Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thank You NCE..

My Powerhouse Pro DCC command station came home today.  It showed up at my door (with a little  help from the USPS) and I didn't even realize the repair crew at NCE had worked on it and were shipping it back to me.  I had expected a call from them telling me what was wrong and how much it would cost to fix it, but here it was, back at my house.  I opened the box and inside was the repair slip describing the work they did.  They determined the micro-processor on the 5 amp booster was bad and they replaced it.  In the space on the invoice where the price for service would be, a N/C and $0 was there.  I have to tell you my system is about 8 years old and well out of the warranty period, yet they replaced the chip and mailed the command station back, no charge!

The Command Station arrived safe and sound.

Proof that NCE stands behind their products!

Now I can return command station Craig Bisgeier lent me (thanks again Craig!).  Also, Jim Scorse and his crew are to be commended for running such a great customer service oriented company.  Thanks NCE!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

How do you keep blog readers in suspence?

OK, I know, it's been too long since the last post and I've kept everyone hanging with how the open house turned out.  Well I'm happy to say it went extremely well.  The other layout owners came by and had a lot of nice, positive things to say about what I'm doing.  I handed throttles to a couple of them and they took trains across the layout without any hiccups from the DCC system (thanks to Craig Bisgeier loaning me his spare NCE Powerhouse Pro).  The only thing we did find out was #28, 4-6-0 could only handle 4 freight cars up the helix with my brass caboose (a few more without the caboose) so I suspect I'm going to have to add weight to my other engines if I expect them to make it up the helix grade with the 12 car trains I envision.  Of course with excitement of opening up for the tour, I neglected to take some pictures.

As far as progress goes,Tom Callan and Ted Pamperin stopped by one night not to long after the open house, and helped me with backdrop trial installation part duex.  Prior to them coming over I had installed plywood backing.  

Plywood backdrop support.

The vinyl flashing that I'm using for the seamless backdrop was then attached to the plywood when the guys stopped by.  If you remember my last attempt, I tried just attaching the vinyl to the studs.  It was an epic failure because there was to much give in the vinyl and I took it down.  This time with the plywood, there is no more give, and I think this will work.  The only thing I might change is to go back and glue the vinyl to the plywood, instead of tacking it on with staples like we did.


Here is what the vinyl flashing installed looks like.

With summer being here, not much is getting done in the basement on the layout.  Not because it's hot down there.. because it's actually the coldest place in the house thanks to the central air.  For some reason though the two front bedrooms in the house do not get adequate air conditioning, especially Nick's room, so he migrates down to the basement to sleep and hang out during the summer months.  I do get chances here and there to work down there, but I usually work on other things, like building my backlog of kits, and work on my home improvement honey do list during the summer. 

During the past week I got laid up with a medical issue that put me in the ER and then required me to stay off my feet for long periods of time.  I was out of work for most of the week, and this nixed my plans to attend the NE RPM meet in Collinsville CT where I was supposed to give a clinic.  Not being able to go really was depressing.  It's one of the things I look forward to attending each year to catch up with old friends.  So I worked on a couple of car kits to keep myself occupied, and to cheer me up.

Picked up this Accurail LNE hopper on a recent trip to the hobby shop (like I really needed another kit to build) and put it together.  It looks like they've updated their kit tooling and the resulting car looks nice.  The instructions still suck, but luckily they are relatively easy to build.

I originally started this PK2 GM&O Mathers stock car in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy during the time we had no power for 12 days.  I worked with a visor light and another lamp in the room powered by our tiny generator.  I had only half finished the car, so I worked on it yesterday and finished the last bits today.

Up next on the layout building agenda is to get some of the guys over again soon to help me with the rest of the backdrop and some of the bulky fascia and valance work.