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Building the Rock Ridge Railroad

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  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 24,639 posts
Posted by rrinker on Sunday, April 08, 2018 9:33 AM

 My paint was oil based, but I just used cheap foam brushes and threw them out rather than try cleaning them up to use again. And then I never got around to painting the pink foam before abandoning the layout, so much for hiding the supporting layers. My last layout, I didn't bother painting the frame (it was in an apartment on carpet and I didn't wnt to risk it) but I did paint the foam top in an earth brown. Looked much better.

                              --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
  • 10,746 posts
Posted by SpaceMouse on Sunday, April 08, 2018 9:23 PM

Been slow going the last couple of days due to other projects, but I managed to get the program track installed and soldered and the Loco Buffer Interface installed. Unfortunately, the serial to USB interface requires a driver, which comes on a mini CD. Unfortunately, the dedicated Netbook I'm using doesn't have a CD drive. I've copied the files to a USB drive and will try to installing tomorrow. 

I'm looking forward to playing with the JMRI tools. 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
  • 10,746 posts
Posted by SpaceMouse on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 8:28 PM

Okay, was able to get the Locobuffer working and the Decoder Pro was able to assign a 4-digit number to my troublesome Bachmann decoder. 

But... My DT400 only works on two of the three UB5 jacks I have. My cable tester says that my cabling is not the issue. Also, my UT4 works on all three UB5s. 

I still can't find my ternimal blocks. Time to hit EBay and find a new one I guess. I spent another two hours today looking for them. I'll find them about the time I mount the new one, I'm sure. 

So I started on the wiring I could do. This is the sub-facia that I have wired for my structure lighting. I have it pre-wired for 30 LEDs which I suspect will be enough for the town. If not. I have room for 18 more. 

The leads from the LEDS will enter one of the holes and attach to the coper strips on either side. I filed a groove between the resistors on the strip nearest the hole so the circuits are isolated from each other.

I'm sure someone will let me know if my logic is in error. 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
  • 10,746 posts
Posted by SpaceMouse on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 9:34 PM

I worked for a while on my Zephyr problem. It seems the voltage drops dramatically on my LocoNet and my DT400 only works on the first UB5 out of three. If you have any ideas, I have a seperate post in the DCC forum:

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/744.aspx

Still haven't found my terminal strips. But I will soon because I drove 35 minutes each direction to Home Depot to buy a new one. Stopped off to do some birding so I didn't waste all that gas for a $6 item.   

Anyway, I didn't get much done, but I did get the terminal strip installed. 

So, with the LED pre-wiring done and the block in place, I figure I can finish the rough wiring some time tomorrow. Then again, EVERYTHING is taking longer than I plan. I can't wait to lay the plywood and start laying out the trackwork. 

I figure once that is done I have two projects before I can actually start laying track. I have to cut out the cookiecutter track to the mine and lumber camp, and I have to scratchbuild the turntable. Then I can fasten the plywood down and work toward running some trains. 

It's only taken 3 1/2 months to get this far. URRGHH!

 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 24,639 posts
Posted by rrinker on Thursday, April 12, 2018 7:21 AM

 3 1/2 months? I've been here almost 4 years and all I've done so far is rip out some grungy ceiling tile and draw the basic mainline part of the first deck plan.

Or my previous layout, what you see there on my web page spans more than 3 /2 YEARS and that's as far as I got.

 I need to work faster.

                                  --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
  • 10,746 posts
Posted by SpaceMouse on Friday, April 13, 2018 9:23 PM

Great forward progress today. The problem with my Loconet has been resolved. With the help of Randy and Stevert--actually I was clueless--they figured out that I must have assembled the UP5s backwards. I did, twelve years ago, when I was young and stupid. Of course, I'd never do that now Whistling.

Anyway, I had to make another run to Home Depot for supplies. Dang, I wish there was something closer to me. It always takes 2 hours to drive there, get in and out of the store, and drive back. And I was just there yesterday. 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 24,639 posts
Posted by rrinker on Friday, April 13, 2018 11:43 PM

 The Lowes is like 5 minutes from my house, Home Depot 10. It still takes 2 hours to go there and come back, minimum. Laugh

                                  --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
  • 10,746 posts
Posted by SpaceMouse on Saturday, April 14, 2018 12:04 AM

I used to work in the tool department at Lowes. I have no interest in Lollygagging.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
  • 10,746 posts
Posted by SpaceMouse on Sunday, April 15, 2018 7:44 PM

Didn't work on the layout today. Wanted a day where no new obstacles came up. 

Tomorrow's another day. 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
  • 10,746 posts
Posted by SpaceMouse on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 9:38 PM

Another day, another obstacle. 

I found out today that my son had not yet ordered my wire strippers, He has an Amazon Prime account so I thought I would have had it today. I need them for working on my bus. I am waiting for 2.1mm jacks so I can wire my Loconet. I'm waiting for a DPDT MOM switch to pre-wire my turntable. And without that switch, I can't prewire my town lighting, because I don't know how to layout the plexiglass mounting plate. 

So I made a list of stuff I could actually do.

THe next logical thing seemed to be starting to work on a turntable. After testing, I decided that both the motors I had turned too fast--about 2RPM+ each. So I either have to order a new motor and figure out how to mount it, or order a drive belt for an Atlas I have. If I use the Atlas, I will recess it and build a more era specific bridge. The main reason I am considering the Atlas is that they already have the track wired correctly. The reason I'm hesitating is noise. I'm pretty sure I can muffle it if it is below the plywood and out of sight. 

So, further down the list I figured out there was nothing stopping me from cutting the plywood for the deck.

Nothing has not yet been secured down. I still have the pre-wiring to do, and the whole left side needs to be cookie-cut. 

Still it feels good to have gotten at least something done. 

Note: If you look in the upper right, you'll see what I call "Poor Man's Track Lighting." 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
    May, 2010
  • 3,163 posts
Posted by mbinsewi on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 9:55 PM

SpaceMouse
Note: If you look in the upper right, you'll see what I call "Poor Man's Track Lighting."

Yea, I used them too, intil I got my fluorescent lighting up, and now I wish I would have used LED tubes.  Might still happen.

I think your doing great, you now have a bench to plan your track work, in full scale, along with planning scenery and such.

AND, you can set up some track, and RUN a TRAIN!  even if it's temporary.

Rock on!

Mike.

  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
  • 10,746 posts
Posted by SpaceMouse on Thursday, April 19, 2018 11:46 PM

Parts still haven't arrived so I found some more work I could do. I painted the tops of the plywood with what I hope is dirt color. 

It should be close enough to blend in with real dirt if I miss a spot. Normally I try to cover every inch of my layout with some sort of scenery, like I reckon you all do. 

I fugure all the parts will arrive soon. The reason I'm so sure is a big project got dumped in my lap and I have until the end of the month to finish it.

"It's always something. If it's not one thing it's another. If it's not missing tools and parts, it's having to complete and file an IBA for a nearby city." --Roseann Rosannadana 

 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
  • 10,746 posts
Posted by SpaceMouse on Saturday, April 21, 2018 9:15 PM

Finally got some parts in! In particular I got my 2.1mm jacks. Now all my PB5s are powered and I have a crisp 14.0 volts on all of them. Not much, but after the days of searching for why they were dropping voltage, it feels pretty darned good. Now if my wire strippers would just show up. 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
  • 10,746 posts
Posted by SpaceMouse on Sunday, April 22, 2018 10:27 PM

Built an acrylic plastic switch panel for my furture turntable, lights and to kill the power on my RIP and engine house tracks. Still need to paint, lable and wire it. 
Took two tries to do it. Broke the first one with a drill bit. 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
  • 10,746 posts
Posted by SpaceMouse on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 8:47 PM

Got a bunch of stuff in the mail so I'm finally moving forward again. I finished the bus wire. Powered the homemade circuit board I built for my LEDs.

It's now attached to the benchwork and will be covered by facia. I guess I should have taken a picture of it attached.  

I got a drive belt for my Atlas TT and I plan to use it in pitbash fashion. I painted the turntable control panel and then stared at it a good two hours trying to figure out how to wire it without it looking like a bowl of Chef-Boy-R-Dee. This is what I stared at.

 

The only challenge I had today is that when I tested my makeshift circuit board, I was getting 17VAC from the Bachmann that has 12VAC written on the side. I guess I need a new power source.  

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
  • 10,746 posts
Posted by SpaceMouse on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 9:43 PM

So first, I owe you a picture of my homemade circuit board on the layout. 

It sits right below the town of Rock Ridge and will allow me to wire the structures' LED lights from the comfort of the aisle. 


The next picture is the outside of the turntable control panel I showed you yesterday. 

I worked on the back of it most of the afternoon. My back hurts and this is all the further I got. 

As you can see. I still haven't figured this soldering thing out. I have an adjustable soldering iron and I don't know whether to go hotter or cooler. Right now I'm running at 7880 F. I just hope I haven't melted the switches beyond repair. 

I have a 4-day event starting tomorrow. I won't get back to work until Monday.  

 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
    February, 2001
  • From: New Jersey, a founding member of the USSA
  • 2,096 posts
Posted by Pruitt on Thursday, April 26, 2018 6:29 AM

Those mini-toggles are pretty sensitive to heat. It you softened the plastic housing at all, you might have a switch that no longer works reliably. I've had that problem in the past.

It got better when I did these things:

  • Use stranded wire
  • Tin the wire ends, especially the end that attaches to the switch
  • Install the wire on the switch straight out the back of the lug (not on the side as your photo shows), as far from the switch housing as possible:
    • Make a small "J" in the end of the wire
    • Hook the wire through the lug and crimp with a pair of needlenose pliers
    • Maintain a slight tension on the wire
    • Touch the iron to the tinned wire
    • DON'T add additional solder
    • When the solder flows, remove the iron IMMEDIATELY
    • Touch the new connection with a wet-but-not-dripping paper towel to remove residual heat
  • ONE wire per lug. If you very occasionally need a second wire, maybe you can attach it to the lug, but in my experience you'll be risking the switch to do so.
  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 24,639 posts
Posted by rrinker on Thursday, April 26, 2018 6:52 AM

 Wire or resistor lead, put it through the hole in the switch terminal (if they don't have them, remember to order that kind of switch next time and wrap the lead tightly around the pin). You want a good mechanical connection before soldering. Any excess lead can be cut off with flush cutting pliers, even the sprue cutter pliers will handle soft copper without damage (at least the Xuron ones that come in those 3 piece kits - or track cutting pliers, if they fit). The temperature doesn;t matter that much, especially with small objects - higher can help on a large heat sink like soldering rail. If the tip is bright and shiny, you should be able too touch it to a point where the wire and the switch terminal meet, and within a second, solder applied from the oother side, NOT touching the iron itself, should flow right in. A little flux never hurts either. I did cheat when I just soldered a couple of wires to a piece of Peco flex so I could try out my little Plymouth switcher - I brushed a little flux on the web of the rail where I was going to solder the wire, and also a little on the stripped end of the wire, then I put a blob of solder on the iron, held the wire in contect, and touched the irooon. FLux cooked off, cleaned the joint area, and sucked the solder blob right in. Didn;t melt any ties. I need an IR gun, since my station has an analog knob, not a digitral readout, so I have no idea the exact temperature I am using, I just turn it about 2/3 or so for most soldering, maybe 3/4 when soldering track joints.

 You did verify that the right LEDs come on based on the switch position, right? So it doesn't end up backwards as a surprise when you are done. Too late now, I think, but a nice way to mound the LEDs is to drill a hole to the narrower diameter of the LED and push them in from the back, up to or near the collar. A dab of white glue holds them in unless you press on them, or you can use something a little stronger AFTER they are all tested working.

                                            --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
  • 10,746 posts
Posted by SpaceMouse on Thursday, April 26, 2018 7:24 AM

Brunton
hose mini-toggles are pretty sensitive to heat. It you softened the plastic housing at all, you might have a switch that no longer works reliably. I've had that problem in the past.

I remember that problem on Rock Ridge and Train City 1.  Luckily, I have a bag of those mini toggles. 

Those are some good tips.  Thanks.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
  • 10,746 posts
Posted by SpaceMouse on Thursday, April 26, 2018 7:30 AM

rrinker
Too late now, I think, but a nice way to mound the LEDs is to drill a hole to the narrower diameter of the LED and push them in from the back, up to or near the collar. A dab of white glue holds them in unless you press on them, or you can use something a little stronger AFTER they are all tested working.

I may end up doing the whole thing over. If so, I'll mount then this way. My way was pretty awkward. 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 24,639 posts
Posted by rrinker on Thursday, April 26, 2018 11:20 AM

 They also make neat little plastic bezels for them, if the panel isn't too thick. I used them on the multi-layer plexi panel I made long ago

  

Edit: I got them at Radio Shack, but you can probably get a pack of 100 on ebay for the 79 cents Radio Shack charged me for 5.

                      --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
    February, 2001
  • From: New Jersey, a founding member of the USSA
  • 2,096 posts
Posted by Pruitt on Thursday, April 26, 2018 2:27 PM

rrinker
They also make neat little plastic bezels for them, if the panel isn't too thick. I used them on the multi-layer plexi panel I made long ago ...                      --Randy

Digi-Key sells those by the bag. I ordered some a few years ago, and then discovered the I liked Randy's method of mounting LEDs better.

  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 24,639 posts
Posted by rrinker on Thursday, April 26, 2018 7:45 PM

 Both are my ways Big Smile  The black plastic bezels moostly worked - my panel was just slightly thicker then the max thickness they could handle. It was made from 2 layers of I think it was 1/8" plexi, and the actual diagram was printed on fairly heavy cardstock. Wanna guess how much off it was?

 I was going to use the really fancy chrome bezels but it was a bit garish plus for the price of one chrome bezel I could buy 100's of LEDs.

 New one will use pushbuttons - and instead of separate LEDs I am using lighted pushbuttons, similar to thoose shown on the Canadian Canyons layout.

                        --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
  • 10,746 posts
Posted by SpaceMouse on Friday, May 04, 2018 10:54 PM

I've just been puttering around the layout for the last few days waiting for parts. I'm supposed to get most of them next week, but the bezels are coming by slow boat. 

So today, I put the plywood back on the bench work and screwed it down on the corners. I then dug out my turnouts and layed them out, I'm short a few for the mainline and staging area. Staging has to be done on the sooner side because it will be covered (on top only, it have plenty of access from the side) by what will become the logging camp and mine LDEs. 

To my chagrin, I don't have nearly enough turnouts, so now I need to dig out the Fastrack jig and start production. I knew I'd have to at some point, and now is as good a time as any.  

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
  • 10,746 posts
Posted by SpaceMouse on Friday, May 11, 2018 5:47 PM

While still waiting on LEDs and bezels, I decided to build my two-stall engine house. I have to bash it, because as it is, it is 14" long and my longest engine is less than 8" and well, 14" just doesn't fit. 

So I started cutting it down and realized that I really wanted to build it out of polystyrene. I've done this before, used the old wooden pieces as templates to fabricate exact plastic matches, and I've been quite pleased with the result.

So I went to the net to find my old standby, board and batton sheets and found that wtih shipping, each 6"x12" sheet was going to be $8-10. One of the places I looked was ModelTrainStuff. When I went to check-out, the cart was empty and all my login information was gone. Their computer had no record of my email address even though I ordered a couple hundred bucks of stuff last month and I get daily emails telling me of all their specials. So, in order to check on shipping, I would have had to create a new account, and look up the product once more again for a second time. Made me a little mad. 

Since I know how to make flat styrene look like wood, I said, "Snog this," and ordered two sheets of 12"x24" .020 for $5.90 each including shipping off eBay. Now I'm waiting on plastic. 

I did take some time to lay out the structures I've already have and they take up a lot more space than I had figured. I may have more city structures already built than I have room for. Funny how that works.  

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
  • 10,746 posts
Posted by SpaceMouse on Friday, May 18, 2018 8:02 PM

This post is pretty much a duplicate of another on a different thread. 

I started out to build a Wills Freight house/crane kit. I got bullied into scratch-building it. 

Here is the dock platform portion. It has the same footprint as the kit. 

  

As you can see I made a couple modifications. The Wills Kit was set up for Lorries and I altered it so freight wagons could back up to it--both on the ramp and inside the freight house. Also, the height for box cars was off and I had to raise the platform slightly to match the door height. 

Also, keep in mind that this will be sanded, filled, stained and weathered. It's still at a very early stage. 

My polystyrene sheets still have not arrived. The freight house is delayed until then. From the original kit, I plan to use the crane, the sliding doors, and the roof. I haven't looked through the included details yet so I might use more.  

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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