Category Archives: Layout Construction

New EasyMat roadbed

I purchased a new 10 foot roll of EasyMat, the tile underlayment that I cut & use for roadbed on the layout. In the picture I am using the cutting board I built from instructions in the October 2010 Model Railroader article “Make your own Roadbed”, page 45, by Jim Richards. I much prefer this material rather than using cork for roadbed.

DCC conversion complete?

I installed an 8-pin plug DCC conversion harness and a Digitrax decoder in my new Walthers Milwaukee SW-1 HO switch engine. The engine is now running fine, however I’m not happy with the way I had to fold the wiring harness in order to install the decoder in an open space atop the PC board. I’m now either looking for a shorter DCC harness or cutting and re-soldering the harness wires. Likely a lot of work for a small return. Do they make a shorter harness?

New Milwaukee SW1 switcher

Today I purchased a new Walthers EMD SW1 Milwaukee HO gauge engine (see photo). It’s advertised as DCC plug in ready with instructions on “Conversion to DCC”. However the instructions for the conversion don’t seem to make any reasonable sense. The following are the steps:
1. Remove the body shell (their instructions for removing the shell were wrong also. Their instructions say to remove the front coupler box. But, it has nothing to do with the body shell.)
2. Unplug the DC jumper from the large PC board. (OK, that’s a usual step.)
3. Unscrew two screws from (the) large PC board and discard the large PC board, You will no longer need it. (forget the sentence structure, now comes the crazy part).
4. Plug in 8-pin decoder of choice.¬† (If I followed their instructions, I just took off the “large PC board” that has the 8-pin plug on it. What am I suppose to plug the decoder into?)
The last steps instruct to insulate and secure¬† the decoder and replace the body shell. I think I will have to call their “Assistance” line and see what kind of excuse I get.