July 2010 Status - Behind the Scenes

Power Bus Wires 2273

Some things are less photogenic than others. Much of July went to more electrical work, partly planning, but mostly just crimping spade lugs to wires. Around 200 of them this month. As can be seen in the photo of the underside of the left Riverside Station scene table above, there are now a total of six bus wire pairs beneath the tables: two for DCC (command station and future booster), two for the two tracks of the outer (Rapid/Shinkansen) loop, which will be switchable from DC to DCC, and one each for DCC accessory power and the Occupancy Detector & Signaling systems. I also wired up the control panel for the power. This was covered a couple of entries back, and there is additional detail on the “phase 2h” construction page and the Power Design page.

On each table, the bus wires connect to a terminal strip (the two in the middle of the table above) using suitcase connectors to tap into the bus wires. From these, wires will go to circuit breakers and occupancy detectors or, in the case of the two DC/DCC busses, directly to track feeders (as with the gray and blue wires above, connecting to the blue and white feeders on the right).

I also wired up the DCC command station, and if I’ve not yet run a DCC train, I actually could if I wanted to take the protective paper off the subway tracks of the Riverside Station tables. All my power wiring checks out, and I can switch the two subway tracks to either DC (using a pair of Kato powerpacks) or DCC. Once the Rapid/Shinkansen loop is complete, I’ll move that to the switched bus, and put the subway on one of the DCC busses. I also need to convert more trains to DCC so I’ll have something to run.

I’m not done with wiring: I’ve yet to do the lighting supply wires, which need some kind of one-to-many distribution strip under the tables, perhaps some kind of spring-clip design. But the big task that remains is putting in all the feeders for the Commuter and Rapid/Shinkansen lines. Some of these will be easy, but the ones leading from the Urban Station upper deck are going to be a bit tricky (I have a clever plan...but that’s for another day), as will the ones from above the Subway Station on the Riverside Station scene.

Above-table construction has also been proceeding. The expressway underdeck, which had been made back in June from a strip of plywood, was drilled to allow it to set down flush onto the support posts, preventing it from moving around, and a groove was routed in the top, which will eventually carry wires under the plastic roadway, allowing a series of lamp-posts to be run down the middle. It was also painted primer gray, to seal the wood (and provide a better color than plywood for the underside, which will likely be exposed, although not readily visible). One of the supports was also modified, to allow wires to be run up through it (left photo below; the standing post and the white wire, see the Construction photo album for a larger image).

Expressway Power Pillar 2216 Expressway Pillar 2220

The River Crossing scene embankment and the edge of the river in the Riverside Station scene were painted “concrete” (previously the embankment was gray primer). I’m still not happy with the color, but I’ll live with it for now. This was after I added window-screen mesh to the edge of the foam on the Riverside Station scene, and made quite a mess with the flex paste; I needed to re-paint the river surface when I was done, which I did.

And the photo backdrop mentioned a month ago is now final (I think) and glued in place. I’m not completely thrilled with it, as the seams between sheets of paper are all-too-visible. I’m thinking of having the next one printed as a continuous sheet at a print shop. Not exactly cheap, but worth it if it eliminates the seams. I may not change this one, as it tends to be viewed from a distance. But the ones behind the two long scenes are going to be viewed from about three feet away, and every imperfection will stand out.

485 Viva Aizu Left 2253

And, at long last, I’ve begun work on the scenery of the Riverside Station scene itself. This is making much slower progress than I’d hoped, as I was distracted by the wiring for much of July, and I’m way behind in getting the landscape ready for the JNS Forum Station Contest (construction was to start yesterday, and I’m nowhere near ready).

But, on the whole, it was a productive month. If I’m not as far along as I’d planned, well that’s nothing new. I always underestimate the amount of work involved. But I’m making progress, and that’s what really matters. Someday I’ll be able to run trains on all three double-track loops. I was hoping to do that before the one-year anniversary was reached, but depending on how you date it, I’ve either already missed it (design started last June), or will shortly (construction started in late August). Right now, I’m guessing October is more likely, but that’s really not too far off.