Author Topic: Tehachapi, BC  (Read 192620 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 »
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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)