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Millarville mkII this time its Freemo





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#1 AndrewC

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Posted 15 July 2016 - 13:07

Buried somewhere in the depths of RMweb is my old thread on a set of modules that I was building as part of the Thamessiders NMRA-BR group. The group moved further away and I decided to part with them. First Tony_s of this parish took them on, and then passed them to the club where they were renamed and still form part of their club layout.

 

Last year I made an abortive attempt to resurrect the idea of Millarville as a hybrid exhibition layout and Freemo module. Since then I've had some fun playing around with other's modules and finally rejoined the NMRA a few months back.

 

With that I introduce the build of my latest masterpuss, err monsterpiece, err you know.

 

millarville (2016-c).jpg

 

The track plan is a development of what I had started last year but has been tweaked a bit and a few changes as suggested by Mike Arnold have been incorporated. The module/layout is 16' by a nominal 2' with the ends being capable of connecting to either the current 18" or 20" standards as well as any old 24" modules still out there. On the right a triangular section has been added to allow for a 45 degree junction. In layout mode the ends will have fiddlesticks attached and the main staging will be connected to the branch.

 

More to come as this progresses and as I can be ar$ed to resize the pictures taken already.


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#2 AndrewC

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Posted 15 July 2016 - 21:38

First order of business was to adapt what I already had. As much as possible I wanted to recycle existing surplus boards to minimise the amount of carpentry I had to do. Unfortunately my own layout height which I prefer is 1m, the Freemo standard is 45" to rail height. Rather than build new legs I built a set of removable stilts for 5 of the existing sets. Since I can't set up Essex and Millarville at the same time this is no problem.

 

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Legs with extender and adjustable feet.

 

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legs attached with cross brace

 

Once that was done I could assemble the 4 existing module sections and start the track laying.

 

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Track is standard Peco 83. Apart from one switch they are all #8s. I solder the droppers to the underside of the rails as the track is laid. Underlay is Woodland Scenics.

 

Wiring next.


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#3 Gordy

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Posted 16 July 2016 - 15:56

this is really looking good, :) wish i had that space to set up and build some modules. are you using ply tops or foam?



#4 skipepsi

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Posted 16 July 2016 - 16:17

What are the items you are using to hold the track in place in picture 4 Andrew? I will ask noob questions about wiring as soon as you commit it to print.



#5 AndrewC

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Posted 16 July 2016 - 17:16

Gordy, the boards are 12mm birch ply sides with 18mm ends. They sandwich a 50mm slab of Dow floorspan styrofoam. The foam is carved and shaped as needed. Some of the boards are now 5 years old and have 0% warpage. Far more solid and reliable than the Knauf floor space pink stuff.

Mick. The pins are Woodland Scenics "foam nails". Brilliant things when working with foam. Track and underlay were stuck down with waterproof wood glue. Basically what the yanks market as Weldbond. Everything else is stuck down with Gorilla glue.

#6 Supaned

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Posted 17 July 2016 - 08:57

another daft question if I may?

 

What angle did you cut the wood to form the junction piece (seen with the blue foam board)?



#7 AndrewC

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Posted 17 July 2016 - 11:00

Supaned, on 17 Jul 2016 - 09:57, said:

another daft question if I may?

 

What angle did you cut the wood to form the junction piece (seen with the blue foam board)

The bit with the blue foam (unpainted) was added to the existing rectangular module later to provide the branch end. That is just 18mm ply buzzed into 4" strips and the 2 edges were cut at 45 degree angles in order to form a triangle. I have a cheap Wickes table saw with a blade that can be set from 0 to 45.



#8 AndrewC

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Posted 17 July 2016 - 13:37

Those photos show just how much better at looking like the real thing #8s are on a model, even if - by prototype standards - they are quite tight.
They also show a high standard of track laying: the plain track is straight and parallel. Not always easy.

thanks Simon. I do like the #8s even if it means a crossover takes at least 26" depending on the track spacing. Straight is easy. Just get 3 or 4 Tracksettas. Curves are always a pain for me.
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#9 Robatron86

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Posted 18 July 2016 - 07:24

I've got a pile of wood in the shed, and your thread tempting me to go Freemo.
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#10 AndrewC

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Posted 18 July 2016 - 08:01

I've got a pile of wood in the shed, and your thread tempting me to go Freemo.

Just do it. <insert Darth Vader theme here> Really turn to the dark side.

 

Specs are here: http://www.nmrabr.or...ho-modules-spec



#11 Zomboid

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Posted 18 July 2016 - 14:07

Do it. My next layout will be freemo compliant, at least at one end. Hopefully both. Not that I'm particularly close to building layout 2, but if you're building a portable shelf type thing in HO I can't see why you wouldn't, it's not an onerous standard to comply with, really.
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#12 roundhouse

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Posted 18 July 2016 - 14:58

I've got a pile of wood in the shed, and your thread tempting me to go Freemo.

Definitely make it Freemo compatible even if you use it as a standalone layout.

 

I am really glad that I modified Fort Myers to be able to be Freemo aswell as stand alone. Its breathed new life into it which is what I really wanted to do rather than scrap or sell it.


Edited by roundhouse, 18 July 2016 - 14:58 .

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#13 AndrewC

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Posted 19 July 2016 - 07:50

Wiring. Meh!

 

One of those hate it or loath it jobs for most people. I'm ambivalent about it. These days with DCC and no bloody control panels its so much simpler.  

 

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The boards for the module are simplicity in itself.

 

All the droppers were soldered to the underside of the rails when the track was laid. Brown to the left,blue to the right rail, and the left over earth green is used for the switch frogs. No bit of rail is more than about 2' from a feeder.

I just run 1.5mm mains cable from end to end. All of the feeders are then connected with IDC Scotchlock style connectors. No soldering under the boards apart from connecting the frog and feeds to each tortoise motor.

 

Since I use Digitrax and most of the Freemo meets will be using Lenz I've run 2 network busses through the module. I kept these modular with RJ12 connectors and straight through couplers. This means I can operate the switches with a Digitrax throttle connected to the loconet and the trains are run through the Lenz throttle bus and track power. Being modular I can also patch the 2 network busses together so if the Freemo meet is running on Digitrax I can connect the throttle ports to the external bus.

 

At the bottom of the first picture you can see a pair of green/yellow cables. These are used as jumpers so that it is impossible for me to connect my own power to the module at the same time as it's connected to another DCC source. Easier than mucking about with switches and totally fool proof. It also means that if the Freemo layout is running on Digitrax I can power my own module independently by switching my DCC setup to booster mode.

 

All of the rest of the wiring is telephone or data ribbon. 4 wire for the tortoise motors, 6 wire for the network busses, and 8 wire to connect anything else between boards on the module. Again no soldering apart from connecting the tortoise motors. The DS64 in the top picture has screw connectors or RJ12 for everything. I don't use track power on the accessory decoders but prefer to power each one with a 12vdc supply and send the turnout commands via Loconet. That means if track power goes down as a result of a short from a loco going the wrong way onto a turnout, I can still change the turnout.

 

I'm also a firm believer in colour coded wiring and not keeping things too tight. Having done a fair bit of network and telecom wiring in the past, I've learned to always leave some slack, and never bend a wire to a sharp 90 degree.

 

So wiring boils down to this.

brown + blue = track power

green = frog

white 4 wire ribbon is for tortoise (yellow +  black = power, red + green = sensor)

6 wire ribbon = loconet or Xpressnet

8 wire ribbon = inter board connector.

 

Each of the 4 boards took around 90 minutes to wire up. The bulk of the time was spend gluing down the little tie down anchors as their sticky pads won't hold on to the Styrofoam very well, so each one gets a tiny dollop of Gorilla glue.

 

Wiring done and tested. Now to play trains for a bit and get the new (hand me down used) laptop up and running with JMRI. The plan is to have the turnouts operated from the laptop so that anyone operating only has to click on the mimic diagram to set their route. When the module is running as a stand alone layout I'll also have WiThrottle running so that the whole layout can be operated from my phone or from a tablet.


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#14 AndrewC

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 14:52

A bit of test running before I finalise the locations of the uncoupling magnets and weather the track.

 

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I've obtained a second Kanamodels grain elevator kit so the Walther's one is now surplus to requirements. Not sure if I'll use the silos though. I've managed to get round top ones which are mostly wrong for Western Canada. The conical tops are far more common.


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#15 Robatron86

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Posted 21 July 2016 - 10:58

Ooo stripes! You know I love stripes!

 

Just been assessing the wood in my man shack, and I think I have all the wood I need to make a 48" by 20" twin track board.


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#16 roundhouse

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Posted 21 July 2016 - 11:40

A bit of test running before I finalise the locations of the uncoupling magnets and weather the track.

 

attachicon.gifIMG_2304.JPG

 

attachicon.gifIMG_2305.JPG

 

I've obtained a second Kanamodels grain elevator kit so the Walther's one is now surplus to requirements. Not sure if I'll use the silos though. I've managed to get round top ones which are mostly wrong for Western Canada. The conical tops are far more common.

Andrew

 

Io picked up one of Rapidos electrically operating uncoupling devices at the Convention. They do look good but yet ot actually fit it and try it out. It comes with toggle switch and mounting / templating kit. Just missing the actual core drill.

 

 

Ian



#17 AndrewC

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Posted 21 July 2016 - 12:39

Andrew

 

Io picked up one of Rapidos electrically operating uncoupling devices at the Convention. They do look good but yet ot actually fit it and try it out. It comes with toggle switch and mounting / templating kit. Just missing the actual core drill.

 

 

Ian

Ian, supposedly their current draw is low enough to be able to be powered from a DS64 output. Was contemplating getting a couple for the running lines as I hate having magnets on the main. Just a recipe for uncoupling disasters.

 

Anyway, all the under track magnets are in place now. Made a mistake with one and its exactly 50 scale feet from another meaning I get a 2-4-1 uncoupling. Going to have to move one a few inches down.



#18 298

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Posted 21 July 2016 - 12:46

Andrew
 
Io picked up one of Rapidos electrically operating uncoupling devices at the Convention. They do look good but yet ot actually fit it and try it out. It comes with toggle switch and mounting / templating kit. Just missing the actual core drill.
 
 
Ian


They're good, but the lights need a dimmer switch...

#19 AndrewC

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Posted 21 July 2016 - 12:54

They're good, but the lights need a dimmer switch...

or a small dollop of paint to darken them a bit.



#20 roundhouse

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Posted 21 July 2016 - 13:13

They're good, but the lights need a dimmer switch...

Actually, I was thinking of changing the LED colours on some of them, then we could have a light show :sungum:


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#21 AndrewC

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Posted 21 July 2016 - 13:22

Actually, I was thinking of changing the LED colours on some of them, then we could have a light show :sungum:

I'm going to take my metro GP38 to the disco. :jester:

 

On a related topic most of my CP locos are fairly ancient. The RS10 and RS18 are Pre-Walthers Proto 1000. I'm looking at putting sound in them and up to now have gone the cheap and cheerful route by using Digitrax Sound Bugs. After being spoilt by the Lokound in my Rapido GMD-1s I'm looking at retro fitting with those. Question is, do the V4s come pre-loaded or do I have to shell out another £130+ for a Loksound programmer just to do half a dozen locos? I know that Coastal have a choice list for picking the sound scheme for some of their decoders but not for the V4.



#22 roundhouse

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Posted 21 July 2016 - 15:00

Andrew

 

 

I like Econami as they are cheap but IMHO the sounds are good plus simple ot use.

 

I am in the process of fitting a Tsunami 2 in my P42 obtained at the convention in Indy. The retailer had ot go over to Soundtraxx to collect them when I asked for one. I also have a few other Tsunami 2s for EMD locos to fit.

 

Have a listen to mine at Merstham Freemo in a few weeks.


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#23 298

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Posted 21 July 2016 - 21:35

Andrew

 

Io picked up one of Rapidos electrically operating uncoupling devices at the Convention. They do look good but yet ot actually fit it and try it out. It comes with toggle switch and mounting / templating kit. Just missing the actual core drill.

 

 

Ian

 

I've started a thread about them here:

 

http://www.rmweb.co....rew-uncouplers/


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#24 AndrewC

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Posted 27 July 2016 - 13:15

Priced out the Economi. By the time I pay the schitty exchange rate, postage, VAT, and the Royal Mail ripoff charge they are only £3 cheaper than getting the Loksound. They arrived from Coastal yesterday and have been fitted and fettled. I have also had to order smaller speakers as they now come with the 20mm by 40mm instead of the round ones. Bloody loud with the shell off I will say. Liking the new Full Throttle functions.


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#25 AndrewC

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 15:27

Things have slowed a bit since I've been spending too much time playing.

I have managed to get all the uncoupling magnets installed, track weathered, and the second grain elevator assembled. Just need to shoot it with some weathered white and add the transfers & roof felt.

The 2 Alcos in the pic have been tuned and have their new speakers installed with the LokSound v4 decoders. Even with the shell on and just a tiny opening through the exhaust port they are very loud.

 

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Hoping to get the cardlock depot built next week and then start the ground cover. I found on Essex and my test track module that doing the scenery up to the edge of the track underlay first and the ballast last it looks better IMHO.

 

 


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