Tuesday 17 November 2015

Tram and van

Having ground to a halt with the wiring of the signal on 'the new bit' I felt rather disheartened and so haven't done much else for a while. However with the advent of genuinely unwatchable tele like that jungle crap and the X factory I needed something to stop my brain rotting even further.

Lights in action at the new halt...

...and at The Burning Bush pub and cottage over the line

The solution was firstly to get out the little steam tram that I made a while ago and see if it now fitted the new layout arrangements. The good news was that it nearly did and all that was stopping it was the driver and conductor who were hanging rather precariously on the outside of the tram. A simple move of them inboards and it happily trundled from end to end. I gave it the once over and decided that the printed signs on the sides didn't look very good to start with and had faded somewhat too so I replaced them with a pair of etched brass ones I had Narrow Planet make for something else which never happened. They look much better and really set off the rest of the vehicle.



I've been sorting through my huge pile of part finished/un-started/ruined projects recently and came across a pair of Mr Rushby's delightful Darjeeling tea vans which are known as herb vans on the IoSR. He donated these two bodies some while ago as the last of the resin kits which needed some work to make them viable, however on close inspection they seem to be fine so last evening I set about getting them into traffic.

They are designed to suit a PECO n gauge van chassis but looking at them it seemed that the 009 flat wagons would be bodgeable to go under them and so with a bit of fiddling and filing that was what I did. The newly finished one has also gained vac pipes and the older one and the unfinished one will also. They will make a nice little train with the new PECO bogied brake van.

Sunday 8 November 2015

More solder and head scratching

A day off today so back to the soldering iron. The coiled cable arrived for the controller so I swapped that over and now I can reach both ends of the layout.

On the success front I also reattached the original lighting gantry. It used to be on an end which is no longer so I removed the wooden socket which the upright sits in and have now put it on the back of Underhill so I now have some lights at this end at least. I need to make a similar structure which attaches to the Three Bridges end.

While I was in a woodworking mood I also cut out some of the backscene board at Underhill so that I will have access to the track join this time around should it prove a problem.

On the unsuccessful front I still haven't persuaded the Dapol signal to work properly. I tried dropping the volts; I've tried DC; I've tried with and without the conrtol module and with. I've even tried another signal altogether. Ho hum.

Back on the successful front again, I've added a DC supply from a separate wall wart psu to illuminate the building and the lamp post at the station. This does work.

The pub has 2 x LEDs inside and a lamp on the outside. The halt has a lamp post and I may add an LED inside the waiting area. The building currently represented by the Skaledale fisherman's cottages might also get an internal light.

Thursday 5 November 2015

More solder

As predicted I spent my last day off soldering wires and generally buggering about with electricity, mostly pretty successfully.

The rear of the control panel

The front of the control panel with inter board connectors in place 

The first thing I did was make a small wooden frame to secure the styrene panel to, I attached it with the connections on the outside so I could more easily solder the wires in place. I knew what needed to go where except for the pin connections on the 6 pin DIN plugs, I looked at the way I'd wired the first socket in the Underhill wiring bunker... however it turns out that spatial awareness is not my big thing so the first way I soldered it all together I ended up with 16v AC on the track and the controlled supply going to the signal. Doh! Anyway after changing that all round all was well so I made the cut in the rails with great trepidation. I needn't have worried trains run over both joins with no trouble at all. I haven't taken the boards apart and put them back together again yet but one thing at a time.

The signal lit up and a train about to pass

.I have ended up with a slight issue in that the Dapol signal which is supposed to run off 16v AC seems to not like the supply coming from the Gaugemaster M1 which provides the supply to the layout. On checking I find that there is nearly 19 volts being supplied and I think that this may be too much so I need to reduce the voltage by a few volts. Back to work tomorrow though so it will have to wait; pleasing progress overall though. Underhill is reborn, nearly.

Wednesday 4 November 2015

Wires and switches

Had a spot of luck today while I was getting the wiring in place to connect the signal and the track power I found that I already had the 6 pin DIN plugs and sockets and the remains of the multi way cable that I used to make the original between board connections. This means that I could start work on the wiring for this section. You would think that it would be simple but I keep finding ways to make it more complex.

Under the hill at Underhill

There are two 6 way sockets to take the power from the Underhill module which has the power connection etc in it and send it on to the Three Bridges end. Then I'm going to have a switch to isolate the whole section so a train can wait at the halt and shunting can take place at either end. There is a Dapol signal which I have bought a IR detector to set it to clear as the train approaches it, the module has a facility to have status LEDs on the control panel. It then occurred to me that a train travelling from behind the signal would also trigger the signal just after the train had passed it so I've installed an 'inhibit' switch to stop the module changing the signal... oh and I've put a manual change button for the signal too. The final switch on the panel will switch off the lamp post and any lights I put in the buildings.

The control panel not wired in yet

Anyway I've run the cables and made the control panel, tomorrow hopefully I should get time to make up the connector cable and get the panel installed and connected to the track. This will mean that I can make the cuts in the rails between the modules... gulp... fingers crossed.

The upshot of finding the bits I found and having all the switches and LEDs squirreled awry; in case they come in handy; is that the only bit I needed to order was a long stretchy cable for the hand held controller. It was fine when the layout was only 4 feet long but it is now 13 feet long so I can't get to the Three Bridges end at all.

Tuesday 3 November 2015

MDF and solder

Got the track down today and added the copper clad sleepers either side of the baseboard joins. I've soldered them to the rails but not made the cuts in the rails as I've been doing some  'testing'. The next bit to do is the wiring but I have to order some plugs and sockets etc before I can do that.

One good side effect of the new work is that with a couple of little additional changes I can now use the PECO L&B coaches on this line. One makes a whole train but that is ok.

Monday 2 November 2015


The title says it all really. I spent the day cutting and sanding MDF and then gluing it onto the baseboard. I've also cut and glued the MDF front profile on so the scenery is starting to come together and the trackbed is in place. A night of PVA setting and it will all be ready for the track laying.

The only unfinished woodwork is the backscene

The fascia

The station shelter is pretty much finished

The only bit I'm not sure about is how to transition from the new bit to the Underhill bit. Probably a cutting and some trees will do the job.