Sunday, April 13, 2014

Modelling Night and Control Panel Work

During the week I was notified by Geoff (email and SMS) that he was having a modelling night at his place on Friday after 7:00pm.  So I replied that I thought I could make it.  I then had to think about what I was to do while there.  I had a dental appointment on Friday afternoon and after getting home, I went down to the shed and was tinkering around in my Shed.  I decided that after I complete the Bonalbo Ballast Siding area, I might start working on the Kyogle Stock Siding scenery.  I had 2 Uneek kits for cattle races and a Sentinal kit for a sheep race.  These will form the basis of the loading facilities at this location. 
So to kick off the planning for the Kyogle Stock Siding scenery, I took two sheets of A4 paper and stuck them end to end with sticky tape and then cut two sheets to the shape of the scenery - like a wedge.  I positioned a few stock wagons in the siding and worked out where the stock races were to be positioned.  I then cut up some 8mm Styrofoam into the same shape of the paper.  This will be used as a base for the scenery I will build.  I thought if it was built on a small removable base, I might be able to enter this into our Club's modelling competition at the December meeting.  So we will see.
With some more time to kill, I decided to do some work on some petrol tanks I had lying around.  These came from a kit I picked up at the Armidale Convention about 3 and a half years back.  I super glued the tank support bases to the tanks.  I then painted up the three petrol tanks with some white paint from a spray can.  Upon completion, I was left thinking that maybe I should have used an etch undercoat first.  Whoops!
Later that night, I went over to Geoff’s and after putting 5 bulk packets of KD couplers into individual packs of 2 pairs each for subsequent on-sale at our Club shop, I got around to putting together the three stock races with super glue.  That was all I did for the night.  But I did enjoy the couple of beers I took, the great company, and the biscuits, fruit cake and coffee put on by Geoff.  it was indeed a great night.  We watched a YouTube clip of a Lego Darth Vador in the canteen in the deathstar.  The guys had not seen that before.  It is really a hoot.  This came up as I has seen the new Lego Movie that morning with the kids.  I thought the movie was great - particularly from a modeller's perspective.  Lots of laughs!
My next task in the Shed is to plan how I will build the outer railing fences in the Kyogle Stock Siding yard.  Will they be 4 rail or 5 rail?  What size are the railings?  I have many different shaped pieces of styrene at home.  I happen to have some very old styrene that is marked as having dimensions of 7 1/2" x 1 1/2" that I might try and use for the rails.  For the fence posts I will use some round styrene or some small round wood for the corner posts and some 60 thou I beam styrene for the intermediate fence posts.  I will build this in-situ on the styrofoam and then I can just lift it off the layout in one piece and spray paint it and then after scenicing the styrofoam, I can return the stock yard fencing to the styrofoam base and place it back on the layout.  Well that is the plan anyway.
On Saturday morning I went to the Shed for about 30 minutes before heading to the Club for our monthly meeting and decided that I might need to add a couple of other stock loading points to the Kyogle Stock Siding Facility.  I'm not sure how often there were more than one separate loading point within a single siding, but mine will have multiple cattle and multiple sheep loading points.
While at the Club yesterday before our monthly meeting, I adjusted the track through two of the platforms of the main station.  Unfortunately the track was all glued down against my suggestion and there was a kink in the track through one of the platforms and at that point one of the member's locos kept having his cylinders hit the platform.  This also occurred on the next platform as well, but this was just due to the track not being laid parallel to the platform edge.  So after painting on a small amount of hot water to the track, and using a small trowel prised under the track above the cork, the glued track lifted off the cork underlay and was realigned and the troublesome loco now runs through both platforms without incident.
Following the Club Meeting, I ran two of my trains around the new HO clubroom layout.  I used my radio Procab in an effort to demonstrate to members that this is a very nice system (Bugger this plugging in trick.  Radio is the way to go for me).   It takes about 6 minutes to complete a single loop of the layout. 
Today I went to my mate David's place and we were continuing to work on the control panel at his Lower Hammersmith Station location.  David has made a very nice looking control panel and we connected wires from it to the NCE Mini Panel.  We also coded up about 23 macros (one for each route) with varying numbers of points to be thrown from a single point up to 6 points.  David has an N-X panel arrangement at this location and by just selecting the entry track and the exit track the points automatically throw between these two locations.  So we tested each Peco point motor individually, by issuing the Accessory command from the NCE throttle - points numbers 1 through 16.  Some points were throwing the opposite way.  So we just changed the wires on the DS64 which throws the Peco point motors.  We still have two locations were the crossovers are not throwing properly.  But David will look into this and by the next time I go over there that should be fixed. 
We next tested the macros and the ones that we tested seemed to be setting the points correctly.  So far so good.  Unfortunately, after pressing the buttons on the control panel not everything seemed to be throwing correctly.  We did get some routes to fire from the control panel, and I are not sure if this is because the code I wrote in the Mini Panel has a bug or it is not working correctly yet.  However, after we fix up the problems with the points we will get stuck into debugging the Mini Panel and that will be the first of potentially another two large N-X panels that David will have on his layout.  This is pretty exciting stuff.  I think I will re-visit my code before my next trip to David's to ensure that it all looks correct.

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