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T O P I C    R E V I E W
kumard Posted - 01/10/2016 : 2:19:51 PM
Today I'm starting my new model railway called 'the Town'. It will be another location on the same branch line that my other model 'The Depot' (at Carendt) is situated along.

I'll spend some time in the next couple of months fleshing out the universe that this branch line lives within - namely history, geographical, location, time period, other stations/depots/stops etc. For the moment this is what I have:

  • Somewhere in the upper Midwest.

  • The time period is a mixture of the late 50s, early 60s.

  • The branch is over 100 miles long. It's connected to a mainline in the south-east.

  • It's crossed in several places by other railroads.

  • It ends in a small terminus in a small town in the north-west.

  • The branch is a Soo Line branch that was taken over in some kind of merger or purchase and has never been a favorite of the administration. Its financial returns, marginal at best, are now no longer able to sustain it and it has been marked for closure within two years.

  • Passenger travel ended in the early 50s but the occasional fan trip from the Soo Line Historical Society sends a steam engine up the line with eager rail fans every few years.

Here's the photo that will provide the aesthetic foundation for the model. It has been a favorite of mine for some time now. Although the picture is set in winter or early spring I'll keep the model within summertime but with the usual muted colors.
1/12/15 - With the assistance of another forum member I was able to trace the source of the image (thank you Robert Chant). As I suspected it is copyrighted. I've written to the owner to allow me to post it here but in the meantime I've removed it and have replaced it with a link to the official source.

Here's a sketch of the layout. It's of a simple loop but crossed by another line. The other line is the remains of a local traction company that also serviced several industries. The traction company has long gone along with its electric power and a few remaining industrial tracks are now serviced by the Soo.

I'll post more this week. I'm trying to learn a rail design program to produce a proper working diagram. I intend to start construction in March beginning with the benchwork. The size will be 72 inches with 18 inches.
15   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
kumard Posted - 09/09/2018 : 2:49:09 PM
Busy week and first chance to respond. Thanks all. I'll post some progress soon. Getting back into things this week.
Frank Palmer Posted - 09/04/2018 : 09:17:29 AM
I like the idea of a removeable control panel.
robert goslin Posted - 09/02/2018 : 03:05:05 AM
Kumar, Nice to have you back posting again.
Really looking forward to your updates.
BTW Nice control panel, and very neat wiring, that we've come to expect from you.

quartergauger48 Posted - 09/01/2018 : 9:30:08 PM
George D Posted - 09/01/2018 : 09:32:03 AM
Nice looking panel, Kumard. I'm looking forward to seeing your structure work.

BurleyJim Posted - 09/01/2018 : 09:10:02 AM

You will thank yourself forever, for the job you have done documenting your work. Awesome job on this one.

Michael Hohn Posted - 09/01/2018 : 09:01:39 AM

Fine, careful work. The panel looks very neatly done with a clear diagram that will enhance operations.

Nice seeing you back at it.

Tyson Rayles Posted - 09/01/2018 : 07:53:41 AM
Good to see you back at it!
Bill Gill Posted - 09/01/2018 : 06:58:20 AM
Glad you're able to be working on your project again. Good looking control panel.
railman28 Posted - 09/01/2018 : 12:20:18 AM
Just excellent trackwork. I always find layout wiring a little scary and yours is no exception but hay, it works and it looks like it will be easy to maintain so good job and congratulations.
kumard Posted - 08/31/2018 : 11:59:05 PM

Back from a long break away from the hobby - first break in ten years. I got sideswiped by events beyond my control and had to take some time out to deal with the situation.

The Town's been sitting on its shelf for the last few months but this weeked I'm putting it back on the workbench to start building the structures.

The last time I posted the control panel was nearing completion. In fact I finished it and fitted it.

The diagram was printed on glossy photopaper in my color printer and I sandwiched it between the control panel backing and a sheet of plexiglass. I used a black and white version of the plan as a guide for the drill and held the whole structure tightly using clamps while I drilled the holes in my press drill.

The smaller holes drilled through nice and clean.

The larger ones did not come out so clean but the splintered edges are going to be covered by the washers around the switch.

The three layers that comprise the control panel will be held together using the switches.

The switches hold the three layers together. Switch E's thread got broken and I was unable to rethread it so this weekend I'll replace it before doing anything else.

I wanted a very lightweight control panel that I could easily remove for maintenance and I'm pleased with the result. The board can be pulled from its bracket very easily and quickly.

This marks the end of the wiring part of the project. Onto the structures and the fun part of the project!

Thanks all.
quartergauger48 Posted - 04/03/2018 : 7:27:56 PM
This is excellent wiring work! Very difficult to foresee any problems developing down the line'. Congratulations on your outstanding work'.
kumard Posted - 04/03/2018 : 3:35:12 PM
Thanks Frank. I look forward to see your latest progress in the coming weeks.
Frank Palmer Posted - 04/02/2018 : 11:06:54 AM
Very nice wiring job Kumard, I like your use of blocks to secure the wiring to. Our O-Scale switching layout should be approaching that phase in a week or so.
kumard Posted - 04/02/2018 : 01:08:18 AM
Thanks Michael and Dave. I'm going to use the rivets method on the next module.

With the two/three buses now fitted and powering all the track it was time to start fitting the turnout motors. I decided to use Circuitron Tortoise switch machines and purchased a set of six from Ebay.  I paid around $16 per motor.

If you've never used a Tortoise machine or powered up a handlaid turnout it can seem quite a hill to climb to figure out the wiring. Not only are you powering the motor to switch the turnout but you are also sending power to the frog of the turnout which has to switch poles depending on the direction the points have been set to.  It's been a couple of years since I last did this task so I went online to double check the power inputs.

The motors rely on a 12 volt system separate from the controller and therefore my first task was to get that rigged up using a small 12v DC adapter.  The layout now has three separate wiring systems:

  • A mains AC system for the lighting and the internal power adapters

  • A 15v AC system which then converts to a 12v DC system for the throttle

  • A 12v DC system for the turnout motors and miniature lighting around the model.

Once this new power source was installed I tackled each stage one at time and just mass produced each set of components.

This is very fiddly work but with the assistance of my 'third hand' I was able to cut, chop and solder to create the components very quickly.

Having all the pieces constructed before I started fitting the motors saved an immense amount of time and energy.

I built a second staging platform that sat on the first one. This allowed me to keep the turnout wires separate from the power wires. Not the best solution but I do have access to all the wires (kind of). If I ever rebuild the layout in the years to come I may reorganize this staging platform. The wires connect to the 12v DC adapter and then send power to the DPTD switches that power the switch machines.

Each motor requires five inputs as indicated and is fed from two separate DC systems.

I used a special adapter to fit the wires to the motor. This adapter then connects to a block and the various input and outputs required to make it work: frog, bus, and DPDT switch.

Anyhow each switch took about 30 mins to fit and 30 mins to power - so 1 hour per machine. I did the work over two weekends. It was tiring and stressful and not much fun. Nevertheless after fixing a few minor shorts and other small gotchas the whole system worked really well. My little locomotive was able to navigate the whole layout with ease.

I ended up with quite a tangle of wires. Nevertheless the underlying system is quite easy to understand and I labeled as much as possible. Shorts are quick to trace because I can isolate sections quite easily - all the wires have removable connectors. I don't know if there is an easier way to do it but anyhow it all seems to work really well. Only time will tell how robust the whole system is.

The whole video is on my blog - scroll down the page: http://thedepotonline.com/all/dc-wiring-part-3-turnout-motors/

Anyhow I am really glad this stage is over but I'm not quite ready to start modeling. I still have to build the exit points for the track to connect with the cassettes and also finish off the control panel (it needs a new diagram and re-positioning of the brackets).

I'll get to those in the next week or so and then I'll be ready to start with the structures.

Thanks all.

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