Reduce American Flyer voltage drop

Reduce American Flyer voltage drop

If your American Flyer train slows down on part of your layout, you’re experiencing voltage drop. Fortunately, there are things you can do to lessen the effect of voltage drop and give yourself a smoother running layout. Some of them won’t even cost anything. Here’s how to reduce American Flyer voltage drop.

Make sure you use a thick enough wire (thicker than 18 gauge, generally), run feeder wires every third or fourth track section, have a good electrical connection between each rail, and treat any rust present to ensure good, consistent electrical conductivity throughout your layout for smooth running trains.

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How to sort by color in Excel

How to sort by color in Excel

When doing data analysis, frequently you’ll use conditional formatting to highlight certain cells. But then you’ll probably find you still need to group those similar cells afterward. That’s where sorting by color comes in. Here’s how to sort by color in Excel.

You can sort by color in Excel using either the filtering function, or the Sort button on the Data tab of the ribbon. Sorting with the filtering function is faster and easier, but using the sort button lets you set up complex criteria, including multiple levels. This is useful if you want to sort on both cell color and font color.

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1989 Donruss variations

1989 Donruss variations

I had a commenter take me to task over understating the number of 1989 Donruss variations in another post. So I did more research. There are a larger number of variations floating around than I first stated. But there is no effect I can find in the value.

1989 Donruss variations hinge on the presence or absence of a period after the abbreviation “INC” and the number of asterisks in the line “DENOTES LED LEAGUE.” This makes for an interesting and (usually) inexpensive curiosity for completists to chase in an overproduction-era set, but it typically has no effect on the card’s value.

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What are scam likely calls?

What are scam likely calls?

What are scam likely calls? It’s a partial solution to the problem of unsolicited phone calls. It’s probably not the ideal solution and it’s probably not the final solution. But it’s a way for your phone company to warn you that it’s suspicious of the call that’s coming through.

Flagging a suspicious phone call as “scam likely” is T-Mobile’s way of alerting its customers that it has reason to believe the phone call you are receiving isn’t legitimate. If your caller ID says “scam likely,” use caution if you decide to answer the call.

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How to sort screws and nails

How to sort screws and nails

I think it’s happened to all of us at one point or another, for various reasons. You have a bunch of coffee cans, pill bottles, or baby food jars full of assorted nuts, bolts, screws, and nails. And you’d like to use them, because they’re expensive. But they aren’t useful if you can’t find anything. So here’s how to sort screws and nails and nuts and bolts.

The important part when you sort screws and nails and nuts and bolts is to identify the parts that are most useful to you, then set those apart. Also set apart items that exist in large quantities, figure out what those are, and determine if they’re useful. Then group them in a way that makes sense to you so the next time you need a bolt, you can spend two minutes in the garage instead of making a trip to the hardware store.

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Using landscape transformers on train layouts

Using landscape transformers on train layouts

It’s fairly common for hobbyists with extremely large train layouts to use outdoor landscape transformers instead of specialized train transformers to power the lights and accessories on their layouts. Landscape transformers are large, rugged, and less expensive. But it can be confusing how to set them up. So here’s a step by step guide to using landscape transformers on train layouts.

I use PC power supplies to power lights and accessories, but that limits me to 12 volts DC for power. I’m OK with that. But if you want 15 volts AC, or you’re uncomfortable modifying a PC power supply, low-voltage landscape transformers are another viable alternative. I don’t think they’re as economical as an old PC power supply, but they cost much less per watt than a train transformer.

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How to take the drawers out of a Stanley toolbox

How to take the drawers out of a Stanley toolbox

I bought a Stanley toolbox to get some extra tool storage space. I had to take drawers out to put it together. If you got a used or floor model one without a manual, here’s how to take the drawers out of a Stanley toolbox.

Most Stanley toolboxes use small hand-operated levers on either side of the drawer. Extend the drawer as far as it will go, then push the levers on each side in opposite directions. This releases the drawer so you can pull it out the rest of the way.

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Insulate an overhang properly and safely

Insulate an overhang properly and safely

When the polar vortex brought single-digit temperatures to St. Louis, our kitchen pipes froze. They didn’t burst, but we had to go without a kitchen sink until I could thaw the pipes. Our kitchen is partially on an overhang, which makes it colder than the rest of the house in winter and warmer than the rest of the house in summer. I finally did something about it. Here’s how to insulate an overhang properly.

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How to cut thin metal at home

How to cut thin metal at home

When I first became interested in electric trains as a hobby, I noticed the construction of a lot of parts was pretty simple. I wanted to replicate some of it myself. But I quickly became frustrated at paying $4 for a tiny sheet of brass and ruining half of it when I cut out my part. Here’s how to cut thin metal at home without wasting half of it.

The tools for cutting metal vary depending on the type of metal, but generally speaking, you can use relatively simple and inexpensive tools to do it, including a paper guillotine, electric metal shears, a nibbler, a rotary tool, or hand shears.

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Are Harbor Freight tools any good?

Are Harbor Freight tools any good?

As a longtime homeowner, a landlord, and a train hobbyist, I’ve collected a fair number of tools. Enough tools that I recently had to buy another tool cabinet because I was out of room. A fair number of my tools came from Harbor Freight. So are Harbor Freight tools any good? Sometimes. But definitely not always. They aren’t all junk, but they aren’t all good either.

It’s hard to generalize with Harbor Freight because some of their tools are a good value for the money, or even an excellent value for their money. Others are a poor value. Harbor Freight has a reputation and has started offering better quality in recent years, but many of their cheap tools also remain on the shelves. But if you’re careful, you can do very well at Harbor Freight.

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