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admin 11.04.2014

The layout also contains a spur for dropping freight, room for a small freight yard, and has a crystal blue lake! There are rolling hills on the layout including TWO tunnels with ready-to-go portals (already showing smoke "wear-and-tear"). Again it took two attempts (or was it 3?) in spite of taking great care and checking before pinning. Dec 12th – Having finished modifying the station, I got round to removing the double slip from the right hand end of the storage sidings, but then I just went mad and reorganised the whole area.
The obvious change was the addition of a direct link from the upper (grey) spur to the down main through two manually operated turnouts (T5Dm and T5Em). All the turnouts in this area are manually operated though I might electrify the T5Dm (which will normally be left set to the down main) if using the manual one proves to be a problem. While I was at it, I decided to add a section isolator to track 6 so that it matches track 5. Dec 10th – That's the three station modifications complete except for connecting up wires.
Dec 8th – As mentioned earlier, having given up on the idea of a second board I am making a number of changes to the layout plan.
Dec 3rd – Well, we survived Falkirk and no more exhibitions now until Easter at the earliest. The picture shows a busy time in the station with a Wurttemberg Class C arriving with a stopping train on track 1, while a local goods waits on track 2 for it to clear the block so that it can continue with its journey. Nov 15th – One of the problems that manifested itself in Elgin was the almost consistent derailment of coaches when entering Gleis 2 in a down direction. Further investigation showed that the contact strips next to the frog were loose and standing proud, causing the left hand wheels to go down the wrong side of the frog.
Oct 27th – I've added a few more trees and re-photographed the four temporary 'scenic' areas. Oct 21st – I've been feeling a bit guilty about the lack of any progress so thought I would add a bit of temporary 3D scenery for Elgin and Falkirk. Sept 2nd – Pretty well ready for the Inverness exhibition (details above), Every- thing seems to be working OK.
You may have noticed that the short branch line platform was accidentally missed out while I was setting up – annoying.
Just an afterthought – Here is a photo of the cable looms running from the control panel to the layout.
Aug 20th – With the down main home signal in placed and wired up, the trackwork and signals are all sorted and tested. Aug 19th – Apart from needing a more powerful power source for the routing control, all electrical work is complete for now. For Inverness I have decided to use the same temporary landscaping that I used in Elgin last Easter. That makes a total of five signals requiring attention as three were damaged in an accident. The third image shows the station down end approach and exit signal and route controls (the up end is similar). The final image shows the 'Nebengleis' (sidings) control panel with the routing control buttons.
July 29th – Well, that's the first matrix board complete (bar one wire link I just noticed). July 28th – Started working on the diode matrix board for controlling the pointwork on the (operator's) left of the nebengleis (sidings). July 25th – Well, yesterday I finished wiring up the control circuits and have been testing their functionality when two trains are running. The changes don't affect route selection but do mean that the home signal is now cleared by the route selector button and not by the approaching train.
The way the system is configured, for stopping trains the user still has to apply power manually to the appropriate receiving track in the station as that is where the reset detectors are. I decided to start with the down exit logic as this would be easiest being just two converging tracks. May 16th – After a fallow period in which I concentrated on practicing the French horn for two concerts, I have turned back to the layout again. Also, I decided to have the Gleis 2 starter control the turnout so that the train leaves by the correct track. I was having a few minor problems with the up end exit signal routing logic so decided to change the design concept so that the up main was the only track that needed to be selected for a power feed. Mar 3rd – Yesterday I finished testing the down main and relief roads so that is all OK.
This layout worked impeccably at the last exhibition but now it has short and open circuits in the station. Feb 28th – Today I have wired in the necessary connections to introduce an element of automatic control of the exit tracks of down (CCW) trains. I was running my track cleaner round juts now, scraping dirt off the railheads, when it stopped dead. Latest news is that Breitenfurt will be on show at the Moray MRG exhibition in Elgin on 12-13 April. 3rd Jan, 2009 – Well, I don't know what has happened to my camera but it refuses to take flash photos. A while back I mentioned (I think) that there were two or three track joints where the fishplate had slipped under the abutting rail leaving a step large enough to derail a fast moving train. And today I replaced the sidings track 1 exit turnout only to introduce another bad fishplate event. I had finished laying as much track as I could and was ready to tip up the board so that I could start connecting up wires but, as I tipped, there was a loud crash.
This modification allows the spur to be used, with a re-railer, to load a train direct onto track 5. The first modification, converting the factory spur to a loco holding spur, is now in place and I have started on the other end of track 1 (moving the signal's control further back along platform 1. After a few initial teething problems that mostly sorted themselves out, everything went pretty well. The original assumption had been that the derailments were caused by the joint between the two back-to-back turnouts (under the signal box) as they were not pinned and formed a hump. Ideally, I should replace the turnout but, instead, I pressed down very hard on the leading edges of the strips and then ran a train through there at various speeds for 30 minutes without a single derailment. In addition to the temporary '3D' scenery I have added yard and street lights; the former fixed and the latter temporary.
I am a long way from starting on the real thing but at least these few items have proved to me that I am pretty hopeless at carving extruded polystyrene.
I have two auxiliary power supplies in the post to cover the turntable and lighting and all buildings are in situ. I've sorted a problem which was causing locos to dash off at maximum speed on controllers 3 and 4 (control systems +10V power accidentally connected to track ground) and have wired in some of the previously unconnected or unserviceable spurs.

After a suggestion from a forum member I decided to bite the bullet and build two diode matrices for the left and right ends of the hidden sidings (see first two images). The blue controller (to be updated) controls the routes into the station while the other two cover all the five exit signals and a shunting signal. I have a couple of faults elsewhere to sort and the electrics will be ready for Inverness next month. So far no major problems, but 3-pole motors do slow down quite significantly in the station approaches when doing an automated through run.
Now it is only necessary to select a power switch in the station if the train is stopping, otherwise clearing both home and starter signals powers the whole route. I've had a good think about the station entry routing and power distribution and decided to reverse the logic from powering the route from the source to the destination.
However, the work involved in feeding power back from the receiving track is a bit more complicated and I am writing this while taking a break before tackling it.
As there has been some interest in the methodology involved, I am posting links to the circuit diagrams. However, this is not necessary for trains running straight through the station as the station exit control powers the station roads automatically. After a couple of false starts and sorting out the polarization of the relays the semi-automatic routing and power circuits are in place and working. While I was working on the wiring a could of buildings came adrift and their fall managed to break off the top arm of the Track 2 so I now have two broken signals. I decided to start from scratch with the final set of station controls, namely the station entry control for down (outer circle) trains.
It's not quite how I had intended it as the current is still fed forward from the up main rather than being fed back from the receiving track, but functionally it is all working as specified. All this requires a DC supply – the whole exercise would be far more difficult using AC, Hence I am using Marklin's 67020 small controllers with the 67030 transformer that plugs straight into the (UK 230Vac) mains. The original wiring (see February 28th below) had the traction current supply feeding forward from the platform tracks. Originally an approaching train cleared the up block signal which, in turn, supplied power to all routes in the station throat. At Elgin I had a few niggles with the automatic train control (and one dead section due to a loose wire) so decided to redesign the wiring for the down exit from the station. There is no interlocking between the two starters so the operator can accidentally pull off both signals and cause a crash!
The signals are all up to date and controlling trains, even though I got the rail breaks in the wrong places (to be sorted later). The open circuit (at the up end double slip) was easy to find though why it was there in the first place is a mystery. Checks showed that it had been disassembled some time and put back togehter incorrectly, but the bad news is that it has gone short circuit. I have been slowly acquiring and installing signals and a few days ago wired up all the signal. One, in the station, requires that the layout be turned so have been left for now but a couple of days ago I decided to sort out the other and, while I was at it, replace the burnt out remote turnout. Gingerly lowering the board back down I found that I had left a (heavy) tool at the left hand end. The short loop (T6Dm to T5Em) allows a train to be loaded to track 6 while trains are running through track 5 thus leaving the lower (yellow) spur to hold relief locos while this is being done (or vice versa).
The image shows the first modification, with the spur following the curve of the down main. Finally, a KPEV stopping train waits on track 4 behind a class T18 for the all clear to continue its journey westwards.
The reason that the latter are temporary is quite simply because I still don't have a final layout for the street as it all depends on whether I still go ahead with running the branch line across the full width of the board. However, pinning down the joint didn't work and further investigation, at home, showed that this was not the problem. As the wires are extremely thin I cannot use screwed terminal blocks, so I have ordered solder tags but with the current state of our postal service they probably won't get here this week. I'm afraid that the photos are pretty lousy, mainly because when I am working on my layout I cannot get to the front or sides without a massive upheaval, so all these pictures were taken from really awkward angles at arms' length. The layout behaved well most of the time though the power routing got messed up occasionally, bringing trains to a halt on the station centre road. They are much the same as for last Easter but my daughter did a temporary background for me.
Last night I had a mysterious motive power failure problem when running clockwise through tracks 3 and 4 in the sidings.
Of course, the control panel has a few extra buttons and there are a lot more wires under the board allowing me an increased number of manoeuvres compared with last Easter. It will be linked into the exit controls but I may try to build in a delay so that it is cleared just after the starter signals; it won't have any control functions though. There's still confusion around the turntable to be addressed which will require a bit of thought but everything else, except an "I'll work when I feel like it" signal, is working now. I was surprised how smoothly it all went, with very few errors – mostly in the manufacture, not the design. The system is not foolproof and a power feed switch accidentally left on can cause unpredictable problems.
This gets round a problem on track 3 of the loco stalling on top of a detector and possibly burning out a relay if the operator forgets to power the receiving track.
Once implemented, it would mean that the train would not be able to leave the hidden sidings until the required route is selected and power it applied.
Thus the operation sequence for a through train is to select both entry and exit routes and let the train run through; for a stopping train, select power to the receiving road and then select the route to that road. So, to receive a train into, say, Gleis 3, the user applies power to the up main at the exit from the hidden sidings and to Gleis 3. These give an unsmoothed 12V dc, quite adequate for points and relays (and signals) even with a diode in series. Well, mostly I have been thinking about circuitry and how to improve on my crude semi-automation of the trains.
In the new configuration (above left) the supply goes to the exit (the entry to the hidden sidings) though the actual wiring is almost identical but with blocking diodes added. The signal would be set back to danger as the locomotive crossed one of three detection tracks. The new design requires power to be supplied only to the down main exit track, where it leaves the scenic part of the layout, and leave it to the signals to supply power to the other track sections.
So set about removing one of the detectors in the station throat to replace it but managed to damage it so it was permanent open circuit.
One short circuit (well, almost, the loco slowed to a crawl) turned out to be a logic control diode in the wrong place.
The next stage now is to link the signals, sundry diodes and track sections so that I can check my circuit diagrams (or my ability to follow them!).

If you compare this image with that shown on 12th November below you will see that what was a rat's nest is now a rat's city! Ripped it up again and fixed and re-pinned only to discover that I had introduced another step on the joint between the turnouts at teh left hand end of tracks 1 and 2. No point in any photos as, apart from the ones already posted it all looks pretty much as it was. This means that I can remove some of the track at the right hand end of the hidden sidings. After checks on the current loading of the lights and a loco running at full speed, I decided that the load was too near the limit of the power supply; since disconnecting the lighting circuit the problem has gone. Finally, I want to get hold of a 10Vac transformer to power the turntable as running it off the dc outputs of the other controllers was leading to problems.
Actual current drawn was just under 2A from the Marklin supply when driving two Viessmann signals and three Marklin turnouts. I decided to replace one of my signals (which has a broken arm) with a new one only to find that neither of my brand new in box signals works. The worst problem was tracing a fault with some of the routing on the left end which turned out, in the end, to be due to power supply overload.
Red and green buttons control the clockwise and anticlockwise main tracks, while the yellow buttons control the two b-directional sidings.
The plan is to have wire links down both input and output sides into 'choc-strips' so that it can be easily removed for modification. As with the Marklin relays, a single short pulse locks the appropriate relay in the 'on' position and a similar pulse (sent to all four relays) resets it, breaking the current.
Also, I decided to draw two separate diagrams: one for routing (left) and one for motive power distribution (right).
Then the appropriate route selection button is pressed, setting up the route into the station and applying power to the appropriate track sections. This can be broken down into two main areas: a) the control of power circuits for brining trains into the station and b) the same for trains leaving the station. Thus the user powers the end point of the route and selects the appropriate signal which than powers the whole route back to the station. However, this did not work properly for trains entering Gleis 4 as I wanted the power to come from the platform tracks (Gleis 1-4).
I also plan to amend the exit routing at the up end of the station along the same lines with the signals on Gleis 3 and 4 setting the double slip as I am constantly forgetting to set it (and reset it) correctly. I've created a temporary town-scape and planted a few (N scale) trees though they do look rather forlorn.
The other short was due to confusion between the normal feeder track and the (similar in appearance) isolating track. The original wiring was done with terminal strips set vertically (right hand end) whereas later wiring has the strips set horizontally (left end) and generally away from the trackwork. A quick investigation showed that, while the signal arm happily moved from Hp0 (danger) to Hp1 (all clear), the contacts in the base were not making. Having corrected the one at the right hand end of the storage sidings and pinned down the track I found that I had dislodged an insulated fishplate so had to rip it all up again. At least I was able to sort that out without un-pinning more than a couple of rails and forcing it into position. However, operation of tracks 1 and 6 should be more sensible and I never liked that factory siding anyway.
This will have the advantage of getting rid of a troublesome double slip in the hidden sidings and replacing it with a trailing point.
I have to go out this evening.] It will have to be removable so that I can fold the control panel back over the layout in order to get it into my car. I've ordered an extra 8V supply to handle the lights which could be drawing up to 1A by the time I have finished. Once I have tested it all, I will do the same thing to the much more complex up end of the station. The result is that I was able to work out the circuits and do the drawings in a few hours instead of days. As soon as the trains enters Gleis 3, the current is cut off to the entry tracks (leaving the route still set up) and we are then ready for the next train. The new design method requires that track power be fed primarily to the destination and then, via diodes, to the entry or exit route. I wanted to be able to apply power from one of two controllers and then, via a push button, set the route and apply power. As the train clears the advance starter, it resets the starter and advance starter signals back to danger. By killing the power to the control circuits the signals can all be left at clear for continuous, hand off, running - not exactly prototypical! The original method has led to all sorts of problems with fitting the signals as the strips often fouled the holes drilled to take the signal mounts.
The factory siding goes back to what it was originally planned to be – a loco holding track for trains that were terminating and then returning via the up track.
They are the newer Marklin ones, made by Viessmann, so, as they are no longer under guarantee (and were bought privately), they will have to go back to Viessmann for repair. Was putting the final column in when I realised that I had missed one, so had to take out 4 columns and put in five.
Bearing in mind that the prime purpose of the layout is to be exhibited, this can only be a good thing. The obvious way forward was to work out then principle on the simple down (left hand) end of the station. Shunting movements in the opposite are allowed by using diodes to bypass the signals relays (see the circuit diagram). Finally, I will move Gleis 1 platform to the right and relay the track so that the dead section controlled by the down block signal will be the right side of it. It's not the end of the world as the Vorsignale serves no function and can be disconnected. So the first change involved abandoning the existing detector track leading to Gleis 4 and insert one to the right of the uncoupler (above right). During testing I got a massive short off what is obviously a defective power supply which blew the fuse in my moving coil meter (will have to get a pack of 20mm 3A fuses tomorrow).
I suppose could remove the control wires as setting to danger is automated but there is no real probelm so I am leaving htem in.

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  • Dj_POLINA, 11.04.2014 at 12:43:57
    'Call to arms' in my Comment in the February 2015 issue regarding the shortage unabashed.
  • dolce_gabbana_girl, 11.04.2014 at 21:59:22
    Contingent upon Your agreement to abide puffs of blackish dust at every.
  • ASad, 11.04.2014 at 18:39:13
    San Francisco, admiring landmarks 1 of the factors these train shows.