Sunday, October 17, 2010

We Have Staff Instruments! And they are Working

This week I spent considerable time looking up designs for power supplies that I would use to power my Staff Machines. I had to have something to show the Tuesday Nighters (this Tuesday), so I eventually decided on taking a design from the NCE-DCC yahoo group website files area that allows a constant voltage for LED's to be taken from track voltage.

So I coupled this design with the design for switching the bi-colour LED's to indicate 'Line Clear' and 'Line in Use' and Voila a staff instrument was born.

So on Saturday I made a trip to Jaycar and purchased the components for 10 power supplies for 10 blocks on the layout. However, I only have enough 5mm bi-colour LED's for 4 blocks. I put one power supply together and tested it. I attached the power supply to the rails with alligator clips and it produced a short circuit. I scratched my head and then looked at the 2 inputs and 2 outputs on my bridge rectifier - Doh! I had one input wire connected to the wrong post on the bridge. I just unsoldered and then soldered it to the correct pole and no short circuit now. So I connected the multimetre up and measured 3.something Volts across the output of the power supply. That was close enough so I connected 2 LED's and the LED's came on with good intensity so it worked - truely amazing - this electronics stuff is a piece of cake.

So I then put three more power supplies together. I drilled holes for the 5mm LED's in the first few Control Panels and glued the LED's in with Aquadhere. I then soldered everything together and installed the first two blocks. They worked I then half installed the third block. That was enough work in the shed for the day.

On Saturday night I put together another 6 power supplies and tried to work out how I would attach my Control Panels, which shows the staff machine status, to the layout. I worked out a way and made up 4 brackets from styrene and tried then on Sunday afternoon. They worked. Sometimes I do amaze myself.  It may not be the smartest way of mounting these control panels but the first two seem to work.  I then finished installing the third block and then installed the fourth block which included an Intermediate staff machine for the Kyogle Stock siding. This will allow a train to be put away in this loop clear of the main line to enable other traffic to keep running while a stock train is loaded or unloaded in the loop. Mind you, it will be a small train as the siding only allows about 6 or 7 stock wagons with a 48 Class loco on the front. I then half installed the fifth block but ran out of LED's. So that will be a task for next Saturday.

I have cut out all the control panels for the whole layout and over the next few weeks as I purchase the required items to complete the panels - switches, LED's, more 4 core wire, I will complete my layout's block control system.
Acacia Ridge Control Panel - showing the Staff instrument for the Acacia Ridge - Glenapp Section

Glenapp Control Panel.  The left light indicates the section back to Acacia Ridge and the right light shows that 8040 on the loop has just withdrawn a staff and is heading to The Risk, while a train is in the Main heading the other way.

At The Risk a train is just arriving from Border Loop while 8040 is still coming from Glenapp.

At Border Loop we see that train is still in the section between Border Loop and The Risk.

The intermediate Staff instrument at Kyogle Stock Siding

Kyogle's Control Panel showing the section all clear back to Border Loop.  The Control Panel at Fairy Hill Loop has yet to be completed at the other end of the section - thus no light.

Late this afternoon, with the guys coming over on Tuesday, I vacuumed the shed and washed down the benches in the kitchenette area.  Can't have the place looking like a pig stye now can we.  It will probably return to that in about 2-3 weeks but the guys will have been and gone by then.

Next Sunday I will be attending the Queensland Model Railway Exhibition at the Workshops Rail Museum. My mate Jim Hutchinson (Modeller extrordinaire) will be working on our Club's Structure Building stand on the Saturday and I will be working on the Sunday. So if anyone is going pop by and say hello to us both.

The weekend after next I will be heading off to Armidale to the 2010 New England Convention with 4 Tuesday Nighters. So if you are attending you better say g'day there as well.

1 comment:

  1. CM, the 'staff machines' look good. I'm a bit dubious that the 'brackets' will stand the test of time, but time will tell! Slap on the back for perservering with the design of the electronics behind these 'machines'. When you get a chance you will have to show the schematic or place as a file on your blog for others to reference in the future. Unfortunately I can't see myself heading out to Ipswich this weekend.