Tuesday, March 29, 2016

March Update

In March work was completed on the Top Level Signal Controls and Cabling, Background Sounds, Chris's JMRI WiThrottle and I attended an operating session at Wayne's.

Top Level Signals

This month has seen additional wiring on the control board and commencement of the dection and signal head wiring.


I have installed the signal ground connections (DC -ve) to the Block Direction PCB's (DBDS's) and Standard Signal Control Modules (SSCM's) - the single black wires.  3.3V power to the SSCM's (red & black wires) and Block Occupancy inputs to DBDS (grey wires).

DBDS "black" ground wire at front

DBDS "black" ground wire at back
3.3V power to the SSCM's - red & black wires

Block Occupancy to DBDS - grey wires Front

Block Occupancy to DBDS - grey wires Front & Rear

I realised during the QA process that I had missed the wire to direction detectors at the bottom of the Helix so an additional RJ45 connector and wire required.

Added D23 for C10W connection


The installation of direction sensor & signal head wiring has commenced.  The strategy is to run RJ12  (6 conductors) cables for detection and RJ45 (8 conductors) cables for signals between the control board and local termination points. the detector sets and signal masts will be connected at the termination points so items can be swapped out should a problem arise.

Wayne and I made two wiring looms:

  • "Detector loom" (6 conductors) and
  • "Signal loom" (8 conductors)
as shown in the table below.

Below is a photo of the two looms with about 500 metres of cables - Signals Loom on the left and Detector Loom on the right.

Direction Detector Locations

Direction Detection Loom Installation

Wayne & I installed the detection loom and before final fixing I decided that I wanted to do some quality assurance by ensuring the design data was transposed on to the layout plan (image above) in order to check there were enough wires terminating in the correct places. I missed the bottom level of the helix!

Eastern Wall

South East Corner 1

South East Corner 2

Southern Wall

South Western Corner 1

South Western Corner 2

Wayne "wiping his brow"

Western Wall
I forgot to take a photo of the Eastern Wall....

I with the help of my son cut a 1" x 5" slot through the 1/2" MDF to get access for the detection and signal looms.
Slot cut in MDF to allow both looms to pass through,

The loom will cross the tracks before passing through the fascia to the control board.

Signal Locations

Signal Loom Installation

Wayne & I installed the signal loom and before final fixing I again decided that I wanted to do some quality assurance by ensuring the design data was transposed on to the layout plan (image above) in order to check there were enough wires terminating in the correct places.

Laying out the loom 1

Laying out the loom 2

Laying out the loom 3

Laying out the loom 4

Trial fitting the loom 1

Trial fitting the loom 2

Trial fitting the loom 3

Trial fitting the loom 4

Trial fitting the loom 5

Trial fitting the loom 6

Booth looms installed

It was a nice feeling to know that the looms are installed.  The wires hanging down will be terminated to local connection boards which will allow them to be dropped for maintenance purposes.  The local connection board will also be the point to connect track detectors and signals installed above the baseboard.

Looms secured over Hornertown East

Looms secured over Hornertown West

looms secured over Flintston and Picard Junction

The slot cut through the baseboard is nearly full now

46 wires in total 23 x detector & 23 x signal

The looms will pass through the fascia below the "bulldog style clip" and then be terminated on the Control Board.

Background Sounds

I have made these after reading a post on the Friends of MRCS Facebook Page by Lawrence Eggering on 4 January 2016.

Parts list:

1 x GPD2846A TF Card MP3 Decoder Board 2W Amplifier Module for Arduino
1 x Micro SD HC TF 8GB Secure Digital High Speed Flash Memory Card Class6 Adapter
1 x Notebook Audio Magnetic Speaker Amplifier Loudspeaker 2W 8 Ohm
1 x 2-wire miniature connectors
1 x Empty cleaned Peanut Spread Jar

Free sound downloads from freeSFX were mixed using Audacity (free software) and saved as a mp3 file.

GPD2846A TF Card MP3 Decoder Board 2W Amplifier Module

I found them on Ebay here (link valid at time of publishing)

Micro SD HC TF 8GB Memory Card

I found them on Ebay here (link valid at time of publishing)

Speakers 2W 8 Ohm

I found them on Ebay here (link valid at time of publishing)

2-wire miniature connectors

I found them at Micro Mark here (link valid at time of publishing)

I drilled holes in the lid for sound from speaker and the connectors.

Soldered wires to speakers

After soldering the speaker wires to the MP3 decoder board I fixed the speakers to the under side of the lid with Kystal Klear - remember to seal the speaker screw mounting holes as well so the jar acts as the speaker box.

First I soldered the power leads to the MP3 decoder board then I used double sided tape to hold the board to the underside of the lid.

The pre-wired plug was glued to the lid with Ca.  The sockets were wired with matching colour wires as the MP3 decoder board requires 5 Volts DC and is polarity sensitive.

A completed unit

I made 4 units

The units startup when power is applied.  I will probably implement a control system which will probably be time based and controlled by a Ti Launchpad.

Recordings completed to date

If you wish to listen click on the links below.

Flintston Industrial Area

I still have to make the "City" sounds for Hornertown and then I need to decide where I will utilise the remaining unit.

Operations - Wayne's

A fun afternoon was had with Barry, Wayne & I.  We ran session 4 in Wayne's system. Due to having less operators as Chris was away and Rossco another commitment Wayne had done the initial yard shunting so the first trains were made up ready to run.  We completed all but one movement with a few glitches that Wayne has since addressed.  I have finally after about a year run a train into every mainline and branch!

Chris's JMRI WiThrottle

Some of my operating group like the 7" tablet running the Engine Driver App using JMRI WiThrottle.  Chris asked me to setup four 7" tablets for his layout.  We all run a Roco System (Lok Maus, MultiMaus or multiMAUSPRO).  The old laptop had Vista OS which did not want to play very well at all so as we had Win7 disks from an old PC I wiped the hard drive and did a clean install.  Well after a few hundred updates I had a clean up to date Win7 OS.  I loaded Java 1.8 and JMRI Version 4.2.1 and all worked except the WiFi card in the laptop could not share the internet connection.  I purchased a USB 2.0 wireless dongle.

This was the first time I had configured WiThrottle to work on a stand alone network so it took a while to figure out that I need the additional WiFi adapter.  I learned about joining network adapters.  This older laptop is a bit slow so I disabled as much of the background tasks the OS runs.

Given the laptop will not be updated nor connected to the internet I disabled Virus protection, Firewall protection, Malware protection and Windows update,  this significantly improved performance.

I will setup two separate connection regimes: Roco>Lenz LIUSB for operations and SprogII for programming on the programming track.  From experience Programming on the Main (POM Mode) is OK using the Lenz computer interface for doing speed matching (using speed tables) and sound adjustments but the actual values cannot be read back unlike when using the Sprog.

Laptop, SprogII, Roco 10764, Lenz LiUSB computer interface.

I found another six 7" White Quad Core Q88H A33 Android 4.4 Dual Camera WiFi 1G/8GB Tablets
for $53 each (approx $US38).  Four for Chris and two extra for me.

All six on charge ready for configuration & engine driver installation.
 I am able to report that all six are now working correctly and configured ready to go.

Till the end of April 2016.


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