Wednesday, March 29, 2017

March Update

This month has seen activities that included:  Updating my Website, Problems continue with the MTH PA/PB's, Rossco's Interlocking, Stanvac Chain Wire Fence and two Ops Sessions.


Speed matching turned out to be quite easy as the basic speed control Start-Mid-Top produced a speed curve that matched my passenger speed curve pretty well!

The dramas continued with two of the three locos as the sounds worked fine but there was NO drive.....

PB Drive Issues

I disassembled the loco looking for drive train issues but found nothing.  Then I discovered that the connector on the motor leads appeared to be intermittent in contact so the next task is to solder new motor wires and connect to the decoder without the connector.

TrainMasters TV Night

The Monday night group came around for another TrainMasters TV evening and we watched the following:

Rossco's Interlocking

Well it is finally installed and working!   Below is the final part in the story you may have been following.  All that remains now is the project write up for the website.

The Tracks

The single track crossing the double track main is the "RED LINE" on the panels and also know as the "E route" as opposed to the double track "BLACK LINES" also known as the "NOT E route".

Rossco had installed live frog crossovers and I was expecting insulated ones - just what I'm used to!   So we purchased two Tam Valley Depot DCC Dual Frog Juicer's to deal with the frog power issues.

Having seen Duncan's workshop in San Diego it is nice we are going to be using some of his gear.

There was a maze of wires to power the approaches, dead rail sections approaching the crossings, turnout power and turnout indications.  The final wire lengths may be adjusted or just "tidied up"....

The Panels

Red Line is the active route

Black Lines are active routes with the swing by Black to Red active

Black Lines are active routes

Black Lines are active routes with the alternate Black Line approach

Did you detect the troublesome green LED?  -  it is all fixed now!

Chain Wire Fence

Last year when we visited Seth Newman's (video link) I liked the operating gates and simulated derail at the Water Treatment Plant.  I want to do a version for the entrance to Stanvac - my Oil Refinery which is very loosely based on the demolished Port Stanvac refinery near home which had sidings that were accessed after the chain wire fence gates were opened.

Having seen Luke Towan's build guide for a chain link fence I decided to give it a go ( BTW Luke has updated his video from the earlier version I referenced which did not have the barbed wire simulation at the top).

The Gates

Using the NMRA Standards Gauge I determined where to position the gates and the derail.  Holes were drilled to insert brass tube through the scenery and baseboard to extend downwards towards the lower edge of the supporting framework.  These tubes will house the wires that move the gates and derail.

I cut some mdf to mount the servos on.  I fitted three "guides" to ensure proper location before tightening the fixings.  This is because it will be located in a "hard to get at"location so I wanted a "sub-assembly" I could install more easily.

Following the Australian Narrow Gauge Convention that I am attending with Rosslyn & Peter Rees (Peter R) I am going to Traralgon to spend a week with Peter doing "Arduino stuff" where I hope to get the servos attached and "Doing what I want" ready to install when I get home.

My Ops Session

Don, Barry, Chris, Rossco, Pierre, Wayne and Peter Saunders (Peter S) joined me for a pleasant three hour session on 6 March.  Peter S joined us for the first time and I was very happy with his operational capabilities and hope he will be able to join us at future sessions.

Everyone undertook something different during this op session and I received some positive constructive feedback.  Most have asked to "do it again" next time to cement the new activities.

The broad running schedule is below.

We had fun.

Ops Session at Wayne's

Don, Des, Barry, Rosslyn & I had another fun session at Wayne's and things tend to run smoother each time we attend.  There was a couple of "technical" power issues that Wayne & I will work on.  I think some modifications to the feeder methodology is required maybe move a booster and the addition of some "snubbers" at the end of some very long untwisted feeders.

Wayne giving me "instructions"

Des & Don at Lowood Crossing

Barry at Dunkley Towers

Des & Don shunt Hartley Vale

Rosslyn & Wayne at Forrest Gully

My mixed goods train ready to depart at Upsen Downe

Wayne, Don & Des discuss "congestion" at Lowwod Crossing

Barry "worn out" near the end of the session

Wine, tea, coffee & biscuits afterwards

We look forward to our next visit in April.

That's it for this month!

Till the end of April.....


Monday, February 27, 2017

February Update

This month has seen activities that included:  Establishing my new Website, My Modeling Desk, Gutting the MTH DCS PA's, Rossco's Interlocking, Ops Session at the EVNGR and an Ops Session at Wayne's.

My new Website

I have started to build my new website where I hope to make it easy to find things of interest from a diverse range of topics.

Take a look - your feedback would be welcome...

Modeling Desk Tidied

It had come to that point where it was getting harder to find things and the available space for under taking tasks was too small.  Well it took about 7 hours to pack things up clean up and be ready for the next project.


Out with the DCS Proto Sound 3 and in with LokSound V4.0....

I had two PA's and a PB to convert basically the same install in all three except the PB did not have the lighting.  Upon disassembly I discovered the LED lights - all six - were wired for -ve ground so every LED had to be removed and replaced with the polarity reversed.  It was painful as on assembly the tails of the LEDs had been bent before soldering and some had one leg soldered on each side of the PCB.

The pictures tell the story...



Rossco's Interlocking

I have finished the Panels and coding so they were bench tested before heading over to install

Bench Testing

Black Route - No Panel has "Control"

Black Route - Panel "A" has "Control"

Red Route - Panel "A" has "Control"

Red Route - Panel "A" has "Control" - Panel B has "NO Control"

Red Route - Panel "A" has "Control" - Panel B has "NO Control"

Red Route - Panel "A" has "Control" - Panel B has "NO Control"

Red Route retained when - Panel "A" drops "Control"

Red Route - Panel "B" has "Control"

Black Route - Panel "B" has "Control"

Black Route retained when - Panel "B" drops "Control"

The Tracks

Turn out power and frog power connections

Installing Panel A

Tidying up the wiring loom

Panel B was installed below the control panel for Moorvale.

The remaining work is to insert the isolation sections and their respective feeders then terminate to the isolation relay outputs.  I discovered that Rossco had installed live frog crossovers and I was expecting insulated ones - just what I'm used to!   So two Tam Valley Depot DCC Dual Frog Juicer's have been ordered to deal with the issue.  Having seem Duncan's workshop in San Diego it is nice we are going to be using some of his gear.

Ops Session @ EVNGR

Last year Andrew Emmett brought Gerry Hopkins and Peter Jackson to see my layout and I was invited to go see Peter Jackson's Eureka Valley Narrow Gauge Railroad.  I followed this up and some of our Monday Night Group and Wayne went up for an Op Session.

The theme for the EVNGR has its origins to the Nevada County Narrow Gauge – a 3’gauge railroad that serviced some of the gold mining areas of northern California. Peter's inspiration came from reading Gerald Best’s book about the NCNG and the era is set in the 1930’s to early 1940’s

Barry, Peter, Chris, Derek & Wayne (L to R)

We had a lovely evening operating the layout - so much so the crew suggested we should visit Peter at least once per year!

Peter is a Master Model Railroader and here is a link to his layout tour on the Australian Region NMRA Website.

Thanks Peter!

Ops Session at Wayne's

We had fun at Wayne's testing out the "NEW" Lowood Crossing.  It was good to see Don and Des could make it too. We had a good session until Murphy struck us when one of the Capacitor Discharge Units failed!  The failure meant the turnouts in  three stations were not operable.  We has refreshments a bit earlier than planned.

Chris & Des

Don & Barry

Des & Wayne

Wayne & Don

I think the "NEW" Lowood Crossing works so much better than the previous one - well done Wayne!

We look forward to our next visit in March.

Till the end of March.....