Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tinkering on the work bench

Since T'ba I've had a few distractions, good ones though, like Queenie's birthday at Jondaryan for their working horse expo, what a great weekend, and H's birthday. Then there's been a cold slowly making its way through everyone at home. The list goes on, but there has been progress.

Finally my first 49 has a sound decoder in it. Maybe it's my complete lack of wiring prowess, but it looked like a bowl of overcooked spaghetti! So then I thought about it a bit more, and decided to use a couple of pieces of circuit board to solder the resistors to, and to hold the three blue wires, as there is no way I can solder three wires to one spot on a decoder! So out with all the just installed stuff, and in with my new idea of wiring. I put one board under the lights at one end as there's a handy gap and the other fits on top of the decoder at the other end. Seems to work ok a photo here should help.

NB Bugger just did a bit of a search about on Gerry's part of the NMRA site, and he uses ferro board? Is that right? Yep looks a whole lot easier than cutting slots in the PC board, so next time I'll try that for sure!

I've had JMRI on the home computer for ages, then the computer died, so out with the Mac to save the day, but no, won't start as it doesn't identify a port, Bugger! The whole idea was to be able to easily change the setup of the decoder without all the complex numbers when doing it with the procab. So there you go, frustrating really.

Today I braved all things binary coded, and had a go at rejigging the 'trainroom computer'. Well it appears that the HP computer people had accounted for us 'non' computer mob, and I've been able to rehash the system, and have been able to reload JMRI. Luckily for me I'd saved everything to an external drive so nothing has been lost.

Now with JMRI loaded I had a bit of a play with the settings. All seems to be ok. I did try to link the brakes to an automatic drop in motor RPM to idle but it doesn't seem to work. The sound comes on but there's no drop in RPM, it just goes on its merry way with the brakes squeeling! I posted on the JMRI and Soundtraxx yahoo groups that I'm a member of, so one of the experts can tell this beginner where he's gone wrong. OK A bit more checking, at the NMRA site that Gerry has some links to and problem solved. The sound and movement operate separately and therefore need to be set up separately, easy when you know how!

There is a link to some notes that Gerry has put together, on the NMRA site and I've used them as a starting point for programming the decoder. I've adjusted the time it takes to stop the loco when the motor is set to idle, and I imagine this would change depending on the loco and how you want it to operate.

The workbench is now inside for winter, yep even up here the evenings are a little brisk for the timber lattice to hold out, no matter how I try the merlot really doesn't seem to help either! On the bench is an AR HG guard s van. This one is white metal, and I've been wanting to put this one together for ages. However at T'ba I picked up a nice white metal 'wheel works' 1934 ford panel truck that I thought I could put together for a bit of white metal soldering practice. This one will be first then the HG. It's a nice little kit and is a bit fiddly, we shall see how I go. Well that'll do for today, time for a bit of soldering, after all who is glue for?

Oorroo! Geoff.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

TMTEX 2011-All over for another year

This year at Toowoomba was the first outing of SSC. In fact the first time I've ever taken a layout to a show. In the last few days before last Friday I must admit to being a little nervous, but also really looking forward to another great show to be a part of.

Friday morning Daz turned up for the first loading of SSC into the trailer, a little bit of time had been put aside for this in case of any dramas. We were both pleasantly surprised at how easily and quickly we were all loaded up. The trip up was a good one, with a brief stop for some lunch, and a little check of the radiator, all seemed ok, after a top up and a cool down.

The location in the hall was between two other layouts, with a fair amount of space around us for the 'modelling' table and associated stuff. All seemed to go together ok, and apart from spending a little bit of time on one join to make it right, everything worked well. Some running of locos after a clean of the track did begin.

You can see the basic setup in the photo above, doesn't look too shabby. Oh the fridge is for the food and milk for breakfast, of course.

There had to be at least one photo of the three of us so here it is!
We spent some time Friday meeting up with other bloggers and all the crew that come along to the T'ba show, a great night. Really, we met some really great blokes. It was amazing the number really after going to T'ba for as long as I have (Me about 8 years now, Daz has attended all 20, unreal!), each time we make some new contacts with new people each year, great stuff.
Saturday dawned and it was a bit of a slow start, cold weather of course being the reason for that! I wanted it to be a good day one, running wise, especially for the two blokes helping me out. I didn't want it to be a day of trouble shooting which would become a real drag by the end of the day. Apart from some small easily fixed track issues, it all seemed to work ok. By morning tea I think I was beginning to relax, finally.

Ian P came over and offered a spray of crc for the track, yep crc 2-26, for conducting electricity, ohboy! what a massive difference! A small spray onto a track cork block, and a second one to wipe the track after passing the first over the track work. Bloody brilliant! Slow running, what a breeze, I can't thank Ian enough for his help. Great to meet his family also, and the trio is about to be made four, all the best with that T and Ian.

I really enjoyed the interaction with the public, plenty of questions. That was exactly what I wanted, we were all kept busy and the day flew by. To all our fellow modellers who came for a look and a chat, thank you, it is really enjoyable to speak and swap ideas with all of you, a humbling time I can tell you.

Saturday night was dinner in the hall and the trivia contest, once all twenty questions were answered the wait for the winners began. Well when 3rd place was announced we thought we were out of the running. Then 1st place was ... yep us, we couldn't quite believe it. Great fun, and quite a laid back night, most enjoyable.

Sunday we had some opportunity to get around the hall, with the three of us there two could stay and one could circulate. I've a list of some things to fix, but overall Sunday ran like Saturday.

I could ramble on for ages, but I must say a big thank you to Darren, and Brendan for making this such a great weekend. To the T'ba club, again a great show, some great new ideas from a presenters perspective this year, and they were simple and effective. So thanks to all for a really enjoyable first outing of SSC.

Till next year, Oorroo! Geoff.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

It's Here!

All the best plans, the time consuming small jobs, the reworked efforts, have come down to today, the day before we head off to Toowoomba. The plan was to have some landscaping done, yep check. Then there was to have at least one of the yards laid, yep check. Also had to build a second set of legs, just a little bit more stable, and a touch lower, ( I kept getting a nosebleed!) Then the endless list of other stuff! Like weathering wagons, building other kits, buildings, tank stands, cars, point rodding, and on it goes. There is certainly plenty more to go.

The weekend should be a good one, it's the 20th show at Toowoomba, a great effort by the DDMRC club. Darren, Brendan and myself will be there, I even got myself organised and had some vests done, and I've got an order for an extra already! So to the two blokes that I'm sharing with this weekend, hope I'm not too frustrating, and that it all works ok, feel free to leave me to it if it goes pear shaped! As you can see I'm full of confidence, after all this is my first time!

Well I'll leave it there, Ooroo!