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John Geeee

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    Widnes, Ex Black Country

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  1. Just catching up with this, Only found out from a magazine last week that Hattons had moved, was my emergency sunday run out whenever I needed some thing on the spur of the moment. Good luck with getting to it on foot from the route pictured in Martins thread, it goes through the middle of the Police dog training centre, WOOF! WOOF! I only live up the road from there. For the past year living in Ditton feels like you are baricaded in with all the roadworks for the new bridge. Trying to get through Widnes from Ditton is a right pain and will be for the next year or so until the join to the new bridge is finished. Good news is the new Hattons is now only 2 minutes away for me, bad news is my wallet could be getting slimmer. But definately for info, no public transport stops near it even though there is a limited stop express bus route from Runcorn to Liverpool that goes up the main expressway it does not stop at the island junction. Update 28/2/2016 - had a reccy today and definately no way through. The dog training centre has taken up all the land and the road through is not there anymore. Went over to Hattons in the car and no way through from that end either , everything at the end of the road on the industrial estate is all fenced off. There is also another new road from the industrial estate that crosses the railway mainline that looks like it will come out onto the road that leads into Halebank but this is not open yet either. View from the main road, everything on the right side of the fence is the dog centre: What replaces the 3 concrete blocks in Martins picture, to the left of this are the gates to the network rail yard which has no access.
  2. I was also disappointed when I bought the new sound fitted class 20 a few weeks ago and found it had no lights whatsoever. I took up an offer of service by a local shop to me, Sawyer Models in Newton Le Willows, to have their DCC expert fit lights and when I visited the shop witnessed one operating with new blown sound profiles also. So I went for it. Cost extra money but it now has full working forward and reversing lights and a cab light which operates from a function which plays the cab door shutting and then the cablight goes on or off. I thought the reblow of the sound set was also better than the Bachmann version and they also relocated the speaker slightly to give a better sound output. Only my opinion on the improvements as I am not an expert in the authentic sound department, but there you go if you want another option? Cheers John Geeee
  3. I got my copy in the post today and just did my usual scan through and read, with interest and thought, the Industry Opinion article at the back. Is it any wonder that outside of magazines the big suppliers do not overpromote our hobby when the state of the real world thing is treated with ridicule at every opportunity. Poor rail operations, overcrowded commuter trains, unable to cope with the british winter, maintenance schedules that correspond with public holidays, overpriced journeys if you want to really get somewhere, you can fly across Europe with accomodation included for half the price than you can catch a train from north to south at certain times. Not always the most socially friendly or considerate environments to travel in nowadays. Maybe when the real thing takes a good look at itself and gets some pride and reputation back then the producers of the miniature world will be brave enough to hold their head up without fear of having to be associated with its bigger brother and suffer the same level of disinterest from the non-modelling public.? Lets face it people like models of any kind because they feel a bond with the real thing. How many people are there in the UK that can honestly say they love our current railways? The majority of railway modellers do it for the nostalgic aspect they don't want to model the problems above, sad I know. Anyway great magazine Cheers John Geeeee
  4. Can you ban wives Mine always want to tag along but gets bored after two and a half hours and after the third trip round the halls she drags me out to feed her "somewhere nice", I told her where the sweetie stall was and after I had treated her to a magnifier craft lamp for her card making as well!! I would have been happy to stay there all day. I thought the quality and mix in terms of scale , size, etc of layouts was the best I had seen at any show for a long time.and worth the entrance fee. I am surprised the free child admission still didn't seem to attract many younger entrees, but maybe I just didn't notice them, so is it a benefit compared to a minimal fee for children and a reduced fee for adults? I guess it is a fine balance? A good selection of traders but I thought the box shifters all seem to sell the same thing at the same price so whats the point of having so many, having said that I did get my sound fitted Class 20 for £10 less than I saw it on two other stands. The guidebook is good quality but agree I would like more layout plans if possible.
  5. I went on sunday and enjoyed the show. All quality layouts. Spent too much, bought a Bachmann Class 20 with sound, but disappointed when I got home to find you spend that much on a diesel loco and it has no lights!!. Sound on layouts is obviously growing more common, I think it adds to the atmosphere, in fact i found the constant ding ding of signalling bells on one of the layouts more annoying, but it was a busy layout with lots of movements. Plenty of space to move around, didn't seem as many visitors as previous years, but glad to hear that the number of visitors was on the up. Here are some of my pics, lots of pics taken so trying to show some different ones to above: Cheers John Geeeee
  6. The OO Garden Shed By John Geeeee It has been about 18 months since I last posted a blog update on here. I have mainly been playing with sound decoders and growing my sound fitted loco collection. I picked up a Bachman stone signal box the other week which was at a sale price in my local model shop. It came in a blue/green colour scheme (Scottish??) so I have repainted it to fit more in with my loose LMS type theme. I am now putting together a Ratio white metal signal box interior kit to install in it. Here is the source of all my DCC frustrations of late! Don't get me wrong, it's a great controller, probably the best, but trying to program decoders when you do not know what the terminology means is a nightmare. I have recently got a new SLR that has a video function in it so thought I would try some quick DCC sound demos of my fleet. The first is a Bachmann sound fitted 55022 that I bought from someone on this site. The video shows that in reverse it only has a single slow speed? When moving forwards it moves off straight away before the engine sound has had time to ramp up? Can I figure out how to change this, can I hell! I am not sure why the picture links show up as small but Click and Watch and you should see the full size versions: The next two are a new Bachmann class 55 and a Dapol Western that I have fitted sound chips to. Everything hunky dory and fun. The last one is my only (and probbaly my last!!) sound fitted steam to a Bachman 5MT. A loco that ran perfectly well under DC, stick a Sound decoder in it and it wants to sit and admire in silence every point it crosses!! I have cleaned and proded and cleaned and proded....... nothing makes it any better. It has an MX646R Zimo decoder in it and it was suggested that a stay alive capacitor could not be fitted to it, but I honestly can't see how it will work without one. Once it is running at pace it can skip over points quite effortlessly, try crawiling around a yard and my index finger gets blisters from pushing! I also recently bought a Digitrax PR3 decoder programmer to help me with easier programming by connecting it up with DecoderPro software. It lasted all of 30 minutes at which time I innocently connect it to my program track at the same time as my ECoS 50200 was connected to it. I assumed the PR3 would just read the decoder whilst the ECoS would test out the changes. I pay my attention to my laptop and behind my back the PR3 is now smoking and melting away!! Hopefully it is now on its way back to Digitrax for repair under their "I am an idiot" accidental damage warranty. So the world of DCC is certainly more exciting. Is it simple? There are people who baulk at the thought of wiring up a DC layout, believe me it was a piece of p**s compared to getting a DCC sound loco running how you want it to Cheers John Geeeeee
  7. Hi All Thanks for the comments, As I get more into DCC and particularly sound I get worried about doing a decoder reset because some of the instructions I have from the people I buy the decoders from say don't do the reset as it may wreck all the sound files?? I am learning all the time about the finnicky little traits of DCC. I spent a couple of hours the other day trying to get a Class 55 working with a new sound chip and could not get any sound out of it. My ECoS recognised the chip but when it came to changing and uploading any configuration they had no effect. It wasn't until I gave the wheels another good going over with track cleaner fluid that everything suddenly started to work yet the loco had been running ok 2 hours earlier with a non-sound decoder in it! So the lesson from now on is clean the bloody wheels before fitting sound chips even if the loco seems to be working before changing the decoder. Now I am trying to work out how to set the cab lighting up in the diesel loco as they now seem to have a mind of their own as to which end wants to come on? Tried seetting up the 55 and cab lights didnt work. Found the function button to turn them on and both ends lit up, Fiddled about abit in the configs and now only the same one cab lights whether it moves forwards or backwards! DOH!
  8. It ran on DC with a blanking plate fitted. I didn't try the decoder in another loco once I got it working on the main part of the layout as I didnt want to mess around getting the speaker out of the tender which would have meant unsoldering the wires to get them out. I also noticed that running on DC it seemed to run at a faster speed. WIth the zimo fitted the speed seems limited, is that to match the maximum sound beat that is possible from the decoder, not that I mind?
  9. After a few months of picking it up, putting it down, shall I rip it out and get it reblown, shall I buy another Black 5, I gave it one last go this weekend. I bought a capacitor and a resister to try and see if stay alive addition would work but when I saw how small the sodering area was on the chip I thought sod that that is one easy way to mess up the decoder. I took the decoder out and ran it on piece of DC wird track and it ran perfectly. I put a normal non sound decoder in and it ran perfectly. I put the Zimo MX646R back in and it ran like a stuttering drunk . I took the bottom pick up plate off and gave all the wheels a damn good clean and it was still useless. I looked at the wheel pickups and they all seemed to be touching thewhaeel backs so I made one last attempt and I bent all the pickups out a bit more and refitted the pickup base and there was a bit more force in the pickup contact on the backs of the wheels. In the past I have been reluctant to bend the thin pickup metal becasue I have broken them before on other locos.So I put it back on the layout and it worked . It ran around my continuous loop with no stuttering and continuous sound. I Ran it into my shed area and it struggled over the insulfrog points to all the siding tracks but it was a lot betterthan previous efforts. So I have come to the conclusion that sound decoders are very sensitive to pick up. I have added more power feeds to the shed area and all the sidings and there seems to be good continuity between every piece of track but it does not seem good enough for sound although I have two other diesel locos with sound that work fine but I guess they just have a bigger area of pickup with two bogies to collect it from. So the next questions. Is it the loco only having a short over length of pickup over the six driving wheels that is the issue, or is the power feed not strong enough from the 50200 ECoS controller for my layout even though there was only the 5MT operating at the time. Would a booster help or are these only for creating sectional layouts in DCC and not for giving more power to the layout generally? One other query, is it normal for the layout to have a low humming noise when the DCC controller is turned on. I guess it is some of the locos buzzing even though they are not moving. There are about 20 locos on the layout all together and the humming can be a bit annoying when nothing is moving. Is it a bad sign of something wrong?
  10. Hi I have added a Zimo sound decoder to a Bachmann 5MT. When I first installed it it operated ok on the rolling road on my test track, so I finished putting the loco back together and put it on my layout and the running was terrible sound would be ok on startup but as soon as it was asked to move it would stop every inch and the sound would stop and it would need a push to come back to life. I hadn't long changed my layout to DCC and had added some extra power feeds here and there and added extra feeds whenever a poor performing piece of track was found. The black 5 was struggling around my yard area so I added more feeds to each siding track and tested each track join to make sure I had a good electrical connectivity with a multi meter. I cleaned all the track but still the Black 5 stuttered. So I left it alone for a couple of weeks and today revisited it. I took all the underside of the loco apart and cleaned all the pickups and wheels and gave it a bit of oil to keep everything as smooth as possible. Put it on the rolling road and it ran perfect with sound for 30 minutes or more. So, put it back on the layout and its still rubbish, the sound comes on but when it moves every inch or so it stops dead. Clean the track and no improvement, try any other loco on the same layout areas and no problem even my only other sound loco which is LMS 10000 diesel. I am getting a bit fed up with it now so locked the shed up for the night. I know there is probably a lot of things I havn't said about the track etc but does anyone have any other tips. I don't understand how one loco can struggle when most of the others are fine. What can I do to make it better? If the loco runs ok on the rolling road then is the fault all in the layout? The loco ran ok when it had a non sound chip in it as far as I can remember. Can anyone offer any comments please? Cheers John Geeeee
  11. I am always hunting for books on Industrial uses of locos that show more of the loco in the factory surroundings carrying out its daily job, but I am yet to find any. Every book I see so far on industrial locos is always about the loco themselves with corresponding close up pics of the locos. I want to see the industrial site itself in which the locos are working, more buildings, pipes, storage tanks, cranes, docks, .What are the locos and wagons interacting with, why are they there? Less books with pictures of a freight train rumbling through the pretty countryside, more dirty steel works, breweries, dock yards, chemical plants, etc...
  12. Hi Phil, thanks for the feedback. I didn't think it would be that critical, I was hoping it would be a simple yes or no answer. I just had not seen it mentioned anywhere. The motors are all the everyday Hornby solenoid point motors with a guagemaster CDU. The DCC power supply is a ECoS 50200. I don't have an accessory decoder yet. With more than 30 points on my layout I was thinking I could save a few pounds on accessory decoders by treating crossovers as one rather than two if I decide to go for the ability to set routes, otherwise I will stay with the seperate non DCC control panel that I currently use and dismiss the route setting possibilities for a while.
  13. When setting up DCC accessory decoders to operate solenoid point motors can I connect more than one solenoid to a single conection. I am thinking about a crossover between two tracks where two points will have to be switched so that I can reduce the number of accessory decoders needed. Do the DCC accessories have enough kick for two points at once from the single connection? I do this now with manual micro switches. Cheers John Geeee
  14. Sound decoder installed into 10000 and it works. 5 locos now with decoder fitted. Ready to get started on the connection of ECoS to the layout this weekend and then go and get some more decoders.
  15. With the ECoS I bought 5 Digitrax DN136PS decoders and 1 Zimo MX644D sound decoder loaded with sound suitable to put in my new Bachmann 10000. So far it took me best part of 10 hours yesterday to fit and fiddle with 4 DCC Ready locos. So if thats the simple plug it in way then watchout when I have to modify non DCC ready ones, it will take me years! Programming was driving me round the bend trying to learn how to change address and speed settings etc. Havn't plucked up courage to tackle the 10000 yet and still need to sort out the connection to the layout. Otherwise very happy with a lot still to learn. Cheers John Geeeeee
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