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After showing some old stuff it is time to introduce my current project.

 

Donnersbachkogel.

 

Donnersbachkogel is an Austrian layout, located somewhere in the pre-alpine area. The old station building of Donnersbachkogel is also the terminus of a narrow gauge line which was in the past used to get minerals from a remote mine to the mainline. Today the mine is only running as a showmine and instead of minerals mainly tourists are transported up the line. At the station is also the connection to a single track electrified main-line. Not many trains stop there today, main traffic is on weekends to bring tourists to this attraction.

 

We are somewhere in the early 90th of the last century. Besides OBB stock also independent rail companies are starting to be visible in the business and some multi system engines are in use as it is not far to the neighbour countries Italy and Switzerland, which have either a completely different power system (Italy) or a different allowed profile (Switzerland) so that multisystem engines are convinient as one engine can cover it all.

 

The name Donnersbachkogel was chosen as it sounds pretty Austrian but it isn't an existing location. Donnersbach comes from a stream which thunders down a gorge and creates a thunder like noise, kogel means hill, which in Austria can also look like a proper mountain.

 

The idea is to use 4 modules for this layout, about 15' long and with a possibility to loop around at both ends to allow continuous operation. There will be a scenic break so that the return path which goes through some sidings will stay invisible.

 

Track for H0 is Peco finescale code 75, for H0e Peco  009. Small update : DCC from Lenz is used on both lines, controllers are LH100.  Changed to Z21 - a much more up to date system. The Lenz went into the box and was not taken out any more since I have the Z21. Decoders in the locomotives are mainly from Zimo.

 

I plan the use of megapoints controllers, it will be probably 4 boards (or even 5 - depending what gadgets I will build in...).

​The control will be done by a homemade mimic board using the mega points multipanel. This should reduce the wiring between layout and mimic board to a great total of 5 wires.... We will see if this works...

 

I started working on the modules in January 2016 - and I am not as far as I wanted to be.

 

Find below the track plan for the layout which has been created with the free software SCARM. I can recommend this software, even I can handle it... :mosking:

It contains libraries for all common European and some overseas track systems, Peco is completely covered and also flextrack can be used.

.24892298101_9446930d99_b.jpgprojekt12 by Gerhard Novak

 

Will be continued.

Edited by Vecchio
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After having a plan we need a baseboard. Having done this before I have an idea what I want. Living in Italy before spoiled me with poplar ply, which was cheap as chips and the standard plywood in the DIY shops. A much friendlier ply than what you get here and probably half the specific weight. So the idea was born to use poplar ply here as well. OK, but where to find it? If you need a dozen of sheets (sheet size 1200 x 2400mm...) you can have it tomorrow. But as I am not running a sheet wood trade I had to look somewhere else. And finally found it at SLEC - who is probably well known to someone who ever tried to make a model aeroplane.

 

Problem is they have only 6mm, 9mm would have been ideal. Means more cross braces to avoid bending. Here we go, one of the centre boards is under construction.

23830306369_8c55a0c382_b.jpgcross bars for stability by Gerhard Novak.

 

How to connect the boards? Here I go for my home made dowels, they fit as good as accurate I am working. Some may say it is an overkill to make these parts yourself, but as I have a lathe (since 1981...) I have to use it.

23569944164_02ce9c2c36.jpgproducing the dowels 1 by Gerhard Novak

and the holes to fix them to the baseboard sides.

24090076902_8e72544bd6.jpgdowels - rear flange with fixing holes by Gerhard Novak

baseboard sides drilled together to ensure the best fit.

24115523771_d00d1e4553.jpgdrilling baseboard sides by Gerhard Novak

and finally in position.

24115526771_82bc60d13a.jpgdowel male part by Gerhard Novak.

 

My old layout used a-frames as legs - also those are as cheap as chips in Italy. One wooden A-frame 4 Euro. (Checked last June when I was in holiday - unfortunately the suitcase was too small....)

This time I go for fold in legs. Look the bit, and are height adjustable.

23902511540_bdd69e3cd2.jpgcross brace by Gerhard Novak

 

I milled out the legs so the cross bars can fold away too. Also the middle boards have a temporary leg, so if I want to work in my shed it is not necessary to put all up.

Here the temporary leg in position.23571299763_a9995ae030.jpgthe provisional leg in position by Gerhard Novak

 

So far so good. In the meantime I made some bad experience. As elegant the legs are, once folded in they are in the way! On one of my middle modules I cannot position 2 of the point motor servos where they should be as the leg is in the way.... ok, we always learn...

 

And then came the late idea to make some sidings on the non-scenic part and I needed to extend the boards... Now the silly legs where in the wrong position again....

But one after the other. Here we see the 2 middle baseboards in position, connected with the usual adjustable spanner from wixroyd.

23849951529_bcaa02111a.jpgpart assembly by Gerhard Novak.

 

Will be continued.

 

.

Edited by Vecchio
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Now it is time thinking about some basic electric connections. OK, the layout will work with DCC, so we have only 2 wires... with is of course not correct. I will need DC power on all boards (2), the DCC track signal (2), the bus cable for the Megapoints system (3) so we are already at 7 wires. After that - every signal or point which is supplied from a controller which is not on the same board needs 3 wires (ok, here we can save a bit as 2 are supply and one is signal).

 

And from past experience I know that I always run out of cross board connections. So I invest in 37 pin D-sub connectors for all 4 boards. When I say invest - the actual investment is limited, they are cheap. As soldering wires to the connectors is a nightmare I need some solution which is more useful for old, long sighted men.

 

24139033509_953e046c18.jpgDSC02940

 

I use a strip of PCB where I solder the connection wires which go to the actual connector. This gives me much more space to solder more wires to a certain pole later.

 

24424426501_4fa1f1c605.jpgDSC02942

 

For some high current connections I use 2 pins - this gives me more security.

 

Now the jumper cables which later connect the boards are being produced.

 

23879986243_75db444b52.jpgDSC02973

 

All jumper cables are wired exactly equal, so I do not have to think which goes where. To be sure the wiring is correct I test every cable for continuity and insulation resistance. This may take a while but I want to be sure that my precious electronic boards will not die by wrong wiring.

 

24506785725_2932d75082.jpgDSC02974

 

Finally this is how the boards look like from below now, the DC supply and the DCC signal are already wired.

23879980283_4150dd2e34.jpg.

 

Now you have seen the first 3 month of work on the layout.

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Here you see the board with the Lenz power supply and Lenz control unit as well as the DC power unit (power for the megapoints controller) attached. A few holes show where the points are on the other side as well as a few wires for frog polarity

25700551806_0c0bff1dc3_z.jpgIMGP5345

 

 

Now it is time to look at the servo control. First I made a test board to play a bit with the system.

24661357119_1ed25b683b_z.jpgDSC03023

 

It does what it says on the tin. click on the picture to open the video. The noise in the background is the fan of the power supply.

25221949255_1038bae823_z.jpg20160223214706

 

So it is time to start industrial production... Those are the aluminium profiles to hold the servos.

25141547886_bed6023778_z.jpgDSC03030

 

On the other side of the board track is being laid. I lay everything on 3mm cork, coming from cork floor tiles. A lot of cutting and shaping but it keeps the hobby in budget.  I use the locomotive (in this case a DMU) with the longest wheelbase to understand where to cut the track. I am making a dead section next to the point, so that a train cannot produce a short circuit by going over a wrong set point.

24988209384_29f1b44a75_z.jpgIMGP5343

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Now this thread will slow down - as I am still laying track - now on the 3rd of 4 modules - and I am still wiring - which will take some time. But on the first module I am a bit further.

 

While servos are installed they need to be tested and the endpoints need to be set. To do so I need the controller fixed to the board. The controller will be of course below the board - so how on earth to do the setup?

 

But one after the other. I had an idea how to install the controller in an easy way which allows access to the connectors with only opening a few screws but otherwise keeps the controller and the connections safe and relatively dust free. I made a box with a small spruce frame and a 3mm poplar ply bottom - covered by transparent plastic. The size of the box depends on what's in it, in this case I have a 4 relay module next to the megapoints controller as I need to switch some light signals. Also it is advisable to leave enough room to stick on the switch panel for testing (as in the photo)

 

26430434274_bbd561e167_z.jpgDSC03183

 

The cuttings on the top are for the organisation of the flat cables which go to the servos. As there is a relay module it is necessary to pack also a voltage regulator in it as the internal voltage regulator on the megapoints controller is not powerful enough for the current peaks coming from the relay coils. The regulator is glued at the top left corner in the box.

26476493953_40b3cd4e0a_z.jpgDSC03187

 

When you need to configure the controller to communicate with the relay card be sure you have no problems with light flashes... the channel you are on at the moment is indicated by a number of light flashed by the red led (as there are 12 channels you may count up to 12 flashes to be sure you are at the right channel) and the number of flashes of the yellow led will indicate you the mode you have selected for the particular channel. When 2 leds are flashing next to each other it is for me almost impossible to count the number of flashes. So a work around is to cover the red led with something like black insulation tape when you have to count the flashes of the yellow one...

 

And now to the set-up. The end position of the servos has to be set by switches which are on the megapoints controller board which is now under the baseboard. Thanks god there are pins for remote switches. But such a little device is not on the webpage and Dave wrote it can be easily made by the user.

OK, the user made one. It works - but as you cannot see the leds of the megapoints controller which are happily flashing under the board you have to be sure which point you are on...

25201128935_f0aee83300_z.jpg20160222_215502

 

 .

 

 

.

Edited by Vecchio
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Now we have a controller - we need also a mimic board. OK, you can also do it with your DCC handset, but my brain capacity isn't good enough to memorize what point 14 is... so a mimic board it must be. I made some in the past, always analog. Easy job, many wires... the more wires the more failures...

But this time I have my famous Megapoints controller and as I purchased one of the complete start sets I have also a multi panel card.

So let's use this. First we need a plan. An engineer without a plan is lost....

First I tried to get the drawing for the mimic board direct out of SCARM, but I spent one evening or two just to come to the conclusion it would be better to re-draw it in my cheap drawing software SERIF draw plus 4 (I will not call it CAD, it's rather a drawing software). If you wonder why I made the crosses into all circles which indicate a switch or led position - this is to indicate the center when I cut out the foil and the photo paper later.

 

url=https://flic.kr/p/EiS2hA]25143697542_56904f003f_c.jpg[/url]mimic board draft

 

So now I have a plan, printed out on photo paper, and I will transfer it into a mimic board. to do so all future apertures need to be marked nicely to the ply- wood which will be below the print and - for all switches - also punched or cut through the thick plastic foil which will cover the mimic panel. I made myself a little tool to cut the necessary holes neatly into the foil and the photo paper, and at the same time create a center punch into the plywood.

 

25213748884_fda61c1ced_c.jpgDSC03139

 

Of course I need one tool per hole size, there are 2 different switches and the led's, so with 3 tools I cover everything.

 

Now you see an interim result - all holes for the switches are cut into photo and plastic foil, the plywood has all the center punch points to show me where to drill. The holes for the led's are still to be cut. The holes for the led's will be not cut trough the plastic foil - the light goes through the plastic foil anyway.

 

25737931616_648825687b_c.jpgIMGP5354 .

 

And here you see the ready made product.

 

25862777785_a68165a53c_c.jpgDSC03141

 

And yes, I made also the box... I like working with wood.

Until now the box is empty, will fill it a bit later.

 

 

 

.

Edited by Vecchio
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Now a little look inside the box.

25396100423_4fde275783_c.jpgDSC03146.

 

The large board is the mimic panel, the others are led extensions and a switch extension. The mimic panel can handle 24 channels, but unfortunately I have many more.. Also I need always one led extension as I like 2 led's per point - to show me how the point or the signal is set.

 

And this is the lid of the box. Switches and led's are in but need wiring.

25562103840_5b42db8daf_c.jpg..

Edited by Vecchio
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As there are quite a few connectors necessary to connect switches and led's to the board I decide to use numbers for the devices. first of all I try to goup all devices into groups - means 12 devices per Megapoints controller, with short as possible connection leads. As it looks there will be one controller under each board - except the outer board on the right - there is not much going on - so the controller will be under the middle board next to it.

 

First on the paper

27903193365_ca594ea286_c.jpg20160625_202501[1]

 

And then on the devices

27868211136_af0bf63db5_c.jpg20160625_203950[1]

 

And finally also on the connectors. Note that the led's are not yet done (except the first 6) now as I need to check each led while I go along.

 

27290802704_361c5c94f6_c.jpg20160625_202452

 

I had the mimic board running once so far, and it worked right from the beginning.

 

These were the first 6 month of my project in time lapse, I am currently working on the track of board number 3 and while doing that I also make the platforms of the station. Here my target is that the little Preiser men do not have to step very far- so I try to have gaps between platform and coach door step which are less than 2mm. This is still 174mm in real life, but manageable.

 

This is what it looked like 2 weeks ago - there have not been many changes since that...

 

Platform body will be formed from balsa wood, easy to work with and light. The sides will be covered with a laser card showing the Austrian concrete elements used for platforms and the top will see some Metcalfe cardboard slabs.

I try to check the distance to the platforms with different coaches of different manufacturers so I am sure not to scratch with a coach on the platform edge.

27940932104_8a9e23c870_c.jpg20160725_210742.

 

 

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And we have a little more progress. I glued the Metcalve slabs on my platform, making a small edge on either side. Is a bit of work but looks much better. Even the print is good and shows also a bit of weathering it still looks very "settrack" like and also the colour is much too dark. So What to do? I prepared a light wash from Humbrol no 2 and plain matt white. This gives the card some impregnation and also lightens the colour. I need the impregnation as otherwise I cannot use masking tape on the card. And masking tape I need as I want to paint the yellow warning stripes on. I use a gap between masking tapes of approximately 1.5mm. This represents a width of the strip in real life of 120mm.Here is a part of the platform with the masking tape in place.

29052401205_aa07c02da7.jpg.

 

The whole platform arrangement from above.

28975983841_a5e7760071_c.jpg..

 

I had to raise the H0e track by approx. 8mm to have the right level for the platform. To do this I use some balsa sheets

 

The gap is less than 1mm so I am a happy camper.

28765941880_07f4e30618_c.jpg..

 

 

And another picture as it is so nice..28975981361_bb79ff97e3_c.jpg..

 

The H0e track needs to be closer to the platform. Means I have to cut something off from the Balsa sheet. But I am already happy with the height.Level between carriage stairs and platform.

29019398086_15bb5098fd.jpg..

Edited by Vecchio
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Hi Vecchio,

 

Just spent about half an hour reading through your project and have found it to be extremely well put together and very informative.

 

I will look forward to your progress with this project and hope you're finding it satisfying and worth commencing.

 

Cheers

 

Grahame

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Thanks Grahame,

Always a pleasure if people like what I am doing. After fixing the platforms to the baseboard I will have a lot of fun doing the wiring - there will be 6 signals on these 2 boards- 2 of which are semaphore types. And more fun I will have as there are 2 H0e points where I have cross braces below - so my usual servo trick isn't working :no:

But this is the fun of the game!

Vecchio

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Speaking about signals and the OBB - for those who are interested there is a very good book - "Railway security systems in Austria - Volume 2 - Signals "of course written in German - about Signals in Austria, explaining also the history and showing all essential things - where to position, what are the meanings of the different pictures and so on.

 

28463781254_f2f6d2fa8a_z.jpgDSC03477

 

I am currently reading this book and just learned that the minimum distance between track center and signal pole is 220cm. this is approx 2.5cm in H0 - pretty close.

Edited by Vecchio
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As mentioned before I have problems with the positions of the H0e points - and I found out that also the 2 semaphore signals - which will be for the H0e part - are above the Lenz controller - I decided to make a radical change (would have been better to think properly in the first place, but we live and learn...)

The original situation:

27080247215_4eb57838f0_z.jpgDSC03185

 

This picture is of an earlier stage- not all points are wired but you can see the position of the power supplies, the Lenz controller and the Meagapoints controller.

Well - the 2 semaphores are exactly above the Lenz controller, the H0e point is above the Megapoints controller. 

 

So what I did is rip all out and move it to the other side.

 

29067611722_4a84ef070f_z.jpg20160822_223954

 

This is after the surgery - just a few connections have to be re-soldered. I left the megapoints contoller more or less were it was as otherwise I have to extend some of the servo cables. I just tilted it and get access to the H0e point. 

 

I hope the devices are in a more quiet zone now and I can think of wiring the signals. 

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4 signals are on - 2 are semaphore type and 2 are light signals. The semaphore types are kits from Viessmann, very cheap and I liked building them. (10€ per semaphore). The light signals are ready made from Krois modell, Austria. They make the complete OBB range and it is possible to ask for all kind of extras.  As the latter are on the platform of the station I also have a departure signal in it (this is for instance one of the extras...) . This is a second green lamp under the main green, which flashes when the train should depart. So we need a led flasher. Build one - 7 parts, probably 10£ for the parts. So I looked in to the internet and found this for 2.39£

28836380703_0249e3ba28_c.jpgLED_Flasher

 

Works well but it has a relay which makes it noisy. Packed them into foam strips, still noisy...

 

Signals are in position

29169638480_ecc25b9ef9_c.jpg20160904_204446

 

On this picture you see 2 green lights.

28833937004_cfddc7e879_z.jpg20160904_204932

 

The semaphores are nicely bouncing thanks to the megapoints controller. Wanted to make a video, but it was a) too dark in the shed, and b) my phone went on strike...

 

Now I need to be careful with the baseboard as the signals are somewhat exposed. I think I will put up the poles for the OHL system, this will protect them a bit.

But to do so I first need to make them...

 

OK, the material is there, this is a start.

29123336370_740e89875b_c.jpg20160902_171718

 

And now the thread on the ends to fix them to the baseboard. Standard mast M3, mast for cross span fields M4.

28787395634_9091c9895d_c.jpg20160902_174600

 

 

And a small addition - sawn and sanded conical

29350825322_1a4990913f_z.jpgmasts.​

Enough for today, a working week is starting...

.

Edited by Vecchio
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Just a sign of life - not much progress on Donnersbachkogel. Made another few poles- changed to milling as these are more precise than sanding.

 

29772619355_fb33c367f9_c.jpgDSC03567

 

Too much work - out the whole week and working half a day during the weekend doesn't help. And then there is also the entertainment side - went to the Epping Ongar Diesel festival and had a nice time there. Found a few rail built buffer stops there (normal peco type) for 1£ a piece. As I bought also a second hand class 08 shunter (British locomotive no 4 - I need to make a British layout one day) and a few more small items I got 2 of the buffer stops free.... :)

OK, they are not Austrian, but rail built buffer stops are used almost everywhere. What I will do is cut of the BR lantern and replace it with an Austrian version.

With a bit of weathering powder and solvent they look o.k.

 

29660146682_65dded3c54_c.jpgDSC03573.​

 

Next business trip tomorrow - another non productive week (from model point of view) is starting...

Edited by Vecchio
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Very neat work on the construction and with the attention to detail continuing on the masts I'm looking forward to the top developing :)

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Very neat work on the construction and with the attention to detail continuing on the masts I'm looking forward to the top developing :)

 

Well - made it before on my layout St. Georg - San Giorgio. This was a layout containing a border station where you also have the change between OHL systems.

 

Of course - as 10 years have passed I try to be better than the last time...

Material is all there - what I need is a handful of time...

Vecchio

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After 2 days in Paris and one in Southampton I am finally back at my workbench. Before I can put a pole together I need the insulators. They are not insulating as they are made of brass.

The first thing I can say that 10 years ago my eyesight was better... The stuff looks much smaller nowadays..

29213776714_954382b294_c.jpgDSC03575

 

I put a scalpel into the picture to show you the actual size.

 

Out of 0.7mm piano wire I form the cantilever bracket. this needs 2 pieces of wire - and one of the "insulators" is actually used as a support sleeve to solder the 2 steel wires together.

29841110055_7d5aa74897_c.jpgDSC03578

 

Where the wires are soldered together they are flattened by using a grinder.

 

Now already soldered: 29841118935_f337c83391_c.jpgDSC03580

The ends need to be tinned as otherwise it is impossible to solder the contact wire to the steel wire later

 

The pole is drilled with 0.9mm

 

29728005672_fd15ecb823_c.jpgDSC03582

 

Now the whole thing is soldered together and we have a functional and very stable OHL pole. Next time I will try to make it a bit more model like.

29214938623_a8dfdd4a38_c.jpgDSC03583.

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Time for the base. I cut it out of 3mm brass

29235495713_f19daf1667_c.jpgDSC03586

 

Now the squares

29826731416_1cf64dbcea_c.jpgDSC03587

 

And now drilled

29861859815_9a497a7f4f_c.jpgDSC03589

 

Now the base is soldered to the pole.

29861858375_50e5228c00_c.jpgDSC03591

 

Finally some cosmetic brass profiles are glued to the pole and a piece of round plastruct to represent the bolt.  

29235497003_bf0b96474e_c.jpgDSC03592

 

Time for the paint shop. The pole is either a greyish pink or cement grey. But this is a job for another day...

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Finally painted. I went for the pink-grey version - which is actually quite close to Humbrol 61 - flesh colour. The insulators should be a bit darker and also painted in gloss as the real ones are made from brown porcelain. The L profiles and the bracket are painted grey - as these are zinc coated which is rather dull grey when oxidised.

 

.29925738755_f742d865a6_b.jpg.

 

More important than the normal pole will be the tower poles, as they will be used at the station area. Unfortunately they are also more work - so it will take a few days...

Edited by Vecchio

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Small update: I started to prepare the tower poles and looked for positions (which wouldn't pierce anything electric or electronic under the board :D )

On this module it will be 3 cross span fields using tower poles, the rest is covered by standard poles.

29904841262_8c085d7ee3_b.jpg.

 

29390678674_dee4a2574d_b.jpg.

 

And the next time I will start with the wires...

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Fantastic work, I look forward to seeing continued updates, those overhead masts look superb.

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Thanks, unfortunately no progress this weekend. Shopping, gardening, social events, weekend gone... :sadclear: 

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This is going to be something special, the effort you are putting in is to be commended, the masts etc are a work of art.

well done and keep the updates coming.

Craig. (a fellow OBB modeller).

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No fear, will be continued :) 

Just had to play with my new 1040 today....

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