Saturday, June 27, 2015

June Update

June has been once again a slow month for modeling I am still supporting my wife following her surgery.  Once again absolutely no time in the train room but I did get to wire a few signal masts and devise how I propose to install them. I grabbed a few hours to work on my upper level signal control stuff. I received my Ziff sockets which makes programming the Launchpad microprocessors easier.  I installed PSX's on Chris's layout and helped Wayne do the same on his layout. I had fun when I attended two running sessions at Wayne's one with the Monday crew and Derek introduced us to some street lights.

Signal Masts

I decided to use the BLMA Searchlight Block Signals utilising both Single and Dual Head versions.

Searchlight Block Signal - Single Head

Dual Searchlight Signal - Dual Head


I wanted to implement a system whereby I could replace a signal if a problem developed in the future without having to solder underneath the upper level so a 4 pin plug & socket was required.  I utilised double row 4 Pin Male & Female Headers.  Soldering the fine wires was a challenge to learn.  Coloured heat-shrink tubing was used on each connection to help with connecting the right way.

Not wishing to remove the labels in case of future revisiting...  I curled them up and placed inside some larger heat-shrink tubing.

Dual head on left and single head on right.

Yellow for top searchlight target and red for lower searchlight target.


The idea is to drill a hole large enough to allow the header pin connectors to "drop through" the base board.  The tube I needed for the base of the signals was 0.281" so a check the tube stocks and alas it was one of the ones I did not have!  Off to the local hobby shop to get the elusive Evergreen 228, & 229 tubes.

Piece of tube cut for mounting through the MDF baseboard with a razor saw cut slot for the mast extension and wires to pass through as the tube outside diameter is just slightly larger than the 4 pin headers I'm using. After fitting into the base of the signal 1 drop of MEK bonds the base and tube together.


Following fitting the tube in the base of the signal a check of correct wiring is conducted.

Single Target




Dual Target

Top Green

Top Yellow

Top Red

Bottom Green

Bottom Yellow

Bottom Red

Top Level Signal Controls

There are two sides to this control board, the 3 Light Signal Modules and the "Control side which includes the Input isolation modules, Direction sensing (DBDS), Passing siding (SSCM) & Junction (JCTM) modules.  Work to date has been on the 3 Light Signal Module side.

3 Light Signal Modules Board

I am reassigning the LED's used during the pilot signalling project for testing the production version under construction.  They have been soldered to a female header which fits onto my RJ45 sockets for testing.

Testing all the "East" Green signals - LED's on headers fitted.  I also tested the Red signals by simulating the Block Occupancy Detector (BOD) connections.

The RJ45 sockets will be used to terminate the wire runs to the signal masts.

Terminal strips to wire the BOD connections that are connected to the outputs of both the PSX Block Watchers and the outputs from the SSCM's & JCTM's.

The ribbon cable has been super glued to the MDF from the point of the wire spreading to the first pencil line.  It will pass through holes (to be drilled) to the other side where additional terminals for control circuit connections can be made.

I still have to wire  the cross connections for the Yellow signals.

Ziff Sockets for my Launchpads

After observing me fit and program the first 10 or 12 MSP430G2553IN20 microprocessors Derek from our Monday night group suggested it would be easier if I used a Ziff socket when programming.  Locally they were $15 each so I ordered from my usual supplier in Asia and got two for $13.50 including postage.  They would not fit the Ti board but by utilising a DIP20 socket they work fine.

Programming the next 30 microprocessors was easier...  Thanks Derek!


After Wayne had "smoked" two boosters and the ensuing expletives "#$@!*+#$'s" (under hid breath) then canning the running session a rational discussion resulted in ordering enough for a basic install at Chris's & Wayne's and a couple of spares for me.

The good news is that they operated successfully and stopped smoking a third booster at Wayne's.

The issue has been traced to some "Seep" point motor.  The accessory switch was causing the shorting problem.  It has been replaced with a Peco point motor and the problem has "gone away".

Seep Point Motor

The Monday Crew has second running sessions at Wayne's

On Thursday 29 June we had our second monthly Ops sessions at Wayne's layout we were the "guinea pigs" for part of his "session 2" which used areas of the layout not previously traversed.  The usual initial run gremlin's occurred in a few locations.

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

Thanks Wayne for a great afternoon and I look forward to the next running session.

Chris's Control Panels

Preliminary design completed and the quality assurance checking is underway - I expect some names may change before they are finalised.

Street Lights

Derek introduced us to these and gave us a demo of operation.    I got a few for installation from eBay at a very reasonable price.

A great find Derek!

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

Till the end of July 2015.


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