Date   
Re: Wiring a Helix for DCC

Mark Cartwright
 

My Helix is similar to yours; but in a double N Scale Double Kato Unitrack at 30' and 28" radius in a oblong shape at a 1.5% Grade. For now the straights carry all of the grade and the Helix flattens out into the curves. The overall dimensions of this N Scale Helix is 63 x 96 inches. (about the size of a Queen Sized Bed.
===
Each level is constructed on four modules, which are held up by all threads. Each module is 1 1/2 inches thick with 5 mm triply facing on both sides. Squared to the outside but rounded to the inside, like a football/track field; as found at a High School.
===
As for my bus lines...
Kato Drop down leads every 90 degree Quarter Radius approximately every 36 inches. And one drop down lead per straight module.
That is six drop down leads per level.
> Yes, I solder each section as well. Being very careful to set each section flat with top rail to top rail leveling. I clamp each two sections to  either marble or steel strip as I solder, then go over the finished/soldered rail with a variety of files, both on top and the insides.
These plug into Kato Blue Boxes which have been opened up and 12 gauge color coded wire soldered through them.
====
I have only tested this arrangement and do not have it currently in an operational layout.
The Kato Track was to be set upon CCW-705 underlayment which quiets it up substantially on a sub-strand level.
For now I do not totally solder my track. Instead, i put a toothpick slice of Dielectric Grease between each snap section; as I test.
====
This Helix was to be part of a three tier multi-connected layout in a large basement....but I have moved, my sleeping arrangements to a another location which also sports room for a layout.  So My Helix basically sits in the basement as storage for now.
====
Sounds to me you have a good clue on what to do already.
Mark

Re: Wiring a Helix for DCC

Brian Eiland
 

One nail per helix turn sounds like far to little in a helix spiral? Did you perhaps mean one nail per 36" section of track?? .....Even that sounds questionable.
Brian
*************************************


On Thu, Jun 7, 2018 at 10:17 PM, Don Vollrath <donevol43@...> wrote:
Yes Brian. It is the roadbed that contracts and expands far more so than the metal rail. When the roadbed shrinks and there is no place like a gap at rail joints for the rail to slide into it can force a kink to occur. If you have neatly nailed down flextrack in multiple places the rials will kink and make wave-like curves between the nails. So in a multi-turn helix one might be better off soldering all rail joints but only securing the track with one nail per helix turn. Now you will not notice the change in roadbed dimension as the track, ties and all, will move ever so slightly.

DonV

Re: Wiring a Helix for DCC

Timothy Holmes <taholmes160@...>
 

Im listening to this discussion closely, as I am about to begin construction of a helix

TIM

On Fri, Jun 8, 2018 at 7:57 AM Brian Eiland <railandsail@...> wrote:
One nail per helix turn sounds like far to little in a helix spiral? Did you perhaps mean one nail per 36" section of track?? .....Even that sounds questionable.
Brian
*************************************


On Thu, Jun 7, 2018 at 10:17 PM, Don Vollrath <donevol43@...> wrote:
Yes Brian. It is the roadbed that contracts and expands far more so than the metal rail. When the roadbed shrinks and there is no place like a gap at rail joints for the rail to slide into it can force a kink to occur. If you have neatly nailed down flextrack in multiple places the rials will kink and make wave-like curves between the nails. So in a multi-turn helix one might be better off soldering all rail joints but only securing the track with one nail per helix turn. Now you will not notice the change in roadbed dimension as the track, ties and all, will move ever so slightly.

DonV

--

Tim 

San Luis and Rio Grande

Re: Wiring a Helix for DCC

Dale Gloer
 
Edited

For what it's worth, on my previous layout I had a 4 turn, 2 track helix in HO with a 27 inch radius.  Each turn was split into 2 parts with detection on each part.  I ran the track feeders down the the track bed supports to terminal blocks that connected to current detectors.  This arrangement was absolutely trouble free.  I used 18 gauge wire for all the track feeders from the terminal blocks.  Don't skimp on wire size.

Dale Gloer

Re: Wiring a Helix for DCC

John Cahill
 

I see where Don is coming from and how that would work. I used plywood and it doesn’t move noticeably even with significant temperature changes. 

Best Regards,
John

On 8 Jun 2018, at 13:28, Timothy Holmes <taholmes160@...> wrote:

Im listening to this discussion closely, as I am about to begin construction of a helix

TIM

On Fri, Jun 8, 2018 at 7:57 AM Brian Eiland <railandsail@...> wrote:
One nail per helix turn sounds like far to little in a helix spiral? Did you perhaps mean one nail per 36" section of track?? .....Even that sounds questionable.
Brian
*************************************


On Thu, Jun 7, 2018 at 10:17 PM, Don Vollrath <donevol43@...> wrote:
Yes Brian. It is the roadbed that contracts and expands far more so than the metal rail. When the roadbed shrinks and there is no place like a gap at rail joints for the rail to slide into it can force a kink to occur. If you have neatly nailed down flextrack in multiple places the rials will kink and make wave-like curves between the nails. So in a multi-turn helix one might be better off soldering all rail joints but only securing the track with one nail per helix turn. Now you will not notice the change in roadbed dimension as the track, ties and all, will move ever so slightly.

DonV

--

Tim 

San Luis and Rio Grande

Re: Wiring a Helix for DCC

Vollrath, Don <don.vollrath@...>
 

A good alternate is to use typical slip-joint type rail joiners with a slight gap in the rails to allow for track-bed movement. Firmly anchor the ties on both sides of each rail joint to help prevent any kinking. Then add an electrical feeder to every section of rail not soldered to another rail with an electrical feeder to the power sub-bus to ensure there will never be any discontinuity.

 

DonV  

 

From: w4dccqa@groups.io [mailto:w4dccqa@groups.io] On Behalf Of John Cahill
Sent: Friday, June 08, 2018 8:33 AM
To: w4dccqa@groups.io
Subject: Re: [w4dccqa] Wiring a Helix for DCC

 

I see where Don is coming from and how that would work. I used plywood and it doesn’t move noticeably even with significant temperature changes. 

Best Regards,

John


On 8 Jun 2018, at 13:28, Timothy Holmes <taholmes160@...> wrote:

Im listening to this discussion closely, as I am about to begin construction of a helix

 

TIM

 

On Fri, Jun 8, 2018 at 7:57 AM Brian Eiland <railandsail@...> wrote:

One nail per helix turn sounds like far to little in a helix spiral? Did you perhaps mean one nail per 36" section of track?? .....Even that sounds questionable.

Brian

*************************************

 

 

On Thu, Jun 7, 2018 at 10:17 PM, Don Vollrath <donevol43@...> wrote:

Yes Brian. It is the roadbed that contracts and expands far more so than the metal rail. When the roadbed shrinks and there is no place like a gap at rail joints for the rail to slide into it can force a kink to occur. If you have neatly nailed down flextrack in multiple places the rials will kink and make wave-like curves between the nails. So in a multi-turn helix one might be better off soldering all rail joints but only securing the track with one nail per helix turn. Now you will not notice the change in roadbed dimension as the track, ties and all, will move ever so slightly.

DonV

 

--

Tim 

San Luis and Rio Grande

Re: Wiring a Helix for DCC

Stephen Lamb
 

This is how I constructed my helix:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PueNBxQd8No

The Bus is clipped to the inner edge of each 9.5mm thk board which are cut out in 120deg arcs using a template which also positition holes for the M12 screwed rod stantions. Each length of rail has a soldered tail running from the bus and completed as each level is added.

Re: Hello

Tim Bowser
 

Required post to verify I'm not a spamming troll.  :-)

I'm returning to the hobby after a 20-year gap, continuing the march away from DC block control, to Bob Keller's "Onboard" pre-DCC walkaround cab, and now the NCE ProCab (PH-Pro-R) DCC system.  I managed to get a simple Free-Mo module wired almost properly (neglected to spiral wind the track bus to fend off signal corruption), and from reading here and Mark Gurries' posts, need to gap a test oval's rails for pretty much the same reasons.

This DCC, it isn't your grandpa's power packs.

Tim B.

Re: Wiring a Helix for DCC

Dale Gloer
 

John,  the expansion/contraction issue with any kind of wood is mostly related to the humidity of the environment, not so much on temperature.  Plywood should move a lot less than dimension lumber but is not immune to it.  I live in a semi-desert climate with large differences between summer and winter temperatures and therefore large swings in humidity.  My benchwork is all plywood and I still get issues with seasonal expansion and contraction.

Dale Gloer

Re: Wiring a Helix for DCC

Stephen Lamb
 

I sealed all surfaces and edges of the plywood segments with a 50/50 water/PVA mix.and have not experienced any problems with expansion or contraction although the monitored humidity fluctuates between 45% and 84% with temperatures between +5degC and 24degC. The shed  has automatic frost protection that kicks in at +5degC. The inner walls are lined with plywood to inhibit condensation and are constructed with vapour barrier membrane/50mm polystyrene insulation and 50mm air gap as so are the walls and ceiling. There are adjustable slots in the ceiling to provide ventilation.

Helix

Jerry Kramer
 

Information is helpful but duplicates what I have. Just trying to get it built period. I have a birth disability that prevents me from assembling.


Sent from XFINITY Connect Application

Re: Wiring a Helix for DCC

Charles Brumbelow
 

Has anyone experimented with sealing the roadbed to reduce expansion and contraction? Shellac might be satisfactory and inexpensive.

Charles

Re: Wiring a Helix for DCC

John Cahill
 

Guess my next layout will be plywood painted with diluted PVA to seal it! We don’t get extremes in temperature but humidity can go from very dry temperate climate to cold wet, and change can be fast. 

Best Regards,
John

On 9 Jun 2018, at 16:15, Dale Gloer <dale.gloer@...> wrote:

John,  the expansion/contraction issue with any kind of wood is mostly related to the humidity of the environment, not so much on temperature.  Plywood should move a lot less than dimension lumber but is not immune to it.  I live in a semi-desert climate with large differences between summer and winter temperatures and therefore large swings in humidity.  My benchwork is all plywood and I still get issues with seasonal expansion and contraction.

Dale Gloer

Re: Wiring a Helix for DCC

Brian Eiland
 

PVA,....basically wood glues we use so often?

I also found this...
http://www.instructables.com/topics/What-is-the-difference-between-PVA-glue-and-Elmers/

On Sat, Jun 9, 2018 at 6:48 PM, John Cahill <johncahill25@...> wrote:
Guess my next layout will be plywood painted with diluted PVA to seal it! We don’t get extremes in temperature but humidity can go from very dry temperate climate to cold wet, and change can be fast. 

Best Regards,
John

On 9 Jun 2018, at 16:15, Dale Gloer <dale.gloer@...> wrote:

John,  the expansion/contraction issue with any kind of wood is mostly related to the humidity of the environment, not so much on temperature.  Plywood should move a lot less than dimension lumber but is not immune to it.  I live in a semi-desert climate with large differences between summer and winter temperatures and therefore large swings in humidity.  My benchwork is all plywood and I still get issues with seasonal expansion and contraction.

Dale Gloer


Re: Wiring a Helix for DCC

Flash Gordon
 

HI Charles,

Interesting idea, but can you still get Shellac. I think that was made out of bug stuff. Everything is so synthetic now.

Google info:

Shellac is a resin secreted by the female lac bug, on trees in the forests of India and Thailand. It is processed and sold as dry flakes (pictured) and dissolved in ethanol to make liquid shellac, which is used as a brush-on colorant, food glaze and wood finish.

Ed S


On 6/9/2018 6:20 PM, Charles Brumbelow via Groups.Io wrote:
Has anyone experimented with sealing the roadbed to reduce expansion and contraction? Shellac might be satisfactory and inexpensive. 

Charles


Pinning, Screwing or Nailing Down a Helix?

Mark Cartwright
 

I have previously used Four Small long screws to hold my Helix in place per level. One at each direction + for the four soldered-up segments.
>> I now see where this was possibly not 100% Correct/Best > Based on Expansion Humidity and the rigidity of soldered Kato Unitrack.
Instead?
As read in another Post here...
One may not only be enough but best = So at least my Helix in Four Kato Unitrack Soldered Segments can expand/detract along all four lateral axis.
Further, for side to side expansion along the 180 degree curve at each end?
I am further segmenting each 180 degree Curve into Two - 90 Degree segments....and nailing down neither.
==> Only one screw on one side on the straight.
====
At least with Kato Unitrack in N Scale...Thank you.
Didn't consider it at first but Yes, I now believe one screw per level may be the best compromise.
Thank you for the discussion and shared experiences.
Mark

it was fairly easy to create 30" companion radius to the given 28" Kato Radius by cutting the Unitrack with a Razor Saw.
A further note, I first started a Helix using Kato V-16 kits but found their 19" radius, even in Super Elevation Not to be wide enough for some of my best Steam Locomotives. If you are limited in space or only to ever run Diesels or Short to Medium Steam then a Helix made from V16 kits might be good enough.
> Not yet sure about Kato/Tomix/Con Cor Bullet Trains; such as the Aerotrain or Zephyr?
> I have read that such trains may need a 36" radius.

For Humidity Issues in N Scale ? = Kato's Expansion Track?

Mark Cartwright
 

I am wondering if anyone else has considered or at best tried Kato's 3-4.5" Expansion Track where Humidity might be an issue?
https://www.modeltrainstuff.com/kato-n-20050-3-to-4-1-4-expansion-track-unitrack/
I know that Kato Unitrack can float upon a well planed/finished surface.
===
And actually, i had returned to the Hobby for many years before I was even made aware of such expanding track.
Instead...of even tempting to use it.
I have been razor/file cutting other specific needed cuts.
Though a few of these Kato Expansion Pieces showed up in a large-used Tote buy...I for now do not  plan on using them.
WYE?
Well much to my chagrin...i am actually tightening up tolerances all across the board on all  of my N Scale Equipment, from Track to Bridges and the Locomotives in between.
===
Here is an example of what I have also witnessed.
http://www.nscale.net/forums/showthread.php?32282-Kato-Adjustable-track
===
Instead...I for now believe the expansion in between Kato Unitrack (unsoldered) every few feet should be compensation enough for my environment in Northern California in a well insulated room.
Mark

Re: Wiring a Helix for DCC

Harlan Boyce
 

Just use a latex outside house paint. Get a light to medium color. Put a couple of coats and you will be fine

Boyce's iPhone

On Jun 9, 2018, at 5:20 PM, Charles Brumbelow via Groups.Io <mrb37211=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:

Has anyone experimented with sealing the roadbed to reduce expansion and contraction? Shellac might be satisfactory and inexpensive.

Charles


Re: Hello

hartleycom@...
 

John hello
Your 6 years ahead! How are you getting on electro Frog? I'm wiring my first two on Tuesday any top tips?
Best
David 
Twickenham 

 

On 7 Jun 2018, at 22:33, John Gondek <jsgondek@...> wrote:

I am responding to the e-mail. I am a new to dcc starting my first layout at 67, better late than nevre.

 

John

Re: Wiring a Helix for DCC

Charles Brumbelow
 

Speaking of helixes and their wiring...

https://youtu.be/-hPuNFjRTZA

Charles