Sunday, November 29, 2015

Still Lighting up the World

I had a short day on Thursday this week and when I got home, my package of 5 pairs of male/female plugs for my LED light strings and 6 Amp power supplies had arrived.  I purchased them on eBay on Monday morning.  They were purchased from a local supplier and you could even select Big-W or Woolworths “Click and Collect” – pretty impressive.

So off to the shed and I attached a female plug to my light string above Clapham Yard.  Connected it to power and Voila!  That works.
Clapham Yard lit by its string of LED lights.

The view of Clapham Yard looking back south.

I then started cutting strings of LEDs for Cougal Spiral.  I used a section from each end of the LED string, and then cut two more lengths for the other two runs.  I then soldered a red and black wire to the ends of the two cut strings and then joined all the red wires and black wires into another female plug.  I then attached that to a power supply and again – Voila – working LED lights. 
Trains heading north around Cougal Spiral get this view.

The view looking south under Cougal Spiral's lights.

Next I decided to head down to Bunnings and pick up 2 x 120mm bolts that I will insert into the ‘A’ frames in the roof of the shed.  This will be above Border Loop.  From the bolts, I will hang two lengths of chain which will be attached to a 5m length of 42 x 18 pine which will hold up my 5m length of LEDs.  The power will be fed down to a power supply and another run of lights on the layout will be complete.  I need a hand with these to hang them from the 'A' frames.

So the next task on the light front is the string above The Risk to be rebuilt.  The old string has been taken down.  The new brackets to attach them to the wall have been installed.  However, upon closer checking, I think the brackets are too small to hold the weight.  So I will need to get some bigger brackets similar to what I used above Clapham Yard.  The string of LEDs from the old lights has been attached to the new pelmet and I just need a hand to attach it all together.
Work in progress above The Risk.

I have also been touching up the model entries for the Club Modelling competition on the 12th of December.  I still have a bit of work to complete on one building.  That should take about 30 minutes, sometime this week.

I have also been putting the finishing touches to the timetable for the December Operating Session.  I just need to look at the Shunt Lists for a couple of trains and move a few goods wagons around.  I still have lots of trains and wagons to check before the session.  In particular I need to test run my passenger trains before the next session as well. I also need to check the bogies on a few recent purcahses to ensure that the bogie screws are not too tight straight out of the box.  I find most are!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Raising the Lights

So today I got out to shed for an hour before lunch and then for about 4 hours after lunch.  The work before lunch was all about just putting some finishing touches on my models for the Club Modelling competition in a few weeks time.  I won’t say what I did.

After lunch I continued working on the lights above Clapham Yard and the lead into the yard from Acacia Ridge.  Firstly I had to attach the last bracket to the shed wall to hold the light frame.  One that was done, I cut up my pelmet which is made from aluminium plasterers angle. I cut a small bend in one length and use a complete length directly above Clapham Yard.  I punch a nail through one of the side so my screws will hold the angle to the wood frame.  Once the holes were punched, I then spray the aluminium gloss white.  Once dry, the pelmets gets fitted to the wooden frame after the frame has been attached to the brackets.  I then unrolled a 5m length of LEDs and attached it to the aluminium.  I then affixed the power supply for this run to under the frame of the layout.  I just need a few more of the plugs to hook it all up.
This shot shows some of the brackets attached to the shed's wall frame, holding up the lights frame which supports the aluminium plasterer's angle which is my pelmet.  The LEDs are already attached.

The power cord from my 6 Amp power supply just needs to be attached to the end of the LED by a plug.  Hopefully I will get some this week.  I used a stationary binder to keep the wiring neat.  I have started to do this in a few places on the layout. 

Once that was complete I decided to cut up the aluminium pelmets for the frame above Cougal Spiral.  So the same process was followed and the painted pelmet has now been attached.  That is complete except for installing the string of LEDs which are already sitting on the layout at this location.  Again I need some more plugs to hook the many small runs of LEDs at this location up.  Maybe next weekend.
This is the frame to hold the LED lights above Cougal Spiral.  The LED string is sitting on the layout.  In the distance is the old light pelmet above The Risk, that I will replace with a similar light arrangement to the ones I just installed above Clapham Yard.

Attention then turned to where I intend to replace the LED run above The Risk.  I will build 5 new brackets that will come out from the wall.  This then brings me to my least favourite job in the world - finding the studs behind the plaster board.   It was then that I realised that I had some magnets stuck to the wall near the North Coast Control desk.  I grabbed them and moved then along the wall above The Risk to locate the studs and ‘Hey Presto’ I have a pretty good stud finder.  It is good that the magnets just stick to the wall where the metal stud frame is.  So I have identified the centre of the studs for the five brackets and next week, I will install the first one, then using my level, ensure that the other 4 brackets are all level.  The magnets were so much faster that using a stud finder or even banging on the wall trying to identify a hollow or solid sound.

Pretty happy with my progress, I decided to stain a length of lazer cut and engraved 3 Ply which had been laser cut by Tristan from Chilli Laser Engraving.  This will be used for another wooden road over rail bridge over the Clubroom HO Layout.  I then threw my attention to looking at what was needed to be done to lay the next two lengths of code 83 rail in Acacia Ridge Yard on the dual gauge track.  I think I have come up with a clever way to roughly lay the track.  Cut up a section of old plastic rail sleepers, cut them up individually and then cut then in half.  Use the plastic chairs to hold the third rail in place every three to four inches or so.  nail the sleeper to the baseboard at the required location.  Then use nails to hold the rail more securely in place at intermediate locations.  In this scenario, I am adding the standard gauge rail to lengths of narrow gauge track.  It is also possible for this to be used to adding the third rail to a length of standard gauge track.  Then after you have fitted the rail, run your vehicle over the track and check for under or over gauge locations.  Then make minor adjustments.  I use some Eureka wagons as my test vehicles as they have the narrowest wheels.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Royal Visit Followed by a Visit to the Cauldron

I got a phone call from a mate on Friday afternoon and quickly arranged a visit from Royalty.  Rohan Ferguson from Bolivia fame gave me a ring out of the blue as he was down the Gold Coast visiting his daughter.  So addresses exchanged and about an hour later he rocked up at my place for a tour of the empire.

Rohan produces some absolutely brilliant scenery and his rollingstock is not too bad either.  It was good to have a quick 60+ minute catch up with him before he had to return back down the coast for the weekend.

Other than that, my weekend consisted of taking my son to cricket on Saturday morning (with that getting washed out), followed by a trip to the Train Club from lunchtime for our monthly meeting.  While at the Club, I had to nominate my modelling competition entries for next month's Christmas competition.  So I currently have 4 entries arrange.  Maybe sometime in the next 4 weeks, I might have to finish two of them off and fix up something that is broken on a third.  Today entailed a midday trip to Suncorp Stadium - the Cauldron, as my son was running out onto the field to play a game of 4 vs 4 in the half time break of the Brisbane Roar vs Perth Glory game.  Actually his class mates played two games simultaneously, one at each end of the field.

I did however get down to the shed this morning for about an hour.  I was cutting up some wood for the new lights to go above The Risk.  I realized this morning, that I needed to buy some screws in order to attached the next 5 light brackets to the shed frame.  I will pick them up next week so I can complete the lights.  I also did a bit of work adjusting the nails in a couple of sections of track at Acacia Ridge Yard and also in Grafton Yard. 

So I have decided to show a few photos this week.  One is the back yard during the storm that hit two weeks ago.  I have also included a few photos of the year 5 kids at Suncorp Stadium this arvo.
The back yard during the Storm.

Half of the kids running out.

Kyle just scored in front of 11,748 spectators.

A great cross from Kyle and team mate planted that one in the back of the net.  His team mate is already celebrating.

The photo for posterity purposes.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Preparing To Put Up More LED Lights

I planned to have Thursday off for a couple of reasons.  My son had his awards night that night and we were going to get there early, and apparently there was some sort of cricket match on.  So being the first day of the first test, I watched it on TV.  Also Darren dropped off a delivery of some wood and plasterers angle. 

So come the weekend and Saturday morning was cricket with my son and watching cricket on TV.  A rather large storm with almost tennis ball size hail stopped any idea of heading to the shed.  We had no issues with the house or the shed. 

Today I got to the shed and put the wood delivered by Darren to good use.  It was used to support the LED lights that will be installed above Clapham Yard and the track that runs into Clapham Yard from Acacia Ridge Yard.  So I attached the supports to the wall and currently have the wood beam where the LED lights will hang from just sitting on top of the supports.  Next week or the week after I will attach the beam to underneath the supports and the lights to the beam.  I use the plasterers angle of a small valance around the LEDs.  I also built the structure that will hold the LED lights above Cougal Spiral.  That is basically complete.  The structure is attached to the inside of the spiral and hangs over, protruding forward.  The next step is to attach the LED strings to the structure, and again add the plasterers angle valance.

I think these structures that I am constructing for the LED lights are working out so well that I am now contemplating changing how I have attached the lights above the section of track from Loco Pilly to Dutton Park and The Risk crossing loop.  This LED string currently hangs off the Loco Pilly to Dutton Park incline.  I am now convinced that I will attach them directly to the wall.  This is a bit of rework, but about an hours work.  Again a job for over the next 2 weeks. 

On the subject of lights, I am also ready to hang the LED lights above Border Loop.  I went down to Masters this arvo and picked up some chain.  This will be used to attach the LED light structure from the ceiling above Border Loop.  Again a task for the next few weeks.

I plan to do these tasks and have everything working before before the next Operating Session in December.  I am also expecting the delivery of some Auscision Newsprint wagons this week.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Club Buy and Sell

have done very little this weekend and it continues a slightly lean period of shed activity.  I was at home sick on Friday and did not get to the shed.  I did however spend some time updating the timetable cards of the narrow gauge trains with additional text to assist the driver and North Coast Control.  Basically this was comments like “await line clear” by Train No. ...   I did discover a couple of trains where the timetable advise one to depart 5 minutes before the section was scheduled to be clear by another train.  So I have now fixed these issues up.  So this week I will be making changes to the Excel spreadsheet and printing a final copy for December’s running day.  Our scheduled Cricket match on Saturday morning was cancelled due to ground conditions so that put back 5 hours into the day but no shed time.  The arvo was spent at a Halloween Party with a family from my son’s school and quite a few other school families.  We went to the Manly Halloween Parade and had a good time.

Today was the Club’s Buy and Sell.  So back over to the other side of town.  There was a good number of sellers and a constant stream of buyers through the doors.  I sold three old Lima locos that ran very well and picked up an Australian National 80’ louvre van for a bargain and two sets of points to replace two in Grafton Yard.  The new ones were curve points replacing two normal large radius ones.  The curve points will better fit the track geometry in the single ended track sidings in Grafton Yard.  Quite a good day over all even though I did not sell too much.  There were lots of NSW bargains there.  Quite a lot of AR kits RO?X wagons.  However, they were too modern for me.  It they were NO?X I would have picked a few up.  They were about $20 – $25 each.  There were also lots of three slot container wagons for also around $25 with containers.  I could have picked them all up.  They were absolute steals.  But I held firm.  I was trying to offload my excess wagons, not add to the congestion on the layout.

Upon returning home later this arvo after struggling for about an hour, I was able to replace a Peco point spring in a dual gauge point located in Clapham Yard.  I found a point spring lying around in the bottom of one of my storage drawers.  Not being too clever, I did not think to cannibalise a few cheap points from the buy and sell to get a few more Peco point springs.  There is always next year in May when we have our next Buy and Sell.

Maybe next week I will get around to the installation of the LED lights above Border Loop and Clapham Yard.