Friday, 22 September 2017

AVRMC open day and double success.

On the 27th of August, the Sunday of the bank holiday weekend. AVRMC held an open day for the public to see what we do.
The day generally went very well with only complementary comments received and a few interested people.

In the months and weeks leading up to the open day we had been concentrating on getting all the track on Lightcliffe operational and reliable. This had been achieved but only with one controller for all tracks. During the morning, after settling in, track cleaning etc, I investigated getting both controllers available so we could run two trains at once. This seemed to just need some wires connecting with a choc-block. This was done in stages, to check at each point, that I hadn’t stopped the other controller from working or created a short. Once the second controller was connected to the track it was tried, but.. nothing! A look underneath the control panel showed that the controller didn’t have a supply to it so a link was added from the supply for the first controller, then… it worked!

Sadly I can only upload this one video due to size limits on Blogger. I have two other, better, ones. Anyone know an easy way to reduce video file sizes?

Edit to add that the videos should be viewable on these links:

Friday, 9 June 2017

Quick milestones.

A fairly brief but successful visit to the club on the 27th.

After my last visit I wasn’t able to get to the club for quite a few months. This time I didn’t get there as soon as I’d have liked but despite the reduced time available I was able to make progress.
Firstly, after removing the cover from the layout, I carried on connecting the droppers for Brookes sidings to their buss bars. Then I made a link from the buss bars to the temporary ‘choc-bloc’ plug that connects to the next board, and inserted temporary jumpers on that plug to connect to the wires for the main lines.
Next, the big moment, so out with a loco and do a bit of track (and wheel) cleaning. Then, connect the controller and see what happens.
The result… TRIUMPH! :-) The loco was able to run over all parts of the layout, especially Brookes sidings. The photos below show this and hopefully I’ll be able to upload a video.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Jinty Progress and the new Test Track

With moving house there's been little time for modelling, however I have been getting some done - firstly my Jinty conversion, using the association conversion for the current Farish model, is progressing nicely - indeed all it needs now is painting, renumbering and weathering once I've done a bit more fettling on it to discover why it seems to rock a little on the centre axle.

So here it is thus far, complete with a replacement N Brass Lines chimney...

My other project has been working on a new folding test track for use at AVRMC, this follows the pattern of Chris Arthur's test track as described in the August 2003 issue of the magazine, based around some MDF cut and stuck back together to allow a 2 foot radius circuit to be made -

It's almost ready for laying track, and it will be able to be set up on either a pair of trestles or flat on a suitable table.

Next Pennine Area Group meeting is on Saturday June 10th at Aire Valley MRC where more work will be carried out on this to cut holes suitable for carrying it when folder and also painting it in a suitable colour, probably green of some sort!

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Success and progress.

My visit to Keighley on Saturday 17th was brief but good.

First step was un-soldering the white wire from the switch for the frog, which eliminated that as the short. 5 sleepers down, umpteen to go! I then connected the multi-meter to the siding rails and proceeded to laboriously examine the insulation gap on each sleeper, in turn. Any gap that looked as if there was the slightest chance of a short was given a scrape with an old craft knife blade.

Eventually, about halfway along the stretch of track, I found one sleeper where the gap ‘appeared’ to only be partially cut. Anyway, a few swift but careful cuts & scrapes with the knife ensured a proper gap. Simultaneously the needle on the multi-meter moved towards infinite resistance and a small cheer spread round the room (well I and the two locals who were watching & assisting, anyway).
Overview of the end board showing Brookes sidings on the right of the main lines.

The area of the problem...  Multimeter & knife at the ready.

Mug shot of the culprit.

Further probing with the multi-meter indicated there were no further shorts so I got out the soldering iron (having remembered to bring my big one!), flux & solder and prepared to connect Brookes sidings to their new buss bars installed at my last visit.
I started by moving the connections to the switches that move the point blades and switch power for the frog from the main buss bars to the Brookes sidings bars. Checking each connection in turn to make sure no new shorts had been created.  Then I moved on to connecting the running rails to the buss bars but time & cold fingers prevented this being completed so that will have to wait until next year.

Next visit I will connect the rest of the droppers to the buss bars and look at connecting Brookes sidings to the controller.
There is a further thin copper wire that needs soldering to the side of a rail joint on the main line.
Some of the wires under the board are really too short, being pulled taught. So we should perhaps think about extending them by a couple of inches to give a little slack.

Finally, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.


Friday, 11 November 2016

More frustrations from a different source.

A slightly frustrating visit to the club on the 22nd of October.

On my previous visit we had managed to get power to the whole of the layout including Brookes sidings but then discovered that we had a short somewhere on the end board (the one with most of Brookes sidings).

At an intermediate visit someone had tried to find the source of the short by cutting the feeds to the sidings from the buss bars. However, some of the main line feeds had also been cut and some of the siding feeds had been missed.

So, this time some careful work with the multimeter, showed that the main line was not the source of the short, and in fact showed that one piece of rail on the main wasn’t linked electrically to its neighbours by the thin copper wires that are soldered to the side of each rail joint.

Therefore the main was re-connected fully and the rest of the sidings were disconnected from the main line buss bars.

Then a new pair of buss bars were installed for Brookes sidings. (hmm, do we need some for the goods yard? and does the goods yard have sufficient droppers to maintain reliability?).

Nothing has been connected to the Brookes buss bars as the rest of the afternoon was taken up with methodically searching for the short with the multimeter.
This was eventually narrowed down to the area of the outermost 'Brookes' siding and the point that leads to it. The rest of Brookes sidings seem to be fine. Hopefully we'll be able to pin-point the short soon.
I think the next step will be to un-solder the switch for the frog to eliminate that & then examine the sleeper insulating gaps. Must remember my big iron next visit.


Saturday, 27 August 2016


Frustrating times recently.

Firstly because, for one reason and another, I haven't been able to devote much time to modelling.

Secondly because I haven't been able to get to the club since the change of venues and haven't been doing anything to progress the layout.

And thirdly because the Coal Tank build has almost ground to a halt and it's not going too well at the moment.

The first two I can hopefully do something about in the near future.

The third may have to wait a little longer as I'm pushing the boundaries of my skills with a soldering iron and bits of metal and am finding them wanting. In short I've got the loco body just about as far as I can but I'm not happy with it. The boilers gone in between the side tanks ok, but when it comes to the smokebox I've made a bit of a hash of things and am having problems putting them right.

So much so, that I'm going to put the Coal Tank to one side for the moment and go back to the platforms and other structures for Lightcliffe. The etches for the footbridge have been waiting patiently for my attention and there's a lot of white platform surface that needs covering in Yorkshire stone.

The latest progress picture of the the Coal Tank are attached for posterity ... not that I'm giving up on it but I need to set it aside and come back to it at a later date.

Hopefully the next pictures I post will be more progress on Lightcliffe - the next Group meeting's in a couple of weeks and I've got a week off work next week so should be able to get something done. Also might have a trail for some plans for the Brookes Building but need to pay a visit to Halifax with the bloodhound to follow it up - watch this space!

Monday, 8 August 2016

Sticking Down the Buffer Stops

An extra visit to Aire Valley RMC meant I could sort out the various items stored under the layout and also, after preparing the goods yard area for them on a previous visit, stick down the buffer stops for the good yard and Brookes sidings

The buffers were all made to the L&Y pattern by Chris Arthur a while ago, however to fit them in the goods yard some plaster that was laid down at the end of some sidings needed removing, as per this slightly fuzzy photo from April -

When the photo was taken, the buffers were not stuck down whilst the plaster was removed and some pieces of plastikard adjacent to the sidings were trimmed.

Here's a view of the buffers now glued in place...

This is the view from the road, even at this early stage with the scenery there's just something about a line of sidings abutting onto a road like this -

The buffers for Brookes sidings have been done too -


The next PAG meeting is on Saturday 13th - jobs for this meeting include installing extra bus bars under the Halifax line and checking that the newly installed buffer stops don't short anything out in the sidings. Hopefully we should also be able to start on landscaping as well.