Sunday, 5 April 2020

A little bit more on the presentation

Found more Carpet.

While fishing out some tools for a bit of car maintenance today, I found more carpet off cuts that I stored in the garden shed.
So it was time to play carpet jigsaw and see if I could cover the floor in the Railroad room (at least as far as the eye can see,up to the edge of the new skirting.

As the pictures will attest.. I succeeded..
This is only temporary until I can get out and source some old office carpet tiles.

The carpet is not fixed down and could move.. While it is OK for me, it wont be if I have people over..

Now back to JMRI.. (oh and work)..

Saturday, 4 April 2020

Its all about presentation


Due to lock down as part of Covid-19, I decided to take a break from JMRI and seek the assistance of Michelle to add skirting to the layout.

A quick run down to Lincraft armed with Michelle's discount card. 23m of black material at $6 per meter.. We set about hemming the ends and tacking it in place with push pins..

See the pics attached. It came out rather well.

The material used is the cheapest verity called homespun. This is a thin material, but it does not matter as it is dark behind the material so is not see through..
The thin material has an unexpected advantage. I can see the LED's on the DCC control boards behind the skirting. I then discovered that the voltage readouts that I had under the layout can also be seen.
I expecting to have to move them to the fascia.. But, now I dont need to. They are not meant to stand out, They are just intended to be a reference point and for use if there is a short.

The top display is a RRAmp meter on one of the Digitrax boosters.
The bottom row are various power supplies that power the layout.
16V bus, and multiple 12 volt power buses. I was using the 5v power bus to drive 5v relays, but changed them to 12 v so the 5v power bus is not being used.

If you look along the part of the layout where the LED display is located, you cant see them. It is only when you get parallel with the layout and the displays that you can see them..

Now to find more carpet of the same colour or dark carpet to finish the look.

Back to JMRI.

Sunday, 29 March 2020

NX Routes in JMRI

Covid 19 lock down..

With all this Covid 19 lock down, I have now been able to find time to work on the panel for the layout. Im keen for the dispatcher to use routes to then drive signals etc.

The 1st step is to set up the panel with all the NX routes. Then add signals.

Here is the panel as it stands today.

Here is a demo of the panel in operation.

Now for signals.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Signal logic testing

JMRI Panel development

Its March 2020 and its a strange world we live in today with the COVID-19 pandemic happening globally. Most people in Australia that can work from home are working from home. The streets are quiet and the cities are empty. There is a rush on to stem the spread of the pandemic by self isolation in our homes and only venturing out to get supplies. We expect to be like this for a month.

So its time to get more work done on the railroad.

I have been working on a test JMRI panel to test NX route setting and signal logic. This will all then be built up on the main panel for the layout.

Good progress is being made. I have tested the SP signal logic from 1930 (SPTCO-1930) within JMRI. This does not give me the number of signal aspects I'm looking for to make the signals come to life.
Next I tried the AAR 1946 signal logic and this is much better as there are a number of different aspects for 2 search light type signals.
The D&H ran 3 search light signals for all home signals and dual for intermediate permissive blocks.
I will hard wire all my lower or 3 search light heads to red (to save on wiring and DCC signal driver outputs.) So in building the panel, it will show the 2 search lights that are active.

Here is the test panel that I have been working on.

The arrows in the track are part of the NX route setting. So the dispatcher selects the block to depart from and the block or signal to arrive at arrows and the panel sets the turnouts and the signals.
Rather nice feature I think..

It is working well.
There are a few bumps to iron out with the intermediate signals, but the NX routing is working a treat.

Next to move NX routing to the main panel and test it with trains on the layout.

Saturday, 14 March 2020

JMRI Panel

Time to get going on the JMRI Panel

This week it was time to get going on building the JMRI Panel for the layout.
There is a long way to go..

The 1st steps is to get the basic diagram right and functioning with all the blocks and turnouts showing correctly.

There is also some logix built in to enable trains to automatically enter and exit the North and South staging on tracks 1 or 2.

Here is a sample of the work in progress.

Next is to go and set all turnouts to disabled when occupied. Then to set up NX routes to the dispatcher can set a route. Then this will set the turnouts and signals for the engineer.

Till next time.

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Card management and Panel indicators

Wow.. Its been a while, just over 12 months.

The heading says it all. Work and family life have been flat out over the last 12 months and I have not had time to step into the Railroad room. Recently I decided a change was needed and resigned from Unisys after 12 months as the work life balance was not balanced and the stress and pressure was high. I have now moved to a Senior Project Manager role at Australian Energy Market Operator and aim to get the work life balance back to a even level.

I'm happy to say that over Christmas and the last month or so I have managed to get back into the room. I have cleaned the track, repaired a number of kinks in the track due to the hot Melbourne summer. I have had a few trains running to test things out. I have repaired a few problem turnouts in terms of frog gaps etc due to the heat.

Some time ago, I cut strips for car card boxes and car card sorting shelves but never got time to install them. They have now been installed around the layout and they look great. I am still yet to put labels on the card card box slots but that will come.

I have also finished the route indicators and occupancy indicators on the north and south staging panels. This enables the engineer to see the route set and also the track status. The engineer can also throw 1 turnout switch on the track he desires and JMRI will then detect this and set the rest of the turnouts to set the route. Note that the switches are momentary switches. So they can be pushed either up or down to toggle the turnout

I have completed the retrofit of turnout status indicators at Copperville. The issue was that as the Copperville loop and spurs are at 1600mm from floor level the vertically challenged cant easily see the status of the turnout. The panels now have green LED's installed to show the route. These are simply driven from the MP5 turnout machines that have a DPDT switch as part of the machine. Note that the switches are momentary switches. So they can be pushed either up or down to toggle the turnout

Per my last blog I also installed a helix occupancy status panel to enable engineers to see that their train is progressing through the 3 turn helix. Here is a short video of a train running from the bottom level to the top. (Note that they don't usually run as fast in an opps session as the train is in the video).

Well that's all for now. Next step is to weather the track and also build a JMRI panel for the layout.
thanks for visiting.

Friday, 4 January 2019

Turnout Panels

Major part of the turnout control complete
Over this Christmas holiday I managed to find to to complete the design, build and install of the turnout control panels for the layout.

There are 9 turnout control panels in total plus 1 block occupancy panel for the helix and a dwarf signal that I will use to indicate the end of the hidden branch line that is North of Whitehall.

In the past I had set the panels within the fascia. As there is not much space behind the fascia I opted to have the panels on the outside of the fascia and the lower panels set at a 45 degree angle.

Time will tell how successful this is as they do protrude into the isle way and may get damaged. The panels are made from 3mm MDF and are hot glued together.

The panels are drawn in Excel and then are printed on heavy white paper via a inkjet printer. Then are laminated and taped using double sided tape to the painted MDF.

Here are the progress pictures of the build and the final install of each of the panels.

All switches are momentary as they are connected to the various DCC driver boards under the layout that manage the turnouts.

The North and South staging panels include block occupancy stats LED's and also LED's to show the route that is set based on the location of the turnout machines.

The North Staging track route is set using the DPDT switches on the bottom of the MP5's turnout machines and work independently of JMRI. The South staging route LED's are managed via JMRI as the turnout machines that I used are MP1's and do not have a DPDT switch. They only have a SPDT switch that is used for the frog of the turnout.

All the block detection is taken directly from the Digitrax BDL168 outputs on the boards.

This is the panel that shows the block status in the 3 turn helix. There are 5 LED's / blocks in total. 3 are completely hidden and 2 are the tracks that enter the helix in either end.

The following picture is a dwarf signal that I have installed and connected to the block occupancy status output on the BDL168 as the track is a branch line that is a dead end. This will enable the engineer to enter into the hidden track and stop when the Red LED in the signal is shown as this indicates that the Loco has reached the last block on the hidden track.

Stay tuned for further updates.