Sunday, June 26, 2022

PC Fixed

An update to last weekend’s stuff up on my home PC.  It Lives!  Basically we just reinstalled windows on it, and then after reinstalling Outlook, some virus protection software and waiting for a few subsequent Microsoft updates to take effect, everything is back to normal.  So I did not lose any work from my convention presentation.  However progress on this document still continues.  I keep thinking that there is a better photo to illustrate a point I am trying to make.  So a few more photos were updated or added to the presentation today. 

Yesterday I went to our local NMRA monthly meeting.  But it was far from local and about 85-90km away down at Palm Beach.  There was a very good turnout, and it was great checking out the Jack's layout.  Very nice indeed, and NSW focused so he gets extra points for that.  We had three member presentations at the meeting and they were first rate.  If only all Clubs put on some form of presentation or question and answer/discussion session at their monthly meetings, you would probably have more people being members of Clubs as they would have a great avenue to learn things and be inspired. 

A couple of major things were announced yesterday and one of our members became a NMRA – MMR.  That is a great achievement for Malcolm.  Another couple of members each picked up a rather prestigious NMRA award.  They were well deserved as well, even in one was from 2019 from before the pandemic.  I also picked up my 6th AP certificate, so only one to go in order to get my MMR.  But there is a lot of work ahead to achieve that with plenty of detail work to be undertaken on a number of wagons.  I'm thinking of actually going for another AP certificate before I get my last required one for MMR which will be  'Master Builder - Cars'.

Now attention turns to planning for the RMCQ Exhibition in 2 week’s time.  I will have a table there showing off items and going some modelling.  The NMRA will also have a table there were various NMRA members will also being doing some modelling.  Please come and talk to us.  Next Sunday I will be packing up my stuff to take to the exhibition.

Yesterday after I came home from the NMRA meeting and this early this afternoon, I went looking for my box of Tamiya Panel Line Accent Color bottles – 7 of them.  Do you think I could find them?  Eventually I did after looking everywhere twice except where they were.  PK advised me during the week that two new colours were available in the range.  I will have to try and get a bottle of the new ones next weekend.

The first 6 Panel Lin accent colors

Then came the orange brown.

And now two more have appeared.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Damn Microsoft!

I had plans for this weekend, but they turned to dust.  On Saturday a Microsoft patch update bricked my main home computer.  I could not unbrick it.  I had plans to add the last few photos to my Armidale Convention presentation and go through it one last time, before it would be considered complete.  I went through the presentation on Friday and decided that I needed to take a number of updated photos.  I added those to the presentation late morning.  On Saturday morning I went though the presentation again and identified some more photos that could be improved.  So when I went back to the PC on Saturday afternoon, I noticed it was bricked.  Nothing I could do, could unbrick it.  So it looks like I will have to borrow the efforts of some work mates on Tuesday to help me fix it.

I had also planned to do some track cleaning wagon construction on Sunday but with Tricky Dicky's team doing so well I watched the SuperCar races instead.  I might get around to doing that tomorrow.

Now with my PC, luckily I have a spare laptop at home that I can use for this Blog update and check email and other things over the weekend.  However, what is most annoying is that there is no recent backup to my Armidale Presentation apart from the one on the bricked PC.  The latest few versions were saved to the desktop on my normal PC.  So if it cannot be unbricked I will need to remove the SSD drive and and copy the few files that I have saved the old desktop to another location so I can access them on this backup PC.  All my other files are still available, just not my latest presentation updates.  

So with my normal PC offline, I lost some modelling mojo.  Next week, we have some online activities on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday Evenings and a trip to the coast on Saturday for our NMRA meeting.  Who knows, I might get my mojo back next week.

And to make matters a bit worse, my mower has finally carked it and I cannot get it to start.  Time for a better mower doctor that me to look at it.  So that is Monday's job, take that to the fixer-upper person.

Sunday, June 12, 2022

My Diary is Now Opening Up

Again we had a very quiet week in modelling terms.  I did spend about 15 minutes with a guy at work who is a part-time photographer to get a better understanding of how to take some model photos with a greater depth of field with my camera.  So on Saturday morning I spent about an hour in the shed trying to capture a couple of scenes using this technique on my camera.  These scenes captured were ones that I wanted to highlight various components within them for my Armidale Convention presentation.

So this arvo I finally got around to reviewing the photos.  They were much better than my normal ones with considerably more detail in focus.  So some of these have been added to my presentation.  I was also scanning my pictures folder on my PC, for the various photos of my mate’s layouts and choosing some additional photos.  I might have also snuck a few photos off a few mate’s blogs. Shhhhh!  I’ll break it to them later.  But they won’t mind.

This Tuesday we travel to a new Tuesday Nighter’s residence and get to check out his layout in detail.  Some of our group have not visited there previously.  I have made one previous visit for an NMRA meeting late last year.  The layout is very nice and NSW to boot.

So school sport is now over – almost completely as this is my son's last year of school – I’m sure my son will want to try and watch some basketball fixtures in term 4.  I have spent most of this term taking my son to watch the Football and Rugby teams play – his mates and the First XI and First XV.  On Saturday afternoon, both teams won their respective premierships.  There must have been close to 2500 people there watching the final game between two undefeated teams to decide the Rugby Premiership.  The cheering from both schools was great.  The opposition school had some funny chants that cracked me up.  One was ‘You wear purple shirts’  I wet myself and thought it was very funny.  The school shirts are actually Jacaranda Blue.  Anyway we won, so winners are grinners.

So now my diary might be opening up, and I might be able to get more motivated on weekends now.

Sunday, June 5, 2022

More Preparation

Again a very slow modelling week.  I spent some time fine tuning my presentation for the Armidale Convention in October.  Tuesday we went to Geoff’s place for our Tuesday Nighter's get together.  There were about 11 of us there.  Wednesday and Friday I got online talking to lots of people in the various forums that we visit.  Saturday afternoon was spend chauffeuring my son around to various sporting games to watch.  So that is basically at an end now.  No more to be done.

On Saturday morning, I did wonder down to the shed and run my XPT on the layout again.  This time I tried to run it with a single power car and dummy loco at the other end.  It would not get up some of the inclines around some of the curves with 7 coaches in tow and a dummy loco being dragged in the rear.  It still came acropper a couple of times on some curves.  So now it will just be confined to its siding in Grafton Yard until I work out what to do with it.

On Saturday evening I cut up some styrene for about 10 more track cleaning wagons.  It will be a huge task putting them together at a later time.

Today I did get photos of the layout to support my Armidale Presentation.  I also went through a lot of other photos I had previously taken or had permission to use to pick out some good examples of what I will be talking about. 

This week will be lots more photo manipulation to put them into the presentation.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Decoding Decoders

This week I have been working on the last two 442 class locos that I recently purchased second hand at the Brisbane Model Railway Show.  The first one had its motor replaced because it did not work.  I installed four LEDs and took it to the test track and for the life of me I could not get it to operate the lights correctly.  So I hit the Lenz decoder with a big hammer and reset it.  However, it was still giving me issues as I was using my portable NCE Powercab for the programming.  It was only today that I remembered that there was a documented bug with an old version of the Powercab that when you exited Program Track Mode, some function buttons were reversed and appeared to not work.  You guessed it, that happened to me.  I think I found that bug.  I could easily upgrade my Powercab to a later version but I only use it for programming locos and as a basic cab on my 5 Amp system.  Using it as a wireless radio throttle on my layout, that park of its features is rock solid.  So I think I was chasing my own tail on Friday afternoon when I was testing my loco on the programming track and I could not get some buttons to work correctly.  I thought the issue I was having was related to me not knowing what Lenz decoder was in the loco and me not knowing what CVs related to the various light functions that I had used.  However, on Saturday morning I took it to Shelton’s place to put it on his JMRI setup and see what that said when we put it on the test track and did an ‘Ident’ on the loco.  That didn't work that well.  Mind you it still did not detect it as a Lenz decoder, but that could have been operator error.

But eventually we got some of the lighting functions working on his layout.  So today I put it back on my layout and changed a few CV’s, recycled my Powercab, and gave it a new test and it seemed to work OK.  Through trial and error I worked out what value to set to a couple of CV's and now the lighting functions are all working correctly.  I just forgot about the known bug with the Powercab.  So that has been re-written to permanent memory in my brain for later retrieval.

The second Jumbo loco I was working on, was a dummy loco.  I just added a TCS 4 function FL4 decoder that I had laying around and wired up my standard 4 LEDs.  Everything worked first time.  So let’s say after this activity, that I am not a fan of Lenz decoders.  Finding Lenz manuals online and being able to determine if your decoder is of that type is next to impossible.  It might be different if you buy a new decoder and it comes with a manual and CV list.  Finding a list of their decoders online is also a waste of time.  We did find a CV list in Decoder Pro that says that the first function (F1) is directional and thus has two CVs associated with it.  I worked out the second CV that I needed to use and set it and it worked perfectly.

Today I thought I would give a few trains a run.  Let’s send a cheerio out there to Clinton, and yes the XPT got a run from Grafton to South Brisbane Interstate Station and back again.  It was running through Clapham Yard and it all of a sudden stopped.  On Closer inspection, there were two geckos dead on the track in front of it.  I have no idea how long they were there, or even how they got there.  So they were cleaned up and the train resumed its run.  I did have some issues with this train and I just hate it.  Wheels just derail for no reason.  

I did do some other pottering around.  I moved some wagons around on the narrow gauge and positioned the two Jumbos (in a consist in Cassino Yard.  I have also started fine tuning my presentation for the New England Model Railway Convention in October.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

It's Flown Out the Window

Tuesday this week, we went over to Barnacle Bob’s Mosquito Creek Layout for our Tuesday get together.  We had about 10 in attendance.  Bob's layout just continues to blow me away when you view it.  Again Barnacle has made another addition.  The local pub, no doubt the watering hole for the local wharfies, now has inside and outside lights and inside one of the bars, you can see a TV flickering away.  But you can’t really tell what is showing on the TV.  Maybe because they cannot afford an aerial yet.

Well I’ve been reasonably quiet lately.  I did do a couple of changes to my presentation on Building Wagons in Styrene during the week.  On Saturday morning after a very late relocation of the meeting due to all the rain, I gave my presentation first up at the NMRA meeting.  The presentation following mine was very interesting and was about Craftsman Kits.  I had to leave early to attend a birthday party, so I have no idea what happened after that.

So at the moment, I'm struggling to get motivated to start any model railway work.  I do have quite a few things on my To Do list, but I just cannot motivate myself to start work on any of them.  I think I might need to sit back and review my current list, and what is to occur over the next few weeks and I will see if any new priorities pop out.  Who knows, something might trigger some renewed motivation and then I can start working on a few items in my To Do list and get stuck into them.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Big Model Train Weekend

While some of my mates ventured down to Sydney by plane for the Epping Model Railway Exhibition this weekend, I spent my time in Brisbane doing other model railway things.  It started on Friday about lunch time when the postie delivered my application for the Armidale Model Railway Convention in October.  I'm all in for that.  So this application is ready to be returned.  On Friday I also returned my application to the Redlands Exhibition in August, which has been accepted.  I then ventured over to HobbyOne to pick up a can of paint for PK. Which I gave to him on Saturday at the Club.

On Saturday morning I visited Aurora Model Trains on my way to the Club.  I picked up a HO car in their bargain bin.  I can use this in a future flood scene.  At the Club, I had a good catch up with some mates.  We spoke about the May Show, and a few other item.  We then started to prepare for the Sunday Buy and Sell.  After the monthly meeting we got the trailers out of the shed and moved them down the back as the shed was being used to house some sellers the next day.  When I got home on Saturday afternoon I packed the car to enable an early get away today.

So this morning I hit the road and got to the Club and setup early.  I paid my seller’s fee to Norm, and was ready to go.  Norm reserves a good table for me.  Anyway there was some really fantastic items for sale today.  I picked up a dozen 12mm wagons.  I could have bought more, but I thought I 'd leave some for other buyers.  One wagon had bogies and no wheels and one was wheelless.  But absolute bargains.  I picked up some AR kits bogies for cheap as well.  I will use these for some future track cleaning wagons.  I found a replacement motor for my damaged Austrains 442 loco.  I also picked up some large petrol tanks for my oil depots.  These will require some work, but that is job for the future. I also picked up many other great items.

When I got home, I unpacked the car and then got to work.  I put the 12mm wagons on the track and gave them a bit of a test.  Some wagons will need some work on their bogies, but they are mostly pretty good.  Some wagons will need to be painted, but that is also an easy task to do in the future.  My collection of 12mm wagons is growing.  I must have close to 70 wagons now.  I think I spent about 3 times more at the Buy and Sell than I gained from sales of my items.  Oh well!

Next task was to immediately got down to work on the 442 Class motor.  I removed the brass flywheel weights from the old motor.  I removed the flywheel weights from the new motor.  Both motors were the same size and type.  However, the new motor had a thicker shaft.  So I had to drill out the old weights to allow them to fit on the new shafts.  I superglued these on and fitted the new motor to the old loco.  Brilliant!  All for an extra $10 on the price of my cheap second hand jumbo.  I just need to reattach the decoder, and add some LED lights to it.  Once this has been tested, the loco will be reassemble.  It will then be programmed and added to the fleet along with another 442 class, which is a dummy loco.  I think these guys will replace some of my 44 class locos in my roster.

Next weekend is the local NMRA meeting.  I must have an understanding wife doing all this model railway stuff.  I’m giving a presentation at the meeting next week and then I have to scoot over to a 1st birthday party for one of my niece’s kids.  All these activities should then settle down.

Then I can prepare for the Armidale Convention.