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Commentary on the
Free-MO vs S-MOD
The S-MOD concept was designed to allow for double
track modules in a loop layout. The standards
provided for a universal module height, distance
between the two mainline tracks, and electrical
connectors. It also included suggestions for division
of large layouts into blocks.
We also hoped that creative individuals would develop
point to point layouts using double OR single track modules.
The standards included information about those concepts as
In the Central Jersey S Scaler heyday of module mania
in the late 1980s, we created several layouts with a
loop for continuous running but also several double or
single track branchlines for switching fun.
On several occasions, we built point to point layouts
without any loop. You can view many of these
layouts at: CJSS.
We also had modules built at non-ninety degree angles,
that were of lengths not divisable by 4 ft. The
biggest problems with those were the space they took
up in the layout design, but that was it. They were
never designed for loop layouts and we had a great
time with them.
We also had modules used in loops that were not of
length that was a multiple of 4ft. We built a 1 ft
and 2 ft spacer module for completion of the loop if a
module was 6 ft long or 7 ft long.
So as far as I can see.... Free-MO modular thinking
owes the S-MOD thinkers a tip of the hat. All of our
creativity about single track modules and modules that
were not straight was done between 1985-1990. I am
not sure when the Free-MO movement began, but
clearly S-MOD and Free-MO philosophies agree about
building model railroad layouts using modules.
Just because no one is currently using this type of S
scale modular thinking does NOT mean it was not
included in the S-MOD vision.
We are currently working on a revision of the wiring
standards to allow for DCC operation. In that process
we will suggest using a new type of electrical connector
which allows for the greater demands of DCC operation.
This new electrical system will be in addition to the
previous DC block based system to allow for those
who wish to continue with DC.
My suggestions to anyone wishing to build a S module
are to find out with whom you are likely to interact with
using your module. Adopt their specific standards
which may be more specific than the general S-MOD
standards... and then have fun!
S-MOD Coordinator (in the beginning)
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