Favourite Photos...

Favourite Photos...
Reading Lines GP35 #3647

Friday, 20 April 2018

New method for Searchlight LED's

Over the last few days I have been refining the method I have previously used to install the RR CirKits Tri-Colored LED's into the layouts searchlight & dwarf signals.

The new version of the LED's come pre-wired with 36-Awg magnet wire.  And they are tiny!



Some would say that tiny can be a pain to work with, and that is certainly true if you had to solder the magnet wires on these.  But having them so small makes them much easier to attach to the Bivar light-tubes that I use for the searchlight lenses.



A small amount of CA glue on the LED and lense face and the LED is secured quickly.

The next step is to feed the magnet wires through the signal head and then push fit the light tube/lense into the signal head.





When completed these make fantastic and realistic railroad signal masts with prototypical aspect colours...



Jas...

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

IOWA Scaled Engineering - ProtoThrottle...

Well today I decided to give myself an early birthday present, I have pre-ordered a IOWA Scaled Engineering - ProtoThrottle.

IOWA Scaled Engineering - ProtoThrottle



This new model railroad throttle is a replica of an EMD locomotive stand with controls that mimic the real thing.  It features notched throttle handle, reverser handle, brake handle & spring loaded horn lever, and many other configurable variations.

Since changing the layout to predominately a switching layout I have slowed down much of my operations and speeds of locomotives.  But trying to use all the functions in the ESU - Select Direct decoders via buttons on my NCE throttle has been difficult.

But know the realism and ease of operation will be made some much better when the ProtoThrottle (PT) arrives towards the middle of the year.  The PT uses WiFi receivers to communicate with the NCE DCC Command Station.

The following videos show how the PT operates, along with some of the cool features...




Saturday, 17 March 2018

Sinking Springs - Signal Bridge...

Another push this week to install one of the final signal bridges for the layout.

This signal bridge will be located at Sinking Springs on the layout, it is a major junction on the layout and connects the centre peninsula to the western and northern sections and northern and western sections to the southern portion too.

It is again a IHC plastic signal bridge kit that has two triple head masts installed.  The reason behind the two triple head masts is so that I can display a "slow clear" indication.


Both masts have the RRCirKits - Tri-colored LED's in them.  The newer version comes pre-wired with 24" of 36awg magnet wire, this has made the installation much easier and quicker.  As can be seen in the photo below the LED heads are tiny!  But installing them is a breeze and all it takes is a little dab of CA and they are secured easily to the 1/8" light pipes I install in each searchlight head.


(Photo directly from RRCirKits Website - Credit to photographer)


Although feeding the 24 wires (4 wires per LED, with 3 heads per mast, with two masts) still takes a considerable amount of time to feed through the bridge frame and secure.


Next phase is to connect the bridge and all 24 wires to the terminal strip mounting kits and program into JMRI & Panel Pro...

Jas.

Friday, 23 February 2018

More mainline signals...

So moving right along with the final installs of signals yesterday I installed a triple head mast to the mainline protecting the diamond at Carlislie Junction.

This is a Tomar H861 triple head mast, these come fitted with bi-colour LED's that I remove and replaced with RRCirKits - Tri-Coloured LED's, these provide the true railroad aspect colours of red, yellow & green.


The true aspect colours from the RRCirKits LED's can really be seen well in this photo, no more blowing signals with operators because they look similar now...

The the mainline ahead is routed into track 2 at Shippensburg hence the Approach Medium (Yellow, Green, Red - Aspect), the signal ahead is displaying Medium Approach Medium (Red, Yellow, Green - Aspect).



The addition of operating signals on your layout is a big undertaking, can be costly and time consuming.  But when operating and automated like this brings a whole new experience to operations on your layout...

Jas.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

First of the final three signal bridges installed...

So today I finished the first of the final three signal bridges to be installed on the layout.

The new tri-coloured LED's with the pre-wired magnet wire has made the install and hiding all three sets of four wires (12 in total) much easier than the last batch.


The smaller magnet wire has allowed me to hide the 12 wires into a single piece of 1.5mm heat shrink tube.  This is then secured to the bridge via wrapping wire.


The bridge was installed and programmed into JMRI & Panel Pro and is working...


Again the greatest feature of the RRCirKits Tri - Coloured LED's are the best aspect colours I have seen anywhere, true Railroad Red, Yellow & Green.


Jas...

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Into the home stretch for the signals install...

Today I started the building of the last three signal bridges for the layout.  This is the home stretch for the signal install, each of the IHC bridges has one - three head mast on each.


I'm also using RRCirKits - Tri Coloured LED's for these, this batch have the magnet wire pre-wired to the LED and and are not mounted to the old 3mm - 1/8" PCB like before.



These pre-wired versions make wiring extremely easy and have cut the build time per signal bridge in half.  Once completed they will be wired into the layout & programmed into JMRI - Panel Pro.

Jas...

Latest LokSound - Select Direct install...

Finished off my latest LokSound conversion today. A Select Direct decoder with a sugar cube speaker in a Proto 2000 RDG GP30, this is the newer version GP30.

Fairly straight forward install, the decoder fits into the space provided with the OEM light board which was completely removed, the speaker fit between the decoder and the housing for the speaker on the sound version.

All connections were hard-wired to the Select Direct.


The newer version GP30 has all LED’s including lit number boards. These were hard-wired to the aux function buttons and programmed via the LokProgrammer.
Jas...

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Newest additions to the locomotive fleet...

In one of my previous posts I made mention about expanding the railroads that would be operating on the layout.

Today I unpacked some of my new additions...  Three Lehigh Valley locomotives.


Two are Proto2000 GP38-2's 320 & 323 and 310 is a Atlas Silver Series GP38-2.  These will all eventually get LokSound - Select Direct with Sound added to them.

Jas...

Saturday, 13 January 2018

More Programming of JMRI - Signal Logic...

So for those wondering about what has been happening with the signal installation, not much actually...
Today is the first day in some months that I have done anything with the signals, I have begun hopefully the last push towards the end.  Programming today of the last of the logic and the last couple of signal bridges, masts & dwarfs onto the JMRI Panel that will run the layout.
For those wondering what it takes here are a couple of screen shots of the various windows open that I use when programming the logic...
JMRI Panel Pro - Edit Mode...
JMRI Panel Pro - Signal Logic Programming windows (Signal Mast Pairs)...
JMRI Panel Pro - Signal Masts Table window...
JMRI Panel Pro - Signal Heads
Excel Spreadsheets - Digitrax SE8C Board #'s, Drive #'s & LT #'s for Signal Heads...
Sometimes I will break out a spare monitor so that I can have the various screens spread over both.  It looks like a massive headache but in fact once you have done a few the process is quite easy as JMRI does all the work for you...
Jas.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Research costs you more money...

Whilst we are still in the midst of school holidays there hasn't been any time down in the layout to continue on with either the signal install and/or anything else on the layout.

So to get my fix and to keep the interest going I have been researching the Hershey Chocolate Factory, namely how it will operate and some of the inwards & outwards goods that can be generated.

One of the interesting things I found out was that the Hershey Factory had its own fleet of 50' Insulated box cars in the era that I am modelling.



So in order to represent these on the layout I had to find some suitable substitutes that would be close to the prototype and easy enough to adapt if needed.  My search started out with undecorated models, unfortunately most of these are non-existent and have been discontinued.

I did eventually find substitutes for both the riveted & outside braced NACC 50' box cars pictured above.

Atlas makes the riveted version in a BN/FGE version that once the decals are removed and sprayed would be a great substitute for the prototype.


And Athearn makes a version of the outside braced in JCL that again once the decals are removed and resprayed it will make a great substitute.

In the mean time until I can get to making the changes the cars will be used as is.

So the moral of the story is, when you research your layout more in-depth its quite possibly going to cost you more money...

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

New Railroad additions to the layout...

Over the last few months I have been researching the Reading's adjoining Railroads.

So after some careful consideration and looking at the addition of two more railroads to add to the operations of the layout, I have decided to add the following to the line-up:


The Lehigh Valley Railroad...




The Penn Central Railroad...



I have already purchased a fleet of GP38-2's & GP35's for both and am slowly building up a mix of rolling stock for both as well.

The two railroads were chosen to provide interchange operations to the Reading, and also the ability to mix up the locomotive consists as they were often shared with the Reading.

Jas...

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Track Alterations & Terraforming...

So today's mission was to relocate the Hummelstown Crossover from the east to the west of the Track 2 siding turnouts.  
As I was programming the logic for Rutherford & Hummelstown is was obvious that it needed to be moved to allow mainline traffic in both directions to flow better.


I also wanted to separate both crossover turnouts into individual blocks for detection purposes too.  The two track nearest the fascia are in fact both mainlines, the left one is from the centre peninsula (Harrisburg) and the middle track from the north side of the layout (Carlislie Junction) the track on the right (backdrop) can be used as mainline but will mostly be used for switching/storage of the three (3) industries that will sit along the backdrop.

Below is the PanelPro Panel showing the intended route from Carlislie Junction through Rutherford, Hummelstown and onto Manheim Junction from Track 1 (North) via Track 1 (South) and then back agin onto Track 1 (North).



Below the removal of the existing track & turnouts.



Next phase was relocating the crossover, re-installing the Tortoise motors, running the feed wires and aligning and securing the track.  Today I also did a little Terraforming and added a small siding (1200mm/4') along the fascia near Middletown, this will add more storage for the industries that will be along the backdrop.



The extra siding is just two (2) pieces of 90mm x 45/3.5" x 1 3/4" laminated together with a plywood top and then 6mm plaster/drywall.  This adds about 1200mm/4' of extra storage space.

And finally some overview shots from today's session.  Once the wiring for the detection blocks and remaining Tortoise Motors are installed the signal bridge will be moved to the west of the Hummelstown Crossover.





Cheers,

Jas...

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

When things are that old, there is no fixing them...

Over the past three weeks I having busy programming the logic for the layouts signal system into JMRI - Panel Pro and testing it out on the already installed signals on the layout.

To start I called upon our resident guru for Signal Logic - Brendan Dennis, I wanted Brendan to run me through the basics of logic and also how to implement it too.  Brendan suggested that I needed to upgrade to the latest version of JMRI as I was having a few issues installing one section and we wanted to eliminate the issue being something that could be resolved with an update.

This is what caused a small hiccup with progressing forward and also the reason for no posts for a few weeks (with a school holiday vacation in there too) and a halt to the programming.  My +10 year old desktop PC was that old and out of date that I couldn't update to Windows 10 (hardware issue) which was required to run the latest version 8 of Java, which was required for JMRI & Panel Pro...  What a cascading effect!

     

So I began exploring options for replacing the layouts desktop.  It is still running fine on XP with the original hard drive too.  However being so out of date I could barely get onto the internet from it because most of the software & browsers were no longer supported either without upgrading to Windows 10.

I looker at prices for desktops and wasn't really happy with some of the pricing so I researched a little further afield which took me in the direction of looking into laptops.  The idea was based around them being the same price as a desktop and some having better specifications too, the other factor was portability.

It turned out to be a great move, as I now have the ability to do layout programming in the house, well anywhere for that matter.  I am no longer tied to the layout to do any logic, signalling and or detection work.





I have the ability to run both layout monitors, the NCE DCC Command System and the Standalone Digitrax LocoNet too.

Jas...

Friday, 18 August 2017

Hershey Signal Bridge Installed...

This week I finished the second last signal bridge for the layout.  This one is for Hershey and protects the interlocking & Manheim Junction to the south heading towards Rutherford & Sinking Springs.


The bridge protects the main (track1) heading south, and the passing siding (track 2) heading northbound towards Columbia.  The main mast is a triple head, and the passing siding mast in a double head.



This bridge was the first time I used heat shrink tube to feed the wires through and to hide them along the signal bridge.  It actually worked much better than anticipated and looks far better than styrene tube I have used in the past.



The bridge has now been installed and connected to the LocoNet & JMRI Panel.


The double head dwarf signal has also been installed on track 4 that will protect the crossover entrance into track 2 and the interlocking.


One more signal bridge to go...

Jas...