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Author Topic: Longframlington (Northumbrian branch line)  (Read 69099 times)

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Offline belstone

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Re: Longframlington (Northumbrian branch line)
« Reply #420 on: June 21, 2018, 07:58:36 AM »

Presumably a couple of grooves cut at the right angle is the way to go? Not sure how you would do that without a milling machine though.
Having said that, I was talking to one of our P4 modellers at the weekend and we were discussing filing points for Vs. It seems the P4 society offer a couple of options for making the V. Perhaps I can find out specifics.

Cheers
Kirky

Crossing vees seem to bother a lot of people, to the extent of actually putting them off building their own pointwork.  I've never understood why, it's just a question of filing the ends of two rails to a smooth point and soldering them together. Maybe I'm just good with a file, but I started building track in my teens with plastic-based SMP point kits, and crossing vees are about the only thing I haven't had trouble with.

Maybe a fold-up etched jig in stainless steel, with half-etched grooves for the rails and slotted tabs to hold them upright for soldering?

Richard

Offline belstone

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Re: Longframlington (Northumbrian branch line)
« Reply #421 on: June 24, 2018, 09:56:42 PM »
Too late for regrets:



Old track dug up, trackbed reinstated (this time in cork which will hopefully be more stable than the balsa base I used before), I plan to seal the cork with either dilute PVA or varnish before laying the track, so it isn't affected by the water from when I do the ballasting.  From having a running, near-finished layout I am now back at the stage where it could be weeks or even months before I can run trains again.  All part of the fun of our hobby, and the new siding arrangements will be a huge improvement in operating terms.

Richard

Offline belstone

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Re: Longframlington (Northumbrian branch line)
« Reply #422 on: June 25, 2018, 08:14:08 AM »


A nice simple little project to make a change from track building.  I started this MERG servo controller kit yesterday evening thinking I would just try and solder on a couple of components to get started.  About an hour later I had a completed board ready for testing.  Brilliant instructions, everything neatly laid out, 10 out of 10 to MERG.

The electrics on Longfram are starting to get a bit complicated for such a simple layout.  By the time I have finished the new track I will have eight servo-operated turnouts (including the trap point), six of which are operated in pairs, and possibly four uncouplers.  Each turnout has a relay-switched frog using a transistor circuit to pick up a switching signal from the servo board (more reliable than microswitches). I have a problem with my hand-held control box which is that I don't have any more spare wires on the connecting cable.  The uncouplers can be paired up no problem so that each button operates two uncouplers: turnouts are more difficult as I now have five to operate (three linked pairs and two singles) and only four switches. 

I think I will have to use more relays to make the function of switch 3 dependent on that of switch 4 which controls the crossover opposite the station building.  With switch 4 set to "off" (i.e. the crossover in the straight ahead position) switch 3 will control the turnout for the bay platform.  When switch 4 is "on" (crossover in use) switch 3 will operate the two turnouts giving access from the loop to the cattle dock.  The alternative is to link the turnouts at each end of the loop and use switch 1 to control all three: I need to work through all the possible operating moves and see which works best.

Richard

Offline SheldonC

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Re: Longframlington (Northumbrian branch line)
« Reply #423 on: June 25, 2018, 11:35:49 AM »
Too late for regrets:



Old track dug up, trackbed reinstated (this time in cork which will hopefully be more stable than the balsa base I used before), I plan to seal the cork with either dilute PVA or varnish before laying the track, so it isn't affected by the water from when I do the ballasting.

Richard
I'm slightly nonplussed by the implied statement that PVA with water will not distort the cork as much as ballasting.  Are you not using dilute PVA?  I ask because I haven't reached that stage yet and have never heard of anyone having a problem with the method I was hoping to use.
Regards,
Sheldon

Offline belstone

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Re: Longframlington (Northumbrian branch line)
« Reply #424 on: June 25, 2018, 03:36:51 PM »
I'm slightly nonplussed by the implied statement that PVA with water will not distort the cork as much as ballasting.  Are you not using dilute PVA?  I ask because I haven't reached that stage yet and have never heard of anyone having a problem with the method I was hoping to use.
Regards,
Sheldon

Cork is not an inert substance.  It expands when wet, which is why it is used to seal bottles and also to make gaskets with.  The idea of giving it a coat of dilute PVA before tracklaying is to seal the top surface so the water content of the PVA glue used for sticking down and then ballasting the track cannot penetrate the cork and cause it to expand once the track is in place.  With Peco or other proprietary heavy-based track you probably wouldn't notice, but my experience with Finetrax is that it needs a dead flat and totally stable trackbed to avoid problems.  I already have to lift and relay one of the turnouts at the station throat due to the (balsa) trackbed expanding after ballasting and painting with water-based paint, so I'm not taking any more chances.

Richard

Offline kirky

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Re: Longframlington (Northumbrian branch line)
« Reply #425 on: June 25, 2018, 05:42:36 PM »
A nice simple little project to make a change from track building.  I started this MERG servo controller kit yesterday evening thinking I would just try and solder on a couple of components to get started.  About an hour later I had a completed board ready for testing.  Brilliant instructions, everything neatly laid out, 10 out of 10 to MERG.
Richard
Indeed the Merg lits are remarkably well put together, and there always people willing to help if things start going wrong. However, despite the instructions being clear it still doesnt prevent dimwits from inserting capacitors the wrong way round. They go bang. Ask me how I know...

cheers
Kirky
Northallerton will make its next public appearance sometime after LOCKDOWN

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

www.northallertonngauge.co.uk

Cleveland Model Railway club website: www.clevelandmrc.club

Offline kirky

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Re: Longframlington (Northumbrian branch line)
« Reply #426 on: June 25, 2018, 06:00:09 PM »
Cork is not an inert substance.  It expands when wet, which is why it is used to seal bottles and also to make gaskets with.  The idea of giving it a coat of dilute PVA before tracklaying is to seal the top surface so the water content of the PVA glue used for sticking down and then ballasting the track cannot penetrate the cork and cause it to expand once the track is in place.  With Peco or other proprietary heavy-based track you probably wouldn't notice, but my experience with Finetrax is that it needs a dead flat and totally stable trackbed to avoid problems.  I already have to lift and relay one of the turnouts at the station throat due to the (balsa) trackbed expanding after ballasting and painting with water-based paint, so I'm not taking any more chances.

Richard
I have to say, six years after being laid, the plastazote (closed cell foam) we used on Northallerton has remained remarkably stable. Weve chucked all sorts of nasty chemicals at it, all kinds of glue, paint and and cleaners and it has never moved. Its even reusable if you can get it up in usable sized pieces. I cant think I'd ever use anything but this material. For me its plastazote or nothing - just bare ply.

Cheers
Kirky
« Last Edit: June 25, 2018, 06:01:21 PM by kirky »
Northallerton will make its next public appearance sometime after LOCKDOWN

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

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Offline belstone

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Re: Longframlington (Northumbrian branch line)
« Reply #427 on: June 26, 2018, 08:11:06 AM »

Indeed the Merg lits are remarkably well put together, and there always people willing to help if things start going wrong. However, despite the instructions being clear it still doesnt prevent dimwits from inserting capacitors the wrong way round. They go bang. Ask me how I know...

cheers
Kirky

At least you didn't try building a Servoset 2 and get the DIL socket the wrong way round, which meant you plugged in the microprocessor the wrong way round, then used the board on your layout to test the Servoset, with all your delicate turnout mechanisms connected to the servos.  Things went a bit haywire.  Amazingly the turnout mechanisms, control board and even the Servoset microprocessor seem to have survived undamaged.  This is what happens if you stay up until 1am messing about with electronics.

Richard

Offline kirky

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Re: Longframlington (Northumbrian branch line)
« Reply #428 on: June 26, 2018, 05:31:34 PM »

At least you didn't try building a Servoset 2 and get the DIL socket the wrong way round, which meant you plugged in the microprocessor the wrong way round, then used the board on your layout to test the Servoset, with all your delicate turnout mechanisms connected to the servos.  Things went a bit haywire.  Amazingly the turnout mechanisms, control board and even the Servoset microprocessor seem to have survived undamaged.  This is what happens if you stay up until 1am messing about with electronics.

Richard
Oh dear - that sounds like you got lucky. Im not allowed to play with anything remotely dangerous after I nearly took my entire thumb off using my table saw late at night. :dunce:
I did manage to  :censored: up my servoset though by cutting the pot stalks too short. I had to buy replacements. Very embarassing.
cheers
Kirky
Northallerton will make its next public appearance sometime after LOCKDOWN

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

www.northallertonngauge.co.uk

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Offline belstone

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Re: Longframlington (Northumbrian branch line)
« Reply #429 on: June 26, 2018, 06:29:12 PM »

I did manage to  :censored: up my servoset though by cutting the pot stalks too short. I had to buy replacements. Very embarassing.
cheers
Kirky

Let me guess, you shortened them to 16mm instead of shortening them BY 16mm.  I had to read that bit twice to make sure I got it right.

Offline kirky

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Re: Longframlington (Northumbrian branch line)
« Reply #430 on: June 26, 2018, 06:33:24 PM »
Correct Richard.  :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[

Kirky
Northallerton will make its next public appearance sometime after LOCKDOWN

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www.northallertonngauge.co.uk

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Offline belstone

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Re: Longframlington (Northumbrian branch line)
« Reply #431 on: July 02, 2018, 08:16:22 AM »
During last week I worked away steadily on laying the new track sections, one piece at a time, using PVA glue and carefully aligning each section then weighting it down until the glue dried.  This slow and steady approach seems to have paid off with nice level track.  The only bit I am unhappy with is the crossover to the cattle dock which has a slight dogleg on it due to the two turnouts being positioned slightly too far apart, but it is only really noticeable from directly above so I can live with it.



Yesterday I decided to have a major all-day session on the layout to see if I could get all the turnout motors wired up, the track wiring done and hopefully be able to run trains before bedtime.  I didn't quite achieve that, but got fairly close with just the insulation gaps to cut on the PCB turnout sleepers before I can connect up a controller and see how many shorts there are. The turnout servos on MERG mounts all went in with no trouble apart from having to take a bit more out of the centre baseboard crossmember.  Wiring them up was another matter...

As noted above I had five sets of turnouts and only four switches (or "point levers" as I like to think of them now).  In the end I made the function of lever 3 dependent on the position of lever 1 which controls the turnout at the entrance to the station.  With lever 1 set "normal" (i.e. straight ahead, lever 3 controls the entry to the bay platform.  When lever 1 is reversed, lever 3 controls the access crossover for the cattle dock.  This was done by feeding the output from lever 3 through a signal sensing relay (the same type I am using for the frog switching) which detects the position of lever 1 and routes the output of lever 3 to the appropriate servo controller(s).

I rejigged the wiring so the eight turnout servos (arranged as three coupled pairs and two singles) are run off two MERG Servo4 boards, with the Heathcote 2 servo board being used for the uncouplers.  This required a lot of careful thought and concentration, as well as moving a couple of the wires in the handheld control unit so that all the turnout switches have one common return wire, and the uncouplers another.  The MERG units can be "daisy chained" with a single common return which is handy as I have no spare pins left on my control box cable.



The blue thing in the photo above is a generic Chinese relay control board designed for Arduino and the like, and costs less than I was paying for the relays alone.  It is described as a "12 volt" board, and what fun I had with it.  No documentation with it and I couldn't make it work. In the end, thanks to the Internet I discovered that it would do what I wanted if I removed a jumper to split the power feed into two sections, and fed it with 12 volts for the relay coils and 5 volts for the control electronics.  The Servo4 has a built in voltage regulator which gives a nice stable 5 volts so I tapped into this (pin J8/4), and after that the relays worked fine.

It would be nice to say everything worked first time but I had a few bugs to sort out, mainly that while fiddling around in the control box I broke the feed wire for lever 1.  This of course affected the operation of lever 3 as well.  With that fixed I found that all four levers made the servos do something, and after a few minutes setting up the boards with the Servoset box I had eight working turnouts.  I went to bed happy.

This evening I will cut some insulating gaps and see if I can get trains to run.  If everything works OK I can start ballasting and painting the new track, although I still have one turnout to replace and might wait until that is done before tackling the ballasting.  I also need to sort out uncouplers.  It occurred to me that by arranging the hinged flaps crossways I can make one uncoupler unit cover several adjacent tracks, so I will replace the two existing uncouplers with new ones at each end of the run round loop, covering four tracks each.  That will save a lot of unnecessary wagon movements: at the moment the uncoupler for all the sidings is under the level crossing which is not ideal.  I want to play around a bit more with magnet sizes as I think slightly longer magnets might make uncoupling a little easier, so my "shunting plank" will be dug out of storage for further experimenting.  It's all good fun.

Richard

Offline Newportnobby

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Re: Longframlington (Northumbrian branch line)
« Reply #432 on: July 02, 2018, 09:59:08 AM »
You lost me after the first pic but I wish you luck in getting things sorted and trains running again.

Offline kirky

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Re: Longframlington (Northumbrian branch line)
« Reply #433 on: July 02, 2018, 10:48:30 PM »
@belstone
Wow Richard, some serious electrickery going on there. Very clever stuff. Can you tell whether the relays on the blue relay board are latched relays? Im looking for a cheapish source of latched relays for frog switching but in dcc.

Cheers
Kirky
Northallerton will make its next public appearance sometime after LOCKDOWN

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

www.northallertonngauge.co.uk

Cleveland Model Railway club website: www.clevelandmrc.club

Offline belstone

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Re: Longframlington (Northumbrian branch line)
« Reply #434 on: July 03, 2018, 12:07:29 AM »
@belstone
Wow Richard, some serious electrickery going on there. Very clever stuff. Can you tell whether the relays on the blue relay board are latched relays? Im looking for a cheapish source of latched relays for frog switching but in dcc.

Cheers
Kirky


They are just plain ordinary SPDT non-latching relays.  I have used twin coil latching relays for frog switching with solenoid point motors, Axicom V23079-B1203-B301 which were cheap and reliable. 

After a fair amount of debugging I can now run trains everywhere.  I don't make life easy for myself: I have live frogs fed from other live frogs, and as part of the track remodelling I moved a couple of insulation breaks on the runround loop without thinking through the consequences. The result being a series of short circuits which I tracked down and corrected one by one.  The last one turned out not to be a wiring error as such, but a wire had come loose on one of the frog switching relays.

Complex wiring I can tolerate if it leads to simpler layout operation, and in that respect the new Longframlington is an absolute joy. The paired turnouts make route setting very easy, frog switching is nice and reliable, and with the repositioned insulation breaks I no longer have to worry about trains stopping dead during normal shunting operations, just because I have forgotten to set the turnout at the far end of the layout to the appropriate position. I'm happy.  Uncouplers next...

Richard


 

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