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The Johnster

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About The Johnster

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  • Location
    The mean streets of inner-city Cardiff
  • Interests
    Railways of course, especially those of South Wales, Photography when I can get out to do it, Latin American percussion, beer, ranting about stuff that winds me up and being a miserable old git.

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  1. The phone app records the last ten seconds of the flight, and records the position of the last xmission. Looking at the vid, there’s a possibilty that the loss of control might be to do with pressing the RTH (return to home) button; they happened at or very close to the exact same time. There were gulls, but they might be guilty. Or not. There’s a thing called Airdata you can join, which I haven’t yet, which accesses DJI’s database and can provide you with detailed flight records for your drone. Not sure yet if this can be done retrospectively, though I can’t see why not. So, it may yet be a matter of replacement under warranty as opposed to claiming on the insurance! Which would save me £50. OTOH it would mean my not really being able to trust the RTH!
  2. But could it replicate the appearance of a rollerblind, a cloth material backlit by low-wattage filament bulbs? RTR's use of leds has hardly been covered in glory, covered in something. certainly, but not glory; lights way too bright, not diffused, or wrong colour cast are par for the course. For 1970s headcode panel lighting, the lights should not be visible under the layout's 'daylight' ambient light, nor should cab lights. An LCD-based display might be more effective, though I realise that this is very much yesterday's technology. Only the red tail lamps and the white marker lights were discernable in ambient daylight, and you had to make an effort to be certain on bright days. Same thing with filament coach lighting and oil lamps for semaphore signals and tail lamps. The difficulty of picking out marker lights in daylight is why early pre-headcode box locos carried headcode discs as well as marker lights. The discs were visible in daylight and the markers at night, but problems arose over the late 50s and the 60s as background lights became more prevalent and covered greater areas as new housing and industrial development ate into green space. For some reason the WR hydraulics used a single white marker and a red tail light at each end, no discs, but the white markers were only used for low-speed shunting movements. Similarly, shunting locos had marker lights but no discs.
  3. I reckon working rollerblind headcodes could be done in DCC with existing technology, but it would be fiddly and expensive; the real ones jammed fairly often! The simplest answer is a compromise, in which the operating session is given 'time out' for displays to be slid into the panels by hand. Even this would be challenging on locos/multiple units with headcode panels above the cab windows; perhaps a removable clip-on or magnetic headcode box. But the look of a rolling blind being set by the crew would be wonderful, especially backlit! The WR hydaulics, except the Hymeks, had rollerblinds operated from outside the loco by means of a square hole drive on the headcode box/boxes. This could be turned with a carriage key. It means that the visual aspect of working rollerblinds is compromised on these locos. On locos with noses, the secondman (or guard acting as secondman) entered the nose through the door in the cab and did the biz, while on locos with flatter cab fronts like 47s or Hymeks you looked down through a sort of periscope on the control desk to see what you were doing. Cab top headcode boxes IIRC had a drop-down panel in the cab roof: all were operated manually by handle.
  4. Disaster! Flying off the Cardiff Barrage yesterday evening at dusk, got some cracking footage, when the drone was mobbed by seagulls. It's current location is at the bottom of the Bristol Channel just off the entrance to Cardiff Docks, and even if it could be recovered at low tide (very risky on that mud) salt water is corrosive and it will be totalled. I'm a bit t-eed off! There were about 8 of them, 'stards, I 'ates 'em, I does. I took out a policy with a firm called Coverdrone last Thursday but even so it will cost me £50 excess as well as putting me out of action for however long it takes to sort out. I'm not doing well with seagulls lately; back in March one sh*t on me and it is now 9 weeks since my O2 phone signal has been down because of gulls nesting in the mast (i'm using a Vodaphone SIM for now). Infamy, infamy, they've all got it in for me, starting to take it personal now, and Jonathan Livingstone can ferk off! The Grey Arrows site has topics about bird strikes, and the worst by all accounts are Oystercatchers, but gulls get quite a bit of mention as well. The advice is to climb vertically as quickly as possible, because drones can climb much faster than birds and you are less likely to be attacked from below. But this incident was sudden. a hit'n'run job by experts, and in the failing dusk light I didn't see the unsilhouetted 'stards coming whereas my drone was silhouetted against the last of the daylight, not to mention the flashing stroble light; they know all about tactical advantage. Normal service will be resumed once the replacement is sorted, but I've no idea how long I'll be grounded for and it has knocked my confidence a bit. Cardiff, like most coastal cities, is rammed with gulls, ferkin' skyrats. Don't think they were protecting nests, bit late in the season for that, presumably the mobbing meant they thought I was a predator. Could've done with a couple of wing-mounted cannon... Grey Arrows advice is to 'wrap' (you can buy stickyback decorative wraps for drones) in dayglo orange but it was probably too dark for that to have made a difference. In any case, my default for this sort of thing is paint, and varnish; I'm a railway modeller at heart!
  5. How did you find that, then…
  6. do the shake the rattleshake shake I know this guy his name was Mick now, he don't care when he ain' got no chick man do the shake the rattlesnake shake he do the shake an' jerks away the...
  7. As much of Brunel's track was 'baulk road', sleeper spacing might not be a dealbreaker... Just top-dressing ash/cinder ballast up to rail-bottom level and tie bars. I have often considered that early period modelling, say 1830 to 1860, has a lot to commend it especially where space is limited (so, everywhere, then). Shorter locos and vehicles, prevalance of space-savers like sector plates or traversers at termini, rudimentary signalling, colourful liveries.
  8. I prefer it to when someone turns me off and then stays…
  9. Triang’s 9” mk1s are a scale 7’ too short, and missing a compartment. There is no interior detail and the underframe is a plastic moulding attached to the bodyshell. The roofs are removable if you wanted to detail the interiors. The bogies are not bad for those days and run well with modern wheels, but all Triang products stand too high off the railhead by 2mm at the buffers. Bogies are rivetted to the bodyshell and difficult to remove. The later 10” models are scale length with the correct number of compatments, but suffer all the other above faults. There are issues with the cheaper Dapol wagons as well; these are inherited from the 1960s Hornby Dublo range, via production by Wrenn for some years. Moulded detail on the underframes lets them down and the mineral wagons are on an incorrect 10’ generic wheelbase instead of the correct 9’ (as are current Hornby minerals). They will need new couplings and Hornby or Bachmann wheelsets to run well, which costs out at about doubling the original price. It depends on how much you are willing to compromise, but current locos and stock are light years advanced from these old-stagers and will look crude running on the same layout. The Hornby Railroad range of mk1s are not too bad as a compromise, and kit wagons from Dapol Kitmaster, Peco Parkside, Cambrian, and others are easy to build and run well so long as they are ballasted to about 25g.
  10. My railway, Cwmdimbath, is therapeutic on several levels. It is a mental exercise, running the timetable to real time at realistic speeds. planning and executing projects. researching, and so on, and keeps my otherwise declining hand-eye co-ordination in working order. As I am diagnosed clinically depressed, it is a needed positive reinforcement of self and self-image in a world which provides me with very little of that; in short, it is good for me. I have recently taken up drone flying and filming, which is also good for me in several ways. It gets me out and about, and it requires planning, including observing weather forecasts and tides, a way of connecting me with the natural world that I have lacked in recent years. It also prevents my spatial awarness from diminishing and atrophying in my dotage; you have to know where your drone is and where it's going in 3 dimensions, and do several things at once. Because it requires absolute concentration, it is very relaxing because the problems of your real life (and I have plenty of those) are put aside and forgotten when you are flying. Apart from that it's just as pointless as model railways. Everything's pointless. You didn't ask to be born but you were, so you live, then you die; that's it (I have no belief in an afterlife or reincarnation). Because death is fairly scary (though it is becoming less scary than immortality as I get older, to quote Freddie, who was circling the drain himself at the time, 'Do you want to live forever?'; no. most certainly not), you distract yourself with activities to keep yourself alive, raise a family, do things you like doing, but have do things you don't like doing in order to pay for it all, especially if you're on the mortgage treadmill. Treadmills, like train sets and the M25, go round and round, pointlessly. I don't think hobbies are any more or less pointless than any other activity, certainly no more or less so than pursuing a career in order to increase someone else's profits, or buying a property to raise a family in only to lose home and family in a divorce, or exercising to keep fit then letting it go to seed and fat as you get older and less energetic, so the question as raised by the QI contestant, not meant to be taken seriously anyway IMHO, was itself pointless. At least I enjoy my pointless layout and drone. I'd be a nihilist, but there's no point...
  11. Some high-end DJI drones have Hasselblad camera equipment, so there is a production association between the two companies as well. No idea who makes the camera in my Mini 2 SE, probably DJI, definitely not Hasselblad, but I'm happy with my camera's performance anyway... It's an odd pairing, though; DJI are world leaders in drone manufacture, supplying something like 70% of hobby drones globally and 80% in the US, where there is a move to ban their sale because of unspecified 'security/privacy' issues because they are manufactured in China. Hasselblad are a renowned quality camera manufacturer, but supply a somewhat niche customer base. Seems to work well enough, though! s
  12. Good to hear. I, OTOH, went over to my local park and demonstrated my total mastery of drone flying by forgetting a) to charge up the old iPhone I use for fpv flying, then b) forgetting the usb-c-usb cable to use the new phone (DJI’s system means a cable attachment between the RC and the fpv phone), so you did better than me. It was a lovely evening so I sat on the riverbank and watched the dragonflies flying and the perch swimming instead. A perch is a gorgeous thing if it catches the light! Lesson; do the checklist every time Johnster. Especially when you are absolutely 100% certain that you don’t need to, coz that’s when it gets ya! The RTH does wonders for your confidence, doesn’t it, but remember to set it high enough to clear obstacles as it will make a b-line for you.
  13. Presumably one of those shops where the prices are not displayed, and if you have to ask you can’t afford it🥺.
  14. I never said it was a bear, only that it looked as if it thought it was a sloth.
  15. May joy be unconfined! For trial flight, open level space, low winds, not too many people about (I’m assuming your drone weighs less than 250g, above which different rules and certification apply. I’m also assuming you have your Operator ID from the CAA). After pairing the drone to the RC and the app, go through the startup procedure, make sure she’s sitting level and nothing is going to foul the props, and use the lift-off button to hover the drone about 6’ away from you. This will immediately tell you a lot about the quality and capabilities of the drone. It has gps, so it should hover steadily and not drift. Keep the RC pointing towards the drone for best signal. Increase altitude, lh joystick forward, to clear trees &c, and use the lh joystick to turn left or right. Then try forwards, backwards, and sideways each direction a few times with the rh stick to get the feel of it, but don’t go far and if you can control the speed keep it slow. With your new-found experience bring it back over you and descend to land, lh stick towards you. Take a break to absorb what you’ve just learned, good idea to have taken a flask of tea and a sarnie with. Did the drone fly accurately without drift, was it bothered by the wind (assuming you were flying within it’s rating, which will be in the manual either as a speed in kph or ‘level 5’, meaning Beaufort force 5, for example? Did you feel in control? Then go up again to try out the camera and fpv view. Fly away about 30 yards and try the RTH button; the drone should come back and hover in front of you, then land. Time to chalk up a successful flight, and go over the pub to celebrate. You are now a Drone Pilot. For early flights, don’t go too far and don’t be afraid of altitude; you are much safer above the trees, trees are bad, m’kay (they’ll jump out on you) and the drone is easier to locate silhouetted against the sky after you’ve glanced at the phone screen. Join Grey Arrows, who do £5m public liability insurance for members and are an equivalent source of advice about drones to this site for model railways. May you land as many times as you take off; happy flying, let us know how you get on!
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