Sunday, 24 August 2014

June 2014 Status and Plans:

Late June I am off to the National N Scale Convention in Roanoke, Virginia. This 2 week break from activity in the train room and the long flights enables me to create a check list of the next stages and items I need to plan. Here are some of the challenges and my approach to solving, and planning to progress.

1. Wiring switches - live frogs etc.
I have decided to make all the frogs on the switches isolated. I have ordered a jewellers saw from Micro Mart and will use this to cut the rail just below the frog, and totally isolate the frog of the switch. I will also use Tam Valley Frog Juicers to switch the polarity of the frogs. These Frog Juicers are simple to use. You connect up the two bus wires and the single frog wire goes to the unit. My units will manage 6 switches (frogs) per unit. As the train identifies the wiring of the frog switch is incorrect it shorts and quickly reverse the polarity.
This method will be a little tedious isolating the frogs and wiring the point rail and stock rails to give continuous power, but once done I will not have any switch controllers or slide switches on the layout. All the switches will be manually controlled by the operator.
Of course if I was using Peco "Insufrog" switches I would not even have to worry about this. 

2. Track laying.
All track will be laid on cork.
All track will be wired with the wires soldered onto the underside of the rails before laying.
Track will be held down with coloured caulk. The caulk is applied from the caulk gun and I will spread it using a spatula so there is no fault squeezing up between the sleepers.
I will use metal straight edges (can I buy a 9mm long steel or aluminium straight edge?)
I will use a roller (like a wallpaper's small roller) to bed down the track.
The staging will be laid first and will be tested before progressing as some of this is hidden.

3. Block control.
Do I section some of the power districts?
I will have 4 power districts - each will be protected by their own circuits.
Sectioning power districts can make future signalling easier, but I can probably easily isolate track later if required. I will seek advice at the conference.
My plan is to section later as required.

4. Details of the layout.
    - reason for the existence ( trying not to clutter)
    - towns and track details.
    - industries - not all - align to reason to railroad etc.
    - can I be ruthless on selecting and deleting non period / area specific buildings? (not sure as I want a turntable)

5. Painted backdrops?
Most of the backdrop will be sky.
Gee I would love to photoshop a backdrop but do not have the skills or patience yet.
Some areas will have distant mountains.

6. Landscape - mountains, desert, hills - basic landform.
    - I think I have the basic skills but I need to be very specific with the Western USA scenery and colours. Dirt is yellow / brown. Scrubs are common. Pine trees exist. Forests are not common in desert areas.

7. Layout diagram:
I must get XTracCad and use it to show my layout and detail some of the specific industries.
Does it work on my Mac?

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