Monday, 21 October 2019

More Wiring

The scenic board wiring is now more or less finished, all to my usual untidy but logical standards.

As with the fiddle yard, the orange wires are soldered to the turnout frogs and will be connected to the point switches in due course.

Because the layout is likely to be laid out on a table or bench for operating sessions, I am making the wiring connections between the baseboards easily accessible. For the track power feeds I am using Phono sockets and leads, mounted as this photo.

The scenic board has 3 such sockets - one at each end for connections to adjacent baseboards via jump leads, and a central one for plugging in the controller.

Using these sockets I can plug a controller into any single board for test purposes. I can also isolate a board easily when the layout is up and running, to help find short circuits.

I have adapted my DCC controller so that it can be plugged into any one of these sockets. I can also plug in a DC controller (though not at he same time, of course). DC can be used for testing the layout and test running locos before I fit decoders. DCC will be used to test locos with decoders fitted, or for when the layout is in operation.

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

A Working Turnout

I have now installed the first turnout mechanism and conducted extensive testing. After much deliberation, I chose a wire-in-tube system operated by a small slide switch. I needed a system that was compact, but accessible. The big problem with slide switches can be that they move such lightweight baseboards when being operated. The ones I finally chose require only a light touch, so are not too bad in that respect.

I incorporated an omega loop in the mechanism. I mounted the omega loop and the slide switch on a plywood strut extension from the back of the baseboard. It looks odd at the moment, but the strut will provide intermediate support for a shelf I plan to install later. Everything will then look much neater.

The strut is basically a plywood sandwich with a gap for the slide switch to fit tightly into.

This configuration has been designed to enable the mechanism to be adjusted from above the layout if required - important when the layout is likely to be laid out on a table top or bench, rather than on legs.

This is the underside of the baseboard, showing the polythene tube containing the operating wire. The tube had been mainly secured in position with a generous amount of wood adhesive. The end next to the points is solidly secured with some scrap plywood. The end of the wire is bent at 90 degrees to engage with the tie bar above the baseboard.

I am using a modification of the moving sleeper tie bar idea to operate the point blades. More about this another time. After extensive testing, I am reasonably happy with this concept.

Wiring on the main baseboard has begun, but is not yet far enough advanced to record here.

Monday, 23 September 2019

Fiddle Yard Wiring

The fiddle yard was wired up this evening and the first loco ran. Before this, I stole some rail from another layout to complete the track laying.

I am wiring for DCC. With such a small and intricate layout, it seems the sensible choice to me. Sectioning the track for DC control would cause great inflexibility.

Here is the underside of the non-moving part of the yard. It still needs tidying up. I used 2 bus wires and connected all local track feeds to these. Two wires only go to the sector plate. These are connected to individual track feeds under the sector plate itself. The green wire is for the frog on the turnout. This won't be connected to anything until the point operating mechanism is installed.

I forgot to take a photo of the underside of the sector plate before I fixed it back on the baseboard. However, this is the top view of the complete board.

Finally, the first loco running on the baseboard, under DC. Sorry, but the quality isn't great.

The loco found a few stray lumps of solder that need cleaning off the rails, by the looks of things. I also need to do a few other very minor adjustments before I am completely happy with the running. It was getting late though, so I decided to let things be until another time. This loco does wobble a bit at speed, which may account for some of the rough riding.

Next step is probably to install the point operating mechanism. Then, I shall do the wiring process etc on the main baseboard.

Saturday, 7 September 2019

A Bit of Progress!

It has been a long time since November 2018, when I made my last entry about the construction of Burghmire. Unfortunately, a number of unavoidable things got in the way of modelling.

The most recent meeting of my local 2mm Scale Association area group presented a good opportunity to get things moving again. I busied myself by sticking all the sleepers in position ready to lay rails on the main fiddle yard board. Since then I have soldered most of the rail in position. I shall have to procure more rail before I can complete the job. Enough laid for the time being though. Everything lines up well, which is a great relief. The Templot plan worked perfectly.

In operation, two of the static left hand roads are through roads from the scenic section. These are the main line (third from the bottom) and the gas works siding (fifth from the bottom). All the rest are storage sidings. On the sector plate, one of the roads will act as a shunting spur. The other four roads will be for stock storage.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

I'm Back!

It's been too long! I took over responsibility for restoring a 4mm scale layout over the Summer. It proved more challenging than I had expected, so I have been spending all my modelling time working on that for the last few months. It is time to get back to Burghmire!

I decided to start with a quick win - installing the right hand fiddle siding - just a short section of Easitrac. I had a length of track already made up with the concrete sleeper bases, so used that. Easitrac glue was used for the most part to secure it in place. I am using PCB strip under the rails where the track crosses the baseboard joint, so a bit of soldering was necessary too.Around 5 minutes work at most. Still, it's a start!

Next, I plan to get the tiebars on the pointwork working. I had problems thinking how best to actuate them. Such small baseboards are very light. Using my original slide switches, the baseboards actually moved slightly when I tried switching the points! I have now found some that are much easier to slide back and forth. I shall try one and if successful, do all the others with the same type. If that idea is not satisfactory, I may have to resort to point motors.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Third Baseboard

I was doing a bit of DIY for the house last month, so decided to construct the third and final baseboard for Burghmire at the same time. Only one lot of mess to clear up, that way. It took me a couple of weeks to get around to photographing it, but here it is.

The curved front is intended to minimise the visual impact. With such a small scenic board, I don't want the off-scene bits to dominate the overall layout too much.

Construction is very simple. The top was cut to shape using the Templot layout plan as a guide. The curved piece of plywood at the front and flat plywood pieces for the back and end are held in place with offcuts of softwood, all screwed and glued together. The baseboard came together very well. It is very strong and light.

I shall build the track with 2mm Scale Association Easitrac components, for a change. Nice and easy to do for a piece of plain track.

As with the other two boards, I shall add a fascia in due course to try and hide the crudity of my baseboard engineering from public view!

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Where Did April Go?

April was a relatively uneventful month from a railway modelling perspective. Holidays and a debilitating sore throat/cough/cold put paid to much progress on 'Burghmire', my model railway layout loosely based on Wantage.

I did manage to install the point blades and remaining check rails. This means that all the rail on the scenic board is now laid. I shall next fit the tie bars and point operating mechanisms. Then, I can engage in some thorough testing with rolling stock and make minor adjustments if necessary.

There is, I humbly admit, a dodge in the construction of the 3-way tandem turnout. The offending route is more or less dead straight and serves the loco shed. .I was concerned about the practicability of repairing one of the point blades, should it ever become detached from the tie bar, post-construction. The space to insert a soldering iron would be very tight. This persuaded me to try a design with only one moving point blade. I had previously seen someone very successfully experiment with this concept in P4. I felt it would not be excessively adventurous in this particular application, despite the relatively more generous flange gaps (to scale) in 2mm Finescale. In fact, first impressions suggest that the modified turnout will function very satisfactorily, much to my relief. Only a valid solution on tramways and fictitious minor railways though!

A couple of check rails still had to be added when the photos were taken, but these are now in place.