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Tuesday 21 December 2021

DIY Refurbishment of Zero 1 Keypad

The Hornby Zero 1 is the simplest and cheapest DCC system to operate, albeit with limited functionality. Second hand controllers and chips are available from ebay. The biggest downside is the loco chip board that is too big to fit into some modern tank locomotives and it does require some ingenuity to fit into some larger modern locos.

The system was launched by Hornby in the 1980s and after 40 odd years it is no surprise that the keypad fails. It is the weakest part of the controller design. The failure is due to the carbon tips of the elastomer keypad keys wearing away. Happily it is easily fixed without the need for electronics knowledge or great expense.

Sorry, no pictures.

  1. Remove from power source
  2. Drill out the 10 rivets holding the unit top to base
  3. Lift off the top starting at the rear, rotating to the front taking care not to damage wires between base and top
  4. Remove the small phillips screws that hold the keyboard in place
  5. Gently easy back the two keypad front retaining clips to release the keyboard and fold away to reveal the elastomer keypad
  6. If the button circuit areas on the printed circuit board look dirty then clean with Isopropyl Alcohol and if still dirty use a fibreglass rubber or scalpel taking care not to destroy the circuit tracks
  7. Brush away any detritus on the black pads of the elastomer keypad with a dry paintbush.
  8. Take some aluminium kitchen foil and a paper hole punch that has a 5mm punch and punch out 17 circles. If the punch is larger than 5mm then cut squares instead that are a little larger than the black pads of the elastomer keypad
  9. Test fit an aluminuim pad over a black pad to ensure it is wholly contained within the well and below the top surface
  10. Glue the aluminium pad on top of the carbon pad with a small drop of super glue and check it has set, i.e. does not slide off the pad
  11. Press lightly on the fixed aluminium so that it slightly wraps down the side of the carbon pad
  12. Repeat for all buttons
  13. Refit the keyboard and top to base. The top should be located at the front first and then rotated over the rear
  14. Since the unit was held together with rivets it is not be possible to fix the top to base easily. You might try a couple of small wood screws screwed into the palstic holes.

Friday 8 October 2021

Presflo Cement Wagons - 4mm scale

This is a lesson on the benefits of never throwing away spares or scrap.

I decided to tidy up the railway room and the first drawer I opened contained about six broken wagons including the Airfix Presflo Cement Wagon. The task of tidying up the room quickly evaporated as I thought to myself - maybe I can repair this wagon.

It is a lovely model because of its detail and unusual style. Unfortunately the roof, couplings, buffer heads, one step, vacuum pipes and decals were missing. Whilst the chassis was (untidily) painted gloss black the yellow body of the virgin kit was retained. This model must be over 60 years old and probably built by my late father. I noticed that the body had been assembled back to front relative to the chassis. I knew this because more recently I bought another kit, rebadged Dapol, and assembled it correctly to instructions and prototype.

Having a 3D printer to hand it did not take long to design and print a new roof using the Dapol model as a style guide, except the very small roof hatch cover latches and hinges had to be cut and fitted from scrap plastic since it was beyond the capability of my printers resolution, being the filament laying type.

Buffer heads were fashioned from nails having the right size heads and fitted into holes drilled in the buffer shanks.

Vacuum pipes came from other wagon left overs and the step was fashioned from plastic scrap.

Couplings were purchased.

What to do about the reversed body? Carefully break away the ladder and vacuum cylinders and swap their positions. There is still a bit of detail molded in (barely noticeable) that are at the wrong ends.

Airfix Blue Circle Presflo
Whilst researching the prototype I came across a modeler who had fabricated and fitted the pipework that is missing from the model design. I did the same and it really adds to the character of the model.

My research revealed that the Yellow paint scheme of the Blue Circle 1950s wagon was short lived, being repainted grey because the yellow was quickly stained by cement powder spills. I opted for the grey. I know the grey was prevalent in the late 1960s and into the 1970s. I do not know the years it was introduced and later scrapped.

Halfords grey primer was applied all over and the chassis and wheels hand painted Humbrol satin black. Light weathering was applied using white and brown pastel scrapes and then sprayed with 'firm hold' hair spray. 

Dapol BR Presflo
When I made the Dapol kit I decided to finish it in BR bauxite with BR decals, which meant I did not need the Blue Circle decals that came with the kit. These were retained and now applied to the Airfix kit.

This photo below is of a train comprising a presflo cement wagon. The makeup of the train with its West Country Bulleid engine replicates that shown in a John Day photograph of the prototype train from 1962. Note the Invalid Car on the second wagon.

Friday 20 August 2021

3 Link Coupling Operation with Ease

I am a subscriber to Gormo's You Tube channel 'Great Chesterford Junction Model Railway'. He invented a highly innovative method of 3 link coupling operation for 00 gauge rolling stock based on magnetics. I thought about adopting it for my 0 gauge rolling stock but came up with a simpler method that was implemented in seconds without the need to modify stock and gave remarkable results. I doubt it is suitable for smaller scales though.

I had available a range of neodymium magnets and found that a 4mm diameter by 1 mm thick magnet fitted snugly into a loop of a 3 link chain. Now, for this to work your chain needs to be ferrous metal.

With two wagons modified I brought them together by hand and they joined up instantly. pull them apart and they decoupled. What a delight, as anyone who uses a shunting pole will appreciate!

There was a tendency for the magnet of one chain to release from the link to snap to the magnet in the other chain. This was easily fixed by super-gluing the magnets in place. You would think that the distance between wagons would double normality as the chains do not couple to the hook. However, what happened was the links concertinaed due to the magnetic force, thus restoring the prototypical gap. Of course that effect on the chains is not prototypical but it is a small price to pay for ease of coupling up the rolling stock.

This method has potential for further development. Maybe soldering the three links together for rigidity or having two links non-ferrous and the magnetic link ferrous or indeed all links non ferrous. Something else to bear in mind is the chassis. If this is ferrous or parts there on near the links are then this will attract the local magnet in preference to coupling up.

Monday 10 May 2021

Misterton Timetable #10

 9.45 pm: Throughout the night there were frequent freight train journeys along the main line between London and the west country. Here is a Torrington to Feltham freight train hauled by a class 700 locomotive. (Through working)

10.10 pm: It is dusk as aYeovil Junction to Exmouth Junction freight hauled by a S15 class passes through.

10.40 pm: Another freight, This time from Plymouth to Templecombe is hauled by a N class locomotive. (Through working)

11.40 pm. And another hauled by a S15 locomotive on journey from Torrington to Nine Elms.

11.50 pm: FInally, a freight train marshalled at Basingstoke comprising freight wagons from Readiing and Southampton and hauled by another S15 locomotive will end its journey at Plymouth in the small hours.


To Part 1.

Monday 3 May 2021

Misterton Timetable #9

 6.45 pm: Plymouth to Waterloo passenger train hauled by a West Country pacific locomotive. (Through working).

 7.25 pm: S15 class locomotive with a freight train travelling from Feltham to Exmouth Junction. (Through working). Feltham marshalling yard was a large railway yard designed for the concentration of freight traffic to and from South West London, and for transfer to other marshalling yards in London.

7.40 pm: N class locomotive with a freight train including cattle wagons travelling from Plymouth to Feltham (Through working).

8.25 pm: Two trains on site at about the same time. A class 4MT 4-6-0 with its freight train travelling from Sidmouth Junction to Templecombe stops at Misterton, leaves its train on the UP line to collect wagons from the goods yard.

Whilst a Waterloo to Exeter passenger train hauled by a Merchant Navy class locomotive passes on the DOWN line (Through working).

 9.25 pm: It is mid June in 1961 and the sun sets at 9.27 pm. There is a fantastic website here where the position of the sun can be determined for any time and date. It is very useful for selecting sky scenes accurately for model railway photographs.

The last passenger train of the day is hauled by an unrebuilt West Country pacific locomotive. It passes through Misterton having commenced its journey from Waterloo at 7.00 pm and will end at Plymouth after dark.

 9.45 to 11.20.

To Part 1.

Monday 26 April 2021

Misterton Timetable #8

 5.50pm: Exmouth Junction to Templecombe freight hauled by a Q1 class locomotive (Through working).

5.45pm: A Merchant Navy class locomotive with the Surbiton - Oakhampton car ferry returning holidaymakers to Surbiton (through working).

6.00pm: Through working milk & parcels from Sidmouth Junction being hauled by a Hymek diesel.to Waterloo. The Hymec (class 35) was trialled here by the Western Region, who took over management of the Southern main line in 1963.

6.10pm: Empty milk tanks returning from Clapham Junction to Sidmouth Junction, hauled by S15 class locomotive (Through working).

6.20pm: Freight from Templecombe (S&D) heading to Yeoford hauled by a N class locomotive.

6.45 to 9.25.

To Part 1.

Tuesday 20 April 2021

Misterton Timetable #7

4.00 pm: N class locomotive hauling the Cleethorpes to Sidmouth & Exmouth train. The engine picked up the coaches from the S&D line at Templecombe. (Through working)

4.40 pm: Two trains arrive at the same time. On the up line an N15 class hauls the Meldon ballast train destined for Woking (Through working). On the down line is an S15 about to pull away with its Salisbury to Exeter passenger train that includes a 4-wheel van.

5.00 pm: A West Country locomotive with a Plymouth to Waterloo express train. (Through working).

5.25 pm: A Merchant Navy locomotive hauling a Waterloo to Plymouth train (Through working).

5.30 pm: A Bulleid West Country class locomotive having set down passengers sets off with an Exeter to Salisbury train.

To 5.30 - 6.20.

To Part 1.

Tuesday 13 April 2021

Misterton Timetable #6

2.00 pm: West Country class loco hauling the Plymouth to Brighton passenger train. (Through working).

2.20 pm: 700 class locomotive hauling freight from Exmouth Junction to Salisbury. (Through working)

2.30 pm: West Country class locomotive with Mk 1 coaches about to pull away from Misterton to continue its journey from Salisbury to Exmouth Junction.

2.58pm: S15 Class hauling freight from Yeovil Junction to Axminster will stop to set down and pick up wagons.

3.25pm: West Country class locomotive on a Waterloo to Plymouth train takes it easy through Misterton, (Through working).

4.00 to 5.30.

Monday 5 April 2021

Misterton Timetable #5

11.40 am: West Country class locomotive hauling the Portsmouth to Plymouth train comprising four coaches and a maroon mk1 to bolster the 3 coach number 875 set. (Through working)

1.00 pm. West Country class locomotive hauling a Plymouth to Portsmouth train comprising at least 8 coaches. (Through working)

1.25 pm. The Atlantic Coast Express having left Waterloo at 11 am passes through Misterton. (Through working).

1.30 pm. West Country class hauling three coaches uncoupled from the ACE at Salisbury.  Destined for Sidmouth,  Exmouth and Exeter.(Through working)

1.40 pm. The UP ACE destined for Waterloo. (Through working)

Monday 29 March 2021

Misterton Timetable #4

10.30am : The Chard Shunter on its return trip to Yeovil Junction from Chard Junction stops at Misterton to shunt wagons from the up line to the goods yard. This required a manoeuver to reverse wagons onto the down line in order to access the goods yard from the single slip crossing.

10.35am : S15 class locomotive on a coal train from Yeovil Junction to Exmouth Junction (through working).

10.40am: West Country pacific class locomotive with the Surbiton to Okehampton car ferry passes through Misterton.

11.25am: Two trains arrive at the same time. Both West Country class locomotives. On the Up line is an Exeter to Waterloo service with 9 coaches incl. restaurant (Through working). On the down line the Waterloo to Plymouth service with 10 passenger coaches incl. restaurant coasts into the station to set down and pick up passengers.

To 11.40 to 1.40

To Part 1.

Monday 22 March 2021

Misterton Timetable #3

 8.25am: Merchant Navy class on passenger duties from Exeter to Waterloo pulling away from Misterton having stopped for passengers.

8.40am: Feltham to Exmouth Junction freight hauled by N class locomotive. (Through working).

9.20am: Salisbury to Ilfracombe passenger hauled by a Schools Class locomotive, a rare sight so far from its former south eastern home where it was displaced by EMUs. Known to travel as far west as Exeter in the early 1960s. A West Country will take over the train at Exeter. (Through working)

9.25am Exeter to Waterloo passenger hauled by a West Coutry class locomotive. (Through Working)

10.10am Plymouth to Waterloo passenger hauled by a Warship Diesel locomotive. This sets the date after 1963 when the Western took over Southern metals in this area.

To 10.30 - 11.25.

To Part 1.

Monday 15 March 2021

Misterton Timetable #2

 At last, the sun is up and we can see the trains more clearly. Photos below have been enhanced with sky and smoke. There is a fantastic website here where the position of the sun can be determined for any time and date. It is very useful for selecting sky scenes acurately for model railway photographs.

06.27 am: N15 class conveying 'unfitted'  freight from Plymouth to Salisbury pulling away from Misterton having stopped to pick up empties . (Stopping).

06.35 am: Bulleid West Country with a van and 5 passenger coaches travelling from Ilfracombe to Yeovil Junction. (Through working). At this time the sun altitude is about 15 degrees in the east and in line with the railway track.

07.25 am: Bulleid Merchant Navy with 5 passenger and a restaurant travelling from Exeter to Waterloo (Through Working).

07.30 am: 'The Chrd Shunter', being a class 4MT with a stopping freight from Yeovil Junction destined for Chard Junction.

07.40 am: Bulleid West Country with empty ballast wagons travelling from Wilton to Meldon Quarry, giving off too much smoke through the station.

Click for 8.25 am to 10.10 am.

To Part 1.

Tuesday 9 March 2021

Misterton Timetable #1

Over the coming weeks I shall be presenting a timetable of train movements for my Misterton model railway. Misterton is based on Crewkerne station located on the Waterloo to Exeter main line. 

I created the timetable from a British Railways Working Timetable for 1961 summer Saturday services and I adapted it slightly for greater operating interest on a model railway. The timings below reflect when a train could be seen passing through or stopping at Crewkerne. Where I could find a photograph or data of an actual train for a specific time then I made up the same train to run on the model railway.

The first five trains are shown below. These all ran in darkness of the early hours so, may be difficult to see if your screen brightness is darker than mine!

01.45 am: Mechant Navy hauling 49 freight wagons from Nine Elms to Plymouth. (Through working)

02.15 am: N class hauling 48 freight wagons, the first five being 'fitted', from Wadebridge to Salisbury. (Through working)

02.25 am: Q1 class hauling freight wagons from Salisbury to Torrington. (Through working)

03.40 am: West Country hauling newspapers and parcels from Waterloo to Exeter. It will stop at Misterton to drop todays national newspapers.

04.20 am: S15 class hauling freight from Nine Elms to Exmouth Junction. (Through working)

Sun will be up for the next batch.

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