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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm about to start on the first module in my layout. This will be a 6ft by 3.5ft "fiddle yard", with two lines in and out and as many storage loops on either side as I can cram in. Probably a double switchover at the entrance and exit. I am using DCC and want to "future-proof" as much as possible. Eventually they layout will be PC controlled. I want to use Railcomm block detection later so that the PC can see what train is in what loop etc.
I'd like to use PECO (oo gauge) turnouts. The fiddle yard is non-scenic - purely a functional component.

My questions are:
1) can I use the new Hornby above-board point motors with Peco turnouts or is this a non-starter? If not, what point motors make sense. The scenic modules will have tortoise or fulgarex slow-motion ont he main lines etc, but for the fiddle yard I need economy (but reliable operation with DCC).
2) If I want to add block detection later, should I use insulated joiners to isolate all of the yard loops now?
3) If I want to set up routes (sets of turnouts that fire together) can I do this without the PC? (I have not yet decided what turnout DCC decoders to use btw)
4) Electrofrog or Insulfrog?
5) How does the turnout decoder tell the PC the curent setting of a turnout? (sorry if this is a dumb question).

Any advice gratefully received, espcially on the DCC aspects of this! - I mostly run DMU's and Diesel freight/parcels. However, I do have 3 rakes of mk 1's and a rake of 8 Pullmans I'd like to run occasionally. Are these best held in purpose built (ie long!) sidings off the mainlines somewhere?.
 

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I can't help with any of the electronics questions but would like to make an observation on the general fiddle yard plan. You say that it is 6ft long. Now peco's smallest (2ft radius) point is just over 7" long and you will need nearly the same on the adjoining track for a train not to foul the adjacent line. This means over a foot at each end, so you end up with a siding less than 4ft long. This isn't too bad but if you want to do the same again and have another siding that will use up another 6 or 7 inches each end. Ladders of points use up an aweful lot of space.

I'm sorry if this sounds very off-putting but it's best you realise it now. Try lining up some points or point plans to confirm what I'm saying. I suppose if the shortest sidings are only for DMU's and the next for another fairly short train then it won't matter too much.

I hope that you work out some way of doing it, Robert.
 

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Sorry to post again so quickly.

Have I misread things and you are going to turn 180 degrees on this board? If so, your outside radius can only be about 20" so you won't be able to get many loops inside that, especially if you are using double track entry and exit.
 

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the lenght of pointwork and clearances on a ladder are always a bone of contention.

If the module/ fiddle yard are to be one leg of an oval, then it may prove a better idea to start the ladder pointwork on the curve?

How reliable have folk found the Peco 3-way turnouts? Whilst the one I have is a wye 3-way, so may be of better use on a single track approach....but this sort of pointwork can save precious inches.

There IS a 3 way turnout that isn't assymetrical...ie, is 'handed' left or right.....but not sure who makes it..or where I saw it.....maybe Tillig?

there IS much to be said for traversers, lifts, turntables, etc for hidden yards....but even with traversers there is a problem with the sort of automation envisaged by the OP.
not impossible to arrange....but will involve detailed mechanics.

of course, for pointwork there is always handbuilt, tailor-made? PCB sleepers, not all of which need be present.....with interlaced turnouts, thus compacting things even more?
 

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Peco also make a surface-mounting point motor for their points. It's a very recent addition to their range, part number PL-11. The Peco Setrack points ST-240/1 are approx 18inch radius (No. 2 radius) and under 7 inches long, but are insulated frog only, of course.
It is possible to used curved points to start the fiddle yard on the track curving round from the scenic part of the layout to gain longer loops in the yard. Best bet is to get some Peco printed templates and try out various arrangements before you make any major purchases of track and points.

Regards,
John Webb
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Sorry - I should have been clearer...this fiddle yard is a straight through section with two lines entering and exiting (at each end) where I can hold trains for a while - with the ability to changeover on the mainlines at each end. Each line would have several laddered passing loops attached I think I understand the issue about space/length of the sidings...what length would make sense? My longest DMU is 3-car so that's about 3-3.5 ft. But - I would like to be able to hold longer trains. I suppose you are going to say that I need the yard to be as long as the longest train I want to run? I understand that, but I was hoping that I could leave (some) long rakes somewhere on the layout and pick them up as and when...

I will get some track planning symbols etc and plan this all out well before I start to build anything. At the moment, I just want to (try and) understand the DCC implications of this part of the layout. Thanks for all of your advice and guidance so far! It really is appreciated by this novice.
 

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QUOTE (Dennis David @ 29 Oct 2007, 12:39) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I know why they're used but I just don't like them. Never have and never will.


Me too.
To each his own I know but I'd rather use the fourth side maybe for a marshalling yard or carriage sidings etc. where most stock can still be stored but in scenery.
 

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QUOTE (Phil Leigh @ 28 Oct 2007, 18:58) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>1) can I use the new Hornby above-board point motors with Peco turnouts or is this a non-starter? If not, what point motors make sense. The scenic modules will have tortoise or fulgarex slow-motion ont he main lines etc, but for the fiddle yard I need economy (but reliable operation with DCC).
I have a potential solution to the economy question. Am I allowed to post, with a commercial hat on, details of a new product in direct response to a question? I'm not sure, even after reading the forum guidelines.

Andrew
 

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Do you know the Electric Nose site, http://www.electricnose.co.uk/index.html Steve Jones excellent compendium of experience and opinion?
He has a fair sized DCC / computer controlled set up for automatic operation, and reported somewhere on the site that the 'work out' that solenoid point motors give to the points, when used intensively in the fiddle yard, was breaking RTR point mechanisms. His plan was to switch to slow motion motors for the gentler action these deliver.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
QUOTE (34C @ 29 Oct 2007, 11:34) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Do you know the Electric Nose site, http://www.electricnose.co.uk/index.html Steve Jones excellent compendium of experience and opinion?
He has a fair sized DCC / computer controlled set up for automatic operation, and reported somewhere on the site that the 'work out' that solenoid point motors give to the points, when used intensively in the fiddle yard, was breaking RTR point mechanisms. His plan was to switch to slow motion motors for the gentler action these deliver.
Ooh - that's very interesting. I do know that site - there's a lot on there - I must have missed that! - maybe a re-think is in order, since I wouldn't want to have unreliable - or broken - points in the yard.
 

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QUOTE (dbclass50 @ 29 Oct 2007, 02:25) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Why not ? - any good reasons ?

An excellent reason for not having fiddle yards is that they don't exist in reality - only on models. Why not have a freight/marshalling yard for goods trains and carriage sidings for passenger stock. That way you have the added pleasure of shunting your stock rather than "tail-chasing'" all the time .And you get to see everything the whole of the time.

best wishes
Tony (10001)
 

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QUOTE (dbclass50 @ 29 Oct 2007, 02:25) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Why not ? - any good reasons ?

An excellent reason for not having fiddle yards is that they don't exist in reality - only on models. Why not have a freight/marshalling yard for goods trains and carriage sidings for passenger stock. That way you have the added pleasure of shunting your stock rather than "tail-chasing'" all the time .And you get to see everything the whole of the time.

best wishes
Tony (10001)
 

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QUOTE (10001 @ 30 Oct 2007, 07:56) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>An excellent reason for not having fiddle yards is that they don't exist in reality - only on models. Why not have a freight/marshalling yard for goods trains and carriage sidings for passenger stock. That way you have the added pleasure of shunting your stock rather than "tail-chasing'" all the time .And you get to see everything the whole of the time.

best wishes
Tony (10001)

Good points, if you have the room to make it look right - depends on how you operate your layout really. If you like to keep a good variety of stock out & ready fiddle yards save on handling & risking damage.
 

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QUOTE (10001 @ 30 Oct 2007, 07:58) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>An excellent reason for not having fiddle yards is that they don't exist in reality - only on models. Why not have a freight/marshalling yard for goods trains and carriage sidings for passenger stock. ..
.. and a loco depot or TMD as appropriate to the era! It is a good arrangement if the space is available, and particularly on a home layout which may be operated single handed much of the time, when the 'fiddle yard' can just be operated as storage; but with a friend or two round for an operating session has more operator locations, and the ability to do point to point schedule operations if well designed.
 

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QUOTE (Phil Leigh @ 28 Oct 2007, 17:58) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>1) can I use the new Hornby above-board point motors with Peco turnouts or is this a non-starter? If not, what point motors make sense. The scenic modules will have tortoise or fulgarex slow-motion ont he main lines etc, but for the fiddle yard I need economy (but reliable operation with DCC).
SPROG DCC will soon be releasing a new range of DCC accessory decoder to drive servo motors as used in R/C planes, boats, etc. Servos can give quiet, slow motion operation, without hammering the points, and can be a *lot* cheaper than tortoise and the like, e.g. 4 for £15 from Howes, even cheaper on Ebay (they can also be *very* much more expensive!).

The first will be 6 channel (i.e. controls 6 points) with local panel switch inputs. Centre-off toggle switches are used for local control with the centre-off position returning control to DCC. The switches can be individually disabled through a CV so a "signalman" could use ops mode programming to hand over control to a local operator.

Servos can be used for other layout animation such as level crossing gates, water cranes, and the like, that move through about 90 degrees.

The first prototypes are built but I'm still tweaking the firmware. Price isn't fixed yet but will be competitive with, and probably cheaper than, alternative solutions. Please keep an eye on the website, which will be updated soon.

Andrew
http://www.sprog-dcc.co.uk
 
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