2017_05_15 Hobson's Bay North to Digitrax Command? Are you still there?

2017_05_15 Cant believe it, if I did not have sound fitted to my locos, it would be really quiet in here!

And so one more fault found and fixed at Bullarto, and trains are now running all the way to Trentham through there and to the silos via the junction at Bowser.

Still not really well, so spent the cooler parts of today rugged up inside.

Graeme did come over Saturday as did Al. So I should have added more pictures of the mountain. I will add them next time, I get out there.


2017_05_11 A good discovery?

2017_05_11   Working for loco maintenance and signals branch this Al's Day

I wrote an email to a mate and thought it was probably a good blog entry for today.
My friend Al and I worked the whole day on one DCC territory that had somehow developed a short.
We started by removing every dropper from the DCC bus and then connecting just one black return to bus and found any red wire added caused a short to return.
As every point was fitted droppers but wired with insulated  two middle rails (electro frogs live with own dropper via a juicer) I decided to insulate all four rails on the frog end? Of course a fools errand and as expected that did not work.
Al had me putting sound in his G Class, and he sat on a stool, with the short lighting up a car tail lamp, and started at the other end and reconnected every dropper for me. I told him that as the short persisted, with every thing disconnected, and no path was left for the rails to be the problem, to take particular notice of where the red and black wires were soldered. Perhaps I had bundled two incompatible reds together, or had a red dropper from a black rail?? I have done this before.
We worked from 10.00 am to 5.00pm and  Al called me over to show me one complicated section. The Apex Junction, which had given me so much grief a few months back. He went on and completed the rest of the wiring. I found about 5 bundles of red wires. two wire bundles soldered together were easily traced to the same rail or a pair of rails in the same section. No short possible.
But one bundle had 5 red wires. I cut the spade joiner off and re bundled them in pairs and connected them to the same rail district. Al tells me that the taillight had gone out and we had power back on the section all 13.7 volts of it!
I touched the final wire to the bus and indeed the short appeared.
So I traced it back and found it was actually a SG wire feed which should have been short free. However I had allowed the SG main line to come past the end of the district about 3 feet, and in fact I was crossing into the next district! Damn!! I moved the insulators in track ending that line at the edge of district and added the 3 feet back into the (shorting district) connected the wire and the short was indeed gone. Thank God I decided to use connectors to link wires to the bus. :D
I have 10 NCE circuit breakers on layout, creating districts. As well I have 4 Command stations (3 wired as slaves) giving me 14 districts.
This is the first time I have made this error though. The Digitrax stations are finally silent. I can turn them on and off without  hundreds of warning chimes and the tick tick tick sound has finally been put to silence (I knew this was a warning that two command stations were incorrectly wired together) So the wonderful sound of silence!



2017 _05_05 more on the mountain and wiring........

2017_05_05 Graeme sculpts his foam some more and I continue to search for the bad wiring ๐Ÿ’ฃ

The shape is glued in place
Now the rock molds need to be cut into walls.

I like the Woodland Scenics plaster side walls, together with the tunnel mouth and interior which are Graeme's own design and build.

Just need to cut away some foam to inset rock molds.

Paint the walls ?

rolled top coat over the undercoat and it blended in perfectly.

Painted same as other walls Looks pretty good to me.

Wiring is still giving me problems. The fault is obviously a bad connection and I spent a few hours going through the wiring under Kilmore East and along the wall to the silo siding.

Just before I gave up, I tested the wiring once more by plugging in a feed and got the short, however I noticed that the point motors could be heard for a second operating.
I then noticed when I started checking the point motor connections, I could stop the short by wriggling the wires. I cut the power feeds to the tortoise switch that feed the frog as the point operates, because the red and black wires were  transposed and because the wires were bundled together with like track feeds, I do believe it may be a simple wrong wire on the tortoise This was exasperated by the loose connection I found when I moved the wires with my hand in close proximity and caused the short to stop shorting and start up again. I will find out tomorrow if I am right. This point motor had no shrink tubing on the terminals, so I will go round the layout ensuring all terminals are so protected.. Fingers crossed? Hope this brings an end to this wiring fiasco :(


2017_04_29 Making mountains....

2017_04_29 Graeme came to  build me a mountain!

Never much liked Elvis, but as I got older, my taste matured๐Ÿš‚ HaHa!

Where were we?

The undercoat is on the walls and the topcoat should blend it all in. The infinity corners, I read somewhere, help with the illusion.

Whilst Graems started the mountain, I scrounged all the foam, I could find.

Now we have some material..

 Graeme forms the foundation

Trimming it all with his "hot wire cutter"

 Who says "Mountains takes millennia! Just a few hours and it takes form.

I thought hot wires save the mess! Actually they are a gift to all modellers, and the mess is bulky and easily picked up. Much better than the dust caused by cutting it with a saw

I bought some rock moulds, so we are going to thin this out a bit to insert some castings here.

 A view from the Murray side. This aspect of the layout is more "freelance" than the rest. Of course all caused by compressing such a huge area into such a "small" room.  ๐Ÿ”จ

View from the other side.

Next episode will see Graeme adjusting the shapes, and gluing it all together. Then I will cover it with cloth and it should be ready for plaster and ground cover.

But for me its back to replacing temporary wiring. About half the layout is operating properly, and I have a feeling the contamination between territories is not far from being solved, and maybe even today :)


2017-04_27 ALDAY Track and wires!

Spent our day fixing up Bullarto as well as rewiring parts of layout (still)

As per our previous post. Al took charge of Bullarto and re-laid the whole station in Micro Engineering code 70. Thank goodness we are down to out last 6 lengths of this track. We are truly blessed with Peco (true) flexible track. Our USA offerings are a very painful experience. I am sure Maureen wonders, when Al returns home each week with so many cuts and abrasions.

 As you can see it looks great now.

I completed the electrical connections, and so now we only have point motors to go in.

 Still sorting out shorts and today it was all about insulated joiners and the mistakes discovered as I rewired Wodonga Station. Putting these joiners in the wrong place allowed me to cross the droppers into the wrong territory. Mixing up wiring has caused me lots of grief. Part of the problem is my age. I can no longer twist my body as I once could. So I have to use a mirror to see underneath, making it easier to grab the wrong wire. So I moved the insulated fish plates to the points. and left the droppers where they were.

My soldering is at best woeful. And re-soldering droppers is a bit of a disaster! No matter what I do, the old solder only melts about the time the sleepers do! Its a wonder I get a connection at all (Thus my addiction to clipping the wires together.

The last fix created another fault. At Wodonga the main BG line forms three roads. Platform,No2 road and Runaround Road. I found I had to insulate all rails from the two points (adding an extra two insulators as the frogs were already insulated for live frog operations of Peco points.

This in itself created problems (of course) as I needed to remove track already fixed in place to change the insulators in.

 I had to push out the track whilst making a gap to allow me to push the rails into the insulators. This is always a bit of a task, and this time I pushed too hard and separated the rail from the sleepers. This meant I had to remove the complete length of track, remove the droppers and clean up the solder with a wick, so I could slide the sleepers off and replace them attached to the rail. Another hour lost for ever.

Next job was to turn the power back on and test a train. Well no warning signals and the correct lights were showing on the Command Stations. The track tester showed 13.6 volts, and trains were able to run....  for about 10 minutes. Then the warning beeps sounded and power was lost. I said to Al "What was the last thing you did?"  and it wasn't him, and I knew I did nothing more than put a train away in the coal siding. So Al lifted the engine off track, and nothing gained here. We moved the train back and forwards thinking a wheel was shorting. a gap. But nothing we did was helping the short to move on.  It was a strange one as well. It would reset for 30 seconds and trip the circuit breakers, then reset etc. etc.

At the same time we lost power at Bullarto, and spent some time trying to restore it so Al could test his track out, there. We never got it back, nor did I fix the new short
The only common point  was here which was worse before I started linking the heavy wire to the block connector, which screws to the back of the deck. I have 13.6 v at the block, in both connections. But it does not reach Bullarto or any other destination if I connect the feeds in all together. Sounds like I have discovered more cross connections. The short is still on the black feed. That is remove red wire short remains. remove black, short disappears! Even if I reconnect the red.

So I decided to remove all this wiring and replace it with shorter, neater cables and see if I can find the fault this way.

When I set this railway up, I made another mistake (How many can an old fart make ๐Ÿ˜• )

I placed the UP5 controller access panels on the top level. this meant that cables were always hanging down over bottom level, an accident ready to happen. So they needed moving down to the bottom level. Might as well do that now as well.

UP5 on top level allows cables from controller to foul bottom level.

removing them is complicated by 12v power connectors as well as bus connectors and networking cables.

Anyway after cancelling a trip to Melbourne, tomorrows job was to be relocating these below. However I am not feeling well and suspect that its time to have another rest :(

forgot the bridge. A little progress. I used hot glue to secure it in place and attach the wing walls. Now I need to get the hot wire working so I can clean up the banks

the temporary block of wood was put in to help straighten up the walls


2017_04_25 Lest we forget those who gave their lives so we could live ours in peace!

2017_04_25     ANZAC day at  Jacobs creek (by Rod Fussell)

Anzac Day 2017 at Jacobs Creek

found this beaut little presentation, and it appears to belong to Rod Fussell.
Thank you for going to all this trouble.



2017_04_24 Gangs of workers today....

2017_04_24   Double crossing diamond crossovers and track gangs and more

 Graeme came over and worked on the new section around the Murray River

As well he put the final filler coat on the curved "infinity" corners. Just need a light sand and a paint after it dries :) Cant wait to see it painted

See where the tunnel mouth is? That will be the edge of a large hill rising to the right. The lower level double line will come out of a cutting and cross the Murray bridge. Joys of compressing the layout, I guess.

Al was ripping up track....

At first it was just a small repair job at Bullarto. But like anything  on this layout nothing ever goes so easy and it turned into  a total relay of the yard. Grey gap-filla tried this time to restore the roadbed on top of the caneite, level out a few bumps. As well Al helped touch up the branchline approach on Trentham side.  Again a lot of work that is hard to picture.

I turned out in my usual 'gofor' role. finding stuff and telling all what I wanted. As well I returned to the problem crossover and undid all the wiring around it. Even removed the crossover.
I tested the crossing and found it to be sound and fully isolated. I then checked out the wiring of the four sides of the crossover. Making sure all insulating joints were in place. Tested juicers and everything worked ok. Put it all back together and the BG still worked, however the SG shorted, still!.

I spent about three hours on it and finally started a final check of the wires, adding one dropper in at a time until I got the short back. I then changed the dropper from connecting to SG feed and then to BG feed and short remained. I moved dropper to the other side of the crossing tried BG feed and short remained. Moved it to SG side and short disappeared. Why ? DCC is just a power feed ?  Positive wire is common to the DCC bus, as is the negative wire?  But lets not dwell on any questions, just be glad it worked. Tomorrow I move to the sale yards at Wodonga where I have a double slip and two crossovers to wire in... Hope I finally get a break this time :(


You want proof? Ha Ha you got it! Al... I got it done while you were heading home. How about that :D