Sunday, October 16, 2016

It Works

Here's a little clip of 5096 running a test train through Thirlmere.

So, as you can see, things are actually working on the Loop Line or Top Deck of the layout. Not without some issues, mind you, but mostly trouble free. I've got to work on a couple of points where the loco stalls at low speed but overall, I'm pretty happy given this is my first real layout.

I'm also learning about DCC at a rapid pace given the issues I had last week with an EPROM upgrade on my NCE PowerCab that totally screwed over the QSI decoder in the 50 class. Many attempts to reset using CV commands and DCC Magic Wand resets all led to nought until a conversation with Marcus Ammann led to taking the tender body off to find the reed switch (it had moved to under the coal space rather than where it was supposed to be under the water filler) and then do a DC reset. Bingo!! Chip reset to default again.

So, I've been having a bit of fun driving some trains from the bottom deck and up the helix through Thirlmere to Hill Top and beyond but I better stop and continue with the wiring for the bottom deck.

Getting closer!!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Wiring Update

Well it looks like the Russians have taken an interest in the goings on at Picton....the hit counter has gone berserk!!

Anyway, activity continues at a methodical pace with the track laid on the helix and all the top deck wired now for power. All connections have been soldered so its been an effort to get this completed. I have 2 droppers for every section of track as recommended to me by the 3 Amigos, Bob G, Es D and Ian T. There are a lot of droppers to solder to the bus but I don't want to be going back to fix bad power feeds in the future.

About to enter Picton Tunnel

I've also been working on the control panels for Thirlmere and Hill Top. They are made from 3mm MDF using DCC Concepts DPDT switches and LED's along with some push buttons to activate the electro-magnetic uncouplers.

Hill Top and Thirlmere Control Panels

Rear View

Next tasks will be to mount the panels and connect the point motors to the DPDT switches and then run the Control Bus. Then to the bottom deck.

I recently splashed out and bought myself a Eureka Saturated D50.

There's a bit of work to be done to bring it back to 1930's condition such as removing the buffer beam hand rail and step. Aside from the wheel splasher errors, I'm also not happy with the coal load in the tender so that will need to be fixed as well. Apart from that, it's a pretty good model and I'm happy with it and it should look a lot better once it's weathered and has some crew to grace the footplate.

So for now though, it's back to the wiring........................

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Closer Still

We're almost at the finish line with just the track to be laid on the helix now. I had a lot of fun with building the helix as one half was supported on threaded rod from the bench work underneath with the other half suspended from the bench work above on the top deck. This was due to having the storage yard running below the helix.

Eventually, the helix will be under a mountain so none of this will be visible. I still have to even out the grade so that its a consistent rise from the bottom to the top so this will be this week's task along with laying the track. I was a bit short on flex track so I ordered some from Gywdir Valley Models which should arrive during the week ready for laying.

I also finished off the lift out section as well with some modifications to the original back scene. I decided to cut this down to the same size as the front valance as it didn't quite work as originally configured.

I also had to put a slight 'S' in the track so I could maintain the 36" (~900mm) minimum radius curves.

So the plan for this week is to finish off the the helix grade and lay the track followed by installing some LED lights for the lower deck lighting. I'd bought some LED strips previously from eBay and have just ordered some power supplies which I'm hoping will arrive soon.

Then, it's on to the wiring and then......Operation!! If there's not too much trouble shooting that is.


Monday, April 25, 2016

Getting Closer

We're getting closer to the finish now and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel....sorry, I couldn't help that. I've finished most of the track work with just the lift out section and the helix to go before there is a complete, continuous mainline. 

Picton Yard

Down Main with Ash pit

Picton Station dock and Per-way Siding

Loopline Junction

I also still have to the loco depot and turntable for Picton and the turntable roads for the storage yards but they can wait for the time being. I've built the track and ash pits for Picton shed but ran out of nut / bolt / washer castings for the ash pits so I'll be on the phone to Brunel Hobbies tomorrow to order some more. Then I can complete that part of the loco depot roads and following that, the lift out section and the helix.

Then, the wiring will commence. Exciting times indeed!!

Cheers for now.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

First Post of the Year

Well, it didn't take too long for the first post. Now that the holiday season is over, I've had a bit of time and was able to finish off the Down Main Ash Pit. I'm pretty happy with the result for such a simple scratch build job. It's basically a box built from laminated .60" styrene with some styrene strip added for the steps. The longitudinal wood beams are Redheads 90mm long matches stained with diluted Tyre Black. The NBW castings are Tichy Group 4.5" bolts which i had lying around in the spare parts box. I also added some Chucks Ballast ash in the bottom of the pit where some lazy labourer hasn't done his job.

I've started on the other 4 pits I need which are 2 x 40' in front of the Engine shed and 2 x 80' for inside the Engine shed. The plans I have of the Engine shed show only 1 x 40' pit inside the shed but all the photo's i have of inside the shed show long pits running nearly the entire length of the shed. So, I'm guessing that they're around 80' as the shed itself is approximately 106' in length. Also, one of the roads has a wheel drop so I'll put that in as well. You probably won't be able to see it unless you take a peek in the windows but at least we'll know its there.

That's it for now.