2015_10_29 Melbourne


Been in Melbourne since 23rd, account unexpected family business.
Busting to get home. Sure hope I can re-activate myself on my return hopefully tomorrow. Friday.

I just found a few pictures I forgot to post last week so here they are...

Had to modify this old shinohara point to DCC.  The point blades are linked together and the links need removing so that they can be electrically isolated. I followed the advice offered here

Alan Gartners Electrical insights

The brass rivet is gently removed with a grinding wheel and poked through

Repeated on second point blade

Used a long circuit board sleeper to replace the throw rod. First I ground away the middle of the copper sleeper on both sides leaving enough to solder the point blades on to.

Here you can see an electrical connection between the frog extensions. I removed this by removing the sleepers. This was necessary as the solder had to be cleaned off to allow fish plates to be slid on to locate the point blades.

Ok here it is cleaned and ready to accept the fish plates

The new throw rod is placed into position with a filler underneath to push it up close to the rail

The fish plates fitted and the blades in position. I predrilled the rod for the point machine. Now I need to set the blades in their place and carefully solder them to copper sleeper without fixing them to the other rail. I held it in position and pushed the sleeper back to avoid this.

All blades in and ready to install...    oops the photo reminds me that I have not yet cut two extra gaps in the rails  (See Allan's site)

Here is the point in position. I need to remount the point motors and remove a little more of the existing track and reconnect with new code 70 track. The original hand laid track used old fashioned n scale bull head (type) rail, and the point became a problem . My best option was to replace it. Fortunately the Shinohara one almost matched it allowing me to leave existing track in place (almost)

Will make the extra cuts and install it on my return home.   Can't wait :D



2015_10_14 Back to wires and stuff wont roll?

2015_10_14 Ha Ha summer is here :)
Decided to continue testing and found the three way point at Benalta was dead in one direction. not surprising as i went underneath I found some of the wires were hanging loose. I had forgotten to join them in.
Three hours later I had trains running through without a glitch. And as I could not remember the wire colours nor find the written plan, I had to remove the point, check wiring and replace it. Thus a lot of lost time. In the finish I had a short on the first frog nearest the single track entry. Of course I checked the frog juicer last, after unhooking the wires and putting them back one at a time to find which one shorted. However none did, and finally I changed the frog juicer to no avail. Trying to locate which frog was connected to the juicer pins I disconnected the one I was pretty sure operated the close frog. Tried a train hoping not to have a short, just a dead spot. What I got was a fully operational three way point all tracks, all ways, no voltage drops, all works just fine and the frog is disconnected..dead frog?? Should run the F Class through and see if that is the case. Not sure how I can make it live though :(
So after all that I was setting up a few trains and started circulating the tracks that I could, and I was finding certain trains deraled all over the place.
Now the locomotives were just fine. So were the new SDS flour pots, but my brass LL's and MM's were jumping randomly.
I fixed these by reducing the center pivot springs a couple of turns, allowing free movement of the bogies. Back on the train. Now the SAR cattle trucks were randomly derailing. Checked them out and found almost every axle out of gauge. I could see a gap between the axle step and wheel, but unfortunately, I could not close it up even in the vice with holes in wood for the needle points. Finished up replacing all wheels with kadee wheels which appear to have same axle length.
So next was the Orient billboard vans. They wobbled around like cheap Safeway toys! Ugh!! Anyway they fit the bogies to moulded posts which prevents you from tightening the screw to stop the wobbles. So out with the file, and reduced height of posts. Tightened the screw, and backed it off slightly, to allow pivoting and still retain a small three point suspension. they run better now and the wobble is much reduced. What is with our South Australian brothers. Should not have to spend money on new wheels and work on these things. Don't they test them first before production run starts?
Just as I came inside the reverse loop into the center island on the top level was found not to be working. A job for tomorrow!

Ignore the wheel set on left I was checking out another wheel to see if I could replace axles.The lower wheel on the right was pressed in a vice with two pieces of wood to protect the needle points. It would not squeeze up, it just bent the axle instead. You can see the gap is still there on the right.

Blurred :( but the gap is on the bottom of axle...

Got Got two out of first 8 axles into gauge Broke 4 and replaced the lot with kadee's :(


2015_10_13 Wiring / paper Hanging thoughts?

2015_10_13  Monday was spent on wiring, and wondering why my Digitrax DCC system appeared to be slowly losing its ability to control trains, or rather why I was losing control of said trains.

I had four engines on the tracks. The new 42109 as well as P11 and Y 131 . They were there for testing. Its a huge railway and takes a long time to run around. So engines were placed around the room, and called up as required.

Each modification to wiring was tested, that is until it all came to a stop!

The track tesing meter showed a DCC value of 16v with a strong signal, everywhere. However not one engine would move.
I changed out command stations and finally opened up decoder pro and then checked all engines. They were ok, but all (except Y131)  had the address 3556 ?? 
I dont own 3556?  Y131 was addressed 3131 however now it was 131 (the address it had when I bought it). It has been 3131 for a long time. Decoder pro recorded it as 3131. So I know not what happened here.

All engines were saved in their original configurations and now answer to their original address'

Whilst trying to get something to move, I rewired several sections and cleaned all track. I found an interesting dead section though. At the top of the helix I have a short section insulated from the top level district and the bottom Level District. The Helix is a third district.  My DCC bus is divided into three matching sections. The droppers were not connected to this short section  separating the Top level from the Helix. So I wired it back in to the Helix, long droppers connected I tested for DCC and found nothing. I got a multi meter adjusted it to AC and got 13.9 v on the top level. 14.4 v on the helix and 4.7 v on the short joining section. Swapped the leads and got a pulsing 2v or so. conected top level black rail to short section red rail and got 13.9 v  switched rails and got 4.7 v ??
Tried a train... it arrived from top level and set of the circuit breakers when I entered the short section.
I reversed the red and black wires on this short section.  the train still shorted out, however now it shorted as it entered the helix, and  if I pushed it clear of the insulators it would restart and continue on down the helix, passing all the way down and enter the bottom district. It would reclimb the helix and short out again as it tried to enter the short section prior to the top district. push it and it continued on into the section. What is it doing? It acts like a reverse loop??
However it is not the Black bus line remains connected to the same rail that is it is the outside rail on the bottom level and because of a change in direction it is the inside rail on the top level, just as it should be. Absolutely no reversing loop here.
that short insulated section between top level and helix was actually a braking section, to prevent a train entering the helix, until the helix was clear.
Not sure why I did it, however I decided to temporarily connect a dual frog juicer with paired frogs to the short section. I ran the red and black feed wires into the DCC connector and the red and black track wires into the out put. I got a red and green light up on it. Run a train through from either direction and the red and green leds swap colours. So where the hell is the reverse loop??
No matter it works. Not only that but everything works, voltage has gone up to 16.1 volts and the DCC controllers work just fine, once again...... A WIN :D

Having DCC address changing unintentionally got me thinking about radio interference. When laying my bus I did not know about radio interference and had no idea that 30 feet of DCC bus wiring needed to be twisted loosely to minimize this interference. However having not done that, I find their is a thing called a snubber I can link between the bus wires to help improve things. However their is a consequence to using snubbers. You cannot use current detection for your signalling, because the snubbers allow a current to flow which trips the detection with false occupations.
And so if you are building a new layout you should learn about this and a fine article can be found here    DCC Snubbers and lots more

I am going to use the NCE snubbers which I found in the DCC manual thanks to the good folk here on  DCC Downunder

Well at least the whole system is running sweetly. And as a bonus I reread the section on radio control and got the UR93 radio receiver working, and I now have my radio throttles working once more.
I also tried to get the android WiFi controllers working, but gave up on that. two out of three is not so bad, try wifi another day :)


2015_10_10 Part 2 Hanging the paper..

2015_10_10 Part 2

Well it isn't easy, but we all knew that.
We did not follow advice from friends here in Australia. All the advice was to "size" the walls and use liquid (not powder mix) wall paper glue and hang it as if it was wall paper.

When we asked about the special glue sold in England we were advised to use top quality 3M Spray Adhesive, because Australians seem to have better success with that (Perhaps because Aussies don't wall paper any more??)

Any way the rules for the newbies that we did follow.
Use a string line to guarantee the level of the top edge (Check with Spirit Level)
Fit in place and trim the bottom if necessary When you are happy....
Apply adhesive on the paper and it is a two man job. You get about 3 chances to peel it back off.

Line up edge with second person checking his height without sticking on if possible then spread the paper out from one end to the other. If the paper still folds into a bubble, gently peel it off and start from the bubble and fix it up. 

We had a few messy bits but we decided we did not have another peel back left. We can fix those bits with a spray gun after.
So here are the pictures...   I am so pleased we were able to do those.
Thanks Graeme for lending me your eyes, your back and your great advice. I think you were happy, and ready to go on your own one day :)


2015_10_10 Warm Day and Back Drops! (continues)

2015_10_10 Warm Day missed several calls on the phone (Bloody Telstra)
And Graeme is coming...... oops
Only a few weeks since he was here and take a look at how quickly I can mess the place up :(

 Strewth!!  I counted 6 unfinished projects and I had to box them all up and sort them out till later. Can't work around this mess :(

Tip of the day!!  If at all possible finish projects before starting another!

I remember just moving the chair along the bench as I needed more space, not good at all....

This was not so bad. Just a box of shinohara track to put back and pick up some track used to set up the spot for the new Goods Shed.

Fortunately my association with the Fat Controller meant I could borrow his new walking Cane and Abracadabra........and a huff and a puff......

Ready to work on once again

Will add some pictures tonight :)

2015_10_08 SDS Flour Hoppers :)

 2015_10_08  Shunting the brand new flour pots ready for the arrival of the up goods tonight

 Gives us a chance to look at the new flour pots as they were freshly out shopped from SDS Workshops over the long weekend

Of course the S Class is unable to take the train on, because of bans on No2 end running.

Ha Ha the white ones look like they were built out of raw white plastic. Severe dusing is required I think. Although I think they were always kept pretty clean.

Although I am happy with my Southern Hoppers, these seem to be different enough to add variety, and they do look very nice :) The better hopper? Well that's your choice and it was mine, to have both versions.
Thank you to Steven and all the people at SDS (Liverpool Exhibition) for the genuine interest they exhibit, help sorting out problems, and for arranging a swap with another customer who didn't want the Bunge hopper. It was fortunate because I really could not afford two packs to get the extra hopper. May have cost SDS a dollar or two, however he has two customers singing his praises, doesn't he?
And I paid him up front for the 4 packs of 80 footers still on the ship out of China. Well I guess I had to, didn't I because I kept pushing him for 5 or 6 years to make them Didn't we Bruce Race? :D


2015_10_07- Col hussey visit


Roger and I had a side trip on Saturday. WE visited our old friend Colin Hussey and his wife Julie.
We were well entertained and enjoyed our visit. As always I was looking for hints and Col stepped up and showed the work he has completed on his Model Railway which is situated in a large shed.
The theme was to be backdrops and as Col  introduced me to the sheets I purchased, it was good to see how he treated them on his layout. Let the pictures tell the story :)

Nice :)  The clouds are made using templates of real clouds and then touched up with darkening pigments using an air brush.