2021_01_08 Chasing gremlins again

 2021_01_08  Background sky, DCC lost signal , LT1 tester.


Over the Christmas break, friend Graeme came for a visit and started tackling the skies once again.

The top level has been improved with a lighter blue (mixed some cloud white) Then the bottom of the back drop was sponged and wiped with neat cloud white, introducing some natural haze. You may notice the bottom level is unfinished with the blue over the bridges untouched.

A long shot which tends to make your eyes ignore the sky, which was too intense before.

Top and bottom level repainted. The layout was clean to allow the drop cloth to be used without damaging rolling stock. Two days later Al and I were building point servos and installing them. I am so damn messy.

Two weeks of misery

The DCC bus failed (and I cant remember what killed it)  Here the throttle shows the engine on the track. No lights or sound as indicated by throttle. And no movement.

On a test track the locomotive responds as it should.

(imagine the two pictures above were reversed as I set this up after the "fix"

Both throttles are set the same (7 turns on marker lights)

The problem was difficult to work out. It came suddenly. I shut down the layout and the problem was there, next time I started it up. Any locomotive that had been returned to Decoder Pro was dead. All locomotives not recently being run on decoder pro, worked ok.. What the......?

Anyway this was a distraction, because when Graeme came to visit, I demonstrated the problem to him.

Finally we decided to swap the test command station into layout and remove the one there.

That solved the problem. It seems the 5 amp command station was unable to run the layout. Mind you I am able to isolate the 9 other blocks to lighten the load.  Anyway I need to return the unit to Digitrax.

Working on the Loconet!

Their must be a reason why the first command station was only failing after a loco was run on Decoder pro.


 The Digitrax LT1 test the loconet. When a controller is plugged in, all 4 LED's light up.

If the right hand led is out  you need to plug in a controller.

I tested every UP5 and found several problems where  One, the two middle led's were off and 2, the two outside Led's were off

So after testing every connection, I found in a couple of cases that the wires were not connected in the plugs correctly.


This special tool trims and strips the outer cover.

This is the clip with the lock tab on top.

Looking at the connection the lock clip is on top, holding it this way, and the blue wire is on left.

And so I had to correct the errors. Mind you the errors had been there for 10 years or so.  I am thinking that the errors might have cancelled each other out, as I would make up a cable and hold both ends together to ensure wires matched. I guess I might have got both ends wrong?  Later on I bought a cable tester which would have tested only that all wires were connected.

The last part I tested was the New Helix. This is where I only got two test lights to show.  And so I removed the loconet back to where it tested ok. I then double checked the cables . The only thing I found was one UP5 had been connected with a third connection out the side port and running up to Honeysuckle panel. This was then connected all the way to the BG station on top of the new helix. I decided to remove this connection. I then connected the new helix UP5 to the last UP5 on the bottom level, which was only 5 feet  or less than a meter and a half.

This corrected the bad tests that I got on this side of the layout.

And so two weeks of misery was now fixed and trains seem to be running just fine.

Next week after a frustrating Thursday just past, Al and I are going to solve the Tam Valley Singlet Servo problem that has us stumped. It just never ends.




2021_01_04 (video fix)

 2021_01_04  Video Fix


The morons at You Tube are at it again!  Anybody would think it was a political video? :(



He was a big man!   He barked at me many times, but I am going to miss him a lot

God Bless you John

Rod Young

2020_12_31 New Years Eve. Last report for 2020

The trains are able to run the whole map...finally :D




2020_12_24 Christmas Eve.... The golden spike has been ordered!

 2020_12_24 The day arrived and finally the new helix was opened yesterday. 

A bit of a surprise stopped trains from running as the link behind  Honeysuckle is a return loop. Hopefully if Christmas does not get in the way I will be able to install a duplex frog juicer to sort that out :D.

Also Father Christmas arrived on Monday last with a sack of Auscision B Classes!

They test ran ok, and documentation excellent.

TRACK is all joined up!

The final piece of track is in and now the layout is completely laid out. Just scenery to do now.

The top of the helix is now all joined up!  The wiring is connected and trains have circumnavigated the entire SG.. WOW  all these years, and we are finally here. Just another reverse loop to sort out :(
The supports were easy and my worries about this piece of roadbed were put to bed. You could stand on it, almost :)

Cheers and Seasons Greetings to you all

From my Family to yours

May you all be blessed this Christmas and this new Year.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New year :D

Rod Young


2020_12_18 Nearing the end (of trackwork)


Gosh we are  near the end of the track work! One right hand curve and we will see the light at the end of the tunnel :D

The track on the helix has reached the top! and as Al tests the track he has laid, I connect the track base to the SG escape road leading to the other "room"

This should be the final base board connection! I had to adjust the height with a saw and multi function vibration tool. But it worked out just fine. Could not screw it down but liquid nails did the job.

Ok extra supports and we maintained a strong connection which maintained the 1.5% gradient. This was of course due to the planning of my mates at Kilmore East Social Group! Thanks again Steve and Ron :D

And it looks like the first train through has a long wait for the

Golden Spike ceremony



2020_12_07 Work continues.

 2020_12_07   Posty arrived!

Black Friday Sales!  This year I was not ill, and I scored a nice haul!

A great product and I wish  it was around 10 years ago :(   See them here       Click on blue :)

No discount apart from the normal quantity one. Nick is a friendly helpful guy.

This one was a black Friday sale and set me back $78 Au. It is a usb charged compressor with a 30 minute or more battery.

I am a lazy painter, maybe this little spray system will help?

Auscision had a great 20% off sale and it helped a lot to make my mind up with this purchase. I did not have a pudding bowl N set.

Nor did I have a V/line First Series X.
So I am still aiming to die with the biggest number of locomotives. Ha Ha

ps the helix continues only 10 m of double track, a pair of points to fill the hole and lay the golden spike.