Track Talk Live: February 2017

N-Scalers took center stage on the latest Track Talk Live with MRA Editor Steve Doyle and model railroad expert, Doug Hodgdon. Responding to a host of questions submitted live, Steve and Doug discussed DCC, speaker baffles for sound, adding weight to improve traction, track cleaning devices and even creating custom liveries and logos for our miniature engines.

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30 Responses to “Track Talk Live: February 2017”
  1. Claude

    I can’t be the Lone Ranger. How do you keep an N-Scale steam loco going? All of a sudden it stalls at my Shinohara curve switch on direction but not the other? I clean the track and reclean the track but my loco stalls even on a clear run. What tips do you have for this?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Claude. The first thing I would do is to check the point rail with a test light or meter to make sure you have power. If there is power, then I would operate the locomotive slowly through the switch until it stops to find out exactly where the dead spot is. Maybe the locomotive is lifting off the rail a bit. Another test is to use a clip lead with a probe (could be a small nail) at one end. Clip one end to the appropriate nearby rail with power, then touch the probe end gently to a pickup wheel. If that doesn’t work, try the same thing on the other side of the locomotive. That will tell which rail is dead. Let me know how you make out.

      Reply
  2. Errol

    I’m putting together a new HO layout at home and having trouble with couplers. I’m using or installing magna-matic couplers with the rectangular brass inserts. But I can seem to get the inserts right so the couplers will move back to center the way they are supposed to. One side may work but no push from the other side. Any ideas??

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Errol. First I would check for burrs in the gear box or on the coupler shank. File if need be. You can bend in the spring “fingers” a bit to get more “spring”. Make sure that the coupler isn’t binding in the box. Lastly, you can apply Kadee powdered teflon lubricant to the coupler shank. That should do it. Good luck. Thanks for the question.

      Reply
  3. Jerry

    I am adding a round house/ turn table with a yard containing four or more ladders. They will only be six foot long or less. What are the best turnouts to use? My layout is HO scale with code 83 Atlas track.

    Reply
  4. Tom

    What is the best method for removing factory road numbers and replacing them (N scale)?

    Reply
  5. Bruno

    Hi, I’m new in model railroading and starting to build my HO layout, I have question about wiring. I’ve never done soldering so I was wondering if using t-taps to go from my bus wires to my end points ,which I would solder or screw in depending on the use, would be good enough or I should get my hands dirty and solder everything?

    Reply
  6. Michael

    What is the best material to use for making a baffle for my n scale sound decoder speaker for my Kato FEF. Can I use the insulation like we use for the platform and mountains?

    Reply
  7. TERRY W

    How in the world do you make a “cascading waterfall” and make it look real?

    Reply
  8. Dan

    What do you think about Rail Pro as an operating system? I am really impressed with it, but have not bought it yet as I am now building my layout.

    Reply
  9. TERRY W

    I have installed digitrax SDH166D fx decoder w/sound..however after installing there is vary little sound…any ideas why?

    Reply
  10. Nick Kulp

    On Bachmann EZ Command, the programming was incomplete. Reset and start over.

    Reply
  11. Barry

    Kalmbach has some books on harbor ops… plus their waterfront kits contain great op details.

    Reply
  12. Pete Vassler

    I have a DCC question:
    I’ve been struggling with an intermittent stalling problem on my layout equipped with NCE, and using cabs that are either tethered or radio, the problem exists. When a loco stalls it acts as a short everywhere in the district (my layout has 4 separate power districts, one being a reverser for the wye and reverse loop) and shuts down the other locos in the district momentarily, then it all starts up again…then stalls and starts up again anywhere from 1 to 6 or 7 times in a row. It happens in different places, sometimes on perfectly straight track, on two of the districts and the reverser district. The fourth district which is the logging branch is problem free. Sometimes trains sail around the layout with no problem, but not for long…and this ‘gremlin’ returns. This problem did not show up in the early years after installing the NCE system–but now occurs with all my locomotives, some more often than with others and acts differently in different directions of travel. It’s like an unpredictable, moveable ‘gremlin’, if you will…and drives me and my guest operators crazzzy. The sound locos suddenly going silent and starting and stopping only emphasizes the agony for my guests.

    I recently changed out all my rolling stock wheels from plastic to metal–no change. Widened the gaps a little in the rail of the isolated reverser section and filled in with styrene so the wheels don’t span the gaps–no change. I’ve gone thru the operating manual and gone online for help to no avail. Tearing my hair out–need help! Thanks. Pete Vassler

    Reply
  13. Lou Grasso

    why would an mth premier o scale locomotive engine burn out while not running? Track power on only

    Reply
  14. John

    I want to understand the purpose or make up of a railyard. How to decide number of main lines running through and how siding should be set up.

    Thanks for your answer,
    John

    Reply
  15. Jim

    HO scale. Where can a guy find the track plan for the Inyo and White Mtn layout. It is a 9×11 and it has even a short narrow gauge run to the mining area. Looking for switch or turnouts etc

    Reply
  16. bob

    why cant you people send dvds etc to Australia VIA PAYPAL as I am interested in quite a few of your videos etc Why cant you send by just allowing downloading as required over a period of time It annoys me that the ones I do watch are absolutely just cut short of giving anybody information . Am I expecting anything out of this discussion not really . Typical Yanks keep it to your selves

    Reply
  17. Garry

    HI I live in Australia, Been modelling for 50 years Have a business card that I say , I make small loco axles and gears and this is the only place that it is displayed and yet I got an email from a man in Canada (email Lbtrains@mullum.com.au) so It goes to show that you do not have to do extensive adverts. I saw a video that show how to lay flex track , I have not done same length rail joining for 35 years I always offset all joins except at turnout, Happy modeling

    Reply
  18. jeff

    Thank you for all you both do,helping us getting back into trains again,and for all newcomers .My lifetime dream after I took down my first layout 45 yrs ago was when I retire I would build my dream layout.A lot has changed but then again not so much,my first one back in is dc with blocks(old timer here lol)Question please??I joined the acadamy and dont understand how watching the videos work I dont recieve the premeum ones at all?

    Reply