Sunday, July 29, 2012

More Baseboard Planning

This week started with a trip to Mike’s for our Tuesday Nighters’ get together.  The night before I received a phone call from Lefty asking to be picked up for Tuesday Nighters as “& Son” was on call. He proceeded to advise his pickup address, it was then that I realised that he was in Mackay – just a little bit too far to go. I guess that was his attempt at humour. I think he should put more time into updating his blog.  However he was doing a favour for me as he was having a beer or two with Peter Ford.  That reminds me I must get around to doing that thing I need to do.

Tuesday turned out to be another great night of entertainment and learning.  As we were leaving, Geoff mentioned that he was thinking of having a "Friday night modelling get together" at his place, this week, but later on during the week, we all received an SMS advising he was having to work back on Friday. Bugger! Them’s the breaks!

I mentioned to Darren on Tuesday night that I was thinking of getting some more sheets of Ply for teh next basebaord area. I asked if he does deliveries and he advised that he does. Later during the week, I received a phone call advising that he had two sheets of ply loaded on his truck and was on his way. I just need to get the money to him now - I think that was Thursday that he made the delivery.  When I finally got home from work on Thursday night I moved the sheets of ply down into the Shed.

The previous night (Wednesday) I had been using my train planning paper, made up of 1cm squares, to design the new layout area from Dutton Park to Park Road and on to South Brisbane Interstate. When I use this graph paper, the squares basically represent 1 foot square areas of my layout, or for the metrically minded approximately 30cm square. I then cut this final baseboard plan out from the planning sheet and also cut two templates that worked out as the 8’ x 4’ sheets. I then tried to work out how to most economically fit the various pieces of baseboard onto the 2 sheets of 8’ x 4’. I did this and I can actually make it fit on just these two sheets.

Saturday rolled around and I got the two sheets of 8’ x 4’ ply out of the shed, with the help of Kyle, and we proceeded to cut out the basic shape for South Brisbane Interstate from one sheet and then the baseboard from Dutton Park to Park Road and most of the the area for Park Road Sidings.  From the second sheet, I cut two rather large baseboards which were each about 100 degrees of 90cm radius curves which is just short required baseboard to go from Park Road Sidings around about a 270 degree curve.

Today I went to Bunnings and picked up a couple of lengths of 42mm x 19mm Pine which will be used to make my el-cheapo ‘L’ Girder with the ply. I have started cutting up some lengths of pine and screwing it to main wood posts on the layout.

I’m on holidays this week so in between watching the Olympics on TV, I think you might find me in the shed doing some more baseboard work.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Two Power Districts Complete

This week had very little railway related activity. On Tuesday afternoon, Kyle had a play mate from school pop over. I had arranged to get home early from work, so just before Kyle's mate went home, I opened up the shed and showed off the train set.  Kyle and his mate had a great time running a few sound equipped steam trains (a 35 Class and a Garratt) on a wireless throttle around the layout for about 15 minutes just before he was picked up by his mum. That was until I lost all power on the Branch. I traced it back to the wires coming off the newly installed ammetre in the Murwillumbah Power district.
Later that night after dinner, I did venture down to the shed for about 30 minutes, to 1) fix the ammetre (I permanently screwed wires to the terminals and soldered these wires into the circuit) and 2) then to take a few measurements for where Park Road Sidings and South Brisbane Interstate locations would be positioned on the future layout extension. I then measured the lengths of a few trains, the paper train, the fruit train, and the Brisbane Limited. I needed to ensure that these trains can fit into the relevant sidings on the layout when they are designed. I was also contemplating that I might run a few trains from Clapham Yard to Park Road and to South Brisbane and back, shuffling wagons about twice a day. So I just need to ensure I have space to store the shuffling wagons. These types of movements will be conditional and used to give some of the drivers something to do if we end up with a large crew being present. The timetable is starting to get really cramped.
On Friday I got home from work about 4:50pm, so I hi-tailed it over to Jaycar to pick up a few items before it closed. I purchased some more wire to finish off the Murwillumbah Branch Line power bus, and also the components to build the bus terminators that I will install at each end of the four power district busses.  I have not built the terminators but will eventually.
So on Saturday I got around to installing the rest of the power bus for the Murwillumbah branch. I soldered the already installed droppers to the bus and after a test, everything worked well. I then spent a few minutes adjusting the trip current on the Grafton Yard auto-reverser. This was set too high now, as the NCE EB1 always tripped before the auto-reverser did. I had re-acquainted myself with the instruction manual one lunch time during the week so I knew how to do this task. It was an easy turning down of the trip current and a few tests by running the loco back and forwards. It also seems to be working OK now –  in lieu of shorting out the whole section.
This afternoon I ventured back down to the shed for an hour and spliced in the feeders from the various tracks in Cassino to the main power bus for that section. I also added another dropper from the track to the power bus near the Bonalbo Ballast Siding points and the layout was again tested. So next weekend I will investigate what is required to wire the power bus for the third power district. I did realise on Tuesday afternoon, that there is currently a large voltage drop for this section at the boundary of the Grafton Yard – Cassino power bus and the Cassino Meatworks – Border Loop power bus at Cassino Meatworks. While there is a rather long track power bus laid along some of this section, there are currently no droppers connected to it. I’d bet the track gets its power from the other end of the section and this will be the next item of attention.
This morning I went over to my mate David’s place to assist him in testing out his layout wiring. The first thing I noted were the changes to the track layout. The track work looked really good. We started out by just connecting an old CDA DC transformer/controller to the track. I didn't want to jeopardise his PowerPro System.  Well, wouldn’t you know it - there was a short! Do you think I could trace it down in the couple of hours I was there? No snow flakes chance in hell. I have left David with some suggestions to try and track down where the short could be coming from.
My AMRM mag turned up on Thursday arvo, so I have some good reading for the next week or two. Tuesday this week will be spent at Mike’s place, so it will be good to catch up with the boys again.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Layout Progress

This week's post has two angles.  Firstly yesterday was Club meeting day at Brendale.  A few of us met at the Clubrooms and progressed the Club HO layout.  During the week the layout co-ordinator picked up 3 sheets of 2400 x 1200 12mm 5 ply from our local supplier - Janden Timbers.  We get all our wood from there and we get a good deal.  You will even see his building on our HO exhibition layout along with a few of our other favourite supporters.

Basically we cut up the sheets of ply into strips to support the track around the western wall of the HO area in the shed.  The new HO layout will be dual track and it will have two complete loops on the bottom level.  So there will be at least 4 tracks on the baseboard, two tracks at the back and two tracks at the front of the baseboard.  At the return blobs at each end, where the tracks transition from the rear to the front and vice versa - depending upon your direction of travel, we will also install a helix here to take a single track up to the top deck.  The helix will be located between the two tracks transitioning from the front to the back.  The two tracks are designated the inner and the outer.  So we cut out various radius curves with my jigsaw - at 1200mm radius for the outer track, 1100 for the helix track and 1000 for the inner.  While we were cutting, some bright spark suggested that we could potentially put a passing loop on the inner at this point.  As it will be mostly obscured from view, as it will be within the structure containing the helix, it is no more effort to cut the baseboard wide enough to take two tracks - so we did. 

I didn't take any photos, but a few of the other members did.  I expect that they will post them somewhere, so I will post them on my blog when I can get a copy. 

This photo was taken by PK.  It shows some of the workers cutting out some curved baseboards.  Darryl is adding some additional internal storage to the HO trailer for our new lighting system.

This photo was taken by PK.  He just yelled out, so I looked up.  On the right of the photo in the shed is the old HO layout.  On the left in the front modules of our HO exhibition layout with the new lighting installed.

Next meeting day, we will get another three sheets of 5 ply and cut out some more baseboards for the corner from the western wall then along the southern wall.  The southern wall will incorporate a rather large station with dock sidingc for various outline modellers to run CPH's, 620/720 railmotors, Brittish DMU's, and auto trains from the UK as well.  It will also contain passing sidinsg and will be located on the front pair of tracks.  The platforms will be at least 2.7m long, maybe 3m.  We may have the rear tracks raised at this location and incorporate then into the same scenery, so the station complex may span two levels on the same baseboard.

I think everyone was happy with the progress that we made yesterday.  If we were to lay a few lengths of track on top of the baseboards, all the membres will see what we are planning.  Some members just cannot visualise what we are trying to achieve just by looking at the plans that we have put together.

Today I got down to my shed for two hours this arvo.  I continued soldering droppers from the track on the branch to the track bus that was running from Lismore to Murwillumbah.  I ran out of bus wire.  I installed a few more droppers in Murwillumbah, but I have no wire to add them too yet - that is next week's task.  I also started adding droppers from Lismore south back to Old Cassino.  Again no more bus wire left, so that is also a task for next Saturday after I pick up some more wire from Jaycar.

I also cut in the NCE EB1 for the first section that runs from Grafton Yard to Cassino.  I started installing more dropper within Cassino, but could not get motivated to splice then into the existing bus line.  Again, another job for next Saturday.

During the week I popped down to the shed for 5 minutes one night to check out why the NCE EB1 was not working correctly for the Old Cassino to Murwillumbah section.  While the EB1 was set at 2.5 Amps, the meter was reading it pulling 3.5 Amps when I was shorting the track and the EB1 was not doing its job.  I hypothesised that there was another connection to the section by passing the EB1.  So I jumped under the layout and followed the two wires that I had previously thought went to the top deck of the layout near Border Loop and descovered that they went to Murwillumbah - Whoops!  So I disconnected them and shorted the Branch section again, and magic happened.  That area stopped, but the rest of the layout continued to operate.  Today after installing the EB1 for the first section I tested it and again magic happened.  Don't you just love it when a plan comes together?

On Tuesday night, we had a get together at Peter's place.  We were making plans for travelling to the Armidale Convention in November.  Darren and Geoff are going together, and it looks almost certain that I will be going with Peter.  There is a chance that a couple more from our Club will also be attending.  I just need to save up for petrol money, accommodation costs, drinking money, hobby purchases and Convention fees.  This sort of stuff will keep a guy poor. 

Last weekend I purchased a weathered candy 80 Class on ebay.  I just couldn't resist.  I would love a Jumbo but refuse to pay big dollars for one, that is why I puchased the 80 class.  The boss picked it up from the post office on Friday.  I test ran it and it was very noisy.  A bit of an oil, and by Friday night it was decodered and I had 4 LED's installed, front headlight, rear headlight, and lights for the two cabs controlled by function key 1 and 2.  It is as quiet as a mouse now.  Bring on next weekend!

Request for Pics

In response to last week's post, I had someone ask for more photos of my Cougal Spiral.  I had forgotten about it until I was about to write this post.  So I nicked down to the shed and took a few photos - nothing spectacular, but hopefully of some help.

Looking north on Cougal Spiral - quite bare with no trees

Moving north about 2 feet, with a better view of the two tunnel mouths

Spinning around 180 degrees and looking south from basically the same position as the above photo.  The piece of wood at the top of the photo is the headshunt at the end of Fisherman Islands branch

Stepping back from the location of the above photo.  This one shows two photos displayed on the facia that were taken by a mate who was a locomotive driver for Pac Nat.  They were taken from the spiral.  You can also clearly see the Fisherman Islands Branch baseboard.

Another photo taken looking down from behind the spiral.  The spiral is basically an oval.  Down below on the bottom deck you can see the headshunt at the far end of Murwillumbah.  The left track is the Norco Siding, the middle is the main and the right is the Cement Siding.  The corn flakes box is there the cement silo will be built.   At the top of the photo in the distance is the top deck of the layout showing the area between Glenapp and The Risk loops.  Above that is the narrow track baseboard for the future extension to Fisherman Islands and South Brisbane Interstate.

Hopefully these are what my Commenter was after.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Re-wiring the Layout

Just a very short update this week.  During the week the Ammeters that I purchased from overseas turned up.  So Saturday I went over to Jaycar to pick up some wire and some DPDT switches for the control panel.  I jumpered my 4 x NCE EB1 circuit breakers together and installed them under the layout and then prewired the bypass switches up to the Ammeters that will be installed in each section.  I had previously purchased some 30Amp bridge rectifiers.  I then spent some time cutting the required holes in the layout facia for the 4 panel mount ammeters and the 4 bypass switches to cut the meters out of the circuit, when required.

This afternoon I put the ammeters in the panel and put them into the circuit after the NCE EB1's.  I have started cutting isolation points into the layout between power districts.  I started laying the power bus in the second section (my Murwillunbah Branch) which did not have a bus installed previously.  The power was previously only conducted just through the track and everything ran well.  I'm only half way through installing the bus and the relevant droppers from the track. 

Hopefully next weekend I will finish installing the power bus for the Branch, followed by installing the required droppers every 6 feet or so.  Then I can turn my attention to cutting in the ammeter for the first section, which is Grafton Yard through to Cassino (actually just past it - just short of Cassino Meatworks Siding).  This section already has a power bus installed, so I will just need to run the power bus via the new NCE EB1 and review the number of droppers that I have.  I think I will need to install quite a few more than there currently is. 

The next step after this will be to install bus terminators for each of the first two sections. 

It looks like my 73 Class locos will not be around until September or October, according to an email response I received from Auscision.  That is not an issue, it just means that I might re-arrange my spending priorities in the mean time.  I also see that Eureka Ron's BSV's are about to hit the water on the 9th July - Woo Hoo!  Also Tuesday Nighters this week.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Still Tinkering with the Timetable

Tuesday this week was our regular fortnightly meeting of our modelling group.  This time it was at Shelton's.  Shelton demonstrated his layout, which had undergone a few track changes since I last visited.  He runs trains from staging, into a yard, and then shunts the wagons into various classification tracks depending upon the destination of these wagons.  These wagons once there are enough in the classification tracks for a train to be despacted are then sent to their intented destinations.  On a non-modelling note mini lamingtons made by Shelton's wife to go with our coffee were just brilliant.

During the week I spent some more time adding a few more trains into the timetable.  These were just light engine movements from Locopilly to Park Road Sidings and South Brisbane Interstate locations and back again.  Even model locos need to get refuelled you know!  I also printed the updated timetable out on some special paper that Darren provided me.  This paper is perforated down the middle - top to bottom and side to side.  So it is divided into four sections - just like my timetable and I get four sheets fitting on the page.  It is so easy now to just tare the sheets up and then place the individual sheets into a pile.  It certainly beats having to individually cut up all the sheets.

On Saturday night I spent some time arranging these individual timetable sheets into order of departure of the trains.  I then wrote the position in the order on each sheet.  This allows me to quickly sort then before each Running Session.  The new timetable has locations north of Acacia Ridge - Clapham Yard, Locopilly, Dutton Park, Fisherman Islands, Park Road Sidings and South Brisbane Interstate.  The first sort of the timetable was on the departure time of the train even if it included these yet to be modelled locations.  As my next few timetable sessions will be run before the track is completed to South Brisbane Interstate, I then did another sort of the timetable cards and excluded any times of any departures north of Acacia Ridge.  The order of the cards within this sequence was also written on the individual timetable cards.  I just thought I would do this update of the information now and have the timetable able to run both iterations of the Running Session, one that includes the full layout all the way to South Brisbane Interstate (including Fisherman Islands) and the current extent of operation - Acacia Ridge.  The order sequence information will be added to the actual timetable later tonight.

Today I was able to get to the shed for an hour or so and installed a few of those cheap wall mounted storage bins near my work desk in the shed.  I also had a look under the layout with a view to tracking the various bus wires for the various power districts that I will be creating on the layout.  I think I might have to document these wires before I actually install my NCE EB1's.  I'm still waiting for my panel meters to be delivered from my ebay supplier.

I am hoping that my two 73 class locos might be due to turn up soon.  They were due to hit the wharves near the end of May, but there has not been any information from Auscision on their whereabouts on their website.