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Guide to getting started with your T-TRAK module kit

Before starting a YouTube search for ‘T-TRAK’ will provide a lot of information and ideas to familiarise yourself with the concept. Another excellent resource is http://t-trakhandbook.com/

Board assembly:

  1. Lay out the component parts and familiar yourself with them, the boards can be dry fitted together to get a feel for what order everything goes together, most parts are symmetrical with these exceptions:

T-Trak double – the cut out for the electrical access is off set.

T-Trak corner outside – two of the sides have an additional hole for an optional filler sky board, these holes need to be adjacent to each other on the inside of the curve.

  1. Use some good quality wood glue, [Gorilla wood glue, Titebond or similar] and coat the joining faces, starting with the cross beams on the double and triple modules. Then add the side. If you do not have sash clamps to hold everything tight use some strong gaffer / duck tape to hold everything together tightly. Leave for 24 hours to dry properly.
  2. Meanwhile screw the threaded inserts into the adjuster brackets – these are the small corner pieces made from thicker plywood. If we have time we'll have done this for you.
  3. Next day remove the tape or clamps, and then glue in the adjuster brackets. Try and get the metal flange facing downwards to make it slightly easier to insert the bolt. Set aside to dry for another 24 hours or so.
  4. It is good practice to give the plywood a coat of varnish to seal the surface.
  5. If you wish to paint the fascia, the Yorkshire Area Group settled on Cuprinol Garden shades 'Seasoned Oak', a dark brown paint which is readily available and stands up to knocks quite well.

Track laying & power:

For a straight (single, double or triple) module you’ll want the possibility of connecting power to the track. This isn’t straightforward on corners or junctions so you don’t need to include a power connector. All modules also get power via the uni-joiners on the rail ends:

There are a few ways to power the track, choose from -

After deciding on your method, drill any appropriate holes and test lay the outer track on the board, the track bed should overhang by about 1mm on either side, laying the track edge against the engraved line, when happy secure the track to the board. To secure the track you can choose to:

  • Glue the track to the board. Be sure to use a glue that is suitable for both wood and plastic. Take care not to get glue on the rails.
  • Use track nails (KATO 24-015) – you may want to pre-drill the holes in trackbed and plywood.
  • Use Small screws (recommended) – use something like black anodised 1.4mm x 10mm woodscrews. Each Unitrack section has a moulded location(s) that can be drilled up from the bottom to create a hole in the trackbed. Be sure to drill a small pilot hole into the wood base to start the screws. Be sure you do not drive the screw below the natural surface of the track base. This will cause the base to bow inward narrowing the track gauge. If you can, countersink the Unitrack so the screws lie flat, and thus are almost invisible.

To get the correct track spacing at the board ends the most accurate is to use a short double track section (eg KATO 20-042) and connect both track ends to this. The Kato re-railer KATO 24-000) can also be used a spacing guide – it has notches on the side which fit the rails at 33mm spacing.

Wiring:

For the modules with power connectors, Yorkshire area group have settled on phono sockets rather than Anderson power poles as per the T-Trak specification. (Anderson power poles are easier to come by in the USA and considerably cheaper than here, the Australians use phono sockets.)

Modules are supplied with sockets and a small 3d printed plate to attach to the back of the baseboard. This should be screwed into the opening with the supplied screws.

To use phono connectors with a KATO connector you’ll need to cut off the ends of the KATO connectors and then re-solder to the phono plugs. No matter what method you use to connect the power, ensure you get the polarity correct as follows:

We recommend the following wiring convention:

TrackRail24-818 Wire colourRear Socket connection
FrontFrontBlueWhite Phono outside ‘ring’ terminal
FrontBackWhite/GreyWhite phono inside ‘tip’ terminal
BackFrontWhite/greyBlack phono inner ‘tip’ terminal
BackBackBlueBlack phono outside ‘ring’ terminal

Finishing off:

  • Screw the long bolts partially into the threaded inserts. These can be adjusted to alter the height of the module and to level out any floor/table imperfections.
  • Create a simple sky scene (paint, photos, pastels etc) and then attach the back scene ‘skyboard’ with the short bolts and nuts included.
  • Apply your scenics of choice! Use you imagination to paint, carve, mould, cut, scatter, ballast and generally model a rural or urban scene. Do consider how the module will ‘fit’ with an unknown neighbour module – especially if altering the terrain.

For more information:

T-Trak standards can be found at N-Rail https://nrail.org/

Unofficial T-Trak handbook http://t-trakhandbook.com/

Get in touch with me sales@traintrax.co.uk

Come along to an NGS Yorkshire Area Group meeting

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