Sunday, September 4, 2011

Further Working on the Headset System

This weekend I spent some time on both Saturday and Sunday working on my new Headset System.  I worked on wiring in 4 plug in points to the testbed system.  I have also laid more connections to another three points, but these are not soldered in yet.  Initially I wired up the headphone wires and undertook a test.  I could hear on these 4 wired in points what someone plugged into the testbed was saying.  So tick number one.  The headsets seemed to be working. 

So I bit the bullet and wired up the three wires for the microphones on the wired in network including the push to talk buttons.  Well I could not hear anything on any of the connections.  Damn!  Bugger!  And lots of other words...  No matter what I did I could not get the system to work.  I've checked my wiring again and again. 

I think I might have to call in the cavalry in a couple of weeks time and see where I have stuffed up.  Not being an electronics guru I might be as plain as day but my logic must be flawed. 

While I was pontificating about headset system, I turned on the layout's DCC system to see if there was any feedback or ringing caused by the proximity of wires around the layout.  I noticed that one complete set of staff instruments were not illuminated.  This was the Cassino to Fairy Hill Section.  This section has quite a number of intermediate staff machines and as some sections are accessible from both sides of a peninsular, there are staff machines on both sides.  There is actually 8 in total.  I had a quick check and it looked like one of my bridge rectifiers may have bitten the dust, but it may not have as upon checking the voltage, it showed that the system, the system was producing 13 volts.  This is way more than it was supposed to, however, I may have measured it in the wrong spot and it may be correct.  After the resistors in the circuit it should measure about 3 volts, but upon reflection, I may have just measured it in the wrong place.  Either something has gone wrong and it has blown all 8 LED's in the circuit due to over voltage, or at the end of the circuit there is a wire off and we have an open circuit.  I am thinking that I might have to manufacture an additional power supply or two and have them as spares in my kit box, so in the future I can quickly swap out items when I have issues, or in situations like this.

Those that follow tmy blog may come to the conclusion that there is a lot of gadetry on my layout.  Well this is true, but I think all these items collectively help to put the guys that come to my operating sessions in the drivers seat so to speak.  It makes them think that they are really operating a train (in miniature) going from A to B and for a purpose.  They are actually doing safeworking, and talking to control.

A while back I was thinking of having a running session next weekend, but I was then thinking of delaying it until the end of the month until I had the new headset system operational and suitably tested.  Now with the additional complication of my staff system down in one section, I also need to get this back up.  Alternatively I could also work out what the railways did when the staff system for a section went down and run my section the same way.  I assume it is talking back to control or having some sort of pilot system in place.

I will be flat strap at work over the next 4 weeks working on something "railways" related, so I may not have much spare time over the next few weeks to rectify things, so the running session may well be put back to early to mid October.

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