Favourite Photos...

Favourite Photos...
Reading Lines GP35 #3647

Middletown, Pa

Wednesday 22 July 2015

Installing Fascia Turnout Panels...

With the installation of the fascia's going nicely it was time to produce the first layout fascia panel.  Now this actually took a little while to get the design the right way, and one that I would be happy with.
I had a few good suggestions from my operating/wiring team about some items needed on your fascia panels from an operations perspective, and I had seen some great ideas from panels on other layouts.  So after a solid month of designing, redesigning, and multiple copies I was happy with the final panel that I made.
The panel diagram is designed in Microsoft Excel and is printed on plain paper on a laser colour printer, it is the laminated to protect it.
The idea with the placement was to install the panels in the lower half of the layout fascia, this was due to the fact that the top half is actually solid bench work and I would have to remove bracing to install them.  I settled on a set dimension for the panels and started by locating the most appropriate spot for the the first series on the centre peninsula.
The photo below shows the location of where the fascia panel needs to be located because of the bench work.
The panels need to be located in straight sections of fascia to make installation straight forward, but also be in a logical spot so they are also near to the area of track work they are controlling.  Most of the initial time designing the panel was actually figuring out where to start and stop the individual panel sections.
The design of the fascia panel box is fairly straight forward, a small pine surround (25mm x 18mm) with a 3mm MDF backing to secure the panel diagram and for drilling holes to locate and hold the push buttons for the turnouts.  The fascia is then cut out so that the panel surround can be screwed from the front to the fascia.
The first panel will be changed slightly as I'm increasing the thickness of the surround so the screws securing it to the fascia are not as close to the edge of the cut out.
The recessed nature of the panel will allow for uncoupling picks to be placed on the small shelf too, eventually I'll run a small LED strip on the top section of the surround so that the panel can be lit for nighttime operations.  The first test will be Friday night when the guys come over again and see the first lot of panels in the flesh.
So far I'm very happy with the installation and the look of the fascia panels, they really make a huge difference to the look of the layout.

Installing the Fascia's & Fascia Panels...

Yesterday I began the installation of the fascia panels for the centre peninsula that is the main layout area.  This phase is linked to the detection and signaling install as the majority of the SE8C's are now wired and have push buttons installed to operate the layouts Tortoise Switch Machines.
Continuing on from the L&T Branch fascia & upper valance install I am still using 3mm (1/8") MDF for the fascia.  The ability of the MDF to form curves around corners, it's light weight and cheap cost make it a perfect material to use as a fascia.
The main layout fascia will be 250mm (12") wide and will have recessed fascia turnout panels in it for local switching during ops sessions.  The fascia is secured to the 90mm (3 3/4") pine bench work, the install of this actually goes quite quickly.
Within a few hours several feet can easily be installed, the only part requiring extra attention is when forming curves.  Sometimes there is a need to put back blocking or bracing behind the curves and on seams at joins.
More soon.

Saturday 11 July 2015

RRCirKits SMD Tri-Coloured LED's for Dwarf Signals...

Moving right along with the installation of SMD LED's into our Tomar Dwarf Signals is the installation of a different type of Tri-Colored LED from RRCirKits.

These are tiny 3mm - 1/8" SMD LED's on tiny Printed Circuit Boards (PCB), these are made for RRCirKits and as such have colours that are designed to match real aspect indications.  The brilliant part about these babies is that the LEF comes pre-wired to the PCB with holes already punched for the common & three coloured wires to go in.

Even though these are extremely small, they are actually quite easy to work with.  The PCB holes take 30 AWG wire wrapping wire perfectly, even when slightly tinned too.

When completed the whole PCB fits perfectly into the opening of the Tomar Dwarf Signal.


When installed into the opening in the case, these can be either secured with CA or Liquid Electrical Tape (LET), the tape is perfect for ensuring that the PCB stays in alignment with the opening and prevents any shorting onto the brass case.


These really are the perfect solution to replacing bi-coloured LED's to get a true green, yellow & red aspect colour.

Special thanks to Dick Bronson @ RRCirKits for supplying us with these LEDs.
I'll post some more photos soon once they are installed on the layout and operating...

Monday 6 July 2015

Double Head Dwarfs with SMD LED's...

Well after successfully installing the SMD LED into the single head dwarf it was time to move onto the more challenging double head version.

First step was to install the much thinner coated wire, these are around 32AWG.  These wire still have a plastic coating so it is easily removed.  Again I made sure that I pre-fluxed & tinned the SMD pads and wires first to ensure a quick and good bond of the solder.

The next stage was to coat the wired SMD LED with liquid electrical insulation, this is to prevent the SMD pads from shorting out onto the brass case of the Tomar Signals.  The case needed some filing to get the SMD case to fit into position so that light emitted came through the opening evenly.

As can be seen below the Bivar SMD LED fits quite well into the case of the Tomar signal.  The liquid electrical insulation (LEI) also helps to keep the SMD in place and aligned.

Below is the back of the dwarf signal and the LEI holding the the bottom aspect in place.  As can also be seen there are four wires for each LED, one common (black) & three (red) for each colour green, yellow & red.

The stage involved getting the second SMD wired and into the brass case, all of the wiring and both SMD LED's fit into the Tomar case quite well.  The LEI works really well to insulate the electrical connections and hold the SMD LED's in place, for added stability you could also CA them in too instead of relying on the LEI.

After the LEI had cured I powered up the SMD LED's to check there wasn't any shorting from the electrical pads to the brass case, and also to check the colour produced with differing resistors.  The output of these LED's are quite bright and as such could be reduced up to a 1000 ohm value with resistors, this would actually increase the overall LED life too.  

And the final the result...  A Slow Clear (CR1988 Signal Aspects).