Progress on the Triple O

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Posted by ttrigg on Saturday, May 14, 2016 8:55 PM

Eric

Glad to hear that the shims are working well. The side benifit of shims is that their height is adjustable as time goes on. Sounds like the "Triple O" aquired a set of equipment. The B'man track is best indoors, it should give years of service. Not sure about your microclimate, but here in North San Diego county it has an outdoor life span of six to nine months. Between the fog, the sprinkler system and the dogs marking their territory it rotted out from the inside. Found out the hard way. My B'man "Annie" (my heaviest at the time) was on a good run when the rails collapsed under the weight.

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Posted by ttrigg on Thursday, May 26, 2016 1:58 PM

Looking good, my friend. Looks like your civil engineer needs an extra scoop on her next ice cream cone. Like her idea.

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Thursday, July 07, 2016 1:57 AM

Aloha Tom & Co.!

 

No great shakes, but I did want to report in.  The slow, turgid work of covering the retaining wall continues.  Were I to do it over, I would not have tried scoring it; I would've pressed a pattern into it or simply smeared on the tinter mortar.  I was feeling a bit down, until I covered either side of our canyon's mouth and the mortar showed it could do what I wanted to do, namely provide a textural and color transition from "our" world to the world of the Triple O.  As our zoisa slowly spreads into the canyon, this effect should strengthen. 

I still have a few bags of mix to apply before this is complete. While I will be glad to see this phase of the project astern of me, I am grateful that it was relatively inexpensive (~$10 a bag) and relativley time consuming.  This gave me something I could afford that provided a visual show of progress over couple months that saw another round of appliance deaths.

Meanwhile, the old Pola locomotive shed found itself back in service, thought its gutters were too deformed from years of improper storage to be glued back in place.  To be honest, the detail parts would not have survived Hurrican Offspring or Typhoon Cattle Dog, anyway.  My father-in-law also helped me install some shelves, so Old West themed Playmobil is coming out of boxes for the first time in a quarter century.  The crew is anxious to get them all out on the line before summer ends (You might imagine I am, too!).

This comes to the larger question of "What does the Triple O do?"  The potlach of equipment makes this tough to answer.  The line can deliver grill supplies and beverages on call, but, absent a grill party, I am working to develop a theme in a effort to keep the kids involved and the project focused.  They have no problem mixing and mathing toys and scales for the world of the moment, but I want the RR to mature with them, both to keep this a family endeavour and as a means of cost control over time. Selfishly, I also want this to be a project I will continue to enjoy after they move on without a major rebuild (years away, but time, tide, and formation wait for none.).  I have kept my remaining switches in reserve as I / we work on this.

I wanted to also address the next round of plantings, a continuing challenge for me.  Our winter, a rainy season, rotted out our non-native succulents. The dry summer, a result of local mountains, is creating issues. This summer killed some of our Thai basil trees, but others are going strong. All are so close to one another as to defy logical conclusions. Elfin thyme on or mountain that flourished all winter provided a lesson in microclimats, with those with a little bit of shade cast by a 4" tall rock hanging on and those exposed to the late afternoon sun now dead (I may try a sedum on this side.  It flourished for a while on the ground level last summer, but for the feet of enthusiastic hominids and their canine.  The location in question is on a mountain and thus more foot-proof.).  I have also become aware of a creeping rosemary, and I may experiment with it if I can find it.  It would be nice to have it grow over the edge of the retaining wall...when the latter is finally covered!

In closing, I did want to report a possible recruit to our ranks!  The issue of the hobby's size came up last month in GR, so I thought I'd share the approach.  Basically, a coworker was looking for an activity that would get his kids activities outdoors and offer opportunities for them to discover hobbies that could grow with them.  I shared my experiences over the last 18-24 months, and, as of last week, he was trolling Craigslist and thinking about where he'd lay tracks.  In the end, the lack of used gear out here may cause him to abandond the idea, but I thought I'd share the approach for you folks out there where free shipping applies!

Sorry for a long, somewhat winding (and long winded) update, but I did want to let you know progress continues!

Aloha,

Eric

 

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, July 18, 2016 12:02 AM

In a change of pace, RR time this week went from concrete work to troubleshooting "Charlie" the railtruck.  I am learning a bit about how things are wired inside a simple locomotive, but, to be honest, I am disappointed this knowledge is being gained on fixing a nearly brand new piece of equipment.

Oh, my civil engineer chose a bevy of annual flowers for "her" section of the garden.  So much for "massing!"  Still, the colors are a welcome break from what had become a decidely industrial looking section of the lined.  I tried some sort of sedum, too, on the moutain that backs them.  I suppose I owe photos.

Enjoy your weeks!
Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, September 06, 2016 1:17 AM

Aloha All!

I will try to get some pictures up later this week, but I did want to regist "life" with a quick progress update.  In truth, the addition of a new "creman" earlier this year, coupled with summer visitors and professional travel, took its toll on my free time.  We had our first encounter with ill-behaved visitors and passive parents  Angry , a learning point I did not need.  The concreting of the retaining walls has progressed in fits and starts, and it is now ~75% done besides a nice wash to help blend it all together.  I am glad I undertook this cosmetic work; however, it has been tedious.

Meanwhile, the railtruck was "written off," though Bachmann made good on the warranty with a nice 2-4-2. christened "Smokey."  This means we can actually run all American locos and rolling stock, which looked very nice indeed as 3 pairs of eager hands tore into my old Wild West themed Playmobil today to bring the Triple O to life.  It should've been a no-brainer, but the addition of a town and people to move, and all in the right scale, proved transformative in how the crew interacted with the railroad.  We shall have to do this again.

In the meantime, my old Austrian 0-6-2T "Gustav" seems to be dying, so I will have another opportunity to practive swapping out LGB motors in the near future, I am afraid.  Depending on finances, this will delay purchasing the insulated rail joints and electrical switches required to finally allow us to run three trains by parking one on an isolated passing siding.  Oh, well...

As mentioned, if any photos from today prove photo worthy, I will post them.  Until then, have a great week!

- Eric

 

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Posted by ttrigg on Tuesday, September 06, 2016 2:24 AM

Sounds to me like you have acquired a 'static display'. Place the railtruck on a stub- siding with a small trackside structure, add a pair of folks 'loading' the railtruck and instant 'activity diorama'. Quick hint, with the christmas season approaching pay attention to Wallmart, Home Depot, Lowes, Michaels, Ace True Valus and the like. Often they carry a 'Lite Brite" train set at christmas time for about $75 (Calif pricing). They are powered by 6 "C cell" batteries. They are NOT intended for outdoor use, and have an indoor life span of a few months. They come with plastic rails that are not UV resistant. The box cars make an execelent track side depot warehouse, cabooses make an very good yard office, The engine and tender make good city park attractions. Everything will require several coats of spray paint (I use 3 coats) to protect from UV radiation plus a color and weather coat, including the plastic rails. At one time I had one of the engines bashed up as a derailment that was abandoned where it fell from the tracks. As these sets nbormally do not sell out they are hit with massive cuts to their price during clearance sales. I've never paid more than $15 for a set. One year I picked up 2 from WM for $10 each and 3 from HD for $7.50 each. Just something to keep in mind as I know you are having problems sinding goodies from local stores. If you are lucky enough to find one with passenger cars - instant fast food joint. The toy dept of WM will also have a selection of 1:24 vintage vehicles. One year the wife found one (metal) that with about an hours work became the delivery truck for her vegetable stand.

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Thursday, September 08, 2016 1:47 AM

Tom,

Thanks for the tips, especially regarding the "Lite Brite" sets.  At $15, I can afford to pick up a collection of spare parts after Christmas! 

Aloha,

Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, September 12, 2016 2:55 AM

Aloha!

I hope everyone had a great weekend.  As promised, I wanted to get caught up on some of the photographic evidence of progress.  Tonight, it is just this picture of our newest piece of equipment, Bachmann's 2-4-2.  As mentioned, they gave us this in lieu of repairing "Charlie" the railtruck, who is riding the low-sided gondola into the shops.  I couldn't resist posing the 1:20 scale crew for the shot:

I will hang a few of "Wild West Days on the Triple O" just for fun sometime this week. 

In other news, we made it to the nursery today.  I am trying sedum again on one of my mountains, and I got a few more "Cherry Archangels," which seem to thrive where all esle wilts.  They look nice, too, if not especially scale (Thyme dies as if before a plague in my care.  Go with what works.).

- Eric

 

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, September 26, 2016 3:09 AM

I am pleased to report that our retaining wall is at last covered entirely in tinctured, and textured concrete!  I won't pretend it looks like natural rock, but it looks a darn site better than plain hollow-tile!  The red-brown hues just soften the transition up from the yard, and, of course, I can always stack rocks and dirt up against it later.

The final push brought all hands on deck.  When help arrived, the process became slower and messier (scratch one t-shirt!), and my careful attempt at uniform inscription to mark the name of the road, the date of groundbreaking, and date of first run went pretty much out the window.  It all added to a final, folky finish to what has been a tedious project, and the crew is looking forward to allocating funds to something else on the Triple O! 

Before closing this chapter of the road's evolution, I wanted to mention that the wall bears the 5 handprints, 1 foot print, and 1 paw print of each principal crewmember.  They have all had their hands / feet / paws in the project, now those hands / feet / paws are forever ON the project.

I have authorization - but not funding - to build a mountain and waterfall and to expand the pond, but that is years away.  I am looking forward to working more on the railroad and less on the garden (beyond planting) anyway.  The short list:

  • Isolated passing sidings so we can run more trains.
  • Toying with our stub sidings to make sure we are getting the most fun out of them.
  • Hosting Oktoberfest for my fencing club with an appropriately laden train or two...
  • Pouring foundations for the Playmobil buildings / future home of other buildings (lesson learend from Wild West days.  Pictures coming, I promise!).  Wait, that involves concrete...Pass for a while...

Lots to do as we tinker away!  Thanks agains for a space to keep me honest and (pun intended) on track!

Have a great week & aloha!

Eric

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Posted by ttrigg on Monday, September 26, 2016 3:30 AM

PVT Kanaka

 

 

Nice pic.

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 2:10 AM
Mahalo (Thanks)!
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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, October 03, 2016 1:47 AM

OK,  Today's "update" is truly just for fun.  As mentioned, a couple week's ago we got out about half of my 1980-s vintage PLAYMOBIL for "Wild West Days on the Triple O."  To be totally honest, some of these may be stretching the purpose of these pages (exchange of technical advice), but, with GR's recent run of getting kids involved editorials and articles, I felt justified! 

On the techical side, though, our fun did reveal a few issues I'll have to address,particularly horizontal clearances, building foundations, and ease of transport of buildings.  For the moment, however, please indulge me in simply enjoying the moment.

 

Here we go...

We staged buildings, cowpokes, the 7th Cavalry, Winnetou, etc. at the bite in our dogbone...

 

The town took shape here.  This is about 1/3 of the buildings in the collection...

The photo of "North Star" pulling out gives a sense of both my clearance and foundation issues!  The fort in the background of the previous photo took some jiggering to get trains to pass.  Long term, I will also have to find a way to make sure buildings are level.  For now, no one cared.

Our rural section...The crew divined this is how I envisioned the Triple O would develop.  Winnetou and his clan are in the dwarf roses, you can make out settlers far to the rear, and the crew, meanwhile, is loading boxes and furniture into a lowsided gondola.

OK, "Proud Dad Shot."  The crew populating the Triple O.

Finally, for in order to end on something vaguely adult, "Smokey" pulls a short freight past some frienldly folks on a buckboard waving to gunslinger / strawberry farmer.

 

 

OK, that is it for tonight!  We had cavalry columns and wagon trains out there, too.  We ran out of time, however, to see how that would've gotten integrated into the whole. 

Thanks again for indulging me tonight!  I hope that the above justifies the time spent providing guidance to me over the years!  Now on to those passing sidings...

Aloha,

Eric

 

 

 

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, October 24, 2016 2:02 AM

Aloha!

 

Progress continues at a pace if not apace.  We dove into the box-o-track to see about improving our passing siding in advance of readying for multi-train operations.  All is we; however, a TV blew up Super Angryll, so the order for the requisite clamps may have to wait, given I was going to bundle it with some other odds and ends.  Why we need  TV in Hawai'i remains a mystery, but I like being married...Whistling

Other projects have kept me, and sometimes us, busy.  Gustav, my LGB O-6-2T, decided to call it quits, so I had to open him up.  The motor works, but one of the tabs was bent.  Bent it back into shape, and he worked on the test track, though today when I finally got him out on the road, he remained touchy.  Everytime he stopped, I picked him up, burnished his wheels, and let him go.  Now it seems there are  just a few touch spots that Gustav, and Gustav alone, will not cross, even as his headlights work.  Oh, well, trouble shooting is free.

This work culminated about 10 days of tinkering with the roadbed.  As Tom predicted, things have settled a bit.  My gravel pile is starting to shrink as I fill and level things.  On the other hand, the garden is taking on some terrain that makes it less sterile, and, as things level out, the trains run much better with fewer derailments and power interruptions.  Also, it is free.

The garden has also undergone some minor alterations.  Hell's Mountain, in which nothing seems to grow, has yet to kill some sort of sedum I stuck up there a couple weeks ago.  After talking with the nursery today, the issue of bake and flood on our side of the island is at the root of it (no pun intended), so I mixed in more cinders to promote drainage.  We'll see.  We also hacked away at a white fly infection; the infection being too close to our pond, we are taking the trim, fertilize, and hope method.  Not quite free, but no shipping!

Finally, we, and this is a WE, took a small saw and some half inch by half inch "timbers" to make simulated shoring at the entrances of some tunnels.  This covered the most obvious concrete blocks and made the whole look so much better (Shokingly so, I think).  I'd like to make portal wings, but, with too many small humans still tempted to make passge through the tunnels,they can wait.  On the "downside," this inspired the need for a quick purchase of few other "timbers" to make vertical reinforcements (this week's project!) and a few other strips of "lumber" to make a simulated door frame on one of my in-laws' creations. All of the above has been practical application from some of the GR articles. 

At any rate, I wanted to document progress, such as it is. With our weather going from dry and wonderful to wet and still pretty wonderful, beach activities are likely to slow, so I imagine more puttering will occur, especially as we begin to unlock what is possible with a few hand tools and some glue.

Have a great week!

- Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Saturday, November 26, 2016 12:49 AM

Aloha & Belated Happy Thanksgiving!

Not too much to report...After a quick trip to the continent, I picked up the railclamps for the planned passing siding project, some HLW "mini" gondolas for their kid friendliness, and a Dremel motor set for the heck of it (~$30 cheaper than I have ever seen it out here!).  Oh what the latter little tool portends!  The wet season has hit, and that seems to have given my sedum a boost for the moment, too.

I am back at work troubleshooting "Gustav," our venerable LGB 0-6-2T, but I hope to have some more subtantial update on the line writ large when the passing siding project gets underway.

- Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Friday, December 16, 2016 1:20 AM

Aloha,

I owe some pictures, but I did want to at least verbally report progress:

  1. Gustav, our 0-6-2T, is operational after much fiddling with internal bus bars.  Unfortunately, his test run tonight showed recent rains fouled track joints and caused some minor undulations, leading to interrupted power and derailments.  It also revealed some of my pond liner has worked its way up, and a fold now blocks part of the track.  Something to work on.
  2. The cinders in Hell's Mountain may have done our sedume some good.  Despite the onset of the rainy season, I dare say the sedum and some withered succulents are thriving!
  3. With the new Dremel, I cut up a solar power law ornament to light a house per a recent GR article.  Botched it, cut up another one, and lit the house.  Now the crew wants me to do the same to "their" buildings.
  4. All parts are on hand to proceed with electrical switches to isolate a passing siding per teh project on the October 2013 issue of GR.  I have opted to use a pre-fab bird house from a craft store if a suitable one exists rather than making the shed from scratch.  Baby steps...
  5. I have some rail clamps on hand, too, to address a few trouble spots.
  6. I even tried lubricating an older, second hand BACHMANN 4-6-0.  What a difference!

The above are small things, but they are things that, to me, mark a transition from defining the boundaries of the Triple O to defining the world that lives inside of it. 

Pictures should be up again, but, should I be remiss, I wanted to take a moment to wish all those who celebrate Mele Kalikimaka (Merry Christmas) and wish all Hau'ol Makahiki Hou (Happy New Year)!

- Eric

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Posted by ttrigg on Friday, December 16, 2016 8:28 AM

Eric,

Over the years I have used many birdhouses in my GRR. The first ones fell apart after about 2 1/2 years. For the replacement bird houses I did a bit of advance repairs. Gently pry off the bottom foundation board. Cut a notch in a 2x4 to hold the house so that a corner was at the bottom, flow in a bead of liquid nails (or other wood cement) to the inside corner, let it set up for about half hour the rotate to the next corner. After all the inside corners are "glue up" paint the inside. Before replacing the bottom I let it soak in an old cake pan with a wood preservitive. Lots of copper to prevent wood rot. It takes about 2 days for the preservative to dry for paint. Reattach and paint the putside of the house. This extended the life expoctancy from 2 years to 10+ years. All of my birdhouses are from Michael's craft stores. When looking at birdhouses get out your credit card, if the long side of the credit card matches (or close to) the size of the door, the house will be in scale with most everything else.

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Thursday, December 22, 2016 1:09 AM

Tom,

A belated thank you for the tips above.  We will probably get cracking on this after Christmas.

Speaking of which, Merry Christmas to You and Yours!

Aloha,
Eric

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Friday, January 13, 2017 1:52 AM

Aloha, All!

As promised, some photo proof of progress!

First, one of the buildings we lit up using solar garden lights per a recent GR article.  Gustav pulls his first train in months after repairs (he was jumping the track after his return to service.  Turned out things had shifted pinching a curve. All is well!).  You can just make out our rough portals for the tunnels in the background.  Nothing great, but, by hiding the concrete block, it was a major visual improvement:

My oft-mentioned father-in-law inspects where his new swtich tower will go.  He made a pair for our station.  The signal flags move the light switch which now turns power to the tracks on and off!

The project to emplace those towers and allow for multi-train operation was a most-hands-affair.  Per company guidance, all major projects are voluntary, with "employees" joining and drifting away as they see fit.  First, we prepped the rails for the new SPLITJAW clamps:

Then, we used shards of hollow tile to make a level base:

This was followed by some soldering and quick jiggering of one clamp (I had accidentally jumped across an "isolated" gap.):

And finally, of course, testing the whole thing!  Our newest "employee" beat us all to the punch (He crawled over, hoisted himself up, and was amazed at what those shiny boxes did!):

All of this has prompted some discussions about where to put our throttles, and it has created a new position, yard master, for operations.  Of course, my stress level is up a bit as the crew figures out how to avoid collisions...

Meanwhile, we have contined plantings, testing something called "Jamaican Mint" as a possible "tree" and attempting to "bonsai" rosemary for the same purpose, again using recent GR articles as our guide.  We may have even turned the corner with the sedum on Hell's Mountain!  Maybe that gets a picture, too...

Thanks as always for the interest, and do pardon me for indulging again in a few "proud dad" shots. 

Have a Wonderful Weekend!

-Eric

 

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, February 07, 2017 1:16 AM

Aloha,

 

A quick post here to acknowledge two years of operations on the Triple O, celebrated in grand fashion with some older relatives and, yes, the hibachi and a the beverage train (on the newly islotable siding to the left awaiting its load!).

You can see some of the progress (not shown, the locomotives we learend to troubleshoot and repair over the last year!) if you compare it to last year's post.  Mainly, the hollow tile is all covered, tinctured, and textured and there is a new mountain over to the right.  Another key feature is the switchtowers barely visible to the right that serve to power the station's tracks on and off, which, as mentioned, has opened up some fun.

I reviewed my posts from last year, and, barring inspiration, I think we will contine to focus on the world we have now defined by the existing retaining wall and geography.  Key will be finding more "bullet proof" plants (the Jamaican mint just bit the bucket).  I also have Mr. Jack Verducci's "Building Structures for Your Garden Railway" on hand and the new GR CD-ROM compendium on order to help address populating the Triple O with buildings.  As ever, there will be constraints of cost and the maturity of my four most anxious helpers, the latter constraint balanced against a need to keep this project interesting for them.

I did want to close with a question of sorts.  My oldest daughter has said she "likes working on the garden railroad, but just watching trains run gets boring."  Ouch...With the caveat that I have to be able to run two loops and I only have one fully functioning turn-out left in reserve, can anyone recommend modifications to the layout as shown?  For now, I am considering removing the connections to the inner and outer loops at the far left, elevating that section a bit, and using those turn-outs as sgub switches serving the little farm off to the left and a too be determined industry elsewhere.  Alternatively, and one that wouldn't force me to try to move plants that are actually growing well, I was thinking of reworking the "yard" off to the right.  As ever, your thoughts are appreciated, as is my continued appreciation for the continued help and guidance!

Eric

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Posted by Greg Elmassian on Wednesday, February 08, 2017 4:35 PM

Multiple train control with trains going in opposite directions, the need to pass each other will liven up the action. I think you are track power, the Revolution Train Engineer is inexpensive, adds sound, and the kids will have a ball.

 

Greg

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Thursday, February 09, 2017 2:22 AM

Greg, I am assuming that the product at this link is what you are referring to: http://www.revoelectronics.com/product/57001.html. Is something that would be "plug and play" with our newer Bachmann 2-4-2 "Smokey" but would take some tinkering and skill to backfit into our older LGB stuff, assuming I was inclined to try that?

That being the case, could I hook up "Smokey" and let his analog pals run on the same loop, or would they be restricted to the separate, isolated loop? Thanks!

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Posted by Greg Elmassian on Thursday, February 09, 2017 10:38 AM

It's not plug and play, but there's enough expertiese on this site to walk you through the installation step by step.

If you already have track power, then what you can do is:

Run "normal" analog locos as you have been.

Leave the voltage on the track at about 18 volts and run "revolution equipped" locos with independent control - as many as you like.

Run some trains on analog, and then the revo-equipped one(s) would run at that speed or lower, but independent control. This let's you mix locos, but you know the revolution is pretty darn cheap, the receivers are pretty low in cost, and you can start with one transmitter and receiver and add incrementally. The additional fun of the bell and whistle is not to be underestimated with kids (or grownups ha ha).

In addition, your locos MIGHT be low enough current to run the HO revolution, I used one on an Aristo eggliner. That could save a few bucks on additional receivers, from $100 each to a bit less... (I'm beta testing them now).

 

Anyway, it's food for thought and you can convert over bit by bit. The independent wireless control with sound will definitely increase the fun factor.

 

Greg

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Thursday, February 09, 2017 11:56 PM
Greg, Thanks. This is definitely "food for thought." I can probably justify one big purchase this year, and I am weighing things like table saws and that nifty hotwire foam crafting kit. These are obviously to start building the things that the Triple O serves, which would add to the fun, but this wireless controller would make operating what we have more fun. I am going to mull all of this over, as going wireless like this had seemed beyond the realm of possibilities. -Eric
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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, February 13, 2017 1:14 AM
Greg, the clan voted...Structure building will be the emphasis this year...Absent overtime! I am going to look into converting "Smokey" in the not too distant future! Thanks again! -Eric
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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 1:00 AM

Aloha!

 

Busy weekend on the Triple-O...Re-grading a few areas and adding rail joints to trouble spots occurred catch-as-can throughout the weekend.  Our big project, however, was improving our pond.  While most of the improvements were made with an eye towards fish-keeping issues that are probably beyond the scope of this blog, I am pretty proud of some of the scenic efforts.

I decided to take advantage of some settling to see if I could use last year's skills of cutting craft store "timbers" and gluing them to concrete to make retaining walls.  Here is the before (Pardon the PLAYMOBIL.  We were having fun!):

And here is the after:

I am not sure if the sand will stick to the pond foam or not.  We'll see.

I use the rest of the can of pond foam to build a barrier around the edge of about half the pond, backfilling behind it with gravel.  This is a major visual improvement.  I sprinkled some sedum clippings in to see what would happen in 1/2"-1" of gravel.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.  I am not thrilled with the glossy look to the hardened foam, but I want to see how / if it fades before cutting it away.  Likewise, I want to see if the foam holds up to kids playing and a cattle dog cooling before finishing this effort.

Oh, and to tie up some loose ends from my last post, we did move some sidings around.  It took about 30 seconds before the crew figured out what that meant they could do, and before long barnyard animals and what-not were shuttling around the Triple O.  Still have my eyes on that controller, though! Big Smile

That's a wrap for now!

Have a great week!

 

Eric

 

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  • Member since
    February, 2004
  • From: North, San Diego Co., CA
  • 2,971 posts
Posted by ttrigg on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 7:31 AM

Eric:

A good number of us have a water feature in our garden empire. I have a 2,000 gallon Koi pond. The key to a sucessful fish pond is moving water and filtration. I don't know if you have a stream feeding your pond. If not good circulation is key. Step one, determine your total number of gallons, select a pump and filter capable of pushing your water total water supply every 3~4 hours. Read the information charts for pumps and filters. Look close at the 'lift flow rate' for the pump. In my case I have a waterfall 38 inches above pond level. To get the desired 800 gallons per hour over the falls I needed a 2,000 gal per hour pump. Splashing water is a good way to oxygenate the water. Since I don't remmber seeing a water fall you should look at airation bar or stones like needed for an indoor fish tank. When looking at filter systems, look to over size the filter. The larger the filter the less frequent the maintenance. If you have any questions, just ask. Of the seven Koi we started we lost two from flooding by rain and two from large birds. Actually saw a Red Tail Hawk take one.

  • Member since
    February, 2013
  • 283 posts
Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, February 27, 2017 12:46 AM

Aloha Tom.

 

Our little pond is far  simpler, about 50-75 gallons.  The funds and space were not there for a proper koi pond, and I wanted to take advantage of year round tropical weather, anyway.  I had intended to make this a water garden, balancing fauna and plants, as I had with an empty 55 gal aquarium for years, with Southeast Asian anbantoid species (Many evolved to live in hot, low oxygen environments.) as my target "showcase" critters.  Long story short...too shallow, too exposed, and too quick to fill.  We even lost critters to dragonfly larvae, and I put the whole thing in a reinforcing loop of stupid...no fish led to bugs, but not enough fish allowed dragonfly larvae to get established which led to no fish which led to bugs...We sorted the whole thing out by erecting a shade over 2/3 of the pond and backed it off until the water hyacinth - nature's sewer plant - took.  We have had a colony of feeder guppies and a pair of mollies established for about 18 months now, so, at long last, i will try my anabantoids, probably blue gouramis.

I have been looking for a solar powered pump to move things around a bit, but no joy in that department. Internet research has come up dry beyond small decorative things of dubious quality.  As the the pond serves as a source to water plants, the water gets refreshed regularly.  Regular removal of water hyacinth and duckweed is how I get rid of organic material and keep the fish happy over the long haul. 

 

Long term, the pond will be the sump for a proper water feature.  With filtration and flow, the sky is the limit given our climate.  I will probably take my cues from local hotels that have similar set-ups centered on African Rift Lake Cichlids.  However, there is the foam tools, the tablesaw, that DCC controller, some rail clamps...let alone the mortgage, food, and car repairs...between now and that vision!

Have a great week!

Eric

 

Moderator
  • Member since
    February, 2004
  • From: North, San Diego Co., CA
  • 2,971 posts
Posted by ttrigg on Monday, February 27, 2017 3:05 AM

Eric:

Solar powered water pumps. Have a look at "Camping World" (google search) or any RV store site. They carry a line of solar panels for charging RV 'house batteries' and water pump replacements for RVs. A neighbor, 3 doors down, uses them to pump his front yard pond. He has two of the $125 pannels, on a south facing fence, powering a $40 RV replacement water pump. He uses 3/8 inch clear 'rubber/plastic' tubing. His pump is directly below 3 plastic 'rock bowls' as a small waterfall. His intake line runs to the other end of the pond. He "de-greens' the pump and tubing twice a year by lifting the small stones from the tupbing and has the system pump from and to a 5 gallon paint bucket filled with water and one cup of beach for an hour, then flush the lines with fresh water before putting it back into normal configuration. In four years the only problem he has had was when some migratory rabbits found his wiring and ate trough the insulation. Just a thought for the future. 

I have two units myself that I use when at a 'primative' camp site. One for the vehicle battery so I can listen to the cab radio and charge the phones.The other for the house battery. The only time I need to run the generator is for the morning coffee and the microwave for the frozen breakfast sandwiches.

  • Member since
    February, 2013
  • 283 posts
Posted by PVT Kanaka on Monday, February 27, 2017 11:33 PM
RV sites? Never would've guessed....I sure learned a lot about commercial shrimp hatcheries doing my search! Thanks for the tip!

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