Friday, February 28, 2014

The ROCK 3.0: Progress Report 02.28.14

This morning, I worked on re-wiring the crossing signals for the Mill Street crossing.  There was some issues the other day where one wire broke loose and then some wires evidently weren't making a good connection.  I removed all the wiring from the signal controller board and started over.  I tested and all detection is working properly now.

I assembled the control panels for the blue flag LED lights.  It was a simple project.  All I did was print the background using Excel, drill a hole in the clear plexiglass I picked up from Home Depot and installed my toggle switch.  It dresses up the control panels a lot.

I gathered up my various sheets of styrene.  I cut the wall pieces for the Ground Sand building.  This will be the large structure in the background.  I need to assemble the walls next.  I'm pretty excited about this.  

I also added the base to the original structure I started a while back which is the loading building for the four sand tracks.  This is just a rough building that I threw together with Styrene.  It's definitely not the finish product as you can see with the sloppiness of construction.  I built it more to get an idea of what it would look like.  It is very cool to see in place.  

Sand loading tracks #1 to #4 (left to right).
Speaking of donuts, all the tracks (mainline and industries) are numbered starting from the closest to the aisle and then left to right.  I did this to be consistent to help crews quickly identify tracks.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The ROCK 3.0: Belrose Silica Planning

Structures Update
Today, I pondered the structures at Belrose Silica I would like to model.  Here are some drawings of what I would like to create.  I'll try my best to scratchbuild this.  This will be an ongoing project that will take quite some time to complete.

This evening, I worked on the layout.  I have so many projects started now, I don't know which one to work on first.  I want to do them all.  I need a full day to get some serious progress done on the layout.  

Blue Flag LED Project
I drilled the holes and installed all the blue flag LED lights in the benchwork.  They are drying now.  I cut the plexiglass to make the control boards (toggle switch attached to plexiglass) for the blue flag lights.  I packed that up to work on tomorrow at lunch.  Then, I just need to mount to the benchwork and connect the wires.  It should be a simple install.  I really like these blue flag LED lights.  I know I could use a push pin for a similar effect, but these are permanent and small compared to a bulky push pin.  

I vacuumed up the top of the layout where I was working on some projects.  

Testing (i.e. Play Time)
I had issues with IR sensor on the WeighStation the other night.  8 out of 10 or so cars would traverse the scale fine with the weight ramping up to a random figure, and then down to zero between the cars.  The other two the weight would stay the same and not ramp back down.  I emailed Boulder Creek Engineering's support last night.  They actually responded at 11pm.  Jim provided me some tips which I tried today.  It immediately corrected the problem.  I then shoved 50 or 60 cars through the scale and never had any further issues.  I did disable the buzzer.  After about the 20 time, that was driving me crazy.  I don't need any operators to lose their mind weighing sand.  :-)

I ran cuts of cars back and forth through the yard testing high- and low-speed running.  So far, everything seems to be running ok. 

The bridge over the creek in Ottawa Yard bulges up some.  I don't recall it being that high originally.  Possibly the plastic warped up some underneath.  I'll see how it goes, but if there are issues I might have to pull up the flex track in the area and rebuild the bridge.  Since it wouldn't affect turnouts, it wouldn't be overly complicated to repair.

I ran the #217 Ottawa Local down into Ottawa/LOF.  It's a very long train, but I think it will work well if it is thought through.  There are a lot of places to store excess cars while moving the sand around.  I could offer the crew to keep part of their train in the yard, but real estate is tight there and I don't want to handicap my yardmaster.  I may have to put a cap on the train though to ensure it doesn't get too big.  This first train is rolling out the yard with 31 cars!  It's a monster!

Overall, I thoroughly enjoy running trains around on the layout.  I'm really pleased with the revised layout.  The hard part is staying focused to work on the layout and not so much "testing".  :-)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The ROCK 3.0: Fun Run!

This evening, I found myself simply playing with the trains.  I pulled numerous cuts of sand out of the Ottawa Silica loading tracks.  I would pull them south of the Ottawa Avenue crossing, watch the gates go down, shove back north up to the scale track and recorded my weights.  It was an awesome evening on the ROCK!!

I'm really pleased with v3.0!  I believe this will be a fun layout to run!

The ROCK 3.0: Progress Report 02.26.14

This morning, I tested the crossing gates at Ottawa Avenue some more.  I might need to add an extra set of sensors, but I can't move them too much further away from the crossing as there will be interference with parked cars at industries.

Here is a video I took this morning.

It appears I need to adjust the rod from the switch motor some to hopefully make the gates go down a little smoother.

I also worked on the crossing at Mill Street.  I have found with the added time of the gates going down that I might need to push these sensors further out here as well.  I had to run a low speeds at the Ottawa Avenue crossing to prevent running across before the gates went down.  This will be an industrial district though.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The ROCK 3.0: Progress Report 02.25.14

This evening I worked on installing the crossing gates at Mill Street over at Utica.  It required more glue after drilling so those will have to dry some more.  

So I moved my attention back to Ottawa Avenue by LOF.  I installed one tortoise switch machine really easy!  It worked like a charm right from the beginning.  That was a big motivator.  The second tortoise motor install was more difficult requiring numerous adjustments, soldering under the benchwork, burning flesh from the ball of hot solder falling on to my hand, etc..  But in the end (about an hour later I suppose), both crossing gates and lights are functional at Ottawa Avenue.  

Pretty sweet!  I will probably tweak them a little more in hopes of making their operation a little smoother.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The ROCK 3.0: Progress Report 02.24.14

This morning, I worked on the road crossing at Mill Street.  I sanded down the plaster where I added on to the width of the road last night.  I drilled the holes and installed the crossing gates.  I drilled the holes in preparation for installing the IR detectors.

Over at Ottawa Ave between LOF and Ottawa Silica I moved the one sensor so it will provide sufficient room for the train to activate the crossing signal.

Today, I thought about it some more and decided to control this crossing with four sets of IR detectors.  Two away from the crossing and two right at the crossing.   Reading up on sensor placement, this would work best for trains that might stop in the area switching.  It should provide for more realistic operation.

This evening, I drilled the holes for the additional sensors and got them all mounted in the benchwork.  I constructed the bases for the crossing gates as I didn't like the way they were installed this morning.  I will have to let the glue dry overnight.  Wired everything up and tested the sensors.  Sensors are all good and the supports drying.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The ROCK 3.0: Progress Report 02.23.14

Not much progress on the layout this weekend.  Saturday, I enjoyed a wonderful time operating Steve Holzheimer's Akron, Canton and Youngstown (AC&Y) Railroad layout.

Today, I worked on cleaning up the storage room (guest bedroom) while making the conversion from 1.0 to 3.0.  I was just thinking today.  I made this conversion in 10 months.  Not bad!  I believe I originally planned for six months, but there were some delays as you might expect with a project of this magnitude.

This evening, I worked on widening the road crossing at Mill Crossing.  I noticed the original road I created was too narrow.

Also, when demonstrating to my cousin (who is a railfan) the crossing gates at Ottawa Avenue.  When shoving a cut of cars north, he commented "that train was on the crossing before the lights started flashing."  He was right.  I need to move the IR sensors further south of the crossing.  Shoving a cut of cars south at slow speeds works fine.  I appreciate his input catching my miscalculation.