Wednesday, October 28, 2015

October Update

October has seen me spending a little time in the train room for fine tuning after programming decoders. An "Old Faithful" gets new trucks, new decoders for ALL my Blueline locos, established my new passenger loco and shunt loco speed curves, got my SprogII back.  I did some work on Chris's control panels and I ordered a couple of 7" Android tablets for the grand kids to use JMRI WiFi and Engine Driver.

Fine Tuning on Layout

After locos have had there speeds matched to their respective speed curve using JMRI DecoderPro  in the workshop they need to have their acceleration and braking characteristics "matched" to the respective "master loco".  This is done by using parallel tracks using a command station consist and Programming on the Main (POM or Ops) Mode through JMRI in the layout room.  The JMRI configuration files including the Loco (Decoder) Roster is stored in Dropbox and is available to my Linux laptop running JMRI in the layout room.  A further test to ensure starting on a 4% grade with load can be achieved successfully.

I run Linux Mint 17

JMRI Roster created on Windows accessed in Linux

New Acceleration & Braking Values entered (Orange background)

Values written to loco on the layout

Thanks to Don M and Rossco for coming to "try out" the results of implementing the new speed curves.  I was pleased with the feedback I received.

Athearn Blue Box F7 Upgrade

Back in the early 1970's I purchased from John Burgess - Custom Shop - the body which had been converted from the original Red Gray "Bloody Nose" paint scheme to the "Black Widow" scheme - my first "Black Widow" loco!. The shell was fitted to an Athearn Blue Box "Super heavy weight" under frame which already has a Mashima can motor fitted.

Over the years the loco had been a "work horse" and the sintered wheels had become pitted and "grotted up" very quickly compared to nickel silver wheels.  I purchased some "A-line" replacement trucks - Thanks to Tom Barbalet for his help forwarding on as A-line do not post internationally.

After running in it was setup as a shunt loco as it works with a "B unit" (a Proto 2000 with QSI sound V7) at the Steelworks in Huntington which has a severe grade and grade change between the yard and shunt lead.  The "power" of the two units address the grade and the "short dolly" addressed the sever grade change issue.  The "A", "B" and "Dolly" have fixed draw bars coupling.

The new side frames have significantly more detail

Running in and setting the speed cure

The shut set

the "Dolly" to address severe grade change issues.
I have been advised that a worker with a hardhat should be on the car as he acts as a shunter controlling the movements - stay tuned for an update.....

Testing undertaken appeared to address all the operational issues however, the next ops session with be the proof!

Blueline Loco Upgrades

After much frustration with poor sound and managing multiple decoder installation I decided to gut my three AC 4 Cab Forwards, two SD-7's, four RSD-15's and two SD40-2's and fit Tsunami's with "current keeper" technology.

The current keeper's are quite expensive $US24.95 each which equates to $AUD34 plus postage.  I found a local product $AUD9.98 each - about 1/3 of the cost and much cheaper postage too!


I fitted a brass plate to the old decoder mounts upon which I placed the Tsumani decoder.

The hard wiring commences...

Running in and speed matching....

Do it all again....

The upgrade has resulted in much better sounding loco and nice motor control too!


Similar process for these four too....

I had a problem with one of the "current keepers" it became a radiator and "smoked"

I wired in a replacement which worked without a problem.   An email with photos showing correct installation has been sent to the supplier who without question posted me two new ones.

Do it all again....

And do it all again for the next two....  (the last two need to be renumbered).


Again a similar process for these two as well....

I forgot a resistor on the headlight of one unit (a seniors  moment!) - it WAS a "golden white" LED and I did not have a replacement so I made one from a white LED oh and a couple of spares too...

The replacement works just fine.

SprogII is back

Thanks to Andrew Crossland from Sprog UK for the "no charge" repair following my firmware upgrade stuff up last month that killed it.

Speed matched Loco List

The list is growing!

Chris's Control Panels

I wired the second panel (the first of the two duplicates) and the most complex.

The next one awaits...

Thanks for reading.

Till the end of November 2015.


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