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Friday, 22 September 2017

Project 17 - Troubleshooting

A few tasks to improve the layout operations -

Half way along No.1 road a dip in the track caused some locomotives to stall. How to level it? Track work was initially stuck down with strips of double sided tape, which did not hold too well. However, the ballasting fixed with PVA glue did a splendid job of fixing the track as well. To cure the dip all that had to be done was to wet the ballast, which turns the hardened PVA back to liquid, and then gently pull the track up until levelled. More ballast was laid on top to fill in around the raised track.

The track work in the fiddle yard cassettes came loose from its double sided tape fixing and under a hot sun much warping of it occurred between the fixed, soldered ends. I can live with that because the layout is normally at room temperature where wild temperature extremes are unlikely. To fix the track though I tied the sleepers down with wire strapping. Track pins will not hold in the foam board (unless glued).

The weak turntable motor drive has been replaced with a manually operated worm gear meshed with the existing large cog wheel. The photograph shows my 3D printed worm gear arrangement. The sleeve in the middle is a coupling between two rods, necessary as the printer track bed is not large enough to print one long rod. This manual method works wonderfully being quiet with precise turning control at a snails pace. I should have opted for this method in the beginning instead of motor drive.

The track has been wired for DCC and all my locos are chipped for Hornby Zero 1. I opened the M7 to find there was no space whatsoever for the large Zero 1 chip without serious modification to the loco inners. What I need is the smaller ZTC 202,211,203 or 214 chip, which are Zero 1 compatible but all are no longer manufactured. This poses a serious problem as until a ZTC shows up I'll either have to switch controllers between Analogue and Zero 1 during operations, dechip some of my other locomotives or, buy a new set of locos for analogue control exclusively for this layout and rewire the track for isolated sections. (I have no desire to upgrade to a modern DCC system).

With regard to building this micro layout it is now complete. Now I want to reorganise the railway room so the layout and fiddle yards can be set up for operating sessions, make the movie of it and add the layout to my main model railway website.


To Part 1.  

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