Sunday, August 4, 2013

Tidying up Some Loose Ends

During the week, Ian from “Musswellbrook and Merriwa Railway” Blog fame advised of some NSW locos and rollingstock available for sale so I took the opportunity to snap up another Austrains 442 loco (this one is in candy livery) for the layout at a very good price.  There were two Jumbos available for sale.  There was no need to be greedy, I didn’t need both, I thought I‘d let someone else share the elation in getting a Jumbo for a good bargain price.  I now hear that Darren picked up the other one.  I’m just waiting for my package to be delivered now.  There is nothing better than a jumbo to run on the North Coast.  I think I will now be able to double head Jumbos on the Brisbane Limited.  I currently run a 442 + 80 combination.  I picked up a decoder for the loco on Saturday while at the Club.
I had Friday off this week as my daughter was running in the District sports carnival in the 800m event.  It is really handy when the carnival is held across the road from school.  She came 6th in her heat out of 14 competitors, so she missed the final.  Her heat was the closest one contested.  Once her race was complete, I made my way to the Post Office to ship off my DOA Digitrax DS64 back to the US for a warranty replacement.  That is not cheap!  I hope they return a working one to me.  I’ll probably have to wait about a month before I hear anything.
One of our Club members had a DL class loco where the headlight and the associated front and rear marker lights were not working.  I decided to have another look at this beast.  Apparently the decoder was putting out only 1.5V on the front headlight circuit.  I now assume that this is not enough to light the various LED’s.  I think it needs more oomph.  I think the decoder has blown the circuit.  The rear light and its associated marker lights all work well.  It has just occurred to me as I am writing this update that I might be able to take the function 1 output and rewire it to where the forward headlight is going.  I will see if I can do this during this week.
On Saturday morning I went to the local hobby shop – Austral Modelcraft and picked up our order for about 60 sets of points for the new Club HO Layout.  We did get a pretty good deal from Ray.  But we are no where near finished purchasing points.  This 60 points, plus what we already had down the Club will still not be enough to complete the bottom deck, as new ideas are incorporated into the design.
When I got to the Club, I followed up a brain storm I had during the previous night about incorporating two return loops near the bottom level helix.  These can be being incorporated pretty easily into the existing benchwork with only minimal changes.  I showed my suggestion to a few members and there was some good enthusiasm about incorporating them.  The bottom deck is arranged as two concentric circles, but as the track snakes its way around the baseboards, it looks like there are 4 tracks in some areas.  I have labelled the tracks The 'inner' and 'outer'.  The two reversing loops will allow trains to move from the inner line to the outer line, and the other allows movement from the outer line to the inner line.  Later in the day, after our usual meeting, monthly raffle and afternoon tea, we were laying the staging yard with its curved throat at one end.  Once I had completed laying the yard, I was also hypothesising about if I could also include a reversing loop around this area. I also believe that we can do this and it will add to operation.  This return loop means that a train on the outer line must cross over to the inner and diverge from the inner and can head around the backboard along the staging yard side of the peninsula and then joins up to the inner track.  This can allow a train on the outer track to cross to the inner and then make its way to the port facility that we have on the inner and unload coal, grain and containers.  In theory it sounds a good idea, but I expect to get lots of push back from those that don't like having points installed or even running through points.
While at the club I was given a number of locos to decoder up for one member.  That was 2 x 80 class and 2 x 421 class locos.  I also was given an 80 class by another member, that keeps derailing.  Today I ran that troublesome loco on my layout and all I have done is oil the drive train up and it seems to be running much better and having a lot less derailments.  So maybe it was having some sort of a slight bind in the drive train and it was lifting a bogie off the track when it ran over points and any undulations in the track.  So there is no better place to test a loco than through some of my trackwork.  Yep, initially it kept coming off the track!  After lubrication, I think I have now stopped it coming off the track.  Time will tell.
Today while in the shed, I realigned some track around the Acacia Ridge storage loops to improve access to the dual gauge track heading to Clapham Yard.  There were a couple of sharp kinks in the track that have been taken out.  I also wired up four of the five point motors at the southern end of Clapham Yard to the Digitrax DS64 point motor controller.  I then installed the Control Panel at this location and then ran 6 wires back to the NCE Mini Panel located about 8 feet away.  I then coded up the accessory commands into the Mini Panel and then gave the control panel a trial run.  It worked just like a bought one!  All I need now is a single point motor controller maybe an NCE Snap-It for the vary first point in the yard ladder and everything at this location is now complete.
I then moved to the northern end of Clapham Yard.  My plan is to replicate at the northern end exactly what I have done at the southern end.  I have a track arrangement that allows Standard Gauge trains to access all four tracks.  The narrow gauge trains can only access the innermost two tracks.  I spliced two points into the trackwork at this location and drilled the holes for the point motors.  I still need to purchase a right hand narrow gauge point and splice it into the track on the innermost track and then the fun begins.  I will have to install one more set of points into the Loco Pilly area and then install about 9 or 10 point motors and hook these up to some DS64 point motor controllers.  I will have to go back and attach some more droppers to the track work as there are a few electrofrog points and insulated joiners so I need to have the tracks powered.  I have another NCE Mini Panel located on this side of the layout, so to get to this from the control panel, will require about 25 feet of wiring for each button on the control panel.  This will keep me poor in wiring. 
Next week 10th and 11th August 2013 is the RMCQ Model Railway Exhibition at Strathpine Community Centre in Strathpine, entry is via Mecklam Street.  Opening times are 9:00am to 5:00pm on Saturday and 9:00am – 4:00pm on Sunday.  I will spend most of my time helping out on the from door, so any bloggers, drop by and say hi.  There will be about 26 or 27 exhibits attending.  It is good value at $6 for Adults, $5 for Concession and $2 for Children.  A Family pass is $15.  We are also raffling a few train sets, so make sure you purchase a ticket upon entry.

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