Friday, October 30, 2015

Operations! Operations! Operations! Operations! Operations!

That just means we completed our 5th Ops Session. Had my 3 smiling regulars: Tim (Model Railcast Show), Bob (Ntrainz1), and Gene (epumph). And this time our guest operator was Mario (mrodtoo).

Things didn't always go the way they were planned (i.e. trains didn't always run in the direction they were supposed to go) but we had a good time. (Good people make a good hobby!).

I managed to get the Model Power burning building working with 6 volts of batteries. But it takes almost 2 minutes to warm up to flickering so I've order some additional inexpensive battery holders and will move it up to 9 volts. I'll use the 6 volts on the haunted house.

I added a 4th Miller Engineering animated sign (Jesus Saves). I'm a little disappointed in this one since none of the 46 animation combinations highlight the middle S until the "saved" portion kicks in. I think their research failed them. This sign also has a soft high pitched whine when it is on (fortunately the sign is 3+ feet from the layouts edge). It also gave me a jolt (capacitor) when I picked up the control unit on while it was on. 

Finally I added a track to the coal supply portion of the coaling tower (which is on a slight incline and wants to dump the hopper car back into the turntable pit when jostled).

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Lights! Cameras! Action! (and Bridges)

The lighting business started off with trying to figure out the voltage for the Model Power Baldwin Burning Building lighting. I tried to find the answer on a forum but when no one came up with one, I started testing out various voltages. First I tried the 4.5 volts used by the Miller Engineering animated signs but that failed to trigger the flicker. I ended up settling on 6 volts which is a nice multiple of AAA batteries.

So now I need:
.     6v for the building and the oversized street lights (which cannot be on for more than 30 minutes)
.     4.5v for the 3 Miller Engineering animated signs.
.     3v for the Model Power Haunted house and
.     12v for the regular Model Power lighted houses and the NJ Int'l PRR position signals.
They certainly do not make it easy, do they?

There are many electrical tricks to even out the requirements, but I have settled on the cheap and simple solution of ordering a bunch of Chinese 77 cent battery holders (which have an on-off switch) and a handful of batteries. I now need to wait for a slow boat to/from China to get everything (burning building, haunted house, street lights, and signals) set up. In the meantime, I got my 3 Miller Engineering animated signs working and several Model Power houses in North Woodbury hooked up.

The real laugh is that the lights will rarely be on. They exist primarily to amuse/dazzle  the grandkids, visitors, and my wife.

I am also slowly getting closer to the Manayunk bridge designs with my colored paper drawing bridges. Maybe someday I'll have real arched bridges across my raging Schuylkill River.