Frequently Asked Questions

And things we're gonna answer before they are asked ;)

DC vs. DCC

Do you have a DC Block layout

No. Our entire HO mainline is DCC, there is no DC only layout. 

What kind of DCC System do you use?

Our primary operating system is Digitrax, augmentted to run phone throttles via JMRI and use a mix of Digitrax and TCS decoders in club engines. There is one sound engine, a club member's but wearing a club locomotive shell, that uses a Soundtraxx decoder. 

What is WiThrottle

WiThrottle is an app that can be downloaded to a smart phone or tablet, and via a wifi connection with a computer, will talk to the Digitrax (or other compatible DCC system) and allow your phone to operate like a throttle. 

Can I run a DC engine on a DCC Layout?

Yes. All NMRA compatible DCC Systems reserve cab number "00" for a DC engine. However... 

Is it true that running as DC engine on a DCC layout is hard on the DC engine?

Yes and No. A DC locomotive runs on ~12v DC power, and DCC layouts tend to use ~14v AC power. (that's why a DC motor hums on DCC) if the locomotive does not have a decoder in it, that AC power CAN harm the motor, but it is over a period ot time and is NOT instantaneous. If the engine is running (usung that current) and only out for a short period of time, it should be fine. 

 

  1. several places have devices called reversing units that reverse the track power polarity on turnback loops. (one current being put into the path of another current running the opposite direction like two creeks meeting) on a DCC locomotive, the decoder senses this reverser and inverts its inputs to the motor automatically. a DC engine, lacking this decoder, will start to try to go the other way. If the engine behind it has not hit the reverser yet, they will end up pusjhing against each other until you stop both engines or burn out the motors. One reversing unit is located under the Monon Junction track coming out of Staging. 

I have an NCE (or other brand) THROTTLE, can I bring it?

No, only Digitrax throttles will work on a Digirtrax system. We have a few spares. 

I have an NCE (or other brand) DECODER, can I run that engine?

Yes! All NMRA standardized decoders are cross compaqtible with th evarious control systems. 

I have an MTH DCS engine, can I run that on your DCC layout?

Yes, and it is perfectly harmless to the engine, however, in the past, early MTH locomotives have been shown to be sensitive to fluctuations in track, DCC current, and gremlins. I have chased several around the layout because they stopped communicating and went supersonic into a curve. The more recent releases (particularly their SD70s) have not shown the same tendencies, but it is worth noting that DCS=/=DCC

Joining

How do I join as a member?

Membership starts with filling out a form and introducing yourself, your interests, your skillset, and any goals you may have. Probationary Members are required to attend 2 Meetings, 2 Operating Sessions, and 3 Worknights, the latter being our regular Monday/Thursday nights. After completeing those requirements, Probies will be voted in by the Club during the next regular Meeting. We used to require a 6 month period, but that has been lifted in 2019.  

What is the Probationary Period

Six Months, give or take. Probationary Members are required to attend several Busienss Meetings, Work nights, and Operating Sessions. However long it takes for you to achieve that is largely up to you. 

Do you offer a family membership?

Yes and no. We tend to treat memberships on a "per key" basis. Mom Dad and Child may share a key, even though Dad's name is on the membership. When the child comes of age, they may have the opportunity to absorb Dad's membership, or begin their own, waiving the Probationary Period. Exceptions may be made for those we've known for a while.  

Do you offer a "Lite" Membership?

We all understand that the Hobby budget can be tight, and will gladly work with you on payment, or letting you remain at the Probationary level for as long as you wish. 

What are the Dues

  1. Probationary Period

    1. $15/month

  2. Full Membership

    1. $30/Month

What do my dues cover?

We own the building, so the good news is there's no rent. The bad news, is that there are property taxes, electricity, heating and air, and general building maintenence to cover. The balance of the collected dues go into a general fund for "layout stuff". 

I want to work on a project will the club buy the materials?

That depends largely on the project at hand. Usually, no. We will foot the bill for small things, and gneral scenery materials, and on some caseswill split the costs, but more extravagant pieces will fall to the membership putting in their time. For example, there is a recent signalling project in Possman, the controlling systems were paid for by the club, but the signals themselves were bought by the member undertaking the project.

 

RELATED: The club may choose to buy rollingstock, as that is a general scenery peice and enjoyed by all members, however much of it is donated by the members of the club, not bought

 

Visitation

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I have an NCE (or other brand) THROTTLE, can I bring it?

No, only Digitrax throttles will work on a Digirtrax system. We have a few spares. 

When are you guys open to the public?

We're open on Mondays and Thursdays, excluding Holidays, and during our three Train Shows at Manual High School, plus our Father's Day CookOut and other events as announced. Please Note, Thursdays are typically "Work Nights" and trains may not be running. But we are glad to have ya! 

I can't make that night, what other nights are you available?

If the first Monday doesn't work for you, there is usually SOMEONE there other Mondays as well. If THAT doesn't work for you, Thursday nights are our usually scheduled work nights. We cannot guarentee that anyone WILL be there, or that anything is running, or that anyone is available to offer a tour, but we'll do our best. 

I see cars out front, may I knock on the door?

We endeavor to be friendly, but one of the perks of being a member is that you have the freedom to show up whenever you want and enjoy the layout in your owen privacy of friends. And sometimes those members may not feel safe opening up the layout to strangers unannounced. And other times, we may be hosting a private tour group, such as a Historical Society, or the NMRA, or a school group. As a general rule of thumb, if you don't see the Crossing sign, or our own sign out, we ask that you come back on a regular date. 

I have an NCE (or other brand) DECODER, can I run that engine?

Yes! All NMRA standardized decoders are cross compaqtible with th evarious control systems. 

I have an MTH DCS engine, can I run that on your DCC layout?

Yes, and it is perfectly harmless to the engine, however, in the past, early MTH locomotives have been shown to be sensitive to fluctuations in track, DCC current, and gremlins. I have chased several around the layout because they stopped communicating and went supersonic into a curve. The more recent releases (particularly their SD70s) have not shown the same tendencies, but it is worth noting that DCS=/=DCC

Services

I have a collection I'm trying to sell.

Thank you for thinking of us! We'll try to do what we can to send someone out, get some photos, and make some contacts with our vendors. We can'ty guarentee they'll bite, however. As a ckub, we typically do not buy collections, but we'll be more than happy to consult, 

I have a collection I would like to donate

Thank you for thinking of us! We'd be more than happy to go through what you have however we are going on 50+ years and hve quite the collection ourselves, so we may not be able to accept everything that is offered. 

I have an engine that doesn't work, can I bring it to you?

We would be happy to consult. Several of our members are very good with eltectronics, but we do not as a club offer an outright repair service and are not responsible. You are more than welcome to enter into a private arrangement with a club member. 

I have an engine I would like to add a decoder to. May I bring it to you?

We would be happy to consult. Several of our members are very good with eltectronics, but we do not as a club offer an outright repair service and are not responsible for anything that miht happen. You are more than welcome to enter into a private arrangement with a club member. 

Shows

When are your Train Shows?

We host three personal shows at Manual High School in September, December, and March. We also host a Father's Day Weekend openhouse. For specific dates please watch the homepage and the Facebook page. The clubhouse will be open during the shows. 

What other train shows do you attend?

For that information, please check the calendar page and watch the Facebook page (It's on the right hand column, and open to non-Facebook members). Usually, we'll have a table at GTE as well. However, as a club we recently decided to limit ourselves severely on what shows we attended. It's nothing personal, its just that as a club, we were committed to so many shows that it felt like work and the actual layout was not getting any attention. It stopped being fun, and that was kinda the whole point.  

I'm a vendor and wish to reserve a table

Please visit our "Shows" page (naptownrr.org/Shows), download the relevant Vendor Registration Form, and mail or e-mail the completed document along with payment for the required number of tables.  

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Naptown & White River
Model Railroad Club