Saturday, October 28, 2017

October Update

This month saw a number of activities that included: Car Card Box construction, more with the Arduino Speedometer, a chat with Tom on Model Rail Radio, A Maintenance session at Chris's, Four separate Ops Sessions, Block Detection with Current Transformers and attempted changes to Don's WiFi.

Car Card Boxes

Well the previously cut MDF sections have returned to the workshop for cutting to length for the four types of box assemblies.

Following the "cut to length" the assembly commenced.

The front and rear sections were drilled for easy placement of the brads to hold the sections whilst the glue dries.

Outcome from the first work session.

Sanding and painting awaits...

Speedometer - Arduino Based

Last month I said I had been following the ARDUINO WORKSHOP,   For Beginners  ...  By Beginners, hosted by Chris Heili  for YouTube MODEL BUILDERS and I put my prototype on the layout for our Ops session.

The Power Supply to be mounted under the lower level

7 segment LED display in the fascia of the upper level

Feeding the power supply to the Arduino under the top level

jerry rigged for trial

When setting up for the Op Session on 16 October I realised the trial install did not have the final version of my code which allows for an auto reset if a false trigger or stationary loco in front of a sensor.  I had to remove it all and update the program!

What I discovered during the op session is that whilst the train speed is detected and displayed some strange results occur as the remainder of the consist passes with some really spurious results showing up!

Derek came up with a link to Bobot's Trains where he had dealt with the problem.  I modified his code to suit the 7 segment LED displays we are using and it seems to work very will.

I will run a clinic next year where I will take everyone here through construction of the first speedo!

Ops Session 16 October

This was my last Op Session for the year and Derek was at the helm and I worked Hornertown Yard.  Thanks to Barry, Chris, Des, Don, Ros and our two guest operators David & Brenton.  David and Brenton work in the locomotive workshops at Port Augusta.

Here is the schedule.

I forgot the photos as I was actively working the main yard and was kept busy... We had a fun night with only a few mishaps but I did get a few red cards and maintenance tasks!  The country boys know how to enjoy themselves  most left between 10:30 and 11:00 pm but they lasted until 3:00 am (as well as their designated driver - Don) and the cellar now has a "bit of a hole" in it.

Model Rail Radio

I missed the show in September as I got the times wrong....

Called in to show and was surprised when Tom said he was coming to Adelaide for a wedding in March 2018 and would like to go visit a few layouts on the Monday after the wedding.  I have set up an operations session here so Tom can exercise his skills.  I am sure Chris, Rosslyn & maybe Wayne's layouts will visited before a meat pie for lunch then arriving at my place.  My session will deliberately start late so a BBQ can be enjoyed by all those who attend.

Maintenance at Chris's

I spent time fixing the "clunk clunk" of the turntable, sorting out a couple of "garden tracks" and reprogramming the stop settings.

Cleaning the Turntable "rack" was one aspect - there were quite a few pieces of debris embedded in the pit and the gears under the bridge had significant build up causing them to bind.  Well an hour of cleaning with a fine screwdriver and toothbrush did the trick!  It runs like a new one again.

The first track next to the roundhouse somehow was way out of alignment and had been ballasted - It just had to come up so wet water some time, lift the track nails and then the track which was cleaned of ballast and relaid.  Chris wanted a second track so it was installed and the turntable reprogrammed accordingly.

The "garden tracks" 

Chris has commenced ballasting and the basic "grass" ground cover.

Chris is looking forward to Tom Barbalet coming to see his progress in March.

Ops Sessions at Wayne's

Three Ops sessions this month one evening and two daytime.

9th October

Our usual Monday night crew and Des had an evening running session as one of the two evening sessions to "swap the pairs of sessions" experienced as Wayne has two groups operate each month so without these session each group would only see sessions 1 & 3 or 2 & 4.  The advantage is Derek can join us because he still working towards his retirement.

L-R  Barry, Chris, Don, Me, Des, Derek & Rosslyn

Wayne - our host.
We had a pleasant evening even though we experienced some electrical issues that were investigated in the lead up to the next session.  A nice supper and beverages was had with some people getting home quite late.

11th October

Don & I arrived a couple of hours before the session, devoured some pies from Wayne's favourite bakery then tackled the electrical issues.  We were able to recreate the problem and investigations revealed that the majority of Wayne's locos have Viessmann T125 decoders and they come preset for the old style 3 pole motors and have a very high current draw "to get the old stiff motors working".  by simply changing CV9 to "0" it reduced the startup current of 3 simultaneous starting locos by over 1 Amp.  The problem disappeared after we changed about 40 locos....

L-R  Ross, John, Me, Don & Alan
John enjoying Crib taking the load off his legs!

Wayne watches on and "mentors"

Alan and Ross at Lowood Crossing

26th October

Barry, Des, Don, Peter S, Rosslyn and me joined Wayne for a session that nearly did not get underway!

We all accompanied Wayne into the shed and after a few minutes the house main switchboard shed circuit breaker threw, it is a new ELCB (more sensitive) type, and we were all standing in darkness. The offending circuit breaker is at the head of a sub main to two sub boards one at each end of the shed (workshop & train room).  None of the five downstream circuit breakers had activated.... A simple reset and see if it was an aberration was done but no, after a couple of minutes we were in the dark again.

Wayne and I started the search for the source while the rest had a story telling session outside...

All five circuit breakers were isolated and returned to service one at a time until we found the offending circuit - it had to be the last one we tried...

With the others off we turned of / removed all ?six? devices on the circuit and the second to last device activated was found to have caused the fault - a laptop power supply feeding a booster.

A spare power supply was jerry rigged and we were ready to go albeit 40 minutes late.

The session went quiet well and we had a fun session and after the unusual start I forgot to take photos.

Block Detection

I thought I could design a system that would be a lot cheaper than using NCE BD20's.....

Learning how to use ADC's with an Arduino to increase the sensitivity was the plan.  I did some research and got the ADC working using a variable resistor to simulate inputs.

BUT, I am yet to master how to use a Current Transformer to do the trick...  I have been studying "The N Scaler" but have not gotten there yet!  I will have another attempt sometime in the future...

Don's WiFi Changes

The WiFi signal in the shed can be a bit touch and go at times so having an "extender" available I set about setting it up and the plan was I would have it all up and working before Chris and Rosslyn arrived for a BBQ lunch.  Well Murphy as at work and despite my best efforts I could not make it work properly.  I am convinced the extender unit has a problem as this is the second location where it has failed.

The idea was to combine the JMRI stand alone network with the household network so one network serviced all.

Well I stopped work for lunch and while the others enjoyed the afternoon chat I was buried in the shed but to no avail so after 4 hours I had to reinstate what was there when I arrived.  Time will tell if Don wants to buy a new extender or live with what he has....

The "Loaded BBQ"

Tab watched on as we devoured our lunch.

At least the food and wine was great!

Till the end of November.....


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