Sunday, January 10, 2021

Learning from Others: More brains the better

I attended an On2 Zoom meeting the other night, hence the turntable post earlier - a little explaining how I did something and comments on how to improve. Got me thinking......uh, oh.

There are very, very few narrow gauge modelers around where I live. None model On2 or On3.With all the moving to online meetings this year, a few friends started Zoom sessions to share information. I've also  I recently joined a group of two foot modelers who Zoom on a frequent schedule. It's been really eye opening to see the flow of information. I'm slowly seeing the appeal that I've heard others talk about regarding the gathering of like minded groups in the hobby.  Zoom and whatever is next, I think, will only help increase the interest in Narrow Gauge Modeling. We'll see what happens....

Thought I'd share an example of how discussion on these groups can lead to layout improvement. While presenting information the Albion modules, I asked about how others deal with car cards? How to keep them off the top of the layout and off the scenery. I've seen some ideas online but wasn't really pleased with them and some would take significant efforts to attached. Lee Rainey, quickly provided the idea of what he did on his layout. Chris Mchesney followed up with the idea to keeping it high enough to be able to easily pick up the tops of the cards. The technique was simple, elegant and quick to build. Took me less than an hour to build these two. I'm happy with the results. One question, an answer and an improvement suggestion. Quick and easy! Thanks to Dave who put the session together, Lee for having a great solution and to Chris for adding an improvement. Pete Leach shared some ideas on backdrop painting, and.........Looking forward to how this can improve my modeling skills.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Powering the Albion Turntable

The question arouse on how I powered the Albion turntable. While NOT the ideal solution for a DDC system, this seemed like a simple solution and one that I find works well enough for my small layout operation. The idea for building the spider and powering the turntable originated from and article by Russ Watson in the 2010 On30 Annual.


I had to read the article VERY carefully and several times on how to set up the telescoping tubing. I think I did use slightly different sized tubing or a slightly different arrangement in the tubing.

Here is a picture of the spider I built. Only difference from the article is aluminum tubing and brass wheels.

Here is a video link to how it works and the associated momentary"short" that occurs. Not ideal but seems to work. May not be so good for system that uses a motor to turn the table. Two suggestions to stop the short would be: 1) a larger insulated gap between the split brass tubing and 20 smaller diameter wire. With Stay-Alive capacitors, I think a bigger gap would not cause a problem. One more thing to try........


Here is a video of the spider and tubing:

I hope this helps those who asked about it. For those who have a better solution, I'd love to hear about it, please leave a comment.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Albion Get's a Flanger!

 Just in time for winter snow, Albion has a new flanger. The WW&F always kept a plow and flanger in Wiscasset and in Albion just in case. While this particular flanger usually stays in Wiscasset, today its in Albion. The flanger started out as a Sandy River Car kit but most of the scribed siding had to be replaced as it was improperly cut. I added interior details based on the drawings in the WW&F book set. I think it makes a nice addition to the scene. Now, to make those small side windows......


Sunday, November 29, 2020

Upper Wiscasset Gets a Car Shed

 I recently finished the car shed for the upper yard in Wiscasset, otherwise known as staging. The car shed existed sometime between 1900 to sometime prior to 1910 when it burned down. After the WW&F lost the coal contract withe the woolen mill in North Vasselboro, they built a coal shed on the site. While I am modeling a time when it is likely the car shed had already burned down, it was a convenient structure to have on the module for.......storing cars. Yes, the shed was painted yellow, I actually used a more toned down yellow as bright yellow was just too much! The structure has been done for a little while, however, I just completed the window glazing.

 Here are some shots from while it was under construction

Sunday, October 25, 2020

DC&L RY Number 3 and 4 Back in Service

 I have been very slow to replace/return the two WOW decoders in two separate engines that I have. Both were purchased and installed at the same time and both failed at the same time. The fist is a GrandtLine porter that I build when I was 1in high shcool and rebuilt several times adding DCC in the last rebuild. Tight fit for the speaker, decoder, and stay alive. The Flying Zoo Climax also has a very tight fit for both the decoder, stay alive and small speaker. They were a BEAR to get in there. All those blasted wires and tight spaces! So, when the decoders sound failed, I checked with the folks at TCS about the issue, sure they are under warranty, just send them in. Problem - taking them out and putting new ones in was likely to cause breakage on the models and require more effort than I wanted to put in. So, they have sat for, well, a long time. 

So, instead of removing them, sending them in, and then installing them when they came back, I ordered new decoders and decided to swap them out. Get it over with in one difficult time. 

 The Porter

No. 3. is a plastic GrandtLine porter. I replaced the TCS WOW decoder with a new Tsunami 750. Soundtraxx decoders work so much better with those German Faulhaber motors. I think the 50:1 gears in the motor make them difficult to control. No idea but I have similar problems with PSC shays that use the same motor. The Tsumani 750 is slightly smaller than the WOW decoder and accepts the TCS stay alive. So, having slightly more space allowed for a much easier re-install than expected! Up and running in a little under an hour!

Flying Zoo Climax 
Replacing the TCS WOW decoder on the Climax was even easier! I forgot that the wires on WOW decoders have a wire harness for both ends! I just unplugged each and plugged the new one in. Very easy. The biggest problem with both of these installs was getting the wires just the right length. Not too short, not too long, and getting them all soldered together in a tight space with them moving all around. Since I didn't need to cut any wires or solder for this replacement - BIG SIGH of relief. Back up and running! Sounds GREAT. Amazing sound for such a little speaker. I think TCS has improved their motor control, as the engine ran great with no changes to motor control CV's. 

Bottom line. I'm really happy that I dug into this project. I'm happy to get both fine looking and fine running engines back up and running. Now, to send those two TCS decoders back for warranty, hope they will still fix'em, I have two engines waiting. 
Here's a short video of the engine on a runby
Cheers - Brian



Sunday, October 11, 2020

Albion- Upper Valence and LED lights

 I decided to tackle a project that I have been putting off for a LONG TIME. I've needed to put the upper valence and LED lights over the Albion module. I managed to get them up over the upper Wiscasset Yard module but thought with the odd shape, Albion would be a challenge. Not too bad. Last of my LED's.

 Here is mid way through. The framing.

Next is the nearly completed project. Still some painting and other items to finish.

Both together
Upper Yard with backdrop painted


Friday, October 9, 2020

October Coal Train

Some Coal Train Action in October, just before the leaves changed