Monday, 26 June 2017

Track laid at last;

I've finally finished laying the track and points on my new layout "Smestow"

Still have one point servo to fit when I can get the parts needed to do the job.

Picture left,
An overall view of the track plan looking towards the buffer stops. Although there is only one bufferstop made and fitted at the moment.
Most of the track is Peco code 75 bullhead rail with slightly wider sleeper spacing than the old HO track. The turnouts are also Peco but are the flat bottomed rail type as currently produced.
I could have waited for Peco to release their new Bullhead rail points but, who knows how long before they hit the model shp shelves. and even then I don't think the 3 way points shown here will be amongst the first to become available.
So, it's a combination of new and old for this project. 
There is also a bit of C&L Finescale flexitrack in there as well.
I had to shim up the sleepers to match the height of the Peco offerings by gluing Evergreen 0.125" x 0.030 plastic strip under every sleeper. 
 Not a hard job but time consuming and at least it;s used up what bit of C&L track I had.

This is the view in the "UP" direction looking towards the fiddle yard. The eagle eyed viewer might notice a missing sleeper just in front of the point nearest the camera (Phone) This will be fitted when I come to ballast the track.

I say ballast, but this section of track which is in the goods yard may not get ballasted at all!   I'm taking a tip from Chris Nevard and using DAS air drying clay to represent ash ballast as used in most goods yards and sidings.

I spent a few hours this afternoon running a test loco over the layout and snagging a few little niggles like a bad rail joint that refused to conduct electricity. A quick dab with the soldering iron cured that one! Other than that it all works and does what it's supposed to do so the next stage is painting the sleepers and rails before ballasting, then weathering the track,
I'll use my air brush for this as painting the lot by hand will take months at the rate I'm progressing at the moment. 

Off scene a start has been made on some of the buildings and civil engineering bits,  The road over bridge forming the scenic break can just be seen in the 2nd picture. This is a modified Wills kit. More on that and other stuff in the next blog entry when I get a round to it.
Cheers for now  Frank

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Weekend wiring!

Wiring continues apace on Smestow.
Made a start on the control panel, Non of this new fangled DCC trickery here!
When I started planning this layout I did think about both changing to EM gauge and using DCC but, then I looked at all of my locos and stock and a rough costing of conversion was beyond my disposable income, Anyway, I enjoy wiring and electronics anyway so the decision was made to stick with analogue control and conventional wiring.

This is the inside of the operating control panel,
Two multicore cables with 25way D type connectors connect the panel to the layout.
The circuit board at the back is just a 12V DC distribution block bought from one of my regular suppliers on E Bay.
There are still a few wires to be connected. I'm testing and checking as I go along rather than complete all the wiring in one go only to discover that I made a mistake somewhere and have to start fault finding. Testing after each wiring session ensures all is going well and it will all work when finished.

 This is the rear of the front panel.
Again still more wiring to be done.
There is NO track power in the panel, all section switches and servo motor drivers being controlled by relays operated by the switches shown.
There is no point in bringing track power wiring into the panel only to go out again after switching,
Using this method keeps all the track wiring short and helps to prevent any volt drop through cables and connectors.

The front of the panel.

The track layout diagram is made from aluminium sheet laminated with Plasticard.
Tracks are represented by using various coloured tapes. The colours of the tapes matching the colour of the toggle switch covers making it easy to see which switch controls each section.
All points and signals are operated via servo motors and the toggle swithes for these have grey covers.

There's still a lot to do as you can see, some of the indicator LEDs have yet to be fitted and wired back to relays controlled by the servo positions, the same relays also take care of frog polarity switching.
Ah well, back to doing a bit more wiring and another update on progress soon.