2009 November 26

2009 November 26  Thursday  (Page 11 of 35)

What a day Thunder and rain but temperature is falling.

Ok trying to get the top level bench work finished at least to the middle of the back wall. This needs to be up and ready, to allow me to work out where Trentham will connect in.

I am using a cheap $70 laser level to set up the height and to keep all the modules level. You would not build a house with this level :) However it does a close enough job for a model railway. Can you see the laser beam on the wall in the corner?

One more panel to the left has already been added. Today's job will be to adjust each board with the laser check with a spirit level and then use "loxin" bolts to fix L girder to the wall.
The short spirit level will be used to ensure the inner side is straight and level, and the edges of the module will be fixed to the pillars using "loxin's" also. This firms the whole module up, sufficiently to carry scenery track and trains :)

Got notified 8 days ago that the B Class additional order was on the way. However it got lost somewhere and arrived this morning after I had sent a message to Auscision worrying about my parcel. Patience is something I have not learned. I am one big kid at the moment and Santa Clause is delivering the biggest order to my house I have ever known. Just heard that another 5 S Class will be here next Monday or Tuesday..WoW!!!
Don't know how much work is going to get done today ;) Got to check out out what's in the box :)

ps I feel this sounds like I am bragging :( I'm not really, just excited. When I was still driving trains for a living, Australian model railways was going through the second revolution.
I ignore Hornby / Triang because I think of their stuff as crap (sorry to the collectors) But to my mind the First stage was Lima producing close "look-a-likes" of Australian models and all the cottage kit builders that arrived in the 70's. Trax produced some fairly good plastic "better" than toys too.
Stage 2 was the arrival of reasonably priced BGM and ALCO brass models, with Precision taking over at extremely high prices as the other two ceased to trade.
I guess Powerline also started producing Aussie stuff too.
And Stage 3 is when Australian Model Railways really bloomed for me. John Eassie and Tom, as well as Trainorama then Auscision started producing fantastic ready to run.
I remember I was able to buy one or two brass engines from the first two, and was very envious of the people that were able to buy heaps. However when Precision took over the market, I fell of the top of my credit card bill, and had to walk away. $1200 to $1500 was just too much for a locomotive in those days.
So I know how it feels to not be able to pick up this stuff, because I am committed to my family, job etc. Cheer up, because things change. Here I am today with over 100 Chinese imports of Aussie prototype, and I am very happy with the way things are looking for modern model railroaders.
Cheers :)

2009 November 28  Friday

 Went shopping with my daughter and Grand Daughter yesterday, and when I returned my parcel from Auscision had arrived.
This morning I had to get blood tests and a CT scan, so that wiped out the best part of today. However I did get a fair bit done. Levelling up the boards and maintaining a common height with the laser level, then fixing everything to the wall. As well I had to build the connections between the boards across the face of the pillars. Very satisfied with todays progress. Next job is to install about 100 cross pieces to support the track bed.

The upper level has been levelled and bolted to the walls. Ready for cross pieces and trackbed.
I decided to leave the helix till Roger arrives. The track needs to be perfect and I am not getting it there yet.

The end is strong enough to walk on (almost)

Lots of distractions today. The B's have been fitted with silent decoders and scale KD couplers.
Every B Class was found to have loose hose bags. So I drilled them all out and glued them back in place. Auscision will need to address the glue problem. I was distressed at this because I felt it should have been picked up before packaging. B60 had two lose hose bags in the box. The other two fell off as I checked the couplers.
The A Class seem to be OK.

One more for the road  :)

2009 December 1  Tuesday

Well the top bench board is prepared for track laying! Shopping day today purchased the wood needed to complete that section. Tomorrow I need to lay some track up the second level of the helix, and glue it down ready to set up the third level and on...
Cool weather, easier to work in, I guess

2009 December 5 and 6
Saturday / Sunday Cool days = work days :)
A very busy weekend.

About 2.00pm Roger arrived to continue work on the helix. We spent about 12 hours fixing the SG to the existing road bed and added nearly two more levels. We also spent some time with the Loksound programmer and installed a fairly decent NSWGR 57 Class 3 cylinder sound project into a Loksound v3.5. A real learning experience.

Peter Allen (pres. Murray Railway Modellers inc) came to "weld" some brackets!
and installation of Trentham starts in earnest. We had some minor set backs, but in the spirit of "Bolivia" she is now bolted in place on the frame at eye level.

Looking back on the Bullarto side.

and then back towards the Helix (Saturdays job)

Looking along the Trentham side

The next two pieces ready to mount along each side

The end wall. Here a "Bowser" type station will join the branch line to the main line

The Helix needs 1 and 1/2 levels to reach the upper level. Then the tops will be cut off as the sides are screwed into the ply road bed.
Thank you Roger Lloyd for the inspiration and the massive hand you have given me in this project. I think that this place might end up bearing your name!
Where's the Pass? I don't know you better check out Roger's hole their is 100 meters of track in the helix, a lot of room to lose a train in :)

The Helix needs 1 and 1/2 levels to reach the upper level. Then the tops will be cut off as the sides are screwed into the ply road bed.
Thank you Roger Lloyd for the inspiration and the massive hand you have given me in this project. I think that this place might end up bearing your name!
Where's the Pass? I don't know you better check out Roger's hole their is 100 meters of track in the helix, a lot of room to lose a train in.

Wonder how my helix goes for size? its built in an area 2100 x 2100 and the minimum radius is over 950 Most I have seen are a lot smaller, even if they have more levels.
This one has tree tracks and is designed not only to lift trains 48cm to the upper level, but as storage for trains, adding time between stations for timetable runs.


2009 December 7  Monday.

Santa Clause drives a little red Corolla!  The S 's are here :lol:

Very nice they are too..
took 5 minutes to get the first out of the box, 5 seconds to get the top off (ease sides out and watch the mech. fall out) 30 seconds and a broken nail to get the dummy out of the DCC socket!! another 2 seconds to get the new Digitrax DH165 IP inserted and another 5 seconds to get the top back on. Less than 6 minutes to get the thing DCC certified.
What an excellent model. However in truth it is a distant second to the Auscision A and B runs.

Now if Auscision could mount their cabs and cow catcher to the frame and the easy lift off body to their new models, all the others could close up shop and go home :)
However Trainorama are to be congratulated on another fine model for Victorian Modellers this time.

2009 December 21

A whole Fortnight gone by? :(

Joining the island modules to the layout.

I took the easy way out and used heavy supported angle brackets. So far I have not had any problems.

(edit Feb 2013 And I wish I hadn't :(  I am going to replace them all with a piece of tube welded directly to the shop shelving. This will get rid of the angle support and the visible bracket)

2009 December 21 (continues later that evening)

Testing a new LED for high and Low beams. This is a new surface mount design. In fact it is three tiny surface mounts encapsulated in an epoxy lens.
Just lowered the resistance for high beam. All I got to do now is work out how to dip the lights.

High and low beam. Just need an extra resistor. I notice that some decoders go to low beam when the Loco stops.


2009 December 30

I have to get air conditioning! Its 36 C outside Its 26 C in the house
In the house the air conditioner is not running, but the windows and doors are keeping out the hot North wind.

The Train shed is fully insulated in the ceilings, however it was actually 41 C at 7.00 pm tonight.
The sun heats up the bricks on the West wall and you cannot leave your hand on them inside :cry:
So Tomorrow I have to waste train money on 20 meters of shade cloth and materials to cover the West wall and part of the North Wall.

Then I will have to sort out an air conditioner. Without shading the wall, I will need a 20 btu air conditioner running flat out to cool the bricks.
So it will be cost efficient to shade them then use a 8 btu unit to freshen the air inside.

Still it looks like $3500 I did not want to spend just yet. That's 10 G Class or 6 G Class and 4 81 Class when they early next year all with sound :cry:

edit! on the good news side, I placed an order for more DCC Control gear
I have a Dual Channel Digitrax DT402D, UT4D and a UR92 Duplex transceiver coming
As well I ordered some Micro Engineering track that will allow me to upgrade Threntham and connect it into the shelf around the walls.
Points are going to be a problem, though as they are out of stock till at least February.

2010 Jan 1

"Steamtostay says
Here's a cheap 'n' nasty way to get trains running earlier: build all the track surrounding the points, down to the last millimetre. Use a template to make sure you have it accurately positioned. Then, grab some surplus flexi track, and use track pins to secure the toe to the baseboard. Attach a balsa-wood tiebar to the opposite end of this piece of flexi track. Match the rails up to each of the tracks, and drill one hole in the baseboard for each setting of the points, using only a single hole through the balsa tiebar. Use the nail, dropped into the hole, to secure the points. Wire in and you've got yourself a stub switch!"

Not a bad idea that one ha ha!
However I am not that desperate to get them. Stock in Australia is available at $37 each, however I can get them for $16.90 US Au ($21 Au + $3 postage)
So I decided to go with the best deal :)

I don't think the hobby shops in Australia do themselves any favours. Their high margins have cost them the Chinese Imports and many people moving off shore for their hobby purchases.
Some shop keepers complain they get hit with GST on postage as well. However 10% of $3 is still only 30 cents.
A shop in the US buys wholesale and can sell it for $16.90. UPS is about as expensive as any, getting stuff out of the US. An Aussie dealer orders once a month, and uses an airfreight company to bring a large box into the Country. I doubt if the freight per item would exceed $3.
So if the Aussie shop keeper was prepared to accept the same margin as the Yankee one and GST goes on combined price of AU $24, the Aussie price should be $26.40?? No? So the Aussie shop makes the US margin plus $10.60 !! That's near 50% mark up on the US Discount price!
So I fear that this hobby is expensive enough, I must go to the US and that gives me $111 to spend on something else, Yes! :D
I feel sorry for the Hobby shop owners, but I feel much more sorry for my empty wallet :(

2009 November 11

2009 November 11  Wednesday

This day is both a sad day and a happy one :o On the one hand we may pause to remember our grandfathers and their friends who sacrificed so much in the First World War, and in many wars since.. Lest we forget! Australia is.. because they were 8-)
And then about 10 past 10 I got a phone call from my friendly postman because he had a parcel for me :lol:

The parcel arrived at 10.20 am via the Post Office, but it seems too small to hold 5 engines?

It contains only two engines and one of them is not one I wanted.

Anyway lets see what I got :) Out of the bag I opened up B72 in VR, the one I was expecting.
Don't you just love the diagram and the instructions. Typical strong and safe packaging as we would expect from Auscision.

snug as a bug and already looks like they got the colour right!

Oh yes!! it is sweet! Hope those of you who have not yet bought, or are still to receive yours yet, are enjoying the unwrapping :)

And sitting on the track in DC guise less than 48 hours since the post mark was applied.

Oh look at the V/Line one :) I guess that's a keeper ?

I am glad they sent it by mistake, I will send of some more money. I like it ;)

Unfortunately both side grills were unglued in the middle :(

But a real nice job of making it early V/Line period.

B72 represents the VR colours just prior to V/Line Incorporation.
Note the filled in front door and sealed beams but single hose fittings (pre bifurcation)

Gee look at "them" grills :D       B82 a little more subdued, none the less, looks great.

Lets fit a Digitrax DH 165 IP. A tiny 6 function decoder that is designed to be sound added in the future. (Don't have to waste the "quiet" decoder) It is also a quality slow speed low price decoder.

Instructions tell you that pin one is marked with a square solder tag, however the solder had covered the tag on mine. So orientate the decoder to the picture and then insert it in to the Auscision B.

In this picture I have already removed the DC plug to show the clearly marked pin 1
As this Locomotive is "truly" a DCC ready engine you don't have to worry about lights they are ready to go :)
Thank you Auscision! The new kid on the block already knows what we want... and delivers!

The 165 !P is easily inserted and all you need to do is put the top back on and you are ready to run her :)
Be careful! Make sure your pin 1 is in the right place and all 8 pins are sitting in their plugs. It is easy to move them across too far and have pins hanging over the ends or the sides. This may burn out your boards Check that you have it correct, then put the body back on.

oops B82 has loose side screens! they have buckled outwards and are under tension. Suggest it is weather related? 36C here today, what was it in China 6 weeks ago?

Other side

The fix was easy enough, although I did not remove the whole grill. This meant that I was holding the screen down under tension whilst a good quality CA glue dried and bound it in place. Used a hard round tooth pick to get the glue under the screen and then held it down with a flat piece of plastic for a couple of minutes to allow it to cure and make the bond.
A very nice model, indeed. Both engines were converted to DCC and smaller KD's fitted in less than 5 minutes Yes both of them!!
Two hours after the postman called me up to meet him at the roadside delivery box to sign for them, they were running DCC on my new layout with decoders and upgraded CV's
I usually start any new mainline locomotive off with these values:-
speed range CV002 = 002, CV006 = 128, CV005 = 154
acceleration and braking CV003 = 010, CV004 = 005


2009 November 12

"S301 wrote:
About 10mins for DCC on mine :P
Mainly because, for the second time (A being the first) the wires decided to get stuck in the body :(
Just a quick Q for ya Rod. Do either of yours have red tail lights?

No tail lights on either. However I suspect they will be fitted to the upgraded paints with the double marker lights red and white same as A.
Jason did tell me that they had trouble lining a red and white surface mount behind such a small lens. They decided to leave the red light out, after all it is completely un-prototypical to have marker lights on with a train behind. and VR never ran twin red lights on rear as a tail light anyway. They ran a single red light to simulate the guards van tail light. The switching meant the opposite (fireman's side would be on showing a white light)
In my opinion they should have left the white marker lights up as well as the number boards on the rear. In 30 years of running B Class locomotives, I never deliberately turned either off the trailing end of the Loco. However if I was double heading I would switch all lights off the trailing units apart from the step and running lights. These lights did not detract from viewing the rear of the train, and were handy to help indicate wheels not getting sand, etc

2009 November 13

DCC Concepts Perth

Looks like I have found a way to get a red tail light on my B.
Also a lot cheaper than the pommie shop at a pound a piece :shock:

2009 November 19

Building benches.. bloody hot work! not getting very far along..... Will try again this morning :D
Bloody hot and dusty! 41C outside and 50C in the train room. The west wall heats up and radiates into the room. It is ok (26C) till about 4.00 pm, then climbs rapidly as the wall heats up. Will have to shade cloth it, except that I am broke! Why am I broke?
The mail man has been wearing a new trail to the door.
The A Class stable has been added by one and the B Class by 6 :oops: Credit card is busting at the seams though.
Just got notified that my 5 S Class are about to arrive in Sydney. Expected date of arrival being 6th December. Owe about $450 on that order and then I will be busted :oops: Need to get a job, I'm thinking!

2009 November 24  Tuesday   Small update on the layout.

I am completing the upper level bench work. I will get it installed and connected down the long wall and along the back wall. I can then start of the centre island which I need to set up so I can hang Trentham on to it. The centre island steel work is already in position (the steel shop shelving) I cannot set that up until I have the bench work on the end wall installed, to set up gradients etc.
Need plenty of work area, as I have a track laying day happening here 4 and 5 of December.

2009 October 6

2009 October 6  Monday (page 9 of 35)

Damn Double Damn!! :cry:
Wasted most of today!
Still got shorts! Cannot sort it out, so started disconnecting tracks! Finally blew fuses on the transformer. Actually the lead from the transformer to the fuse holder cooked and disconnected. Not sure if it was a dry joint (Built this transformer 25 years ago) However I cleaned it up, replaced the fuse and tried to restart the DB150 but it failed. Seems as if I might have cooked it. Although I must admit it has worried me for some time. I did not like the way, it gave all indications that power was connected to track, however sometimes nothing moves. Shut down and reset usually fixed the problem. Maybe it was faulty? Anyway what do I do, now. Risk cooking another DB150? I am still trying to work out where the short is ?

2009 October 8th  Thursday

OK disconnected everything, received information back from Digitrax that the DB150 should be returned to them (cost $21.50 to USA and I guess about $31 US return plus repairs?) An expensive brain fade was soon discovered.

I started from the dead end. Connected the feeders and started up the spare DB150, and got one beep! Good news! The Y Class moved and worked properly. Added in the next and the next, finally arriving at the points that connect the reverse loop into the system.
We got a dead short! Could not work out why.... Took me three days and I was still none the wiser. Removed the Peco electro frogs, and connected spare lengths of track to it and the loco ran through both ways and was ok. Did this to all points, but still no fix was found.
Bypassed the faulty section and connected up the rest of the track sections. These were all fine (however they were in the insulated reverse loop behind the AR1 automatic reverser.

Now you got to remember I am a month away from 64 years old, and the hips and the eye sight are not as good as they used to be. It would seem I was unable to see some of the cable I was threading, and had threaded the ring main by feel, in at least one spot.
I found a mirror and did a visual inspection of all unsighted wiring... Bingo!!

What a pity I had not tried to connect that dropper!
Anyway everything is working fine now :lol:
Ok why is it working fine? I just looked at the picture again, like I said I am getting too old for this :(
But those twisted wires were going to the right places still !!
So why did the Y class move through this section into the reverse loop?
This could not be the problem? I have just cut the wires and rejoined them together as they were without the twist :shock:

2009 October 9    Friday night blues... Nah!!  .

Ok Trains are running again, at least on 99.9% of track laid. The AR1 is not reversing the power feeds to allow the train back out on the main. I will check the wiring to the AR1 tomorrow. I have a feeling I reversed the feeds to beat a short. Probably needs to be returned to where it was.
The last short was the shinohara point, which was fixed by replacing the circuit board throw bar with a plastic one. Although it was slotted, it still managed to short out when thrown to the outside track.
The next Peco point was a code 100 Universal (Old stock) The blades were not transferring power to the frog (And the insulators for the reversing section were at the frog end). So I modified it much the same way as an Electrofrog. Connected the two outer rails together and droppers to the bus line. the blades were connected to these droppers as well. The engine goes through both roads in both directions without any sign of a problem.
My biggest problem has been that often fixing a problem like the dead point blade, actually creates another problem (in the dead section which is now powered) This has been a big learning curve! And I would dearly love to meet with the idiot who advertised DCC.. you just connect 2 wires to the track!! Bull dust!! :x

Almost forgot...
2009 October 10  Saturday

Dead short crossing into Reversing loop was caused by the AR 1 . When I first set it up, it was chattering. Since sorting all the other shorts, and fixing them, I was 99.9% home free. This morning, I removed the A 1 wiring, Double checked it and re installed it. Got the short once more on first test. Adjusted the trim pot anti clockwise a "poofteenth" and the trains are running as they should!
Sent word down to Melbourne, that the line was ready for traffic, and so the official train is now scheduled for Monday at 1.00 pm, after a banquet to be held in the Old Southern Cross Hotel in Albury. As both local members of Parliament are Liberals, I sent them an invitation too, however I accidentally informed them that the ceremony will be held on Tuesday :lol: Who wants blasted politicians telling us how they would have done it anyway :roll:
Rod ( 10 minutes to go.. Better get the TV warmed up, the recorder on, and the beer fridge and porta potti all ready! I am now camped beside the big screen for the next two days....

2009 October 13  Monday

Got busy in the office today. The weather was so bad, that I never went down to the Station. However I was contacted when I never showed up at the Southern Cross. By this time the weather was filthy. Pouring rain and freeze the brass balls of the Red Brahman at the entrance to the City of Rockhampton! :lol:

Anyway I had left the keys in the ignition, and thankfully when I went to start the Rover, it had a flat battery, thankfully!

So I spent the day in the office. Worked on sound decoders. After 3 months of not getting sound to work properly, I finally downloaded and installed Decoder Pro, and took all day to discover two things....
1/ Its not as easy as they say
2/ The DH165 LO chip I had worked on was a dud, and that was the reason I could not get sound working at all. Not only that but I had plugged two bugs into it and burnt them out as well.. Dispatch them back to Digitrax next time I am in town, I guess.

Also I need an attitude change. All this time I thought I was just too dumb to work it all out. At somebodies suggestion I opened up a new decoder and Sound bug and connected it to DecoderPro. Frustratingly with the new sounds uploaded I got silence for my trouble! I asked the question on the Digitrax users group, and found a bug in the uploader was known to turn sound off, however adjusting CV158 to 0 and CV160 to 200. It worked and I got the project set up exactly as I had been trying all this time. And now I have 5 decoders all ready to install.
One into X43 One into X38 another two into S306 and S317. Might try the third in T385
Well back to the Office
Cheers All.... Rod

2009 October 19  Monday

Got up early this morning and went out into the shed. Imagine my surprise when I found all this... :shock:

The method of fixing the supporting frame.
The block holds the frame against the track base and is glued and screwed to the deck. Each slot spaces the track about 9.5 cm, easy enough to re-rail a vehicle. each support is cut 16mm longer to give slightly less than 1.5% gradient and the Helix is 1200mm radius (rough)

Marking out the diverge to cross the SG over the yard

Now fully awake I remembered that Roger Lloyd was up from Melbourne visiting.
Look at what we did! :lol:

2009 October 21 Wednesday

Gosh I got more aches and Pains than I got places to feel them :lol:
Roger and I had a bit of a play on the layout tonight, before he headed home to Melbourne.
All images are small and friendly, about 60k light.

Y131 with a short Suburban Goods waits a cross with ARHS memorial Goods hauled by AD6042

Track glued down with vinyl adhesive, neat.This was done to maximize clearance.We Waited an hour and it was already holding track in place. Bricks and clamps were used to keep track firmly against track bed. Easy application and track is held firmly in place, and no tacks required. We hope that this method will prevent track buckles in the warmer summer months.

Testing SG diverge on level one of Helix

Clamping point which returns BG track from base height to single line before SG arrives via junction to be laid in foreground
AS the track got above the baseboard, clamps were used to hold the track. As the roadbed gently rises (less than 1.5%) we can get the clamps underneath and it becomes much easier. Here the short BG loop ends to allow the double line SG roads to join in and the Helix will carry three tracks from here to the Top (climbs about 50cm in 5 spirals)

Quickly installed the second BG loop around the back before we got too high with the helix (almost an oops!)

Standing back first spiral is in and track is laid, clamped waiting 30 minutes for it to dry! Cuppa tea time..Yes?

Roger surveys the job. Wonder if he is sorry he came :)

Smile for the camera :) oh and pull that gut in, for goodness sake! :(

 Well just to show how much work we did, a longer shot

our two Garratts 6026 and 6042

Grandsons Casey (Jones) and (Puffing) Billy home from School to give their appraisal of the work done!
Casey has known about this railway since the day he could first talk. Probably wondering what all the fuss is about?
Here follows a pictorial record of the short play we managed to squeeze in after 3 days of solid work. Most will know that Roger models NSW, so in appreciation of this efforts and support we finished up running NSW stock :lol: 

(edit Feb 2013
We had a bit of a failure Turned out that these multi pin connectors got slightly out of phase. When we carefully reconnected them she went just fine)

This is Roger's AD6026 which has a couple of mods. Modification puts weight on the front engine improving traction (stops the irritating wheel slip too)

Providing more tractive effort. It might be necessary to weight the trailing bogie to keep it on track.
Hope you all enjoyed our efforts and that you all get to visit some day (open invitation!! :D )

2009 October 27  dark time :P

life gets in the way :(
Sister's Birthday, and parents are visiting from Gold Coast. Sister lives in Melbourne! Uncle dies so I stay down town an extra day. Back here Monday night.
Have not unlocked the train room yet, nor have I prepared my Wagga Show trains as I will be helping with Broadford at that Exhibition.
Have checked and tested 20 point motors to fit those tracks in place so I can power route the frogs. They are all manually operable, so I won't need to wire them up just yet. (apart from the switching of the live frogs)
Today was spent clearing cobwebs, washing outdoor furniture down, cleaning up the house etc, because Mum and Dad are coming up to stay Cup Weekend, which is nice. However you know what Mum's are like!! Better have everything in good order, or I will be listening to how well my other brother manages on his own, won't I ?
Rod :lol: