Question about Unitrack vs EZ Track

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malibu43

Active Member
Hi folks,

I have seen a lot of the general Unitrack vs EZ Track discussion on these forums and others, and it's clear that Unitrack is recommended over EZ track. I have seen quality of turnouts be the biggest reason given, as well as other misc comments about general quality.

I have a full 22" circle, 18" circle, and 10 x 9" straight pieces of the nickel (grey) HO scale EZ track. This track is used for ovals around the xmas tree once a year as well as maybe being temporarily set up (for a few days) other times during the year just for fun.

Now, I don't have any issues with turnouts (since I don't have any... yet...), but I do have some issues with getting good conductivity. Everytime I go to set up an oval, I will need to spend at least 1/2 hour trouble shooting connection problems and replacing track joiners before I can get a locomotive to make a complete circle. This is really what's keeping me from setting up temporary layouts more often.

At best, I could get $50 (and maybe that's way too optimistic) for the EZ track i have, and then I'm looking at about $60 for a unitrack oval on ebay. That's actually not too bad, but I am going to being paying some money out of pocket and ending up with about 1/2 to 2/3 total track. I'm OK with paying a little money for a little less track as long as the unitrack can be broken down and reassembled quite often without needing any extra work to get things working. If I'm going to have to mess with it to get it to work, I may as well just stick with the EZ track.

So, on to my actual question... Will Unitrack have the same problems with conductivity that the EZ track has with mulitple set-up/tear-down cycles, or will it just be "set up and go" every time? How are the connectors/joiners different and/or better than EZ track?

Any other thoughts or advice is welcom!!!

Thanks.

Gregg
 
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Tasco26

Defendin Freedom Since 99
I use EZ-track and found it quite nice to set up and break down when needed. But that's where the problem lies. If you keep setting it up and breaking it down, the rail joints start to widen and get lose. I do believe that this will happen with the Unitrack as well. What ends up happening is I use some needle nose pliers and squeeze the rail joints until they make good connection with the track.
 

malibu43

Active Member
Thanks for the feedback Tasco and hoboblues. If, in fact, the unitrack joiners are subject to the same problem, my solution was/is going to be to buy another pack of rail joiners (I still have about 1/2 pack left) and another feeder wire or two to help over come any openings in the circut. That's pretty cheap (practically free) and should allow me to have my layout up and running fairly quickly. I may also get some anti-corrosion stuff (forget what it's called) to put on the joiners as I replace them to keep them from getting all nasty.

To be totally honest, I'm surprised I didn't get more responses from folks telling me to throw away my EZ track, burn any evidence that I ever owned any, and get some Unitrack. :D That's the feedback most of my google searches turned up!:)

Any one else want to give their 2 cents?
 

Chemdawg

Member
I for one use the Bachmann EZtrack, and I dissagree with alot of what people say about it. I have about 300 Plus feet of it along with multiple turnouts (both manual and remote), and I haven't had a problem. There are guys on here that use it that give GREAT advice on how to use it. My layout is in a 7 X 10 foot space, and is using ALL Bachmann track. I am soldering the joiners and track together so there are no Joints. I am also running leaders every 6 feet to a buss bar, so that I have power consistancy all the way around.

I am running all turnouts on their OWN supply, and the layout wiil be powered by a Digitrax Zephyr 2.5 amp system.

Even though the Ez-Track seems to be made to pull apart and reassemble, I don't think this is a smart thing to do. It does cause issues with connectivity. You can replace the joiners, however, the joiners that are already on the track are soldered on one side. I say this because I had to remove one to add a leader/joiner, and I had a heck of a time getting it off. So the idea that was given to just pinch it the joiners back together would be my best guess.

The biggest drawback I see to this track is the price. Ebay is your friend with this stuff. I purchased about 90 % of my straight and curved track on Ebay, and I buy the turnouts locally, and now that I realized Tower Hobbies carries it, I will purchase more from them too.

Hope this helps some.
 

jeffrey-wimberly

Dr Frankendiesel
Hate to break it to you but you wll have the same electrical conductivity problems with Uni-Track over time. Any time you have electrical connections that slide together and apart and get flexed up and down you will eventually get loose joints. This happens with Snap-Track, EZ-Track, Uni-Track, Power-Loc track, even flex-track. On a permanent layout this can be combated by soldering the joiners. On a temporary layout, such as a Christmas train, you have no choice but to service the joiners. This can be done by tightening them with needle nose pliers or replacing them. With Power-Loc track it's easier to just replace the track. With EZ-Track the tie spikes that grip the joiner must be cut off but even then the joiner is frequently spot welded to the bottom of the rail. I've never worked with Uni-Track but a friend of mine says the joiners on it can be replaced but it's not as easy as just slipping one off and slipping another on. At the time I chose to go with EZ-Track it was cheaper than the Uni-track and the availability of HO track components was better, not to mention that the LHS I go to carries the EZ-Track, Power-Loc track, Atlas Tru track and Snap Track but has no Uni-Track whatsoever. Of the brands I listed the LHS carries more EZ-Track components to any other.
 
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malibu43

Active Member
Thanks Chemdog and Jeffrey for your responses.

On the one hand it's too bad there may not be a solution out there that allows me to tear down and set up easily and often, but I'm also very relieved that there is no reason for me to scrap my EZ track and start over with another brand.

I did notice that the joiners on the EZ track were held in place by the ties, but it was nothing some pliers couldn't overcome. Maybe a better idea would have been just to use the pliers to tighten the joiners, but that's not a big deal.

I know the best thing to do would be to set up a layout and just leave it (allowing me to add feeders and solder joiners), but that's not an option for me (right now). I think a couple feeder wires and some pliers will be good enough for now!

Thanks!

PS - another idea - If I really need to, I could solder the joiners onto pieces of track in groups (2-4 pieces of track each) to at lease eliminate some of the potential connection problem points. Of course, that would take more space to store the track when I'm not using it...
 
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jeffrey-wimberly

Dr Frankendiesel
To be totally honest, I'm surprised I didn't get more responses from folks telling me to throw away my EZ track, burn any evidence that I ever owned any, and get some Unitrack. :D That's the feedback most of my google searches turned up!:)
I've been using EZ-Track since about 2000 with minimal problems. Most of the problems I came across were easily corrected. My current layout is all EZ-Track with just under a dozen turnouts. Most are #4's and the others are #5's. I had some minor problems with two of them, a #4 and a #5. These were easily corrected and I've had those turnouts in place for easily more than three years. One thing you have to watch is bowed sections of track. Just sight down the section and see if the ends bow up. I usually save those for use on spurs where a little unevenness isn't going to matter much. If it's used on the main the rises and dips caused by the bowed sections can cause uncouplings unless you're using shelf couplers (Kadee #119). I use these on tank cars and covered hoppers, #5's or #148's on other cars.
 

jeffrey-wimberly

Dr Frankendiesel
I know the best thing to do would be to set up a layout and just leave it (allowing me to add feeders and solder joiners), but that's not an option for me (right now). I think a couple feeder wires and some pliers will be good enough for now!
One of my cousins has an O Scale layout he puts under the tree each year. The track is permanently secured to a piece of plywood that he stores behind the china cabinet for mast of the year.
 

malibu43

Active Member
One of my cousins has an O Scale layout he puts under the tree each year. The track is permanently secured to a piece of plywood that he stores behind the china cabinet for mast of the year.

I have thought about that too... If I can find somewhere to store it, I may just do that.

Given the track that I already have, what I'd like to do is get a few turnouts and then have my main 22" oval with an 18" oval running inside that. I'd like to connect the two with a left and right turnout (making the inner oval a passing track with the two ovals sharing one of the longer straight sides) or use two of the same direction turnouts to create a crossover from one oval to the other.

Now, that may be less convinient to lay under the xmas tree. But I could just "permanantly" attach the 22" oval to the plywood with the turnouts in place. That would give me something reliable to use under the xmas tree, and then if I want to set it up somewhere (for a few days at a time) and get more use out of it I could just add the inner oval and deal with any connection problems that pop up...

Hmm... I have a large table on the patio in the back yard that would support a 4x8 piece of plywood perfectly. The patio roof would allow me to use it rain or shine...

OK. Just gotta find somewhere to store the 4x8 when it's not in use...
 

malibu43

Active Member
Yes, you sure did!

Finding some place to store a 4x8 piece of plywood wouldn't be a big deal if storage space wasn't already taken up with guitars, guitar cases, amps, RC planes, RC plane parts, mountain bike, mountain bike parts, paintball gun, paintball equipment, and a whole mess of other stuff I barely have room to keep and don't have time to use.

So don't ask me why I'm trying to cram a train layout into the mix as well!!!
 

jeffrey-wimberly

Dr Frankendiesel
Sounds like it's about time to look at what you have and decide what you have time for. I got rid of a very sizable Star Wars, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica collection some years ago to make room for other interests, namely model railroading. This also meant moving out a bunch of models and some Cox cars and planes. That was something I would have had to have done anyway when I moved out of a large house and into an RV. I have since moved into a somewhat larger 8 x 25 trailer and almost half (nearly all of the front room) of it is taken up by my layout. My video collections take up a good part of the back room.
 

galaxy

Member
I have had many "hobbies" over the last 10-11 years and stuff that I don't or won't use anymore. I have decide MRRing is IT. No more hobbies. ANd now to get rid of some stuff that I have left over form some of my other hobbies is a pain, and wish I could adequately recoup just a fraction of the money I spent on them, but won't be able to.
If I get rid of some of the other stuff from other hobbies, I might actually have more room for MRRing stuf and layout!
If I decide to pack it in on MRRing {gasp!} I will NOT get involved with another hobby.
To much expense, too much stuff, and too much left over when I am done "playing" at that hobby.
I can't afford to waste time money and energy like that.
Watching TV is a cheaper hobby than most, and my enjoyment of other hobbies besides MRRing seems to wane at about the 2-3 year mark.
MRRing has hung on for 5 years since I got back into it.
Also My Other Half shares my passions for trains, so it is a hobby we both can enjoy.
Now if only we had more space for layouts.....
 

TomR

Member
I'm trying to find a china cabinet to hide my Ham radio tower behind so I can hide it while I play with my trains....

Rogn65-1.jpg
 

malibu43

Active Member
I for one use the Bachmann EZtrack, and I dissagree with alot of what people say about it. I have about 300 Plus feet of it along with multiple turnouts (both manual and remote), and I haven't had a problem. There are guys on here that use it that give GREAT advice on how to use it. My layout is in a 7 X 10 foot space, and is using ALL Bachmann track. I am soldering the joiners and track together so there are no Joints. I am also running leaders every 6 feet to a buss bar, so that I have power consistancy all the way around.

I am running all turnouts on their OWN supply, and the layout wiil be powered by a Digitrax Zephyr 2.5 amp system.

Even though the Ez-Track seems to be made to pull apart and reassemble, I don't think this is a smart thing to do. It does cause issues with connectivity. You can replace the joiners, however, the joiners that are already on the track are soldered on one side. I say this because I had to remove one to add a leader/joiner, and I had a heck of a time getting it off. So the idea that was given to just pinch it the joiners back together would be my best guess.

The biggest drawback I see to this track is the price. Ebay is your friend with this stuff. I purchased about 90 % of my straight and curved track on Ebay, and I buy the turnouts locally, and now that I realized Tower Hobbies carries it, I will purchase more from them too.

Hope this helps some.

I've been using EZ-Track since about 2000 with minimal problems. Most of the problems I came across were easily corrected. My current layout is all EZ-Track with just under a dozen turnouts. Most are #4's and the others are #5's. I had some minor problems with two of them, a #4 and a #5. These were easily corrected and I've had those turnouts in place for easily more than three years. One thing you have to watch is bowed sections of track. Just sight down the section and see if the ends bow up. I usually save those for use on spurs where a little unevenness isn't going to matter much. If it's used on the main the rises and dips caused by the bowed sections can cause uncouplings unless you're using shelf couplers (Kadee #119). I use these on tank cars and covered hoppers, #5's or #148's on other cars.

Hey guys - I'd love to see some pics of your EZ track layouts. Have anything to share?

I'll try to post some pics of my current EZ track "layout" later on if I get a chance...
 




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