Monday, December 24, 2012

More Progress – But Really – More of Who’s a Dork!

On Friday afternoon I nicked off early for the start of my Christmas break. That afternoon I made my way over to Austral Modelcraft to pick up another left hand curve point. This was installed on Saturday morning and thus ended the project of making Clapham Yard usable in its most basic form. Following completion of laying the track, I started soldering up the main track bus wire from the southern end of Clapham Yard, through the yard, up the northern end, into the tracks in Loco Pilly and up to Dutton Park. I could not resist and ran an 80 class through all the tracks in Clapham Yard and up to Dutton Park. The first stage of wiring was working well.
I went out shopping on Saturday afternoon. I acquired some more bus wire and stereo plugs from Jaycar, I also visited Bunnings for some more wood screws, pine and some plasterers angle. I also went to Aldi for the boss and saw a very nice modeller’s knife set for $14.99. That would make a nice Christmas Gift to a modelling husband or father. On Saturday night I spent some time fixing up a few issues with my timetable for next Saturday and printing out the changed pages. The pages were then cut up into 74 individual time cards ready for next weekend and arranging them in sequence number order. Actually there are two copies of the timetable - one for the drivers and one for North Coast Control to monitor progress.
On Sunday I went down to the shed for a couple of hours late morning. I continued wiring up the track bus – heading north. After joining up the section before Dutton Park to that after Dutton Park, I turned on the power in the hope of running the test train from Loco Pilly where it stabled yesterday all the way into South Brisbane. I turned on the power and wouldn’t you know it "Dead Short". That had me scratching my head for a while. Where was the problem? And how to track it down?  It came back to the old divide and conquer method. I narrowed the problem down to being in Park Road Sidings. Upon closer examination, it turned out that there were two points at the northern end of the sidings, that were electrofrog points and they did not have insulated joiners on the two middle rails. Only a Dork would do this. In my defence, the rails on these points were fairly dirty and I could not tell they were eleftrofrog points. So I put the insulated joiners in, tested it again and voila. Park Road Sidings were now working.
So I then joined Park Road Sidings back up with the main to South Brisbane, and ran another test. Another Dead Short! So out with my stool to be able to view the fan out of tracks into South Brisbane, and wouldn’t you know it, there were three more electrofrog points in here as well. Three! That is unbelievable. I’ve laid over 200 sets of points on the layout and this is the worst occurrence of this issue ever. I am now a dead set certainty for the Dork of the Year Award. Again these three points where very dirty, and it was not until I cleaned the points that I discovered that they were electrofrogs. So after adding the insulated joiners, I cleaned the track around South Brisbane and retested and everything was fine apart from a few nail heads sticking up too high. But they were also easily fixed. So I now have run a loco all the way into the stop blocks at Platform one at South Brisbane Interstate.
However, in doing my testing, I removed the dual gauge point at Dutton Park to test it electrically, as my first thought was that this was the cause of the short. It tested out fine.  It was not until this afternoon that I re-installed it, and ran an 80 class and two track cleaning wagons through it about 10 times.
The next task following that was to lay all the sidings in Loco Pilly. That took about half an hour. I still need to add some bracing underneath the baseboard to Loco Pilly. So that should be completed later this week. I will then start on the staff machines from Acacia Ridge north. I also need to fix the staff machine from Glenapp to Acacia Ridge as I caused some damage to it as I was removing the switch from the panel.  All easily fixed.
That still leaves the need to install the intercom system for the locations north of Acacia Ridge to South Brisbane, build the extension to the signal panel for new area, and then stable the trains ready for the session. Each of these tasks could conceivably take a good day’s work. Time is running out for before next Saturday’s Running Day.

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