Favourite Photos...

Favourite Photos...
Reading Lines GP35 #3647

Friday, 23 June 2017

New Track Work for the Hershey Plant...

Today I spent the day installing the new track work around the south side of the new Hershey Plant.

When I designed the track work for the plant I had an added benefit that it made both the south & north sides of the layout in this area flow a lot smoother and also added another passing siding and storage track.

Below is the old trackplan of the left and the new on the right.  With the series of three #7 curved turnouts on the south & north of the Hershey main I have the ability to have trains cross from several locations which allows for more passing manoeuvres on either the main or the eastern Hershey storage track.


The track work through the whole south side now flows a lot better too, clearances have been improved and I have also a #8 right hand crossover before the track goes through the backdrop.

The curved turnouts (which are all PECO #7) that are in series together will all be interlocked, Ive also wired each turnout with power for detection too.

The series of three curved turnouts to the south of the Hershey Plant allow for the main from the centre peninsula, the rear wall (left of the backdrop) and to the north to all be interconnected.  This one change will greatly increase the flexibility of operations on the layout.

Once the track work to the north is also altered it will be onto wiring in all the blocks and installing the Tortoise motors.


Sunday, 18 June 2017

Hershey Chocolate Factory - New Trackplan..

Hi guys,
Quick update…
I’ve been trying to get the Hershey Chocolate Factory onto the layout.  To do it justice I needed a fairly big area and one area that I hadn’t been happy with for some time may have just solved the problem.  
It’s the section that is on the far west wall of the main layout and the plant will take up this whole area...

It’s not strictly prototypical but its damn close and will be a major scratch build to pull it off.  The best bit is it fits perfectly into the Reading era and works quite well with the layouts switching theme that I'm currently developing. 

I've opened up some of the distances between the buildings of the plant to allow for reach in to uncouple or re-rail rolling stock.  This will still have to be proven once mocked up.
I found on the old inter-webs a photo of the prototype for reference too.  This one however is fairly modern as all the rail served sidings are removed.  I will be likely using the one above for track work reference.


Friday, 9 June 2017

York Haven - Signal Bridge installed...

Today I finished off the remainder of the wiring for the triple head mast and installed the signal bridge onto the layout.

This signal bridge protects the main heading south east towards Carlislie Junction from York Haven just outside the York Haven - Pulp & Paper Mill.

The passing siding next to the main on the south side will be protected via a double head dwarf...


Friday, 2 June 2017

Completed LokSound Conversion on a Athearn RDG RS3...

Yesterday I finally completed the conversion of my Athearn RDG RS3.  This was to date the most challenging of the decoder installs I have done myself.

There is minimal room underneath these shells and even with the LokSound - Select Micro there was barely enough room to get everything in.

First step was to strip everything down and begin wiring in the Select Micro.

Next step was to get all the wiring in and secured using Kapton tape and make sure that the decoder was mounted properly.

There was just enough room to also get the ESU (50321) cube speaker in bunched up with all the wiring.  I think if needed I get a power capacitor in but then that would be it...

And to finish off a small video showing the start up of the clunky old ALCO V12 and the manual notching of the Full Throttle features in the decoder.


Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Proto 2000 RDG GP7 - LokSound Install...

Today was a typical cold & wet Melbourne day, so time for decoder installs...

I continued on with the install of the LokSound - Select Direct decoder into the Proto 2000 RDG - GP7.  I had to cut out and Dremel several sections of the weight so that i could install the decoder.

You can see the section that have been taken out using the Dremel tool by the shiny surface.

The Select Direct - Decoder required clearance underneath the solder tabs so that they wouldn't short out on the frame.

The speaker was going to be mounted just in front of the decoder and right behind the cab but there wasn't enough room so it will mounted underneath the cab roof.

You can see the sections cut out underneath the solder tabs on the decoder.

The decoder wired and installed, it was at this stage when I went to program the decoder that I realised it was faulty and the sound amplifier isn't working...


Saturday, 27 May 2017

More Conversions to LokSound Decoders...

So as a little project to get back into the layout after a a break for about the last month I decided to install some more LokSound - Select Direct decoders in my non-sound locomotives.

The first project was a Athearn - RDG RS3 #445.  

These are quite tight and I thought the install would be close, and it was.  Just a little tight to fit the Select-Direct in, I've ordered a Select - Micro which should work perfectly.  The RS3 will get used as a switcher for yard work at Rutherford...

LokSound - Select Micro

The next project for the day was a Atlas Silver Series - RDG MP15DC switcher.  I have previously done the Gold (QSI) version of these so this one took me about 30 minutes to convert.  

The LokSound - Select Direct fits perfectly into these and they sound awesome, being an Atlas these are super smooth at slow speeds too.  The programming of the sound files and altering of the horns and motor control is a breeze with the LokProgrammer too...

Once the programming was finished I consisted it with its sibling RDG #2772 for some yard work at Rutherford...

Last unit for the day was a Proto2000 - RDG GP7, this one is still ongoing as I have to Dremel out a fair section of the weight to get both the Select Direct and cube speaker into the shell area.  When finished all of upgrades get Kadee #158 whisker couplers too...

As you can see I've already removed a fair section of the weight towards the back, these units also get upgraded to LED lighting too.

More soon.


Sunday, 14 May 2017

Back into signals again...

So I've had a little timeout from the layout over the last few weeks.  Two weeks with school holidays, and some extra projects around the house before winter sets in.

But I have managed to get a day or two on the layout and have continued on with the signal installs.  I'm slowly working my way around the layout and had to install some more G Type heads onto a mast.

I have the Tomar brass masts but I've never been happy with the green, yellow or red that the 1.5mm LED's produce.  I found a replacement 1.5mm one that had much better colours so decided to convert these into the G Type plastic IHC heads and mount them onto the Tomar brass masts.

The IHC heads have small plastic tabs that can be adapted to clip onto the brass mast post easily.  The brass tube will take the eight (8) small 0.5mm wires for both heads.

The mast above was placed onto the mainline heading out of Hershey into Manheim Junction and is paired with a double head dwarf on the passing siding track to the south.

More soon...


Tuesday, 4 April 2017

My second article has been published in MRH...

So this month my second article has been published in Model Railroad Hobbyist Magazine (MRH) on the use of the RRCirKits - Tri Coloured LED's in our dwarf signals.


The article follows the installation of the RR CirKits LED's into Tomar - Dwarf Signals.

Cheers, Jas...

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Rutherford West - Interlocking Signal Bridge Operating...

So today I completed the wiring and programming of the Rutherford West - Interlocking Signal Bridge.

The process is fairly simple to get these wired to the Digitrax SE8C's.  The connection between the signal heads and the SE8C is made via a Digitrax TSMK (Terminal Strip Mounting Kit) and a 10 pair printer ribbon cable.

The TSMK makes hooking up the physical LED wires easy, and they also include inbuilt resistors too.  Two (2) TSMK's are required for one triple head mast, and a single TSMK for a double head mast/dwarf.

The T, M, B in the photo below is reference for Top, Middle, Bottom...

One of the issues I often face when performing this task is the inability to see which signal aspect is on when underneath the layout connecting the wires to the TSMK.  This signal bridge wasn't that bad as the bench work is only 250mm (10") wide so I could actually see them from underneath.

I have for some time been looking for an app to utilise that uses a spare iPhone and the layouts WiFi modem to "stream" the images of the signal heads.  Today I was using an app called "Web of Cam" this app is perfect and also allows not only viewing from an iPhone & iPad but also from a desktop PC.

This makes programming the individual heads in Panel Pro and the masts a lot easier, no more backward and forwards trips from the Dispatcher's nook to the signal bridge on the layout.

The final colour of the aspects has changed a little with them going through the resistors that are mounted on the TSMK boards, I'm now really happy with the red, yellow & green.


Monday, 27 March 2017

Rutherford West - Interlocking Signal Bridge completed...

Today I completed another signal bridge on the layout, this brings the total to four.

The Rutherford West - Interlocking Signal Bridge is the boundary between Hershey & Rutherford.  The aspects shown below are "Medium Clear" (left mast) & "Approach Medium" (right mast).

The signal bridge protects the North bound mains to both Harrisburg & Carlisle Junction, it also protects the yard lead into Rutherford Yard - South.

The Harrisburg main is protected by the triple head mast on the left.  The triple head signal mast allows for a "Slow Clear" aspect as the main can be diverted into the south bound passing siding through the Harrisburg Industrial area.

The Carlisle Junction main and the Rutherford Yard - South Yard Lead are protected by the double head signal mast on the right.  There is no requirement for a triple head on this side as I do not need a slow clear, the main aspect into the Yard Lead will be a "Restricting" aspect.

The process to add the G-Type heads using the IHC plastic kits has been fairly easy and quick to install.  The small 1.5mm butterfly/axial LED's go together quite quickly too.  The colours on the green & yellow are not as good as the RR CirKits's but they are much better than Tomar ones.

Next step is to install a pair of G-Type standalone masts on the westbound end of Hershey, and a double head dwarf protecting the crossover from Hershey into Rutherford (to the left of the last photo).


Thursday, 23 March 2017

G Type/Tri-Light Signal Heads...

With the signal installation moving along nicely I needed to try out a different type of signal head.  When I decided to install signals on the layout I wanted to use those that would have been found typically on the Reading.

Two of these were the searchlight and the G Type/Tri-Light heads.  I have already installed the searchlights heads using the RR CirKits LED's but needed a solution for the G Types.

I have previously used the Tomar masts but like bi-colour LED's wasn't at all happy with the red, green & yellow used in them.  So after searching around for sometime I came across a 1.5mm butterfly/axial LED that not only fitted in the Tomar brass g-type heads but also the plastic IHC ones too.

I started out by making a small jig that allowed me to solder the common anode leads and feed wire together.

This jig made the process go fairly quickly, in fact it has been easier wiring up the G Type heads over the searchlight heads.

Once the wiring was completed it was onto securing the LED's to the plastic IHC head with a little CA.  I also tested each LED before gluing the head to the signal bridge mast.

Next stage was to glue all three G Type heads to the signal bridge mast, and again test the LED's.

Once the glue had set over night it was onto gluing the mast to the bridge and then feeding the wires through the bridge conduit.

Once the wiring is routed through the conduit and secured to the mast you can barely pick up the wires from front on, and once painted it will be quite hard to pick up any at all.

Next stage is to install one more double head mast and this bridge is ready to be installed onto the layout and programmed.

So far I'm very happy with the way that the G Type heads have worked out, and again using the plastic IHC signal kits.


Sunday, 5 March 2017

Signal Bridge Construction Continues...

Now that the layout wiring has been upgraded and the PSX's installed to protect each power district it was time to again to continue on with the installation of another signal bridge.

The next signal bridge is located at Lebanon protecting the interlocking into Harrisburg heading eastbound.

This bridge was originally going to have three (3) masts but I decided to remove the westbound main triple head as it was not required.  So now it is a triple head for the main heading eastbound, and a double head for track 2 also heading eastbound.

The above photo is the new location, you can see the existing (temporary) G Type double head that was installed for the main.   Once I had built the bridge I placed it to test the bridge masts alignment with the right rail head before wiring.

The next stage was like the other two previously, wire up the RRCirKits Tri-Coloured LED's and place into the aspect heads.  The route the wires through the signal bridge frame and cable conduits.

The wiring routed through the signal bridge frame, attached to the masts using Kynar Wrapping Wire and fed through the 4mm cable conduit.

The cable conduits have a small piece of 1mm heat shrink tube between them the cable can be fed through the framework at the ends of the bridges.

And finished ready to be installed onto the layout and wired and programmed into PanelPro via JMRI...

Clear on the main, Restricting on Track 2...


Wednesday, 1 March 2017

More Conversions to ESU LokSound - Select Direct's...

Over the past couple of days I have been converting three of my locomotives/switcher over to ESU's LokSound - Select Direct decoders.

The installs have been fairly straight forward apart from one of my Athearn RTR RDG GP35's which required a donor chassis, motor and trucks from an existing CR GP35.  There was a gear or truck binding issue coupled with a noisy motor than actually competed with the sound decoder.

Thankfully the transplant was a success.  I know have two RDG GP35's on the layout fully fitted out with the Select Directs coupled with ESU Sugar Cube speaker.

The next recipient for the Select Direct decoder is a Atlas Gold/Master Series RDG MP15DC # 2772.  This was originally fitted with a QSI Sound Decoder and was giving me nothing but trouble, had issues consisting it, locked up and the stupid magnetic wand wouldn't reset it...  Perfect candidate for an upgrade!

The installation was pretty straight forward, the Select Direct mother board fitted perfectly onto the Atlas tabs, the wiring was a fairly easy hook up and the only alterations required was the removal of the Atlas 16 ohm speaker and the plastic housing and the addition of the wiring for the cab headlight.

After I had finished with the MP15DC today I had to of course try out the Full Throttle features.  These are such a versatile and pleasurable experience to operate with, the decoders and sound are in my opinion the best on the market to date, and offer the most realistic prototypical operations by far!

I am using WiThrottle coupled with JMRI to operate all of my locomotives and the ability to swipe left to access all of the functions buttons is such a valuable ability when using Full Throttle.  
This also coupled with the ability to see the throttle position and if the F9 (Drive Hold function button) is something that my NCE throttle just doesn't have the capability to do.

I can see a lot more switching operations occurring, whilst getting used these decoders features in the future...


Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Re-wiring for Power Districts...

Over the past week I have been back under the layout working on wiring yet again...  Urrgghh!

This time around it was because I was moving towards setting up power districts that were being protected by DCC Specialties PSX1's.

Over the past couple of operating sessions we had noticed that Rutherford Yard was dropping out the remainder of the layout when a short occurred.  I already had two PSX1's installed along with two PSX-AR (auto reversers).

The first set was to completely replace the main buss, this had been altered quite a few times and was not consistently sized along the whole layout.  I replaced it with 10 awg (2.5mm) house flex with sub busses being 14 awg (1.5mm) and the feeders still the same 18 awg (1mm) solid core.

The replacement went relatively easy, and with a little attention to neatness and pulling out quite a few feet of unneeded wire I ended up with 5 main buss runs.

I've made Rutherford Yard, Rutherford Workshops and the centre peninsula separate buss runs.

The next stage was installing the remaining PSX1's and the two packets of isolated rail joiners.  I had a few sneak paths on the common return so had to track these down to ensure each power district was isolated.

Each BDL168 is fed from a PSX1 to ensure all the detected as well as non-detected track work is protected.  You can see the wiring block to the right of the PSX1, this feeds the BDL below and the remaining undetected blocks for the Pulp & Paper Mill.  The PSX below has the main buss feeding through the board (two pair of wires on the left) via the four pin block.

The remaining install went well and I managed to neaten up a fair portion of the layouts wiring too, the remaining PSX-AR (auto-reversers) didn't require any further work and have been working perfectly since installed over two years ago...