Sunday, June 19, 2011

Inter Cabin Phone System

This week we had a large turn out at Lefty and Son's for Tuesday Nighters. There were 10 of us if I remember correctly. There were a few give aways going on as well. I got an old phone plug. Mike got a pair of NSW standard gauge bogies for his narrow gauge wagon scratch building efforts. I think Barry got some KD #5's. I'm sure there was other stuff (technical term for modelling bits for the spares box) changing hands as well.  I think Lefty was trying to corrupt some of the Tuesday Nighters trying to turn them to the dark side - or should I say - Narrow Gauge - Nnnnoooooo!  Don't do it guys.  Stay with NSWGR.  Boy and hasn't the refreshment situation changed at a Tuesday Nighters?  Lefty had about a 8 bottles of alcohol sitting right behind his coffee urn and biscuits.  I did not want to say who may or may not have turned their coffee into an Irish Coffee.

On display on the table in the Lefty and Son's Shed was an issue of the latest AJRM #11. Upon perusal I was very glad to see that Darren had an article in that issue on his staff machine setup that he is using on Nimmitabel Extension. Well done Darren.

Thursday afternoon I picked up a cheap 44 Class loco on ebay from Tom's that I will swap the shell with one of my dummy locos to make another powered unit. I also ordered a Tsunami sound chip (Alco 251 - 12 cylinder donk) for the loco. I expect the loco in a few days and the sound chip in about 2 weeks.

Saturday started off with me finishing off the last two decoder installs in locos for Barry. I also replaced the headlights with LEDs. As mentioned last week, I started the installs last weekend. I had completed 3 locos by last Tuesday night and was able to hand them back to Barry and give them a test run on Lefty and Son's layout. The other two were returned to Barry this afternoon. Barry has given me another loco to look at as it is not running. I'll check that out during the week.

After yesterday's installs were complete, I went down to the shed to investigate how I'd rig up my phone panels for the North Coast Control and the Yard Master locations. So I found a piece of 2mm styrene and cut some holes for a DPDT centre off switch and for two LED's. I then attached an old telephone plug. On the back I then attached a 7 way solder lug to connect the cat-5 cabling to.  The cat-5 runs between the phone locations.  Today I made up brackets to attach the panel to the shed wall. I also soldered everything to the panel. So now we have the North Coast Control Panel complete and ready to interface with the other panel to control Grafton Yard and Acacia Ridge Yards.
Picture of Panel and Phone at North Coast Control

On the top of the panel are indicator LED's that will light to indicate if Grafton Yard or Acacia Ridge Yard are calling North Coast Control. The toggle switch below these LED's is for me to call either Acacia Ridge Yard or Grafton Yard. When they answer I return the toggle switch back to the centre off position. Setting it up or down, lights an LED on the panel at the other end, just like on this panel. Below this is the phone plug. Mounted below this again on my workbench is the phone holder recepticle for the phone. The phone is a standard old phone with 32 Ohm speaker and mic's which I have added a push-to-talk button into the handset. However, upon testing this afternoon, I could not get the microphone to work (tested with a meter), so it may have gone to meet its maker. I will have to scrounge another one now! I do have a couple of people looking for me for old phones. A number of people have said, 'Oh - I just threw a whole lot out!' That's just my luck.

Next week I need to extend the cat-5 cable under the layout at the other end so it reaches the layout facia and also make two new brackets for the other phone panel. I also need another hanger for the second phone. Then I can solder up the other end of the phone system and hopefully - Bob's Your Uncle - it will work!

The next Tuesday Nighters is in my shed in two weeks. With a bit of luck I might get a plan back from Brendan for how to wire up the driver's headsets. This will give me time to install these before the next running session which is likely to be scheduled in August sometime. With some more luck, I might have this weeks new 44 Class available, along with 2 x new Auscision 73's to work a concrete or wooden sleeper train or even a ballast or a stock train, and a sound CPH from Eureka for one of the mountain goat runs to be shared with a 620/720 set. When I get the sound equipped CPH I will need to work on more changes to the timetable. As the 620/720 and the CPH will have to come from the loco area before they leave from the dock platform at Cassino, and then make their way back to loco on arrival back. Alternatively, I may even just take turns of one session with the CPH and one session with the 620/720. This is a descision I will make if and when the sound CPH turns up.
This week I also added a 'pageview counter' to my blog page, but it does not seem to be working all that well for me.  I will monitor this and maybe change it if it continues to give me grief.

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