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St. Simon

Collingwood - A Privatisation Era Southern Region Layout

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Hi,

 

I've really got to stop designing the layout and get building... I've changed the signalling... again.

 

I have been doing some budgetary calculations and have been looking at how to reduce costs a little, One of the ways I can do that is look again at how I've signalled the yard.

 

My original design was this:

 

788967037_YardOld.JPG.e151870b9d402f48a83e2b68f46089ad.JPG

 

This arrangement was that the panel would control movements in and out of the yard (including a main aspect route from CD825 out of the yard), whilst a ground frame / ground switch panel would control movements in the yard independently of the panel using ordinary GPLs.

 

The reason for this was that I had originally thought there would not be enough room to fit my whole stone train rakes in the yard without putting the two yard points toe to toe, which mean no room for a track joint / signal between them.

 

However, now I can lay my 1:1 print out on the boards and measure not only the clearance points of the yard point and the true length of my stone trains, I realised that I have loads of room, so I can move the yard points back again and re-arrange the signalling.

 

So, now I will have this:

 

954782284_YardNew.JPG.61c2278022e2ccdabb9f9241af7f10fd.JPG

 

Yes, I will now have a 'Yellow' Shunt controlling all the moves in the yard.

 

This type of shunt allows, in this case, trains to pass it when 'ON' (showing 'Yellow-White') when 590 points are set to route into the headshunt. Now, these type of shunts are very rare on the real railway (I can only think of three, but I can't imagine there's more than a dozen left on the network), but they seem far too popular on models, so I am slightly against using it,

 

The better solution, which all the signalling engineers looking at this are probably shouting about, is to use a normal GPL, provide a second instead of the stop board and omit the opposing locking between them. However, there are a number of reasons that I haven't gone down this route:

 

  1. If this was real life, I've imagined that when the area was re-signalled with colour lights, it was done on a shoe string budget, which meant that the most simple of signalling arrangements for the yard were used, and that there hasn't been any reason for changing it since.
  2. On the model, adding a second shunt means additional costs and that there would be more outputs required than I planned / brought the equipment for.
  3. There would be slightly more interaction between the signaller and yard operator to set the routes within the yard, the yellow shunt arrangement would mean that the signaller only has to worry about moves in and out of the yard as originally designed.
  4. Currently, the interlocking data within JMRI has only been written with the single route in and a single route out of yard (as the moves in and out of the yard would be on a separate Arduino Interlocking). If I was to add the extra shunt signal and routes, it would mean more panel indications, more panel buttons as well as complex alterations to the interlocking data for 590 points and the push button ring on the panel. Using the Yellow shunt effectively means a small change in panel indications and a name change in some of the data (an easy change in JMRI as it turns out).

There has been some debate with my colleagues whether there would be a slot and TRTS on this arrangement, I think in real life if you want to get something out of the yard, it would all be done by telephone / radio. However, that would be excessive on a model, so by providing the slots on the entrance and exit signals, it makes all a little 'safer' and easier to operate at an exhibition, the same with the TRTS Plunger.

 

You have be asking yourself that if I wanted to save money, why have I added a Banner Repeater for CD813. Well, whilst I have, the actual signal will be lifted from Norwood Road, so it won't cost be anything and I had a spare output on the baseboard.

 

I've already have the changes to the interlocking and panel, and now the panel is in it's final state (for now:pleasantry:):

 

Collingwood_Panel_Final.jpeg.f83b1e3caf0827eb0c0dc6a3ca1420ae.jpeg

 

You'll notice the changes to the yard, as well as a few additions since the last time I showed the panel.

 

The main ones between the blocks of colour. The blue blocks around the signals are 'Engineer Possession Reminders' (EPR), these don't actually to anything to the interlocking or layout, they just act as a visual reminder to the signaller that there is a possession / line blockage etc beyond the signal and that they shouldn't set a route through it. The yellow blocks around the SPAD indications are 'SPAD Inhibit Indications' (SII) to tell the signaller than the SPAD indication inhibit plungers have been pressed by a driver to allow them to legitimately pass a signal at danger.

 

Obviously the TRTS Indications, SPAD Alarms, Restoration Reminders, EPRs and SIIs wouldn't be all seen on at the same time, this is just to show everything that the panel can show.

 

For those that are interested, here is the final scheme plan:

 

Scheme Plan v1.0.pdf

 

On the actual layout, I've been starting to wire stuff up. This may seem a bit odd when I haven't got any track, or anything else, on the layout, but as I have already designed where the track is going on the board, I already know roughly where the track feed, signals, lights etc, are going to be. Plus it is much easier to wire when I can safely sit it on it's top and work underneath when it is point upwards.

 

I'll have more photos when that is all completely, at which point I will then go on to Track Laying,

 

Simon

 

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Very nice.  Definitely no need for a main aspect on exit given it’s only c.180m to CD813.

I like the DS OFF too (now I have worked out what it is for!).

What are the blue “AWS” symbols in the bay and yard entrance?

Paul.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, 5BarVT said:

Very nice.  Definitely no need for a main aspect on exit given it’s only c.180m to CD813.

I like the DS OFF too (now I have worked out what it is for!).

What are the blue “AWS” symbols in the bay and yard entrance?

Paul.


Hi Paul,

 

Yes, I did that a main aspect out of yard may have been overkill!

 

Do you mean the OFF indicator by CD813? That’s for trains propelling into the yard as a long train would mean the loco sits around the corner so a driver couldn’t see CD814. However, as I type this I realise that I’ve moved CD813 out from the platform to accommodate long

stone trains, so the OFF indicators should be moved back towards the platform and made single sided. (So much for the ‘final’ scheme plan)


The Blue AWS magnets are actually uncoupling magnets just to give me an idea of operations. This was also a benefit in moving the yard points back, I can now fit an uncoupling magnet (I’m planning on use Rapido Railcrew Uncoupling magnets) between the point toes rather than use one on each yard road. I have passive provision for one in Platform, but I’m not sure if I need it (so a shunter can back something out onto the main line and uncouple, but I don’t think it’s going to work like that in reality). The bay one is for dividing units.

 

Regards,

 

Simon

Edited by St. Simon
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Hi Simon,

Yes, I meant CD814 1.

i did wonder if blue was uncoupling.

Paul.

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Hi Simon

 

Interesting concept, I like it, its got some real potential. And as someone, who used to use Fareham station on a daily basic, that's what I was drawn too. Only live down the road in Gosport.

 

Will follow with interest, keep up the good work.

 

Regards Jeff.

 

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Hi,

 

More progress to report, I have finished wiring up the first, station, board:

 

IMG_1156.JPG.3d32de4c00e77dbfe71e5a10fff7ff30.JPG

 

Well, when I say finished, I mean finished ready to connect up once I have laid track and fit signals etc.

 

As I already had a 1:1 design, I knew where all the feeds were roughly going to be (although I did change the positions to take into account more efficient routing of the cables), so I could run the track feeds to near where they are going to be and leave some extra just in case. I'll go back and measure where the feeds are underneath so when I drill the holes in the top, they'll come through where they should. I used the same principle for the signal wiring.

 

At the outer ends of the board are the terminals for the inter-board cables, which will be plugged in from the back. Simply because I'm tired of crawling underneath a layout to plug the cables in! The other smaller cable terminal you can see is for the control panel that operates uncouplers, TRTS and the SPAD inhibit plungers for the station.

 

In the lower centre section is the 'hub' of the boards, at the top of it can be seen the MERG CBUS Modules, on the right are two output modules and on the left is a input module. They have been programmed and tested, so the outputs correctly respond to the commands from the panel and the input module passes the correct inputs to the panel. At the bottom of the section is everything to do with track feeds, at the outer edges are the two MERG DTC-2 Train Detection Modules which feed into the 'busbar' terminals in the centre to which the actual track feeds are plumbed into. There are 4 track circuits on this board, two each in the two power districts. Power Districts is something which I haven't put on other layouts, but I'm I really wish I had, so I'm doing it on this layout.

 

The other change from other layouts is that I've been much stricter on my wiring, I've not only made sure that I have a strict colour coding system (I'll be putting on a key onto each board to help people fault finding), but also I have labelled each wire with the terminal it is meant to be fitted into. I have also tried to crimp all the wires to make it easier, I have found that the terminals on the modules I'm using as my 'busbars' are slightly too small for the crimps I had, if I find some smaller crimps, I'll go back and crimp those wires.

 

To neaten it all up I have used spiral wrapping which is then secured to the board using cable ties and self-adhesive mounts. The DCC wiring, CBUS wiring and 12v power wiring are all in separate spiral wrapping routes to make things a bit easier.

 

The only things which I haven't wired up on this board is the lighting circuits for buildings, platform lights etc, as I don't know where they will be, so I've left them out for the moment. I'm lucky in that almost all of the lights, track, signals are pretty much at the front of the boards (the top of the board in this view), so I shouldn't have any clashes.

 

The next stage is to wire up the junction board, which has more track circuits, more bracing, more points etc, which is causing me some headaches!

 

Simon

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Posted (edited)

Looking good Simon, and keeping it tidy saves so much time in the long run. Good idea on the labels too. I stuck colour coded labels on each of my boards when I started and I've been glad of them many times. Mine might be a bit simpler underneath than yours though!

Good luck with the next one.

Rich

IMG_0504.JPG.35d16f89c21d39be04e4ac765ee10c60.JPG

Edited by Rich Papper
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10 hours ago, Rich Papper said:

Looking good Simon, and keeping it tidy saves so much time in the long run. Good idea on the labels too. I stuck colour coded labels on each of my boards when I started and I've been glad of them many times. Mine might be a bit simpler underneath than yours though!

Good luck with the next one.

Rich

IMG_0504.JPG.35d16f89c21d39be04e4ac765ee10c60.JPG

 

Hi Rich,

 

Yes, that's exactly what I plan to do, I'm also planning on little diagrams of each of the modules and terminal blocks to show which terminal has which wires in it and which ones are spare (I have designed lots of spare terminals into the wiring, for any future additions).

 

You're 'Front' arrow is a good idea, I've lost count the amount of times that I've heard someone looking for a fault under a layout says "Is that the back or the front?", I'm was thinking the same thing, but I'm going to but some large sticks on the board. I was also planning that I was going to stick a mirror image of the CAD plan to the underneath of the board so you can see which tracks are which underneath, but with all the bracing it's going to be too much of a pain to do, but all the feeds will be labelled (in a logical manner) so that should be enough.

 

Of course, the other big thing that will help is the worst nightmare of a signalling (schemes :) ) designer, the records..............

 

Simon

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38 minutes ago, St. Simon said:

Of course, the other big thing that will help is the worst nightmare of a signalling (schemes :) ) designer, the records..............

Get it right first time and it’s just the original design . . .

:-)

Paul.

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Hi,

 

More electrical progress, I have finished wiring the junction board:

 

IMG_1163.JPG.27d11081afddcff27f1034fd832894d3.JPG

 

This is probably the most complex board, this has six track circuits across the two power districts, 7 out of the 9 point motors and half the buildings. As you can see, the bracing makes wiring this board quite a challenge, in fact at one point I thought I wouldn't have enough space to fit all of the modules and wiring, but I managed it. It's not the as neat as the other board, but it's not too bad. Again, most of the track work (and more importantly, all the point motors) is at the top of the board in this view. I still have to tie down some of the cables, but I ran out of cable ties, so I'm going to leave that for a while.

 

So now, the boards are back the right way up waiting for track. I've got the plain lengths of track but I'm waiting for the points to come into stock at Kernow before I start laying track. I've been debating putting down a cork underlay base, but I don't think I will, one because I don't have anything to hold it down whilst I lay it, but also I don't think I have a need for it as I don't think I need a ballast shoulder. I've also been debating re-spacing the sleepers on the PECO track, but I think the fact that the points will still have the standard spacing and that it will be difficult to get the spacing right on the L/H end curve, I'm not going to space the sleepers.

 

I've also pre-order the Heljan Cargowaggons in 'Rail Adventure' livery for use as barrier vehicles, I did originally intend to use these with my  Class 800, however I might use them with my LM Class 350 instead to make it slightly more realistic formation for trains going for tyre turning. I might think about getting a 2nd Class 67 for this, but I'll see about that.

 

Simon.

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Hi,

 

Time for a big and important update, I was going to do several smaller ones, but nothing was quite finished before starting the next bit!

 

The first 'project' has been to build the unloading pit for the Yard to allow the yard to handle my rake of Dapol HIA Hoppers which have bottom unloading doors:

 

IMG_0034%5B1%5D.JPG.36c5a893102f82a53ee58b71f9cd0b9d.JPG

 

It isn't based on anywhere and made up out of plastic card sheet and plastic H Beam. I've still got to add some lights internally as well as mesh over the top. I also have to fill in the gaps (I was going to do this before I painted it, but I forgot and only realised halfway through!), and some handrails will be added in due course. Although you can't see it, the floor is sloped so that any stone would fall towards the edge of the baseboard, and I'm going to add a short conveyor / lift between the pit and the baseboard edge to some mounds of stone near to the signalling centre (with suitable fencing in-between of course!).

 

Before anyone says anything, I know that there should be rail chairs along the beams, but I left them off chiefly because I wanted to keep a single piece of track between the yard point baseboard join over the pit (so I didn't have to use extra track feeds), but I wouldn't have been able to easily add on the chairs without cutting the rail.

 

I'm still debating whether to add a basic corrugated roof over the top of it, but I don't think I will as it will spoil the view of the junction.

 

As you can see from the above photo, track has now been laid onto the board:

 

IMG_0033%5B1%5D.JPG.8e05b1e7c2cb16064beaf0687b49b64f.JPG

 

It might be a bit 'controversial' to not have an underlay, however there is method in the madness:

  1. It was getting too expensive to by enough to cover the whole layout
  2. I didn't have enough heavy things to weigh all of the underlay down consistently whilst it was drying
  3. I don't think that I need a high ballast shoulder for this layout, as in real life it is all fairly flat.
  4. The sound deadening argument doesn't really apply in a noisy exhibition, and is lost when ballast is applied.

The laying of the track has involved a few firsts for me in building layouts, as amazingly I have never used a Tracksetta or 6ft way gauges to lay track before, nor have I ever fitted cooper clad sleepers to baseboard joins before. But now, I wish I had as it makes things so much better! All of the track is dead straight where it needs to be (apart from one section where a point moved slightly as the glue was drying! :blush:). I actually moved the layout into the kitchen to lay the track as there was more room and the it was easier to level the layout, but I have moved it back into the living room (as it actually prevented me from easily cooking and washing up!), but the track joints have remained perfect, which is due to the fact I have used cooper clad sleepers.

 

Finally, the most important update is that I have also wired the track up and trains are running! Well, when I say running I mean up and down the 9ft of the boards, but it does all work.

 

Before I actually got the layout powered up I had to make up my control box:

 

IMG_0035%5B1%5D.JPG.38118e54bec4eb6777b5c91a7dcc06ab.JPG

 

The case itself is an inexpensive plastic flight case from RS components, but I have modified it with two levels, the bottom level contains all the power supplies for the layout (the Digitraxs transformer, 12v Power Supply and the Raspberry Pi Power Supply), I have modified the box with vents on either side to allow some air to circulate, hence the grates on the side (I may even install a fan later on). The top level is where the DCC command station (on the left), WiThrottle interface (centre bottom), Power Districts (centre top), CBUS interface (right top) and Raspberry Pi live. Then there are plug sockets in the lid for the cables to the layout to be plugged in to as well as 'trip' LED indicators for the Power Districts.

 

I have tested the MERG 'Track Circuits' to see if they are all correct and the answer is no, I have got a couple of them to detect trains (although a couple were indicating the wring track on the panel, but that's easily fixed). The rest don't detect trains, however, I'm putting this down to the connections from the detectors to the CBUS input modules. As all of the detectors are built / wired exactly the same and some are detecting trains, the most likely cause is the output connections to the MERG modules. These use Molex connectors where I had to crimp the wire myself and upon investigation yesterday, some were not secure. So I have ordered some components to make more reliable connections, which I hope will fix the problem.

 

Incidentally, as part of wiring the power box, I discovered I had both power districts connected together, which forced me to go and check that all the track feeds where going to the right place, I found four pairs of swapped feeds and corrected them, but I now know that all the feeds are correct, so the track circuits should be working.

 

Whilst we are talking about control. I have made a change to how the layout will be controlled / configured. I discovered last week that JMRI can cope with running the Withrottle control and MERG CBUS signalling simultaneously, therefore I will be using a single Raspberry Pi to run both systems, instead of my previous configuration of a Pi for the train control and my laptop for the signalling. To do this I will need to upgrade to the new Raspberry Pi to enable two screens to be used.

 

This brings me onto the next change. The problem I have is that the panel, when scaled to fit on one screen, is too small to be easily read by everybody, therefore I have decided that it will be split across two screens.

 

This creates the problem that I will no longer be able to provide separate screens for audience and signaller. Therefore, the signaller will now sit out front facing away from the audience and the audience will have to look over the shoulder of the signaller to see the signalling screens. I have tested this basically and I think that if the signaller sits low enough with the screens high enough and angled slightly, then it won't be too bad, this is a slight compromise, but one I'm willing to take. Obviously I will have to think about where the signaller will sit so that they don't block too much of the layout, but not so out of the way that nobody sees the screens. A mitigating factor in this will also be that when the Automatic Route Setting is in use, the signaller won't have to sit in front of the screens.

 

I would like thoughts on whether the above is a sensible solution and what people think of it.

 

In other news, the fleet has swelled again, in the photo above you can see an EWS Class 67, this has come from a limited edition freight pack which was a bargain at Kernow. I will be using this to haul my Parcels rake (instead of the Class 47 which I was going to get) and it will also haul my LM Class 350 to give a more realistic rake, once Heljan release their next batch of Cargowaggons. Also probably joining the fleet next week will be a Hornby B1 4-6-0, again a bargain from Kernow, this is to act as the loco for my steam charter (the Pullman rake you see in the photo), as I have now dropped the body of my Rebuilt Battle of Britain a couple of times which has snapped a couple of minor items off.

 

I have also devised a sequence for the layout that will hopefully make it interesting to operate / watch, yet provide enough of a feel of a 'an average August Bank Holiday' and not the day when all the unusual moves and celebrity locos come along.

 

The next steps for the layout are to get all the track circuits working and do a few track tests before getting the layout in the garden to spray paint the track. Once this is done, then I will have to lay cable routes, platform edging and other line side details before I start ballasting.

 

Any comments or question more than welcome!

 

Simon

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Have you looked at using cheap/second hand tablets to use as mimic displays of the JMRI panels. They just need a browser and network connection to your Raspberry Pi. Using WiFi this is easy, but can be a problem at large exhibitions. Not sure how easy a wired connection to a tablet would be (on-the-go adapters are available, but finding which ones work with which Android devices is the tricky bit), but an old Windows tablet should have an ethernet port.

 

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1 hour ago, Ian Morgan said:

Have you looked at using cheap/second hand tablets to use as mimic displays of the JMRI panels. They just need a browser and network connection to your Raspberry Pi. Using WiFi this is easy, but can be a problem at large exhibitions. Not sure how easy a wired connection to a tablet would be (on-the-go adapters are available, but finding which ones work with which Android devices is the tricky bit), but an old Windows tablet should have an ethernet port.

 


Hi Ian, 

 

Yes, I did think about using tablets, but they are simply too small to display the panel, I’m looking at a pair of (refurbished) 18” or 21.5” monitors to display the panel on. 
 

Having just had a look at tablets, anything of that size is getting way out of my budget for one, let alone two!

 

Simon

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Hi Simon,

Is your ‘panel’ indication only or control and indication?

If it’s just indication, it’s no problem to mount high up (think box diagram), but if it’s control as well it needs to be within reach for operation.  (I expect you have been round that loop already!)

Paul.

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1 hour ago, 5BarVT said:

Hi Simon,

Is your ‘panel’ indication only or control and indication?

If it’s just indication, it’s no problem to mount high up (think box diagram), but if it’s control as well it needs to be within reach for operation.  (I expect you have been round that loop already!)

Paul.

 

Hi Paul,

 

It is control and indication, so it needs to be within viewing distance of the signaller. it will be controlled using a keyboard and mouse, so it only needs to within viewing distance rather than touching distance

 

I have thought about creating an indication only panel, but that becomes a lot of work and a lot of graphics, I have also thought about just re-drawing the panel so that it does fit on one screen (the obvious solution), but as the works fine, I do risk making it not work by re-drawing it.

 

However, I have thought about mounting the screens above the back-scene with the signaller out front still, which could work I think, but I think some experimentation is required!

 

Simon

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Hi,

 

The track circuits are working:

 

46F06D83-5160-422B-ABA9-59B085C4FDE0.jpeg.97bf1d4e928e1ac2ee2d1a1a667f4ffd.jpeg
 

I did find that a couple of the track feeds I fixed, were actually correct before I fixed them, so I think that the train detectors were being bypassed. However, I did also replace the output molex connectors with something which is much more secure.

 

I did have to swap a couple of inputs to get the layout configured the same as the panel, But actually these track circuits seem to work far better than my previous circuits on Norwood Road.

 

I do seem to have an intermittent problem whereby a couple of track circuits stay occupied after a train, however I suspect that is the humidity inducing a current in the rails.

 

Next is to paint the track, however first I’m going to test the track circuits with each train to make sure I don’t have any problems.

 

Simon

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On ‎12‎/‎08‎/‎2020 at 19:35, St. Simon said:

I do seem to have an intermittent problem whereby a couple of track circuits stay occupied after a train, however I suspect that is the humidity inducing a current in the rails.

 

Hi,

 

Well, the problem isn't humidity, in fact I'm not sure what it is, it seems that 'XM' track changing state tends to causing CBUS messaging to freeze in JMRI until I manually change the state of the track on the panel. I've gone through a number of experiments and suspect it is that the CBUS side of things which is going wrong, so first solution is to exchange the PIC on the Input Module to see if the current one was damaged and causing odd behaviour.

 

Simon

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Hi,

 

These track circuits are confusing!

 

I have resolved the problem with XM Track Circuit by changing the PIC, however, I now have the problem that one of the other track circuits on the other board (and on a different input module) is now behaving oddly.

 

When a roll a coach onto the track section, I initially don't detect anything, but if I then rock one side off the track and then rock it back, it detects for ~1s and then clears again.

This has only happened since yesterday, for the past few days (since I installed it), the detector has worked perfectly. As the problem only affects one of the two detectors on the DTC-2, I have tried swapping track inputs, and that confirms that there's no problem with the track feeds. I have tried reinforcing the connections at both the detector & CANACE8C end to make sure there they are not the problem. I have checked the settings on the CANACE8C to ensure that there are no settings that might cause a short detection problem, but I can't see anything.

 

I have asked this on the MERG forum, but no joy just yet, so if anyone on here has any thoughts, I'm more than happy to here them.

 

Simon
 

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Hi Simon,

Tracks are nasty things when they don’t work!

I’m not MERG based for most of my stuff but it happens I’ve been looking at the DTC2 as some of my boards need 10 tracks and RRCirkits Watchman only does 8 so a DTC2 would give the extra 2.

Occupied for 1s sounds like you’re getting a blip when you rock and the 1s is the DTC2 delay.  Perhaps try testing with resistors rather than a wheel set to see what the sensitivity is like, if it’s borderline, then all manner of things could have just tipped it over the edge (e.g. low rail volts, dirty track, dirty wheels etc.).  Then see if it is one particular wheel set or any that has the effect.

Have you got a DTC2 output tester as shown in the MERG DTC8 writeup?  (Don’t forget dropper resistor if you have omitted from the board.)

Paul.

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Posted (edited)
23 hours ago, 5BarVT said:

Hi Simon,

Tracks are nasty things when they don’t work!

I’m not MERG based for most of my stuff but it happens I’ve been looking at the DTC2 as some of my boards need 10 tracks and RRCirkits Watchman only does 8 so a DTC2 would give the extra 2.

Occupied for 1s sounds like you’re getting a blip when you rock and the 1s is the DTC2 delay.  Perhaps try testing with resistors rather than a wheel set to see what the sensitivity is like, if it’s borderline, then all manner of things could have just tipped it over the edge (e.g. low rail volts, dirty track, dirty wheels etc.).  Then see if it is one particular wheel set or any that has the effect.

Have you got a DTC2 output tester as shown in the MERG DTC8 writeup?  (Don’t forget dropper resistor if you have omitted from the board.)

Paul.

 

Hi Paul,

 

Thanks for the advice, I'll use in future.

 

I took the detector off the layout (my decision to convert all the modules to plug and play has turned out to be a very good decision) and checked it over, at first glance no problems, but on closer inspection, a dry solder joint had broken on the secondary coil of the track concerned!

 

So, 5 minutes with a soldering iron has resolved the problem. It must have just been hanging on during early testing and knocking the layout when resolving the other fault meant that it broke, but it did cause confusion (well that's my excuse!):banghead:

 

Amazing how something that simple can cause such annoyance!

 

Simon

Edited by St. Simon
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Hi,

 

Another update on progress, sadly no pictures a nothing was very interesting!

 

The new Tortoise Point Motor arrived and were fitted late last week. A word of warning on the latest batch of Tortoise Point Motors (2019 onwards), the PCB with the wiring connections has been changed so that it is wider than the original PCB, meaning that the slide on connectors currently on sale will not fit (and the difference is too large to really file the PCB down to fit).

 

However, the change has also included changing the hole pitch and alignment meaning that standard 3.81mm pitch terminal blocks can be used, so I have used pluggable terminal blocks to make the point motors 'plug and play'.

 

I have so far managed to get half of the points working, the other half are on a different CBUS module. When this arrived from MERG, it came with a pair of incorrect components and as part of 'discovering' they were wrong, I think I managed to damage the PIC on the module, so I'm going to replace that to see if they work.

 

I have also managed, with some help from some MERG members, to get the RFID logic working in JMRI, so I have ordered the the MERG RFID kit so that I can test it out (although I won't be able to fit it to the layout until I get the two 'outer' boards built).

 

Assuming that the weather holds tomorrow, the track will be painted, so I can then start laying platforms, cable troughs etc, so more pictures then!

 

Simon

 

P.S. There might possibly be another signalling book on the horizon, so watch out for that. Until then, you can buy my first book: https://www.crowood.com/details.asp?isbn=9781785006258&t=Colour-Light-Signalling-for-Model-Railways

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Hi,

 

Okay, more pictures as I promised!

 

The weather has been good enough today to get the layout into the garden to spray the track:

 

IMG_1222%5B1%5D.JPG.5a34ea6bf402d4c3d3c1f6b3931c14e0.JPG

 

It may look a bit of a mess, but it will all be covered by ballast or platforms etc. I have used Halfords Camouflage Brown paint as recommended on a thread elsewhere on RMWeb. I started with the station board, and I initially masked off both the concrete and wooden sleepers as I didn't want to paint those, just the rails and clips. However, the colour is an exact match to the wooden sleeper colour, so I didn't bother on the junction, apart from the point mechanisms. I think I'll leave the point blades unpainted, it looks a bit odd, but it will be more reliable I think.

 

I have cleaned off the rail heads, so once the paint has dried overnight, I will do a test run in the morning to make sure everything is still okay running wise.

 

Now, I can start adding the platforms and cable tough routes (which I need to design).

 

Simon

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Hi Simon,

 

Looking good. Are you planning on using one of the readily available cable troughing or do you plan to make your own?

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11 hours ago, MatthewEWS said:

Hi Simon,

 

Looking good. Are you planning on using one of the readily available cable troughing or do you plan to make your own?


Hi Matthew,

 

The current plan is to use the Scale Model Scenery troughing as that seems to the best compromise between price and accuracy.

 

All the other line side details I will design myself and get 3D printed. At least that’s the plan, it will depend on the prices from Shapeways (or if I can find another suitable printing firm)

 

Simon

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Hi,

 

More progress has been made in the past week, with the Platform Edging being laid:

 

IMG_1243%5B1%5D.JPG.e4a0077ec25b8a76f81548350d9f158c.JPG

 

The edging itself is PECO, simply because I couldn't be bothered making the edging myself as I can never get it the right height, but it is overlaid with Slater's embossed brick (with the mortar highlighted) rather than using the printed paper to give a more realistic relief effect. I also painted the coping stones in a concrete colour just to tone down the creamy plastic.

 

As you can see I have also created the support structure underneath the platforms. I've created a lattice work from thick artists mounting card from Hobbycraft, which is relatively cheap, lightweight and strong. I haven't stuck that down or laid the top as I have to think about mounting signals, which will be sat on the platform (of course, I have to actually order them first!).

 

The other, very subtle, change (it's almost like spot the difference!), is that the building at the rear of the layout has now been turned through 180 degrees. This is because I have changed the scene around there to no longer include the NR delivery unit. I've instead decided to make the building an engineering firm. There will be a Network Rail building, but it will be at the back of the station board right on the far left of the board.

 

The reason for this change is because, with the previous arrangement, there would be a need for a road to disappear through the back scene. Now, I'm nowhere near the best painter in the world, so painting my own back scene is fraught with danger and there's no back scenes that are ready made which will have a road disappearing in the right place. So, by changing the design, and turning the former DU building around (so that the 'front' is facing towards the back scene, I can pretend the road is at the front of the building, therefore no road needs to go through the back scene. I can then hide the road to the Network Rail building behind the station by making it disappear behind some containers or something. There are actually a few advantages to this:

 

  1. Turning the former DU building around and making it an engineering firm means that the beautiful interior detailing will be more visible.
  2. Having a Network Rail building behind the station is more prototypical to Fareham
  3. Moving the NR area away from the junction gives me the space for a third rail substation, a feature of the real Fareham (recommendation on a good one would be gratefully received!)
  4. Having a large NR building with lots of vans etc is turning in a Modern Image layout cliché, and I want to avoid that!
  5. On the electrical side of things, all the point motors are now installed and are integrated with the signalling system, so I can now control points from panel.

 

The other major task I've bee tackling this week has been creating 3D CAD files of various lineside details that I need 3D printing. A lot of what I need is not available in kit form, too complex to scratch-build easily or, where they are available off-the-shelf, over-scale. Plus, I need a lot of lineside details, so far I have counted I need:

 

  • 20 x Impedance Bonds - not available in kit form
  • 20 x TI-21 End Termination Units (ETU's) - not available in Kit form
  • 15 x Full Size Location Cases - kit versions over scale
  • 13 x Half Size Location Cases - kit versions over scale
  • 8 x HW Point Motors - PECO massively over scale
  • 8 x AWS Magnets (3 x uni-directional, 3 x supressed permanent, 1 x uni-directional with suppression, 1 x uni-directional with 2 obstacle deflectors) - PECO ones are nothing like AWS Magnets!
  • 8 x Point Heating Transformers
  • 7 x 3rd Rail Isolation Switches - not available in kit form
  • 6 x Point Clip Enclosures - not available in kit form
  • The numbers have come from research using the Location Area plans for Fareham, as well as detailed aerial surveys.

 

I already have CAD files for the impedance bonds and AWS magnets, however, they were drawn on Sketch Up, but I have moved to AutoCAD Fusion 360 and discovered some better drawings for them, so I decided to re-draw the CAD files to refine them and make them more accurate. Here are renders of each of the details from Fusion:

 

Impedance Bonds:

 

279991225_ImpedenceBnd.JPG.44d9467868e772c35a91ef781c34c64a.JPG

 

TI-21 ETUs:

 

990624736_TI-21ETU.JPG.7fa9e9df7704cd3b364d92d3cd68cfc8.JPG

 

Location Cases:

 

288283225_LocationCases.JPG.f276058f74730285eadc90caa9a37748.JPG

 

HW Point Motors:

 

702174515_HWPointMotor.JPG.169aa7fcc9e5b5930df8e2f70db98c42.JPG

 

AWS Magnets:

 

292664759_AWSMagnets.JPG.ba03e1caa0661dea76fa2229f4147f46.JPG

 

Points Heating Transformers:

 

1408247706_PointHeatingTransformers.JPG.46f7dc2dc9de4a5e5a593df8cb43da62.JPG

 

3rd Rail Isolation Switches:

 

1050011652_3rdRailSwitches.JPG.e7021ad2e91cda38a9cfe989bf513f66.JPG

 

 

Point Clip Enclosures:

 

1793226961_PointClipEnclosures.JPG.c5f95bf5804b7c93b6f89aa1792d9e62.JPG

 

 

All have been drawn from manufacturers drawings, although a few dimensions have been increased to take into account the minimum thicknesses for 3D printing.

 

The problem now is cost, my usual route of 3D printing, Shapeways, is slightly too expensive for all of these components (although not quite as expensive as I initially thought it would be!), so I’m looking for someone to print these for me at a reasonable costs. If you know someone, or can do it yourself, then please get in contact. The files are all .STL, and they have been created in line with Shapeways’ guidelines for their fine detail plastic (0.3mm min wall thickness and 0.2 embossed detail).

 

As always, any questions, please ask!

 

Simon

Edited by St. Simon
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