Lennart's Model Railroad Blog

Lennart's Model Railroad Blog

About this blog

This blog is about my current model railroad layout project; The N scale "Summit" layout, which is a freelanced interpretation of the Southern Pacific Tehachapi tunnels and their surroundings. Or at least, that is what it is meant to be. What it will turn out to be is another matter. The banner photo above shows what I want to recreate in N scale.

Signals have arrived

Electronics, signalsPosted by lennart Sat, January 29, 2011 16:29:04

The signals I ordered from Scale Model Divsions have arrived. Serge Lebel at SDM did a wonderful job crafting these signals just as I wanted them. Here is a photo of one set of signals, to be used at one end of the siding.

I have on more set like this that I will use at the other end of the siding.

All of the targets (heads) are three color search signals (red, green, amber). The double target signal will protect the entrance to the siding, the single target signal will also be placed along the main line but on the other side of the turnout and facing in the other direction. Last, the dwarf will be used to control movements from the siding onto the main line.

Check out Carsten S Lundsten's excellent example on DTC signaling to see what I mean (the Danby siding signals).

Here are three more photos, showing close-ups of the three signals above. Excellent work - don't you agree?

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Soldered motor contacts

Electronics, signalsPosted by lennart Sun, January 23, 2011 20:20:01

I finally came about and soldered the decoder to motor contacts on the engine I mentioned in the previous post. And now that engine (SP 6700) runs fine. It currently loops the layout with a coal drag.

Apparently bad contact between the decoder and the motor can resukt in a strange behaviour. I still do not understand why it earlier seemd to run better when having warmed up. That should not have made the bad electrical contact any better. But perhaps the back-EMF logic got confused by a strange combination of intermittent contact and a higher physical resistance from a cold motor? Just a guess...

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BLMA Signals delayed

Electronics, signalsPosted by lennart Sun, October 24, 2010 12:55:43

Some time ago, June 7:th to be exact, I pre-ordered some of the newly announced N scale search light signals from BLMA models. Judging from pre-view photos and the quality of the other stuff BLMA makes they were more or less a must-have.

But rather soon after I had placed my order BLMA indicated that they had some production problems and that the signals would be delayed. They did not say for how long. A few days ago I e-mailed them and asked if there were any news. Here is (part of the reply) from Craig Martyn himself.

Quote: No one predicted the complexity of making a true-to-scale N Scale Searchlight Signal. Complicate that with a huge increase in production with our factory and ultimately the opportunity cost for everyone has pushed this difficult project to the side while we focus on lucrative, simpler projects.

With all of that said, I'm hoping to have further information in 2011; however, I literally have no idea about timeline
End of quote.

Not very re-assuring. Who knows if they will ever finalize this project? So I guess I ought to scout around for other options. E.g. Daryl Kruse, builder and owner of the UPRR Geneva Subdivsion layout, praises the signals made by Scale Model Division.

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Space enough?

Electronics, signalsPosted by lennart Sat, July 24, 2010 22:03:32

More on decoders: A few days ago I received a Digitrax SDN144PS sound decoder. I saw and ad for this decoder in Model Railroader and thought that now it is finally time to take the dive! So I ordered a decoder, with speaker and capacitor included.

I took the shell off Cotton Belt #7292 (an Atlas locomotive) and tried to assess the situation.

It did not look that good! Too may items and too little space.

I'll keep you updated.

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Programming track

Electronics, signalsPosted by lennart Sun, June 20, 2010 16:42:06

As I said in an earlier post i currently only have two decoder equipped UP engines, although I have a few more still missing decoders. When I (not to soon I hope) install decoders in those I'll need a programming track. I decided to let the better half of the siding be able to do double duty as a programming.

I started by making sure a part of the siding was electrically isolated from the rest of the track, and disconnected the feeder wires to that section from the track power bus. Instead I wired those feeders via a Double Pole Double Throw (DPDT) switch, with one set of poles connected to the ordinary DCC track power bus and the other set connected to the programming track output on my DCC command station. So now it is a simple matter of flipping the switch when I want to convert the siding to a programming track.

Here is a picture of the switch and the simple plywood housing holding it. The switch is not that easy to reach once scenery is in place (sitting under and "inside" the layout) but it will not be used very often.

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