Sunday, November 21, 2010

44's, Damb Decoders, Terra Forming, Plastering and a Video Session

Wednesday this week was when my two new 44 Class locos tried to be delivered.  Unfortunately SHMBO was out, so I (read the boss) then could not pick them up until after 9:00am the next morning.  That measnt I had to wait until Thursday Night.  So on Thursday night, it was time to make one loco useable.  I used an old NCE D18SRP decoder that I had laying around (well it had sat there in a box unused since June 2007 - over 3 years).  It plugged straight in, and Voila the loco ran in reverse.  Hmmmm! My eyesight is starting to go, and I could not see any distinguishing markings on the decoder advising what was pin one.  So I flipped the bit in the decoder to make it run the correct direction.  Later on I downloaded the manual for the decoder from the Internet to discover I had installed it the wrong way - as I had expected.  So a flip of the decoder, a reset to clear the direction bit and again Voila a new loco for the fleet.  It ran very well.  This will be a short term install as I do intent to put an alco soundtraxx decoder in this loco when I buy one.

After this I decided to pull the next 44 class loco apart and remove all the wiring and the circuit board.  This loco was getting a DSD100LC decoder (a GM generic sound I think but don't tell anyone).  This went in easily and the speaker was wired up.  A quick test of everything (with the lights not connected yet) confirmed that the sound came on but I could not get it to move.  I'll look into this a bit later.  On Friday night I wired up the 3V bulbs straight to the 12V outputs of the decoder.  Put it on the test track and I thought 'Gee the lights are bright!'  Doh!!! You nut case - you forgot the resister!  I could not find any resisters besides my standard 1000 Ohm ones I use for all my LED installs.   Well I thought I would try these.  Now the bulbs would not light.  First not enough resistance, not too much!  I had to replace the rear bulb as I blew that one.

My brain was starting to hurt.  I could not find any other resisters at home.  So I decided to swap the Bulbs for LED's.  As most know, you should not use LED's with this model decoder.  As they are prone to flashing on/off by themselves randomly.  I had somewhere in my posession about 5 of those little circuits that are supposed to fix this problems - but I could not find them.  Anyway, when I do I will install them on a few of my 44 class that have this problem.

Now the DSD100LC has a preculiar facet.  Remember that I could not get the loco to move.  So I reset the decoder.  The sound worked and it moved.  After a reset of the decoder, on next powerup of the decoder both lights (front and rear headlights) flash for 30 seconds when power is restored to the decoder.  Well I put mine on the track and when I applied power to the loco - it started flashing.  On some other decoders, this is an error condition.  I was stumped.  Of course at this time, I did not know that the flash was supposed to occur.  Was it over voltage to the decoder? I'd assume not as everything else runs.  Was there an issue with my wiring?  Was it about to self destruct?  Another reset would stop the flashing.  After the reset the sound would start and it would move off at speed step 1.  But next time I stopped power and reapplied it, it would flash again! I would issue another reset to the decoder and the bloody thing would flash again.  So I found the manual for the decoder online - Doh!  There was nothing wrong with it.  RTFM before you do these things!

On Saturday arvo I got stuck into shed and completed the plastering of the area between The Risk and Border Loop.  I then moved down to the area between Glenapp Loop and The Risk Loop and started terra forming here.  This is the last major area on the top deck except for the Upper Richmond River Bridge area north of Kyogle.  The Richmond river area will be attached during my December holidays and it will be a big job.  I then gave about a quarter of the newly terra formed area around Glennapp loop a layer of plaster.  This coming weekend I will complete the plastering here.  Next weekend I post some shots of all the new plaster work. 

Early on Sunday morning I had to remove the paper towels that I had been protecting the rails with, and the newspapers on the bottom level of the layout to stop dripping water onto and plaster flowing to damage the lower level of the baseboard. I also had to test the track before today as I had a mini running session with Shelton D'Cruz (  It turned out that I was following Shelton's blog and I assumed he was located in Victoria somewhere.  He then posted a few videos of trains at Acacia Ridge.  That got me thinking about where he was located.  Then last Saturday while I took Kyle to a 6th birthday party, I spoke to one of the other mothers there.  She mentioned Shelton's name and that he had a shed filled with trains.  I said I think he models Victorian outline, and he has a blog that I follow.  He lives in the next suburb, next thing we are in touch and he comes over for a run.  Shelton kindly brought his video camera around (it looks a ripper!).  Hopefully some of the footage that was shot this afternoon, will be worth showing you guys - the Blog readers.  We will see.

The next Tuesday Nighters meeting will be at my place in two weeks.  I intend to have the plastering complete on the top level by then except for Kyogle.  I have also found three sections of track that needs to be improved - no PK and Darryl - there were no protuding nails found.  I think there might me a slight rip up and relay occuring next weekend to fix two of these issues.  I will get around to the last lot of pictures from Dorrigo this week as well.  See Ya.


  1. Hey Scooter,

    Is the track gauged to 16.5 mm?


  2. PK,
    No, two kinks (don't start!) and one sudden elevation change at the bottom of the helix.