Haddock51

Lego Train 9V Extreme - ready!

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Posted (edited)

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After many years of dreams, reflections, planning (starting Winter 2011/12), testing (starting fall 2013) and finally building (starting spring 2014), this project has finally crossed the finish line - probably one of the world's most extreme and most challenging layouts for Lego Train 9V!

An indescribable feeling, great satisfaction and relief - and what a fantastic experience!

First some introductory remarks: This is not a "usual" but rather a conceptual layout with analogue power supply and -management, without landscapes and buildings (except one train station).

A particularly sophisticated construction with four themes: a one-track vertical climb, two double-track climbing spirales, a double-track high-level track 2.16 m above floor level and a rail yard.

The layout is intended for Lego trains equipped with standard Lego 9V train engines. It is built with standard Lego 9V rails and points, some of which are modified. So are all four 9V Train Speed Regulators.

With the help of points, the layout can be segmented into four sections (Loop A - D) which make it possible to run four trains simultaneously, independent of each other, with up to ten engines each. However, this requires more hands...

To avoid/prevent spontaneous decoupling, all my trains are equipped with super magnets.

I also would like to take this opportunity and thank all of you who have contributed with support, valuable advice, and encouragement during all these years. Without all this help, this project would have remained just a dream.

And this is how it looks like:

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More pictures, facts and videos will be added to the first entry of this thread

 

Addendum # 1:     Technical Data and Details:

Track lengths:

Total track length (incl.sidings and dead-ends):                                              approx.  170 m

Total "Tour" length (from start to start):                                                           approx.  105 m

Loop A  (High-level track 1/High-speed track):                                                approx.    32 m

Loop B  (High-level track 2):                                                                            approx.    29 m

Loop C  (Climbing-wall from level 85 to traverse on level 175):                      approx.    46 m

Loop D  (Level 50 and level 85):                                                                     approx.     21 m

 

Rails:   930 straight, 263 curved and 37 modified (4, 8, 10 and 12 straight)

Points: 13 standard points (whereof 3 are operated electrically)

              6 crossover points (2)

              7 half-curve points (1)

 

Track Design Program:  Track Designer Application (R) version 2.0 by Matthew D. Bates  (Matt's LEGO (R) Train Depot)

 

Electrics/Electronics:

1 Power Supply Unit VOLTCRAFT EP-925, 3-15 V(DC), max. 25A

4 modified Train Speed Regulators (4548) with LM350T regulators, 3A diodes, outside heatsinks (with a thermal resistance of 1.9 K/W), mini-fans and digital thermometers to measure temperatures inside the boxes

2 Control-boxes to operate 8 points electrically. The boxes are equipped with "memory-sticks" to memorize the position of each point since these are out of reach and sight.

8 PF Medium engines mounted on the electrically operated points

52 Power connections to rails

1 Control-box to selectively turn on/turn off 11 power connections

Approximately 1000 m cable whereof approx. 850 m RK cable 1.5 square mm

Märklin pins and sleeves

1 LED strand (4 m) with dimmer

1 IR-thermometer to measure heatsink temperatures

 

Construction:

7 levels:            Rail yard level (50 cm above floor level)

                         Train station level (85)

                         U-curve level 1 (115)

                         U-curve level 2 (145)

                         U-curve level 3 (175)

                         Eaves level (195)

                         Top-level (216)

Max. gradient:     83 per mille  (The gradients are built in such a way that all trains can manage to get uphill and downhill with adhesion, i.e. without cogwheels).

Min. clearance:  approx. 12 cm

Room dimensions:   5.5 x 7.3 m

Occupied floor space:  approx.  7 square m

 

Construction materials:

Wood (45x45 mm) and wood strips (20x42 mm)

MDF boards (6 and 10 mm)

Glass shelves (6 mm)

Polycarbonate strips (3 mm) and rivets

Cable conduits

Steel cords (3 mm) with wire locks

Perforated plates and angle irons

 

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Cable ditches and cabling towards cable terminal

 

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Cable terminal

 

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Power supply unit and cable terminal box

 

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Control center

 

Addendum # 2:     More pictures with some of my MOCs

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Glacier Express with Matterhorn in the background

 

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Trans Europ Express (TEE) "Rheingold" and TEE-VT 11.5 in alpine environment

 

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Swiss "Crocodile" (10183) with heavy RhB cargo transport in the steepest part of the entire track - a gradient of 83 permille!

 

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"Uppsalapendeln" in the midst of the  Swiss Alps - imagine if this were for real ....

 

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Emerald Night on its way up to the mountains

 

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Track Cleaning Train at Knivsta Station - ready for new missions

 

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Track Maintenance Train on its way for a new mission

 

Addendum #3:  Videos

 

 

Edited by Haddock51

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Nice layout and lots of work hours put into that, however I adore your MOC trains, they are wonderful!

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Nice trains, interesting layout design. I like the vertical change, it's different from what you regularly see. Do you have issues with them derailing from speed on the downhill?

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Whoa.  That's pretty sweet.  Definitely an interesting change of pace from most layouts, and it looks like you've really put thought and care into the design.  Looking forward to some video of it in action! :classic:

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Posted (edited)
On ‎2017‎-‎06‎-‎06 at 6:39 PM, Feuer Zug said:

Nice trains, interesting layout design. I like the vertical change, it's different from what you regularly see. Do you have issues with them derailing from speed on the downhill?

I have been testing now for almost ten days. There have been a number of derailing issues, particularly with long trains, both uphill (in the climbing spirales) and downhill.

TheSwedish Iron Ore Train with the Dm3 locomotive includes 24 wagons and 13 9V engines, with a total weight of close to 11 kg. Due to its length, the train is always spread over various parts of the track, e.g. ramps, leveled sections and climbing spirales. This implies a constant change re. the balance/unbalance between pull and push powers. It is in fact very tricky to run this train - and also the extended Emerald Night.

As I usually say when it comes to Lego Trains:    length is beautiful - but difficult to manage ...

Edited by Haddock51

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Ok... that's awesome. The... I don't know what to say, it's too awesome.

What are the boxes of switches to either side of the controllers for? Point motors?
I love the idea of putting the mountain backdrop behind the track! However, it looks like the track is floating, which is odd. I appreciate that a clean, uncluttered feel is what you tried to go for here, but I think at least some solid walls etc would help make the train look a bit less like it's flying! 
Nonetheless, it's impressive what you've managed to achieve here, well done.

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Posted (edited)
On ‎2017‎-‎06‎-‎06 at 8:46 PM, ColletArrow said:

Ok... that's awesome. The... I don't know what to say, it's too awesome.

What are the boxes of switches to either side of the controllers for? Point motors?
I love the idea of putting the mountain backdrop behind the track! However, it looks like the track is floating, which is odd. I appreciate that a clean, uncluttered feel is what you tried to go for here, but I think at least some solid walls etc would help make the train look a bit less like it's flying! 
Nonetheless, it's impressive what you've managed to achieve here, well done.

I just added a chapter on technical Data and details to my first entry which should give answers to most technical questions. There you can also read more about the boxes.

The double-track high-level track along the walls are mounted on solid 6 mm glass which rest on solid consoles (check the last picture with the Horizon Express). The reason to use glass is quite simple - you can actually watch the trains better from floor level.

 

 

Edited by Haddock51

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1 hour ago, Haddock51 said:

I just added a chapter on technical Data and details to my first entry which should give answers to most technical questions. There you can also read more about the boxes.

Thank you :classic:! That all looks very neat, clean and tidy, well done. How long did it take to install all the wires etc?

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Hi,

Your layout and display room look tidy and very elegant. A great design!

I am also planning a climbing spiral in order to connect a floor level with an "overhead" level, so I am very interested in the experiences you made.
You mentioned the max inclination used, but what average inclination did you chose for the ramp sections?
I guess the 180° curve sections between the ramps are a mayor problem, even though they are leveled. However, did you also experiment with inclined curve section?

Regards,

Xris

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Unbelievable project, thats a lego train heaven to me, tracks and trains :D

 

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Posted (edited)
On ‎2017‎-‎06‎-‎06 at 11:18 PM, Xris said:

Hi,

Your layout and display room look tidy and very elegant. A great design!

I am also planning a climbing spiral in order to connect a floor level with an "overhead" level, so I am very interested in the experiences you made.
You mentioned the max inclination used, but what average inclination did you chose for the ramp sections?
I guess the 180° curve sections between the ramps are a mayor problem, even though they are leveled. However, did you also experiment with inclined curve section?

Regards,

Xris

As a matter of fact, I could write a book about all the experiences made during this project.

The inclination for most ramp sections is 78 per mille (elevation of 30 cm and ramp length of 30 straight rails). Initial tests showed that this inclination requires four 9V engines for most of my "normal" trains, e.g. Horizon Express (extended), Santa Fe Superchief and most of my MOCs, except the long ones. (After a lot of testing, the Swedish Iron Ore Train with the Dm3 and 24 wagons ended up with 13 9V engines ...!)

I don't know what kind of trains you are planning to run in your display.  The longer and heavier they are, the more difficult it will become. This partially relates to the fact that these trains are in different parts of the track at the same time (ramp, leveled section, climbing spirale). The balance/unbalance of pull and push forces along the train changes all the time which requires an adequate distribution of the engines and appropiate speed at critical parts of your track.

To build the U-curve sections has not been a major problem (the rail curves are inclined with 1x2 plates) except for the amount of work (in particular to mount protection fences with polycarbonate and rivets).

The curves between level 50 and level 85 are indeed inclined (approx. 8 percent). I had to experiment a lot to get them right and stable. An 8 percent incline leads to substantial lateral tensions that need to be managed properly.

The construction of the climbing spirales was probably one of the biggest challenges and required a lot of testing, in particular w.r.t. the design and construction material (they are built with 6 mm MDF board). The double-track approach requires a lot of space to keep the incline at max. 8 percent and the clearance at min. 12 cm.

Let me know if you need more help.

On ‎2017‎-‎06‎-‎07 at 4:04 AM, gmblau said:

Need Help!

Can you tell me how (or where to look) to modify the Lego controller to power multiple motor blocks?

We have a Lego Train Layout that we display in multiple shows every year. Some of our trains are long and heavy.

Thanks for your help,

Greg Blau

https://www.facebook.com/Pewaukee-Road-Lego-Train-Line-1509714945980968/?ref=bookmarks

Hi Greg,

The bad news is that - at least to my knowledge - there is no place to look for modifying the Lego Train Speed Controller, at least not they way they have been modified for this track. The easiest way of course would be to discuss and demonstrate this on site... So feel free to visit me in Sweden.

I have listed some details under the chapter "Technical Data and Details". The most important issues are the replacement of the regulator (from LM317 to LM350 which provides up to 3A), the upgrade to 3A diodes and the outside heatsink to get controll of the temperature.

It took me months to find out what needed to be done and what components that were required, in particular w.r.t. adequate heatsinks. On this subject, I got very good advice from alainneke. (Sometimes I wished I had paid more attention during some lessons in physics...).

The replacement of the diodes, the mounting and connection of the outside heatsinks and the installation of the mini-fans was made by a professional.

Keep also in mind that you will need some kind of Power Supply Unit that will supply enough power.

I also would like to advise you to be careful running long and heavy trains with one (or few) 9V motors on standard Train Speed Regulators. To run long and heavy trains with one or few motors could result in permanent damage of the motor(s) and/or high temperatures that could damage your Speed Regulator(s). The "heatsink" in a standard Speed Regulator is simply not feasable for this kind of extra load!

On ‎2017‎-‎06‎-‎06 at 11:04 PM, ColletArrow said:

Thank you :classic:! That all looks very neat, clean and tidy, well done. How long did it take to install all the wires etc?

I guess several hundred hours....

To be honest, the cable installations almost "killed" me and put the project to stop several times

Edited by Haddock51

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Posted (edited)
On ‎2017‎-‎06‎-‎07 at 2:58 AM, M_slug357 said:

This is fantastic!

 

 

lol,

((how much is your electric bill))

To be honest, I don't think that this track will make a significant difference w.r.t. to our electric bill (which is already high ...)

Edited by Haddock51

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On June 16, my wife and I will move to our summerplace where we will spend the summer until mid of September.

The coming week, we will both be busy with all the preparations for this move which means that there will be no time for preparing more pictures, movies etc. This will have to wait until after summer.

However, I will have access to Internet so you are all welcome with your comments and questions.

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Impressive layout and technical execution!

It would be fun to see a video of the Trains running.

Thanks for posting!

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Posted (edited)
On 7.6.2017 at 9:03 AM, Haddock51 said:

The bad news is that - at least to my knowledge - there is no place to look for modifying the Lego Train Speed Controller, at least not they way they have been modified for this track. The easiest way of course would be to discuss and demonstrate this on site... So feel free to visit me in Sweden.

I have listed some details under the chapter "Technical Data and Details". The most important issues are the replacement of the regulator (from LM317 to LM350 which provides up to 3A), the upgrade to 3A diodes and the outside heatsink to get controll of the temperature.

Errrmm... you posted some details way back in this thread here :) One skilled enough in soldering and electronics might be able to replicate your conversion, not?

Thanks a lot for another crazy setup to watch and read about :thumbup::laugh:

 

Edit: Oh, the schematics of the 9V controller might come in handy (thanks to Mr. Bellis for that one): http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?i=4430064

Edited by Capparezza

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Capparezza said:

Errrmm... you posted some details way back in this thread here :) One skilled enough in soldering and electronics might be able to replicate your conversion, not?

Thanks a lot for another crazy setup to watch and read about :thumbup::laugh:

 

Edit: Oh, the schematics of the 9V controller might come in handy (thanks to Mr. Bellis for that one): http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?i=4430064

I remember those days very well - two and a half years back in time ...

A skilled enough person in soldering and electronics could do the modifications by himself/herself, absolutely. I am not such a person, and I certainly don't have the right soldering tools to do it. I got in contact with a young guy who runs a small shop in Electronic Components and who did an excellent job for me at a decent price.

The heatsink chosen back in 2014 with a thermal resistance of 3 K/W did not perform according to my expectations. I did not like the idea to have a heatsink close to my fingertips with a temperature beyond 70 degrees Celsius. So I changed to a version with a TR of 1.9 K/W.

5 hours ago, baard said:

Impressive layout and technical execution!

It would be fun to see a video of the Trains running.

Thanks for posting!

I will be back with videos after summer. That's a promise!

Edited by Haddock51

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Wow, your layout looks pretty impressive! The open construction looks really cool, and the Plexiglas is a clever solution. You even found time to paint the whole thing :)

I'm eager to see the videos!

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Awesome dreaming design&layout, looking forward to your book and experience. The only thing did not understand, so many wires are used for what?

 

 

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After a long summer- and autumn break it is high time to live up to the promise I made back in June - videos.

Together with some new pictures, I have added a link to the first 9V Extreme video on the first page of this thread.

Have fun - and hold your breath!

Edited by Haddock51

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