Favourite Photos...

Favourite Photos...
Reading Lines GP35 #3647

Middletown, Pa

Tuesday 25 June 2019

New Fascia's and Fascia Control Panels...

Today I spent the day reinstalling the layout fascia and fascia control panels around Carlisle Junction.  This area was altered when I installed the helix, I also had to add another fascia control panel for the east end of the Staging Yard.

The control panels are just a small wooden frame made from 1"-3/16 (30mm) x 45/64" (18mm) pine edging.

The fascia board is 1/8" MDF board cut down to 9" 27/32 (250mm) and screwed to the layout benchwork with timber stitching screws.

The fascia control panels are recessed so that operators cannot lean against the panels and activate the push buttons accidentally.

The versions installed today are black & white and will be upgraded to color once I'm happy that further changes will be made, and when the fascia's have all been painted.


Monday 24 June 2019

Layout Monitoring...

For some time now I have been wanting to have a monitoring system on the layout.  With the addition of the completed Helix, Staging Deck and Return Loops I needed to find a solution.

I have looked at many different technologies and hardware, from webcam cameras, to mini-cube cameras, reversing cameras, and just about everything in between too.

But I kept coming back to one platform.  The security camera and DVR option.  It is by default exactly what most of us with a model railroad need to be able to achieve the ability to "monitor" our layouts from many different locations, usually via one screen.  And the security camera platform is mostly a one box solution.

I did want to get fancy and have dual mini-HD cube camera in an interlocking tower looking east & west so the dispatcher could see the action from a 1/87 perspective.

The system I ended up using was a refurbished Swann eight (8) channel - 1080P HD PVR.


The system has everything in the box needed to get you going, and is plug & play too.

The quality being 1080P HD is suburb.

The camera's also have infrared built in too, so when the Staging Deck isn't lit, the layout can still be easily seen.

The ability to spilt the screens into varying combinations is also included in the systems software.  The screen shots above are actually taken from the smart phone app that also allows you to use your phone to view too.

I will have all eight channels fed through a 23" monitor located with the dispatchers desk.

The camera's are easily mounted underneath the layout and are adjustable too.

A worthwhile investment that is already paying off making dispatching and operation of the Staging Deck so much easier.


Friday 21 June 2019

Major milestone completed this week...

This week I managed to finally complete the Staging Deck...

The helix, staging yard and return loops are all now wired in with detection and switch motors and ready for operations.

I also started to install the camera system for monitoring the staging yard and return loops too.  The system is a Swann 8ch - 1080P DVR, it will also allow me to monitor the other sections of the layout from the dispatchers desk.



Thursday 13 June 2019

Helix, Staging Deck & Return Loops - Complete Run...

Today I finished off the wiring for the entire Staging Deck area, including the two Return Loops.
The video below shows the inaugural run from the top deck, through the helix, staging deck, and around the return loops, and staged ready to run back onto the layout.  This is a huge step for the layout operational as it has just expanded the operational capability for our future ops sessions.

The entire Staging Deck is detected via the LocoNet, the majority is handled by one Digitrax - BDL 168, and two PSX-AR's.  The PSX-AR's are connected to each of the return loops and the detection section on each is fed back through a layout Digitrax SE8C.
The Staging Deck is now added to the Panel Pro - Panel and is ready for operations to begin...
Next stage is to finish off the installation of the last MP5 - Switch Motors and begin programming the turnouts & sensors into the panel.

Monday 3 June 2019

MRH - Running Extra - Article...

Today the layout made the June Edition and Front Cover of MRH Running Extra.

The article is how the build of the original practice module inspired me to build the layout, and how the module became a part of a signature scene...