Jack’s 4×8 layout progress

Hall of fame member, Jack, has been in touch again:

“Hi Al,

I was in Hobby Lobby buying some Woodland Scenics blended turf when I saw they had Realistic Water.

There is always a 40 % off coupon available on line, so I found it on my phone and saved quite a bit.

As you know, I had trouble with Scenic Water before, but since I followed all WS’s recommendations, and the price was right, I succumbed. So far so good.

I have been under the layout wiring the lighting.

To begin the electrical work, I mounted a power strip along the inside edge of the layout.

The switch controls 6 outlets. Into that I plugged various wall warts.

I needed one for the NCE system, one for 16 volts for the switches and amusement rides, one for 12 volts for the incandescent bulbs in the amusement park buildings, and one that came with the Ferris wheel.

For the LED lights in the houses and the street lights I thought about the Woodland Scenics light hub that outputs 3 volts.

It has places to plug in 4 lights or sets of lights, with a dimmer on each of the 4 plugs.

I found an eBay site called wehonest (really) that has a lot of electrical/electronic stuff, as well as scenic stuff, for model railroading. You order direct from China and the stuff is pretty inexpensive.

I bought the house lights, interconnecting wires and street lights from them.

They have a power distribution board similar to the WS hub but it has 29 plugs of various types. There is only one dimmer to control all attached lights. I can plug my 8 building lights and 10 street lights and still have plenty of plugs for expansion. Input to the board can be either ac or dc 4 to 24 volts. I used my 16 volt ac source.

I mounted my street lights on ‘concrete’ pads cut from left overs from vinyl flooring samples.

For my 16 volts for various items I mounted a terminal strip on either side of one of the supports under the layout. I tied all the terminals together on each strip and fed the 16 volts to the strips. Then I could just connect everything to the strips. Since stuff runs on various voltages, I have separate switches on the fascia for the amusement rides, amusement lighting and house lighting.

That’s all the progress for now.


Jack’s last post is here.

Lindsay has been in touch too, proving again that half of this hobby is simply getting started:

“Hi Al,

This has been long time coming hahaha. I first subscribed around the beginning of 2013 when Gary used to run similar service.

I finished making my table,then like a lot of us got sidetracked and the table became just another storage facility in garage. Here it is and finally extracted digit cleaned table off and began where I left off.

Scale is N Table is 2200x 1300 still a long way off finishing. the lower level track is operational,mountain track still needs some pieces cut and of course scenery has lots required. Put some basic grass down to let me see where to go and construction of buildings and roads has begun.

Hope you enjoy pics and will post more as we go if you like.

Australian Capital Territory

N scale

That’s all today folks.

Oh, and thanks for all the kind comments (you know who you are).

Beginner’s guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here. Lots of cheap HO stuff at the mo.

8 Responses to Jack’s 4×8 layout progress

  1. Bill says:

    Thanks for tips.I needed a way to do my roads & I just got it !!!

  2. Ramsey Arnold says:

    Jack – looked at your bench work and layout (easy to find in Hall of Fame). Thanks!
    I am just getting back to hobby, want to do 4 x8. Thanks, again.

  3. Nick says:

    Gonna be shocked when he finds out Hobby Lobby got rid of that coupon a month ago.

  4. Will in NM says:

    Nice explanation of your lighting wiring technique. I gather that the green thing with all the wires is the distribution block you mentioned. What does the circuit board it’s attached to do?

    Nice set of photos. As everyone around her always says: “Just make a start.” So it looks like you’ve not only made a start but some actual good progress on your layout. I just wish all you metric folks would put units on your dimensions for us metric-challenged Americans. 🙂

  5. Rob McCrain says:

    Jack, great work on the layout. I like the way you handled the wiring. Good idea to label the 15v AC so nothing DC gets accidentally connected and ruined. Very nice.

    The hardest part of building a layout is getting going. You have demonstrated this adage quite well. What you have so far looks great. Good idea to set things up as a trial before committing to an arrangement of the scenery, streets, parking areas, and landscapes. Rob McCrain – Farland Howe

  6. Tim says:

    I am still interested.
    When you included the products were all China made that deflated my enthusiasm. I am trying to draw a line without being obnoxious if it’s possible.

  7. Erick says:

    Looks pretty kool.!!!!!!! I hope mine turns out that good.

  8. $100Bill says:

    One of the pics showed a somewhat messy gob of wires. Perhaps it was still a temporary situation. I suggest that one will never regret the time investment of good cable management. This includes color codes for certain purposes such as street lights vs interior lights, vs switch motors, etc.
    Such practices are invaluable when trouble shooting later! Also a reminder to use wire gauge that is big enough to handle the total current load of the circuit and allow room for expansion. If ever any of your wire runs are getting warm to the touch, change the whole run or buss to a heavier gauge.

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