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Author Topic: Longframlington (Northumbrian branch line)  (Read 54849 times)

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Offline kirky

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Re: Longframlington (and this time I mean it) - Border country, 1963
« Reply #360 on: March 18, 2018, 10:27:13 AM »
Hi Richard @belstone
I cant imagine why you would want to rip it up. What you have done is a credit to 2mm modelling in N gauge. I can guarentee if you didnt tel people at exhibitions that this was N, they would think it was 2mmfs.
If nothing else, its saleable, then if you must go 2mmfs do so, but please dont destroy Longframligton.

As to the megnets under the layout, a simple way would be to use a servo, with the actuating arm either going up/down, or more likely, swing from outside the track area, to under the track area, fairly straight forward. How thick is the base board under the track?

cheers
Kirky
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Offline belstone

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Re: Longframlington (and this time I mean it) - Border country, 1963
« Reply #361 on: March 18, 2018, 01:43:20 PM »

I cant imagine why you would want to rip it up. What you have done is a credit to 2mm modelling in N gauge. I can guarentee if you didnt tel people at exhibitions that this was N, they would think it was 2mmfs.
If nothing else, its saleable, then if you must go 2mmfs do so, but please dont destroy Longframligton.

As to the megnets under the layout, a simple way would be to use a servo, with the actuating arm either going up/down, or more likely, swing from outside the track area, to under the track area, fairly straight forward. How thick is the base board under the track?


I have a problem with the existing track.  I laid it on a balsawood base, which turned out to be rather less stable than I hoped.  I now have some distortion and sudden changes in cross levels in the pointwork at the station throat.  I have managed to improve things a bit with brass pins and solder, but it is never going to be quite right.  I don't blame Finetrax at all for this, but it demonstrates that for Finetrax your trackbed needs to be 100% flat, level and stable.

I could relay it in N gauge but I am attracted to 2mmFS by the consistency of wheel and track standards, and I would like to give it a go at some stage. I only have space for one layout, and to me it makes sense to reuse an existing one, if I can take up and replace the track without causing havoc to the surrounding scenery.

Even with its wobbly trackbed Longframlington still runs a lot better than my coupler testing "plank".  One of my Peco points has just stopped conducting electricity through the blades unless poked with a finger. I bought it brand new last weekend...

I have looked at servo conrol for the magnets, but the electronics frighten me.  I'm strictly old-school, switches and solenoids all the way.  I have a couple of Chinese solenoids on order to play with, but I don't know what happens if you stick a strong permanent magnet onto the end of a solenoid pushrod.  I will find out shortly.

Richard

Offline kirky

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Re: Longframlington (and this time I mean it) - Border country, 1963
« Reply #362 on: March 18, 2018, 04:54:54 PM »
@belstone
Hi Richard
Thanks for the detailed description of balsa subsidence. Its a pity the balsa didnt work, because I thought it might have been ok, it being a hardwood an' all. (They built the Kontiki from it I seem to remember, and got across the Atlantic or somewhere) We built Northallerton on top of Pastazote, a closed cell foam, which has proven to be very stable, and even reusable when we've had to.
Seriously, the electronics behind a servo might at first appear scary but if I can get to grips with it, anyone can. Having said that, a mechanical arm operated with levers would be equally effective, probably be more satisfying and would save the planet a few milliamps of power.
cheers
Kirky
Northallerton will make its next public appearance at the LINCOLN MODEL RAILWAY CLUB ANNUAL EXHIBITION Feb 29th -1st Mar 2020



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Offline belstone

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Re: Longframlington (and this time I mean it) - Border country, 1963
« Reply #363 on: March 18, 2018, 06:34:23 PM »
I think the problem with the balsa was that it didn't like getting wet - diluted PVA for ballast followed by a good dousing with matt emulsion.  It might have been better if I had sealed it with varnish before laying the track.  It's ok for now but I can't see it lasting long term.  If I go 2mmFS I might look at soldered construction turnouts using the Versaline chairplate system, which should in theory be a bit stronger.  It's a pity no-one does any tools, jigs etc for code 40 soldered track construction in N gauge - you can't even buy a simple roller gauge as far as I can see. Finetrax is excellent as far as it goes, but you are stuck with a limited range of "standard" (i.e. straight) turnouts.

Hmm, I wonder if there is the germ of an idea there for another money-losing venture to follow on from the couplers (which have now consumed around 400 in test etching costs alone and still aren't quite done yet).

Richard

Offline SheldonC

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Re: Longframlington (and this time I mean it) - Border country, 1963
« Reply #364 on: March 18, 2018, 06:50:28 PM »
@belstone
Hi Richard
Thanks for the detailed description of balsa subsidence. Its a pity the balsa didnt work, because I thought it might have been ok, it being a hardwood an' all. (They built the Kontiki from it I seem to remember, and got across the Atlantic or somewhere) We built Northallerton on top of Pastazote, a closed cell foam, which has proven to be very stable, and even reusable when we've had to.
Seriously, the electronics behind a servo might at first appear scary but if I can get to grips with it, anyone can. Having said that, a mechanical arm operated with levers would be equally effective, probably be more satisfying and would save the planet a few milliamps of power.
cheers
Kirky

I believe "Kon-Tiki" was extremely water-logged by the time it got to Easter Island.  In the Pacific.  I think Heyerdahl had a similar problem with "Ra" when he tackled the Atlantic.  Aircraft modellers working in balsa cover their creations with tissue paper & "dope" - which smells (& very probably is) exactly like nail varnish; the ladies in your lives may find that of some interest.  Incidentally, to judge from the smell, nail varnish remover would probably make a more than half-decent solvent for welding plastics; I did acquire some once but never got round to trying it out before it evaporated away.

Offline kirky

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Re: Longframlington (and this time I mean it) - Border country, 1963
« Reply #365 on: March 18, 2018, 07:30:14 PM »
@belstone
Hi Richard
Thanks for the detailed description of balsa subsidence. Its a pity the balsa didnt work, because I thought it might have been ok, it being a hardwood an' all. (They built the Kontiki from it I seem to remember, and got across the Atlantic or somewhere) We built Northallerton on top of Pastazote, a closed cell foam, which has proven to be very stable, and even reusable when we've had to.
Seriously, the electronics behind a servo might at first appear scary but if I can get to grips with it, anyone can. Having said that, a mechanical arm operated with levers would be equally effective, probably be more satisfying and would save the planet a few milliamps of power.
cheers
Kirky

I believe "Kon-Tiki" was extremely water-logged by the time it got to Easter Island.  In the Pacific.  I think Heyerdahl had a similar problem with "Ra" when he tackled the Atlantic.  Aircraft modellers working in balsa cover their creations with tissue paper & "dope" - which smells (& very probably is) exactly like nail varnish; the ladies in your lives may find that of some interest.  Incidentally, to judge from the smell, nail varnish remover would probably make a more than half-decent solvent for welding plastics; I did acquire some once but never got round to trying it out before it evaporated away.

Thanks for that @SheldonC
Id forgotten which one did which, but youve reminded me it was Ra that did the Atlantic.
Anyhow, the point I was making was that Balsa is a hardwood, but doesnt share the properties of hardwood. Perhaps something with a bit more density might do what @belstone wants. I fear varnishing it may also result in it expanding and warping as the varnish soaks in. I think this might be why airplane modellers use tissue paper and dope.

On the subject of handbuilt points, I agree with you Richard that I dont understand why there doesnt seem to be much in the way of tools to help us build points. I actually bought a couple of plastic roller gauges from the US. But we have no templates to help us form Vs etc. Perhaps this is something the NGS could/should take up?

Im sure if you manage to get the couplings to work, there will be potential to sell them by the score to likes of me.
cheers
Kirky
Northallerton will make its next public appearance at the LINCOLN MODEL RAILWAY CLUB ANNUAL EXHIBITION Feb 29th -1st Mar 2020



Layout: Northallerton: http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=1671.msg16930#msg16930

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Offline SheldonC

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Re: Longframlington (and this time I mean it) - Border country, 1963
« Reply #366 on: March 18, 2018, 09:35:12 PM »
@belstone
Hi Richard
Thanks for the detailed description of balsa subsidence. Its a pity the balsa didnt work, because I thought it might have been ok, it being a hardwood an' all. (They built the Kontiki from it I seem to remember, and got across the Atlantic or somewhere) We built Northallerton on top of Pastazote, a closed cell foam, which has proven to be very stable, and even reusable when we've had to.
Seriously, the electronics behind a servo might at first appear scary but if I can get to grips with it, anyone can. Having said that, a mechanical arm operated with levers would be equally effective, probably be more satisfying and would save the planet a few milliamps of power.
cheers
Kirky

I believe "Kon-Tiki" was extremely water-logged by the time it got to Easter Island.  In the Pacific.  I think Heyerdahl had a similar problem with "Ra" when he tackled the Atlantic.  Aircraft modellers working in balsa cover their creations with tissue paper & "dope" - which smells (& very probably is) exactly like nail varnish; the ladies in your lives may find that of some interest.  Incidentally, to judge from the smell, nail varnish remover would probably make a more than half-decent solvent for welding plastics; I did acquire some once but never got round to trying it out before it evaporated away.

Thanks for that @SheldonC
Id forgotten which one did which, but youve reminded me it was Ra that did the Atlantic.
Anyhow, the point I was making was that Balsa is a hardwood, but doesnt share the properties of hardwood. Perhaps something with a bit more density might do what @belstone wants. I fear varnishing it may also result in it expanding and warping as the varnish soaks in. I think this might be why airplane modellers use tissue paper and dope.

On the subject of handbuilt points, I agree with you Richard that I dont understand why there doesnt seem to be much in the way of tools to help us build points. I actually bought a couple of plastic roller gauges from the US. But we have no templates to help us form Vs etc. Perhaps this is something the NGS could/should take up?

Im sure if you manage to get the couplings to work, there will be potential to sell them by the score to likes of me.
cheers
Kirky
I seem to recall from days of yore that obechi has some of the properties of Balsa but is denser; I don't know about its resistance to water; perhaps a magazine/forum on boat building would be a useful resource.

Offline Masher69

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Re: Longframlington (and this time I mean it) - Border country, 1963
« Reply #367 on: March 19, 2018, 12:21:24 PM »
Just read right through the thread. Very interesting and excellent modelling. Living in the very north of Northumberland I can associate with the area which is a bit south of us
.https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10216042211436889&set=a.3596587642145.167990.1497091346&type=3

Offline belstone

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Re: Longframlington (Northumbrian branch line)
« Reply #368 on: April 06, 2018, 08:01:39 AM »
No actual work on the layout recently as I have been playing with couplers.  I now have a reliable servo-operated uncoupler design that can be fitted to Longfram without having to dig up the track, so I am taking the opportunity to rework the electrical side of the layout which has always been a bit ramshackle.

I think I am going to try replacing the SEEP point motors with servos, using relays for frog polarity switching.  There will be four point servos, four uncouplers and two more servos for the level crossing gates.  That is a lot of wiring.  I have just joined MERG which I never thought I would do, but I am starting to get a bit more into this electronics lark (thanks mainly to @kirky  for putting ideas in my head, and most generously sending me a MERG 4-channel servo controller for the coupler development project).

I am thinking of building a compact handheld unit incorporating the controller and all the switches for points, uncouplers and level crossing.  I sat on the sofa holding objects of various sizes and shapes (small books, TV remote etc) and operating imaginary knobs and switches to get some idea of a comfortable size and design.  I must have looked completely mad. End result is that I have ordered an aluminium project box and a pile of components.  I already have a hand-held controller on order (switchable feedback unit from Parkside which I have wanted to try out for ages) so when that arrives I will set about putting everything together.

Meanwhile, over the next couple of weeks I will see if I can come up with a simple way of converting the existing turnouts to servo operation.  If you scroll back far enough in this thread, they use a cranked wire in a vertical tube to operate the tiebar, which is not the normal way of doing things. I also have to bear in mind that if the servo suddenly goes haywire and runs out to full travel, the delicate point blades need to be protected from the consequences.

Richard
« Last Edit: April 06, 2018, 08:58:23 AM by belstone »

Offline kirky

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Re: Longframlington (Northumbrian branch line)
« Reply #369 on: April 06, 2018, 08:29:52 AM »
I also have to bear in mind that if the servo suddenly goes haywire and runs out to full travel, the delicate point blades need to be protected from the consequences.

Richard


Hi Richard @belstone
I think if you look at the Merg servo support bracket, and you push the horn over maybe 45 degrees, the horn pops out of the little cup it sits in, sort of an in built protection against the servo travelling too far. Having said that, I havent tried the Merg bracket and servo with the Finetrax points yet and agree you must be very very careful to make sure there is too little travel firstly, and then adjust the servo accordingly. I would do this with the servo and bracket in my hand, that is not fitted to the board first, to see how little movement I can get away with.

Since you have joined Merg, can I recommend that you look at the forum. Its my second fvourite forum. It is a wealth of information and support from people who really know what they are talking about. There is also a support service that you can send non-working kits to should you get really stuck. I would also recommend the pocket money kits to get you started as they are very cheap and helpful in the learning curve. The journal can be a bit techy but dont let that put you off, the group itself is very supportive of non technical people. They say 'you only need to be able to solder and read'.

cheers
Kirky
« Last Edit: April 06, 2018, 08:31:09 AM by kirky »
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Offline belstone

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Re: Longframlington (Northumbrian branch line)
« Reply #370 on: April 06, 2018, 09:04:30 AM »
I also have to bear in mind that if the servo suddenly goes haywire and runs out to full travel, the delicate point blades need to be protected from the consequences.

Richard


Hi Richard @belstone
I think if you look at the Merg servo support bracket, and you push the horn over maybe 45 degrees, the horn pops out of the little cup it sits in, sort of an in built protection against the servo travelling too far. Having said that, I havent tried the Merg bracket and servo with the Finetrax points yet and agree you must be very very careful to make sure there is too little travel firstly, and then adjust the servo accordingly. I would do this with the servo and bracket in my hand, that is not fitted to the board first, to see how little movement I can get away with.

Since you have joined Merg, can I recommend that you look at the forum. Its my second fvourite forum. It is a wealth of information and support from people who really know what they are talking about. There is also a support service that you can send non-working kits to should you get really stuck. I would also recommend the pocket money kits to get you started as they are very cheap and helpful in the learning curve. The journal can be a bit techy but dont let that put you off, the group itself is very supportive of non technical people. They say 'you only need to be able to solder and read'.

cheers
Kirky


A million apologies, in my last post I tagged another forum member instead of you. Now corrected, I'm not at my sharpest first thing in the morning. Looking forward to reading through all the MERG stuff when I have time, I'm trying to decide which will give me the least amount of under-board spaghetti for the lowest cost - a single controller for each servo with the relay mounted next to it and long cable runs to the switches, or a single servo control board near the connector for the handheld control box, with long cable runs to each servo...

Richard

Offline kirky

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Re: Longframlington (Northumbrian branch line)
« Reply #371 on: April 06, 2018, 09:22:08 AM »
@belstone No need to apologise Richard, no offence taken at all. Just happy to help.

If you want to see what the servo boards and brackets might look like in situ, take a look at my Northallerton thread (link in sig). Ive just posted a picture there of the underside of one our fiddle yard board. Each servo4 board still needs a wire each for the switch plus a common and each board needs two wires for power. Thats another seven wires to add for each servo4 board. And we havent even connected the frogs yet! I dont think there is anyway to avoid spaghetti I'm afraid.
cheers
Kirky
Northallerton will make its next public appearance at the LINCOLN MODEL RAILWAY CLUB ANNUAL EXHIBITION Feb 29th -1st Mar 2020



Layout: Northallerton: http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=1671.msg16930#msg16930

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Offline Black Sheep

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Re: Longframlington (Northumbrian branch line)
« Reply #372 on: April 06, 2018, 09:31:03 AM »
You've joined MERG, welcome to the mad-house :D it's what will be running Milliedale-on-Sea.

I have a few of the MERG servo brackets but they're a bit tall for me so I'll be using a rival product from a chap called Stuart Dransfield on facebook, his design mounts them on their side.

You'd be able to use the MERG servo controller to operation points, level crossing barriers etc, a zig-zag in the operating wire should resolve any stress issues from excess movement, the mounts for micro switches on the servo mounts could be used to place stop-blocks.

The MERG controller handset is a lovely size, being not much bigger than the old gaugemaster walkabout and has been built with point control functionality in mind, but it's not actually available yet, it's in development so you can't control points through C-BUS with it as yet.

The Roco 10810 MultiMaus was my intent before joining MERG and building their handheld.

With regards spaghetti, I intend to use the C-Bus set up where each servo module is located near what it's driving but they all connect to a bus network controlled by the command module which is connected to the control panel module hopefully making for less wires running all over the place

Offline belstone

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Re: Longframlington (Northumbrian branch line)
« Reply #373 on: April 07, 2018, 08:37:29 AM »
I'm intrigued by the possibilities of CBUS, and Longframlington would be a good testbed, being small and simple.   I will have to look into costs, but being in the motor trade I'm familiar with the basic concept, and it makes a lot of sense if the control modules are cheap enough. A bit of reading there for the weekend I think.

Richard

Offline belstone

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Re: Longframlington (Northumbrian branch line)
« Reply #374 on: April 08, 2018, 11:23:50 PM »
A day of mostly creative destruction.  I have never been happy with the electrics on this layout: everything was lashed up in a tearing hurry with odd bits of wire that I found lying around (literally - the busbars came from a skip) and although it mostly worked it looked horrible.  So as I was pulling out the solenoid point motors ready to replace them with servos I binned pretty much everything except the busbars and droppers.

I then replaced the operating cranks on the turnouts with stronger ones, 22 gauge piano wire instead of 24.  One of the cranks had rusted into its brass tube which explains why that turnout had stopped working. I had one micro servo to play with so I installed that, fiddled around a bit and now have a slow-action turnout operating mechanism which seems robust enough.



Uncouplers - I need to replace the two under-track permanent magnets with the servo-driven hinged flaps that I have been working on.  One was fairly easy, I was able to tunnel up from underneath and pull out the permanent magnets from under the trackbed without disturbing the track itself. The flap is now in place although I haven't installed the servo yet.  I then realised that the other magnet is directly above a baseboard cross support, so I can't get to it from underneath.  I might have to leave it where it is: it is not powerful enough for reliable uncoupling, and its position at the "country" end of the platform (for loco release) means that it shouldn't be too much of a nuisance.  I can squeeze in an uncoupling flap next to it.

Once I have the second uncoupler in place and all the servos fitted I can start the wiring, properly this time.  I have components here and more on the way. Hopefully trains will be running again by the end of the next Bank Holiday.

Richard

 

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