Sunday, May 31, 2015

May Update

May has been once again a slow month for modeling as I have been supporting my wife following the successful major surgery.  Once again absolutely no time in the train room but I did get to build some of the production PCB's and the Control Board Power Supplies . I also completed a new LaunchPad project "Double Slip Indications".  My "A Modelers Life" tee shirts arrived, we had a running session at Wayne's and I did some research on couplers for him.

Production PCB's 

Following their arrival I have mounted all the soldered components and have commenced programming the microprocessors for the Top Level signals.  During the construction I documented the component installation process for later reference.

Dual Block Direction Sensing (DBDS) modules

Construction of 12 PCB's has been completed

Connection details documented

PCB Test Bed  completed and labelled.

All of these modules have been completed and tested ready for mounting on the Control Board.

Standard Signal Control Modules (SSCM's)

12 Modules have been completed.

Junction Control Modules (JCTM's)

10 modules have been completed and are awaiting microprocessors to be programmed and fitted.

Control Board Power Supplies

Utilising an old HP Laptop Power Supply (19V 4.62 Amp) and some 3 Amp (continuous) DC-DC voltage regulators I have established the three voltages of 12V, 5V & 3.3V I need.

I am interested to know the voltage and amperage for each sections which are:

  • 12V - Signal Heads, Three Light Signal Modules & Dual Block Direction Sensing Modules
  • 5 V - Reference voltage for meters
  • 3.3V - Standard Signal Control Modules (SSCM's) and Junction Control Modules (JCTM's)
I made a frame for the 12V & 3.3V meters and mounted them.

Double Slip Indications

The first two double slips I installed were Peco "Insulfrog" (no live frog switching) but the last two I installed are "Electrofrog" (live frog switching). I utilised the principles outlined by Rob Paisley in his 2 Sets Of 2 Inputs To 4 Discrete Outputs Circuit as I had the point motor switched contacts available for the switched Inputs.

12V DC switched version

The Electrofrog double slips require the point motor switched contacts for the frog polarity so a different solution is required. In the diagram below the red wire is the frog and A1 & A2 and B1 & B2 (yellow and blue) are the track bus feeds.

DCC Live frog circuit
R3 (330 ohm 1/4W), R5 (1k0 1/4W), R6 (47k 1/4W), U3 (Optocoupler K1010B), Diode 1N4001

The Board with two modules under construction.

I just need to add the 18V AC accessory input, four diodes (1N4001), a supply capacitor (1000µf
50V), a voltage regulator (UA78M33CKCSand a regulator capacitor (10µf 50V) in the space at the top to get the required 3.3V for the MCU and output LED's.

Here is a better explanation..

A Modelers Life Tee Shirts

Mine have arrived!

If you have not listed before you can find the podcast on Facebook here or you can download the last episode from:

iTunes here:

Stitcher Radio here:

Or download it directly to your computer here:

Thanks for an entertaining show Lionel, Jim & the mail-room boy Bruce. I look forward to every episode whether it be a Guest, Viewer Mail or Kelly Questions.

The Monday Crew commence running sessions at Wayne's

On Thursday 28 May we commenced monthly Ops sessions at Wayne's layout which has significantly longer mainline running than any other we have operated on.  We commenced with an overview of the track plan, followed by running two Budd cars one from each end with a cross to provide some familiarisation.  When this was completed the Train Orders and Car Cards were explained and we ran 8 or 10 trains with the fast clock just "ticking over" so an idea of what we were doing and the relative times compared to the sections of the timetable printed on the Train Orders could be judged.

The layout area is roughly 40 x 14 feet.

We held a debrief over coffee/tea/wine and biscuits and the consensus was a very enjoyable session with "lots to learn".

Thanks Wayne for a great afternoon and I look forward to the future monthly running sessions.

Coupler Research

Wayne had some IHC coaches that require Kadee couplers so I found this for him.

Well that's it for this month and I should get more "hobby time" from now on but will not be back to "normal" for some months until my wife has fully recovered and we have sorted all the stuff from combining the two residential locations.

Thanks again to those that continue to help me achieve my ambitions and hello once again to all my followers!

Till the end of June 2015.


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