Favourite Photos...

Favourite Photos...
Reading Lines GP35 #3647

Middletown, Pa

Sunday 29 March 2015

Two Birds with One Stone...

So as part of moving forward with the detection system I've decided to do a little maintenance on all of our turnouts as we install the associated wiring.

Predominately the layout turnouts are all PECO Code 83 with a few Walthers - Shinohara's thrown in.  Now that we are going to be detecting all of the mainline turnouts, one of the issues with detecting them is that they need to be their own isolated block and require power from one of the sixteen (16) BDL detection circuits & a common return.

To accomplish this I need to wire small feeders onto the turnouts themselves, this is actually a good thing on two levels.  Firstly its actually relatively easy with the PECO turnouts as they have a small gap in the middle that you can place the feeders to serve as jumpers between the point rail and the outside stock rail.

Secondly this eliminates PECO's only real flaw with their turnouts, and that being that the remaining rails are fed power from the tip of the point rail when normally powered from another section of track prior to the points.  This addition eliminates that issue and almost makes these turnouts bulletproof.

I've discussed this recently with others as to why PECO didn't factory install the jumpers in the first place, I know cost would be the reason, but it would make the reliability (not that it's not there know) so much better.

The finished PECO turnout with jumper soldered in position:

The Walthers Shinoharas are the same too, although these turnouts already have the jumper strip installed it is not a very strong bond.  When soldering the feeders to these they often break, so the best method is to remove them and solder the feeder proper to the bottom of the rail.

When I solder the jumpers onto these I remove the plastic tie that the jumper sits in (as it melts) and again like the PECO's solder it across the bottom of rail.

More soon.


Monday 23 March 2015

Saturday night is wiring night...

So this Saturday just been ended up being a good session of wiring on the detection & signaling system.

I began the installation of the power supply for the SE8C's & BDL's and managed to get three (3) boards hooked up to power by the end of the night.

I am trying to keep a wiring standard across the entire layout, hopefully this will help out later on for troubleshooting faults or making further additions the system.

I also started making the LocoNet cables and so far have all three (3) boards hooked up and receiving LocoNet signals.

Last night I continued on and decided to wire up the first Detection Zone on of the BDL's, this involved the wiring of the four (4) detection circuits.  I wanted to achieve this as part of the learning process for wiring the remainder of the layout.

After wiring the four circuits I ran one of our CR MP15 switchers across all four circuits and good detection across them all.  To aid in checking the detection side of things I added one set (two pieces) of resistive wheel sets to our CR Widevision Caboose, each truck has one resistive wheel set on it located closest to the knuckle of the caboose.

The LT5 tester that comes with the BDL is a great way to test the wiring and the detection on each zone of the BDL.  The below photo shows blocks 3 & 4 occupied and zone power on.

So after all the wiring the first zone is completed, the black wire is zone power from the NCE Booster and the red wires are Detection Circuit power feeds to the individual detection blocks.  This BDL is covering the entire centre peninsula of the layout.

You know when things are all good when you get two occupied blocks on your Panel, the above screen shot shows the occupied main & passing siding with the switcher & caboose in each.

After checking a few things last night and playing around I've decided to actually detect each mainline & passing siding turnout as individual blocks.  This will require the installation of another two (2) BDL168's to the layout.

More soon as we continue to install the detection wiring.


Tuesday 17 March 2015

And that folks is that...

Today marked the completion of the last SE8C and with that the final Digitrax Board for the detection & signaling system on the JL&T.

So in total we have eight (8) SE8C's & three (3) BDL168's all placed onto mounting boards and placed around the layout.

The next phase is to wire in all of Tortoise Motors to the SE8C's and connect all the boards to the LocoNet too.

Time for a beer or two...


Sunday 15 March 2015

And that folks is the...

Last of the Digitrax - BDL168's to be wired up onto mounting boards for the layout.  The three boards that are now completed will provide detection for the all of the mainline & passing sidings on the upper deck including the leads into the classification yard.  

They have been mounted onto the layout central to each of the three power districts and are ready to be wired to the individual block sections

These boards have also had the new screwed terminal blocks added to them, they are far superior than the last lot I was using in both quality and size.  Being a little smaller they take up less real estate on the board and make it easier to wire.

There will be one more BDL168 made at a later date which will provide detection for the lower deck staging area under the north side of the layout which will be some time away.


Saturday 14 March 2015

Progress at the weeks end...

So at the end of the working week we have managed to accomplish the completion of another three (3) boards.  Two SE8C's and a BDL 168 have all been completed and installed onto the layout ready to be wired up.

The SE8C boards have had a change in screwed terminals, they are now smaller and the screw connection is much better the last one.  I now have these down to being made in around 30 mins.

The BDL168's have had the same change to the screwed terminal connections too, I'm finishing these in around 45 mins now.

The next stage is to wire the Tortoise Switch Machines to the SE8C's and configure the boards in JMRI, then interface them with the new Panel.  Then lastly the installation of the fascia mounted push buttons.

Three more SE8C's and one more BDL168 and we have finished all of the detection & signaling boards.  Then onto the mass of wiring to get it all connected.


Thursday 12 March 2015

More turnout wiring...

Over the last day and two night I have continued with the installation of the wiring to connect the Tortoise Switch Machines to the Digitrax SE8C's.

The cat6 cable has made things a lot easier to install the fact that is four pair matchers up with a series of four turnouts (you can connect eight (8) to a SE8c board.

I usually cut a length of cat6 to the longest required run, then if needed peel it back to other that are closer to the board.

The small plastic electrical cables make it easy to keep the wiring neat and in place, at certain spots I add a cable tie to ensure everything remains in place.

So here is another board completed, next step is to make up the LocoNet cable and connect to the existing SE8C and program it into JMRI & the tables.


Monday 9 March 2015

Dispatchers Desk Upgrade...

Tonight the Dispatchers Desk got a little upgrade, I installed the twin BENQ - 22" LED Monitors for the panel display.

I also installed the JL&T - Layout Editor file onto the layout PC, and got it connected and talking with the LocoNet I have the Tortoise Switch Machines working on the first SE8C board and have them configured on the new Panel.

Next step is to wire the remaining Tortoise Switch machines to the SE8C's, the blocks into the BDL's and load these into the JMRI tables and get them working on the panel.
One step closer to detection & signaling on the JL&T.

Monday 2 March 2015

JL&T Railroad - Gets Placed into Layout Editor...

As part of the process towards the signaling of the layout I have been placing the track & turnouts into JMRI - Layout Editor.  This will allow me to load this onto the layout PC and test out the SE8C's and the Tortoise Motors once they are all connected.

To date I have managed to flatten out into a line schematic the, bridge duck under, the interchange between the centre peninsula and the Staging Yard entrance (Abrams Yard), the South Bend - Industrial Area, the southern curve transition between the mainline and the centre peninsula and the L&T Branch entrance and the remainder of the branch (which is dark territory.

So far its been quite difficult to get a curved layout into a straight-line layout drawing that makes sense, but so far its working and the learning curve using JMRI - Layout Editor hasn't been that bad...

And the Panel Expands...

As can be seen BAPM Plastics is now incorporated into the panel...

And finished...

And as of tonight the entire layout has been added to JMRI - Layout Editor...

Next step is to add all of the turnouts to the tables and assign them into layout editor.