2017 part 7 – More small adjustments + a showcase

June 24

It is midsummer evening tonight. But this is Denmark, so it is raining. So I sneaked myself to define warrants for my new locomotive. But this locomotive seems to require more from the layout than my Märklin and Roco locomotives. It passes the wrong way on at least two of my turnouts. Especially when it runs at fairly high speed, which is the case when it is under SCWarrant control.

When I get the time to do so, I will try to adjust the turnouts. If that is not sufficient, I could introduce a parameter to SCWarrants determining the top speed of the train.

July 7

It was enough to adjust the turnouts. But I think I am going to introduce a factor that reduces the speed of the train under SCWarrant control by a percentage.

The newest things on my layout is a couple of Bn wagons. And the seem to be challenged on my small layout with many turnouts, narrow curves and differences in elevation.

So far, I have been trying to smoothen out the transitions between level track and slopes.

But the wagons keep derailing and decoupling. I suppose I have to check up on both couplings and wheels (AC instead of DC wheels?), turnouts and the details of slopes etc.

Regarding couplings, it seems to be a science in itself: Koblinger – Couplers – Kupplungen.

If I am going to use different couplings, I might as well get some conducting couplings so that I can put interior light in the wagons. And Viessmann’s couplings seem to be a good candidate.

Regarding wagons, I have been waiting for Mck to declare that they are going to produce intercity wagons, i.e. B wagons. I could use a couple of ordinary B wagons, a couchette and maybe a 1st class wagon, i.e. an A wagon.

But but but. Latest announcement from Mck is somewhat uppity. Maybe a bit colored by my perception, they seem to be absolutely not caring about if their products can be used in narrow curves and thereby on small layouts. As long as they look nice in a showcase. So I might have to spend my money elsewhere.

I think it is a strange announcement. But it’s a free country, and they must decide for themselves what kind of products they will make.

However, my trains need to be able to run reliably. And that includes running in the shadow yards with narrow curves, turnouts and other things that are non-prototypical. There is by the way not a single model railway that is prototypical. Not even the biggest clubs. Not even Miniatürwunderland in Hamburg. Model railways are compromises. And that makes it seem strange to me when a model railway producer announces a thing like that.

On the other hand, it must be said that Mck from the very beginning has been emphasizing that they produce correct models. So one might defend them by stating that they choose to live up to just that even though they will loose sale to us who actually want to see our model trains run on our small layouts – and in shadow yards too.

Therefore, I am pleased that there are other who also make very fine models of DSB rolling stock – among them Roco, Märklin, Heljan and Hobbytrade. And quite a lot cheaper than Mck. Maybe not quite as correct models. But more than detailed enough to both run on my layout and to be shown in a showcase.

August 12

I have introduced an adjustable top speed per SCWarrant. But as my previous changes with only starting the train if the entire route of the SCWarrant can be allocated and only free the entire route at once when the train has reached the destination block, I have not yet pushed the changes to JMRI. I will test it better before I do so.

I have also been adjusting a bit here and there to try to get my tracks more level seen across the track. There is also problems with elevation where for example the middle level is a couple of centimeters higher in one side than in the other. So this has to be improved.

But my small adjustments so far has improved the running of the Bn wagons. I.e. They no longer derails every time at the critical spot, which is is downhill through a curve, through a turnout and out on a straight and level track. Before, the track was sloping sideways out of the curve in a varying degree in the curve. Now they are level. And the wagons no longer derails every time. But still too often.

I have not yet been able to get AC wheels for the wagons. They are sold out.

August 20

My track is askew seen across the track:
imageimageI think I am going to have to take a few steps back and un-mount the “upper floor”, and to fit the lower level properly and with correct elevation.

Beside that, all track will have to be screwed to the plywood. I have been thinking that the noise would be lower, if the track is not screwed. But since the noise level is significant anyhow, I might as well put those screws in. Who knows: That might dampen the noise.

Right now, there are places where the track is hovering in thin air. One such place can be seen on the pictures above. And if the track is hovering, its elevation and slope is quite random.

Last winter, I thought that “the correct elevation” meant not to tighten anything, but keep it adjustable and then do test driving and re-adjust.

But now I have decided to use mathematics instead and make the slopes as small as possible. And regarding that, there are these problems right now:

1. The elevation of Skive H is 3 cm more than necessary. I.e. I can do with less elevation and thereby smaller slopes. See the NEM 102 standard for H0 model railroads. I am closer to 10 cm than the 59 mm that are required from the upper edge of the tracks:

IMG_01972. The slope is not even over the approximately 1 meter “long” stretch where it can be distributed.

Don’t judge me and my layout to harsh about the 1 meter. Remembering my layout, the 1 meter shall only cope with half the difference between two levels. So even though the must be 8 or 10 cm elevation difference between Skive H and the lower level, this is distributed on 2 x 4 or 5 cm. I.e. A slope of 4 – 5%. If I can get down to 7 cm, it means “only” 3,5%.

And even though it is much and would be quite absurd on a real life railroad, it is not visible. So don’t worry if you think a model railroad must look “real”: It will not be seen. But it does put strict requirements on my rolling stock that it must be capable of climbing such a slope while also going through an R1 curve containing turnouts.

And precisely that is why there must be nowhere, where the slope is even steeper  because the entire 2 x 1 meters are not utilized to align the difference in elevation.

For that reason, I am now starting all over again by calculating the correct elevations, and then fixing plywood and track firmly so that these elevations become reality.

Then testing, testing and testing, before I go on by building the next level which is going to become the visible landscape as well as the local railroad SVJ and Spøttrup station.

And then there are the “small” parallel projects:

– The detachable – visible – track at the front of my layout including a small siding with room for a warehouse and a freight wagon or two. I already made a piece of plywood for the purpose last winter and I have bought the fittings. I also have most of the needed track. The most exiting thing is if I am able to make the trains run across the points where the track is cut. That is going to be necessary if the track shall be detachable. And besides that will be the prototype for making the landscape divided into modules.

– Interior light in some wagons. For this I need a Roco collector shoe (which is supposed to be reliable and almost silent) and an ESU LED strip with built-in decoder + 2 LEDs for the rear light. I thought such an interior light strip was very expensive. But it is in fact only 130 kroner (which of course is a lot compared to the value of an old Lima wagon). I will have to experiment to find out if I am going to use a collector shoe on each and every wagon or if I should use conducting couplings.

– A showcase on the wall. I have ordered one from vitrine24.de) to place the rolling stock that there is not room for on the layout on display.

– Light in the showcase as well as in the shadow yards. Regarding the showcase, I have ordered some 3 mm adhesive copper tape from China. The idea is to make it possible to turn lights and sounds on while locomotives and wagons are places in the showcase.

So there is enough for the entire winter season without getting started on houses and landscape. Not to mention my aging Faller car (still in it’s box) and a road for it to drive on.

I do however hope that I will manage to make the sceleton for the 3 or 4 modules that shall carry the landscape.

August 22

Vitrine24.de promises a delivery time for 10-12 days. But they did not live up to that. It only took 2 days. So now I have a showcase that I must put on the wall.

But I might put in some LED strips from Jem & Fix first, so that I get some light in the showcase. First I must consider if the light shall come from above or from below. At least I know already the the LED strips shall be in front of the trains:imageIt must be noted that the showcase is absolutely straight. It is just the camera perspective that makes it look crooked.

August 30

The copper tape arrived from China. That must be a new record: 1½ week.

Even though it is raining today, I am not going to get time for model railroads until autumn.

September 9

I managed to glue balsa strips for the LED strips into the showcase.

Now I only need to do the rest.

September 17

I have been gluing wood strips on the back of the showcase to make a few millimeters space for wiring the LED strips.

Besides, I have bought fittings for hanging the showcase on the wall without having to drill holes and set screws through the back, so that those screws would be visible.

With the fittings and can just hang the showcase on two steel nails, which are more than adequate in my Leca/concrete walls.

September 18

I just wanted to note elevations on the track in SCARM in order to prepare the work with implementing those elevations on the physical layout.

But no. The only thing SCARM would do was tell me that my betaversion was obsolete and had to be updated. And so I did. Then I did a lot of changes just to find out that SCARM would not write my file to disk anymore. And at the same time it told me the reason: I had to much track for the free version and needed to buy a license.

There is nothing wrong in the man trying to get a little money out of 7 years work to make SCARM. And a license price of $39 – even with a 15% discount, so the price in september is $32,90 – seems reasonable.

However: If I must pay for the program, then there are other possibilities. I have been testing the program called AnyRail. It seems much more complete, well-documented and easy-to-use. It is slightly more expensive – $59 or €44. But that is little extra within this hobby. AnyRail can also be used as a free version. The free AnyRail version is limited to 50 track pieces, whereas the free SCARM version is limited to 100.

There are also alternatives that are still free. For example XTrackCAD, which is open source with all the pros and cons that follows – for example that it is pretty much undocumented but on the other side possible to change, if I should want to. This program can by the way generate an XML file that can be opened in Layout Editor in JMRI. (The same feature is also available in AnyRail). I don’t care much about that, thogh. I don’t want the same look in Layout Editor as I have on the physical layout and thereby in AnyRail / XTrackCAD.

I don’t have the need to buy a license right now. But when the need arises, I think I am going to buy AnyRail. I want to build my model railroad and not do any more programming right now. And especially not anything so peripheral as a program for drawing track. That excludes XTrackCAD. And I don’t want to spend anymore time to analyze the entire market. So AnyRail it is, unless whatever I am doing with the free version shows that there is anything wrong with it. It is well-documented and reasonably priced. That must be enough.

Maybe the need is coming soon: The tracks are very close in both sides of my layout, where one part is going up and the other is going down (labelled 5,8 cm):CloseTrackIn can be improved by replacing a couple of 24130 with 24230 (which makes it necessary to cut the straight 24172 shorter and put joints on it):CloseTrack2That will make the curve 3 cm wider. And unfortunately it is not easy to make a piece of plywood 3 cm wider. So I will try to see if I can avoid this change.