”

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Electrical Connection Problem with Arnold 2950 S-Bahn

Chris models N scale and sent in this question for readers:

“The wire between the end wagon and the power train severed during shipping, despite proper packaging. I don’t have much wiggle room to solder the wires together and am afraid to open the unit further due to accidental destruction. The connection is broken between the coupling bridger going into the the cabin that is the main power train for the locomotive. It is the DB Series 420 running from the 1960 to the 1990 in Munich and other cities.Arnold 2950 S Bahn electrical connection problem

Any suggestions? The train runs great and two of the three wagons light up, except the the one with the severed connection.

Use the link below to send in your model railroading questions for publication.

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