Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tuesday Nighters, Cameras and More Point Control

Last Tuesday was "Tuesday Nighters" and the Shed was squeezed to overflowing by the presence of 9 visitors. It was quite warm, so both doors were open and the fan was on. A few members brought along their new Trainorama guards vans as there for at least 4 packets present. We put two vans on the track at Fairy Hill and let them run. One would only go about 6 feet before stopping. The second went all the way down the helix and stopped just short of the exit on the bottom circuit (4 and half loops at about 950mm radius). My old Trainorama guards van runs all the way past this point and travels another 12m into Cassino station. So I guess the wheels are not as free flowing on these new models as the last lot of vans.

Well what can you say about Mad Mike. Mike our resident octigenarian (plus) turned up with a scenic gem for one of my houses. It was an outback dunny that had exploded, due to the toxic mixture of chicken, egg, broccholi, and PK and that's my story. Mike has another one.

No Sign of PK now!

He said he had to go one better than the one I had two weeks ago at Shelton's shed. I had started building an O scale dunny with opening dunny lid that I was making for the Narrow Gauge Convention over Easter at the Ipswich Railway Workshops.

David aka Lefty (not in attendance due to an early flight to Canberra the next morning - I did hear a few comments about beauty sleep and something about it not working) and Raymond (aka & Son) delivered a few old PK point motors for installation on two points that had their wire in tube actuation removed. So now I need to go and buy some more hookup wire and another DS64 to make these work. While talking to Greg at work on Thursday or Friday telling him about my dilema about where to position the DS64, which is to control one point at Rappville, one point at Cassino and two at Kyogle, the cost for amount of wire needed to run to the four point motors would have crippled a small nation, as the points could not be any further apart on the layout, Greg suggested that I use single point motor controllers instead of the 4 point DS64 - Doh! Another one of those epiphany moments - Now why did I not think of that? I checked with the local hobby shop on Saturday morning and they did not have any NCE Snap-its in stock, so its now a wait of a week or two.
Rappville Panel with the new push buttons installed - No expense spared on my layout!

I did some research during the week about suitable minaiature cameras that would fit into my loading gauge. I had looked at the Swann Security DVR-410 with a 2GB micro SD card for a RRP of $99.95, although Dick Smith's had them for $69.95 without the micro SD card. Saturday morning I received an email from WOW about their weekend specials. For $45 this weekend only, you can get a DVR-410 a video camera in the shape of a car remote that includes a 2GB mico-SD card. You also get a Bronco's foot massager - Whoopie! So I ordered one online. This fits into my loading gauge very nicely. So eventually I may be able to create some driver's eye footage of a train heading around the layout and put it up on youtube.

I spent some time on Sunday afternoon cutting out the baseboard for installation of the point motors from David.
The old point actuation method for the Rappville point is via wire in copper tube - Sorry picture is out of focus

The peco point motor installed at Rappville

  The peco point motor installed under the Cassino point

I also received a phone call on Friday night from another mate (Yes I do have some PK) wanting to do some swapping of point motors for decoder installs. Pitty I'm currently all set for point motors.

Yesterday the Tuesday Nighters travelled to Darren's Shed for a Saturday daylight get together. Six members turned up to check out Darren's masterpiece. Darren's shed is about 9 x 7m and it was certainly well setup. Darren used to live in this part of his shed, while he built his house. In front of the shed in a separate walled off area is his very well appointed workshop, with a carport in front of that. Darren's layout is NSW based and set in the early 1970's. Darren has completed two crossing loops on his layout so far. The terminus (Wattle Flat) looks great. There were a few wagons scattered around, and we were able to make up a train, or break up a train. Darren had 3 sound locos in operation. Brendan brought along his new 49 class for a run. I took 3 sound equipped 44's, but did not have to get them out. Darren has three throttles and with my throttle, we had trains running left right and clogging up the loops. We even tried to make the trains too long for the loops. It was great fun. Trains ran very smoothly. Darren also cooks a mean sausage on the BBQ and along with our own poison of choice it was certainly a great 4 and a half hours.

Darren's layout room is certainly well thought out. His workbench is well lit with some fluro lights under the first shelf. There is plenty of storage containers above that shelf and it well presented and tidily kept. More stoage is below the actual layout which is built in 1200mm modules bolted together. The modules are built on top of steel legs which give enough height so Darren's bookcases and library, and rollingstock fit underneath. Only about just under half of the baseboard and track has been laid so far.

I expect that photos of the day will appear on Geoff's, Darren's, Shelton's or even Brendan's Blog before the week is out. I forgot to take the camera didn't I. I can't wait until we are invited back for the next running day and the whole track has been laid.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Simple Things and More Tuning

On Saturday, Peter H came down from Caloundra to do a few jobs. One was to pick up his order from overseas that was delivered to me from our "local purchasing agent" so I could delivery it to him. We had an enjoyable coffee in the shed while he was waiting for his better half to have her hair done a couple of suburbs away.

While talking I discussed my 'el cheapo' UTP panels. At the end of some cab bus runs of standard UTP's, I put a RJ12 Splitter which you can get from Harvey Normal. These cost $6.95, a lot cheaper than the real ones from NCE. They work well.
Photo of RJ12 Splitter from Harvey Norman.

I also showed off the wooden cab holders that one of our Club members was starting to make for pocket money. Bob was selling them via our Club Shop for $5.00. We used to sell a plastic cab holder also via the Club shop, that was obtained from SuperCheap Auto for $5.00 as well. But these are no longer available. I have about 10 to 12 around my layout. The wooden ones are not hard to make.

Photo of my Radio Procab sitting in the plastic mobile phone holder which we use as a cab holder

These cab holders also have a small holder to the side which you can hang a pen from as well as install your uncoupling devide of choice from.  I also use kebab skewers.

This out of focus photo shows the Splitter installed the other way around, as the cab bus goes to the other side of the peninsular, a cab holder, a kebab skewer, my KD pliers and a few rulers hung on the facia

The Wooden Cab Holder and there is another RJ12 Splitter

Yesterday I also finished drawing up my proposed baseboard outline for the Club's HO Clubroom layout. I will photocopy both the top deck and bottom deck diagrams, and then try and insert a proposed layout design into the copies in pencil. This will include stations, sidings, industries and crossing loops. These will be presented at the April meeting of the Club for further discussion.

On Friday I had a request from Greg for a copy of my power supply schematic which converts DCC track power into a constant DC voltage output for LED's and bulbs etc. Do you think I could find the diagram on the Internet again? Well I think someone must have removed it, because I'm not smart enough to design my power supply by myself, and I know I copied it off the internet somewhere. I also can't find any diagrams at home that I had printed out over time. So I had to draw the circuit myself and I will give it to Greg at Work on Monday.

A sample of my power supply

I also receive daily emails at catalogs and specials from WOW Sight and Sound. Yesterday there was a 2GB pen with built in Camera in the catalog. I checked it out so see if I can use it on my train set. My local WOW does not get it until Tuesday.  However, Dick Smith Electroncis has it so I checked it out there.  Unfortunately the camera shoots out the side and will not fit into my loading gauge.  I was hoping it might shoot from the top, so I could lay the pen on a flat car and shoot away.  However, DSE also had another small camer, but it too was 58mm high and too high to also fit within my loading gauge.  I always wanted to install a camera to record train trips from the driver's point of view.  Maybe they also make an even smaller version?

Today I spent about 3 hours in the shed running trains.  I moved three trains from Murwillumbah back top Grafton.  One from Grafton back to Murwillumbah and one from Acacia Ridge to Grafton.  I also did a bit of tuning with bogie screws on a few wagons - just loosening them slightly, as well as fixing two geometry issues with the track.  I also replaced a Peco point on entry to Cassino.  This will be converted from manual control via wire in tube to Peco solenoid motor via DS64 via NCE Mini Panel and a control panel.

The top point was replaced today

Hopefully this tuning activity will help the trains to run better at the next running day.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Nothing to Report

This week started off with a Tuesday Nighters' event at Shelton's Place.  Nine (9) of us turned up at Shelton's to enjoy some tea, coffee, cake and VR Trains.  I took my NCE radio RB02 along and my radio procab and the guys ran a few trains between the Station, yard, and the loco area and the hidden dead end sidings.

Saturday was Club Day so I took along my thoughts for out new HO Clubroom layout and together with the others I think we have concensus on what it will look like.  I will draw up what I think was agreed and so will Bob.  We will get together at the next meeting to accept the final concept.  I think it will take 2 to 3 years to build if we can get the funds allocated.

Today I took my box of stuff that I took to Shelton's and over to the Club back down to the shed.  That was my only entry there.  I still have to give one of my 44 class locos a good service during the coming week as I did not do it this week.  I also have to get stuck into completing the demonstration models for my presentation and Clinic at the Narrow Gauge Convention at the Ipswich Railway Workshops over Easter in about 6 weeks time.  I also have to finish of my notes for Convention program. 

But no quality time in the Shed this week.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Follow Up to the Running Session

Following the running session, I went down the to the shed on Monday Night to look at the oil pots that would not go through the Tunnel between Baker's Farm and the Rocla Sleeper Siding. Two wagons did infact go through. They were a bitumen tanker and some other american wagon that has found its way onto my layout. I looked at the other five wagons. They were Lifelike tankers from many many years ago. I removed the bogies underneath one wagons, and there was a circular lip forming the bogie bolster. I cut this off - it was all of maybe 1mm - 2mm in height. It must have been closer to 1mm. So I did both ends, replaced the bogies, put it on the track, added it to the rake of oil wagons and pushed it into the tunnel, and I couldn't believe it. The train now went three wagons into the tunnel. So I did the same to other 4 tankers and sure enough, the whole collection of oil wagons goes in through the tunnel now. I still do not believe it that with that small shaving of height, the train now goes through the tunnel.  The only issue is that these 5 newly adjusted oil pot wagons now have low KD couplers, so while they will run together, then need their coupler heights adjusted.  A couple of other wagons also had their coupling heights adjusted slightly via KD washers during the week.

I also spent some time fine tuning the timetable in particular the trains arriving at Murwillumbah.  I made sure that the timetable instructions covered where to run around their trains and what siding to put their train in.  I also fixed up a few places in the timetable, where the departure time was before the arrival time.  A slight cut and pasteing issue - I copied them to the wrong cells.

I received another 80 Class loco from a club member to fit a decoder as well as 2 LED's into. So I also did this on Saturday morning.  That loco runs well and while it is a blue 80 Class - looks really good as it is weathered.  It is making me wish I had another blue 80 Class in my roster. 

I also ditched three locos from the roster. A Powerline 81 and two 48's were replaced by an Austrains Jumbo, an Austrains 421, and a Austrains 80 class.

Also the Trainorama 44 that had issues a few weeks ago, was opened up on Monday Night and recived an inspection. The pin holding the top gear in the rear bogie had come out. The gear was just flopping between the gear train and the helical gear coming from the motor. I was able to push it back into place and the bogie wheels now rotate correctly. I tested it yesterday and it now runs quite a lot better.  It still makes quite a deal of noise so I ran it around for a few minutes to see if it ran better after a short run-in. So This loco won't be making its way back to Austrains (well the rear bogie won't be) as I sure as hell wasn't going to send it back decoder and LED and all.  I now have two spare locos for the next timetable, this 44 Class and an NR class.  The NR class doesn't really fit into the era of the running session - but lets face it - it runs better than my Lima and Powerline stuff.

On Friday I decided to submit an entry for the 2011 Narrow Gauge Convention to be held at the Ipswich Railway Workshops over Easter. I have volunteered to do a session on using Styrene to build some detail items for the layout and also run a clinic where attendees can build their own O scale dunny for $5. So I might have to get my notes together over the next few weeks and build a few details items between now and Easter to show off at the session.  Last night I started putting together an O scale dunny for my talk at the convention.  This will be the basis of the model that those attending the clinic will be putting together.

This week, Tuesday Nighters is on for the first time at Shelton's place. Saturday is Club meeting day and is the day when people present their designs for the new HO clubroom layout. I will spend some time this week doing a few more drawings.