Recent content by John P is a free Model Railroad Discussion Forum and photo gallery. We cover all scales and sizes of model railroads. Whether you're a master model railroader or just getting started, you'll find something of interest here.

  1. John P

    Any Way to Make LEDs Fade as they Flash?

    From the videos,it seems that Logic Rail Technologies is doing it with a microprocessor, which I think is the right approach. Edited to say I looked at their website, and found this: "TrueLamp2" feature provides realistic fading in and out of lamps (common anode/positive LED or bulbs) while...
  2. John P

    Powered Diamond Frogs ?

    I was just posting something about hand-laid turnouts in another thread. I've done diamond crossings too. It's a similar technology, but instead of a single switched frog, there are four. But at least they all switch at the same time! Yes, you could do it with an auto-reverse circuit on DCC, or...
  3. John P

    Back Into Model RR aft 26 years

    I'm in a club and I don't have trains at home, but that left me shut out during the lockdown period. While other model railroaders could retreat to their attics and basements and really get something done, I was totally deprived!
  4. John P

    Hand laid turnouts or store bought - a discussion

    Yes Dave, and I've been surprised to hear that some people do the ballasting after the rails are down. If you use commercial track, then you're forced to do that, but it seems obvious to me that the order ought to be ties-ballast-rail. Why force yourself to pick ballast grains off the ties and...
  5. John P

    Hand laid turnouts or store bought - a discussion

    I've done a lot of them, and they can certainly look good and work well. Notice the "tools of the trade" scattered around! By the way, this is "Jack Work's trackwork" style, all spiked with no PC board ties. It's code 83 rail.
  6. John P

    Servo control for turnouts, manufacture choices?

    Looks as if there's an opportunity for someone who can design something inexpensive and reliable here!
  7. John P

    Old Troller walk around throttles.

    If you're able to build electronic circuits, I suggest the Cooler Crawler. Or (ahem) I have a design of my own which I think works pretty well, and other people have said they think so too. But these aren't commercial products and don't come in elegant boxes.
  8. John P

    My Custom Point Motor using Servo

    I agree that a linear motion is best for turnouts. I came up with this scheme which I planned to get 3D printed, but ultimately I thought another design was better. This one was prettier though! This was the one I actually did have made:
  9. John P

    How about some OO, and no, not the UK stuff

    What, no outside 3rd rail? I'm disappointed!
  10. John P

    NX control on Android

    I've been using my time in jail lately to program a model railroad app! What the program does is implememt “NX” operation, a concept actually used in railroad control centers. It means “Entrance-Exit”, and what it does is allow an operator to set up a route through a complex area of track by...
  11. John P

    Turntable alignment copied from prototype

    If you can handle electronics and microprocessors, here's how I did it:
  12. John P

    Does HO Track Ever Wear Out???

    I recall at a club near where I live one of the track crew was complaining that people were careless about how much load they tried to pull up a winding hidden grade. People would let the locos slip their wheels, and over the years there had been significant rail wear. The maintenance guy wasn't...
  13. John P

    Scratchbuilding a turntable

    Another point about steppers is that you have to have a known "zero" point to start from. Then to maintain the accuracy all the way out to the bridge, you have to use a geared or timing-belt drive, not a friction wheel like ikallio1 and I both used. That's much easier to set up, but wouldn't be...
  14. John P

    Scratchbuilding a turntable

    I'm in a club where we've built two turntables over the years (first one was in 1980), but we treated it as heavy engineering, with the bridge, bearings and frame designed to be very precise. It's interesting that in the design by ikallio1, the bridge rides on the pit rail, and gets its rotation...
  15. John P

    Can you run enough LED's in series to not need a resistor?

    I was ready to say that current-control component could easily overheat, but then I realized it's not likely. Drop a full 12V across it and at 20mA, you're still only losing .25W, so it would be warm, but not melting. Another idea would be an LM317 voltage regulator used as a current regulator...

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