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  • Location
    Taunton, Somerset
  • Interests
    Southern Railway, West Somerset Railway.

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ikcdab's Achievements




  1. Southern z class
    DLT's SR Locos - G6 Connoisseur Kit

    The Maunsell Z Class kit from DMR Products in Cornwall has been on the to-do list for a long time but has at last risen to the top of the pile.

    Initial reaction to the kit is that it is gorgeous, beautifully etched in brass and nickel silver, with numerous superb brass castings and turnings.


    I've not got very far with it yet, but everything fits together perfectly, with the minimum of fitting. A fair bit of bending and curving is needed, and its a tad fiddly in places, but well repays carefull and methodical assembly.


    I would go so far to say that its possibly the best kit I've ever built.


    Did the chassis first, and widened it slightly in order to get a Highlevel gearbox in. Its designed to allow sideplay in the axles, with spacing washers to reduce the sideplay in the first and third axles. By widening the chassis I've taken up the sideplay, but it can be added again by filing down the front of the appropriate bearing bushes. Its 00 by the way, and rigid with no suspension.


    Power is provided by Mashima 1420 flat can, and Highlevel 80:1 LoadhaulerPlus gearbox.






    Made my usual cradle to support the footplate and keep is flat and true during assembly.






    The footplate valences fit into longitudinal slots running the length of the footplate, and there is a beautifully detailed etched overlay for the massive front bufferbeam.




    Quality of the etched bodywork speaks for itself,offer the parts up to each other and they just click into place ready for soldering.




    Hope progress reports will be a bit more regular than lately!


  2. Southern z class
    Southern Railway Modelling - Miscellaneous Project work

    Another update!



    Dapol Mogul





    Approaching completion, new smokebox door fitted, with lamp iron inserted. Crew and lamps from Modelu, I copied the headcode from a photo of one of these at Redhill in early 1949. Waiting for bufferbeam transfers and etched number plates. Also seen here fitted with my new 'standard' screw coupling from Masokits, these will eventually replace all of my Roxey couplings - but will use the Roxey hooks which i've soldered to double thickness. Much stronger than the Roxey couplings and I think they look great.


    Oxford 12T Tank Wagons







    I wasn't sure about taking these apart, but it was actually relatively straight forward. One of the Colfix and the Benzol tankers have been renumbered. I didn't have the exact transfers for this, so I just picked something that was close. The Benzol's new number is in red, but you can barely see it anyway. I probably won't run the the Colfix pair right next to each other, so the difference will hopefully not be as noticeable. They've all had a layer of gloss varnish, followed by a dirty brown wash, which was pretty intensively 'cleaned' off, they'll still need a dusting with the airbrush but I like the subtle weathered look - I had read somewhere that these tank wagons were kept relatively clean.


    DMR Z







    I spent Friday and Saturday getting to grips with the DMR Z. And this is the current state of play, things have just been plonked together in the photos though. If I'm honest, I've had a real mare of a time keeping things square, I re-did the reason footplate curve a few times, but for whatever reason, wasn't able to get it right, this means that the bunker might need shimming up ever so slightly to avoid an odd upward slope. I followed DLT's steps in adding the extra 0.4mm each side of the rear bunker plate to avoid having it curve inwards. I've also cheated a little and instead of using the thin rain strips I've used brass rod, it doesn't look so good in bare metal, but it's less obnoxious when painted - this was so I could make the cab roof removable. I also followed Dave's steps with the smokebox saddle, although mine isn't as nice as his, I chose to take the difficult route and solder the riveted saddle plate to the scratchbuilt lower half, instead of the smokebox. it doesn't extend as far back as it should, but the sand box will hide that. I may still just cut the saddle down a touch instead.


    Overall I'm a little disheartened with how it's turned out, as I tried really hard to go slowly and try to get everything to match up, but keeping it square has been so difficult. Having said that, paint will hide a multitude of sins, and it will certainly look like a Z. annoyingly the crossheads were missing from the kit, so now I need to go through the process of getting some replacements. Plenty more to be getting on with in the mean time, everything needs a really good clean.


    Finally, here's a gratuitous photo of 377S, and 1557.



  3. Southern signals
    Semaphore Signals - 4mm Scale (Mainly)

    Hi Mike,


    It's all to do with ensuring the servo and the signal are in a position from which adjustments can be made.

    The maximum throw of the servo is very large compared to the amount of throw required to operate the signal.

    The servo has some fine movements at the end of each opertion.

    Starting from Danger, the movement is slow, with a pause for the signaller to adjust their grip.

    When the Clear prosition is reached, the servo travels a tiny amount beyond the end point and then sets back to simulate the signaller releasing their pull on the lever.

    To return to Danger, the servo first moves the tiny amount of "overpull" before returning to Danger quite quickly. This simulates the signaller pulling the lever to ease releasing the catch.

    When the signal reaches Danger, there is a small amount of Bounce built into the software. Some don't like it, but the majority do.

    The "Bounce" and "Pause" feature is switchable in the GF Controller.

    If the servo travels to the end of its throw, these fine movements are (or can be) lost.

    In order to protect the signal from excessive movement which can be quite damaging, the "Safe" or Mid-throw position is selectable in the GF Controller and I recommend it is used whenever the signal is removed from the layout.

    The software also minimises any "Twitch" at power up, which can be a problem with some controllers.


    Hope this makes everything clear?




  4. Led spec
    3v transformer
    1 hour ago, MOH said:



    Just took possession of lots of single leds plus street lamps and platform lamps to try and illuminate areas of my layout, for which i believe I can use nothing higher than 3 volt transformer/s.


    Question is which type of transformer and how many do I need?


    Is there a ratio or limit to how many leds one transformer will power, will using more than the prescribed amount of leds per transformer result in their being dimmed somewhat, which may not be a bad thing for house lighting for example.


    As you can see electrics is very far from my strong point so any info in a dumbed down mode would be really appreciated, thanks.



    Keeping it "dumb",  then ignore the post by Paul on the Buck Converter.  

    If you use a DC power supply, then you can ignore reverse voltages stuff.  



    1 - your LEDs need a resistor, one per light.   Calculator suggested by trevora is OK,  or,

    if you have a 12v supply, you could start with 2kOhm (2000 ohm) and drop to 1kOhm if that's too dim. 

    if you have a 5v supply, start with 470ohm, and drop to 220ohm if too dim. 

    In both cases, increase the values if too bright.


    2 - power supply.  Go with something DC, between 5v (common) and 12v (common).   A simple "wall brick" will do, such as an old phone charger or similar - read the voltage off its case, 5v is very common for chargers.  


    3 - how many per power supply ?   A typical LED is maximum 20mA =  0.020A  .    So, a 500mA power supply would be theoretically able to run 25 at full brightness, or a 1A power supply could run 50 at full brightness.  In practise, add a bit of "headroom", so 40 on a 1A supply.   If running at lower brightness, then you can run more. 




    - Nigel

  5. Crossing flangeway gaps
    A beginner's 00-SF, and the ends of wing and check rails

    Hi Richard,


    Lima (and even Wrenn and Hornby Dublo).


    00-SF is suitable only for modern RTR models having RP25/110 wheels set to 14.4mm back-to-back, and finer kit wheels.


    It's not suitable for older RTR models with coarser wheels.


    00-SF is a variant of EM, it's not an alternative to 00 train-set standards. Stick to 00-BF or Peco for those.


    You don't need a graph. :)


    For both 00-SF and 00-BF the check gauge is always 15.2mm.


    For 00-SF the crossing flangeway gap is always 1.0mm.


    For 00-BF the crossing flangeway gap is always 1.3mm.


    The check rail gap is the difference between the check gauge (15.2mm) and the track gauge. Below about 30" radius the track gauge progressively increases from 16.2mm to 16.5mm at say 20" radius, so the check rail gap increases progressively by the same amount from 1.0mm to 1.3mm.


    If you want to calculate it for radius R inches, I suggest using this:  Track gauge  =   16.2  + ( 30/R - 1 ) * 0.6 mm  (not valid outside the range R = 20" to 30" )


    Here are some results from that:


    Radius inches     Track gauge mm     Check rail gap mm


         30              16.20             1.00

         28              16.24             1.04

         26              16.29             1.09

         24              16.35             1.15 

         22              16.42             1.22

         20              16.50             1.30


    For long wheelbase vehicles, you may want more widening, say below 42" radius:  Track gauge  =   16.2  + ( 42/R - 1 ) * 0.3 mm  (not valid outside the range R = 21" to 42" )


    Here are some results from that:


    Radius inches     Track gauge mm     Check rail gap mm


         42              16.20             1.00

         39              16.22             1.02

         36              16.25             1.05   

         33              16.28             1.08

         30              16.32             1.12

         27              16.37             1.17

         24              16.43             1.23 

         21              16.50             1.30



    These tables illustrate why the multi-slot roller gauges which the trade love are so useless, as they don't allow any variation in the check rail gap. A proper set of gauge tools has separate check gauges and track gauges, as those for 00-SF available from C&L. 


    I hesitate to post these notes again below for the 97th time on RMweb, but here we go: smile.gif


    A is the check gauge. It is the most critical dimension in pointwork. If this dimension is too small, wheels running from left to right can hit the nose of the vee and very likely derail, or at least bump. If this dimension is too large, the wheel backs will bind or jam on the check rail. To make sure it's correct, the check rail is set using check gauge tools. For 00-SF and 00-BF this dimension should be 15.2mm. You can use the same check gauge tools for both these standards (they are both running the same wheels).

    B is the crossing flangeway gap. It's also important. If this dimension is too small, the wheel backs will bind or jam on the wing rail. If this dimension is too large, the gap in front of the nose of the vee will be too wide, and the wheels may drop into it with a bump. This gap is set using a small piece of metal shim called a crossing flangeway gauge shim. For 00-SF it should be 1.0mm thick. For 00-BF it should be 1.3mm thick.

    C is the track gauge. It shouldn't be less than the specified dimension, but it can be wider. It is often widened on sharply curved track to ease the running of long-wheelbase vehicles. The track gauge is normally set using roller gauge tools, or alternatively using a 3-point gauge tool, which automatically widens the track gauge on sharp curves. For 00-SF this dimension shouldn't be less than 16.2mm. For 00-BF it is normally 16.5mm.

    D is the check rail gap. The width of this gap doesn't matter a damn, providing it is wider than the wheel flanges. It's whatever you end up with after setting A and C correctly. But where the check rail is combined with a wing rail in complex formations (i.e. in parallel-wing V-crossings) it must be the same as B.




  6. Setting signal servos
    Semaphore Signals - 4mm Scale (Mainly)

    Continuing with the Servo motor...


    How is the operating wire to be connected to the servo motor?


    A piece of 1/16 brass tube, bent to a right angle and soldered to the operating wire will locate in the servo's "Horn" (the crank which moves in an arc as the servo is driven by its controller)


    To facilitate soldering to the operating wire (which has already been sleeved up to 1/32in dia to run smoothly in its guide tube), this tube is filed part way through:





    The Horn is also prepared to accept the brass tube:





    The tube is cut to length and placed in a suitable position so the distance below the baseboard can be measuredmeasured:



    This gives the position for the servo motor's shaft below the baseboard.

    The servo motor's support is cut to the correct length, and its base enhanced with a piece of wooden beading.



    The servo motor must now be set to its "mid-throw" position, before the Horn can be fitted.

    The GF Controller I'm using has a "Safe" facility to do this:




    Connect the servo to the controller, set the Safe switch ON, and the job's done.


    The controller will hold the servo in this position, or return to it accurately at any time the "Safe" switch is ON.


    The Horn is now located on its splined shaft, in as near a horizontal position as possible, and the servo board glued in place so that the operating wire lines up with its brass tube and the horn etc.



    With the servo motor in "Mid Throw" or "Safe", the signal arm and balance weight can be set to a similar mid-position:





    The operating wire will have moved inside the 1/16in brass tube to its correct position, ready to be soldered:



    A drop of liquid flux, a little solder on a hot iron, a quick touch and its all secure:



    Move the Controller out of "Safe" mode, and with a control switch connected, its takes but a few seconds to set the signal up in its Danger and Clear positions:






    Next to add the lower arm and get it to work in a proper "Co-acting" manner.....



  7. Home made controller
    Home brew handheld controller (DC)


    Since I rewired my layout I have provided for two controllers to be used.

    Once the extension is built the fiddle yard will be up to 8ft away from the main operating position. To make operations easier I have introduced "cab control" where a train leaving the fiddle yard is under the control of the "main" operators controller.

    A train travelling to the fiddle yard will be under the control of the fiddle yard operators hand held controller.

    switching from one controller to the other is done manually by a switch on the main panel.

    This of course requires two controllers. As I only have one (a Gaugemaster hand held) I decided to build another.

    This brings me on to the main topic of this bog entry.

    Circuit diagram


    The circuit of my home brew controller is shown below.


    It's a very simple design using only a few components but, the control of locos from this controller is stunning.

    Because it is a closed loop controller using the back EMF of the motor as feedback the slow start and smooth running beats a lot of ready to use designs.

    Note that there is NO smoothing capacitor, this is because the voltage needs to fall though the 0v point for the back EMF voltage to be measured. If a smoothing capacitor was fitted the controller would still work but, slow starts and smooth slow running would be impossible.


    I take no credit for this circuit as it is quite a common type of control for small DC motors.




    The controller (less transformer of course) is built into a small plastic box.

    The method of construction though needs some explanation.


    Instead of using a printed circuit or strip board I have used my "Ugly bug" technique using "islands" of PCB material with the components surface mounted on them.

    the picture below shows what I mean.


    I did however use a small piece of strip board for the rectifier diodes (seen on right hand side of box).


    I find this method of construction very simple to do when just a few components are involved and this method lends itself to prototype development, allowing quick component changes when developing new ideas.


    Here's a close up of the main assembly


    And finally a picture of the finished and tested controller along side my Gaugemaster unit.


    If anyone is interested in building one and needs more info ,I'll be happy to help.


    Cheers for now


  8. Signal servo mountings
    Leeds City, the Midland Side, in 4mm.

    The signal building continues:-







  9. Good idea for mounting servos
    Leeds City, the Midland Side, in 4mm.



    Corner board of FY now complete and tested, just a bit of capping to cut and fit. This means that the NFY is now all complete apart from a few tweeks  so next I shall be well and truly up the junction!!


    Note the stop blocks, hopefully these will prevent certain drivers ending up in the dirt!!

  10. Storage units supporting the layout
    Leeds City, the Midland Side, in 4mm.

    The wood butchery continues apace with the storage units that will support the north fiddle yard. 




    Lighting has obviously been completed and the floor sealed, also outside work now complete except for a bit of guttering.

  11. Sticking tracks down
    Leeds City, the Midland Side, in 4mm.


    Could you explain the procedure and about the underlay please?



    The underlay I am using is the same as I used on Bradfield, 2mm thick polyfoam that is used for insulating laminate flooring. Once the board has been cut to the final shape and size, it is attached to the adjacent board and the joint finished by applying a 20mm wide strip of plasticard on each board along the joint to form a solid and straight edge. Two pieces of 1mm (40th) plasticard are used to match the height of the polyfoam, the first strip is stuck to the ply board with Evo stick and when dry the second layer is bonded to the first with solvent. This is left overnight to dry thoroughly and can then be sanded to remove any slight difference in height between boards. The polyfoam is then cut slightly oversize and stuck down with carpet adhesive, bought from DIY stores in 2.5kg tubs for about 7-8 quid. The adhesive is spread all over the ply top and then the foam positioned and pushed down with the aid of a decorators paint roller to get all the air out. When dry, the edges are trimmed off. The polyfoam is white and can be marked in biro or permanent fine felt tip pens, I use the latter sold as CD marker pens, £1 in the shop of the same name. I draw 150mm squares so that the track plan can be transferred from the Templot drawing which also has a grid of 150mm squares. The same adhesive is used to glue the trackwork down because it is a rubbery type of solution and does not set hard thereby aiding insulation and providing a certain amount of springing to the track.


    Hope this answers your query, if not please ask again.  Regards John E.

  12. Wiring link section
    Wiring a handover or link section

    If you are happy with common rail return then this should work

    Both controllers must be fed from different power supplies

    In practice if you cant control the link section then throw the switch at your end

    Like 2 way switching ( Staircase lights) the position of the switch has no relationship to the light being on (In Oz Switch down = light on)






  13. Plastic viaduct
    Manchester Central, CLC & GN Warehouses & Castlefield Viaducts

    Completed the second link section of ties and windbracing yesterday, then started on linking the south end gable/transom, and disaster


    Eleven of the seventeen transverse tie beams which should link to the gable/transom shattered as the solvent was brushed on the joint to the gable span - the gable span remains unaffected. This does happen very occasionally with new styrene strip, but never before on older styrene. This means that another eleven tie beams need to be made to replace the damaged ones - don't want to risk doing a repair job


    Took time out, before tackling the replacement transverse tie beams, to produce a mock-up of the roof cladding and glazing. The glazed sections occupy just over 55% of the roof cover. The strip lighting in the railway room is fortunately directly over the centre of the roof. Visibility under the roof cladding, etc. is very good, enabling all the roof structure detail to be viewed easily from below (platform level), and with clear (not frosted/weathered) glazing also allowing good views of the platforms, etc. from above - much better than the prototype ever was


    Now have the design of the cladding and glazing to detail, and work up a construction method - timber planking with bitumen felt cover (never worried about the fire risk)


    Have also been testing one of my laptops with 6 webcams attached, just to prove that good views of the platforms/track/concourse, etc. will be possible from within

  14. Baseboards
    Wentworth Junction

    One board at a time brought into the workshop for wiring at the weekend.




    These boards are a bit big and Judith's kit stuff occupies some of the big bench.




    Some work on the top first, the new Peco rail joiners are amazingly good - not only are they suitably short and actually look like fishplates but they grip the rail very well. I won't rely on them for electrical conductivity though, all joints have been wired round now (this wire will be buried in the ballast). The V marked on the board shows where a gap has been cut in one rail for a section break, I usually try to arrange these in pcb sleepering but sometimes this is unavoidable. However it is necessary to prevent the rails from sliding in the chairs and closing the gap, here I'm trying out a small fillet of epoxy (Super Steel) in the gap.




    The board stood up on its side to do the wiring, some labelling done as well.




    The deep baseboard edge on one side makes this quite stable, usually I have to use a G cramp to secure boards like this.




    While the board was out it seemed a good idea to do most of the work for the ashpit, lining the sides of the cutout with brick plastikard. Sleeper ends will be trimmed a bit later.




    View of the ashpit from underneath.




    The next board with the wiring more or less complete, two plugs at the top connect to the control panel which is attached to this board. Back out in the shed next job will be to plug it in and see if it all works...



  15. Wiring double junction
    How do I wire a Double Junction?



    I am sure many people have done this but I can't find it documented anywhere. I am sure I could work it out but it may not be the neatest solution(!)


    The Up and Down lines are non DCC with seperate control (common rtn - which is the upper rail on both tracks). Turnout control will be with Tortoises which give switching of the crossing (frog) with one set of terminals and another set of spare switches. Additional microswitches can be added. I am quite happy with all the isolation of the rails by cutting the copperclad so no need to worry about this.


    For those interested it is 18.83 gauge and the tightest radius 51" on the main (lower) tracks, the branch going off is slightly tighter.


    As always thanks for help in advance

    Cheers Tony


  16. Make double junction in templot
    00 Double Junction Using Code 75 rail

    Now I am looking to possibly make a proper fully curved junction.


    What are the possibilities? C+L?, Marcway? any others?


    Hi Keith,


    This video shows how to create the template in Templot:




    Click the playback button each time the video pauses in the above MP4 version.


    For better image quality, in Templot go to help > watch a video > Scruff Video curviform double junction menu item.





  17. Good news from Riverside
    Good news from Riverside

    We have been busy in Exeter Riverside Yard over the last few weeks, with a near-continuous blockade of the yard, to effect a considerable number of track renewals to many of the points there. Now that NR has charge of most of the yard, we have started a programme of improvement works, that have seen much (but not yet all) of the foliage removed and much track fettling done.


    Most of the point components are brand new bullhead parts supplied to our specific order, to fit the track geometry of the site.


    Exeter St Davids station end:















    Cowley Bridge Jct end:















    The 'ladder' at the Cowley end, looking towards St Davids station:





    Looking in the Up direction towards Cowley Bridge Jct:







    Work fettling the plain line in one of the sidings:







    Tools of the trade (basic!):





    Tool of the trade (a bit more modern):







    More views:











    I would add that all photos were taken under safe working conditions and with appropriate permissions during the course of a work-related visit.

  18. Timber and Sleeper Sizes
    Timber and Sleeper Sizes

    As some of you may well know, I started a topic to share a large number of images of permanent way drawings. Since I am currently experimenting with building track in EM gauge before I start on the trackwork for the new layout, the drawings have been very useful. One thing that seems to be a fairyly common query on the forum is sleeper spacing and sometimes, the dimensions of these sleepers.


    Having just finished the process of scanning these drawings, there was something that stuck out as being different to what had been explained to me on the forum.


    On S&C, 12x6 timbers are used and this is shown throughout these drawings, on the whole of the turnout/crossing. It was mentioned to me that the timber supporting the nose of the crossing should be 14x6. The drawings I have actually show 12x6 throughout. Was this timber changed to a 12x6 in nationalisation or is there another explanation? Also could someone please enlighten me as to what the use of a 10x6 timber was and the period of its use?


    As for plain track, 8' 6" sleepers were/are standard and 9' 0" sleepers were those used previously?


    All of the drawings I have are copies of the originals from the British Rail Drawing Office dated around 1948-1960.



    This drawing clarifies my query. (It's best to open it as it will be much larger and show the detail).


  19. Attention 00-SF track builders
    Attention 00-SF track builders

    So if C&L did offer the 00-SF option there'd be no reason why I couldn't build to that standard and run fairly modern European RTR H0 stock on it?


    Hi David,


    I'm not sure what you are asking? Modern H0 and 00 RTR models are all built in the far east to the same NMRA wheel standard (RP25/110 wheels at 14.4mm back-to-back). Subject to their quality control maintaining those dimensions, they all run fine on 00-SF, as it stands. C&L don't need to do anything.


    If you mean 16.2mm flexi-track, H0 modellers tend to use tight train-set curves, so gauge-widened 16.5mm flexi would still be needed for that.





  20. Point building
    Handbuilt Track

    EASY FROGS - any angle, no tears.

    I was asked the other day which jig(s) I used to file up my crossing noses so accurately. Well I know the mention of jigs and the like for such operations usually produces much wailing and gnashing of teeth so I quickly admitted to not using any. I explained how I did do it to my correspondent and then thought I may as well share my method here with you. I don't always use this method but it has served me well over many years. Regards, Brian.








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