Jump to content
Sheffie

Green & Grey

Recommended Posts

Sheffie

It begins. 

 

90FB5B1C-0F45-4D5B-8D17-9AC5AFB2C8AE.thumb.jpeg.59585ab58bb73a6a2ca9dcce073d23d1.jpeg

 

I have a basic pine framework which will support a 1 inch thick sheet of XPS foam. But before I attach the foam, I want to attach the wiring to the frame. I plan on running a lengths of wire from a terminal block near each point to the front side of the layout. From there it will go to the control panel, details to follow. When the positions of the feeder tracks and points are known, I will poke a hole in the foam board and feed the wires down. It should be a short distance from each hole to the designated terminal block, and hopefully there will be no ambiguity about which wire is which. 

  • Like 13

Share this post


Link to post
Kiha66

Looks good tim!  Great idea to think about wireing this early, that'll really help later in the build.

Share this post


Link to post
Sheffie

The wiring is complete. And ugly!

B5DE0AB8-049C-4554-8F8E-4BBE29E109C6.thumb.jpeg.17cb4f4570bac14ab8efd981b82988d0.jpeg

The main thing, for me, is that it’s solid. The bare wires are the common ground for the point controls, by the way. 

 

In other news, I bought some furniture risers to raise the table 8 inches -- the tabletop is now 3'1" high (~940mm). This makes it a LOT easier to get underneath and up behind the layout, and it should make it more comfortable to work and watch the trains.

3D34FF78-65CF-4FEE-91A7-9D8D76CEE275.thumb.jpeg.1a8556b3176a77dda7e2f352dc222640.jpeg

The jury is still out on whether they will prevent my 4 year old daughter from seeing anything interesting. 

Edited by Sheffie
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
gcmr_new_zealand

I like your use of the furniture risers - I have not seen them before.

Share this post


Link to post
Sheffie
18 minutes ago, gcmr_new_zealand said:

I like your use of the furniture risers - I have not seen them before.

 

Yeah, my wife suggested them when I mentioned that I'd read an article on layout design that said higher layouts were easier to work on - and nicer to look at. They were less than $20 and rated for 325 lb each, as their intended market is lifting beds to create storage underneath. Better storage space under the layout is an extra bonus for me.

 

Sitting in my office chair, my eyes are about 6 inches above the layout. I will be able to see everything, but it will be foreshortened. This is good. I will be looking at the sides of my trains, not the top.

Edited by Sheffie

Share this post


Link to post
Sheffie

Track laying, day one.  My wife reminded me that it’s okay to take a break, and that this is supposed to be fun. So I’ll do the switching yard tomorrow. 

C3017E00-C21A-4D43-AD8F-C595B77C1EE8.thumb.jpeg.54ed8b513f3bff102426a19f79b53c9c.jpeg

 

Note the presence of white adhesive holding the four sections of foam board together. This is Loctite PL300 and it has had 24 hours to dry, so I’m optimistic about it sticking the board and nothing else. 

 

Keen observers will also note the return of the rural platform / rural freight platform combo from my first layout. This is where workers and supplies will leave their respective trains for the coal mine. 

Edited by Sheffie
  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post
Kiha66

Looks great Tim!  We've been using similar adhesive for portable modules at my local club and so far it seems to hold very well.  It is quite rewarding to finally get the stage where track is going down, congratulations! 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Sheffie

They say that no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy, and that seems to be true here. 

E3F4786B-90BF-40D1-B693-B7C1FE1DBB98.thumb.jpeg.1c3afa3ae1e91f885ef1fa9c0aa28670.jpeg

 

1. I misidentified one of my points, so I don’t have enough EP481-15R, hence the orphan siding on the right hand side. Luckily I used the “extra” EP481-15L for the late addition of the freight siding by the coal mine. 

2. I had to go back and install insulating unijoiners in order to separate the yard from the outer loop. )Yes, the layout is using three controllers, so I can do shunting while two trains run loops.)

3. I needed an extra power feeder in the yard area to ensure that all the sidings would get power. 

4. My two longest sidings weren’t as long as SCARM promised. There was something like 30mm less space than the plan showed. This isn’t a critical issue, since both trains had more space than they needed, but I’m disappointed in the software. I don’t think that it’s all down to bad track assembly work on my part. 

 

Nothing I can’t handle, really. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Sheffie

Right. The downside of raising your layout to 3ft off the ground is definitely the added stress of doing wiring work underneath the table. It’s just too high to lie on your back and reach up.

 

But it’s done. Yesterday I learned that you can remove the plug from the end of a Kato power/point control cable with a combination of crushing it with lineman’s pliers and cutting with gundam-kit sprue cutters. This leaves the wires ending in little metal bars that are easily inserted into a terminal block. 

 

Imagine I’ve posted an image that’s essentially the same as the previous one but without all the wires visible. Saves time and bandwidth. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Sheffie

I still need to figure out exactly how to construct the control panel and also ideally I will come up with some way of raising and lowering a dust cover without dragging trains and trees around. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Sheffie

For today's picture, imagine yesterday's image but with a JR Kyushu DE10 zipping around.

 

The tracks are all powered, and they agree on which way is forwards.

 

The elephant in the room now is the lack of controls for the points at the back of the layout. My first control panel (TM) is going to be a simple one, electrically speaking. I mean, I'd like to have lights showing which position each point is in, but that's going to be a lot of difficult soldering and component mounting work. Ultimately i'd like to have little signals out on the track, and I'm not sure i will find the time for that before retirement. So. This weekend I am hoping to get some soldering done, and a little bit of woodwork, and we'll see what we can do.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
cteno4

Good thing if you use the bcd circuit you can tell the point direction by the direction of the toggle switch. Adding leds just needs the leds and proper resistors to show direction.

 

you can use little LED bezels for 3mm leds to add light indicators later, just leave space.
 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/20PCS-3-5-8-10mm-LED-Plastic-Lamp-LED-Diode-Holder-Black-Clip-Bezel-Mount-JB/283461574273?hash=item41ffa05e81:m:m0E7A5tqqoj5bJvcFr5MHTg

 

doing the soldering and wiring in bulk can help on time and effort. Wiring the panel would not be huge, points a bit more work snaking wires out to the points and mounting there. For the led wiring you can use wrapping wire. It’s pre tinned and 30awg and tough. Super cheap at about a penny a foot.

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/305Meters-30AWG-Electrical-Wire-OK-Line-Airline-0-5mm-Single-Core-Copper-Wire/223651059755?hash=item3412a4582b:m:ml1UYO91F2Z9qxb_xNCvs5g

 

jeff

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Sheffie

Since I have little confidence in my ability as either electrician or carpenter, I am keeping the design as simple as possible. 

 

4CDF3864-F596-4963-86B9-2F7310773353.thumb.jpeg.9536c8690506a7298d79a3ce13d00a4d.jpeg

 

It’s a wooden box that will be held together with tiny nails , with a printout of the layout  on top. The stems of the switches will poke through some slots I’ll cut in the paper later on. 

 

One thing that worked really well: I selected a drill bit just large enough to match the thread size on the switches. This means that the switches screw into the panel itself, with no need for nuts protruding above the front panel, and no countersink drilling. This minimizes the amount of the front panel that isn’t track plan artwork. 

 

Since I already bought the DPDT momentary-on switches, I’m going to use those for my initial implementation. No LEDs, no bells, no whistles. I realize that I will have to be careful not to hang on to the switches, because of the risk of burning out the solenoids in the points. 

 

On a related note... I realized that my Kato S power supply from Japan might have a different step-down ratio than my SX supplies from Kato USA, since wall sockets are at different voltages. Testing with a multimeter bears this out: the Japanese supply was putting out something like 17.5 volts from its auxiliary output, whereas the American unit was more like 12.5 volts. The numbers are not accurate—I used a cheap multimeter and it was on a 50V scale—but it certainly seems more prudent to power the control panel from one of the US supplies. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
cteno4

Yep you are feeding the transformer 110-120v when it’s expecting 100v

 

also watch for bounce back on the point blades. With too much power they can throw and bounce a little and end up with the blade slightly off the rail. I had this using a monster old power supply which was putting out like 16v.

 

jeff

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Sheffie

The soldering is about half way done. And far from pretty. 

0F4989A5-FC60-484A-BFCB-19ABC0C3F27E.thumb.jpeg.89a57fbbd35ee4f5ea80c0579b5fcb7e.jpeg

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Sheffie

I wrote a follow up about the wiring, but it got lost.

 

TL/DR: I either need to replace two of the switches, or the entirety of control panel 1.0 will have to be scrapped and re-done.

 

Lessons learned: 

  1. Little switches are very cute. They are also a nightmare to solder.
  2. If in doubt, make wires and cables a lot longer. If not in doubt, just make them a bit longer.
  3. Take extra time to make every end of every wire as neat and tidy as possible before soldering. If two wires are to be soldered to the same pin, do this as one job.
  4. When the soldering iron causes the terminals to move around, that's your sign that the switch has got too hot and will no longer work properly.
  5. A control panel's box needs to be considerably bigger than the total size of all the components.
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
cteno4

Sheffie,

 

Sorry for the bummers. soldering is all about a lot of practice! It takes time to learn many of the above by feel and experience.

 

couple of hints to help the soldering
 

- twist the wire ends well after stripping them. This helps make them not fray when you solder them. Once wires are pretinned nip the stripped bit back to just what you need for the solder joint

 

- pretin components when ever you can (ie put some solder on the solder point). Don’t have to hold the iron on long to get some solder on the wire need or terminal. Then you can put the two parts together and touch the iron to then till the solder fuses. This also lets you hold the wire down on the joint with one hand and soldering iron in the other and not need the third belly hand to put solder in there.

 

- if you have multiple wires going to one terminal then twist the wires together, the. Solder them together (ie pretinning them as well)

 

- get good solder. Cheap solder can really not flow well. Bit of gel flux can help in places at well. Just a tiny dab on the interface area can really improve a fast, clean solder

 

- a variable temp soldering iron can help to dial in the temp hot enough to quickly melt the solder but not overheat the parts while soldering.

 

- before you start a soldering session use some old parts to do some practice solders. I’ve soldered since I was 4 years old and 5 decades plus later I still do a couple of practice solders before jumping into a batch of soldering. It’s just one of those feel things and a few solders get the brains attached to the hands quickly.

 

- watch a few youtub videos on soldering, video helps translate some of the feeling bits well.

 

it will work for you, just some practice!

 

cheers

 

jeff

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
maihama eki

My tips on soldering:

- Get a good soldering iron that will maintain the temperature at the tip.  This makes a huge difference.

- Use as large of a tip as you can for the job at hand.

- Use solder flux.  RMA (Rosin Mildly Activated) is a good option for general use and does not need to be cleaned off after you solder.

- Use solder with lead in it.  The old standard 63% tin, 37% lead is hard to beat.  Lead-free solder flows at a significantly higher temp and is generally harder to use.

- Jeff's tip on pre-tinning wires and component leads is good.  The saying is "nothing solders easier than solder".

 

 

 

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
cteno4
9 hours ago, maihama eki said:

The saying is "nothing solders easier than solder"


ha a new one on me, super apt!

 

yes it’s really nice to have a decent soldering iron. Even a cheap variable temp set one for $40 will get you a big difference from, a set element stick.

 

another thing is keeping your tip clean. These little guys are great to just poke the tip into before you go at a solder joint. Knocks off all the scale (mostly burned up flux and oxidized solder) so you get a good surface to transfer heat and no crud in the joint.

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Welding-Soldering-Solder-Iron-Tip-Cleaner-Cleaning-Steel-Wire-With-Stand-Set-e/392493688327?hash=item5b62726607:g:2nEAAOSw4PBdrr9O

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Soldering-Iron-Tip-Cleaning-Wire-Scrubber-Cleaner-Ball-w-Metal-Case-I9X9/254359118136?epid=1049379705&hash=item3b38fc2138:g:CSYAAOSw5PBdfHYC

 

I agree the old 63/37 rosin core flux is the best. Non lead solders can be such a beast to work with. No issues with the lead unless you are sucking on your solder joints...
 

one last note is it’s good to have a little air movement when soldering as the flux smoke isn’t great for you and tiny tiny bit of lead in it. Usually we are right on top of the soldering so the smoke is going up into your face. Simple little computer fan and a 6v wall wart on the bench pointed away from you sucking the fumes away from you is fine. It’s not a horrible exposure at all but if your at it a bit it’s simple to get rid of the issue. If you are doing loads you can tape a hunk of activated charcoal filter to the fan to absorb it.

 

keep at it sheffie, practice will make you a pro!

 

jeff

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Sheffie

Okay. Some progress. 

F6F22950-ECEC-4E1E-B8AC-08BD1909B5DD.thumb.jpeg.907c9d575f6d18f6b91cba5a81578608.jpeg

 

After taking this pic, I removed the two switches that caused the power supply to trip whichever way they moved. Those were obviously bad.

 

And the other switches all work! 

 

(They are all operating the wrong way around, but hey. That’s far better than two or three of them being wired backwards... because the solution to this problem is to reverse the polarity at the supply.)

 

I’m lucky that the switches came in a ten pack. I’ve got just enough spares. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Sheffie

Thanks for all the feedback on soldering. I have a gun type soldering iron that heats up very quickly, though it takes a while to heat up really thick copper wires. 

 

Unfortunately my local Lowe’s had only two types of solder available, and the other was “not for copper” or something like that. I ended up with an acid-core silver/tin formulation. 

 

The last bit of work I did, I tried pre-tinning the ends of the wire, and it did seem significantly easier. Thanks again for the advice!

Share this post


Link to post
Martijn Meerts

Soldering is a matter of mostly practice, and partially the right tools. The right tools definitely makes things easier.

 

My go to solder these days for wiring is a rosin core silver/tin solder, melts at around 210 degrees I believe. I never use additional flux when soldering wires, not even to track. I tend to leave my soldering iron at around 350 degrees and use a very small tip. I do pre-tin everything, and I also never have solder on the top of the iron, but always heat up whatever I need to have solder on, and then apply solder once it's heated up. Having a ball of solder on the iron (which I've seen recommended quite often) basically burns up all the flux that's in the solder's core, making it useless.

 

For very fine work or when soldering components that melt quickly, a flux definitely makes things easier, just be careful with flux as it leaves residue (even the ones that advertise no cleaning is needed do leave some residue), but wiping it with a small brass brush for example should clean it all up nice and quick.

 

I have to say, I used to hate soldering to the point where I'd buy rail connectors with wires soldered on and use terminal blocks everywhere instead of soldering any wires. Getting a good, digital, temperature controlled soldering station turned me around to the point where I'm now enjoying soldering brass kits.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
gavino200
On 12/21/2019 at 11:40 PM, Sheffie said:

The soldering is about half way done. And far from pretty. 

0F4989A5-FC60-484A-BFCB-19ABC0C3F27E.thumb.jpeg.89a57fbbd35ee4f5ea80c0579b5fcb7e.jpeg

 

 

1 hour ago, Sheffie said:

Okay. Some progress. 

F6F22950-ECEC-4E1E-B8AC-08BD1909B5DD.thumb.jpeg.907c9d575f6d18f6b91cba5a81578608.jpeg

 

After taking this pic, I removed the two switches that caused the power supply to trip whichever way they moved. Those were obviously bad.

 

And the other switches all work! 

 

(They are all operating the wrong way around, but hey. That’s far better than two or three of them being wired backwards... because the solution to this problem is to reverse the polarity at the supply.)

 

I’m lucky that the switches came in a ten pack. I’ve got just enough spares. 

 

Sheffie, while this looks cool, I think you're making life difficult for yourself with this setup.

 

First thing. What gauge are your wires? You can probably used a narrower diameter which may be easier to work with.

 

Second thing - more important, I think that long copper wire is a bulky solution. Also perhaps a PITA for soldering to. 

 

I've been able to fit a lot of wiring into small spaces using these little circuit boards and junctions. 

 

Kd1tOQa.jpg?1

 

They're available on ebay, are cheap, and easy to use. 

 

The wires can also be disconnected and reconnected using a flat head screw driver. 

 

When I want to create a one-to-many junction, I just connect the pins below the board by soldering the "leg" of a resistor or some bare wire along the protruding legs of the junctions, which is actually very easy. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
cteno4

Sheffie,

 

hey big improvement! This is the kind of stuff that the first few times you do it’s a learning process where you may need to start over but it’s all good learning when things don’t go right!

 

for points 22g wire is fine, the Kato ones are actually 24g. Going heavier won’t hurt, just gets harder to work with.

 

open busses are fine just need to make sure nothing touches them for shorts.

 

the little pc terminal blocks that gavin shows are great to just wire all your switches up and the screw the bundle into the terminal blocks. You can solder the terminal blocks onto the pc breadboards and use hunks of wire to connect a feeder terminal to a output terminal(s). 
 

wiring like this is really a personal preference on what works for you. 
 

might look at the bcd circuit as it’s actually less wiring than doing these reversing circuits and easy to add the led indicators to it later.

 

ah those old gun soldering irons are a bear to work with, they tend to get way too hot and also you have it go from cold to hot as you work. I learned to solder with one of those! Even a simple adjustable always on soldering iron whom would find life much better and soldering a lot easier.

 

ah silver solder is also a problem it’s a lot harder to work with and not great with copper, it tends to ball up a lot, and requires extra flux a lot of times to get it to flow fast. This is probably why terminals melted on you as you have to get silver solder much hotter to melt and along with the soldering gun things overheated. You usually use silver solder with various fluxes to solder different metals together (why home despot carries it). I bet your local hardware store may have a spool of ton/lead rosin core solder. You may need to clean things up later if you notice corrosion on the solder joints as the acid core can leave an acid residue that can eventually start corrosion. $5-10 will get you some online. 0.8-1mm is usually best for smaller wiring like this.

 

https://smile.amazon.com/s?k=maiyum+63-37+tin+lead+rosin+core+solder+wire+for+electrical+soldering&crid=2AYLS5Y1MNZ8J&sprefix=Tin+lead+solder+ro%2Caps%2C140&ref=nb_sb_ss_i_3_18
 

cheers

 

jeff

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Sheffie

I replaced the two broken switches with the spares—but the new soldering was just as bad as the first attempt.

 

One switch is dead, and one works one way but not the other.

 

 I think that this is partly down to lack of technique on my part, and partly down to the soldering iron. I think it just gets too hot, and I don’t have the skill to manually keep the element at a good temperature. 

 

I’ve ordered some old school lead-based solder and I will look into getting a new iron after my winter holiday. 

 

Since the points in question are near the side of the layout and will not be used frequently, I can live with what I have, for now. 

 

————

 

I spent Saturday evening running a test train consisting of the two DF11z locomotives (with the faster one in the lead, so that they will separate if they uncouple) and sixteen coal cars. 

 

The “Mini-Real” couplers provided by Minitown are, it seems, a very good choice for a testing/diagnostic train. Bumps in the track — for example, where a uni-joiner missed the rail, or at a sudden elevation change — inevitably lead to uncoupling. The couplers are also body-mounted rather than attached to the bogeys, which seems to make them less tolerant of tight turns. I got one uncoupling event in a spot where I had made a conscious effort to avoid an S-bend (a series of R249 curves to the left, then an S62, then a couple more R249’s to the right) which is quite concerning, since the branch line winding through the hills to the coal mine is literally the central feature of the layout.

 

(I should clarify that with the exception of one bridge, which is about 5mm above the ground level, everything is still nominally flat. Things  can only get worse if I raise the coal mine 25mm, which was my plan. So I am somewhat disappointed and worried with these results.)

 

In the end I spent several hours recovering disconnected cars and putting shims under bits of track. The worst problems were at the joins between “tectonic plates”, where the foam-board was glued together after breaking in transit. Some of these steps, as I discovered after the glue was dry, are several millimeters high. 

 

I am considering whether to pull everything apart again (including the foam-board sections), re-glue, and rebuild from scratch, or perhaps whether to put some soft foam under the track. The latter idea should provide good sound/vibration insulation as well as help to even out the elevation changes. I’ll check with my wife and mother in law, who between them have a great deal of experience in costuming and mascot design, and perhaps I’ll find some good material at that uniquely American phenomenon, the craft/hobby store frequented by middle-aged ladies. 

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...