I tend to find wiring a layout one of the more tedious aspects of railway modelling, a job that "needs" to be done rather than enjoyed! On this occasion however it all seemed relatively painless and didn't take as long as I had feared. I'm still undecided about the merits of DCC, it all seems a bit too much like computer programming rather than playing trains for my liking! I do like the idea of sound in my locos though, so I may have to overcome my prejudices and embrace digital control at some point in the future. With this in mind I've wired the layout so that it shouldn't be to problematic to make the change to DCC if I decide to go down that route.
I wanted to use an adhesive tape to form negative and positive feeds along the length of the layout and found a suitable product online. http://www.matlockminiatures.com/Shop/index1.html This tape has an adhesive backing and has one of the strips anodised a different colour from the other so that it's easy to tell which is the negative or positive feed.
Self adhesive copper tape
This tape was stuck to the underside of each baseboard and jumper wires were then soldered into multipin connectors at each baseboard joint http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/maplin-d-sub-connector-socket-25-way-yq49d
The surface of the foil is covered with a thin insulating layer of plastic, this obviously needs to be removed before its possible to solder onto. I must have been having an off day because I spent at least half an hour trying to scrape away this top layer of plastic with a variety of techniques before it dawned on me that if you touched it with the tip of the soldering iron it simply melted away leaving a clean surface! Once I made this important discovery, the track feeds proceeded smoothly using red cable for the positive feeds and black for the negative. Once all the track feeds were in place I spent a happy hour or so watching my locos trundle along the track for the first time
The next step was to make the points operational and to switch the polarity of the crossing "V". I decided to use Tortoise point motors, which I'm pleased to say were very easy to install. I found the wire that is supplied with the point motors a bit to springy, so I substituted it with some 0.9mm stainless steel wire. I used a length of the adhesive tape to form a separate 12 volt dc feed for the point motors, this time using yellow and blue cable to carry the power.
Point motor feeds
I used double pole/double throw on/on microswitches http://www.maplin.co.uk/search?text=Sub-Miniature+Toggle+Switch+E+On-On+DPDT to switch the points. I had a few offcuts of black perspex left over from another project, so I decided to make a box that I could fit the microswitches into. I'm not sure if the Edwardian GWR would have approved of the gloss black finish, but I rather like it!
DPDT on/on microswitch
Micro switches and point feeds
Point switch box
Before I laid the points, I'd soldered a feed using white cable to the underside of the frog. This feed was now soldered to one of the pair of switches incorporated in the Tortoise point motor. Negative and positive feeds were then taken from the track feed self adhesive tape to the remaining terminals on the point motor.
Tortoise point motors
Underside of boards
I've no idea if this will work, but I've uploaded my first video to youtube!
I'm planing on using the remaining switches on the Tortoises to operate a track indicator panel that will incorporate LED's to show the direction that the points are set. That however will have to wait because I've had enough of wiring for the time being!
There's been little progress on top of the baseboards I'm afraid, but I have made a start on the backscene. A sheet of flexible MDF was cut into 15inch high strips and these have been fixed to the layout using softwood blocks and wood screws. Once the contour of the scenery has been finalised and I've built the road overbridge, there may be a little judicious trimming of the backscene where it curves around the front of the layout.
Left end of layout
Overall from right end
Overall from fiddle yard end
That's the state of play so far, if I can master this video editing lark I'll post up some clips of some stock in action!