Thursday, February 28, 2013

February Update

In February we have getting into the new working routine with our Monday night round robin group  moving on to Wednesday mornings. Work has been undertaken in/on Onka Valley, Hornertown East, Rolling Stock, Preparing for Trial Running, Track Cleaning Cars, Control Panels and Regulated Power Supplies for Signals this month.

Onka Valley

We have seen scenery and bridgework recommence here...

Mountain Building

The humugas job continues.....

Chris & I have continued applying the mix and mixes were a lot better! (perhaps practice make ...)  The progression is shown below.

The terrain is now ready for top dressing and plant/tree growth to be added following some normalisation of the top surface colour.


Last month I detailed the planning and drawing to "see how it will work" and I told you how BJ handed me the job of the basic frame and side bracing for the straight section too! Well that turned out to be "you build the bridge and I'll paint it!

Scratch building the straight section on the bench

Ready for painting and weathering

Foquil paint sourced from Orient Express and BJ is lined up for the spray job!

Hornertown East

Work has been completed on the coach yard, Industrial area and ballasting the adjacent mainline.

Coach Yard

Chris put the base layer of ground cover and ballast down.

BJ & Chris gluing the ground cover down after BJ had added the colouring, grasses, etc.

Industrial Area

BJ added some ground cover to the tracks in front of the flour mills.

and other areas

I used some spare "mix" from Onka Valley between buildings adjacent to the mainline.

Buried Road

I discovered that in our haste to get ground cover done a while back that we has inadvertently buried the asphalt road location...

Well after wetting the area down and using a wide blade chisel the hatched area outlining the roadway was exposed.  The idea is to make the roadway area on the bench by using 1 mm ply with wet & dry 600 grit emery paper adhered to the top then to contact glue it in place on the base board.

The intention is to "manufacture" the roadway on 1 mm plywood which will be contact glued to the base board.

Mainline Ballasting adjacent to Hornertown East

BJ did some more mainline ballasting at the entrance to Fleets Loop.

Rolling Stock

The old rolling stock has been removed and boxed ready for the "standards bench".  They are mostly Athearn Blue Box kits built about 30 years ago, some have metal wheels, kadee couplers that have not been lubricated for decades nor have screws into the car body, original weight straight from the box, etc.  Some TLC will be needed to bring them up to scratch.  I've been watching the Le Mesa Club Car Department videos and think I have some new skills to hone up on.

I have a number of new Athearn, Walthers, Intermountian and Atlas RTR cars that need to be un-boxed, checked and placed on the layout.  Kadee's have already been fitted as that is one thing I always do when I get a new car.

Preparing for Trial Running

Drafting of all the train movements has begun.  The idea is that a detailed running sheet be prepared for each train for use when operators are "learning".  The more compact running sheet will serve as a reminder when "experienced" operators are crew.  The timing columns are to record "estimated" and "actual" running times during trials.

The example below is for one of the commuter trains.

The "compact version"

Track Cleaning Cars

I have made some Masonite "sliders" that are still to be trialed.  The clearances between the base of the loco/car and the top of the masonite slider seems too tight as there is very little vertical movement.  I guess testing will tell.

The testing failed - back to the drawing board - perhaps a truck with more clearance between the underside and the rails and shorter sliders are in order for the truck and milling the F7 fuel tank....

Control Panels

Lower Control Panel

During lower level commissioning I discovered that I had an error on the panel as the "crossing loop" which allows changing between the inner loop sections of the folded dog-bone had not been developed properly. The turnouts did not operate as expected - so after drawing out each end and twisting the drawings back to a straight line the error was exposed so "an overlay" has been made to cover up!

The amendments to the panel wiring have been completed and it is now operational.


I have finally commenced work on this panel as it will be required for trial operations. There will be some different wiring required on one double slip is a live frog version which will require some electronic circuit changes for position sensing as the accessory switches will be required for power routing.  I'm going to try opto-couplers to switch the 12 v DC supply based on frog polarity to feed to existing circuit. Oh, that reminds me, I need to build another 12 v regulated DC supply. 

The progression on wiring the basic panel is shown below.

Double Slip Indication

One circuit as before and the other is different.  The different one has an electofrog point rather than the insulfrog. This means (for the uninitiated) the frog on an electrofrog point has to change polarity when the point changes from one track to another. well this means the accessory switch is used to power the frog and I have been using it to switch the input to the previous circuits.  Enter the opto coupler! normal accessory switch circuit drives a LED (as well as the nprog polarity) which turns on a transistor to complete a separate circuit (the one required for the logic circuit) - get the polarity right (not the wrong way round like I did the first time) and it works a treat!

Testing the normal circuits to ensure proper operation

Bread boarding new components on a project board to ensure the theory translates to practice

The "bread boarding" implemented as part of the new board (I had to close up the previous stuff on the 3 top section to make room!  All tested OK too.

Regulated Power Supplies for Signals

Started building some of the multiple power supplies needed for the 50  or 60 or so signals and their associated logic circuits.

Had a problem with the first one....

The pin spacing is a bit wrong on the L7812CV- they are suppose to be equal!  It went up in smoke! 

I wired it wrong - looked at the wrong data sheet and connected the pins incorrectly and on power up "puff" and that awful burnt smell!  Upon review had the resistor on the wrong lead of the LED too!  NOT one of my better projects!

The correct circuit which now operates properly.  Oh BTW the second L7812 did not work it just passed the input voltage to the output...  I guess third time lucky eh!   I have ordered some more L7812's from RS Components (much cheaper source) ....

Thanks to those that continue to help me achieve my ambitions..

I must not forget all my followers too!

Till the end of March.


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