Monday, May 30, 2016

May Update

In May there was some activity in the layout room with grandsons running trains for a couple of hours and more work on signal wiring.  It also saw more programming work on the Top Level Signal Controls.  Again there was activity at Wayne's installing the JMRI WiThrottles, two operating sessions, programming locos and future changes.  I also successfully installed Chris's WiThrottles too. I assembled an electronic component tester and my SQ8 camera has arrived. My overseas trip is only a few weeks away and the schedule outlines where we will be when.

Grandsons Visit

During the school holidays two grandsons spent a couple of hours running trains using WiThrottle and the 7" tablets.  Fun was had by all despite having to position the signal wiring to miss the tracks in use.

Top Level Signals

Last month I talked about the "Route" micro-controllers that feed the East and West micro-controllers on the same Junction Module. This month has seen work on coding for the East and West Controllers as well as terminating the signal and detector cables.

Route Controls

I built a test board to ensure the East or West signal controllers accepted the Route control outputs, asses Block Occupancy state and operated the signal "red conditions" correctly.  I made an error in the route controller program whereby I had active Route(s) turning "off" when available instead of "on".  I have adjusted the code and this has been corrected - I also updated the links to the revised code in last month's update.

Below are the same junctions I introduced last month showing the east and west signals.

Turn-Onka Junction T-JCTM-2

There is an additional signal at the East Signal end.  The signals are: S1 [T-S-E210], S2 [T-S-E211B], S3 [T-S-E240], S4 [T-S-E241B] & S5 [T-S-E221B] as there is two routes on the approach to the junction S1 & S2 are on the main and S5 the passing loop. (The "B" represents the lower lower aspect of the two aspect signals).

The going East controller's configuration is below

The going West controller's configuration is below

Stanvac Junction T-JCTM-3

The going East controller's configuration's below

The going West controller is configuration's below

Turn-Onka Junction T-JCTM-1

The going East controller is configuration's below

The going West controller is configuration's below

Test Board - Signal Controllers

I setup the test board which connects to the TI Launchpad for:

  • Assigning a configurable Input C1 - C5  individually as Input or Output
  • Inputs Set 1 - Routes A - F to simulate "Route State" - "Switch Up" = "Not Available" & "Switch Down" = "Available"
  • Inputs Set 2 - Block Occupancy from C1 - C5 Configured as Inputs
  • Outputs - Signals 1 - 5 to simulate "Red State" - "LED On" = Not Available & "LED Off" = Route set and clear ahead

No "Route" set - all signals "Red"

Launchpad connected to the Signal Controller test board.

Route "A" selected - Signal 1 "Not Red".

Route "A" selected BUT C3 occupied - Signal 1 "Red".

Routes "A" & "D" selected - Signals 1 & 3 "Not Red".

Routes "A" & "D" selected BUT C3 occupied - Signal 1 "Red" & Signal 3 "Not Red".

Routes "A" & "D" selected BUT C3 & C4 occupied - Signals 1 & 3.

Routes "A" & "D" selected BUT C4 occupied - Signal 3 "Red" & Signal 1 "Not Red".

Route "B" selected - Signal 2 "Not Red".

Routes "B" selected BUT C4 occupied - Signal 2 "Not Red".

Route "C" selected - Signal 4 "Not Red".

Routes "C" selected BUT C3 occupied - Signal 4 "Red".

Route "E" selected - Signal 2 "Not Red".

Routes "E" selected BUT C3 occupied - Signal 2 "Not Red".

The code can be found here.

Signal Wiring

In April Wayne & I installed the signal and detector looms for the upper level.  This month we started the terminations...

The Standards are a must! a constant point of reference.

Two more sets of terminations and boards are still to be fitted at Hornertown East.


Once again a lot of activity at Wayne's covering Installing the JMRI WiThrottles, two operating sessions, programming locos and future changes.

JMRI WiThrottle

I am pleased to report that the installation went well see the photo below.

During the first operating session after installation we discovered the signal at one end of the shed, some 10 metres away from the laptop was not reliable so we installed a WiFi repeater which addressed the issues.

Operating Sessions

I was lucky enough to attend two Ops sessions both of about 2 1/2 hours duration with different teams of operators.  I enjoyed both sessions in the first we had fun while achieving the majority of Wayne's operating objectives whilst the second I did not do so well - oh well.

Wayne, Bob & Barry

Pierre & Bob

Barry & Me

Programming Locos

It had become evident that from the Ops sessions that seven locos needed adjustment, well we succeeded with 5, decided that one needs a new decoder and the last one was a lost cause and we weren't sure why....

Future Changes

Wayne has been actively seeking feedback from visiting operators and a number of suggested improvements seem to have been taken on board.  One station - Lowood Crossing - is being redesigned to allow better operations for the functions it performs.  The means another Hartley Vale will become an industrial area serviced from the revised Lowood Crossing.  Shortly after the last operating session Wayne has started removing track ready for the baseboard changes.  I look forward to seeing the changes be realised.

Chris's WiThrottle

Last month I indicated that I ended up bringing it home again for rework....  I am pleased to report all seems to be working OK now when I took it back to him and we tested.

Component Tester

Derek put me on to this kit and it sure beats changing the multimeter setting all the time.  It is from Banggood and only took an hour or so to build once I read all the instructions..

This sure make identifying component values easier - Thanks for the advice Derek!

SQ8 Camera

Thanks Toni Ryan for your YouTube videos they were great - I got a camera too!

Overseas Trip

Rossco (aka Ros from Oz) and I depart Adelaide on June 20 for a visit to the USA and UK.

Below is an overview of our trip as it currently stands.  We would be interested to meet people who participate in any of the following podcasts: Model Rail Radio, A Modeler's Life and Ryan Andersen's Model Railcast Show.  Most of our days are jam packed but an opportunities exist to catch up with modelers' over a meal in may places.

San Francisco  - Nappa Valley Wine Train, Cable Cars & Heritage Street Cars
Arrive Monday, June 20, 2016 Depart Thursday, June 23, 2016

Sacramento- Museum & Wharf
Arrive Thursday, June 23, 2016 Depart Friday, June 24, 2016

San Jose - Meet Tom Barbalet for Tom's Tours
Arrive Friday, June 24, 2016 Depart Monday, June 27, 2016

Los Angeles - Rail Giants Museum
Arrive Monday, June 27, 2016 Depart Tuesday, June 28, 2016

San Diego - San Diego Museum
Arrive Thursday, June 30, 2016 Depart Sunday, July 3, 2016

Arrive Sunday, July 3, 2016 Depart Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Denver - Colorado Museum & Caboose Hobbies
Arrive Tuesday, July 5, 2016 Depart Thursday 07 July 2016

Indianapolis - National Train Show
Arrive Thursday, July 7, 2016 Depart Saturday, July 9, 2016

Columbus, Ohio - Meet Matt Goodman
Arrive Saturday, July 9, 2016 Depart Monday, July 11, 2016

Arrive Monday, July 11, 2016 Depart Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Chicago - Illinois Railway Museum
Arrive Tuesday, July 12, 2016 Depart Thursday, July 14, 2016

Philadelphia-Cherry Hill - Meet Tim Harrison & Ralph DeBlasi
Arrive Thursday, July 14, 2016 Depart Saturday, July 16, 2016

New Jersey, Carlstadt - Meet Craig Bisgeier  & Jim Lincoln
Arrive Saturday, July 16, 2016 Depart Sunday, July 17, 2016

New York
Arrive Sunday, July 17, 2016 Depart Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Toronto - Meet Lionel Strang
Arrive Wednesday, July 20, 2016 Depart Saturday, July 23, 2016

York - York Mesuem
Arrive Sunday, July 24, 2016 Depart Tuesday, 27 July 2016

Porthmadog - Welsh Highland Railway & Ffestiniog Railway
Arrive Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Depart Thursday, 29 July 2016

I meet my wife in London on 29 July and we continue holidays and I get home in the middle of September.

I am not sure when the next update will be due to my holiday arrangements.



  1. Can't wait to see your first layout tour with your new camera!

    1. That may be when we get home Toni. I will have some other technology with me on tour tho....