Author Topic: Tehachapi, BC  (Read 211820 times)

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peteski

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Re: Tehachapi, BC
« Reply #1650 on: January 23, 2019, 04:14:56 PM »
0
LOL @ CATS.

This is a most welcome development Mark!!  I'll follow the 3d printing thread with interest and contribute where I'm able to.  Thanks for taking this on!

In the Picture is Worth a Thousand Words category, here is another mini-update:



On the single-head signal, I terminated the magnet wires on Wutter's board and added a pigtail to connect to the control circuitry.  I decided to go with phone cable because it's super simple and readily available, and the jack let's me unplug it for repair or maintenance.  Electrically, it works beautifully.  The only downside is that the cable is a little stiffer than I would like, so I'll need to add some strain relief so it doesn't pop the signal base out of its little holder.  I haven't quite sorted out how to mechanically mount these signals, but I'm picturing some kind of short tube that is rigidly mounted to the base which could secure the cable and insert into the scenery.  Suggestions welcome.


Gary,
you are right, the flat phone-type cords are quite stiff. I have never been able to find a very flexible one. This is mainly due to the thick outside jacket.

If you like the modular RJ type connections you can easily create your own very flexible version of what you have shown above.

1. Find and buy some flexible stranded wires with similar gauge and insulation thickness as the wires inside of the photo cord. 
2. Take a scrap piece of the phone cord and cut it into ~ 1cm pieces and pullout the wires from it leaving just the outer sheath.
3. Thread four of your flexible wires through that 1cm hollow sheath.
4. Insert the 1cm sheath with the flexible wires into a modular jack and crimp it. Now you have a modular plug with pigtails (where the 1cm sheath is acting as strain relief).

Now you can solder the other end of your pigtail wires to the base of the signal.  The wires are separate but for such a sort length that should not be a problem.   I guess if you want you can twist them into a bundle. And the assembly is very flexible.

Yes, it is a bit more work than just using the modular phone cord, but it will be much easier to deal with.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2019, 06:46:00 PM by peteski »
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Sokramiketes

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Re: Tehachapi, BC
« Reply #1651 on: January 23, 2019, 05:58:14 PM »
0
I usually thread all magnet wire at once. It’s almost impossible to feed additional wires later.

I feed them up from the bottom of the pole, all straight, and then use a small hook (piece of .010” brass wire in a wooden dowel) to grab and pull them out at the signal locations (side holes) as I push up the bundle.

A separate thread on JMRI signal programming would be great. It still feels clunky to me, and that’s just lack of full knowledge of the system and always wondering if there is a simpler way to do something. I always feel like I’m using brute force through programming.
Mike

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GaryHinshaw

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Re: Tehachapi, BC
« Reply #1652 on: February 05, 2019, 02:24:21 AM »
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Thanks for the suggestions guys.  I'm way overdue responding to them because I've been on the road for a while [presently visiting New York, after a swing through the La Mesa club in San Diego.  :lol:]

@Wutter, I'm definitely going to use your printed frames for mounting.  I just need to install more flexible leads so they don't put any force on the signal base from below.  Thanks for the link to the cables you use.  I'm also tempted to stick with RJ connectors ala @peteski's suggestions due to their simplicity (and the fact that I have enough on hand to finish the job).

The mast in the Showcase kit is 1/32" and it has an ID of just over 0.020".  I can easily thread 8 magnet leads straight through a mast, the challenge arises at the mid point where 4 of the leads enter/exit the mast for the lower head.  There is a pinch point there due to the bending of the lower leads.  I would try @Sokramiketes tip, except that I am using pre-wired LEDs, so I can't run the leads up from the base.  I have not tried running the top leads straight down the mast first, then threading the bottom leads through the side hole.  That might work better than bottom first, which is the order suggested in the Showcase instructions.  [BTW, I don't know the gauge of this magnet wire.  The OD is ~0.005" with insulation.  Is that 36 or 38 ga?]

In any event, I did achieve a partial success before hitting the road.  I was able to run 7 leads down the mast, and much to my good fortune, the 8th lead was the common lead for the top head, so I decided to solder it to the outside of the mast and use the mast as the common for the top head.  I'm not super thrilled with this solution, but it does work, and the solder joint is on the far side of the mast, so not really visible from the aisle.  Here is a quick grab I took before I left (sorry, no time to install the target faces):




This shot does remind me of one proto question I still have: for SP signals, should the lower head be on a longer arm (farther from the mast) than the upper head?   The best answer I could find from a quick web search is "yes" based on this page, however I have nagging doubts due to shots like this signal in Mojave.

C855B

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Re: Tehachapi, BC
« Reply #1653 on: February 05, 2019, 02:47:25 AM »
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... This shot does remind me of one proto question I still have: for SP signals, should the lower head be on a longer arm (farther from the mast) than the upper head?   The best answer I could find from a quick web search is "yes" based on this page, however I have nagging doubts due to shots like this signal in Mojave.

The answer is "yes". To both styles. :D  If offset from the mast, they will be on the same plane, if centered on the mast, the bottom head will be on a longer bracket. I wasn't aware of a particular rhyme or reason for using each style, other than the centered style was the choice in tight clearances, like between two tracks.
...mike

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GaryHinshaw

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Re: Tehachapi, BC
« Reply #1654 on: February 06, 2019, 01:53:40 AM »
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Thanks Mike, I can buy that.  For my control points, I'm pretty much using the redoveryellow site as a guide.  For example, my Summit control point is based on West Cable which has centred targets, thus a long lower arm.  (I will be aiming the targets into the curves - a de rigueur Tehachapi trademark.)

GaryHinshaw

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Re: Tehachapi, BC
« Reply #1655 on: March 31, 2019, 06:23:33 PM »
+3
Not too much to report as I have been away quite a bit, and the layout has been mostly dormant for the winter.  But with two ops-related meets coming up relatively soon, it's time to wake it up again.  The first task was to clean the track: I decided it was time to really clean the ME blackening off the railheads to improve conductivity.  Given that there are 5 scale miles of mainline (with 2/3 of it double track), it has taken some time, but the results are worth it!  The second task was to pseudo-install the industrial tracks at Edison so we can finally add another local train to the lineup.  Here is an aerial view of what is now in place:



This job will have 7-8 cars spots on both sides of the double-track main, so it should keep an operator busy for a decent amount of time, and require that through trains be routed through a single main while the local is working.  Here is the first local train to arrive in town, getting ready to start its work:



Nothing here is glued down yet because I might want to make some changes to the plan after the first few sessions.  The industries here are all food-related, so the traffic is mostly reefers, covered hoppers and food-grade tankers, but I'm thinking of adding a scrap yard in the far corner for a bit more variety.  Once I'm happy with the operations, I'll finish it off with code 40 track and hand-laid turnouts.

GaryHinshaw

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Re: Tehachapi, BC
« Reply #1656 on: April 15, 2019, 06:52:03 PM »
+4
Time for another decidedly un-photogenic update.  With another RMMBC meet just around the corner, it's (past) time to tie up some loose ends on the layout.  My two infrastructure priorities have been to get tracks in service at Edison (done - see above), and to get two more control points (CP) operational.  As of this weekend, 10 of the 12 CP's are now functional and under dispatcher control.   The first is a crossover at "Bealville".  On my pike there is a double-length siding from Allard to Woodford (skipping Cliff and Rowan), and a mid-siding crossover allows the dispatcher some flexibility if things get busy there.  Sadly, it is way in the back, almost behind the Vortex, and until this weekend, there was only some rather sad looking temporary trackage and wiring in place there:



It is now operational:



It is somewhat sobering to realize how much wiring is needed to support such a simple-looking thing: a pair of control lines from the stationary decoder to the Tortoises; 10 separate wires to power the two frogs; and 6 detection blocks that require the track power bus to be apportioned so that the 6 current sensors (2 on the north mains, 2 on the crossover, and 2 on the south mains) are appropriately isolated:



The other CP in service now is the switch at Caliente, which is right up against the swing gate across the door:



This will very much be a foreground scene, so it warrants a hand-laid #10.   The remaining two CP's to be completed are the Edison crossover (waiting to make sure it's well positioned for the Edison local job) and Kern Junction, which has 8 turnouts, including 3 crossovers.  Both CP's are currently still using hand-thrown temporary turnouts.

The remaining time between now and the meet on May 3 will be devoted to cosmetic improvements.  Photos as progress warrants.

Smike

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Re: Tehachapi, BC
« Reply #1657 on: April 19, 2019, 08:46:12 AM »
+2
You say un-photogenic but I see wood working art in each of those images.  :)

I really admire your ability to say focuses on the infrastructure of the layout, and not get sucked in to start doing scenic stuff on half built layout.  (don't ask me on that one)

GaryHinshaw

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Re: Tehachapi, BC
« Reply #1658 on: May 14, 2019, 12:12:54 AM »
+4
Thanks Smike.

With the demise of two beautiful N scale Tehachapi layouts (Ed N's and Chris K's), I feel compelled to wave the flag and post an update on Tehachapi BC, despite there being relatively little progress to report.   The main focus in April was to get the layout ready for its first ops session in a year (!) which meant taking care of a few punch list items (see above) and performing a thorough cleaning.   Here is a quick overview of the layout circa last weekend's meet.  Looking in from the entrance door towards the Loop shelf:



and looking back towards the door from high above the Loop shelf:



I'm slowly making inroads on some of the basic terra-forming (which is still just carved & painted foam), first on the east slope:



and then on the Loop shelf itself (the blue portions are still being shaped):



Even this very rudimentary scenery treatment goes a long way towards improving the appearance of the layout.  I can't wait to have time to start tackling the central peninsula and the tunnel district.  As you can see below, I've started roughing in bits of the tunnel district, but there's still a long way to go.  I'm not sure if I'm going to stick with the "horizontal fascia" that I have roughed in around Tunnel 17.  I definitely do not want to slice it off at in the plane of the current benchwork, but a vertical fascia further out would be quite short unless I extend the scenery below the current benchwork.  Comments on how to approach this are welcome.



I'll post some shots of the ops session - and some special visiting equipment - as soon as I get those photos uploaded.

James Costello

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Re: Tehachapi, BC
« Reply #1659 on: May 14, 2019, 01:13:10 AM »
0
Looking great Gary!
James Costello
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Bob

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Re: Tehachapi, BC
« Reply #1660 on: May 14, 2019, 06:11:27 AM »
+1
Thanks for posting, Gary - it is good to see an update on your layout!

Cajonpassfan

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Re: Tehachapi, BC
« Reply #1661 on: May 14, 2019, 10:52:06 AM »
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I always enjoy looking at your progress photos Gary. And the neatness of everything, even at this stage, blows me away. I’ve got to learn to stop using the layout as a combination workbench/storage shelf :facepalm:
You’re an inspiration, sir!
Otto

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Re: Tehachapi, BC
« Reply #1662 on: May 14, 2019, 10:57:31 AM »
+1
Ya know Gary, you'd probably make much more progress if you weren't making it look so good! lol

You gotta get down to "hack level" like to sprint forward. Hahahahaha

mark dance

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Re: Tehachapi, BC
« Reply #1663 on: May 14, 2019, 07:15:26 PM »
+3

Even this very rudimentary scenery treatment goes a long way towards improving the appearance of the layout.  I can't wait to have time to start tackling the central peninsula and the tunnel district.  As you can see below, I've started roughing in bits of the tunnel district, but there's still a long way to go.  I'm not sure if I'm going to stick with the "horizontal fascia" that I have roughed in around Tunnel 17.  I definitely do not want to slice it off at in the plane of the current benchwork, but a vertical fascia further out would be quite short unless I extend the scenery below the current benchwork.  Comments on how to approach this are welcome.


Mocking the scenery up with crumpled Kraft paper (the Ken Caitlan techique a la Scott Calvert's Boundary 2.0 and, more recently the C&W below) might be a very fast experiment...





md
Youtube Videos of the N Scale Columbia & Western at: markdance63
Photos and track plan of of the N Scale Columbia & Western at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/27907618@N02/sets/72157624106602402/

GaryHinshaw

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Re: Tehachapi, BC
« Reply #1664 on: May 14, 2019, 10:41:57 PM »
+4
Indeed Mark.  I have a roll of kraft paper waiting for me in the Shed for when I return home in a few weeks.  I'm targeting another session in mid-late June and I'd like to have the peninsula covered by then to see how things go in the staging below.

Meanwhile, here are a few shots from the RMMBC session last week, officially the 16th session the layout has hosted.  I had 5 registered guests and 2 "home road" crew, one of them being TRW's very own @ednadolski whom I finally got to meet in person after 10 (or more?) years of online correspondence.   With one exception*, the trains operated quite well and we managed to keep a crew of 7 going for nearly 3 and a half hours, so I was quite happy with that.  On to the photos.

Things got off to a pretty peaceful start as Al Lill waits patiently with his long bare-table train for a meet at Summit:



Meanwhile Ed Nadolski, Dave Howard, and Stuart Tait are all engaged in their duties in the pit:



Being a 3rd class train, Al spent most of this run swimming against the current: here he is one siding later holding the main at Walong while an empty oil train headed east meets him there: (Dave Enger and Ed take care of their trains in the background)



[Note: the orb in the ceiling is the two-way radio we use to talk to the dispatcher in the house.  Mike Nyiri volunteered to dispatch this session, despite having no CTC experience.  He did a great job and it is a testimony to how easy CATS is to pick up and run with.] 

Later in the session, Dave E. and Ed take the loaded grain train down the hill with live helpers while Al looks on, and Dave H. takes charge of the first-ever Edison Local, which kept him busy for nearly an hour, and kept the dispatcher on his toes single-tracking traffic through there all the while:



The Vortex continues to exert a particular gravitational pull on all operators who approach it, especially those running trains with live helpers...



Further down the hill, lead engineer Dave E. was comfortable enough to munch on some peanuts while snaking into Caliente:



Finally, a big shout out goes to my neighbour, Eva, who volunteered to serve as Yardmaster for this session:



(Sorry I don't have a picture of her smiling for the camera.)  This job requires spending quite a bit of time in the Rathole managing staging at both ends of the layout.  Despite knowing almost nothing about how the layout works, she did a great job keeping things fluid, and she even agreed to come back and do it again whenever we need more home road.  (One of the challenges of these ops events is finding enough skilled local labour to serve these home road jobs.  Most of the locals are either hosting themselves, or are being called upon to help the hosts.  I was lucky that Eva was willing and able.)

*The one exception was the 2nd run of the bare-table train.  The Kato Maxi-I's are very temperamental when they are run empty in a long train.  I think I need to ban bare-tables from operating sessions until I have a better handle on their stability.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2019, 10:45:41 PM by GaryHinshaw »