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Sunday, 31 December 2017

From the F7A Cab

Today I got to ride in CN F7A 9064 from Waldron to Melville past the farm I got to sit in the engineers seat. I also got to use my new colour camera. It is such a different view from up in the cab.



















I have an SJCAM M10 with WIFI which is like a GoPro and I have it sitting on a 40' flat car. I have it shooting through a small wall that has a picture I got from the internet of the cab of an F7A that I resized to 1"x1"and mounted. I can move the wall back and forth to get the right distance then I just crop the pictures to just the cab size. The nut at the front is glued to the wall to hold it steady as we travel the rails. This camera can also take HD video. The only problem you have to work around is the wide angle lens that comes with these types of cameras that will give a curve to things that are beside it. It is about an 1 1/4 square. I will do a part 2 to this latter on.

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Fast Clocks

There are some things I spend money on and some things I am cheap about. Fast clocks fall in to the cheap category. They just seemed very expensive and by design my layout would need three. I have been down 3 different roads so far over time.

1. I tried to used the Digitrax built in clock but I found that it didn't keep very good time and you need everyone to have a DT402x throttle to be able to see the time and then you have to train everyone to use it. I also tried this with JMRI but still didn't like how it worked. Sometimes if you wait things will look after themselves.

2. One day while looking for fast clocks on the net I found the Windows Fast Clock developed by Wesley Steiner. So I loaded/opened it on my laptop and my tablet and my phone. There, now I have 3 fast clocks, my laptop at the Melville yard, my tablet in staging and it sits on the deep freeze bedside the paper work and my phone which is in the other part of the main room. I have an adapter for my phone so it can be mounted on my tripod. The only problem with this system is that you have to start all 3 devices one at a time,  this only leaves a few seconds between start times so it worked well. The other problem is that all my devices want to shut down. The laptop is easy to adjust and is set to not shut down because I use it during ops for other things anyway. One of the things that runs on it is JMRI and WiThrottle so operators can use their phones as throttles or one of the old phones I have acquired that can be used as throttles. The longest I could set my phone and tablet so it would not go to sleep was 30min which means you have to give them a tap on the screen every so often so their timers for sleep mode reset. Sounds easy but every once in a while they are forgotten and the clocks they are running will stop. It can be a bit of a pain.
If you only need one clock this system works very well and has lots of different choices, my needs are just a little more complicated. You can even have a analog clock face if you like.

3. I was once again surfing the net and came across an app called Model Railroad Fast Clock on Google Play. I don't know if it is available for Apple because I don't own any Apple devices. So I loaded it  on my phone and it has some awesome features. The biggest ones are when it is running it will stop your device from going to sleep and it has Bluetooth so I can Bluetooth all 3 together. I only have to set the time once on one device. I have since acquired another tablet the same as my first one from a friend that changed over to an iPad ??? good for me. Now the second tablet replaces my laptop as the app is not yet available for windows. I have asked the developer if it is possible to have it work with windows. The other thing about the Bluetooth is that anyone who has the app can get this time on their phone, which is also a bonus if they are using it as a throttle. This is the one I am going with now and it seems to work great so far. Technology is amazing at times. FREE

So I run 4-1 fast clock most of the time. On the EMRA in Edmonton Peter runs their fast clock also at 4-1 but will adjust the speed up and down depending on how things are going. He will run slower at the start of a session so the yard ops can get up to speed , as they may be new to the position or have not run the yards for a while. Then when things start coming together he speeds it up. The other thing about this is if you have time gaps in your timetable so as no to overload the layout I can speed things up to 6-1 for a while to keep things moving. That way ops don't get bored. And by changing these times you can remove stress from the ops that are still learning to give them a better experience.

There are links on my links page for these fast clocks.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Fascia

The fascia is built from ⅛ in hard board with a top support for the screws to go into. The fascia is painted  CN green #11 and took a lot of bottles of model paint about 600. No that is not true. I airbrushed a piece of styrene about 2 in square with Modelflex CN green # 11 and took that down to Home Hardware and they colour matched it for me. I could put Modelflex paint on the fascia after it was painted and you could not tell the difference. I had intended to put a yellow band on the bottom of the fascia, and along with my back curtains, it would look similar to the 1954 passenger scheme. It is one of those things that I have just not got to yet. When I do I will have Home Hardware match some paint to CN #11 yellow.
The curtains were cut,sewn and installed by my wife. They are held to the fascia with velcro that is glued to the back of the fascia along the bottom edge and to the back of the curtains with fabric glue. They have held up very well. It is intended that at some point in the near future we will add pieces of velcro to the bottom of the curtains to better hold them in place at the bottom causing them to hang a little straighter.
The curtains also hide the storage that is under the layout. under the peninsula for the branch line there is space for just about all of our Christmas decorations, under the town is where all of our luggage is stored and so on.
It is cut to match the contours of the scenery.



Other items of interest on the fascia from left to right.
  • a rerailer
  • switch list for the yard crew generated by JMRI
  • control rod for a yard switch. I will cover those in a different post.
  • yellow labels and logos are printed and applied with a kids glue stick. 
  • folding throttle/cup holder. I had bought some at Canadian Tire that were white and I repainted them black. They were half the price of hobby ones and are really sold as cup holders for boats.
  • bad order sheet for anything that needs repair or attention, it works well and guys can fill it in during ops sessions
  • a Rapido passenger car magnet on a stick to remove the coal loads from hoppers at the coal doc
  • engine cards for the yard switchers
  • uncoupling tool holder. I explained it in an different post
  • pen that has an LED light in the end of it, it helps some of the visually challenged read the car numbers better.
  • that snake in the bottom right is the vacuum hose as I was cleaning up. The floor is carpeted everywhere and has in floor heat. 
This shows the Digitrax UR91, DCC Specialties RRampMeter display and closer view of rod pulls for switches on track 5 & 6 in the east end of the yard. The curtain is pulled back so you can just see the command station on it's shelf. As a side note my amperage is now up to 1.12 that is with 25 engines on the track of which just about all have sound and 4 actually pulling cars. We really over estimate how much power we need to run a layout.

Monday, 4 December 2017

CNR 4-6-2 J-4-e Pacific

On my way home to the farm today I caught some pictures of 5134 on its normal run to Regina pulling train 202. It has just come from the shop so it is looking good.




It is a Van Hobbies CNR J-4-e 4-2-6 Pacific. When I acquired this loco it was factory painted but the decals needed to be fixed so it got a new set. I also installed raised cab numbers. I installed a Soundtraxx Tsunami 750 medium steam decoder.  I also installed a new flat can motor  2032D-9 with a 409-6 flywheel weight along with new universal shafts all from NWSL. While I had this open I installed an LED head and tender light. To determine what motor would fit, I made a clay mock-up of the motor sizes that NWSL had available. I also stuck a piece of rode styrene out of the front so I would know how and if it would fit with the new universals. I then put the shell back on to see if there was any marks in the clay. I used brass strip on the old motor base to help mount the new motor, then the motor openings were taped and it was set in silicone to hold it to the mount. The reason for taping was so that silicone could note get inside the motor. The new drive shaft and universals were added. I did not change the gear box because this loco ran very well. I did take it apart and clean and re-grease it.
I installed a 1.1" speaker in the tender. Before I installed the speaker I drew a template in Auto Cad and laid this on the floor of the tender and then drilled a pattern of professionally looking holes in the floor. I then air brushed some black to cover the bare brass from drilling the holes. I then used Soundtraxx double sided gasket to stick the speaker to the floor, because I did it this way there was no need for a speaker enclosure, the tender shell provides that. I am considering installing a high bass speaker in the future.
On this Loco I also installed the decoder in the tender. I make my own wire plug by cutting what I need from strip connectors. I will cover that in a different post. The connector is left inside the tender to make it neat. I never take the tender off the engine very often, but if I need to I just have to remove the shell on the tender. I filed a small notch on the bottom of the wall of the tender for the wires to pass through to the engine. I could not go through the floor because it would have interfered with the movement of the truck on the tender.  I painted the wires that run from the tender to the cab flat black so you hardly even notice them.
I still intend to make a new draw bar as the factory one is either to short or too long. I would also like to install chains from the tender to the trucks but I have not come up with a plan so that they are not too difficult to remove so you could work on the trucks if necessary and does not cause a short.

Friday, 1 December 2017

CNR 2-8-0 N-5-d Consolidation



Today I caught some pictures of 2752 departing Melville with train 202 to Regina




Van Hobbies CNR N-5-d 2752.  I installed a Soundtraxx 1000 D&RGW steam decoder in this locomotive in 2014. I also installed a new flat can motor  2032D-9 with a 409-6 flywheel weight along with new universal shafts all from NWSL. While I had this open I installed an LED light. To determine what motor would fit I made a clay mock-up of the motor sizes that NWSL had available. I also stuck a piece of  styrene rod out of the front so I would know how and if it would fit with the new universals. Note: I have done this procedure with all of the brass steamers that I installed new motors in. I used brass strip on the old motor base to help mount the new motor, then the motor openings were taped and it was set in silicone to hold it to the mount. The reason for taping was so that silicone could not get inside the motor. The new drive shaft and universals were added. I did not change the gear box because this loco ran very well.
I installed a 1.1" speaker in the tender. Before I installed the speaker I drew a template in Auto Cad and laid this on the floor of the tender and then drilled a series of professionally looking holes in the floor. I then air brushed some black to cover the bare brass from drilling the holes. I then used Soundtraxx double sided gasket to stick the speaker to the floor, because I did it this way there was no need for a speaker enclosure. I am considering installing a high bass speaker in the future.
On this Loco I also installed the decoder in the tender. I make my own wire plug by cutting what I need from strip connectors. The connector is left inside the tender to make it neat. I never take the tender off the engine very often, but if I need to I just have to remove the shell on the tender. I filed a small notch on the bottom of the wall of the tender for the wires to pass through to the engine. I could not go through the floor because it would have interfered with the movement of the truck on the tender.
 I did not take any pictures of this for some reason. If I have it apart again I will take pictures.
I also added raised numbers to the cab side. These number sets come from the CN Lines Sig. I used a decal set 87-1019 from Microscale. The wafer on the tender was set horizontal to reflect 1959 CNR practice. This information comes from the Canadian National Steam which was done by Don McQueen. Great books if you are into steam.
This loco runs really nice and can pull about 15 cars on level track.

How I make my paint and brushes last

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