Thursday, January 24, 2013

"I have spent my whole life trying to figure out crazy ways of doing things." - Montgomery Scott, Chief Engineer USS Enterprise

I've been working out a location to centralize all of the layout controls. I've set up the command station, circuit breaker panels, and section power switches along with short indicators in one spot in the center of the whole layout run.

The layout is broken down into 4 power districts.  I built this panel which has rocker switches that light up green when the power is on in each section.  I have red LED's below the switches and they light up when a Powershield circuit breaker trips because of a short in the section it's protecting. 

I had some wood frames that came with some machinery delivered to my shop at work.  I held onto them with the thought they could be re-purposed in the future.  I used one here to make hanging shelves to hold some of the electronic equipment for the layout.  Here you see one of the LED light power supplies, and the NCE DCC command station.

Command central- the brains of my Ma & Pa layout.  I'm hopping to pick up some radio equipment for the NCE system this coming weekend at the Amhearst Society Train Show in Springfield MA, and will install it here too.

I'll be up at the Amhearst Society Train Show in Springfield MA at The Big E Fairgrounds ( helping out my friend Tom Callan, from Shortline Hobbies, so if you're at the show, stop by his table in the Mallory Building and say hi to us!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Ordo ab chao (out of chaos, comes order)

This week I tackled the last section of the layout that needs feeders connected to the DCC bus.  The York yard section has the most feeders out of any section of the layout (obviously because it's a yard) but I finished tying them all into the DCC power bus in short order.  Now, with the exception of the York Station module, the whole layout is wired.

I mentioned in another post I was using 3m Scotchlock connectors, but that's not entirely correct.  The 3m connectors go for around $40 for a box of 50.  These are from Harbor Freight and a package of 50 (25 red, 25 blue) goes for $4.99.  They work very well and I used them all over the layout.

The chaos.. a sea of feeders as far as one can see..

And the order.. The connectors really make it a simple, fast and neat way to connect your wiring together.

Next, I took out the masonite board that the Powersheild circuit breakers were mounted to along with a RRAMP meter.  These components came from my old L&HR N-Scale layout.  I mounted it in a trial location but this might change once I start to tie the DCC command station into the layout.

The DCC Powershield circuit breaker boards in a trial location. 

This is the circuit breaker board I had on my old L&HR layout.  Everything worked well and I saved it for future use on a new layout.  Now, if I could only remember where all those loose wires were supposed to go...

Coming in the next couple of weeks will be installation of the NCE DCC components and UTP panels along with the cables connecting them.  Maybe the layout will be operational by the end of February?  Could be.. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

"It's Deja Vu All Over Again"- Yogi Berra

I'm progressing along quickly with the bus wires and with connecting feeders to them.  I'm 2/3rds finished with this part of the wiring project.  

Top level.  Here you see the feeder connections and the Power Werx, Powerpole connectors that connect each section.

Here we see under the bottom level.  I'm using the 3m Scotch Lock connectors to tie the feeders into the bus wires.

I'm finding that all to familiar, but funny Yogi-ism rearing it's ugly head again..  I thought I had more than enough 14 gauge wire to get up to the helix on both levels, and of course, I don't.  Also, as I look over the helix, I'm trying to figure how much more I need and I'm remembering how much track it ate up, so I'll bet whatever I figure, it will come up short.  We'll see..

Also in the vein of that Yogi-ism, I brought back one of the blogs I dropped from my roll, The Georgetown Branch- 2010, since it's comeback alive.  Kelly has done some updates to his layout and it's looking good!

I've also added some new blogs that I've been following for about month and I feel they are very informative:

Charles Hostetler's blog-  CNW Modeling in Milwaukee, 1957 has a lot of prototype research, especially waybills, freight car types and their uses.

Everyone should be familiar with Don Ball and his Stockton & Copperopolis Railroad set in 1895.  Don is both a prolific modeler and writer, and he has had many articles published in the hobby press through out the years. 

Volkmar Meier is a American prototype traction modeler who lives in France.  Besides the fact I'm a closet traction buff and modeler, I think this blog is fantastic because of all the work he's doing with 3D printing!

3 blogs on the blog roll are on the warning track (keeping with the baseball theme) with each of them up over two months since the last update.  We'll see what happens with them in the next month.  The Commodore is safe.. for now. ;)