Sunday, October 20, 2019

A Visit to Baricale Bob's on Saturday

I came home from work early on Friday and went straight out again to visit George at Aurora Trains.  He was having issues with the NCE QSnap quad output point controller with the Z21 system.  He had given me a ring earlier in the week and he could not get the NCE QSnap to talk.  For that matter it also looked like the NCE SnapIt was also not working on the Z21 system.  So I took the QSnap to my place and placed on my NCE system and sure enough it came online.  So what does that tell you?  It seems that the Z21 was putting out a considerable higher track voltage.  It appears that it was about 17V AC as measured on an AC Voltmeter.  I’m sure my NCE system is about 12V as measured on an AC voltmeter. And is about 13.8 Volts.

I asked the Australian NCE guru Marcus Ammann via an email he pointed me into a notice on DCC Concepts website and it mentions that “… Its (sic) not perfect (what is?) and we have noticed that it does some things (like set accessory decoders) in a way that does not meet DCC standards, but they still work well when used with Z21…”.  Well that is not good!

Based on what I saw, I think that the makers of the Z21 need to issue a version of their code, to fix the issue.  To me, nothing betters the NCE command station - any version!

I returned the QSnap to George on Saturday morning and then made my way over to Barnacle Bob’s.  The local NMRA (Div 1) meeting was at his place and about 35 turned up.  Bob’s layout is just magic.  I think everyone was impressed with his animations and scenic ability.  I had a good time, with good company and had a great feed put on by Bob and Mary and their helpers.   We had quite a number of people present some stuff at the Show and Tell part of the meeting.  I was quite impressed by the weathering clinic by Duncan and Cloud painting presentation by Barnacle himself.

Today I made my way to the shed and did some more wiring work on the Acacia Ridge Yard.  I found a feeder not working, so resoldered it and I shimmed the check rail on a Tillig dual gauge point on the divergent standard gauge track and now my standard gauge loco runs through it without derailing.  I added a 4cm length of 0.010” x 0.060” styrene strip.  I also found another feeder broken off in Clapham Yard and fixed that.  The staff machine for the Clapham Yard to Dutton Park section had a dodgy LED indicator at Dutton Park.  I eventually tracked it down to a connection in the main signal bus for this track section about 30cm down the track.  That was were my previous 4 core cable ran out and had to be spliced to another cable to connect to the LED panel at Dutton Park.  Well I resoldered that joint and all works perfectly now, but it did take some tracking down.  But in reality it was quite logical.  That is why it me so long to find it.

I also added jumpers to the new storage siding trackage at Grafton Yard and gave it a test.  What that showed was that my second Bachman Ballast Tamper needs some more weight over teh motor.  That shoul dbe an easy task, but I just need to get around to it.  I have Tuesday off this week, so maybe I can get onto Fisherman Islands Yard’s jumper wiring.  I will also try and do my tax.  Whio knows I might get something back.  Tuesday is also Tuesday Nighter’s at Geoff’s.  That will be good.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Happy Bathurst Day

I spent the day today glued to the TV in the hope the Team Tricky Dicky was to win the 2019 Bathurst 1000 race.  They certainly did and they could have taken it a bit easier on my nerves.  The result was in doubt until the last corner.  Well done Scott!  While the TV was going, throughout the day I did move from the chair to the kitchen table and back again, to do a couple of bits of modelling.  I put together about 36 x 44 gallon drums and cleaned up the flash from next 30 drums but not the lids as yet - maybe later tonight.  The other task that I did was fold up and then tie up about 26 tarpaulins of various colours.  The tarps went into the container where I have maybe 150 tarps already assembled.  You can never have too much detail around the layout when you finally install it.

Later in the day, I decided to rescue 4 x QR narrow gauge grain wagons that I tarped quite some time ago, and bring them up to the kitchen so I could do some more work on them.  The work was to apply some tie down ropes to these home made tarps.  The tarps because they were painted with a thick coat of spray paint are quite course and they tend to want to return to a flat shape and not follow the wagons sides.  They bow away from the side of the wagons.  That is not a good look for a scale model.  So I attached some cotton to the insides of the tarps with super glue and then when this had dried, I pulled those ropes tight and super glued those ropes to the underside of the wagon.  The result was much better than before I had those ropes attached.  They now look quite presentable.  The issue is now that I cannot run those wagons empty.  Well I could not really do that before either as the three scratch built wagons that I made had a styrene frame inside the wagon that held the tarp in the shape of the wire frame that existed on the prototypes wagons that I have modelled.

Yesterday was Club meeting day so I went to the Club to catch up with everyone.  I handed over two 2400 class locos to Greg as he bought them under my original order.  They ran quite well and I think he is impressed with the sound of his new models.

Yesterday afternoon was a birthday party for my niece which I attended on the way home, so I never got home from the Club until about 9:00pm.  So basically no modelling work yesterday and no shed time.  So I still have to attach the droppers to the Fisherman Islands Yard around the narrow gauge trackage that was upgraded with the various crossover from a couple of months back now.  The next job after that will be to colour code the point actuators (push-pull rods) so operators can work out what rod connects to what set of points in this yard.  So both of these tasks will hopefully occur next weekend.

The biggest job I have to do, which I keep deferring and thus in turn defers my next operations session, is to desk check the narrow gauge part of the timetable to ensure that the narrow gauge wagons start at the correct sidings and the trains pick up the correct wagons and return them to their starting location at the end of the timetable.  Maybe this will be revisited in the next couple of weeks.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Still Bin Busy

This has been a quite weekend so far with Saturday spent at a family reunion on the wife’s side, and today a lazy day watching the Football on TV.  On Friday afternoon, as well as some evenings during the week, I was putting together some more 3 cubic meter industrial bins.  Today I put the hinge on the lids of the bins and added the handles on the side of another dozen sor so.  The handles are of course for the garbage trucks to lift them up by, to facilitate emptying.  I also assembled another 8 later this afternoon.  I cannot see any more being assembled.  I think I have now almost been all binned out.

The plan is to complete the painting of the remainder of the bin collection.  I was wondering what the collective noun for garbage bins is,  A trash of bins perhaps?

This afternoon between grand finals, I also put together another 30 x 44 gallon drums and painted these later this afternoon.  I hope to add lids to another 30 or so tonight after the football.

With tomorrow being a public holiday I will be back in the shed and doing some electrical work.

Tuesday this coming week is at Shelton’s place, so it will be interesting to see what changes he has done.  He has added some additional sidings.  I assume that he did not follow any of our suggestions from last visit.  

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Painting Myself Into a Corner

On Tuesday afternoon I picked up some more cheap paint.  Autobarn had a sale on so I went to see what they had in stock. It seems that this paint is made in same factory as the cheap brand of paint available from Super Cheap Auto.  The best thing is that this brand at Autobarn still has the Yellow Oxide Primer available.  I did give it a quick test run on today and it seems to be the exact same colour.  The reason for the early finish on Tuesday was because the Tuesday Nighters came for a visit.  There were 14 of us in attendance in my shed and then in the pergola.  

Later in the week, Geoff hosted a modelling night on Friday evening and Darren, Brandan and myself took advantage of that to do some modelling.  I put together 10 industrial bins – the 3 cubic meter type.  I also completed the last string of pallets (24) and a small string of pallets made from offcuts (7).  Earlier in the afternoon I had previously headed over to Aurora Trains and picked up some more 44 gallon drums that George got in for me.  I now have 192 to put together and then use on my layout for detail items, on wagons as loads and to sell to people at an upcoming Buy and Sell.

On Saturday I was chauffeured over to Austral Modelcraft by my daughter on a driving lesson and picked up some insulated joiners.  I have no idea where these rail joiners go, but I keep buying packets of insulated and metal joiners all the time.  So on Saturday when I got home, I completed another 7 industrial bins.  In the afternoon when the AFL grand final was on, I swapped a left hand curve point out in South Brisbane Interstate Yard for a left hand point and that seems to have been a good decision.  I then installed that left hand curve point, into a siding off number one track in Grafton Yard to add another short dead end track.  So these short dead end tracks can now store my Railmotors, CPHs, ballast tampers and railbuses.  So they are now out of the way, but still on the track.  You can never have too many sidings to stock rollingstock.  Trackwork then shifted to Acacia Ridge Narrow Gauge Yard and added some PC board sleepers under my scratchbuilt fasttracks dual gauge point.  I then cut an insulated gap into this points diverging tracks.  I then added insulated joiners to the Tillig point nearby.  I then laid the dual gauge headshunt and tested pushing a few wagons through both points and the new trackage.  All seems to work satisfactorily.  
The point on the left is the one that got replaced. 

The point above is the one I replaced.

This view shows the two short sidings for various small trains that are run on Cassino

Today I got stuck into doing some painting of industrial bins and pallets.  I used the various colours from my cheap cans of spray paint to paint my industrial bins and lids.  The lids were then glued on after the paint had dried.  A number of the bin, have a lid that is able to be opened.  So if someone was to model the bin with junk coming out of the bins, these are the ones to use.  So you do not have to use a spray gun to paint your items.  Sometimes the cheap paints work just as good.

My bin collection is various colours.

A number of chep pallets on the right.  A collection of drums on the left.  Some additional bin lids above them.

While I had the paint out, I painted about 10 tea bags various colours so I can extend my tarpaulin collection during the week.  The last thing I did was put some of the bins on various pallets.

I had planned on getting around to adding various electrical jumpers to the tracks in Acacia Ridge Yard and Fisherman Islands Yard, around the insulated gaps in the tracks near the new point work.  Oh well, that can get done over the long weekend.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

NMRA Meeting Inspiration and an Anti-Shelton Device

Saturday this week was the latest NMRA Div 1 get together.  Darren, Geoff and I car pooled and went to visit John Kennedy’s place on the other side of town.  I had heard about John's layout, I had even been invited to some running days, but I never got there.  Well today I finally did.  The layout is in a 6m x 6m shed.  It has some very nice scenes scattered around inside the shed.  There was a pair of legs sticking out from underneath a car.  There is a huge brown bear trying to claw its way up a tree.  There is a mother bear and cub also walking around in the trees.  There are also some deers in the forest.  There was a very dodgy business that I saw.  It was PK’s Custom Computers.  I’d bet that shop owner was very dodgy.  
The Business in Question

John’s method of point control on the bottom level of the layout incorporates a Shelton protector.  We all had a laugh about this device.  When we operate at Anthony’s place, we need to set the various points by pushing or pulling a knob on a rod attached to the point, protruding from the layout fascia, exactly as John does.  On a couple of times on Anthony's layout, after a train has left a crossing Loop in particular Nankiva and the points reset, Shelton would bump the point control mechanism while taking photos and then blame the driver of a previous train because his train never took the correct track into the crossing loop.  I always thought it was the drivers job to verify his route before he entered a crossing loop.  Well John has solved this problem with some old cupboard handles.  Very ingenious.
A view of the Anti-Shelton Device

A second version of the Anti-Shelton device.

I had a great time talking to a number of people about at the meeting.  There was some nice 3D printed model on display by a mate of Johns.  I would like to get someone (Greg or PK) to print some of these out for me.  Very nice.  On the way home, conversation in the car turned to a few events next year.  There is the Modelling the Railways of NSW Convention, hopefully in mid May.  That would be followed by perhaps the NMRA convention in early June.  That will be on the same weekend as the Epping Exhibition – so maybe two for the price of one.  Of course there is also the Armidale Convention in November, that is unless it clashes with my daughter’s graduation from school.  Oh the pain, the pain!  My modelling budget is going to take a big wack next year, and I’m starting from a big negative and I also plan to order an Auscision DEB set with sound.  I really need to win lotto, unless someone with lots of money want to adopt me to help me pay off my modelling debts?

On the home front, I painted up about 25 pallets on Friday afternoon and also painted about a dozen tea bags in various colours.  I cut them up on Saturday night and rolled up the tarps and tied them all up.  I have another about a dozen tea bags still to cut up and make tarps out of.  While at the NMRA meeting, I spoke to George and he convinced me that I needed to do a few tarps in various shades of grey.  So that process is now underway.

On Sunday morning I continued on the task of making some 3 cubic metre industrial bins, I spray painted two bins black and two bins blue.  I let them dry and eventually glued the lid onto the base.  I still have about 10 more to put together and paint, but that will be a job for the future.

The next job I undertook in the shed, was to build a new left hand dual gauge point from a fast tracks jig.  This point had the dual gauge continuing through on the straight and the diverging track is standard gauge.  The third rail of the point, is on the right hand side.  Well after about an hour it was complete and it seemed to work on the workbench.  This point would not have been possible if not for Geoff dropping off three lengths of PC board sleeper on the previous Monday evening.  Thanks mate.  I had run out of the stuff.  I now know where he gets it from, so I will be getting a packet of the stuff sometime in the future.

Once the point was built and I had completed lunch, I went back to the shed and started to investigate where the point was to go in Acacia Ridge Narrow Gauge Yard.  You guessed it, the track was lifted, the point installed, the point actuation mechanism built and the scratch built point was usable.  The head shunt for that point was then relayed and extended by about 30 cm.  I then looked at the Tillig point I had previously removed and then started to install it where it was to go.  I then joined the diverging track of the Tillig point up with the diverging track of the scratchbuilt point and it was tested.  So pushing a train through the point does seem to work.  The dual gauge headshunt from the Tillig point still needs to be relayed and the wiring reattached.  This Tillig point had been removed from Rocklea Siding some months back and replaced by another fast Tracks scratch built one.  The reason why, was that it was causing issues when taking the curved route.  Watching trains go through while testing today, gave me the answer why it was causing problems.  I think the check rail needs to be shimmed, like you need to do with some older Peco medium and large radius points.  That will be another future job, but at least I know it needs to be done.  As I write this post, I have just worked out that I think I may have forgotten to install an insulated joiner of two or three in the new points I just installed.  Oh well, I can fix that next week.  That might cause an issue when I turn on track power next and work out that I have a short.  At least I will know where to look!  I might have to revisit the wiring for Fisherman Islands after the narrow gauge points I put in some weeks ago now.  I’m not sure that I installed all the jumpers.  That is another task to catch up on.  Oh by the way, the Mastercard statement came in recently, and the boss asked why the large charge was on it.  I had been sprung.  A 1720 narrow gauge loco and decoder, three WHO wagons, and stacks of 12mm points and track purchased at our Club’s exhibition in August.  It is only right that we support the exhibiting shops at our show - right?  I actually survived that confrontation, so I might be able to buy some more next year, once I clear the debt off.

Today I also completed wiring up four new incinerators.  These were also tested and looked good.

One of the tasks that I had planned to do during the week was to try and get some Export brand yellow oxide primer.  Well it seems to be discontinued.  PK tried his local SuperCheap Auto shop which was advertising online that it had stock.  When he went there on Tuesday there was none.  On Wednesday my wife went to another shop that was advertising stock. Yes you guessed it – there was none.  Damn!  I might have to find another source for similar paint.  I’d bet nothing will be that cheap.

Tuesday Nighters this week is at my place.  Hopefully we will get a good number turn up.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Where's Ya Bin?

Tuesday this week we visited Bob Harding’s place and checked out more progress on his layout.  The work of art keeps getting better.  Those in the NMRA Division 1, need to definitely mark the 19th of October in your diary, as that meeting is now at Bob's place.  NMRA members will be able to look over this excellent layout for themselves.  The next Tuesday Nighter’s meeting is my place is in two weeks time, that will be a bit of a let down for the boys, after visiting Bob’s.

On Friday Afternoon after work, I painted up about 40 pallets in a nice wood colour.  These need to be bagged up for sale at our next Buy and Sell on the first Sunday in November.

On Saturday on my way to our Clubrooms I picked up some more styrene so I could make another 50 pallets.  It was our AGM and I had completely forgotten about that when I rocked up.  I completed the first string of 25 pallets last night.  I hope to cut them into individual pallets tonight while watching the cricket.  This afternoon I cut out some styrene shapes for my next mass produced modelling project.  I hope to work on it during this week.  I may make the first model tonight again during the cricket just to check out how they fit together.  I will be making about a dozen three cubic metre industrial bins.  These will be built as per the article in December 2018 Australian Model Railway Magazine.  It has been a while since I made some of these items, and I think the market will tolerate some of these in the local hobby shop.  Who knows some might appear in Aurora Models next weekend.

Today I went out and picked up some cans of spray paint from SuperCheap Auto.  Unfortunately I could not get my trusty Yellow Oxide Primer.  I will have to look in some other stores.  I do hope they still make it.  It is my go to yellow for painting many of my styrene models.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Not Pipes and Drums, But Pallets and Drums

During the week I received a message from the local hobby shop that they wanted some more of my pallets with 44 gallon drums on them to sell in the shop.  How could I say no?  Luckily I was having Friday off work and headed over to the hobby shop and dropped off 6 of these pallets loads.  I also dropped off two packets of 10 x 44 gallon drums.

On Friday night, another local hobby shop had their normal monthly modelling night.  About a dozen people turned up and worked on various models.  Some were building tanks, two were railway modellers and the others were working on various cars, planes and a pilot for a cockpit.  I put together another string of 25 pallets and then cut up another string of pallets that had dried during the week.  During the day I had sprayed about 25 pallets a nice brown/wood colour.  Another 20 had been given a blue “Chep” colour but they are not coming up too well, the paint is very tacky.  I eventually hit them with a coat of dull coat and that seems to have fixed my issues.
The strings of pallets before they are individually cut up.  Some tacky blue pallets above the newly made ones.  I plan on making another 50 pallets next weekend.  I will have some for sale at our Club's next Buy and Sell in November in packets of 6 or 12 in various colours.

So after completing a driving lesson on Saturday morning, I went to the shed and decided to do some more painting.  I painted 5 drums a grey colour.  Another 5 were painted light brown, while 10 were painted a dull green.  I also did ten pallets a light brown, another 10 “Chep” blue, ten a light grey colour and I also did one a dull green.

While that was drying, I revisited the insulfrog point that I purchased a few weeks back that was to replace an electrofrog point in Acacia Ridge Yard from track 3 to track 2.  Before I put the point in, I used a Dremel tool with a sanding disk in its jaws and tried to take a peak out of the baseboard where two separate baseboards met.  I must have taken about 3mm out of the board at that location and then tested the steel train through that point.  Previously when backing up the loco had a propensity to derail and cause a short at that location when backing from track 3 to track 2.  That is now a distant memory.  It now works like a bought one.  

Today I did some more drum painting in various colours.  I also hit some of the pallets that I had previously painted with my dull coat covering.  I also happened to unleash this technique on quite a few wagons on the layout.  My standard gauge steel train sitting in Acacia Ridge Yard had about 4 wagons painted on one side.  I also attacked three HWO wagons and their loads that were sitting in the narrow gauge yard.  I also gave the engine a dose of dull spray.

I eventually returned to my work bench and  cut up about 35 pallets into individual pallets from their string that I make them in.  I also painted another fourty 44 gallon drums and did some more dull coating.
Various colours of 44 gallon drums.

Some dull coated light brown wooden pallets.

In the Acacia Ridge Narrow Gauge Yard, there are two tracks that have a third rail for standard gauge trains to use.  However, one of those tracks is isolated from any other standard gauge track.  So it is hard to explain how any standard gauge trains can get there.  So I am thinking of installing a dual gauge set of points which I need to make using a Fasttrack jig.  This set of dual gauge set of points that will allow for a loco and two or three wagons to fit in a headshunt and get access to that isolated dual gauge track.  So I will look at building this set of points over the next weekend or two.  We will see what eventuates.  Of course all these will be manually operated.

This Tuesday is our Tuesday Nighter's get together and we are visiting Bob's.  I must put some mosquito repellent on before I leave home. It will be great seeing what Bob has accomplished since we were last in attendance.

The collection of about 65 x 44 gallon drums in various colours.  Some still on the sprew as they are still wet.