Sunday, February 22, 2015

Locos and Layouts

On Tuesday I took my Auscision 45 and Austrains 81 class locos to Lefty’s place for our Tuesday Nighters get together to show them off.  There were a couple of inspections undertaken.  I also had an issue with the front red marker lights on the 45 after fitting my NCE DA-SR decoder.  The red lights were not aligning up with the holes in the shell.  So I pulled it apart, checked it and put it back to together and it all worked much better.  So while checking out the 81 class, the questions turned to what was wrong with the shell.  My loco was the blue version - 8155.  The loco has two doors in the middle of the side under the 8155 number.  However, it is rather hard to see unless you really look for it.  We almost did not see this problem as you really needed to look very hard.  I understand that the issue is more obvious on the candy loco.
Saturday afternoon, Geoff, Shelton and myself travelled to Anthony’s place where Ian and Mark were already there for a running session on the Border Region Layout.  Again I volunteered as the Train Control and had it pretty cruisy compared to the others when I was watching then shunt the various locations.  Crickey it was taking a very long time to set out and pick up the various locations on the layout.  I'm sure Anthony must have a sadistic streak.
Anthony's layout ran very well as usual.  The session was delayed by some issues with some of his European branded decoders and issues with consisting and deleting consists, but these were overcome.  There was one 4 wheel cattle wagon that derailed on a set of points at Nankiva during shunting.  I think one axel was under gauge.  This will be easily fixed and this wagon has been assigned to be checked out.  There were two derailments on the main line by passenger trains.  The Overland was one and an Auscision Walker’s Railcar was the other, at almost the same place.  I think the weather had something to do with that.  It was very muggy with ex-tropical cyclone Marcia over us at the time.  There was one other wagon that came off twice and a couple of wagons were spotted with non-concentric wheels causing the wagon to go up and down as it travelled around the layout.  This was a very low number of issues compared to the number of wagons involved with the session and the 19 trains that we ran.  Again we completed the session diagram.  I'm pretty sure everyone had a good time - I know I did.
A few locos on Anthony's layout do have sound, and it was good to be able to hear the locos revving up and down as they did their shunting in the other operating aisle. The wheel squeal was also great as the driver applied the brakes before changing direction.
I think the toughest job was undertaken by out host – Anthony being the Yard Master at Tatiara Downs.  He was shunting wagons and moving wagons around all session.  He was also called upon to fix issues as they arose, answer questions from the ill-informed (non Victorian and South Australian crews - aka me).
Today I was progressing my Austrains 81 class wiring project.  I have not really run the loco as yet, besides up and back on the test track.  But it does sound quiet and runs very smoothly.  I had the front and rear headlights working from the decoder but I could not get the number box lights to work.  I could get them to work when connecting the power straight to the 3 pin plug from a 3V power supply.  So I had an idea about not using the 3 pin plug on the loco's control board , but when changing over to hard wiring I lost operation of the headlight altogether.  I may have wired then back to front - with the common wire to the control wire and vice-versa.  I will test that tomorrow night or whatever night I can get some time to undertaken this re-wiring. 
Anyway, my focus today turned to getting the white marker lights, red marker lights and the white ditch lights to work.  Testing determined that I could not get the white marker lights and white ditch lights to work independently, so they were connected together, but the red marker lights can be and are controlled by another function.
So the wiring plan the locos is to have the following:-
F0F - Front headlight
F0R - Rear headlight
F1 - Front number boxes
F2 - Rear number boxes
F3 - Front white marker lights and white ditch lights
F4 - Rear white marker lights and white ditch lights
F5 - Front red marker lights
F6 - Rear red marker lights
So the front end is now working with the white markers, white ditch and red markers.  The rear end has the white lights working, but the red marker light is always on.  I must have accidently powered it to the track instead of the function output.  I will have to go back and check if I have solder spanning the function output.
So what P155es me off about modern locos?  When you design a loco and have all these lights great lighting affects in it, damn well wire the lights so they can be easily be connected to a decoder, as almost all of your purchasers will be doing that!  A wiring diagram would be good to have it included with the loco.  So I’m not sure if I will be able to get the number box lights working off a separate connection. More work for this week.
I don't think I will be buying any more 81 class locos from the other manufacturer unless I win lotto - I just cannot afford it, but it seems that the recently announced 81 class from SDS models might come with the working lighting effects straight from the factory.  That would be a change!


  1. The double doors under the numbers on the blue 81 are correct. 8181 to 8184 were built with them and they were progressively added to the other locos as they underwent overhauls. This is not the issue with the candy 81 anyway. Interesting how many people complain about the 'extra door' on the candy, but don't even know which one is at fault. Cheers Paul

  2. Paul, Thanks for putting me right about the double doors. I have just perused a few photos and can now see the double doors under blue 81's. However, the photos are from around 1998 onwards. I'd assume this actually occured quite sometime before 1998 but that was the only photos I could find quickly. My modelling era is up to 1991. The photos from that era, only show a single door on the 81's. I'm not sure if 8155 was painted blue in 1991, or even if any 81's were paint blue in that era, but there certainly were blue locos around then. This is when I invoke modeller's license with the collection of locos on my layout. So I have some features correct for 1991 but others may not be.