A Wonky Pizza in G12

For discussion of the issues faced when building a model or layout - how to replicate wood, what glues to use, exactly how much weathering can a Gnat take, a good source of detailing accessories - you get the picture, I'm sure.

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John New
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Postby John New » Fri Aug 14, 2009 12:31 pm

From years of testing software adaptations at work, my own models etc., all you can do is draw up a list of possibilities for the cause from the absolute basics onwards and work steadily through them eliminating one by one.

It also helps every now and again to have a day or two off the problem as the mind is much fresher when you come back to it

A tip you might not have thought of - Much less likely on two-rail layouts but one of the hard one's to find is bodywork shorting by touching the rail momentarily. When I ran my old Hornby-Dublo a coupling descender sometimes caused shorting out by touching the centre third rail if the coupling was droopy or the centre rail was slightly high. Is there anything similar at that spot that might be either catching underneath, perhaps shorting out underneath or maybe pushing a wheel set off it's pick-up wiper or similar?

A hard one to trace was my old HD 8f with sprung plunger pick ups in the tender for the 3rd rail. Every now and again the rear one stuck in the up position, going over the diamond crossing needed both due to the isolation gap, when the stuck one should have been the sole contact the loco stalled - here's the reason it was so hard to find - the weight of the train and kinetic momentum then meant the hauled train hit it up the back, that nudge was enough to unstick the plunger, the spring did what it was supposed to do, and off the train would go. Took me ages to find it as every time I looked at the engine from underneath the d*** plunger was working properly!!!!

Root cause of the stickyness - a past use of WD 40 spray as a cleaner/lubricant.

Both issues hard to find but I got there eventually so best of luck with your fault finding hunt.

Finally sorry to ramble but thought the experience worth passing on as it was such an odd fault to find.
Last edited by John New on Fri Aug 14, 2009 12:46 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Postby Oztrainz » Fri Aug 14, 2009 12:38 pm

Hi Nick,
I presume you are using graphite? If not borrow a graphite stick from one of the other gnatterers at the meet and swipe the top and inside of the rails where the flanges might be making contact. After an hour or 2 of continuous running and you might be amazed at the improvement. Don't clean the track again, just swipe the trouble spots with a graphite stick and soldier on with the elevated throttle setting.

If you have a steel ruler lay it along the top of the railhead on each rail and look for a localised dip. Look for light between the ruler and the rail head. If you find a localised dip, that might explain your dodgy running problem, but less than 48 hours out from an event is not the time to try track surgery. If it runs OK at 50% setting, you can always tell anyone who asks that your scale driver is heavy handed on the throttle :wink:

Have a great day on Sunday and enjoy yourself. You have done a great job so far
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Postby Steve Bennett » Fri Aug 14, 2009 1:03 pm

Only a day and a half to get it sorted :roll: guess I had better throw in my theory :lol:

If it was running fine before the scenic work, I would say that it is a good chance that stray ballast or some of the glue is causing the problem. Looking at this pic, it doesnt look like the ballast was tamped down, prior to glueing, leading me to think this is the problem.

Image

A stray piece of ballast should be quite obvious, so I'm more inclined to think glue is the problem, as it is pretty much invisible. Wouldn't normally recommend this, but running the end of a steel rule or the back edge of a knife blade along the flangeway at the problem spot, should get rid of any obstructions, be worth a try anyway.

Good luck :wink:
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Postby Nick Ellingworth » Fri Aug 14, 2009 2:12 pm

John New I really doubt it's a short circuit issue as the chassis and body work are all plastic and the couplers aren't attached to anything else made of metal.

John of the Aussie variety I am using graphite, even I'm not daft enough to not use it. :wink:

You're right Steve, it wasn't tamped down I just dropped it on it then used my finger to get it to shape. However I have already been getting rid of stray ballast and glue, the layout didn't even run until I did that. :P

I've actually found the source of one problem and that was some stray paint from the track painting, getting rid of that has solved the problem for one area however the other area still isn't quite right despite me removing the paint on the insides of the rail and getting rid of any excess ballast.

Still I've been able to reduce the power needed to get through that section reliably to around 42% (it sometimes goes though at 30% but not always) so that's an improvement. Although it's now up to 50% again as I've added a large chunk of lead to one of the wagons, the lead can be removed if needs be (it's hidden in the tool box with the hinged lid I made last year).
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Postby John New » Sun Aug 16, 2009 11:11 am

No problem. I spoke to you subsequently at Moming so know it was fixed.
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Postby Nick Ellingworth » Sun Aug 16, 2009 4:38 pm

You didn't speak to me at Moming, I think you've got me confused with someone else. :wink:

Anyway I'm pleased to report that aside from a couple of stalls and one over heating loco the layout ran flawlessly all day today. Expect photo's in the Dereham thread once I recover.
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Postby John New » Sun Aug 16, 2009 4:49 pm

Oops. Just realised I confused you with Simon A - sorry Nick!
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Postby michael » Sun Aug 16, 2009 5:30 pm

Hi Nick, just catching up, Waht a great job on the "little studio" I think that your dilligence has paid off handsomely.
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Postby Nick Ellingworth » Sun Aug 16, 2009 5:32 pm

Thank you for the compliment, I think the audience at Dereham would agree with you, or at least those that weren't distracted by other layouts which surrounded mine. :wink:
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Postby Nick Ellingworth » Sat Sep 26, 2009 6:31 pm

Well my track problems have got considerably worse since Dereham, I'd not touched the layout since the show and went to it after getting back from the Aylsham show to find that the inside rail around one corner has come loose and in the process completed wrecked the sleepers making a decent repair impossible.

Sadly it looks like I'm going to have to recover what I can (the building and possibly fences) and start again. :(
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Postby More_Cats_Than_Sense » Sat Sep 26, 2009 6:39 pm

That's bad news Nick :( :( :(

Any idea why the rail has come adrift?
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Postby Nick Ellingworth » Sat Sep 26, 2009 6:41 pm

Looks like the plastic holding the rail in place has completely sheared. As for reasons why it could be the summer heat, but the layout has never been in direct sunlight. I personally suspect that the Tillig sleepers just aren't very good.
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Postby Cross Kitter » Sat Sep 26, 2009 7:18 pm

Really sorry to hear you've had problems.

Tillig track is very delicate and I wouldn't recommend it for tight radii as the 'chairs' are really to scale and so very prone to breaking. I have even managed to break some of them on an HO layout with gentle curves :roll:

Another problem with Tillig track is that because the track slides so easily through the 'chairs' that it is even difficult to get the sleepers to stay 'square' to the rails on straight track :roll:

Having said all that I still use it for HO as the rails are pre-weathered and the points are flexible so that they can be blended into nice sweeping curves.
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Postby Nick Ellingworth » Sat Sep 26, 2009 7:27 pm

Thanks for confirming my suspicions Simon, if the Ho track is fragile I suspect the HOm and TT track I using would be even more prone to failure.
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Postby Jon Randall » Sat Sep 26, 2009 7:34 pm

Bad luck Nick, sounds like the time to learn how to hand lay track.
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Postby Steve Bennett » Sat Sep 26, 2009 8:21 pm

Thats really bad news Nick, though it is not unique to Tillig track, I had the same thing happen to Peco OO9/HOn30 on a layout years ago.
Luckily I did manage to rescue mine by inserting track spikes where the mouldings had sheared off.
It did teach me some lessons though when doing tight curves. Firstly to pre-bend the rail prior to laying and secondly, to leave a bigger gap between the rail ends for expansion, it's the expansion mainly that shears off the fixings.

On a more practical level, if you havent done too much damage, I would recommend a pack of spikes (RS01) from KB Scale. These should work to replace the lost fixings, simply use a pin-vice to drill through the sleepers and pin in place. I did this on a layout with sub 6" curves more than 15 years ago and it still works perfectly.
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Postby elcamo » Sun Sep 27, 2009 12:15 am

[quote="Nick Ellingworth"]Like with my simplicity sidings layout I've used superglue to hold the sleepers in place simply because it's quick and easy. quote] yes this "worked on my layout until Butterfingers dropped it about 3 times and the rails just poofed off.. :cry:

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Postby Nick Ellingworth » Sun Sep 27, 2009 7:46 am

Steve Bennett wrote:On a more practical level, if you havent done too much damage, I would recommend a pack of spikes (RS01) from KB Scale. These should work to replace the lost fixings, simply use a pin-vice to drill through the sleepers and pin in place. I did this on a layout with sub 6" curves more than 15 years ago and it still works perfectly.
Good luck.


Thanks for that Steve, I'll order some spike and give it a go, I think I might also track down a a 12mm track gauge, a 16.5mm track gauge and order some loose track so that I can give hand laying track a go. I'm definitely going to need a long run (by my standards at least) of 16.5mm track in the future since I've got a new Gn15 loco and rolling stock project under way. :wink:
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Postby Steve Bennett » Sun Sep 27, 2009 10:43 am

It's easy enough to knock yourself up a temporary track gauge out of a piece of plasticard/styrene

Image

Using a piece of plain track, mark the centre of the rails and use a fine bladed saw like a razor saw or small hacksaw to put a cut where the centre of the rails are, then open out gradually with a sharp knife or piece of sand/emery paper until it fits over the rails, I doubt you will have a file fine enough. Took all of 2 minutes to make this one. Will work fine to use to hold the rails to spike them, wouldnt recommend for soldered track construction though :lol:
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