Sunday, January 31, 2016

Staging Changes and wiring

I pulled out the benchwork and removed the track for the return loop. I also took out the the turnouts for stacking two trains on a single track. I am left with 12 tracks with a minimum length of 11' 4". Plenty of room for my needs.

I removed four inches from the plywood. This brings the width down from 32" to 28". It will bring the track closer to the edge. I then modified the benchwork to match. I am now wiring the track for the back eight feet so I can slide that piece back in.

The upper level will have the front board of the frame removed to give me 3 1/2" more head room. This will help make the reach easier in case of derailments on the lower level.

I decided to have each track dead in the back foot or so. I will separately power the back of the track off of a switch located near the local control panel. This will make it so the engines can't be power driven into the end board. When I re-stage the trains I can flip on one switch to power up all of the back tracks so i can back the engines out. When restaging is done I can power down the end tracks again. There will also be cameras so the engineers can see what is going on in the hidden space.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Near Disaster Averted

I decided to get a few cars, that I had been collecting, ready for the layout. This would include resistor wheels and weight.

I'm making the empty weight of the cars higher than the NMRA specs if I can. I made a spreadsheet page that would take the scale length and convert it to a NMRA weight needed. I would then put in the actual weight and it would calculate how much over or under I would be. I'm choosing to use the empty weight because I figure someday I would be removing loads between sessions. I am also adding a little weight trailers so it would help weigh the cars a little more.

This is a change from earlier because when I weighed cars before I left them close to the standard, but a little light.

During this process I realized that I forgot to enter a car in my car card program. I wasn't exactly sitting straight in front of the computer and when I went to click on waybills, my hand slipped and I clicked on the next item in the drop down box. At this point I didn't even know what I clicked on, but I tried to re-click what I wanted a crashed the program. I restarted the program and found that my click was on clear all waybill data. With no warning whatsoever the data was gone. Almost 400 cars worth.

I sat in shock for a few seconds and then went to my backups and fortunately there was another copy of the data. I have all the data in my balancing spread sheet so it could be recreated, but that would have taken a very long time.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Back to making Resistor wheels

I'll need more cars, for the new expansion, so I'll need many more resistor wheelsets. I'm making them a slightly different way than the last time.
The last time I used conductive paint which is pretty expensive. I have also noticed that the paint on the wheels might flake off when handles. This time I'm using conductive glue. It seems to go on much easier, but takes a little longer to dry.
I will take one extra step this time and that is putting clear nail polish over the resistor and glue for extra protection.
I check the resistance of the wheel after the glue dries. I use 4.7K resistors and as long as the value is between 4.7K and 10K (the value other people use) I'll call it good. Then I put it on the track and watch the signals change. Then I put on the nail polish and recheck resistance.
When the wheels are installed on a car, I will recheck the car on the layout again before placing it in service.