2017 part 8 – Showcase + Changes to Ground Level

September 19

I have been calculating the correct elevation all the way round the curves / slopes, so that all slopes are 4% or less. And it was a fair bit easier with AnyRail than it would have been with SCARM. I managed to only use 48 pieces of track, so the free version (with a limit of 50) was just enough.

AnyRail is almost capable of finding the correct elevation by itself. It can even use three different elevations for the three ends of a turnout. SCARM insists that all three ends need to have the same elevation. And this makes SCARM’s slope calculations unusable for me:KoterAnd yes: I need to be accurate down to 1/10 of a millimeter in order to ensure that there is no slope anywhere beyond 4%:SlopesI don’t think I need quite that accuracy in the real world. If that at all would be possible.

But it shows pretty well, that my work until now has been far to sloppy.

Regarding SCARM versus AnyRail: AnyRail is just better. Much more logical on all points.A thing as simple as deleting a piece of track or moving it around: It is just intuitive in AnyRail. 3D display works far better. Everything is just easier.Koter-3DAnyRail probably also have it’s flaws. I have been trying to draw some rails, then do a print preview in 1:1 (that would use many sheets of paper), then delete most of the track and make another print preview. I had to redo this a couple of times before AnyRail realized that I had deleted the track. But that is a small detail. SCARM is at least as unstable.

It looks as if the are frequent updates to both programs. So I am reasonably sure that real bugs will be corrected fast if one reports them – no matter which program one chooses.

A totally different topic: Tonight I managed to drill holes for the wiring and mounted LED strips in the showcase:imageThe wiring on the back is ugly. So ugly that I will not show it on a photo. There is plenty of soldering and I have smeared the whole thing in glue to fix it and secure it.

With a little luck, I now only need to hammer two nails in the wall, and the showcase is done.

September 20

Now the showcase is hung up. And it has had it’s doors mounted:IMG_0206

September 23

I have hurt my knuckles on my right hand by unscrewing the wood blocks, that I had used to level the layout. The purpose is of course to re-do the leveling to the correct elevation, so that all the slopes become correct. But to remove the old leveling, I had to use tools for which there was not truly space enough, so I came to lift the top level plywood with the upper part of my hand.

I have also been sawing in the edge of the upper part of the curves. This is to ensure that trains can pass the curve even though the difference in elevation between the two levels is decreased.

In addition, I was at LokDoc to buy a few rail pieces – especially some with a larger radius, that I thought would help by giving a little more space for the outer curves when they go under the inner curves. But the actual problem is more that the plywood at the upper level is double thickness because it consists of two pieces joined together at those very spots.

So by now I have a few extra pieces of track. On the other hand, I also bought 4 Fleishmann Profi couplings. So now I am able to do a bit of testing with those.

But I didn’t finish anything. The weather was too fine to stay indoors.

September 24

I have by the use of wood blocks, clamps etc. made an approximate leveling of the layout according to the calculated elevations. Besides, I have fixed the track to the plywood in one side of the layout using the authorized Märklin screws.

And my old locomotive with a string of Lima B wagons can run.

But I have also tried pushing one of the new Bn wagons by hand. It must be a bit longer between boogies than the Lima wagon, since it touches the rails of the next-to-outer curve (at the higher elevation) when it is pushed through the outer curve (at the lower elevation). And we can’t have that leaving marks on my new wagons.

That means that my new R2 track pieces must be used anyway. That is quite easy in itself. But it requires 3 cm more plywood in each side of the layout. I.e. either new plywood from scratch or something else. I have settled with “something else” i.e. gluing a wood strip on each side. I have wood strips from the show case with the exact same thickness as the plywood.

Introducing the R2 curves means that the turnouts in each side are shifted a few centimeters towards the rear of the layout. And thereby it leaves space for also using R2 instead of R1  curves on the front track that is still planned, but not yet implemented. And that is a good thing. It will look better.

The resulting track plan – including elevations – looks like this:The track piece marked 11,47 cm, will be a Märklin track piece cut to length. It was quite easy last time I was cutting such a track piece for joining with the Piko flex track. I just had to add some Piko joints to the Märklin track.

Apart from that, there is still the problem with the joints at Skive H and the lack of free height underneath. The perhaps best solution is to make a new piece of plywood for Skive H without joints at those places. The second best might be to invent an other way to join the two pieces of plywood that I already have. But that will be hard to change, since the joints are glued together and therefor hard to disassemble.

I have been using 6 mm plywood. So I can gain 6 mm. If I lift the entire Skive H 6 mm instead, it will give steeper slopes up to Skive H – about 5% instead of the 4% I am hoping for. And that is not good. But since the outer curve is becoming a tiny bit longer (about 5 cm) and since 4% out of 5 cm is 2 mm, I might actually only have a deficit of 4 mm. Besides, I must be able to cut only some of the joints off and leave the rest to hold the two pieces of plywood together. I think it can all be tweaked.

First and foremost, I need a NEM 102 profile in cardboard. Or rather a NEM 103 profile. 103 is for curves, while 102 is for straight track. I have found this profile that I have printet, glued to a small piece of cardboard and then cut out: http://3modul.horsecreek.dk/standard.html

September 30

I have made the layout 3 cm wider by gluing a wood strip to the side. Or rather two wood strips – one underneath to hold the upper wood strip:image

October 1

I bought a set of tiny circular saw blades (the smallest one with a diameter of 16 mm) for my Proxxon. Using that, a chisel and a small hammer I fixed the problem of lacking distance between the two levels at Skive H.

And the outer curves with R2 track are also almost in place. I have been sawing new holes for the servos under the turnouts and I have been cutting the track pieces to length. The thing with Piko joints didn’t work. So instead I have glued the cut pieces to the neighboring track with 10 second glue:IMG_0147IMG_0147As can be seen, I was using the 10 second glue in a rather unorthodox way, Normally, one must use as little glue as possible and then press the two ends together for 10 seconds. But I had to more or less just poor a lot of glue onto the joints. And that may never harden and become strong enough. At least it did not harden in 10 seconds. I broke one of the joints pretty fast because I wanted to install the glued track right away. But the glue was still sticky, so I hurried to press the two ends together for 30 seconds. The other joints broke after a couple of hours. At that time, I glued that one in the authorized manner. So now I hope it is strong enough.

Naturally there is no electrical connection through the glue, so I have been soldering wires on the back across the joints.

The whole thing has now been put back together. Now the elevations must be adjusted again and this time everything shall be fixed with screws.imageBut ohhh no: Testing the feedback system reveals that something has gone wrong during the summer. Only the detection and feedback system only works for some blocks now. I couldn’t find any pattern, so I did a systematic test for all blocks.

It shows that all S88 inputs work fine. But out of the 32 current sensors, only 14 are now functioning. 1 has been defect all the time. It is bad if they only work for a while and then no more. I think I need to find a more stable way of making current sensors.

I have been asking litra.dk what he does. And he has transitioned to a current detector that looks much like mine:Litra_current_sensorThe biggest difference seems to be that I do not have the 470 ohm resistor. HE suggest that I introduce that. So that I will.

But I have seen others  use a different optocoupler, that works with current in both directions. And that may be necessary:One-Block-Occupancy-Detector

October 7

I spent the weekend in Schleswig. At the hotel, I saw a brochure for “the biggest model railway in Schleswig-Holstein open to the public”. I didn’t get to see the railway itself, but in the brochure they emphasized that they have cyclists that really cycle. And that sounds like fun, so I had to find out how that is done. The answer seems to be simple: Pay €159 to buy a set from MagnoRail.