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Colin W
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Introducing Colin's Work Bench

Before starting out in earnest to build my new Project, I decided that, like Jeff (SR Man), it would be good to separate the things I will be doing into layout related and work bench related. The latter starts here........

(PS July 2022) addition of an index listing of my various ramblings which will follow. (Page and Post no #, but no hyperlinks!)

DCC Installs

Hornby Peckett p1(#1,#2)
SR 2662 p1 (#6, #7); sound p3(#42,#45,#46)

Small Prairie 4539; p1(#9), p2(#31, #36)

Track and control

British Finescale Single Turnout Kits  p2(#22, #27, #29, #30)
British Finescale Single Slip Kit p4 (#61)

A kit Capacitor Discharge Unit (CDU) p1(#10), p2(#21), p3 (#60)

Misc.
NCE PCP spare interface p3(#55)
Bullhead Rail joiner tool p3(#56)

The above lists only my primary posts on each topic, in some cases there is follow on discussion
***************************************************
As good a place to start as any is with my DCC installs.

I have had a backlog of DCC related purchases held up when the UK Royal Mail managed to lose a warranty return I'd entrusted them to get back to Youchoos several months ago. This failed Sound Chip of course continuing my long run of being able to find any dud out there in search of a customer! After the inevitable delays I finally just got my insurance payout and a big order has been placed.

My plans included various upgrades to existing stay alives and tidying up wiring on the less than satisfactory jobs.

First job onto the bench was my Hornby Peckett W4 Port of London Authority (R3679) which I DCC fitted with a small ZIMO Processor and SACC 16 stay alive in June 2020:

Peckett DCC Install

While it might look like a neat and tidy job, the one thing I was unhappy about was the long spool of very fine wires from the DCC which I ended up having to bundle up and tuck into a small space between the Capacitors and motor end with risks of fouling or applying pressure to the motor shaft, shown here.




BTW this shows the versatility of the SACC16 as you can snap off the tiny and thin control section (here sitting on top of the gear housing) and have your capacitors elsewhere.

The wires on the MX617 are incredibly fine and inevitably I damaged one when trying to better locate them. Hence a partial rebuild was in order....... TBC
 


Last edited on Thu Aug 4th, 2022 10:10 am by Colin W

Colin W
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Peckett #74 Continued

This photo shows my original attempt to access the Ground pad for the Stay alive wire at the bottom of the chip, also the spaghetti of fine wiring is better seen when the Chip is pulled out.



The thick protective sheath on the chip is hard to cut selectively when you have no other option. I've since moved to the Youchoos method of fully removing the outer cover and replacing it with Polyimide (Kapton) tape to seal and insulate when done. This is best done with a new long scalpel blade run along the edge of the chip which will make the cut without risking damage any SMDs.

The six solder tabs on the top side sit very close and I found it just needed iron heat on the wire near to the tab to remove / add back a new wire.




The replacement wires are all DCC Concepts Gauge 32 Decoder wire (DCW-32BK  etc.). The blue and black at the LHS come from the two solder tabs on the rear lower of the chip, now all safely encased in polyimide and much thinner for it! I've gained about 1- 1.5mm extra gap with this easy slimming aid!

I need my SACC 16 for another install so will be fitting a Youchoos Lifelink with some thin Tantalum Caps this time, when they arrive.

PS Useful Tip: Don't throw away the old chip sheath, it's very useful to protect the chip when soldering etc. where you need to hold it in a crocodile jaw on your soldering station.


Last edited on Fri Sep 3rd, 2021 06:17 am by Colin W

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As you'll probably realise Colin, I'm following this closely - very closely !  ;-)

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Very nice. I always get worried inside a loco. I don’t have much confidence once the top is off. I’m usually worried if I can get the screws back in by that point as well!…

Colin W
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Thx Peter, Chris.

There will delays to further posts I had lined up as our NBN Internet supply has gone down JIT for the weekend. 'Twas on the Monday morning......" etc.

Colin

Last edited on Sat Sep 4th, 2021 12:08 am by Colin W

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SR A1X TERRIER #2662 - DCC and Stay alive

This lovely loco made a fleeting guest appearance on Westown back in January and promptly stole the limelight:



Now it finds itself with the prospect of a proper home at Upper Hembury running services on the shared GWR / SR branch to Sidmouth Junction. Initially I'd just popped in a simple DCC with no stay alive and my troublesome insulfrogs were a bit much for it to handle.

 Due to recent changes I have a spare SA on hand so I've reworked and tidied up the DCC configuration and created enought space should I choose to add sound in future.

First step was to strip out the mounting where the 6 pin socket was held (I'd removed the socket and direct wired the 6 pin chip first time around). This is shown below (before cutting the mounting bracket and after). Removing the mount as per the Youchoos method frees up quite a bit of wasted space, there not being that much available in total!



Next; the Polyimide tape has been removed prior to adding the Stay Alive wires to the chip.

TBC . I've been summonsed to go for a walk!

Last edited on Wed Sep 8th, 2021 08:48 am by Colin W

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SR 2662 Continued

The chip I'm using is the Bachmann 36-358A which is a re-badged ZIMO MX622 6 pin, bought because I had an order into Rails at the time for my Loco purchase.

This shows the chip after I've cut away unwanted pins and shortened the other four. The Stay Alive +ve and Ground tabs were identified from the ZIMO manual and the blue and lower black leads attached before taping up securely.



With the Mount removed, the DCC chip sits snugly flat on the base in front of the motor,



The Stay Alive in two parts, Capacitors below ("L" shaped combination) and the tiny control module on top, together sit snugly on top of the DCC. If I were adding Sound, the the speaker would take the place of the SA components, a tight fit though.





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Very neatly done, Colin. I have a few of those Bachmann / Zimo decoders in use and they are very good.

I don't have any of the new Terriers, either from Hornby or Rails, but I have done four of the older Dapol / Hornby versions. Space is just as limited in those!  :roll:

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Small Prairie 4539 Revisited

This Bachmann is one of my favourite locos, a real workhorse of smaller GWR lines and one which had served me well until the sound chip developed a glitch back in May. Four months on and I finally have a replacement, thanks to its being lost somewhere in the UK by the postal service followed by inevitable delays while recouping the insurance.

I planned a proper reworking of the wiring as it is a very tight fit, as will be seen.

First up, I replaced the existing stay-alive with a newer smaller set of kit from Youchoos. This shows before and after:



The main difference is the space gained by moving to 470uF Tantalum Capacitors and replacing older electrostatics which are bulky and hard to place because of their shape. Here I just have two as the loco ran very well with that storage before but there is easily room for more.

The new Youchoos Stay alive pack is tiny and I'm looking forward to having them for my fleet of small locos




The beauty of using tantalums is the ease which they can be soldered in parallel, just using spare resistor wire off cuts.

The big challenge in wiring up this loco back thru to the cab / bunker is the very tight fit (width) between the chassis and the lower metal bodywork, barely 0.5mm total, a very snug fit. Hence any wire not securely held back will get pinched as the chassis is offered up to the bodywork. A nightmare I'd not resolved satisfactorily in the Mark I install.

A total of 5 wires are needed aft, two speaker wires plus common (+) and lines to the light on F2 for firebox, and Stay-alive circuit. In addition the two motor wires need to get to the rear of the motor area but these do have small channels just below the motor that can be used if the wires are secured forward.

The next photo shows part of the solution, the three wires other than the two ultramarine speaker wires will all sit very snugly in the channel between the metal and plastic parts of the bodywork if you carefully align them.



In this first effort I still had the speaker wires on the same side (from the original job); next I moved them over to the other side so they could also fit in its channel



With everything tidied up somewhat I repurposed the old mounting for the DCC socket into a cable clip to hold the power and motor lines tidy and forward away from the worm gear. The orange and grey wires to the motor can be seen to sit very neatly heading back alongside the gears once secured under the clip. Previously these two wires were loose and constantly getting trapped and squeezed during assembly.

The new slimmer chip with Kapton tape and minimum excess wires now easily feed into the boiler space.

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When a Silver Lining emerged from the Dark Clouds of Incompetence in Action

Being comfortable with what has worked for me regarding Turnout motors over many years, I decided to stick with trusty solenoids but not before I'd asked opinions from a variety of users, several who operate large layouts. One consideration they raised was that of frog switching, of which more later.

Now I do know that there are many lovers of complex and more pricey devices named variously after the tortoise and cobalt and they do have their place. With no need myself for complexity of control with just 11 or 12 devices to switch, I went with the old trusty PL10.

On Westown-Heathfield I had a CDU driven system whose main limitation was my inability to install motors accurately aligned! Mostly it worked very well. Hence I went looking for the latest locally available CDU devices and came up with something rather interesting.

The local supplier has a very clever device that is in effect a bank of mini CDUs that offer direction indication. At a unit cost of A$8 (per turnout) all up including the switching, it sounded almost too good to be true!

The concept is different. In your standard CDU setup, a momentary switch allows the Capacitor to discharge through the solenoid coil. It then recharges quickly for any next action. In the device I'm using, the circuit remains closed, allowing for direction indication off the Module.

The following schematic diagram shows broadly how this new device works. If the switch is in position #2 the CDU capacitor will charge up via one coil (B); supplied by the reservoir; When turned to position #1 the CDU capacitor discharges to ground via the other coil (A). The detailed electronics involving various diodes to regulate flows are above my pay-grade but I can confirm they do work as described. 



As the section at the bottom shows, the ON-ON configuration allows for simple frog switching from the Control panel, something not possible with momentary switching. This last point had not occurred to me as the units were supplied made up using SPDT switches, that was until the delivery man came by.

This representative of a certain regulated authority attempted to squeeze my entire and delicate CDU module purchases into my modest mailbox - when the former was > 2 times the size of the latter!

After much pain, hoops jumped thru etc I got compensation and set about rebuilding the switching which was mostly broken. It was then I had my "gold dust" moment and realised I'd just been handed a free solution to my Frog switching needs. DPDT switches were used in the rebuild and all should be good.

 

Last edited on Mon Feb 21st, 2022 09:24 am by Colin W

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I use a similar circuit for my solenoids - the switch shown is normally a DPDT with the other pole switching the frog.
  the capacitor is 2200uf for one solenoid - & for two in parallel, I use a 4700UF.
I have the panels set up so in the normal direction of the turnout, the capacitors are discharged otherwise when power is switched on, all may attempt to charge up & overload the power supply. ( The same problem I had with the early DCC Concepts Masterswitches)

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Thanks Sol,

One difference in the "Talking Electronics" circuit to your diagram, is the presence of the reservoir Capacitor.

I'll email you his circuit as it is posted on his website so I'm not free to put it up on here #

As I read his design, if the switch is set to "Siding" at power-up, there is no path to charge the Module Capacitor, current flows to charge the reservoir and just thru the "siding" LED to ground.

If the point is set to "main" then the Module Capacitor will charge up, along with the reservoir and the "main" LED is lit. With his 5 module setup there is no mention of overloading the PS but I might check back with him. It makes sense to have separate power bricks for each 5 CDU module I guess.

Colin


# anyone interested can find it on their website but beware as it is a bit of a rabbit warren!
Talking Electronics

Look for CDU -1,000uF slim NEW in the main sidebar
While it's not exactly the device I bought, the electronics are broadly the same






Sol
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Colin, thanks.
I have also used this
http://www3.sympatico.ca/kstapleton3/751D.HTM

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Sol wrote: Colin, thanks.
I have also used this
http://www3.sympatico.ca/kstapleton3/751D.HTM

Sol,

Have you any thoughts on the rating I'll need to power one of my banks of 5 modules? My points are lightweight so don't need a massive force and the travel is modest as well.

Colin

Last edited on Tue Feb 22nd, 2022 12:15 am by Colin W

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Colin, I use a 19v laptop supply of 4.7 Amps & costs under $20 from E-Bay so the overload problem is reduced but I guess looking at that circuit you provided, a 2 amp supply would be adequate.

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Sol wrote: Colin, I use a 19v laptop supply of 4.7 Amps & costs under $20 from E-Bay so the overload problem is reduced but I guess looking at that circuit you provided, a 2 amp supply would be adequate.
I've a 15VDC 4A supply that's going spare and checking back with the supplier that'll be more than enough for my needs. Thanks for your help,

Colin

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I'm in total awe of your chip wiring Colin - you must have very steady hands, a good eye and tiny fingers .............. :shock:

I would really like to add some decoders and stay-alives to some of my non-DCC locos but thus far, I've been thwarted by the scale of the things - just too small for my fat fingers and wobbly hands ......... :cry:

Practice may improve my ability but decoders are rather too expensive to practice on unless you get it right !!  I've already had to bin a couple of MX617's just trying to solder the ground to that silly little pad .............iron too hot ?  held there too long ? - whatever, it hasn't worked for me yet.  :sad:

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Hi Peter,

I know what you mean. Assuming you have a suitable small iron, try practicing on an old piece of circuit board from something redundant.

Typically I pull anything electronic apart once it fails for potential "opportunities in search of a need", odd diodes etc.

Try this technique:
Find a board with some very fine electronics, snip off a small component topside and excess wire if any beneath and practice soldering a spare DCC chip wire to the residual solder spot on the reverse.

Tin the trimmed wire first, then with iron not too hot, apply heat to the wire, not the solder point. Offer the wire still being heated to the spot and it should mate directly. This way you avoid direct heat on the DCC chip. You can have a short piece of fine heat shrink on the wire to pull up, if the bare section gives you concern.

Even if your test join is larger than your DCC, this way you'll get the idea and feel for the technique. 

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Thanks for those tips Colin - I'll certainly give it a go.  I have more than my fair share of circuit board with "bits connected" !!

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Petermac wrote: Thanks for those tips Colin - I'll certainly give it a go.  I have more than my fair share of circuit board with "bits connected" !!

small LEDs would be ideal as they are lightly soldered in (usually) being heat sensitive themselves

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Completing the CDU Modules

I'm now well on the way to pulling all the damaged modules' components off and rewiring to suit my control panel. This pic shows the bank of 5 CDUs each one capable of driving 1/2 turnouts as required.



At bottom is the Reservoir Capacitior unit which acts as an energy bank to power the return leg of solenoid action.

To the left the small board takes input of 9-12V DC and generates an output of 25.5V. One useful feature, as yet untested is that this output voltage can be dialed down from the max by way of the blue potentiometer. With my lightweight Bullhead code 75 turnouts and short throw I'm hoping I can dial back the CDU output power to meet my needs.

Last edited on Sat Feb 26th, 2022 03:34 am by Colin W

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British Finescale Turnout Kits

Note: this continues my work on these turnout kits first reported here:
https://yourmodelrailway.net/view_topic.php?id=16886&forum_id=6#p305296


My first kit assembly for a B7 LH turnout went very well and was straightforward. Now I've moved on to a second similar kit but one requiring a significant reverse curve on the main track. These are the detailed plan and the bare sleeper moldings from the kit, first side by side and then overlaid to show the required curving





There is useful help available on how to cut the webbing to achieve the required curve, my plan is to create a template which will hold the cut base in shape while the various rails can be inserted.

Last edited on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 08:59 pm by Colin W

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Can you excplain how that works Colin.

Do you have to cut the sleepers and bend it to make it fit the template ?  Seems odd - can't you just buy a sleeper base to match the plan ?


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Petermac wrote: Can you excplain how that works Colin.

Do you have to cut the sleepers and bend it to make it fit the template ?  Seems odd - can't you just buy a sleeper base to match the plan ?



https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/160234-new-range-of-simple-to-assemble-00em-gauge-pointwork-kits/

has various info on this but the range of curving available from one sleeper base has huge advantage over supplying a diverse set of different moldings, each needing their own injection mold to be produced.

The base is very soft and flexible and appropriate cuts are made in the various webbing between sleepers. This is why I plan to have a pro forma template to hold the sleepers in place once the webbing is freed up. It has been done successfully and reported so I'm confident it'll be fine.

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Then there is helpful graphic supplied by Martin Wynne.

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/160234-new-range-of-simple-to-assemble-00em-gauge-pointwork-kits/&do=findComment&comment=4701029





Last edited on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 11:03 am by Colin W

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Thanks Colin - I haven't seen these before but they do look like cunning bits of kit.  You say you've already done a B7 point and presumably, that was successful so looking forward to seeing how you get on with this new one.

Is the web still quite strong and rigid once you've glued up all the gaps etc ?

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Petermac wrote: Thanks Colin - I haven't seen these before but they do look like cunning bits of kit.  You say you've already done a B7 point and presumably, that was successful so looking forward to seeing how you get on with this new one.

Is the web still quite strong and rigid once you've glued up all the gaps etc ?

Hi Peter,

You must have missed it at the time but I put up a topic last October when I first discovered these turnouts. see here:

https://yourmodelrailway.net/view_topic.php?id=16886&forum_id=6#p305296

There's various details about the kit structure etc and some more info on the range of curving. I also reported my first assembly but this was for the kit as supplied, uncut to give a straight B7. Once the individual rails are inserted that will confirm a lot more structural rigidity and I don't think the webbing needs to be glued but I might do anyway.

They are very easy kits to put together, even for a beginner track builder like me and look the part once completed


Last edited on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 08:56 pm by Colin W

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I'm afraid my keeping up to date on events has been very lax over the last few months Colin but I'm trying to catch up now.

I have read your posts on the B7 point and also popped over to see what"s been said on Rmweb - a very interesting concept I must say so I'm now following your adventures as a linesman ...... :thumbs

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Shaping my first Curved B7 LH Turnout

First some calculations and measurements regarding the size of cuts and openings which were required in my webbing.

A simple pair of measurements off the Templot plans (enlarged on screen) for the B7 straight and then reverse 2148mm radius curve told me that the i.d. gap between the end two sleepers shortened by 0.1mm in the curved variant. i.e. I needed only that small gap cut out of each section of webbing on the mainline side.

This ties in well enough with the calculated shortening of the arc which is required between mid track and inside rail (viz the difference in lengths of arcs of radius 2148mm and 2139.8mm). This is is only 1.1mm in total for the entire curved section.

To hold everything steady I prepared a simple jig to fix the Switch zone and then made the recommended cuts. Once done the sleeper array easily bends to overlay the lines of the curved track.



This shows it totally unfixed at the frog end. The linear displacement of the mainline to the right of straight is 18.6mm.

I'll secure the sleeper ends and mid sections before running some CA into the cuts and then adding the rails. So far, very simple.

Last edited on Wed Mar 2nd, 2022 06:44 am by Colin W

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Stage 2

After a quick check with the stock rails that all was in order, I dropped CA into the closed gaps and thickened CA in those opened out. Then I reinstated the stock rails to ensure all the base was held in alignment.

Stock rails are normally the last pieces of rail inserted into the template but serve a useful purpose when shaping.
Here the adjusted sides of the template are held securely down in place with some handy curved PS strip (0.8mm)



PS you might note the similarity here to a "Y" turnout.


With the B7 geometry, for a "Y" this requires radii on both sides of ~2371.5mm whereas the present sample has a somewhat greater bend in the mainline to -2148mm. Hence the geometry of my current sample requires only a modest further 2.5mm lateral deflection of the main beyond the "Y" which I've shown is clearly within the capabilities of the kit.


Last edited on Wed Mar 2nd, 2022 10:43 pm by Colin W

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Returning to an Old Friend - Class 45xx - Again

One of my favourite locos and one which will be heading over to Upper Hembury is 4539 - Class 45xx Small Prairie by Bachmann. I fitted this with Sound three years ago but then the ZIMO chip did some peculiar things a year ago and it went back to Youchoos.

It was a long torturous path to getting a replacement. Back in post #9 last Sept. I described installing it with a new smaller Stay Alive (SA) but contented myself with leaving the rest much as was. Small speaker in bunker beneath the SA etc. and only a quick operations test completed.

This weekend I came back to do a decent running session (things move slowly here!) to find all was not well with the sound. Pulling it all apart it was clear the speaker was faulty so it set me thinking about Plan B. By chance I had a larger speaker spare 1W 18x13x13mm and it occurred to me my SA could now fit with the Sound Chip in the Boiler freeing room in the Bunker.

Cutting out the bunker support ridge gave me just enough room and the new speaker fits snugly between front and rear bunker walls. With the SA up front there is far less wiring heading back so the whole job is tidier and easier to reassemble. Sound is now superb, a most satisfying outcome.
 

This shows the new speaker in its cavity and the Firebox glow power lines. Speaker wires will be the only addition at the rear.


The parts are aligned in the correct order, always the tricky bit to have the correct wires in the right places. Here the new SA sits atop the Sound chip ready to go into the boiler cavity

 

The final step is to arrange the rear wiring into the two side channels (or they'll foul the motor which is a tight fit). They are held in place with Black Tak. A final push of the lose wire spools into the boiler insures nothing can foul the worm gear. It's a tight fit but gets easier with practice. Ask me how I know!
 

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The upgraded Small Prairie sound installation in operation

Last edited on Mon Mar 7th, 2022 01:25 am by Colin W

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Back to the Curved Turnout Kit B7 L #01

On this one I took my time making sure the base had glued properly after all the cutting done to the webbing. It took two goes before I was happy but lessons learnt....

The rest of the assembly was straightforward. Here is a shot before I trimmed the exit rails.
The main road now curves to the right with the crossover nearly straight. A most satisfying outcome and lovely graceful curve leading to my main platform.







Last edited on Mon Mar 7th, 2022 09:14 pm by Colin W

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I'm in awe Colin ...... :shock: :thumbs

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Petermac wrote: I'm in awe Colin ...... :shock: :thumbs
Thanks.

For me it was a very busy and productive day. I think the weather had something to do with it, now we've seen some decent rain and cooler temperatures have set in.

Colin

Last edited on Mon Mar 7th, 2022 09:41 am by Colin W

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Stripping Down the Hornby Small Prairie

John Dew has asked me if I can explain how to get access to the bunker in this loco. The loco is back together now and so I have to make do with the photos to hand. Fortunately the originals allowed for some enlargement so here goes.

NOTE: In this keep process all screws noted and separate because AFAIR they all differ! I had to bodge a replacement during one of my forays inside

1) Remove the front and rear small screws (under the bogies), this allows the chassis assembly to be pulled down, starting at the rear. (this much is in the loco datasheet if you need a pic)

 

2) to separate the lower Metal section from the plastic moldings of the body work, first undo the two screws shown above by 2 yellow arrows.


The upper plastic sections are also anchored to the base by two lugs at the rear corners of the loco shown below in the 2nd pic taken after separation (bottom 2 red arrows)



Once the lugs are released the entire upper plastic section will lift up easily.

3) The upper sections can be separated with some care if required. The curved boiler and upper firebox come away from the side tanks if you carefully prise apart the side tanks from the inside by 1mm or so. There is a lug either side, shown in both pics above by red arrows approximately half way along the tank sides. Various tubing, stays and handrails also need to be disconnected from their mounting holes to allow the upper section to be lifted off. (getting these back safely is trickier)

This photo from an earlier sortie shows the upper section lifted up but not fully removed. Here the coal load and bunker rear wall have been further separated from the rest of the module.



And if removing the entire top section you end up with this



My second photo of the post shows how the wires can be directed from bunker forward around the edges of the cab front wall so, if the bunker space can be opened out by cutting the cross bracing plate from beneath then it may be possible to free up the bunker and use it without the tricky step of separating the two molded sections.

I hope this helps.

Last edited on Tue Mar 8th, 2022 05:14 am by Colin W

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A final update on my British Finescale Kit Assembly line

Moving on to the next B7 Left turnout and applying the lessons learn on #1, the process to build has reduced to little more than a straight kit. The cuts and subsequent gluing of the sleeper base add perhaps 10 minutes in total and the remainder of steps are as per the included instructions. Maybe 45 min in total is required.

Here the photo shows after all the key cuts to the switch blades and the frog is cleaned and wired up to fit. This turnout has a positive curve on the mainline of radius 2085mm. You might note that the template plus tracks doesn't sit completely flat, this because the base is flexible and requires fixing down level at installation. No one has reported any problem with this, it's just a consequence of the design.

 





Last edited on Tue Mar 8th, 2022 09:47 am by Colin W

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Hi Colin

Thank you for the detailed explanation about accessing the bunker of the small prairie. Very clear and helpful. I will give it a go and let you know how I get on.

Liked the sound video by the way :thumbs

Best wishes

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Seeing those photos of the decoder fitting Colin, prompted me to ask if you were a surgeon in a previous life ?  Wow !!

Also, I didn't really comment on the video - that's superb and the control is brilliant - what system do you have ?

The odd pointer to the CV values you use might also help we mere mortels get better performance from ours .......................

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Petermac wrote: Seeing those photos of the decoder fitting Colin, prompted me to ask if you were a surgeon in a previous life ?  Wow !!

Also, I didn't really comment on the video - that's superb and the control is brilliant - what system do you have ?

The odd pointer to the CV values you use might also help we mere mortels get better performance from ours .......................

Thanks for all the kind words Peter,

I've found that the various sorts of fine close work, soldering, kits etc has improved my manual dexterity a lot since I took up railway modelling. Practice makes better I guess.

The video shows what I'd consider normal slow running under DCC control. Clean track and wheels with a modest Stay Alive to see you over minor potential interruptions. The sound chip is the standard smaller ZIMO MX648R and the CVs are as supplied and really applicable just to this chip. Controller is the NCE PowerCab.

As this was a replacement (as detailed earlier), this time I chose the "Immersive Drive" option from Youchoos. If interested see details on their site. It's only an option on Sound chips AFAIK but older sound ZIMOs can be reprogrammed if you know all the CVs to change. I've retro fitted 4 other sound ZIMO chips successfully to set up the Active braking feature.

The most useful / important feature IMO is the active braking function where you have two ways to reduce speed. Use the normal Speed down button to remove drive and just coast slower, then apply the brakes to stop at a rate similar to that defined by the usual CV 4 parameter setting. It quickly becomes intuitive, my 11 yr old grandson picked it up straight away.

Having said all that, the movement shown in the video is just the normal slow startup sequence from stopped. DCC is that good. Glad you enjoyed it.

Last edited on Sat Mar 12th, 2022 11:45 am by Colin W

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I too, in the main,  use Zimo decoders Colin and yes, I love that braking function now available on the more recfent chips (or indeed, one can re-programme the older ones to include it).

I'm impressed with how your Prairie responds to "normal" decoder settings - I think I ought to get on with some track and wheel cleaning................ :thumbs

I also need to get some practice in on small scale soldering etc.  :hmm

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****************** FYI This Topic now has an index at the top of Page 1 Post #1 *******************************


SR A1X TERRIER #2662 - DCC Sound and Stay Alive - Part 1

Back in posts #6 and 7 I installed basic DCC + Stay Alive into the 2019 Hornby Terrier. Now with Upper Hembury edging nearer to reality I've bitten the bullet and opted to put sound into this model.

If that seems a waste of a good DCC install it was not because I have a second version of this lovely model, viz. SR No10 "Cowes". A simple chassis swap-over gave Cowes a long awaited DCC setup and me a free chassis for #2662 sound!

Going back to my regular source of these sound packages, viz. Youchoos, I found there was an excellent variant of their install guide which allows for addition of modest Stay Alive capacitors. They note there is no room behind the engine and as the first two photos show very little forward either.



The model comes apart into three sections (if you're lucky #). The chassis is held in by just 2 screws (short Conical Head at front, longer at rear) but the upper and lower body sections are held by seven, four of them well concealed.

As before the 6 pin socket and its mounting plate were removed to reveal the modest free space available for Processor and speaker.



This leaves no room for any stay alive at all but that is where the Youchoos cunning plan comes in. The following photo shows the lower section of the Body with the required cuts. This frees up just enough to fit 4 tiny Tantalum Capacitors atop the truncated side tank interiors.




Regarding the installation, I'll continue in Part 2.


# I tried first with No10 "Cowes" as I had the chassis out at the time but I found that even after removing all seven screws the back section of the two halves remained firmly attached. I suspect that overzealous application of CA has locked these sections and am grateful all went OK on 2662


Last edited on Sun Jul 24th, 2022 10:18 am by Colin W

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You're a brave man Colin !

I'm following in earnest - eagerly awaiting Part 2 ......... :cheers

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Colin W wrote: Hi Peter,

I know what you mean. Assuming you have a suitable small iron, try practicing on an old piece of circuit board from something redundant.

Typically I pull anything electronic apart once it fails for potential "opportunities in search of a need", odd diodes etc.

Try this technique:
Find a board with some very fine electronics, snip off a small component topside and excess wire if any beneath and practice soldering a spare DCC chip wire to the residual solder spot on the reverse.

Tin the trimmed wire first, then with iron not too hot, apply heat to the wire, not the solder point. Offer the wire still being heated to the spot and it should mate directly. This way you avoid direct heat on the DCC chip. You can have a short piece of fine heat shrink on the wire to pull up, if the bare section gives you concern.

Even if your test join is larger than your DCC, this way you'll get the idea and feel for the technique. 
Excellent advice, thank you

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SR A1X TERRIER #2662 - DCC Sound and Stay Alive - Part 2


My plan for this install was determined by the availability of suitable chips for the small space and desire for a Stay alive (SA)

ZIMO are moving on to a new generation of Sound Chips. I had various options but the prospect of superior sound quality (16 bit), a smaller footprint and on board SA control (for up to 1000uF) caused me to favour new over old. In fact the higher cost was offset by avoiding the need for external SA control circuitry.

Unfortunately the chip I wanted was the MS500 wired version but this remains "availability - SOON!" so I settled on a 6 pin version. Having just removed the supplied and totally unsuitable 6 pin socket in the Terrier I needed a solution.

By good fortune I happened to have an old 6 pin socket (out of the Bachmann Collett Goods if I recall correctly), which can be vertically orientated for a horizontal mounted chip. It is shown here combined with a 6 pin insert stripped from an unwanted 6 pin harness (my motto: never throw anything potentially useful) This proved helpful for continuity testing my cut down device.




The PCB board was trimmed back to make the required height and the mounting socket glued in place after I succeeded in braking one tiny internal connection during testing and had the delicate task of repair and reassembly!

Aside from the tidier install, the reason for favoring the "make do" socket over direct soldering leads to the pins is that it is very easy to un-solder a pin from the chip during the process.

The socket then fits neatly at the front (to be glued in place) with plenty of room for the short DCC chip between it and the motor.



TBC

Last edited on Sun Apr 17th, 2022 03:10 am by Colin W

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SR A1X TERRIER #2662 - DCC Sound and Stay Alive - Part 3

Assembly from here was straighforward. The four wires were installed onto the socket PCB so they could all sit above the DCC Chip.



The chip fits snugly


With the tiny Minnow 4 speaker on top, just fitting.


This sits up slightly at present but has scope to compress the wires down by up to 2mm to fit in the boiler space. Only the Stay Alives remaining to be added before reassembly but a quick running trial showed that everything works.

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Excellent work and very clear on the method.
I always keep bits and bobs for future use.
Thank you for sharing.
Clive

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Very neat Colin. I admire both your courage and skill. I have learned, to my cost, that soldering direct to the decoder is beyond my pay grade.
Do you know if the non sound Zimos are about to upgraded? Built in SA circuitry would be very convenient.

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SR A1X TERRIER #2662 - DCC Sound and Stay Alive - Part 4

The final steps were relatively straightforward with one minor change as I was sent 470uF rather than 220uF capacitors so only needed 2 for this install. This reduced the space needing to be cut from the metal bodywork. The cut on one side is shown here with the Tantalum cap sitting in the gap I'd created.



The two Caps were wired directly to the MS500N leads



and one cap fitted snugly into the recess in the side tanks each side.



It turned out better not to have the 6 pin socket PCB glued down because once the DCC chip plus leads and caps were installed into it, it was better left free to bed down on installation. It naturally settled into the ideal position at the front avoiding binding during assembly. I think I'd built up quite a wad of thick CA when fixing and this caused the PCB to sit a mm too high!


Continued below.........


Last edited on Tue Apr 19th, 2022 08:00 am by Colin W

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Finally I glued back the various fine bits which had come detached during my surgery on SR 2662. Damage is hard to avoid as they are many, dotted all over and very fragile.

Regarding John's question on ZIMO stay alive On Board control, this appears to be restricted to the new generation sound chips based on their promotional comments.

I'm less familiar with their non sound offerings but there were many in the list, some may well be new. The prices too were "new", they made my eyes water TBH so I'm glad I'm ahead of the curve with all my hardware purchases  :cool:

Last edited on Tue Apr 19th, 2022 08:00 am by Colin W

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Oh how I wish I could manage that sort of thing Colin ........ :)   I admit to being far too ham-fisted - as I've said previously, I'm much better with a lump hammer than I am with a scalpel !

Regarding the factory added stay alive from Zimo, I've just installed their MX 644C with one into my new Oxford Rail Class 27. 

 
Youchoos do an install guide for this decoder which requires cutting a hole in the coal load to accomodate it - it's cylindrical and much bigger than the small tantalum.  It does work although only provides about a second of power when lifting the loco from the track.  I have a few locos with "super caps" installed which run without supplied power for almost the full length of Don Mclean's  "American Pie" ......... :hmm :mutley :mutley

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Colin W wrote: Regarding John's question on ZIMO stay alive On Board control, this appears to be restricted to the new generation sound chips based on their promotional comments.

I'm less familiar with their non sound offerings but there were many in the list, some may well be new. The prices too were "new", they made my eyes water TBH so I'm glad I'm ahead of the curve with all my hardware purchases  :cool:


Thanks Colin. I was hoping John Gymer at Youchoos may have given you some advance information. The site isnt particularly informative - all the "economy" options that I use are "temporarily out of stock" which is rather unusual. Although I see they have all just had a 20% price increase :shock:. Fortunately, like you, I topped up my reserve stock in January at the old prices.

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Petermac wrote: Oh how I wish I could manage that sort of thing Colin ........ :)   I admit to being far too ham-fisted - as I've said previously, I'm much better with a lump hammer than I am with a scalpel !

Regarding the factory added stay alive from Zimo, I've just installed their MX 644C with one into my new Oxford Rail Class 27. 

 
Youchoos do an install guide for this decoder which requires cutting a hole in the coal load to accomodate it - it's cylindrical and much bigger than the small tantalum.  It does work although only provides about a second of power when lifting the loco from the track.  I have a few locos with "super caps" installed which run without supplied power for almost the full length of Don Mclean's  "American Pie" ......... :hmm :mutley :mutley

Hi Peter,

thx for the feedback.

Regarding your J27 install I took a peek at the LNER section in Youchoos and was confronted with an Alphabet Soup selection of models I'd never heard off. What a reclusive world I'm inhabiting with just GREEN GWR and the occasional SR  loco on the horizon.

The J27 reminds me of the Collett Goods so I can imagine the tender size you have available, mostly taken up with the OR 21 pin socket on its PCB. A huge change from the GWR Collett; you saw the size of the 6 pin PCB that had, I used it in the Terrier! This latest is a monster PCB and it has a small on board electrolytic capacitor for some reason. I had a quick look but couldn't find anything relevant as to "why?" over in "The Other Place"

I noted that the Youchoos install retained the direct wired 25V 1000uF electrolytic capacitor which came with the MX644 chip. It is worth commenting that there'd be little advantage switching to tantalums to avoid cutting the model. The direct wired (up to 1000uF) Stay Alive can fully utilise a 25V Capacitor while the other option using a Stay Alive controller gives only 16V which, uF size for size, stores only 64% as much charge. So you'd need 4 * 440 uF tantalums at 16V to better the storage as supplied, but at a substantial additional cost penalty of dearer caps and a SA control chip.

For anyone going down a similar path there are a couple of traps here that are essential to note regarding Zimo direct wired Capacitors to the Chip = "Energy Storage Support"  in ZIMO speak and using Tantalums

1) The voltage of direct "Energy Storage Support" varies by chip. If using this feature, cross check the supplied voltage with the ZIMO website. Peter's MX644 supplies 25V which is too high for Tantalums (rated at 16V). Many others like my MS500 have 16V direct hence I can use Tantalums

2) Always check your Capacitor specifications. I narrowly escaped a problem when I found I had been supplied 470uF not 220uF Caps. They are black, very hard to read easily and almost the same size. I could have easily overloaded my chip by wiring in the four I thought I needed

Tantalum capacitors provide a great solution when you have very limited space and require the low level SA support which every sound install should have to avoid project resets.

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John Dew wrote:
Thanks Colin. I was hoping John Gymer at Youchoos may have given you some advance information. The site isnt particularly informative - all the "economy" options that I use are "temporarily out of stock" which is rather unusual. Although I see they have all just had a 20% price increase :shock:. Fortunately, like you, I topped up my reserve stock in January at the old prices.

John,

The ZIMO site lists the various specs by chip.

ZIMO Specs

See the line item "Energy Storage Support", it also has a (+) drop down window with more info on this item. That should answer your query.

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Two Mini Projects - #1 PowerCab spare interface

I've a period ahead of me where I'll be between layouts so to speak; Weston-Heathfield being retained until the Sydney grandchildren have visited in June and July plus Upper Hembury moving slowly forward.

This means I need my PowerCab to connect to either setting and to do that I need two interfaces. This controller has its own idiosyncratic setup with the handset using a flat 6-wire cable and RJ12 plug. The interface, essentially passive, allows power connections in and DCC output to track.

For a simple socket board, this item is not cheap as a retail version so I figured I could knock one together. Most of the parts I had to hand, the only purchase needed was a TVS Diode (Bi-directional) which is wired across the output lines as protection against a voltage surge and a small prototype Board, total cost $4.20.

The product is nothing flash but it works








 


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Two Mini Projects - #2 Bullhead Track Joiner Tool

Not a new idea, simply my version of a clever tool which I've seen before here on YMRC but can't find right now. Full credit to the unknown designer of this great device, imitation is after all ...

I'll soon be needing to tackle Code 75 Bullhead track joining (hopes!) and an old toothbrush gave me an idea for a handle of practical design. It is made of a hi-tech material which would hold the track section tight due to its toughness and slight flexibility.

A slightly undersized hole was drilled in the cut off end and a short length of Bullhead, previously sharpened to a chisel edge was pushed in firmly. It isn't coming out any time soon!








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Chubber/ Doug Dickson made a similar one for opening up joiners years ago 2010



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A King in Distress

After the recent running session, I noticed that my usually reliable 6011 King James I was drawing rather more current than usual. One feature of the NCE PowerCab is the instantaneous current reading and this had crept up to around an erratic 200-250mA with only a moderate load. It wasn't struggling but that did seem a concerning matter.

Thanks to some very helpful advise from Jeff (SRMan) I set about pulling the loco apart in search of issues. I've been following Hornby lubrication recommendations on a regular basis and all appeared fine with the axles once I slipped the keeper plate off.

Pulling the body shell off revealed two possible issues. As I'd never done this before in its 5 or so years the problem clearly goes back to the original assembly because the motor had a wire partly trapped under it and hence the worm gear didn't seat properly down in position on the gear train.

Also the top gears appeared to have a thick grease so this was stripped away as best possible. The gear train is fully enclosed and short of full disassembly I had to remove what I could from the exterior. With a good quality gear lube applied and the motor aligned accurately, I have the loco running at ST 50 drawing a more typical and steady 90mA. 

This experience makes a case for installing an in-line ammeter as an early warning of operating difficulties if your controller doesn't provide that useful feedback.

Last edited on Tue Jun 21st, 2022 10:33 pm by Colin W

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A good point Colin.

I've never checked any of mine but maybe I ought to do so.  I tend to expect them to run straight out of the box ......

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****************** FYI This Topic now has an index at the top of Page 1 Post #1 *******************************

Completing the CDU Modules - Part 2

Go back 6 months ago and I was rescuing my purchased CDU modules from the excesses of an over zealous postman. Details here......

Completing the CDU Modules - (part 1)

With progress made these were put aside for a suitable day.  Now I've come back to properly test out the CDUs and calibrate for use with the British Finescale Code 75 turnouts which are much finer build than Code 100 devices.

I've now got the benefit of a very clever bit of kit built for me by Graham (of Traverser fame). This regulated two way power supply allows to dial up regulated voltage to 25VDC or a steady current up to 1A.

In this case I was keen to drop the operating voltage on my CDU module from the 25.5V (DC) default as supplied, which gave a massive clunk to even a standard Hornby turnout. I could see it ripping my turnouts to pieces, not the least because the switchblade travel on the finescale is just 2mm vs the 5mm on Code 100 set track which the Solenoid has to cope with.

This shows my setup.


Starting from 20V the voltage was taken down progressively to 15v where it was still more than adequate to throw the switch blades. That's good as I have a 15V regulated PS rated to 4A.

The beauty of this design of CDU is that it allows for direction indication as can be seen from the orange and blue lit LEDs. The connection thru the device is always "on" when powered so one or the other LED is lit with the few mA current flowing via one solenoid coil. This also does away with the need for momentary switching.

A side benefit of the destruction wrought damage caused by the postie, I changed the individual switches over to DPDT which allows for frog switching to be done at the same time as throwing the switchblades.
 

Last edited on Sun Jul 24th, 2022 09:43 am by Colin W

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****************** FYI This Topic now has an index at the top of Page 1 Post #1 *******************************

British Finescale Kits - B7 Single Slip

Much excitement around these parts, and relief, when this kit arrived in the mail in record time from the UK.

The single slip has a crucial and central position in the Upper Hembury track-plan and so proceedings have been on hold until this latest addition to the British Finescale Code 75 OO Bullhead range became available. A quick check confirmed that the base structure fitted perfectly to my Templot plan (✔️) and now on to the build.



This component comes in at 345mm, almost 100mm longer than the Corresponding PECO Bullhead product, thanks to the much shallower exit angle resulting from the B7 geometry of the kit. Now all that remains is to get it up and going!

Last edited on Thu Aug 4th, 2022 10:12 am by Colin W


                 

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