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.


  1. Hi Geoff,

    I got JMRI running sweet on my Mac after a bit of hit and miss with Marcus. Using the NCE USB interface I've got the MacBook talking to the loco's and WiThrottle running off the iPhone.

    See my post link below, hopefully it will help.


  2. Darren, the connections box only came up with two choices for me, either no ports found or no ports selected. I became so frustrated that I went back to the M/S computer, BUT the apple laptop would be alot more mobile. When a big dose of patients comes my way, and a bottle of red I might give it another go. I've had a look at your links, thanks for taking the time to post. Ta! Geoff.

  3. Geoff,

    I am changing over all (well 2) of JCIS's computers and its a pain in the proverbial! I'd say II feel your pain" but that's wrong - I had a tooth out today but I feel your frustration with computer things that are supposed to go right but dont!


  4. AR white metal HG ????...or Lloyds ?? (or has someone been re packaging ??) Was one of my first low melt soldering efforts !(Seems so long ago :-( )

  5. Gary, Al is reissuing some of the old Lloyds kits, he's had the business for several years now. It would be great if some of the other kits were re issued as well.