2019_11_17 Can I still lay track?

2019_11_17  Putting in the new siding.

 Left hand point out and double slip to go in. Now it is not correct to have a double slip on the main, and that would most probably put a speed restriction up. I don't think VR trusted the maintenance to reach a high enough standard to keep such a complicated piece of track safe for 70 MPH. But model railways are always going to be a compromise.

 The track work here, was always a bit crappy, and so I will replace the old stuff with new, only recycling the point to the siding.

 So here is the general layout.

The rail joint was a little bit too far back, but this will work, better than to have a short bit of rail before the point.
Ok so all wires soldered on, underlay prepped, and visitors are on their way. Hopefully get back to this tonight.


2019_11_15 Couple of good work days!

2019_11_14  Thursday14th was another Al-day working on Albury,

 I usually feel for Al when I get him to help, but track laying Albury is actually being kind? Well at least he is able to sit down on the job ;)

 Albury yard is nearing the Sydney end.

 Now Al is lining up the points at the other end, where all 6 SG tracks enter the double LH points that separate the main line climbing the helix from the double track storage loop that runs around the bottom of the helix.

Here he is setting up the hand made Indonesian double LH points, which match the helix radius (44 and 46 inch)

All this time I am doing my wiring trick,which I believe will guarantee continuity on my entire layout.
The red and black wires guarantee the connection to the point body, and the purple and green wires connect the blades into the same circuit. The live frog is switched by a Tortoise point motor, or a Tam Valley juicer via the white wire.
Very time consuming, however its nice to know that mechanical connections on Peco point motors are not relied on to stay working.

2019_11_15 Friday was a scenery day with Graeme!

 Before Graeme left today, I got him to help me set up the lights on the top level. Graeme wanted to see two strings of LED's. So the top level is two strings and the bottom level a single string. Camera lies and the extra light is noticeable.

 At night....

 OK the main job today was the top level facia. It has two layers and the first one is screwed into position and stand offs create a little more space for scenery.
The top face was then glued on top ready for painting.
The top was then contoured with a Stanley knife which was a bit frightening to watch. After breathing a sigh of relief when we finished doing that to wait for the glue to dry before finishing off next time I keep looking at that lovely little station sitting up there. I really like it, and I bought it on EBay years ago.

 But it was a bit of an orphan. Although it had a large grain silo behind it, main line trains needed to back into the grain terminal from the main line. It needed a siding, and now was the time to speak up.

 So now this little station has a No2 road to service its customers.

 Needs a pair of points here at this end. Runs down through a crossover and double slips to enter the main, or the silo area.  Nice, and I really like this change :)

 As well during the week, I almost finished re-wiring the old Helix. First thing I did was connect in two EB1 circuit breakers and supply power to three wires Pos bus for BG, Pos bus for SG and a black bus return. I am now in the process of hot gluing the wires out of the way, and reconnecting the track power wires to their correct sub bus lines.

Rod Young


2019_11_14 Something different Dimmable LED's

2019_11_14  I sorted  out a 3m section of LED strip and hooked it to a dimmer switch.

Unfortunately the camera compensated for brightness and pictures don't show the difference.
The brightest setting hurts your eyes and after 10 minutes the aluminium heat sink was very hot to touch. As I see it the LEd's are cold, however the surface mount resistors are many and cumulative heat is the result.
Also I have a 12v regulated switch mode power supply. I might have to check the output voltage on that too.
I think I prefer the sunny white strips I have been using. The white it pretty stark?

 This pic was without any dimmer, but camera refused to show it!

 This one was dimmed to 25% and camera again compensated. Might run a video and see if that works. However my wiring project continues and this section is dead at the moment. Got to have a train moving in a video ;)

Here is a comparison picture of the sunny whites at full voltage and the 6500 kelvin daylight whites at about 50%, which is about as bright as I can stand. Not bad for $17 au a 5 m legth and $22 au for a 30 amp dimmer. :D That's the dimmer resting on the hill.
Just checked for heat, and after 3 hours (at 50% dimmed) the strip is cool.

Tip of the day! 
When using these LED light strips with 3M adhesive backing strips, it is not simply a matter of wiping the surfaces and sticking them on.
You will notice most of mine are starting to release and hang.

Aluminium angle (etc) have a chemical release agent to help them in the extrusion process.
Plastic also needs a release agent to fall out of the mold.

It requires something like Isopropyl alcohol to clean them properly. and unless you paint the surface, don't even think they will stick to wood.



2019_11_11 Got my red Poppy! Thanks to the men and Wonen of Australia who defended our way of life.

2019_11_11 Lest we forget.

I have been asked several times why I am fooling around with wiring?

Well blame Tony K and his signals and for some reason, I am listening to him, now, when many other times I used to say that I have gone too far along this path to change now!

What happened?
Well I guess I discovered that my biggest frustration is fixing problems again and again and.....

My answer to one friend went like this

"I have 12 sound projects on the bench, however I am flat out (literally on the floor) altering my wiring system.
I originally ran a continuous DCC bus around the whole railroad. I did wonder how several boosters actually worked together, but I thought that is how the DCC bible was telling me to do it. I only had one 25 amp Digitrax transformer, after all.

I am now cutting this up into 5 direct districts with command station protection, and have 20 NCE EB1 circuit breakers that will further break it all up into 10 BG and 10 SG sub districts.

As I use automotive spades as my connectors, it means pulling this out and transferring the automotive female connectors from the main bus to sub district bus' already installed, but not properly utilised.

Its taking time, but it is not that bad. Paul Hawden (ex Buffer Stop) will be pleased that all the headlamp globes originally used for circuit protection are gradually being reassigned to other (landfill) duties ;)"

And so until today I have disconnected the whole DCC Bus and cut the main bus into sections.
as shown in earlier posts I very recently set up NCE EB1 boards connected to this main bus and fed protected power via the EB1's into each sub district.

I tested the branch line first, and found Honeysuckle to the branch terminal station to be connected properly, very clean and protected by an EB1.

Bullarto to Allannvale needs a separate bus feed as well as several point motors and its own EB1.

That will be a two person job, for later on.

So I moved to Wodonga Coal sidings, as you can see from last post.  This was time consuming and I have transferred almost every connection to the local BG and SG bus'
I am about half way done, but I had to take a spell from crawling around on the floor, as it was taking a lot out of me.

So I transferred my attentions to the upper level working on the tracks from the top of the Helix back to  Allanvale where two EB1 circuit breakers were installed and a heap of wire removed as surplus to needs. However we had three local bus' already installed.  I simply transferred the automotive connectors to their correct wires and finished this job in a few hours. Much easier standing or sitting up.
My future can go two ways. Get back on the floor and finish off the coal siding, or finish off the old helix and that's more attractive as I still have not recovered from last two weeks.

Today I plugged back in the 5 DCC districts, and having only transferred wires to sub districts and cutting the thru DCC bus apart, I already had a pleasant surprise.
The DCC alarms were noticeable, but only because they were silent.  Well every now and then a three beep signal announced a loco had been purged from the system.

So apparently I have already found and fixed the problem? No idea what it was but am happy its gone (5 hours later still no warnings from Command station :D )

So that is happy news and for the first time I found nothing to photograph :)


2019_11_06 Graemes Birthday Many Happies Mate!

2016_11_06  As well we continue with wiring and I start to connect the SG Helix into layout at long last!

First of all, please let me wish my good mate Graeme Hawken a very happy 74th Birthday. I hope you had a great day mate.

Track Layer

Its really great that I have a track layer on hand, Thanks Al  :D

 So as Albury yard heads towards completion of the yard track, I thought I better start planning for the Junee connection. AS explained before, this is simply a double track store road around the inside base of the helix. Trains heading for Junee are simply stored in here till they need returning towards Melbourne.

 A lot of points and a mile of wiring connections! Thanks Al, it looks great.

 AS well as setting up the main lines to enter the helix, it was time to combine all the Albury yard tracks and join the main line. These roads lead to the store roads and as well can climb the helix and exit on the top level and complete a continuous loop, should we run with only a few people to manage turning trains and shunting.

 Right hand BG roads represent Bunge and Wool Stores roads.

So Now I need a connection to the helix, so that I can set up the Indonesian crossovers which divide the runaround and the main line to the left heading for the two helix store roads. And straight ahead to a second (this time right hand) Indonesian crossover.  The straight of this crossover is the return from the helix return loop roads. The curve enters the helix and will run around 4 times climbing up towards Honeysuckle. It then enters the the other half of the room making a continuous run, should it be needed.

Linking the gap

Using off cuts from the Helix build, I built a bridge connecting Albury to it.

 Reconnecting the cut off curve, saved a heap of work.

All I need do now is cut out a filler and Bob's your Uncle :)
looks like I will need cut this a little wider to support the store roads if thats where the points end up?

Wiring Saga

 For the last few days I have been fixing some mistakes with my wiring. To do this I have cut out a lot of extra wiring that I used to separate different lines and fuse with light globes.

I decided it was a little silly to complicate the two wire DCC system that much.
So now I am removing all connections to the 40 amp DCC bus and running (or to be exact leaving only two extra wires to cover BG and SG separation only.

Ans so using NCE EB1 circuit breakers fed power from the DCC bus and then feeding protected power through the secondary bus to that district only.

Because I use spade connectors, it has been a very quick process to alter the wiring.

Already I have got results and my Digitrax system is strangely quiet Ha Ha. For a year or more persistant faults keep buzzing codes to me... but now nothing apart from some locomotives being kicked because they are not being operated at the time.

 And so I am mounting all the EB1's on table legs in plain view. Steady red LED and that circuit is operating safely, that is no shorts :)

 Tracing it all out and removing what is now redundant. Believing fully that I will not have to return here, I am tidying up all the wiring with those TK wire ties. (You will have to believe me that picture was out of focus!)

Removing yellow connectors from heavy red and black bus lines.

 Bringing the clean bus lines under neath to Wodonga Station, ready to start whole process here when I finish the other side.

 4 red lights and no warning beeps!!  It is so quiet in here ;)

And to finish off, I have a train being made ready to test Albury BG platform, and also I found these beautiful oil tanks at Wagga from SDS. Absolutely magnificent. This mob gets better and better!

Rod Young



2019_10_31 Another parcel and more of Al's trackwork.

2019_10_31 The rest of the LED order arrived. And its "Al-day" .. allday  :D

The rest of the LED order arrived. Thats another 25 m of white LED strip to add to the 50 m of sunny white still in  stock. As well 4 12v 30a dimmer switches. Still have no idea what the 30a Amplifier dimmers are for? Anyway thats for another day.

Al went back to Albury to lay track. However I detected a huge shudder when I showed him how it was to go.

Whilst Al was working at Albury, I went looking for a persistant short, that I keep thinking I have sorted, and alas keeps coming back. First I had to move masonite and perspex from under the layout to gain access and then sweep up another huge amount of sawdust and foam discovered lurking underneath :(
I then started removing connections until the short went away. Recently I purchased another 10 NCE circuit breakers. I am now sorting out the wires so that each section is protected by one of the 20 circuit breakers I have to use. I will set up 5mm RED LED's which will light up when a short occurs, to stop this time consuming search, which takes up so much of my time. I might have feeds coming from two different directions, causing the shorts, maybe?? Reverse loops that only cause a short when a particular point is thrown?  Who knows, but its long since time I sorted this out.

So what did Al face today?  Possibly the most difficult bit of trackwork he has faced. Lets show you how he fared.

Picture Album

 Back adjacent to station, the two tracks closest the blue wallare BG tracks heading for Bunge. To do this they must cross the SG track via three diamond crossovers.
The first crosses the 'runaround track' which becomes the 'coal road'
The second diamond crosses the 'through track' which becomes the 'main line'
The third diamond crosses the 'platform track' which becomes the 'loop road'

 After the diamond, the runaround enters a point for access to the top yard and loco.

 Looking forward to all the wheels clicking through the diamond crossovers :)

 The platform track passes through the diamond befor running through a high speed point (80KPH)
switching trains from loop track to the Junee main line.

 The track in the distance is just sitting there. It will look perfect after Al cuts it all in.

 Just roughed it out so Al can see where he is going. from bottom to top. The BG is fixed including the first point.
The SG crossover is fixed in but the points at top right is just sitting there.

 The "Bunge" BG access track forms a loop to allow the pilot to drop off , run around or pick up wagons to return to Victoria

And Al had to leave for home as I pondered where the double slip needed to go. Soon after he left I worked it out. Now I have to work out how to wire it up. Here it is Al, See you Tuesday.


2019_10_30 A clean up, confusing LED parcel delivery and a beaut point controller!

2019_10_30 A new parcel from Talking Electronics and another containing LED's from China.

First of all, I continued with the wiring and got all the UP5's upgraded with a bus connection and 12v direct connection,

Here is a pic of the new clips and ties holding wiring together clear of the future helix'

Then I started to look for stuff, which ended up spending most of the day cleaning :(


 These keep moving around from place to place. In fact I am slowly working on them, and cant finish some jobs, because I am waiting for parts, or just plain unable to get past a particular job. Nothing is really easy. A sound install can take me a few hours or all day, depending on the model.

Wodonga Station is unusable as it becomes a storage bench. When I need to access it, it all moves. However with Al working on Albury, I dare not put all this stuff back there!

 As you come in the door, this place has become a "put it here"

 So first thing was to clean the floor again. This was recently done only two weeks ago. However a lot of work has been done.

 Ok first bit vacuumed and clean.

 The Loco area almost clean.

 Coal siding about 75% done

 Albury 95% done. Plenty of room for Al tomorrow.

The pile has grown a little.

More on the layout lighting.
I recently ordered 100 m of 600 led (per 5m) 

 But today this parcel turned up. It is a 30Amp Dimmer amplifier, and the directions tell me nothing!

 If anybody has used them, and can explain the connections, I would appreciate it (freight_man@hotmail.com)
These Chinese are pretty good and this goes straight over the top ;)

 I guess my 12v is for connection to power (the led strips come with a dimmer and plug pack suitable for 5m of lighting) The output goes to the 5 strips (5 x 5m) That's probably about 30 amps worth ??
But the power packs are 5 x 7.5 amps?? 

Talking Electronics 
point controller system, includes point motor

Talking Electronics from Dingley finally sent me my order. There was a mixup, but they cheerfully fixed the problem, after I returned the incorrect product. Thank you kind Sir! Will certainly deal with you again.

 Here is what you get (you supply battery to test)
A nice long run of wire a DPDT push button
a controller circuit to operate the tiny point motor.
The tiny point motor

OK I tested it out on this board. The actuating wire moves up and down in this picture

 A bit disappointing as I  planned to set it up parallel to track, just like the real ones are mounted.

So I bent the brass wire at the end ( the wrong way as it turned out) and tested it as shown by bending it again, close to the motor

positioned so, it made a solid contact with each rail and works a treat.

I have several places where I cannot mount a motor underneath. So these can go on top. I can turn the motor upside down and shorten the throw arm on the point, making the motor look about right for a real one. I will buy the biggest dummy point machine I can find, and glue it on top to make it look more realistic. Pretty pleased with this :)