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 Posted: Thu Nov 25th, 2021 01:16 pm
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Barchester
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I find nothing wrong with hand driven Roger, it's less for me to b#@@£r up ! Even my points are hand driven at the moment. I find what you guys do quite fascinating and think I really SHOULD start mechanising ( electricalising ??) Some of it but at the moment I'm finding no time to even RUN things let alone work on anything. the semaphore signal motorizing sounds interesting  :hmm I'm looking forward to seeing what you are experimenting with !  :thumbs
Cheers

Matt



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 Posted: Thu Nov 25th, 2021 03:34 pm
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BCDR
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Hi Roger,

Just catching up on the build. I was scratching my head on why you had so many switches for the transfer table, then remembered you were using DC, not DCC. What are you using antifriction-wise for the table? When I did one of these I used UHMW polyurethane strips (or was it polypropylene? Same material used in artificial joints). Like you I didn't bother with a mechanism. If I had it would have been a linear motor with adjustable stepper control.

Looking at your plan I was struck by all that acreage in the corner. 2 x 2 feet. More than enough for a turntable.

One advantage of using a cutting disc for the rails is that it automatically generates an insulting gap, removing the need for insulating joints. I have a right-angle attachment for the Dremel, gives an almost 90° cut and the track, much more controllable as the Dremel is at 90° to the track. (I always wear goggles, I had a Xuron cutter explode with fragments embedded in the lens a couple of years ago, and cutting discs shatter on a regular basis unless it's one of the heavy duty reinforced ones).

Following with interest. Old school DC and Peco HO/OO track. Any reason why DC and not DCC?

Nigel




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 Posted: Thu Nov 25th, 2021 08:21 pm
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Colin W
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Nigel,


have you any suggestions for a linear stepper motor system which a non-expert could set up and most importantly control. I can find any number of linear drive / motor combinations to buy but it's the control aspect I'm unsure I can deliver.

Colin



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 Posted: Fri Nov 26th, 2021 11:57 am
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fourtytwo
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Colin W wrote: Hi Roger,

Thx for getting back so promptly. I've been discussing this with a friend who is a dab hand at things electro-mechanical and he's been suggesting a stepper motor driven device. That got me wondering what you might have done, given your aptitude in this area.

I'll be putting up some more posts shortly as I'm doing an early trial run assembling the Traverser in situ, now that the main framework is in place.

I hope you're finding some time to progress things at your end.
Regards,

Colin 
Hi Colin,

My present traverser has a fair amount of friction from wood sliding over wood though both surfaces are polished, it was intentional to hold things in position. However my experience of steppers is that any undue friction results in missed steps or even complete failure. Missed steps are disastrous if positioning is only done by counting steps.

I think I would use the same drive method as at Riccarton that being geared servo motors driving a cord system but endless as there is no need of a counterweight. Feedback was by small magnets secured under each rail entry and a linear hall device under the fixed track, this gives position counting as well as absolute alignment but as I said before quite a lot of microprocessor code to do in particular around the fine positioning loop using the linear hall signal. Of course the advantage is positioning is independent of friction and there is plenty of torque (depending on motors) available to overcome it.

Possibly optical feedback may work for those who prefer it but I always find ambient light gets in the way of reliability.

Of course a chunky stepper and minimising friction may be a way simpler means of achieving a result ;-)

Regards
Roger



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 Posted: Fri Nov 26th, 2021 12:08 pm
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Barchester wrote: I find nothing wrong with hand driven Roger, it's less for me to b#@@£r up ! Even my points are hand driven at the moment. I find what you guys do quite fascinating and think I really SHOULD start mechanising ( electricalising ??) Some of it but at the moment I'm finding no time to even RUN things let alone work on anything. the semaphore signal motorizing sounds interesting  :hmm I'm looking forward to seeing what you are experimenting with !  :thumbs
Cheers

Matt
Hi Matt,

Well it was nice to have a rest from complexity and I wanted to get the layout operational asap. One change I did make however was to change from solenoid to servo operated points and I am very pleased I did even though I was slowed down by some teething problems (my rubbish software again). This is now forming the basis of experimenting with operating semaphore signals, so far my experiment has been limited to the mechanical side as shown in the pictures, I chose the old diecast Hornby (typically Dublo era I believe) signals as these are much more robust than the plastic things I have seen & tried to use in the past, they are quite easily obtainable via *bay auctions in various states of decay but simple to rebuild & paint. The only disadvantage to soldering the operating wire as shown is having to unsolder it to remove the signal from the baseboard although possibly unscrewing the servo arm in situ under the baseboard is another option.



I am fairly confident I can use my existing point control software to operate the signals although some work will be required to interlock them with the points. I believe the commercial Megapoints controller could probably operate them as well but perhaps not do the interlocking (I am no expert on it's features).

Regards
Roger



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 Posted: Fri Nov 26th, 2021 01:04 pm
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fourtytwo
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BCDR wrote: Hi Roger,

Just catching up on the build. I was scratching my head on why you had so many switches for the transfer table, then remembered you were using DC, not DCC. What are you using antifriction-wise for the table? When I did one of these I used UHMW polyurethane strips (or was it polypropylene? Same material used in artificial joints). Like you I didn't bother with a mechanism. If I had it would have been a linear motor with adjustable stepper control.

Looking at your plan I was struck by all that acreage in the corner. 2 x 2 feet. More than enough for a turntable.

One advantage of using a cutting disc for the rails is that it automatically generates an insulting gap, removing the need for insulating joints. I have a right-angle attachment for the Dremel, gives an almost 90° cut and the track, much more controllable as the Dremel is at 90° to the track. (I always wear goggles, I had a Xuron cutter explode with fragments embedded in the lens a couple of years ago, and cutting discs shatter on a regular basis unless it's one of the heavy duty reinforced ones).

Following with interest. Old school DC and Peco HO/OO track. Any reason why DC and not DCC?

Nigel


Hi Nigel,

Thank you for your interest, my story of DCC/DC is a very long one as I actually ran a predecessor to DCC of my own design for many years that did not require loco decoders :shock: however the technology at the time (including the available micro-controllers in the mid 1990's) was not really up to it.  Anyway I like DC for the simplicity (to me) of automation when I have used it in the past but mostly because now I am moving into OO with largely 2nd hand stock I don't have to face the additional cost of a decoder every time I buy a loco.

The traverser apart from two pairs of ball bearing drawer slides uses polished wood surfaces for another four supports as I did not want any warping, but I like your idea of plastic strips to further reduce friction if I was to motorise it.

I deliberately chose not to have a turntable and operate the line with tanks, also the available corner is a little inaccessible, instead it's siding will be into an industrial/creamery area as yet undecided. I think I would have planned the whole layout differently if it was to have a turntable preferring it to be near the front of the baseboard.

I have been lucky with cutting disks, over the years I have broken one or two but that's out of some dozen or more used, I don't like the sound of those cutters exploding :roll: nasty, I have never used them as I assumed one has to file of the burrs on the rail afterwards.

Regards
Roger



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 Posted: Fri Nov 26th, 2021 01:17 pm
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fourtytwo
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Thank you all for your interest in my layout and it's various features, I confess complete ineptness where scenery is concerned and I also have very little detailed knowledge of the prototype. I run trains for enjoyment and I have a complete mixture of regions & era's :shock: largely controlled by my limited budget and what I like the look of, about the only vague criteria I use are steam (with the possible exception of elderly railcars) and not too ancient (rocket etc).
I have on occasion in the past built large semi automated layouts and wondered if I was just using the railway as an excuse to write interesting software and devise interesting electronic circuitry having a lifetime interest in both but I do try to keep a lid on it and for that reason this my first OO layout is almost entirely manually controlled the only unrailway like bits being the servo-controller for the points. Anyway here are a few pics of progress as some buildings have been built, stock increased and ballasting completed since my last progress post. The main area remaining incomplete being the station buildings and platform canopies (plus some people & fencing etc).






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 Posted: Fri Nov 26th, 2021 02:46 pm
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BCDR
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Hi Roger,

Interesting. I keep the DC control side separate from the DCC (used only for locomotive control). All of my current locomotive stock is previously used (and in a few cases abused), most of them came with dinosaur motors with horrifying initial current draw. Throwing in a new motor/gearbox and a basic DCC decoder still keeps costs to a fraction of a new one. I quite like the sound of those old Lima ringfield motors with the gears whirring around .

The UHMW plastic is very slippery. If you retrofit it doesn't glue well being almost chemically inert. I had to use CA and countersunk screws. In retrospect some sliding drawer glides or embedded round rollers would have been a lot better (and a lot cheaper than a decent linear drive/motor and control unit). Then again, a tad of friction keeps it located. One advantage of DCC is that you can have multiple storage tracks in a ladder with only one entrance/exit and zero switches. Takes the fun out of it though.

Nigel



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 Posted: Fri Nov 26th, 2021 03:08 pm
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BCDR wrote: Hi Roger,
One advantage of DCC is that you can have multiple storage tracks in a ladder with only one entrance/exit and zero switches. Takes the fun out of it though.

Nigel
I like wires :) I was told this all started when I was very young and disappeared under the floorboards along with the family cat when the house was being rewired :lol:
Roger



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 Posted: Fri Nov 26th, 2021 04:30 pm
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Barchester
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Thats the beauty of our Hobby Roger, from fully sceniced and Automated layouts right down to simple bare end to end shunting planks and everything in between, there is something for everyone, and each of us is free  to do what WE enjoy doing. Some enjoy scenics, some operating complex layouts, some tinkering and adapting, there is NO right or wrong  :thumbs Seeing what your doing with those semaphore signals shows what you can achieve without spending a fortune on the latest expensive kits. Ive got quite thick baseboards to go through and then a false raised trackbed as well ( don't ask  :mutley) so have never bothered thinking about semaphore signals, but seeing your settup I'm thinking that I could actually split a slightly long actuating wire and clamp it somewhere in the middle with a choc block. This would give me some adjustment and also by opening both screws I could then separate the under board gubbins from the signal without unsoldering it anywhere  :hmm
Got me thinking  Thanks  :cheers

Chheers

Matt



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 Posted: Fri Nov 26th, 2021 05:13 pm
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If your layout is the result of ineptness Roger, then my efforts must be something far lower down the scale.

Interesting reading about your working semaphores and I'd echo your comments about the lack of strenght in the, otherwise excellent, plastic offerings available.

I have the Megapoints system operating some of my points and, whilst I've had a few problems centering everything, it seems an excellent system.  I'm planning to attempt some brass MSE kits using Megapoints and servos to operate them.  I have no idea about any interlocking possibilities but Dave Fenton - Mr. Megapoints himself - is extremely helpful so I'd strongly advise contacting him to ask.

Initially, the system looks expensive but when you divide that cost by the number of servos it can control, it looks far more reasonable.



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 Posted: Fri Nov 26th, 2021 05:57 pm
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Petermac wrote: I have no idea about any interlocking possibilities but Dave Fenton - Mr. Megapoints himself - is extremely helpful so I'd strongly advise contacting him to ask.Hi Peter, Thank you so much for your kind comments though I know your kidding me about your models having seen photo's!
We have our wires slightly crossed about the Megapoints I was only suggesting it for people who did not wish to write there own software, where as I make my own blunders :lol:
Roger



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 Posted: Fri Nov 26th, 2021 11:18 pm
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Colin W
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Thx Roger,

We are at other ends of the observable Universe in terms of competence regarding most matters electrical. So, I'm suitably impressed and dissuaded in equal measure now I've seen your traverser control at Riccarton.

My skilled friend likes a challenge and is happily playing around with various ideas, I'll see what he comes up with. It will not be long before I can lay some track on and approaching the traverser, that will give me a better handle on the issues involved. "Handomatic", remains an entirely feasible option in any case.

Regards,

Colin



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 Posted: Sat Nov 27th, 2021 11:40 am
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Barry Taylor
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Hi Roger,I have just caught up with your layout development through ‘recent topics’ and some of the subjects and comments.
I too have gone a similar route being limited for space and have sometimes pondered if I have squeezed in too much track work but being more interested in station operations than ‘running around’ I will live with it.
The controllers you refer too I guess are from the circuit by Roger Amos which I also use and after acquiring a well known manufacturers controller from eBay for comparison I was somewhat disappointed and quickly resold it.
On dismantling a larger layout due to a house move I sold all my point motors and now am a convert to the Megapoints system for points and will be using it to control my signals when I get round to it.
I have tested one with a servo just to see how the various ‘bounce’ and ‘signal pull off’ features work and I am hooked.
I am currently making a turntable for my shed and now being unable to access proper engineering equipment I am having to design it for ‘table top’ engineering.
I am using the Dapol/ Airfix kit and introducing bearings in the table, electrical pick ups for the rails along with under baseboard indexing system (servo operated) and ‘floppy’ drive connection to turntable using readily available materials and bits and pieces that I have.
Looking forward to your layouts progress, incidentally what coupling/uncoupling system  are you planning to use?
Regards
Mr Tee

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 Posted: Sat Nov 27th, 2021 07:17 pm
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Hi Colin,

Actually a vertical traverser is much more difficult IMOP because of the variable load and vertical alignment being affected by bouncy floorboards all of which has to be compensated for. At least in a horizontal system the load only affects the friction. I am sure your friend will enjoy coming up with a system, in the meantime I can recommend the "handomatic" system ;-)
Regards



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 Posted: Sat Nov 27th, 2021 07:39 pm
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 Posted: Sat Nov 27th, 2021 07:44 pm
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fourtytwo
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Barchester wrote: Ive got quite thick baseboards to go through and then a false raised trackbed as well ( don't ask  :mutley) so have never bothered thinking about semaphore signals, but seeing your settup I'm thinking that I could actually split a slightly long actuating wire and clamp it somewhere in the middle with a choc block. This would give me some adjustment and also by opening both screws I could then separate the under board gubbins from the signal without unsoldering it anywhere  :hmm
Got me thinking  Thanks  :cheers

Chheers

Matt
Thats a very good idea Matt and could also be used for surface mounted signals by mounting the servo on a 2 inch thick block of wood under the baseboard giving room under there for a choco block connection also
Regards



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 Posted: Sun Nov 28th, 2021 01:20 pm
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Barry Taylor
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 Posted: Mon Nov 29th, 2021 09:15 am
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fourtytwo
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 Posted: Mon Nov 29th, 2021 12:23 pm
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Barry Taylor
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Wow, I didn’t expect that.Sorry that my post upset you, I just thought it may be of interest, it has now been removed.
Regards
Barry

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