Western Rails 2016

Re: Western Rails 2016

Postby Bill Dixon » Sun Mar 27, 2016 5:33 pm

It's a week after the event, I'm siting at home in front of the computer with my usual post event cold, so it's time to post about the event.

As the event activities break up nicely into before, during, after, and lessons, I will make four posts to cover everything I remember.
Regards
Bill Dixon
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Re: Western Rails 2016

Postby Bill Dixon » Sun Mar 27, 2016 6:13 pm

The week before the event started badly at 2 AM Wednesday. The house alarm system started screaming about a low battery. Get up and reset the alarm. You can only reset it for 3 hours so it went off again at 5 AM and then at 8 AM when we got up. The alarm control panel is buried in a closet in my wife's sewing room. The door was behind a wall of boxes. After we moved the boxes and found the step stool and flash light and screwdriver and electrical tape, I removed the battery. It was dated June 4, 2012. So three and a half years. I set a long term alarm in my phone to check this again in 2019.

Picked up a new battery on the way to work, installed it that evening and had a good nights sleep.

Thursday was the day I picked up Bjoerns modules. But I tried to kill the van battery during the day. I have a brake light switch that occasionally sticks on. It usually notice if the lights are on but didn't that day so after work the van would not start. A call to the Automobile Association and an hour later I had boost and was on my way. The BCAA tech said I should charge the battery overnight.
Off to Bjoerns to pick up his big boxes of modules. Left the van running while I did so.
Then off to Canadian Tire to pick up a battery charger. Again left the van running (with my wife in it) while I picked up a small battery charger.

Home, setup the charger, and to bed. Friday morning the battery was fully charged and the van was ready to go.

Friday after work and dinner I loaded the van. Did I mention Bjoerns Large Boxes of modules.
He has found a better and safer way to carry his modules. This involves larger boxes that we used for Portland. As a result the van was really full.
20160319fullvan.jpg
Anyways Friday evening all was ready.
Regards
Bill Dixon
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Re: Western Rails 2016

Postby Bill Dixon » Sun Mar 27, 2016 6:56 pm

Saturday I had intended to be at the hall by 3 PM but several things got in the way.
The coordinator of the Victoria show arrived at 2:30 and we talked a bit about what was not going to happen at the Victoria show and why. Then there was a major accident on the highway to the hall.
The secondary route was somewhat clogged so I did not get to the hall until 3:30 PM.

Bjoern, Tibi, Terry and Graeme were already there. We made short work of unloading the van.
The guys had already setup the tables so it was just a matter of putting on the table covers and setting up the modules. Then we cleaned the track and tested the layout operation. As noted in another post, the Auto-Reverse module did not work - I'll talk about this more in the last post. Happily I had thought about this possibility and had allowed for it. I disconnected two wires from the Auto-Reverse module and we used the switch that originally changed the polarity of the staging yard. It now controlled the reversing section. If you entered/exited the reversing section at the front of the layout, the switch was thrown to the forward position. If you entered/exited from the rear, the switch was thrown to the rear. Worked well.

While the guys were working on the display I setup the tables for Central Hobbies. Laid the floor mats, put the table coverings on with the help of Graeham, put up the store banner.

After we were kicked out of the hall at 6 PM we went over to Red Robbins for dinner. In all the years we have been meeting this is the first time I have been able to have dinner with the guys. It was Great!. Burgers, beer and BS. Much was discussed including the Indianapolis setup.

Sunday dawned cold - a foretaste of what the day would be like.
I was there shortly after 7 AM. Helped set up the store. Spent most of my time at the store tables. Was able to get free to greet Voytek and Xenia. Had time to roam. Did not spend much time at the display. Didn't really need to, the guys did a great job without me.

The day was COLD. Show attendance was low - about 800. It should be over 1000. Store sales were poor.
Empty sales tables and wide aisles. This event needs to advertise and get the attendance back over 1000.

However after a long cold day of successful running it ended at 4 PM.
We packed up, loaded up my van. I stayed and with Terry and Graemes assistance helped load the store van.
I went to the store to help unload. Then off to a good dinner (and beer), a bit of grocery shopping and home to crash!
Regards
Bill Dixon
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Re: Western Rails 2016

Postby Bill Dixon » Sun Mar 27, 2016 7:22 pm

Monday I slept in and then lazed around the house for a few hours.
That was OK as it was cold and raining. While I was waiting for the rain to let up I rearranged my storage area to better store the modules. Usually I flattened the corner boxes and then stored the corners wherever I could. Now I can store the boxes with the modules in them. Much better.

There was one new module at the show.
2010319newmodule.jpg
This four track module allows the display to be wider. The two mainlines are bedding track. The outer two are flex track with bedding track connectors. I took more time to do the ballasting on these sections of flex track. It is still not as good as I would like it, but it is better that any of the other modules.
It was suggested that if I extend the roadway and fencing this module can be swapped with the one to the right of it to extend the track before the crossover.

There was not much of interest to us to buy at the show. I found one Maisto tank car, some trees, an HOn30 Egger Bahn locomotive, a sheet of HO brick and a book. We sold a few things among ourselves.

Despite the poor public attendance this is a good show for us.
We can have all the space we want! There is enough time to setup Saturday afternoon. A good place for a dinner across the street. A reasonable time to run on Sunday.
I'll do this show again.
Regards
Bill Dixon
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Re: Western Rails 2016

Postby Bill Dixon » Sun Mar 27, 2016 8:35 pm

So problems, solutions and lessons learned.

The major problem was that the Auto-Reverse module did not work.
20160319wyejunction.jpg
You can see the Digitrax AR-1 on the left side on the module beside the control switch. There are many factors that affect the operation of an Auto Reverse module; the distance from power feeders, how fast the module works, and how fast the system short circuit detection works.

An Auto-Reverser works by seeing the short when a locomotive crosses the gaps into a reversing section and hopefully reacts before the system reacts to the short. If the module is too slow to react or the system too fast to react the the module will never work.
I am reasonably confident that when I set this up with my Digitrax system that it will work OK. However it may not work with the Z1. To cover that eventuality I have a Dual Frog Juicer on order and will try that in place of the AR-1. As well I have an email into Z1 to ask what auto reversers work with the Z1. It may be that no Auto-Reverser will work with a Z1.

Ignoring the Auto-Reverse problem, the layout ran well with the Z1. We successfully tested my Digtrax radio throttle and UR92 receiver plugged into the system.

The only major equipment problems we had were caused by Me! Last year at the Vancouver Train Expo we had questions about whose equipment was whose. We did resolve that satisfactorily but did come to the conclusion that we should mark our equipment to make this easier. I decided to use my colours from my HO modular days, Blue and Red, and and painted the truck screws on my box cars; Blue to the 'B' end and red to the other end. However I used too much paint and it seeped down the screws and when it dried the trucks would no longer swivel. Sigh! An hours work cleaned them all up and got them back into service. I think I will change to painting the coupler box screws and use a lighter blue.

We talked about changing the power corner.
2016 New Power.jpg

Currently the power feeds into the bottom left of the setup and is cabled to the front corner(Black Arrow). This is working but our focus has shifted to the staging area and although no problems have arisen yet the power has to travel though track connectors to more and more modules. By moving the power connection to the wye junction corner it will be more central to the display. We add three (or four) cables to this to get the power to all the corners(Red arrows). The short back to front cables would be permanently attached to the rear modules. The long cable across the back would be in sections so you could add as much length as needed. The cable to the right (dotted red line) would be added if necessary.

The Orange track is the reversing section.

I have long wanted to add some permanent LocoNet panels to some of the modules. The light blue shows where I plan to add them. If an appropriate nondescript brick structure could be found, the UR92 Radio receiver could be permanently mounted to the corner as well (Blue box).

Again much to think about.

We discussed a setup in June to test the layout before the trip to Indianapolis. This will be a separate topic.
Regards
Bill Dixon
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Re: Western Rails 2016

Postby CN-TT » Sun Mar 27, 2016 9:08 pm

Bill, I'm using a Dual Frog Juicer for the reverse loop. No Problems so far with the Z21 or your Digitrax. I like that the Frog juicer works without any analog parts (e.g. relay).

I mark my cars with yellow dots on the bottom.
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Re: Western Rails 2016

Postby Arseny » Mon Mar 28, 2016 10:00 am

Bill, when I read your posts, it seems to me that I live in Canada too, somewhere near you! :lol: Thank you!

Burgers, beer and BS


...but what is "BS"?.. :think:
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Re: Western Rails 2016

Postby CFRiad » Mon Mar 28, 2016 10:57 am

Arseny wrote:...but what is "BS"?.. :think:


He, he, he. BS = bullshit (nonsense talk, exaggeration, lies). In this case it is closer to idle chat.
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Re: Western Rails 2016

Postby CFRiad » Mon Mar 28, 2016 11:12 am

Bill Dixon wrote:We add three (or four) cables to this to get the power to all the corners(Red arrows). The short back to front cables would be permanently attached to the rear modules. The long cable across the back would be in sections so you could add as much length as needed. The cable to the right (dotted red line) would be added if necessary.

Excellent idea, along with moving the power corner to a more central location.

My modules have track power busses underneath and I want to connect them to these cables. Bill, what kind of connectors will you have on them?
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Re: Western Rails 2016

Postby Arseny » Mon Mar 28, 2016 1:35 pm

CFRiad wrote:
Arseny wrote:...but what is "BS"?.. :think:


He, he, he. BS = bullshit (nonsense talk, exaggeration, lies). In this case it is closer to idle chat.


Oh, thanks! I know the word "bullshit", but I didn't know this abbreviation. I was sure it is some sort of food... :lol:
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