Wednesday, September 25, 2019

August - September Update

The extent of my activities were somewhat curtailed again as over the last couple of months, we have been dealing with family issues.  However activities have included an Ops session, purchasing metal straws and chart board tape, and, medical instruments become tools.

Ops Session @ ENGVR - 23rd September

Barry, Rosslyn, Wayne and I gatherered at Peter J's for a Ops session around 1pm.  Peter had had assistance from Don to setup a the session using a train graph and train orders for mainline running.  We were one operator short but we managed to have a fun and interesting session.

You can find some details of Peter's Layout here.

I worked Grass Valley

Barry, Rosslyn & Wayne

Wayne & Peter J

Barry & Rosslyn

Since I attended my last operating session a new town has been born....  GLENBROOK!


I love the signs...

Great work Peter J!

Afterwards Peter J's wife Mary had made some lovely afternoon tea for us to enjoy.

Wayne, Barry and Mary

Peter, Rosslyn and Me

Metal Straws for Loads

Wayne had a suggestion on how to make pipe loads - obtain and cut up some metal straws.

I bought two sizes ready for when I get around tuit!

I found them on Ebay: Small ones & Large ones

Load Tie Down

I had another question for Wayne "What do you use for binding your loads together?" he informed me "Chartpak graphic tape" - I found it on Amazon.

Here is a link also ready for when I get round tuit.


I spent some time at my Doctors where he removed a couple of liesions and he, being a fellow modeller, asked me if I would like the scissiors and clamp he had used during the proceedure for modelling.  Apparently they are disposable items (the life cycle cost of expensive versions coupled with autoclaving is dearer than the disposable option).

They are now in the tool kit!

Control Panel Indications

Last month I said I have had issues with the LED indication for the top level double crossover near Onka Valley.   Well they are still there as I did not get to fixing them up yet.  So I will probably get to this sometime next month!

T-shirts from Lionel 

This year's version has arrived!

New Booster

Still on back order......

That's it for now so untill next time.....


Wednesday, July 31, 2019

July Update

The extent of my activities were curtailed somewhat again this month as I was "down with a bug" for another two weeks.  However activities have included an Ops session, power problem solving, a weekend with Spacky & Jock in Pt Augusta, Rosslyn's DecoderPro and attempting to solve a control panel indication Issue.

Ops Session 1st July

Chris, Barry, Don, John, Peter J, Peter S, Wayne and I gatherered to run session 4 and we commenced the session.


Peter S and Barry


John, Don, Peter S & Chris

Chris, Me (well my back anyway), Barry & Wayne

About 30 minutes in and the gremlins started appearing as one section of the layout powered by "Booster B" was irregulary dying and all power going AWOL.....

Below is the result

The session was abandoned....

Afternoon tea was held a couple of hours early.....

A rerun is required after a fix is found and implemented.

Booster B Power Capacity Issues

I installed a Tam Valley Dumb Booster immediately downstream of the existing 2.7A booster and still had the same problems as outlined above.

I commenced a technical dialouge with DCC Specialties via email detailing my configuration, including all the versions of PSX's & PSX-AR's I have installed and spares I am holding.  Then I detailed the issues being experienced.

Power District B

Installed PSX Version

Installed PSX-AR Version

Spare PSX Version

Spare PSX-AR Version
The result of the back and forth emails seems to come down to two issues: the booster capacity; and the booster reaction time to a short circuit.  The Tam Valley Frog Juicers and the PSX-AR's induce a spike of around 1.5A during the activation and operation sequence. With my maximum current draw for trains at 4.2A the booster needs to tolerate a peak of 6A whilst the PSX-AR's/Frog Juicers operate.

I suggested I could separate the feed to PSX's 4, 5, 6 & 7 and feed from a from a separate booster as they all feed the upper level.  However the technical advice was it would be better to install a more robust booster suggesting a Lenz LV102 which would withstand the peak and have a slower reaction time (100ms) relative to the reaction time of the PSX-AR's/Frog Juicers.

Roco have a new product - 10789 Booster Adaptor - which will allow the implementation of a high capacity booster with the control system I run - the Multi ZENTRALEpro with 10765 Boosters.

Connection Details by System

I will replace "Booster B" a 10765 with the Adapter and the CDE Booster (LV 102).

I will report back when the bits which have been ordered arrive and have been installed and tested.

Pt Augusta Weekend

I had the opportunity to go stay with Spacky & Jock for a weekend and we had a fun time.  There were several different activity sessions during my stay which I will briefly outline below.

Spacky's Lighting Installations

Spacky has taken to separating his number boards from the headlights in some locos and has been removing the factory insalled stuff and reconfiguring so he has sepate controls for lights and number boards etc.  His use of small LED's looks great - far more detailed than I have attempted to date. Sorry I forgot to take photos.

Trainmasters TV & Train Videos

We enjoyed many hours of Trainmasters TV broadcast from from my laptop to the bigscreen TV along with some of Spacky's DVD's.

Jock Relaxing

Spacky Relaxing

Me too...

Introducing Podcasts

Both Spacky & Jock had not listened to any of the podcasts apart from an excert from Model Rail Radio I sent them in the past.

I setup iTunes for both of them and they now has the usual suspects to listen to.

We called into Model Rail Radio Show 160 should you want to hear the boys have a chat with Tom.


Saturday night was feast night with Jock cooking a great BBQ, Spacky had done his usual potato bake and we did have some salads.  Afterwards I was full as a goog....  A couple of bottles of fine red wine were consumed too.

Nothing like watching the footy when different family members barrack for different teams.

Spacky was allowed red wine.  Why? you ask...

Spacky's Potato Bake

Jock doing the cook up

I could not get any more on the plate - Yes we did have seconds....
Thanks for a great weekend boys - I look forward to the next one!

Rosslyn's DecoderPro

I spent a day with Rosslyn and we got his old laptop going and updated his Java and JMRI version to what the old laptop will run.

It was a hard lesson to learn when Rosslyn discovered we needed to know what particular deocder or decoders are in each loco - a lot of work to take shells off ahead....

Rosslyn has many locos with two decoders as he added sound when it became available but no decoder locking has been implemented so some desolder and resolder work ahead too as they are virtually all hard wired.

We agreed I need to come back for another fulll day toget him upto speed on using Decoderpro to configure sound levels and speed settings.

Control Panel Indications

I have had issues with the LED indication for the top level double crossover near Onka Valley.  They were showing both diverging and stariaght through indications on one side.  Wayne gave me a hand with fault finding and the offending LED's appear to be getting fed from the adjacent power district - looks like I wired it wrong when I retrofitted the indicators.  Murphy is at work as the connections and wire ID's are behind the main loom - fun times ahead....

I will get to this sometime next month.

That's it for now so untill next time.....