The third type of adapter allows a portion of an N-Trak layout to be used as a replacement for a Bend Track balloon module. It is more involved to build because it consists of at least three separate pieces.
We'll call the center piece the "Wye" and the other two the "Wings". The two free ends of the Wings have the tracks and wiring installed to N-Trak standards while the free end of the Wye has it's tracks and wiring installed to BendTrack standards. The space between the ends of the Wings is such that two standard N-Trak four foot corners can complete the loops of track and therefore the balloon. This gives you an "operating pit" inside the balloon of four foot by slightly more than four foot, enough room to stand and move around.
Any number of N-Trak modules could be used, even extra outside and inside corners forming an "L" shaped balloon. If there is enough room for the people operating the modules that form the pit plus a couple extra, the pit could serve as a place from which the entire layout could be run. Track can be laid on this adapter so that the N-Trak branch line forms either a continuous loop around the balloon or a long siding for mainline 2, or both if crossovers are used from main 2 to the branch line.
Combining BendTrack and N-Trak
The Hybrid Balloon Adapter
Now let's back up a bit. In describing this adapter it was mentioned that it consists of at least three pieces, so that means it could be made up of more than that. Let's say that you wanted the pit to be wider than the four feet it would be when two standard corners complete the balloon. You could do this by putting a four foot straight N-Trak module between the two corners and thereby increase the pit to eight feet in width. But now the free ends of the Wings of the adapter don't line up with the rest of the N-Trak modules forming the balloon.
Now, the reason to have the bridges 12 inches deep is that if and when the bridges are not needed in the adapter, they can be bolted back to back and used anywhere as a standard BendTrack straight module.
The odd length doesn't matter since one of the many BendTrack advantages is that modules can be any length you need! Just make a set of legs as described earlier in the manual and you have a module that can do double duty.
The easiest way to overcome this is to use a pair of bridge modules that will spread the Wings farther apart. They don't need their own legs as they can be clamped to the other sections of the adapter. It would be economical to make these bridges 12 inches deep front to back instead of just deep enough to hold the two or three tracks that cross them. The reason why will be clear shortly. The length of the bridges needs to be 5 feet 7 and 7/8 inches. This length, when inserted between the Wye and the Wings of the adapter, will increase the spread of the free ends of the Wings by exactly four feet.
The wiring for this adapter is pretty straight forward, following all the same standards as the previous adapter did in respect to the polarity and color coding of the wires. The only exception being the case where the adapters (and bridge extensions if used) have a track on them for forming a continuous loop for N-Trak's branch line. Check ouy the illustration at right and note how it will eliminate confusion to use the color green to color code some of the Cinch-Jones plugs.
This will prevent the accidental connection of BendTrack mainline 2 with N-Trak mainline 3 (branch line) at the interface of an adapter Wing and adapter Wye or at the interface of either end of a bridge section and the Wings and Wye. If green is not used, blue might get used instead since blue is the color code normally used for N-Trak's branch line and the track on the adapter is, after all, there for N-Trak's branch line. But if blue were to be used, there could be confusion when plugging in the wiring under the modules. Bend Track main 2 is also blue and could get mixed up with the through track for N-Trak's branch line.
This finishes the section on the adapter modules, however they shouldn't be considered the only way to combine the two systems. Be creative and build whatever it is you need to, to accomplish whatever it is you want to do. If you have a system other than BendTrack or N-Trak, use these adapter ideas as inspiration for creating a way to connect any type of system to any other!
The easiest way to overcome this is to use a pair of bridge modules that will spread the Wings farther apart. They don't need their own legs as they can be clamped to the other sections of the adapter. It would be economical to make these bridges 12 inches deep front to back instead of just deep enough to hold the two or three tracks that cross them. The reason why will be clear shortly.
The length of the bridges needs to be 5 feet 7 and 7/8 inches. This length, when inserted between the Wye and the Wings of the adapter, will increase the spread of the free ends of the Wings by exactly four feet.