Friday, October 19, 2012

Progress Report 10.19.12 - Upper Level Lightly Canopy Update

Tonight, I worked and completed the construction of the upper level lighting canopy.  I don't have the remaining LED lights though.  Those are on order.  I was able to use less brackets too which saved some money.  The assembly is really strong.  I'm very pleased with how it turned out.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Progress Report 10.18.12 - The Hunt for Brackets

Two Home Depots, no more brackets.  Doh!!  I found out that SKU was inactive and they were selling remaining stock.  Drats!  Isn't that the luck?  But, a nice store representative was able to find me some at a third store nearby.  Picked up the remaining brackets I needed to ensure I can complete the project.

If you want to get some, better act now.  They come in three finishes: white, black and satin finish.

No work completed today.  Simply chasing down brackets tonight.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Progress Report 10.17.12 - More Upper Level Lighting

Went back to Home Depot to pick up another bracket and some more lumber.  I'll have to find some at another store as I bought out everything at the HD by work.  Yesterday, I partially mounted a 16ft section of LED lights and needed to complete the next section to mount the full string.  The initial purchase the other day was to be a test.  If it didn't work out, I would have return the brackets.

The new valance is really easy to install.  It's rock solid too!  I simply used dry wall screws to mount the steel brackets to studs in the wall.  Mounted the string of lights around the corner over East Ottawa and over toward West Blue Island.

The LED lights I found on are easy to work with.  Simply add a power supply (around $11) and solder the two wire leads.  Regarding the question yesterday, if you need to make a turn, you can always cut the light strip after every third LED (where marked).  Simply solder wire leads to both ends and make your turn.

Below are photos of tonight's progress.  I'm really pleased how it lights up the upper level.  It has always been so dark (even more so evident since lighting the lower level).  I plan on filling in any gaps in the blue back drop later down the road.  That's low on my priority list right now though.

Downtown Ottawa is looking good under the new lights.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Progress Report - New Lighting at Ottawa

This morning, I continued to work with various locomotives (not frying any additional decoders) in attempt to resolve some of the performance issues plus get some of the shopped locomotives back on the layout.

I believe I have found a solution for the problematic Proto GP38-2s.  I'll be looking at re-powering those with Altas GP40 chassises.

Today, at lunch, I went to Home Depot to pick up some materials for a canopy over Ottawa to affix the 16ft LED light strip.

This evening, I began construction.  It was pretty simple to build.  The LED lights make a *huge* difference to the upper level.  This was greatly needed last session as it was a cloudy day.  All those sand hoppers begin to look alike on a good day much less on a day when you can't read the reporting marks clearly.

I will hopefully complete this project before the next op session.  My plan is to go in a U-shape providing light along the walls of the upper level.

Below are before and after shots of the area as well as some detail shots of the canopy.

The upper level with the ceiling fan light fixture

My eyes are pretty good, but I can't read the reporting marks under this light.

The new assembly starts to go up.  Two simple heavy duty steel bookshelf brackets turned upside down.

A 2x2 was screwed to the steel bracket.

A 1x3 was screwed to the 2x2.  Later the 5mm luan fascia will be attached to the front.  The LED light string was attached to the 2x2 hidden by the 1x3 and eventually the fascia.

Let there be light!

It appears much brighter on the upper level.

The lights are hidden behind the 1x3 avoiding a blinding glare for the more height challenged operators like myself.

Looking good!  Ottawa has never looked so good in photos.

Wow!  I can read the reporting marks!  Most excellent!

A view from the cat cam looking up.

An overview of the area when you walk in the room.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Progress Report 10.15.12 - Locomotives repaired

One of my Intermountain FP7s was acting up last session requiring engineer Larry to combine the two evening Rocket trains using one locomotive.  The one locomotive that was acting odd had previously been speed matched with other freight locomotives.  The locomotive was making odd noises too when powered up.  I reset both decoders on the FP7s and tested.  All is well now.

I actually need to do that on a few other locomotives that have been acting peculiar.

Well, I started to do just that.  One locomotive was very erratic.  I tinkered with it enough until I fried the decoder.  It was a blaze of electronics glory.  I guess I'll be shipping that decoder off to TCS tomorrow for a replacement.  Hopefully, I'll have better luck with the next one.