Almost There - January 2011 Status

Riverside - New Backdrop

January went primarily to the backdrops and the risers/inclines of the Riverside Station scene commuter loop, and now the Riverside Station scene begins to come together. The photo above shows the new backdrop propped up behind the two tables, but not yet attached. The tables themselves are not yet connected to each other or anything else, as I’m taking the opportunity to work on the wiring with them stood on edge, which is much easier than working on it from below:

Riverside Wiring 2837
Table on edge: note the orange clamp on the right holding it in place.

What you see in the photo above are primarily the six sets of bus wires, mostly 14 ga house wire (stranded but with fairly heavy insulation that makes them somewhat rigid). Blue suitcase connectors (insulation-displacement crimp connectors) tap into the bus wires to drop to terminal strips that will be wired to track or circuit boards.

The design of my wiring is described here, and details of the wiring itself here.

There are two DCC busses (#1 and #2, used to feed the Subway/Commuter loops; presently from a single command station, but allowing me to easily add a booster later), two switchable DC/DCC busses (#3 and #4) used to feed the two tracks of the Shinkansen loop, allowing me to operate two trains there independently on DC or to use DCC trains, a power bus for the circuit boards used for throwing turnouts and the circuit breakers and occupancy detectors, and finally a power bus for the future signaling system. Not yet installed is the lightweight power bus (which will be 16 or 18 ga wire) to be used for building lighting. Crimp-on spade lugs are used on each wire to permit connecting them to the terminal strips reliably.

Although the two sets of bus wires were done long ago, and the feeders for the Shinkansen Line wired up (see just left of the orange clamp, and top center with the bundle of blue/gray cross-connect wires), I’m now dropping the feeders for the commuter and subway track and connecting them to terminal strips. Next I’ll add the circuit breaker (Digitrax PM42; four circuit breakers on one board) and occupancy detectors (Digitrax BDL168; sixteen circuit breakers in four independent sets of four, also on one board). That will allow me to wire up all of the block feeders on the two boards of the Riverside Station scene to one PM42/BDL168 set, and separately protect each of the four tracks so that a short on one won’t affect trains on another. This isn’t cheap, but it gives me fairly fine-grained detection, which will be useful for adding automated control later.

Cross-connects from the bus wiring to the circuit breaker, the occupancy detectors, and the track feeder terminal strips will be 16 ga “hook up wire” (which uses lightweight insulation and is very flexible and easy to work with), which can support the full 5 Amp output of the boosters I use. The track feeders themselves are Kato’s usual 24 ga wire, suitable for no more than 3 Amps, which should be more than adequate given the small size of the electrical blocks (less than a full train).

Other website updates:
- added photos to the Scenery and Construction albums.
- updated the Phase 2j Construction page.

Apple appears to have fixed whatever the problem was with iWeb’s comments, let’s hope it stays fixed (if the comment window opens with a mostly white background and squished to the left side of the screen, it’s broken and won’t post a comment, but if it opens mid-screen it should work). This appears to be a recently-introduced bug, although it’s similar to problems that have been reported in the past for iWeb related to domain name issues or incorrect software combinations. However, neither of those causes appear to apply to my site. This looks like an Apple bug; hopefully one they’ll fix. Until then, if you want to reach me, email to the address on the Who Am I page will work.

== Comments converted from old system:
Tuesday, February 8, 2011 - 10:11 AM
And mysteriously, comments are working today.

Thursday, February 10, 2011 - 11:14 PM
Ken, Great post! But I have to say....I'm bummed that I only just recently found your excellent writing on your electrical arrangements that you linked to in the above!! That is an invaluable document! I found your explanation and process really easy to understand and you did a nice job of explaining some concepts that I struggled with for....well, a long time! Thanks for that!

Also, the backdrop looks amazing! On the photos on your last post I had a hard time telling where the models ended and where the backdrop began! Seriously great work!!!!

Saturday, February 12, 2011 - 11:36 AM
Thanks for the kind words.

My site organization still leaves a bit to be desired; I have trouble finding things some times. More work is needed on that.

The Urban Station backdrop came out much better than expected. I'm still not sure about the one shown here. I need to get the station actually built to see how it looks, and that's likely to be a long time coming, as I'm going to work on the DCC systems (circuit breakers and occupancy detectors) for the new Commuter line first. And recently I've been distracted by another layout project.