Author Topic: From Lance Mindheim blog Planning For Success in N Scale  (Read 5688 times)

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Spades

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From Lance Mindheim blog Planning For Success in N Scale
« on: May 10, 2016, 09:12:48 PM »
+2
From Lance Mindheim blog Planning For Success in N Scale http://shelflayouts.com/2016/04/497/  Interesting half of his work is in N.  Using code 70 joiners on code 55 rail, saves alot of pain and blood.

Dave V

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Re: From Lance Mindheim blog Planning For Success in N Scale
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2016, 09:29:49 PM »
+1
Interesting that he suggests Peco code 80 with Insulfrogs...while I'm having trouble with mine causing shorts because of the opposing polarity rails being too close together.

I'm not sure I agree with all of it, but Lance is a helluva modeler who's built many a successful layout so I'm at least paying attention.
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Chris333

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Re: From Lance Mindheim blog Planning For Success in N Scale
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2016, 09:40:16 PM »
+3
It's like the Jim Kelly column in MR. Every time I read it I feel it was written 10 tears ago.

Missaberoad

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Re: From Lance Mindheim blog Planning For Success in N Scale
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2016, 10:31:14 PM »
+1
It's like the Jim Kelly column in MR. Every time I read it I feel it was written 10 tears ago.

That was my thoughts exactly, while I respect Lance this advice is way out of date...
Understandable since his last long term N scale project was his Monon layout 12?? years ago.
Ryan in Alberta

jdcolombo

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Re: From Lance Mindheim blog Planning For Success in N Scale
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2016, 11:12:54 PM »
0
Well, here is my reaction.

For rank beginners in the hobby, I recommend Kato Unitrack.  It is even more bulletproof than Peco Code 80 and allows a beginner to get something up and running in a hour or two.  And the upside is that it can be resold for very little loss on the secondary market if you keep it in good shape and decide to "graduate" to flex track (or, you can just use it in a dream layout - I've seen some VERY nice fully-scenicked Unitrack layouts that look as good as anything you could build with Peco Code 80).

The advice to use Insulfrog turnouts is weird.  I understand why - wiring them is simpler.  But my own view is that anyone wanting reliable operation in N scale should ALWAYS use powered frogs.  He talks about doing this with ME turnouts, so why recommend Peco Insulfrogs?  If you're going to use Peco track, use Electrofrogs.  And honestly, Peco Code 55 is just as reliable as Code 80; use it instead, and it will look better - not as good as ME Code 55 - or Code 40 if you're so inclined - but better than Code 80, and anything will run on Peco Code 55, even pizza-cutters.

I agree with his advice to stick with Atlas and Kato diesels.  There are other excellent products out there, but you'll never go wrong with Atlas or Kato to begin with.  And if time frame doesn't matter, I'd go even further and tell a beginner to start with a cab diesel - an F unit - since they are heavier and less prone to stalls.

For rolling stock, MT is fine, but so is Atlas, Bluford Shops, BLMA, Intermountain, Rapido Trains, etc. etc.  Rolling stock has improved tremendously in the past 10 years and anything from a major manufacturer not named ConCor or Bachmann or Model Power should be fine. 

Yes, weight rolling stock that is too light - but again, a lot of the most recent stuff is much better in the weight category than what you could buy 10 years ago.

And finally, yes, go with body-mounted couplers.  If you don't want to do that, then at least don't mix body-mounts with truck mounts, which is a recipe for disaster, particularly with the sharp curves a beginner is likely to use.

So . . . some of the advice is sound IMHO; some of it not so much.

John C.


thomasjmdavis

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Re: From Lance Mindheim blog Planning For Success in N Scale
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2016, 11:39:24 PM »
0
I gave up on ME c55 joiners years ago, and was hoping no one would notice I was using c70.  Was a bit embarrassed about it- always figured everyone knew something I did not know about how to get them on without doing a finger-poke blood test.
Tom D
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Sokramiketes

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Re: From Lance Mindheim blog Planning For Success in N Scale
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2016, 11:51:21 PM »
+5
I don't think it's fair to label this advice as 10 years old. Lance is building layouts for clients. He doesn't have time to deal with anything finicky, nor does he want to deliver a finicky product. Sure Atlas code 55 looks decent, but it's not a bullet proof commercial grade product. Peco is.

Then, after the commercial experience, the main voice of his blog is trying to set people up for early success. Peco also does that. Kato unitrack does as well.

There's people on this very forum that try to pick finicky and esoteric, and then have relapses of hating the hobby. Very few people have immediate success jumping in the deep end first.
Mike

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Hamaker

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Re: From Lance Mindheim blog Planning For Success in N Scale
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2016, 11:56:40 PM »
0
My first three layouts, dating back to the late 1970s, were made with Atlas code 80 and Peco Insulfrog turnouts.  NEVER had a problem !!!  What did I do "wrong" ?
I started with nothing and still have most of it left.

narrowminded

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Re: From Lance Mindheim blog Planning For Success in N Scale
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2016, 03:57:44 AM »
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There's a hammer for that. 8)
Mark G.

mcjaco

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Re: From Lance Mindheim blog Planning For Success in N Scale
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2016, 09:12:42 AM »
+3
I don't think it's fair to label this advice as 10 years old. Lance is building layouts for clients. He doesn't have time to deal with anything finicky, nor does he want to deliver a finicky product. Sure Atlas code 55 looks decent, but it's not a bullet proof commercial grade product. Peco is.

Then, after the commercial experience, the main voice of his blog is trying to set people up for early success. Peco also does that. Kato unitrack does as well.

There's people on this very forum that try to pick finicky and esoteric, and then have relapses of hating the hobby. Very few people have immediate success jumping in the deep end first.

The blog post goes on to outline using ME track if you require better looking track, and using Tam Product frog juicers, as well, so I feel he covered the next step up. So agreed.

Sometimes I feel like this group looks for things to complain about when the waters are calm.


MVW

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Re: From Lance Mindheim blog Planning For Success in N Scale
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2016, 09:23:08 AM »
+2

Sometimes I feel like this group looks for things to complain about when the waters are calm.

I don't like your punctuation.  :trollface:

Jim

basementcalling

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Re: From Lance Mindheim blog Planning For Success in N Scale
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2016, 10:50:50 AM »
+1
I don't think it's fair to label this advice as 10 years old. Lance is building layouts for clients. He doesn't have time to deal with anything finicky, nor does he want to deliver a finicky product. Sure Atlas code 55 looks decent, but it's not a bullet proof commercial grade product. Peco is.

Then, after the commercial experience, the main voice of his blog is trying to set people up for early success. Peco also does that. Kato unitrack does as well.

There's people on this very forum that try to pick finicky and esoteric, and then have relapses of hating the hobby. Very few people have immediate success jumping in the deep end first.

Peco having the spring tension on the points is a BIG plus for someone just getting started who doesn't have the know how to play with other methods of keeping tension on the points on a first layout, which seems to be the target for Lance's advice.

He's also targeting his suggestions to a particular type of layout it seems to me. Other similar "advice" blog entries revolve around his style of layout - narrow industrial switching type set ups.
Peter Pfotenhauer

brokemoto

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Re: From Lance Mindheim blog Planning For Success in N Scale
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2016, 11:20:42 AM »
0
Some of the latest edition Bachpersonn freight cars are allright.  They come with body-mount couplers and metal wheelsets, which is the latest word in freight cars.  Their older stuff does appear to have been manufactured under contract by the Clunkifex Corporation, but the newer freight cars are much better.   They are putting the newer cars into their trainsets, as well.   The older B-mann cars are starting to appear in plastic bags with cardboard hangers under the RERAILED label, so I do not know if this is old warehouse stock or licenced out production or what.   If you want singles of the nineteenth century wood passenger cars, though, this is one way to secure them.

I find it hard to disagree on the advice to use Code Eighty, UNITRAK  or something such as that on first pikes   You can run into problems even when using sectional track, such as misaligned rail joiners.   To this day, I have that problem, and I check, re-check and run some of my older C-C or Mehano locomotives and MP freight cars over the track, as those will derail even if you sneeze.  If that train don't derail, the trackwork is supposed to be allright.  Still, after a few days, I will notice an LL FA and newer Atlas freight cars do a slight bump, as if they were running on old street trackage.  A quick inspection reveals the culprit:  a misaligned rail joiner.  I use sectional and flex track of various manufacture. 

 I do, however, disagree on the use of INSULFROG.  The ELECTROFROG renders far better performance.   This goes double if you are running steam (see Miranda's Maxim as explained by ke).  It is not that hard to learn how to wire and use insulating rail joiners (although Bachmann E-Z TRAK does not adapt well to the use of insulated rail joiners).


Someone mentioned using F-units as an entry level locomotive due to their generally heavier weight.  To that I might add a recommendation for the use of older LL cab units of any prototype, especially the FAs or FMs (while the Eries and DL-109s are good, as well, they do not like sharp curves, especially the DL-109---it does not like #4 turnouts, either), as they are heavy, pull well and run well.  The one drawback would be the difficulty in adding DCC, if the new modeller is so inclined.


If the guy who is the subject of this topic is building pikes commercially, his first concern would be reliability.  One thing that can be stated about Code Eighty is that almost anything will run on it.

drgw0579

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Re: From Lance Mindheim blog Planning For Success in N Scale
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2016, 12:42:06 PM »
0
>My first three layouts, dating back to the late 1970s, were made with Atlas code 80 and Peco Insulfrog turnouts.  NEVER had a problem !!!  What did I do "wrong" ?

You didn't do anything "wrong".  As with many things in life today, the insulfrog problem I had is a culmination of several innocent things.  I saw it after I switched to DCC using CVP's Booster 3's, which had a very fast short detection.  When switching in my yard at slow speeds, I found the wheels of my Atlas SD9 would bridge the two rails of opposing polarity at the end of the insulated frog.  I tried the nail polish trick and it worked until the next time I cleaned the track.  I then tried to grind some of the metal away and replace t with puddy.  That sort of worked.  I ended up rebuilding the entire yard with ElectroFrogs.  I also have a rule that live frogs need to be powered with an auxiliary switch, like a slide switch, frog juicer, or Tortoise.

One problem I found with Peco turnouts, is that over time (20+ years), the springs do lose their tension and don't hold the points tight enough leading to derailments.  Many of the original Peco switch motors have been replaced with Tortoises. 

Bill Kepner

altohorn25

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Re: From Lance Mindheim blog Planning For Success in N Scale
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2016, 02:48:02 PM »
0
Not to be a pain, but my home layout is Atlas code 80 with insulfrog Peco turnouts; I never have any problems except having to clean the points occasionally.  I can leave it sit for weeks at a time, go down to the basement, power up the Digitrax system, and trains run with no problem.

If I were to build it again, I would use Atlas code 55 all around for realism, but I don't have issues with things not working on the current layout either.
Nate Pierce
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