Saturday 26 June 2010

Fresh(er)water wiring completed

A weekend exhibiting Coley Park at Yeovilton followed by a weekend in Slovenia on a business trip slowed progress, but last week saw the completion of the wiring for the point operating servos to a 'temporary' switch box which will be replaced by Merg CBUS control one day. Unfortunately, two of the Merg Servo4 controller circuits I built last summer failed to respond to the setting up box. I only had 5 of the 7 points working.

However, I checked the Merg forums and it seems that there was a fault with programming the PIC microcontrollers for the kits last year (since fixed). An email to the Merg kitmaster saw a speedy response, and two new microcontrollers turned up in the post this morning. They are now fitted and working, and the two faulty ones will be returned for re-programming. Many thanks to Martin (Merg kitmaster).

The fiddle yard has one length of track laid and wired up, but that is all for now.

I have also added some more bits of wood to the underside of the baseboards to protect the wiring, servos and circuit boards during transit, and have purchased wood and bits to build the lighting gantry, but it was just too hot to do much today.

So, at the AGM, there will be plain, unballasted track and no scenery, but quite a lot going on underneath the baseboards, and hopefully trains running (analogue DC and/or DCC).

Ian Morgan.

Sunday 6 June 2010

Another milestone - trains running

This week saw the completion of the track wiring, and the successful test running of trains all over the layout. There was just one missing link wire found. Wiring up the point operating servos is still to be done. From the photos you can see one Merg Servo4 board mounted under the baseboard. Two more of these will be fitted to control the remainder of the points, and the, as yet, non-existant uncoupler magnet devices.

One inovation I have added is to allow instant switchover from analogue DC operation to DCC operation. The rails are divided up into sections, as normal. Individual lengths of rail in a section are linked up by the copper tape runs beneath the layout. The point 'frog' sections are kept as short as posible, and are fed from microswitches operated by the point mechanisms, switching between the two adjacent stock rails. Each rail 'section' is kept separate on the layout, and are fed by wires from a single multipole connector (an old Centronics parallel printer socket with 36 pins.

I then added wire links inside a plug to connect the sections together. For analogue DC, siding sections are linked to 'frog' sections so that they are isolated by the points. Another plug, for DCC operation, would link together all the left-hand rails, and all the right-hand rails, and leave the 'frog' sections unconnected.