Sunday, October 27, 2019

Finishing Off Some Tasks.

I had a couple of days off work this week.  On Tuesday we had to go to my daughter’s school for an assembly and then spent a couple of hours looking at a second hand car for her.  On Friday we had to go to my son’s school and then spent quite a few more hours again looking for a second hand car.  Well we got what we thought was a bargain.  It is better than my wife’s current car.  5 years old and only 53K on the clock.  A better model and bigger engine.  Boy it has some herbs when I took it for a test drive.  The junior boss checked it out on Friday afternoon after school and was pretty happy with the find.  We pick it up on Tuesday.  We'll probably go for a lesson in it on Tuesday night.

Anyway, on Tuesday afternoon, I decided to do a bit of weathering for my blue 80 class loco.  I saw a photo online and decided to try and replicate this weathering with just some frosted glass spray paint sprayed into a medicine cup and then applied to the model with a micro brush and paint brush.  The first side looks very reasonable thus far.  I will return to that in a few weeks and complete the second side.  Yesterday I went to the shed and decided to try and complete a few tasks.  The first one was looking at the wiring for Fisherman Islands Yard for the newly laid narrow gauge crossovers.  Well upon further investigation and test running of the 1720 class loco, it seems that everything has been wired up already.  Or more correctly, I had enough jumpers originally installed and when I put the points in, everything was successfully jumpered.  I then looked at a few pieces of rolling stock sitting on a few sidings.  These were also hit with the frosted glass spray can and they have had the plastic (new) look taken off them.  I call this can - weathering in a can.  It is very similar to dull coat spray cans.

I also added some lead weight to a Bachmann Tamper that I had sitting in a siding at Grafton Yard.  Actually I have two of this train.  One is located in the Old Cassino Contruction Siding and runs well as it already has had extra lead weight added.  So I added weight underneath the other train and it seems to run a bit better.  I think it might need a bit of an oil in the gearbox though.  Before the weight was added, the wheels used to spin and any gradient was a task too hard for the train.  It is now miles better.

Today I went to a local Buy and Sell.  I picked up a quad output point decoder for one of my mates for a steal of a price and dropped it off to him on the way home.  I ran into another mate who wants some of my scratch built styrene pallets next weekend at my Club’s Buy and Sell.  When I returned home I was a few red pallets short.  Like I had none.  I thought I had a few unpainted pallets that I could paint up in red.  But I was wrong.  I had 6 unpainted pallets.  So I purchased a packet of styrene and along with what I already had on hand, I made up another string of 25 pallets.  I will paint about half of them this week when I come home early one day, so they will be ready for sale this coming weekend.  Yesterday I also added the handles to the last 4 of my industrial bins, and painted up 9 sets of lids.  Today I got around to painting 6 bins and then when they were dry added the lids to 9 bins.  I also folded up a dozen tarpaulins this afternoon.  During the week I painted up around 20 tea bag tarpaulins, so I could make up about 40 tarps.  So I have quite a few left to fold up.  Tonight I will put the finishing touches on another 36 or so 44 gallon drums.  They can be painted next week or maybe next weekend.

I have also started looking at my narrow gauge timetable.  My number of wagons has grown since we last had an Operations Session, as well as the number of narrow gauge locos has also grown.  I have also added two extra turn around sidings, converted 5 dead end sidings into run around loops, and added three extra dead end sidings in the narrow gauge world.  So I need to ensure that everything starts off at the correct location, and every wagon is added to a train sometime throughout the session, and at the end of the session, everything ends up back on its original location.  I might also have to add the loading and unloading of a narrow gauge steel train, just like my standard gauge train does.

I am also considering applying for my Dispatcher, Electrical and Civil NMRA certificates.  These will take some time to put all the documentation together.  Maybe I will focus on this over the next month or so and not do too much work around the layout.  I can then continue to start on adding some more detail items around some areas on the layout.  This will be a very big job.  I do have some major model building to carry out, with a travelling crane for the Rocla Sleeper siding to be scratchbuilt, and the main platform station building for Cassino being the two major construction targets for December this year.  Who knows I might even finish them.  I was wondering if I could actually incorporate some sort of movement into the travelling crane, but it might be too difficult.  I have been delaying jumping into the station building.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

A Visit to Barnacle Bob's on Saturday

I came home from work early on Friday and went straight out again to visit George at Aurora Trains.  He was having issues with the NCE QSnap quad output point controller with the Z21 system.  He had given me a ring earlier in the week and he could not get the NCE QSnap to talk.  For that matter it also looked like the NCE SnapIt was also not working on the Z21 system.  So I took the QSnap to my place and placed on my NCE system and sure enough it came online.  So what does that tell you?  It seems that the Z21 was putting out a considerable higher track voltage.  It appears that it was about 17V AC as measured on an AC Voltmeter.  I’m sure my NCE system is about 12V as measured on an AC voltmeter. And is about 13.8 Volts.

I asked the Australian NCE guru Marcus Ammann via an email he pointed me into a notice on DCC Concepts website and it mentions that “… Its (sic) not perfect (what is?) and we have noticed that it does some things (like set accessory decoders) in a way that does not meet DCC standards, but they still work well when used with Z21…”.  Well that is not good!

Based on what I saw, I think that the makers of the Z21 need to issue a version of their code, to fix the issue.  To me, nothing betters the NCE command station - any version!

I returned the QSnap to George on Saturday morning and then made my way over to Barnacle Bob’s.  The local NMRA (Div 1) meeting was at his place and about 35 turned up.  Bob’s layout is just magic.  I think everyone was impressed with his animations and scenic ability.  I had a good time, with good company and had a great feed put on by Bob and Mary and their helpers.   We had quite a number of people present some stuff at the Show and Tell part of the meeting.  I was quite impressed by the weathering clinic by Duncan and Cloud painting presentation by Barnacle himself.

Today I made my way to the shed and did some more wiring work on the Acacia Ridge Yard.  I found a feeder not working, so resoldered it and I shimmed the check rail on a Tillig dual gauge point on the divergent standard gauge track and now my standard gauge loco runs through it without derailing.  I added a 4cm length of 0.010” x 0.060” styrene strip.  I also found another feeder broken off in Clapham Yard and fixed that.  The staff machine for the Clapham Yard to Dutton Park section had a dodgy LED indicator at Dutton Park.  I eventually tracked it down to a connection in the main signal bus for this track section about 30cm down the track.  That was were my previous 4 core cable ran out and had to be spliced to another cable to connect to the LED panel at Dutton Park.  Well I resoldered that joint and all works perfectly now, but it did take some tracking down.  But in reality it was quite logical.  That is why it me so long to find it.

I also added jumpers to the new storage siding trackage at Grafton Yard and gave it a test.  What that showed was that my second Bachman Ballast Tamper needs some more weight over teh motor.  That shoul dbe an easy task, but I just need to get around to it.  I have Tuesday off this week, so maybe I can get onto Fisherman Islands Yard’s jumper wiring.  I will also try and do my tax.  Whio knows I might get something back.  Tuesday is also Tuesday Nighter’s at Geoff’s.  That will be good.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Happy Bathurst Day

I spent the day today glued to the TV in the hope the Team Tricky Dicky was to win the 2019 Bathurst 1000 race.  They certainly did and they could have taken it a bit easier on my nerves.  The result was in doubt until the last corner.  Well done Scott!  While the TV was going, throughout the day I did move from the chair to the kitchen table and back again, to do a couple of bits of modelling.  I put together about 36 x 44 gallon drums and cleaned up the flash from next 30 drums but not the lids as yet - maybe later tonight.  The other task that I did was fold up and then tie up about 26 tarpaulins of various colours.  The tarps went into the container where I have maybe 150 tarps already assembled.  You can never have too much detail around the layout when you finally install it.

Later in the day, I decided to rescue 4 x QR narrow gauge grain wagons that I tarped quite some time ago, and bring them up to the kitchen so I could do some more work on them.  The work was to apply some tie down ropes to these home made tarps.  The tarps because they were painted with a thick coat of spray paint are quite course and they tend to want to return to a flat shape and not follow the wagons sides.  They bow away from the side of the wagons.  That is not a good look for a scale model.  So I attached some cotton to the insides of the tarps with super glue and then when this had dried, I pulled those ropes tight and super glued those ropes to the underside of the wagon.  The result was much better than before I had those ropes attached.  They now look quite presentable.  The issue is now that I cannot run those wagons empty.  Well I could not really do that before either as the three scratch built wagons that I made had a styrene frame inside the wagon that held the tarp in the shape of the wire frame that existed on the prototypes wagons that I have modelled.

Yesterday was Club meeting day so I went to the Club to catch up with everyone.  I handed over two 2400 class locos to Greg as he bought them under my original order.  They ran quite well and I think he is impressed with the sound of his new models.

Yesterday afternoon was a birthday party for my niece which I attended on the way home, so I never got home from the Club until about 9:00pm.  So basically no modelling work yesterday and no shed time.  So I still have to attach the droppers to the Fisherman Islands Yard around the narrow gauge trackage that was upgraded with the various crossover from a couple of months back now.  The next job after that will be to colour code the point actuators (push-pull rods) so operators can work out what rod connects to what set of points in this yard.  So both of these tasks will hopefully occur next weekend.

The biggest job I have to do, which I keep deferring and thus in turn defers my next operations session, is to desk check the narrow gauge part of the timetable to ensure that the narrow gauge wagons start at the correct sidings and the trains pick up the correct wagons and return them to their starting location at the end of the timetable.  Maybe this will be revisited in the next couple of weeks.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Still Bin Busy

This has been a quite weekend so far with Saturday spent at a family reunion on the wife’s side, and today a lazy day watching the Football on TV.  On Friday afternoon, as well as some evenings during the week, I was putting together some more 3 cubic meter industrial bins.  Today I put the hinge on the lids of the bins and added the handles on the side of another dozen sor so.  The handles are of course for the garbage trucks to lift them up by, to facilitate emptying.  I also assembled another 8 later this afternoon.  I cannot see any more being assembled.  I think I have now almost been all binned out.

The plan is to complete the painting of the remainder of the bin collection.  I was wondering what the collective noun for garbage bins is,  A trash of bins perhaps?

This afternoon between grand finals, I also put together another 30 x 44 gallon drums and painted these later this afternoon.  I hope to add lids to another 30 or so tonight after the football.

With tomorrow being a public holiday I will be back in the shed and doing some electrical work.

Tuesday this coming week is at Shelton’s place, so it will be interesting to see what changes he has done.  He has added some additional sidings.  I assume that he did not follow any of our suggestions from last visit.