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How To Post Your Question – Free Service for Readers

Although a lot of readers know how easy it is to post a question on the Blog, many have never used this free service. Hopefully this short video will show how simple the process is; and also how to post and view COMMENTS; and even add a photo.

Unlike other forums this blog is moderated to eliminate abuse and annoying spam postings. I want to maintain a high quality, so ask readers to carefully think through their questions and spell check them before sending them to the Blog Moderator for approval and publication.

Poorly worded questions that have lots of errors, or lack detail, are unlikely to get published. I know this sounds a bit strict, but having this policy is one of the reasons for the Blog’s success (with 10,000 readers weekly). The quality of answers sent in by readers is generally very high, especially when the question is well worded with ample details to explain the problem. Keep up the good work!

Please share this posting with your friends on Facebook, by email etc. They might like to use this free service to assist them in the hobby.

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Click To Add A Comment  Ask A Question

Extension Plates for DCC System

HO enthusiast David asks readers:

“I have MRC DCC system and I want to put 2 extension plates in. My question is can I use telephone internet plates?”

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A Train That Weighs The Same As 27,000 Elephants?

Here’s some interesting and strange facts worth sharing –

Get the free downloadable sample building here.

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Ballast for O Gauge

Reader Rob T wants to hear your thoughts on ballasting:

“I am building a O gauge layout and ready to put down ballast. Is there a better source to buy ballast than Woodland Scenics? Woodland has ballast in fine, medium, and coarse sizes. What size of ballast would you use? I was thinking about going with the light gray coarse ballast since most of the roadbed here in Texas is from limestone. At $13.00/bottle I would like to get it right the first time. I enjoy this website and used alot of suggestions.”

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Which Track To Use?

Louis would like to hear from readers as to what type of track they personally prefer:

“Which track would you use for building my HO layout – Bachmann E-Z Track Nickel-Silver W/Gray Roadbed, or KATO Unitrack or Atlas code 83 track?”

Use the ‘COMMENTS’ link below this posting to add your thoughts.

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A Quick & Easy Way To Make Little Bus Shelters For Your Layout

Add small details can really add interest to a layout and make it more closely resemble a real scene. These little shelters are an example of a how a small object can bring activity to a railroad scene. They’ll need a bus and maybe some people waiting nearby or walking to a shelter to catch a bus… that’s activity… and that’s the kind of thing that will bring a layout to life. These shelters could also be used as small storage sheds in a farm scene. All kinds of options.

More info on how to make these little bus shelters here.

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Problem with Timing & Quartering Loco Wheels

HO train buff Peter posts this question to readers:

“I replaced the small drive wheel gear on my Bachman 2-8-0. I have spent literally hours trying to get the timing or quartering right. The loco just will not run smoothly. I don’t want to purchase a quartering tool as they are super expensive to purchase where I live. Any advice will be appreciated.”

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Locomotive Stalling But No Shorting

HO enthusiast Carl has this question for readers:

“Hi guys, I’m having trouble with my new BLI S-3. The loco runs fine, except on my turnouts.I have both Peco and Atlas,and it stalls on all of them. Not shorting though, as power stays on the rest of my layout. I’m at a loss, because my other steamers run fine. I have a challenger, a class A, and a 2-8-2. I’ve tried insulating the turnouts, taping over the frogs,and rewiring. It’s the only one of my 14 locks that does this. Any ideas would be appreciated, or has anyone else had this problem? Thanks.”

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Go Pro Camera for Locomotive?

GoProAnother question from Rick:

“Hey guys, I need a recommendation on the best (and biggest bang for the buck) video camera (Go Pro?) to mount on an S scale locomotive, and why you think its the best.”

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Transformer Keeps Tripping

Rick model S scale and asks:

“I am looking for a good strong 18 VAC transformer to power a lot of accessories and lights.  My AF 30B transformer keeps tripping and I think I need more power than the 330 watts it puts out.  Is anything available?  I’m not having much luck finding a supplier on the internet, but maybe someone knows of a stockist.”

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Back Wheels Derailing

Reader Rob L sent in this question:

“I’ve got some vintage HO track. When the train goes through the switch the front wheels go okay, but the back wheels go the other way and derail?

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Which Kadee Coupler?

David who models HO sent in this question:

“I just got 2 Mantua wooden passenger cars. Can anyone tell me what Kadees couplers to replace them with?”

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Solving Lighting Problems On Model Railway

N scale enthusiast Mervin sent in this question for reader:

“I have just recently started having trouble with my lighting.  For some reason my lights burn out. I am using the small lights for housing and such, but all of a sudden my lights burn. I am not sure if it is the electric transformer or if the lights are getting too much power. I also have some street lights, to be exact 20 of them, with 2 wires coming out but no way to attach them around the neighborhood. I need suggestions on how to place these lights and how to keep them light.”

If you can assist Mervin, simply add you suggestions using the COMMENTS link below his posting.

If you have a question you would like to submit to the Blog Moderator for possible publication, then after thinking it through, you can submit your question using the ‘ASK A QUESTION’ link under any of the postings on this page. This model train blog has more than 10,000 readers weekly so someone will have the knowledge to help you if your question is well thought out and clearly worded with adequate details provided.

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Backdrop Structures on Show in France

Model train show - Montélimar - FranceHere is an example of some background buildings sent in by club member Yanis G for France. Yanis shot the scene at his local train show.

More examples of backdrop buildings here.

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Switches For Turnouts

HO enthusiast Paul has this question for readers:

“Simple question … for Tortoise switch machines what is easier DPDT toggle with 2 LED’ s or a dual color lit DPDT… if the later, any suggested source? Thanks in advance.”

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Problems With Wiring

Bob M asks readers:

“I have a N scale 4’x 8′ layout that I am happy with, but I can only get small sections to work so I am clearly not understanding what I need to do with regards wiring. Thanks for any suggestions.”

Perhaps Bob M could add some more details to his question in the comments section as this will help readers better understand the problems he is having and know the solutions he has already tried.

If you would like to have your questions published, you can use the “Ask a Question” link below any of the postings. TIP – The best thought-out questions usually get the best answers.

 

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Minimum Radius for Trains

Tyson used the link below to post this question to readers:

“I am new to model trains.What is the minimum radius i should be using on the main lines for n scale and what is the minimum distance i need to keep from the track to the edge of the layout. My layout size is 3 x 6.”

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DCC Control For New Layout

Bob asks readers for advice:

“I am now retired and going to build my first system in HO. All new layout. I have obtained cheaply ($1 each) about 70 HO rolling stock. All locomotives will be purchased new.

I have space for a 12’x4′ main layout with space for a 3’x8’+3’x4′ L shaped extensions off the main layout. The main will be constructed first.

I am interested in yard operations but also want a passenger train loop.  Most of the rolling stock is modern ( circa 1980 and later) so I am expecting to build out a modern era layout that is intermodal focused.

I am a good programmer in many languages and very technically inclined. My system will be DCC from the start.  I do not want to needlessly spend money to get what I want and need, however, that said the cost of the DCC controls is not a constraint.

With the above in mind I am interested in advise on which DCC system would best:

1. Allows me to control the entire operation under automatic programmed computer control.
2. Allows control via IPad and IPhone
3. Allows automated control of block control lights, gates, etc.
4. Be as simple as possible but no simpler

I am not tied into anything now so this is a “clean slate” design. While I am not going to have a prototype layout I am interested in simulating as many modern prototypical operation aspects as practical.

Any guidance on makes, models, software, tips and traps, or any other help on deciding which DCC system is appropriate for my needs would be greatly appreciated.”

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Use Tiny Railroad Micro Controllers

A micro controller is basically a small programmable computer device to help hobbyists “make things operate.” It is clever way to realistically replicate the movements, actions and functions you are likely to see on a full size railroad.



Micro control technology can be used for:

Rolling stock and scenic lighting effects, street lamp lighting, lighting up of structures, emergency vehicle flashing lights, replicating a campfire or arc welding, tall structure tower lighting, block occupancy detection, turnout operation, motors/servos, solenoid, infrared, right-of-way signal lighting, current sense, crossing gate & signal operation, semaphores, flashers, turntable control, gate arms, draw/lift bridge control, fast time clock, DCC testing, scenery sound control, wireless controls, and lighting fixture day to night control. Read more...

The good thing is; a micro controller can be programmed to perform one, or just a few, simple tasks over and over again.

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Why DCC is so popular

A simple DC (Direct Current) transformer will give you a nice chugging locomotive going one way on your model train track, however, with a DCC unit you can have the flexibility of having an entire train-switching yard happening right in front of your eyes! That is the adaptability that is available with this coming-of-age technology in the hobby!



By using the Digital Command Control, you are opening up a whole new range of possibilities. A continuous electrical current is sent to all of the many things you have installed on your train layout, however, now you have a digital receiver installed in each various items. You can therefore control each and every one of them with the selectable controller and enhance the operation and, more importantly, the look and feel of your system.

The technical side of the DCC is, actually, not as complicated as you might think. In reality, a DCC system is usually easier to wire than a straight DC system.

More dcc ideas...

SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION

Submit Your Model Railroading Questions!

Before you submit your model railroading question please add some feedback, answers or comments to other postings on this model train blog. What goes around comes around... so if you can help others in the hobby, someone else may help you.

Important - Please add plenty of supporting details to any question you submit (eg. scale, solutions you have already tried etc.) , as the clearest and best questions usually get the best answers. Also, please check your spelling and punctuation as all questions need to be approved by the blog moderator prior to publication. Approved questions are normally published within a week (if not sooner).

Submit your model train questions here.

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Submit Your Article

Would you like to write an article and have it published?

Preference will be given to articles that help others progress in the hobby, maybe suggesting an idea for their layout, a quick tip or two... or perhaps a little bit of good advice based on your model railroading experiences.

We are all in this hobby together, so the more we can do to share ideas and help each other, the better.

Submit Your Article Here

Deciding the Era and Location

The choice of scenery you decide on all depends on what era and location you are depicting with your layout. You will need to do some good research on the railroad and its surroundings to make sure you get the scenery perfect (if that’s what you want).



If you are depicting a historical train setting or a certain era, you will want to use old photographs to determine how the scenery should be built and laid out. Remember to think through all aspects of the scenery. This is one of the best areas to really showcase your talents, so take your time.

More scenery ideas...

It’s YOUR Railroad!

Your rolling stock and locomotives might actually be the center of attention on your layout, but the scenic features that surround and envelop your layout is what's likely to make your train setup stand proud of the rest. Your selection of scenery and structures will add an element of customization that will make your railroad truly unique.



Scenery, structures, and fine detailing is a fundamental aspect of any good model railroad, particularly if it is intended to replicate a true-to-life railroading scene. How realistic or authentic you make your railroad is entirely up to you... and you alone.

Some enthusiasts like to replicate every tiny detail so as to accurately depict, in every aspect, a miniaturized version of a real life scene.

Others in this hobby adopt a more "free-style" approach and choose to mix and match accessories and features they personally prefer. Even though the purist will possibly be unimpressed with unrealistic or out of context elements, it is YOUR railroad layout so you can make it anything you personally want!

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