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Points Arising




Things are a bit heavy at work at the moment which is probably why this posting's three weeks late, but the wiring is finally done. Well, sort of just about.


The new DS64 decoder is in , the NCE switch it is disconnected, the last two motors (Cobalt and Tortoise) are in , they're all wired up , and they work. I admit that one half of the slip is only about 98% reliable, but this was clearly the stiffest tie bar on the layout and always going to be the place where any intermittant incomplete throw was going to appear


The whole lot is very tightly packed , as you can see - which was always the issue and why it took so long:




The Cobart Blue seems slightly more positive in its operation than the Tortoises, even though I've now replaced the wire supplied by Circuitron with something thicker. Also very useful is the solder free connector block - if you have to disconnect or swap over wirews to reverse the direction of throw it's dead easy


A minor benefit is that theboard is potentially self sustaining. Although the DS64 is powered by an independent 12V DC supply from the stabilised converter, and this requires the 16V AC feed from the other board, , in its absence it defaults to drawing power through the DCC data connection. This means the decoder works even without being connected to the other board. The Hoffman motor controlling half the crossover doesn't work (since this draws 16V AC) but the other 4 motors do


The next stage, when things calm down a bit and I can have another play with the layout, is to draw up a panel diagram, showing which way is normal and reverse for each point and their numbers, to stick on the back or end of the layout. And once that's done, I can program Route Macros (a feature provided by the NCE system) for each possible route. So in future all I need do is key in the correct macro and an entire route through the layout comes off, complete with signals. The PowerCab supports 16 macros - there are a total of 14 possible routes on the layout . (For the curious - Platform 1 to fuelling point, FY branch, FY main 1, FY main 2; Platform 2 via crossover to pl 1, to fuelling point, FY branch, FY main 1 & FY main 2; Platform 2 straight ahead to FY branch, FY main 1 and FY main 2; Platform 3 to the three FY roads). Full entrance/exit route control with no extra wiring or cost, and no control panel at all


I've also noted the wiring colour code on the back of a business card and stuck it in a suitable spot under the boards


What hasn't been done is to install the ground signal under the bridge controlling exit from the fuelling point - it will be on the left of the track in this view, taken from the chair in front of the computer looking to my left...:




This is because I've run out of contracts on the relevant point motors (the Hoffmann has only one, for the frog, and the spare contacts on the Tortoise at the other end of the crossover are used to switch the 16V AC supply to power the Hoffmann) . The only way to work the ground signal is as an opposed pair of LEDs inserted into one of the power feeds to the Tortoise: one LED will light if current passes in one direction, and the other if current is reversed....


I also intend to install a spare Erkon 3 aspect signal + feather in the fiddle yard as a visible indicator of what routes are set, in an effort to minimise the risk of driving into a point set against the train, and I have to sort out the electromagnet I wired (and which doesn't work) and wire up the other two. I suspect the issue is that I didn't scrape the lacquer off the wires throughly enough to get good electrical joints- afriend suggested using avery large iron (I have a 70W in the workbench) to burn off the lacquer


But I'm leaving thisfinal round of wiring for the moment - the next major task is going to be building the screen walls round the station , the last big scenic job outstanding. Then it's down to detailing, stock, and operation


It should now be possible to use the layout as a programming track while in situ in the study - meaning I don't have to set the whole thing up in the sitting room first. I just need to get at a suitable power socket...



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