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Author Topic: Stobs (Waverley Route, 1961)  (Read 10434 times)

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Online belstone

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Re: Stobs (Waverley Route, 1961)
« Reply #150 on: April 13, 2020, 08:43:58 PM »
After four days solid modelling I think I'm running out of momentum.  Today wasn't especially productive.  I thought I would make a start on one of the locomotives for Stobs:



A Gresley V2, probably the loco type most associated with the line, at least in BR days.  The Farish model was a good effort back in the 1990s but not up to modern standards.  It suffers from lack of haulage capacity, and mine will have to handle 35 wagon trains, so I decided to rework it using the tender drive from a Farish B1.  I acquired one of these cheap with damaged valve gear: the tender fits straight onto the V2 drawbar and has the same system of electrical contacts.  I pulled the motor and intermediate gear out of the V2, and changed the pony truck wheels for some see-through Dapol ones: not a lot I can do about the solid backed driving wheels though.

I then ran into all kinds of issues with poor electrical contact (dirt and arcing damage on the drawbar connectors) and what I thought was a split gear, but turned out to be a couple of bent teeth on one of the driven axles.  I have an unwell J39 so I borrowed a wheelset for that.  I finally got the thing running OK (although still with some pickup issues) but it struggled with seven Mk1s on the curves, so I removed the cast alloy weight from the tender and replaced it with shaped pieces of lead.

At this point the handset for my MERG DCC system lost its display.  It has been temperamental since I built it.  I suspected a bad connection somewhere and spent a couple of hours testing, remaking soldered joints etc but with no luck.  The controller still works, but without a display its use is a bit limited.  I have a second handset kit on order, so I can try swapping the display from that one as I suspect that is where the fault lies. 

Next job for the V2 is to see whether I can get rid of that horrible skirt along the bottom of the boiler.  Looking at the construction of the thing it shouldn't be impossible.

Richard

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Re: Stobs (Waverley Route, 1961)
« Reply #151 on: April 14, 2020, 06:35:27 AM »
Sounds like a case of extreme perseverence!
With kind regards
Laurence
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Offline kirky

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Re: Stobs (Waverley Route, 1961)
« Reply #152 on: April 14, 2020, 08:05:19 PM »
@belstone
Richard, I think there is a screw adjustment for the screen brightness on the Merg handset. Mine were particularly tempramental and just the slightest nudge clockwise or wnticlockwise can make all the difference.

Ive found the relevant bit in the manual: 'First, optimise the contrast of the alphanumeric display by adjusting the blue Ďpotí VR2. It may initially appear blank or full of black rectangles. It should be possible to set VR2 so that legible characters can be seen. If not then remove power by disconnecting the curly cable at the RJ22 connector and gently pull the display free from the
PCB. Check the soldering at the PIC U1 pins 12 Ė 18, all of the pins soldered to the display itself and under the 15 way header at the PCB to eliminate poor or shorted work. When satisfied reinsert the display and reapply power.@

Hope this helps
Amazing progress btw!
Kirky
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Re: Stobs (Waverley Route, 1961)
« Reply #153 on: April 25, 2020, 10:55:10 PM »
A week of electronic fiddling after the postman brought me a couple more MERG kits, a DCC power booster and another handset.  The booster went together OK although soldering the earthed components was hard work as the circuit board acts as a giant heatsink.  I tried a larger iron but it was too clumsy.  Anyway, here is the complete system laid out, ready to put in the case.  Booster is the large board in the middle, base station to the left and the two district cutouts to the right.  Very satisfying to look at all these electronics and think "I made that".



Next job was to assemble the second handset, incorporating lessons learned from the first one.  It was a lot easier this time round: I paid a bit more attention to the fit of the board in the case and getting all the button switches lined up and square on the board.  I powered it up and it worked perfectly.  I then swapped the screen with the one from the other handset: the screen was dead.  I put the new screen in the old handset: still no display.  Looks like handset number one is going to end up in the bin: I've done all the continuity tests I can, including the bits mentioned by @kirky, and I'm no further forward.  Annoying as the thing actually controls trains perfectly, but without a display its use is limited.

The MERG handset isn't a thing of great beauty and looks a bit home-brew against some of the commercial offerings, but it sits nicely in the palm of the hand and is very easy to use, even for me.



Now I had a working system it was time to fit everything into the old computer case, using threaded spacer posts.  Some of the wiring is a bit of a lash-up as I am waiting for some 15-pin connector plugs, so for the moment I am using screw terminal blocks to connect the thing to the Stobs Camp board which I am using as a test track.  I wired everything up, plugged it in and nothing happened.  Strange.  I found the fuse had blown in the plug (3 amp) and thought the surge on startup might have caused it, so I replaced it with a 5 amp fuse and tried again.  There was a loud pop, followed by my wife asking me why all the power had gone off downstairs.  Oh dear.

At first I assumed that the ATX power supply from the old computer had failed, but after dismantling it and not finding anything obvious I had a look at the 15 volt supply (a repurposed Toshiba laptop unit) and found that one of the capacitors inside it had blown up.  So I will need another 15 volt supply: I tried running the DCC system on 12 volts from the ATX supply but that wasn't enough for the booster to work.  Once I have sorted this out I just need to fit and wire the connectors at the back (4-pin DIN for track supply, 15 pin D-Sub for handsets, power feeds to the servo and relay boards) and order another MERG handset to replace the dead one.  I also need to fit buzzers to the district cutouts and some LEDS on the front to display the status of the various components and power supplies. 



Richard


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Re: Stobs (Waverley Route, 1961)
« Reply #154 on: April 26, 2020, 09:10:14 AM »
Definitely do no bin that handset Richard. As a last resort you can send it to the technical support team. The address is advertised in Merg magazines I think but Iím sure a quick search on the Merg forum will turn it up. You may need some new components but  since it actually works then it seems it must be salvageable. It is a tricky little kit is the hand set.
Cheers
Kirky
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Re: Stobs (Waverley Route, 1961)
« Reply #155 on: April 26, 2020, 01:07:42 PM »
Definitely do no bin that handset Richard. As a last resort you can send it to the technical support team. The address is advertised in Merg magazines I think but Iím sure a quick search on the Merg forum will turn it up. You may need some new components but  since it actually works then it seems it must be salvageable. It is a tricky little kit is the hand set.
Cheers
Kirky

I've put the full story on the MERG forum, see if anyone has any idea what has gone wrong.

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Re: Stobs (Waverley Route, 1961)
« Reply #156 on: April 27, 2020, 10:02:16 AM »
I've put the full story on the MERG forum, see if anyone has any idea what has gone wrong.
I read your sorry tale on the Merg forum and note the lack of responses. I still think you might be best sending it to technical support.
cheers
Kirky
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Online belstone

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Re: Stobs (Waverley Route, 1961)
« Reply #157 on: May 10, 2020, 09:41:32 PM »


Stobs Camp Sidings, July 1961.  One of St Margarets' finest, 60882 has run into trouble on the morning Edinburgh-Carlisle semi-fast.  With no relief engine available at Hawick the station pilot, "J36" number 65331, has been attached to bank the train to Whitrope, from where it is downhill all the way to Carlisle.  Passing Stobs Camp at little more than walking pace and with eight miles of 1 in 70 still to go.

Terrible video quality and unfinished locos and stock, but I'm happy this evening.

Richard

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Re: Stobs (Waverley Route, 1961)
« Reply #158 on: May 16, 2020, 07:14:19 PM »
Big day for the Stobs project: the storage loop boards have gone back to my workshop and the two scenic boards are now happily installed in what is likely to be their home for the next year or so. I designed the whole layout around being able to fit the scenic boards into this space to work on, so it's nice to have them where they should be.



However, there is a problem.  I have already had to lift and relay the track across the viaduct due to bad alignment:  now there is another bit I am unhappy with.  It's the section between the end of the viaduct and half way along the platforms: it should be a nice continuous curve, but instead there are short straights and a kink.  I need to lift and relay about a yard of track (both lines), the turnout, catch point and siding. Grrr.



Silver lining of sorts: I realised after laying this bit of track that I had forgotten about the under-track uncouplers.  The morning Carlisle-Hawick goods (the only train which shunted the siding at Stobs) will use the couplers I developed for "Longframlington" (in fact it will use Longfram's wagons) so I can attend to that while the track is up.  I also wasn't quite happy with the alignment of the siding: looking at photos it needs to curve away from the main line a bit more to clear the platform end.  So I'll have a better layout for the couple of hours it will take me to lift and skew the track.

Meanwhile in the motive power department the J36 is coming along nicely and I found in my scrapbox a Farish rolling chassis that will do nicely for a J37 with the same Kato power unit. I have a tenderless Farish B1 which will most likely end up with another Kato unit in a scratchbuilt Group Standard tender, and if that works out my non-running J39 will get the same treatment.  Finally, about to enter works is the "Poundshop McRat" - a resin Class 26 body that I have had for years on a Dapol chassis which I picked up cheap as a non-runner after it had been dropped.  It won't look quite as nice as a proper Dapol 26 but it should run just as well.  Lots to do, should keep me busy.  What have I taken on here?

Richard


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Re: Stobs (Waverley Route, 1961)
« Reply #159 on: May 16, 2020, 07:18:21 PM »
Looks pretty good to me with the sweeping curves. Like your woodwork too, nice open frame design, should look nice with the scenics built on.
Lil Chris
My new layout here, Irwell Valley Railway. https://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=47127.0

my old layout was East Lancashire Lines.

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Re: Stobs (Waverley Route, 1961)
« Reply #160 on: May 16, 2020, 09:02:29 PM »
Up line through the station now lifted and realigned.  The track came away very easily using a scalpel blade under the sleepers: as with the real railway, the ballast will play an important role in keeping the track where it should be.



While the glue is drying, a taste of things to come:  a B1, 61184 of St Margarets, clanks across the viaduct with a Niddrie-Canal Class E freight. As the train heads through the station the exhaust of the B1 will gradually give way to the sharp bark of a J36 at the back which will bank the train to Whitrope.  V2s and Pacifics normally worked these trains single handed: the lesser B1s and K3s generally needed a banker. These transfer freights between Edinburgh and Carlisle were the lifeblood of the Waverley Route and I will have to build an awful lot of wagons.

Richard


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Re: Stobs (Waverley Route, 1961)
« Reply #161 on: May 16, 2020, 09:12:57 PM »
Looking really nice Richard. The attention to detail is typical belstone of course. Just superb.

Kirky
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Re: Stobs (Waverley Route, 1961)
« Reply #162 on: May 17, 2020, 01:33:14 PM »
The track gang has spent the morning slewing rails:



Not a huge adjustment, no more than half an inch at most, but I'm happier with it.  The Waverley Route, especially the southern section, was all about curves:  I believe there wasn't a single length of straight track between Hawick and Longtown.  As I have now found, laying a 25 foot radius continuous curve in N gauge is a very tricky thing to do.

Electrics next: I have just finished putting in the droppers, next job is to fit the busbars and frog switching relay, then wire the whole lot up.  It isn't exactly complicated: 90% of the electrics are in the storage loops.

Richard
« Last Edit: May 17, 2020, 01:34:54 PM by belstone »

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Re: Stobs (Waverley Route, 1961)
« Reply #163 on: May 17, 2020, 10:45:31 PM »
Looking really smart, great work. :thankyousign:

The curve looks really great - not much of a change perhaps but has a big effect so definitely worth doing - once you know itís wrong youíll always regret not doing straightening it out (or curving it out I guess... ::).

Thanks for sharing, thereís a couple of real wow moments already!

V. Best

PT

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Re: Stobs (Waverley Route, 1961)
« Reply #164 on: May 18, 2020, 10:56:06 AM »
Having got the busbars and droppers in place yesterday, the next stage is to look at controlling the turnout and catch point (which will operate as a linked pair), the uncoupler and two signals (all servo operated).  The turnout and uncoupler will be controlled by the Down line operator (responsible for the Stobs Camp storage loops).  The Up and Down home signals will be under the control of their respective operators.

My original plan was to have a small local control panel behind one of the scenic boards for the goods siding area, and switches on each of the loop control panels for the signals.  It then occurred to me that I might be able to control them direct from the handsets so I did a bit of reading.  The MERG handsets don't allow control of DCC accessory decoders, but they will control a CBUS switching module.  So I have ordered an 8 channel CBUS relay module (CANACC8) and another servo controller.  I suspect I will end up using the CANACC8 to switch a bank of relays which in turn will switch the servo controller: I don't think it is possible to hook up the servo controller directly to the CANACC8.

All this is a bit adventurous for someone who has always been old-school 12V DC with toggle switches for everything, but it is basically the same operating principle that worked so well for Longframlington, with everything on the handset. The button sequence for operating accessories on the MERG handset is slightly cunbersome compared to just flicking a toggle switch but I'm sure I'll get used to it.  It can't be as bad as consisting which is a nightmare for this DC dinosaur: if there is a "one click" way to release both locomotives from a consist I haven't found it yet.

Richard

 

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