Monday, 24 February 2014

Main deck progress from Plattsburgh to Whitehall

More saw dust is in the air!

Over the last weekend I managed to decide on a "dirt" or base colour for the main deck of the layout. There were so many browns to choose from. In the end I matched the brown of the no more gaps that I'm using so that I blends in. The brown ended up more a chocolate brown than a earth brown, however, it is only intended as a base colour being earth so I'm sure it will be ok.

I then proceeded to paint all the main deck ply with the brown before I installed it in order to save time later and not having to mask up the walls so that the brown paint did not get on the walls.

Then I proceeded to finish the install of the staging to pain deck track through the wall into Plattsburgh. This was only 2 lengths of flex track, and it now means I can get going on the main deck from Plattsburgh around to the rest of the layout.

Per the pictures I have now finished the main deck install to Whitehall from Plattsburgh.
I plan on making a few cut outs for lower level scenery on the main line between Whitehall and Willsboro and that will come in the next day or so once I have finalised the sweeping curves of the main line in that part of the layout. Then I will install the final uprights under that section rather than the temp ones that are there now.

So here are a few pictures showing the work completed to date.
North Staging approach
North Staging
North Staging
Whitehall and the main deck to Willsboro
Over view of the end of Plattsburgh and the main line to Willsboro
 Staging heading to Plattsburgh and the main deck of Willsboro / Pt Douglas
Plattsburgh with the main line cork installed
North end of Whitehall on the right and the main line to Willsboro on the left
Willsboro looking down the main line to Whitehall

Well that's all for this update.
Come back in a bit and I hope to have all the main deck installed in the next week or so.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Backing for the Staging tracks and Volt / Amp Meters

Preparation to install the main deck.

While preparing to install the main deck I decided that the approach tracks and part of the North staging needed to have black back installed to mainly stop trains from falling to the concrete in the event of a disaster and also to provide a back when looking into staging or through the portholes that will be in the fascia as the train travels to and from staging.

I'm glad I got in now to install the backs (being painted 3mm x 100mm x 2400 long lengths) now before the main deck when in as in some places there is no room to use a normal screw driver or drill driver or even a stubby Phillips head screw driver..

Now the vast majority is done with only the south approach to do once I get the main deck installed so I can test the height. Some joins don't quite match on the back boards due to the change in grade. This wont be seen once the fasica is installed.
I also plan to place a strip that is about 15mm to 20mm tall along the front of the approach tracks and staging so that if there is a derailment things can be reached but not fall onto the ground. This has been done on the return loop under Corinth but is yet to be completed at other locations.

See a few of the below pictures for examples of the backing boards that are screwed directly to the 12mm ply that the cork and track sits on.

Once the backing was installed I then set about installing the main deck from Plattsburgh up a 1.9% grade to Ft Ann. As this section does not have any track below it and is fairly narrow things went fairly quickly. This will be the place of the scene along the water line up on a cliff face of Lake Champlain (per the main picture on this blog - above).

After completing the main deck between Ft Ann and Plattsburgh I then set about installing 3 new Volt / Amp meters on my 3 DC power supplies so I can monitor the load that they are being subjected to. I found these on ebay for only $5 posted so figured I would give them a go.
Once I over came the issue of the wiring diagram being incorrect per the ebay auction I installed them and they are now working perfectly and show both input volts and also current drain on the power supplies. One of the power supplies provides power to the DCS100 and the other 2 provide DC power to the various loconet devices around the layout.

The board that they are attached to is only temporary until the main deck is installed and the fascia is installed.

Thanks for visiting..

Monday, 10 February 2014

Staging Track work and electrics completed

Staging Completed!

Today marks the day were all the electrics and track work including turnouts and block control is completed for North and South staging including the 2 approach tracks and the return loop.

The below pics show a 24 car train with 3 x Atlas C420's on the point in North staging and on the north grade.

While I have not added weight to my cars I chose the heavier older Roundhouse box cars and a few FVM cars that are probably on the heavier side compared to the rest in order to load test the 2% grade out of staging.

While the 2 x C420's can handle the 20 car max that I have set for the layout, they stalled on 24 cars. So by adding extra power to the point the 24 car train was able to reach the summit.

I may just set up the layout so the loco roster is either 2 x 6 axle loco's or 3 x 4 axle loco's. I have the motive power to cope so time will tell.

I have also set up a basic panel in JMRI Panel Pro to enable me to test and make sure that the blocks are all appearing as they should per my spread sheets / plan.

As the computer is connected to the loconet over at the dispatchers desk (or near there), it is a bit hard to drive a train and check the blocks at the same time.
I then started the web server within Panel Pro and I was then able to browse to the web site hosted by the Panel PC on my iPhone.. So I can carry the iPhone with me, throw turnouts and monitor the blocks at the same time.

Here are 2 pics on the panel on the phone. (Note this is a very basic panel and was whipped together really quickly to serve the purpose for testing.)

Now for more bench work construction!..

Stay tuned for the next update..!

Monday, 3 February 2014

Track Gang completes North staging

All staging including approaches is now completed

Over a very hot weekend (40 degrees Celsius in the shade outside and about 30 inside the shed) I managed to complete the installation of another 10 turnouts including turnout machines and also used up another 32 lengths of Atlas code 55 flex track.

I'm now happy to report that the track gang has now completed all staging tracks including the long approach tracks from the North and the South.

The new staging tracks were tested with the 0-5-0 switcher and 12 box cars and 4 pass cars.
All passed with out issue.

The next step is to commission the track with track power and block detection.

Once the main deck of the layout is installed and the fascia is installed I intend to have portholes in the fascia to enable the engineer to see where the train is up to as the run from staging to the main deck is quite long (ie around 15 meters or so).
Here is an example of how I intend to do it.
(Thanks to Darren French for the idea.)

Stay tuned for the next update.