A Mystery Solved

But the "close to half" fact turned out to be the clue I needed. It's a likely manifestation of random chance. So the question then becomes: What part of layout wiring could be either of two ways and seemed not to matter which way? I'm a stickler for good wiring so I knew I hadn't reversed any wires anywhere. But there was one thing that I had done randomly—believing that it didn't matter. I had plugged the Dualpowers into 110-volt outlets either of two ways, since there's no wider prong to keep one consistent. So I tried reversing the outlet plug everywhere there was a problem and the speed-ups disappeared like kids on chore day.

This brings up the question of where others got the idea that section boundaries entail speed-ups, which they don't. Did no one ever try plug reversal? I doubt that they missed such a simple answer. So this means that loco and/or throttle technology was different back then when this "speed-up" assessment was made, at least for N scale. Apparently there actually was a serious speed-up problem then, when they dumped the method. But since the problem is gone, isn't it time for a reassessment?

So if you've been paying attention you'll have noticed something really weird and unexpected: There's no longer any reason to feel that section control is obsolete! The so-called weaknesses of section control are also its strengths, as you'll soon see, and are why I believe this control system can easily fill the needs of millions of hobbyists worldwide.

How To Build a Multi-Throttle Layout

This is the easiest method there is—light years easier than cab control or DCC. All you do is wire throttles (dual throttles are best for cost and space reasons) to each mainline block (technically, section, but I like this term better because all we're really saying is a section of track with insulated track joiners at each end), spacing them about every four to twelve feet around your layout—on the profile boards where they'll be inconspicuous. See fig. 4 on the previous web page. The busiest blocks should be shorter and the action-free blocks should be longer. Make sure you use only one North rail/South rail convention throughout your layout so locos don't reverse at block boundaries. You don't need track power busses around your layout like with DCC. But I do recommend bus wiring. There's nothing like the convenience, simplicity, and organization of close-at-hand bus wires to ease layout wiring chores related to building lighting, panel lights, turnout motor power,
signals and uncoupling. Here, specifically, is what I recommend, based on how great it works on my Multi-Throttle layout:

Install one bus of two separate wires with 13.8-volt DC(+) and 13.8-volt DC(-)  currents for Tortoises, AR-2s (Circuitron's reversing circuits for automatic operations in some areas) and DT-4s (Circuitron's optical detector circuits for train detection and stopping sites in automatic operations in some areas). Install another bus of two separate wires that have 24-volt AC for
electromagnetic uncoupler operations, unless you don't plan to uncouple or you don't mind the accidental uncouplings from permanent magnet uncouplers. Finally, install another bus of three separate wires from a 12-volt AC layout lighting transformer. Two are for 12 volts and the third bus wire—a different color—is from the 6-volt winding. See fig. 5. You'll need this for powering 12-volt to 16-volt lamps that would otherwise be too bright and hot. A case in point is panel lights. If you have a toggle switch with a light right next to it (for "block-on" indication), a lamp lit with 12-volt current will just about burn your hand, not to mention being too bright. Subway lights are another use of 6-volt current. If your 12-volt source has no 6-volt winding, use 130-ohm resistors and 12-volt current.

Here's how I mount the throttles: I use 1 x 4 end boards along aisles to mount throttles on. I also fasten profile boards to these end boards. Then I use 1 x 2s, 1/4" x 3/4" molding, and a 1 x 4 for the throttle mounting frame. See fig. 6. The frame should hold the throttle tightly enough so it won't try to fall out. If it doesn't, tighten the screws and tilt the front of the bottom, horizontal, 5.75" frame board up a little so it keeps the throttle in place. If it's still not tight enough, shorten that board until it's slightly under 5.75" and install it with the little tilt as well—this should grip the throttle tightly once you reattach it to the frame and screw in snuggly into place.

Here's the convention I use with throttles: Use the right throttle knob of each Dualpower throttle for a mainline block and the left throttle knob for a nonmainline block. So without even thinking or looking, you know as you're walking around the layout that any speed adjustment to mainline trains will always be with the right throttle knobs. The spurs, sidings and automatic operations (e.g.: subways) are always controlled with the left knobs on the throttles. And that's all there is to it.
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