Search This Blog

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Got my dining room back! This is where we'll eat!

Good and bad.  Got the dining room back but all the train stuff in here went back into the train room...organized of course.  Now it's time for a big sale!  Already posted things on e-bay and have TONS more to post.  See the link below.  Geez...if there is anything you are looking for, let me know! 

This is a picture before I re-arranged the table and chairs.  I spent over 9 hours moving everything.  Afterward, there was so much light in the house I felt like I moved into a new home...complete with a model railroad!  LOL.  I wish I had a before picture.  Back when I moved everything out from under the layout, it was to install lower level lighting, BDL's, DS64, and do some re-wiring.  I expected that to take 3 months.  Well, it's been 3 years!  Several months ago I set a deadline to get my dining room back.  The deadline was by then end of the year (2011)...I made it!.  Happy New Year!

Check out what I am selling on ebay...

Friday, December 30, 2011

Layout Testing Successful!

This is a pic of the gang that visited on 12/27/11.  From Rear Left, Mark Bridgwater (visiting from Seattle), Wayne Lawson, Jerry Rogers, Front Row, me and Larry Lane.  I spent 27 hours over 2 days doing a number of things to be ready for the gang.  Installed 11 tortoises (One of them from a ladder!  See 2nd photo), 3 DS64's, cleaned and vaccumed the layout rooms, fixed little annoying problems, etc.  We ran lots of trains around the layout and had a great time.  A on-again-off-again short decided to be on again and melted a loco truck...of course on one of my favorite locos.  We had a few turnout power issues but nothing a bright boy couldn't solve.  All in all we had a great time and it was pleasing to see it all run so well.  Next test session is set for January 14th.

This is a pic of what I had to do to get just one of the Tortoises installed.  I couldn't move the benchwork that bows out and I couldn't get up inside due to the supports so had to use a ladder and install it from above.  It was for the upper level turnout just as the track came in from the layout.  This one and the one on the lower level took a total of 3 hours!  Really!

Wayne Lawson - a Digitrax manual!

Mark Bridgwater...while not a great track cleaner...he's the only one I had at the time.  Check out that face!

Jerry Rogers posing...I mean running a train through the loop above.

Couple of trains going around the loop.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Mark Bridgwater coming soon!

My good friend Mark Bridgwater is coming from Seattle on Tuesday.  I'm excited because we'll get lots of work done on the layout, right Mark ;-) and then we're going to run trains.  Hopefully a few other friends will be able to stop by so we can put the layout to the test, identifying problem areas and setting up a (Oh no, not another) PROJECT LIST...Argh!

Ok...all I gotta do is make more money so I can pay someone to do all this work!  The journey is getting old...I just want the destination!

More on Mark's visit later in the week.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Turnout motors installed and operating!

I was finally able to get more turnout motors installed and operating with the DS64's.  Still several more to go.  Was talking to Mary Barstow last week and I estimated about another 20 hours to complete this project.  Uh...I should add 100 more hours to that too!

Time has been short lately...not so much because of the holidays, but because work has been sooooo busy...but then that's a good thing!  On top of that, I've started a new business rehabbing houses.  I already worked 12-15 hours a day so now I have to decide what business am I working in for that 12-15 hours a day.  Good or bad, the days fly by!  Now if I could just get this third "job" going on a regular basis...oh wait, model railroading is not supposed to be a's supposed to be fun!

Phil Klein visits from Portland

Unfortunately, I remembered to take a photo AFTER he left!  Sorry Phil!  Phil was amazing at figuring out a few little electrical glitches.  Thanks again Phil!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Turnout Motors Installed...and Not!

Well, I had a list of things to do on the RR today so I started hacking away at the list with finishing gluing the BNSF staging area and painting the plumbing plugs that are used to hold the switch for the turnout motors.  Then I installed several turnout motors.  So far ok.

After that I decided to tackle two turnout motors that are VERY difficult to install.  You know the kind, not enough clearance to easily install them and of course structural things in the way too.  It took a couple hours and I finally got one installed.  The second one, ARGH!  A couple hours later, still no go.  I think I'm going to have to think on this and come back later.  I feel like I've done yoga for the past 8 hours and my body needs a rest!  Ouch!  I think I need to go to the chiropractor!

Kurt Best, Visitor, Stops by

My friend Kurt Best from Oregon stopped by for a quick visit on his vacation from Oregon.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Gluing track in BNSF staging

Just starting to glue track in BNSF staging to finally get this completed!  I don't drink soda but I use full soda cans for weights when gluing track.  They fit nicely inside of the track or, as you can see on another post, they work just fine in the upright position too when space is tight.

More Track Laying for the BNSF Staging

Almost done gluing track.  This is the Calwa Jct. area leading into staging.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

JMRI Panel Updated

Last week Mark Lestico and I updated the JMRI panel to reflect the current track configuration and making corrections to the panel.  I also added most of the turnout control to the panel.

I have a lot more to do but tentatively planning an ops shakedown for January 14th.  Interested?  Lemme know.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

More Progress

This past Tuesday I planned to get all the BNSF staging installed. However, things take longer than they "are supposed to" so that didn't get completed.  I did get the cork installed and one throat installed.  This weekend I will get the other throat installed.  I'd like to say I will get Tortoises installed on 7 turnouts too but due to timeing don't expect I will get that far.  But let's see what happens!  Once this area is complete, I need to finish up some track connections at Goshen, intall a reverser for the Y there, and a few other track/electrical gremlins that cropped up.  If all that goes well, we should be able to run trains "flawlessly" with all new turnout controls by mid to end of November!  Yaaaaa!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Lots of Progress!

Accomplished lots of progress since the last post.  The majority of the DS64 installation is done except for a few turnouts, which need the Tortoise's installed due to inacessable locations.

I started the installation of the BNSF staging cut-off and have the subroadbed and cork down and cut through the back board where the track will traverse.  Tomorrow I will start and hopefully complete the track installation there.  Then the next step will be to install the Tortoises for those 4 turnouts and I hope to have those done by the end of the month.

The control panels for Fresno are 99% complete.  Just a couple more turnouts to install, again due to inacessable locations.

I'd say, that's a lot of progress!  Onward!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

DS64 Update

Continuing from my last post, of course the gremlins crept in...and right off the bat too!  Installing two switches and 4 LED's, the LED brightness was compromised (for some reason!), so I went to RS and bought 4 green-only LED's and installed them that way, the LED being lit for the route selected vs a bi-color LED.  I like the look better anyway!  By the time I got all that purchased, figured out and done, half the day was over!  Is it just me or is time going fast for you too?

Now that the Loop turnouts and LED's were complete it was time to turn to the two control panels at Fresno.  This went much smoother, however, due to time, I was only able to complete 1/2 of one panel.  It went quickly so I figure I can get both panels complete if I just spend 1 more whole day doing just that.  This weekend...hmmm.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

DS64 installation almost complete

I've got almost all the DS64's installed and turnouts connected.  Just a few more and then complete the installation of the two panels at Fresno Yard.  As planning and reality connect, I "plan" to have all this done today.  Let's see what reality allows!  Once this project is done I can get all the crap that is normally under the layout out of the dining room (now a storage area!) out of the dining room and back in the train room.  Ideally, I'd like this done by the end of the month!  Planning vs reality again!  Fingers crossed...LOL.  Now, once the turnout control is handled we'll have a test run session to make sure everything works.

Monday, August 29, 2011

DS64's Installed on Lower Level

Yes, I haven't been blogging much.  Yes, I have been working on the RR.  Yes, I have been productive!  Friend Lloyd Lerher has given me info on fascia panel mounting of the Tortise switches.  I put his advice to use and finished all the lower level mainline tortoise control switches, recessed into the fascia.   These are connected to LED's on the fascia and to DS64's.  Yaaaa!  I need to install DS64's in the upper level and then we won't have to worry about turnout control when running a train...except in the Traffic Center, which will get done soon too.  Yeah...I!

Monday, June 27, 2011

BDL's Complete!

Finally!  I finished the installation of the BDL's with the completion of the Bakersfield area.  There are really two more to go but those are for the staging area and will be installed at a later date.

Still waiting for the DCS100 to be returned from Digitrax.  There is a layout test date set for July 2 but that may not happen if I don't have a DCS100.

Mark and I have changed several items on the JMRI panel and he is working on a few more changes for better operational ability.

The layout is on a local layout tour at the end of July and I plan to be on that tour, given I have the DCS100 back and operating.  If you would like to run trains for that tour, please contact me at 310-344-9145.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Recent Happenings...

OK...sorry for the lack of posts but here is an update.  The signals...with the conductive paint and LOTS of patience, I got all but 3 of the signals working again.  Saved me over $200!  Now we can continue to install them.  Mark Lestico got the panel updated to reflect signal indications and that's downloaded to the computer and great!

I've installed 2 more BDL's with 3 to go, 1 now and 2 later.  One thing that makes this process last so long for me is that I am also, to an extent, re-wiring under the layout.  I'm also cleaning up the wiring as I go.  In the end, it all looks "pretty" for those of you that look under the layout!

I got several spurs installed but not yet glued down, replaced a siding in Goshen, replaced turnouts in Goshen from regular to Y's, removed a crossover in goshen and shortened the siding there too.  We have temporarily installed the Kings River Bridge at Kingsburg.  I need to re-install the turnouts there as we pulled them to install the bridge.

Next on the list...Oh geez, don't ask how long that list is!  There's a lot to do as you can imagine when building a large layout.

I scheduled a test run session for June 4th but a couple days later had to cancel that as my DCS100 went on the blink.  It should be arriving at Digitrax early June and I hear that I may see it before August!  Well let's hope it's sooner than that!  I rescheduled the test run for July 2nd.  If you're interested in joining us, please let me know.  If the DCS is still not back, I'll reschedule it again.

I'm sure I missed a few things that have recently been accomplished but as I recall them I'll post the info.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Good news on the signal issue

Yesterday while tinkering with the signals that I put the conductive paint on, MOST of them worked.  Perhaps the paint just has to thouroughly dry before it will conduct properly.  Although, while conducting, it must have some resistance in there as the LED is not as bright as it should be.  Back to the testing room!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Update on Signal issues

Well, I purchased a conductive paint pen and applied the paint to the LED's on the signals.  Only a very few worked of the ones I tried this on.  Plan B is to contract Digitrax tomorrow to see if the LED's can be changed out by the user.  If not, Plan C is to order more signals!  Argh!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Two steps step backward! Signals on the CPRX

We got together yesterday to "build" the signals on the layout.  We're using a combination of the Digitrax signals with etched brass parts from Serge in Canada.  We filed all the square LED's on the signals so they would fit in the round holes on the signal faces and then glued the base, platforms and ladders to the signals.  They look great!  Next step is to apply the face and the hood, essentially the signal head.  So before everyone left for the day, I thought I'd paint one so we could see the finished product.  Once painted and heads fitted, we plugged it into the system...nothing!  Dark!  Oh poop!

At first we suspected the paint shorted them out.  Nah...not that easy.  Worse!  Long story short, while we were filing the LED's, we conveniently sanded the electrical connection to the LED!  Oh poop again but more poop this time!  And we didn't just sand a few, we sanded all 52 signals, about 1/2 double headed, 3 LED's per head!  Now that's a lot of poop!

Given the LED is meltable, I can't solder anything so I'm going to get some conductive paint and see if I can repair them that way.  That's plan A.  Plan B will be to try to replace the destroyed LED's with new ones.  Plan C...we'll let's just not go there because that would be a whole truck full-O-poop!

If you have any suggestions...please let me know.  I'll keep you updated.  Below is a pic of the signal without the heads and hoods installed...just raw LED's.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Misc projects completed...well almost

Today I spent some time in the RR room cleaning and organizing in preparation for the work party next weekend and worked on the blog design.  I also programmed 8 locomotives and can't seem to get the 9th one to program.  That's the almost part...darn!  Lastly I worked on sealing a door on the side of the room where it seems that all the black widows use for an entrance.  No more!

Next weekend I'm hosting a work party for the RR and we'll be workin' on the Kings River bridge, building the hoods and ladders for the signals and testing the new JMRI panel.  Wooohoo!  That's on the 9th and if you wanna join us just drop me a line.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

RSS Link to this BLOG

In case you weren't aware, you can click the orange RSS link above to automatically receive updates when they are posted.  It's simple but if you need help with that, lemme know!

The New, new, new (Did I get enough "new's" in there Mark?) dispatch panel

Mark Lestico is working on the latest version of the JMRI dispatch panel.  I think he has re-done this panel about 47 times (or more).  Of course this will tie into the BDL work that I am doing and the signalling that Mark and I are working on.  We ordered signal head "parts" from Serge in Canada that we will be installing on the Digitrax signals to make them look more like the actual UP signals used and we'll be putting those together in a couple weeks.  I'll post about them when we get those done.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Update 3-22-11 - Completed installation of BDL's

I try to take at least 1/2 a Tuesday off so I can work on the RR.  That doesn't always happen.  However, today I got in about 2 hours of work on the RR and finished connecting 2 BDL's, one under Mojave and one under Fresno.  I installed a 3rd one but it's not connected to the rail but I did get it connected to power and the Loconet.  More later...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

First Post...just getting started

Well, now I'm just getting started with blogging.  I have a web site, already set up with an UPDATES section there.  Let's see how the blog works and make a decision if this is easier or simply posting on the web site is easier.  Check out the web site.