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Morcs

Unitram layout plan and build

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Morcs

Been eyeing up doing a unitram for a while now, and with the release of some new trams from kato, and a new starter set, ive ordered the V50+Green mover set.

 

Space 'allowable' gives me a 1500x540 workbench and this is end-game trackplan (looks like might be waiting a while for turnouts to become available again though unfortunately)

 

Some questions as theres a few things I havent encounted before:

  • There are 2 reversing loops here, do i isolate the (red) turnouts fully (both ends) or just one, and assume i have them set to non-power routing?
  • With 2 areas of block control (blue), and isolating the above turnouts for the reversing loops, do my power sources (green) look like they will be in the correct places, and can you fit power connectors to unitram curve track, or am i limited to using unijoiner power for these?
  • the 2 top turnouts (yellow) will be ok? as in normal behaving and set to power routing? But if i was going to add a powerblock to the top central track, I would need to add power sources either side on that section, but would i change the turnout settings at all, or isolate them even?
  • Would this run 1 power pack or 2?  i dont even know if 2 is possible, would prefer 1, but can 1 handle it? would like to run upto 4-6 trams at the same time.
  • Any other issues that im not seeing? I really wanted to avoid the standard layout of loops with a big loop, at least this way i get a long continous run that looks more interesting.

 

Sorry for the questions, trying to follow the track around to figure out any potential electrical issues is giving me a headache, and its not even complicated 😮

 

UNITRAM.thumb.jpg.cc9d7c73eae4080071c55342f3d5e016.jpg

 

 

 

 

Edited by Morcs

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brill27mcb
14 hours ago, Morcs said:

Been eyeing up doing a unitram for a while now, and with the release of some new trams from kato, and a new starter set, ive ordered the V50+Green mover set.

 

Space 'allowable' gives me a 1500x540 workbench and this is end-game trackplan (looks like might be waiting a while for turnouts to become available again though unfortunately)

 

Some questions as theres a few things I havent encounted before:

  • There are 2 reversing loops here, do i isolate the (red) turnouts fully (both ends) or just one, and assume i have them set to non-power routing?
  • With 2 areas of block control (blue), and isolating the above turnouts for the reversing loops, do my power sources (green) look like they will be in the correct places, and can you fit power connectors to unitram curve track, or am i limited to using unijoiner power for these?
  • the 2 top turnouts (yellow) will be ok? as in normal behaving and set to power routing? But if i was going to add a powerblock to the top central track, I would need to add power sources either side on that section, but would i change the turnout settings at all, or isolate them even?
  • Would this run 1 power pack or 2?  i dont even know if 2 is possible, would prefer 1, but can 1 handle it? would like to run upto 4-6 trams at the same time.
  • Any other issues that im not seeing? I really wanted to avoid the standard layout of loops with a big loop, at least this way i get a long continous run that looks more interesting.

 

Sorry for the questions, trying to follow the track around to figure out any potential electrical issues is giving me a headache, and its not even complicated 😮

 

UNITRAM.thumb.jpg.cc9d7c73eae4080071c55342f3d5e016.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

I don't think you have any reversing loops. With double track (not single), your tram will come out of a loop on the other track than the one it went in on.  In other words, your trams will never cross to the "wrong" side of the street, so their path never really doubles back on itself to create a "reversing loop" situation with polarity mismatch.

 

I can't help with your other questions. I set up only one Unitram layout, a fairly complicated one for our club several years back. The return loops never acted in a way I could understand. People who use Unitram in the manner you are trying will have to chime in with help. One thing I do not like about Unitram points is that the pair of track points are thrown by a single point motor, so you can't have one aligned straight and the one next to it aligned curved. That really throws off the whole power-routing concept.

 

If I remember right, yes you can mount Unitram feeders to the curved pieces.

 

Rich K.

Edited by brill27mcb
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katoftw

Feeder arent correct. One feed depending on how the points are set and feed power to any track piece. Not good when you have two feeders.

 

Feeders need ro be on outside loops and isolators in the middle loops.

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Morcs
4 hours ago, katoftw said:

Feeder arent correct. One feed depending on how the points are set and feed power to any track piece. Not good when you have two feeders.

 

Feeders need ro be on outside loops and isolators in the middle loops.

 

Ive had a better look and Isolating the middle of the S curves didnt look like it changed anything either way.

If I have power to both tracks on a curve at each end (opposite polarity between the 2 tracks) that should be sufficient, especially with points having continous power.

If i do a single station with a power block that makes things simpler also, less power feeders needed overall.

 

Guess ill have some fun when i finally put it together. Will probably be a standard oval for a while anyways!

 

Capture.JPG

Edited by Morcs

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bill937ca

Putting feeds on curves is not so easy. Straight sections have two feed locations, can be in either direction. Curves have only one feed location per piece On a particular track all the feeds should be facing the same direction..  A 124mm straight is probably not long enough to control articulated tram.

Edited by bill937ca
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Morcs

Good to know and noted, thanks Bill

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IST

A few years ago I made a similar test track without any isolation between the tracks. I made a short video about it:

 

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Morcs
On 1/13/2021 at 9:40 AM, IST said:

A few years ago I made a similar test track without any isolation between the tracks. I made a short video about it:

 

 

Nice thanks it's practically the same but mines going to be a bit smaller. Helpful thanks.

Edit. We're points set to non power routing?

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Morcs
On 1/13/2021 at 4:01 AM, bill937ca said:

Putting feeds on curves is not so easy. Straight sections have two feed locations, can be in either direction. Curves have only one feed location per piece On a particular track all the feeds should be facing the same direction..  A 124mm straight is probably not long enough to control articulated tram.

 

Setup the starter kit today, Can confirm block control on a 124 straight works fine with an articulated tram, so long as it's not going at an unprototypically fast speed.

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Morcs

May as well continue this thread as the build thread.

 

Bought a workbench that is absolute perfect dimensions for the track plan, and front to back width as you can see:  Not sure where ill put the controller, maybe the bottom shelf as there probably wont be much need to constantly access it whilst running.

 

So far its just the starter set. Few more bits of track etc. arriving next week. Wish turnouts were in stock though, maybe ill switch over to buying trams and buildings in the meantime, and reconfigure for the final track plan when the bits are available. The modular nature is nice in that regard, if a bit fiddly.

20210124_112928.thumb.jpg.66b05703653f5e94c85401adc64af55b.jpg

 

Im scared to put up all the street lights, catenary poles etc.. as my smallest cat whom loves normal catenary poles also likes the unitram ones.

Maybe when its populated with buildings it may put her off due to harder to access, or maybe she will go full godzilla. We shall see. At least if she damaged a catenary here, I dont have to dig up and re-ballast from where the ballast has been ripped up.

 

And finally, the block control. Hit the switch, and the tram will come to a stop at the next station. Im hoping to have multiple stations and multiple blocks running like this, probably going to mean a tonne of feeder cables and 3 way adaptors, least its all plug and play.

 

Video:

 

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Morcs

I'm going to put up a clear acrylic barrier on the front and left sides. Will bolt to the frame of the workbench and be 20cm highish. Maybe 15cm.

 

Unsure of thickness, what would you recommend? 4.5mm or will 3mm be sufficient? It's not going to take any beatings or anything like that, but I don't want it super flimsy. Just to deter cats from climbing on the layout, and worse still jumping over the barrier onto the layout.

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cteno4

3mm is fine. you might think of using a strip of velcro to hold it in place to be able to pop it off easily. also could use disc magnets on the plex and on the front of the table to hold it.

 

sure that will deter the cats? my cats would leap like 5' up to things! barriers seemed to just become sort of a gauntlet thrown down to them to show you who is the real boss!

 

jeff

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Morcs
1 hour ago, cteno4 said:

3mm is fine. you might think of using a strip of velcro to hold it in place to be able to pop it off easily. also could use disc magnets on the plex and on the front of the table to hold it.

 

sure that will deter the cats? my cats would leap like 5' up to things! barriers seemed to just become sort of a gauntlet thrown down to them to show you who is the real boss!

 

jeff

 

Thanks Jeff I quite like the magnet idea! Will give that a shot when I get round to doing this.

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Morcs

More track arrived and the layout has been expanded whilst waiting for turnouts to be in stock.

20210125_204925.thumb.jpg.de41bc13814234492a4b99ebc382d1db.jpg

 

Added another tram, the little Kato Hannover/Hiroshima, it's very nice, but also very fast. I'm going to need to run 2 controllers to run slower trams on one track, faster ones on the other.20210125_205010.thumb.jpg.10fca6adfe36396cf62f636216363a51.jpg

Edited by Morcs
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Morcs

Just a few minor annoyances about the unitram system from my experiences so far (we all know the good things about it)

 

I've got track in 3 shades of grey: different between the new V50 set, a v54 set and some 186 straights bought separately. Same goes for street plates. Stock must be different ages but disappointed in the consistency of colours here.

 

Next issue is not buying able to buy streetplates separately other than inside corners. I need a single 124 streetplate, but to do so I have to buy any one of a few whole sets, ending up with a lot of excess product. 

 

It's also nice every set you buy, and every piece of track you get lots of new fiddly bits, catenarys, fences etc, does Seem a bit excessive and wasteful though.

 

Routing wires underneath is no easy task (with plates sitting flat), as soon as you lift up some plates, the retaining clips all pop off, then you have to remove the plates entirely to refit etc. Best to drop wires though holes in the board, but that defeats the purpose of it being a nice ready made layout base.

 

And lastly stock availablity, now some of it is probably due to covid (can't find turnouts or LH curves anywhere that I'd trust) but the trams themselves, Kato trams are head and shoulders above the others, yet it doesn't look like we will ever see the Toyama trams again, leaving us with only the 3 current hiroshima trams.

 

This all isn't what is expect from Kato tbh, yes lrt is a smaller market, but that's irrelevant for a lot of these things.

 

Still happy with it overall and looking forward to this layout taking shape.

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bill937ca

No surprise to me.  Routing the wires are a big pain. I usually flipped the whole layout over. But this a kin to totally dismantling  a layout. And, yes, some came unplugged every time. But get all those wires right because there is no circuit breaker in a Kato power pack unlike Tomix.  I think Kato's vision of Unitram was nothing more complicated than a cute round and round tram layout. Very over priced for what it delivers.

 

p.s. The switches probably come in another year or so. Focus for now is selling trams and tram sets.

 

Edited by bill937ca

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