Wednesday, March 11, 2015

It's ALIVE !

Yes, today I put in the droppers from the new track and points on the wye. First thing was to get the Dremel out and put on the wire brush and clean all the spots on the sides of the rail where the droppers were to be soldered. Next I drilled the holes for the droppers through the layout and between the sleepers as close to the rail as possible. I cut the droppers a little longer than required to make sure I could recover from any cutting accidents later on. I then fed the droppers into place from underneath the layout, so a bit of lying down on the job was required.

Next step was to tin the places just cleaned by the Dremel as well as tinning the now cut droppers.

It was now time to solder the wires into place. I forgot to get a pic of the wire shape before soldering, but we use solid core wire which is actually detonator wire, which is available from Bunnings. This makes bending the wire easy and it holds the shape while soldering. I shape it with an "L" at the end of the wire and a 45 degree bend near it so that it is held against the rail after it exits the hole in the layout.

Above you can make out the shape I make the wire, and below is it fully soldered in place.

Now another lie down was required, again under the layout. This time to gather all the droppers and join them into the main wiring bus. In this instance I had four pairs of droppers and decided that would fit into our joiner block OK without the need to add in another joiner block. For this wye, I was going to join into the bus used for the reversing loop that forms one leg of the wye. This bus was wired with blue and black wires. The red and white wires are our droppers.

So I gathered all four wires into a bundle after stripping about 20 mm of insulation off of them. I then twisted them together and used a pair of pliers to finish it off with a tight twist.

Then it was in with a pair of side cutters and trim the bared section down to about 10 mm.

Into the connection block and out with the trusty screw driver to tighten the screw down and it was done.

So a quick polish of the rail head with a track cleaning rubber and some test wagons were thrown down nice and fast to make sure they didn't fall off - all good :o)

Next was to install sleepers where they were missing after all the trackwork. So spare ones were collected around the place and the rail chairs trimmed off with a sharp Xacto knife.

Here are some before and after shots. And yes, I over-cut on one chair - but it doesn't matter, as by the time the paint and ballast goes on you won't notice it - it is only cosmetic.

I use a 50/50 mix of water and white glue to hold down these sleepers. Applied with the nifty Xuron applicator for accurate positioning and application of the liquid. You slip the sleepers into place then apply a few big drops of liquid and it soaks in all round and when dry you wouldn't know it was there - visibly that is.

After lunch the boys were running trains and Bruce Harper gave the wye a go and gave it two thumbs up! So I was happy with the results of my days' work on the HO layout.

The other fellas were of course busy too. B1 changed the battery in the N scale exhibition layout NCE Powerhouse system and she now runs like a beaut. The JMRI on the Raspberry Pi was tested and failed. Failed I say...failed!

We could get a DHCP delivered IP address and could see the advertised Wi Server and could even connect to it, yet could not drive a loco from any wireless phone. Sad indeed. Reboots failed, resets failed, NCE reset and reboots failed. Then we clicked to it - the reset of the NCE after the battery was installed, sets it back to a serial connection speed of 9600 baud.  We bet ourselves that the JMRI was setup for something else - we'd need a PC to be able to play around. But, as I put it, why not fiddle at the NCE level since we could do that today - so we did. We went in and set it to 19200 baud and yeeee harrrrrrrr, it all started to work at the JMRI level. So no PC required and it all made sense again.

Besides that, we did some cleaning of the layout with brushes to loosen the accumulated dust and the small vacuum cleaner to suck the dislodged dirt away.

Dallas was also doing some last minute bits to the T-TRAK. I expect the T-TRAK , N Scale and HO Scale layouts will all get packed up on Saturday, being the last weekend before we head away for the Bundaberg show - not many more sleeps to go.

Bruce Hagaman and Dave and Phil were at the helix today and getting a new skyboard in place.

Last but not least, Darryl D was there for the morning and tack glued in some buildings so we could see what the layout of the wharf is heading for - nice.

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