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Thread: Proto Weighing Station (scale)

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    Default Proto Weighing Station (scale)

    I was out taking pictures the other day and stumbled across this weighing station (scale). It appears to be the sort that weighs only one truck at a time, as it is far too short to hold an entire car. I took a few pictures for reference. This would be a nice compact thing to model somewhere...

    Location: https://www.google.com/maps/@38.0574.../data=!3m1!1e3

    Pictures:


    RJCC Scale by Mark, on Flickr


    RJCC Scale by Mark, on Flickr


    RJCC Scale by Mark, on Flickr


    RJCC Scale by Mark, on Flickr


    RJCC Scale by Mark, on Flickr


    RJCC Scale by Mark, on Flickr


    RJCC Scale by Mark, on Flickr


    RJCC Scale by Mark, on Flickr
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    There was also a reader device nearby... I assume (but am not 100% sure) it is an RFID reader for identifying which car is being weighed.


    RJCC Scale by Mark, on Flickr


    RJCC Scale by Mark, on Flickr


    RJCC Scale by Mark, on Flickr

    (That track-level reader was on the OTHER track, not on the scale track).

    The tall one kind of makes me think of the battle droids from Star Wars ("Roger Roger")
    Never mistake a guy who talks a lot for a guy who has something to say...

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    don't they weigh the car as it moves over the scale???
    Yours,

    Gene

    Turtle Creek Industrial RR

    Link to my Flickr account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/epumph/

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    DJtrains has a video of his layout discussing weighing cars. There are scales that requires cars to completely stop on the tracks while others permit the cars to move at low speeds.

    I saw a layout operation video of mining operations which featured an interesting weighing variation that I was unaware of. Older scales had weight limits which prohibited locomotives from running over the scale. There was a track turnout feature in which there was a parallel rail (dead rail) not connected to the scale beam right next to each main rail with points that could be thrown to allow the locomotive or any cars not to be weighed to change tracks and pass over the scale without damaging it while remaining coupled to the cars behind that stayed on the "live" scale tracks. Quick action at the turnout is required. Not sure if this feature is still used with modern scales. I found info about it in a 1921 book on track and railroad structures.

    Don't forget to have a scale test car available to calibrate your scale. Faulty scales can lose revenue for your railroad!

    Wayne
    “Speak only if it improves upon the silence.”
    ― Mahatma Gandhi

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    It would be really interesting to do a working scale that would adjust weight for n-scale (roughly).

    EDIT: Some folks have done it: http://www.bouldercreekengineering.com/weighstation.php

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    Quote Originally Posted by epumph View Post
    don't they weigh the car as it moves over the scale???
    Not sure I understand the question. Yes, that's the idea... but the scale is only big enough for one truck, not the whole car at once. So my guess is that they're weighing half the car at a time. Note the long stretch of concrete platform either side of the actual scale, which I presume would be to keep the rest of the car and track dynamics stable so that the math works out accurately.

    Not to get too much into the physics of it, but if you ignore the small component that may be taken up in friction on the couplers, the entire weight of the car is resting on two points, the center of gravity of each of the trucks. It's easy enough to picture the whole car sitting on a single scale. It's also easy enough to picture two scales, one under each truck. The two scales would read half the weight of the car each, and you could add the two numbers together. Replace one of the scales with a stable enough surface and the other scale will read half the train weight.

    So what they are doing here is rolling the first truck onto the scale, recording half the car weight, rolling the other truck onto the scale, recording the other half of the car weight, and adding the two results together for the total weight.

    I will have to try and catch them in action here some time to see if they are pausing briefly when taking the measurement, or doing the whole thing while in motion.
    Never mistake a guy who talks a lot for a guy who has something to say...

    CH&FR Site and Blog: http://www.chfrrailroad.net and http://blog.chfrrailroad.net
    Appalachian Railroad Technology: http://www.apprailtech.com


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    @MuddyCreek : I've seen info on those live/dead rail scales too, I think they are mentioned in John Armstrong's TPfRO book. This scale was definitely of the "Run whatever you want over it" type. Only two rails, no switches, no nothing.
    @McNamee: LOL... <eyes Arduino while shopping for a load cell amplifier...>
    Never mistake a guy who talks a lot for a guy who has something to say...

    CH&FR Site and Blog: http://www.chfrrailroad.net and http://blog.chfrrailroad.net
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    Quote Originally Posted by McNamee View Post
    It would be really interesting to do a working scale that would adjust weight for n-scale (roughly).

    EDIT: Some folks have done it: http://www.bouldercreekengineering.com/weighstation.php
    From Website:
    Notice: This product simulates weighing for model railroad operations, and does not provide the true weight of rail cars.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyCreek View Post
    I saw a layout operation video of mining operations which featured an interesting weighing variation that I was unaware of. Older scales had weight limits which prohibited locomotives from running over the scale. There was a track turnout feature in which there was a parallel rail (dead rail) not connected to the scale beam right next to each main rail with points that could be thrown to allow the locomotive or any cars not to be weighed to change tracks and pass over the scale without damaging it while remaining coupled to the cars behind that stayed on the "live" scale tracks. Quick action at the turnout is required.
    Hey, that's what I was trying to model on my CD diorama! (Hopefully I did it right.)



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    Quote Originally Posted by Ender View Post
    Hey, that's what I was trying to model on my CD diorama! (Hopefully I did it right.)
    I remember your little diorama! I guess I didn't understand the double rails at the time.

    From what I read, you seem to have gotten it right! Your attendant would throw that switch right after the loco's wheels cleared the points and before the car being weighed reached them. Then he goes back to lounging on the ties.

    Wayne
    “Speak only if it improves upon the silence.”
    ― Mahatma Gandhi

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scotian_Huntress View Post
    From Website:
    Notice: This product simulates weighing for model railroad operations, and does not provide the true weight of rail cars.
    Yes I saw that -- Not sure how NMRA standards for freight cars as well as real weight for locomotives would correspond to prototype weight even with an adjustment (multiple by 160 or even 160*160). I saw someone comment on converting weight to prototype but cannot recall how this was done rationally.

    Anyway, w/ an Arduino it would seem that you could display raw weight (could be useful for checking against NMRA standards), an adjusted weight of some type, and some type of normalized weight based on freight type and prototypical freight ranges. Not sure how you would incorporate a scale under / into the track to get an accurate measurement.

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    There has to be a suitable strain gauge or similar force measuring tool that would do the job. You could most likely just hack a kitchen scale to do the job.
    Never mistake a guy who talks a lot for a guy who has something to say...

    CH&FR Site and Blog: http://www.chfrrailroad.net and http://blog.chfrrailroad.net
    Appalachian Railroad Technology: http://www.apprailtech.com


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    Apparently it is called a "load cell" for the scale to hook up to Arduino.

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    Here is my take on a scale house, I got it from a prototype photo, I think that photo was taken in Canada some place.





    Jeff


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    Quote Originally Posted by TwinDad View Post
    I was out taking pictures the other day and stumbled across this weighing station (scale). It appears to be the sort that weighs only one truck at a time, as it is far too short to hold an entire car. I took a few pictures for reference. This would be a nice compact thing to model somewhere...
    That is definitely a weight in motion scale. The lack of dead rails for the locomotive to bypass the scale and the traffic light on the side of the shed are the key spotting features.

    The stoplight will tell the crew if they are going too fast for the scale to weigh properly or not.

    Paul

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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyCreek View Post
    DJtrains has a video of his layout discussing weighing cars. There are scales that requires cars to completely stop on the tracks while others permit the cars to move at low speeds.

    I saw a layout operation video of mining operations which featured an interesting weighing variation that I was unaware of. Older scales had weight limits which prohibited locomotives from running over the scale. There was a track turnout feature in which there was a parallel rail (dead rail) not connected to the scale beam right next to each main rail with points that could be thrown to allow the locomotive or any cars not to be weighed to change tracks and pass over the scale without damaging it while remaining coupled to the cars behind that stayed on the "live" scale tracks. Quick action at the turnout is required. Not sure if this feature is still used with modern scales. I found info about it in a 1921 book on track and railroad structures.

    Don't forget to have a scale test car available to calibrate your scale. Faulty scales can lose revenue for your railroad!

    Wayne
    I would think, the primary path was over the "dead" rail, that way the scale would not be damaged accidentally. The "live" rails being the moving parts of the scale.

    Older scale technology used springs and balance beams to do the weighing. Just like an old Doctor's or Butcher's scale. Some poor guy in that tiny almost all window shack had to fiddle with balance weights or read a dial as each car stopped, waited to stop bouncing (a brake might have been used) and read the numbers and wrote them down. Over time those springs stretched, hence the need for the calibration car. It was a perfectly known weight. The scale was then adjusted or shut down and repaired.

    Modern technology uses uses soild state pressure transducers that read the deflection of the rail as the car passes. No separate moving parts. If you have ever seen a the rail flex as the train rolls over a rotted tie, it is like a hundred times more movement than the sensor needs.

    Besides being used on scales those bypass sidings are still used where passenger and freight trains share the same track. Some passenger cars are narrow. The platform needs to eliminate the gap to the cars for safe loading. High platforms can sometimes overhang the path of freight cars. So in order to keep the freight cars from tearing up the platform these bypass sidings are used. The freights are switched to the "siding" and pass without incident. The bypass is just far enough over to clear the platform, a little more than a foot. Just enough space for all the various plates and spikes. In an old Model Railroader or Craftman, they suggested raiding damaged switches for the frogs and other parts to simulate the bypass. Hand bent rail being place right next to the factory one. Handlayers could easily make a functional version.

    There is something similar used on single track bridges used in double track territory. Rather than using switches to put two tracks into one they use a compressed crossing. The four rails are set side by side. The two sets of tracks only connect at the frogs. Both tracks cross without changing rails. No outside intervention needed. You just can't have both trains cross at the same time.
    Use what you know about the world to model…
    Learn from modeling what you don't know about the real world.



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    So... one of these... http://www.robotshop.com/en/micro-load-cell.html

    ... and one of these ... http://www.robotshop.com/en/strain-g...hield-2ch.html

    ... and one of these ... http://www.robotshop.com/en/arduino-...ontroller.html

    ... and one of these ... http://www.robotshop.com/en/16x2-lcd...t-arduino.html

    Plus a piece of track solidly mounted on a platform in a frame that would allow the platform to flex down ever-so-slightly while also maintaining alignment with the approach tracks (think "turntable bridge").

    You'd have to measure somewhere between 1-5oz for rolling stock, much more for locomotives. There are larger load cells, but 500mg is over a pound, so I imagine it will work fine for N scale.

    And of course you could get clever and optimize down all the electronics quite a bit. The above would be just for a prototype. You could use an Arduino Pro Mini, a LCD-only module, and your load cell amplifier could be a module, not a shield.

    OR... there's this: http://www.robotshop.com/en/sparkfun-openscale.html
    Never mistake a guy who talks a lot for a guy who has something to say...

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    Not sure how NMRA standards for freight cars as well as real weight for locomotives would correspond to prototype weight even with an adjustment (multiple by 160 or even 160*160).
    Sounds about right. Interesting thing...

    I load real coal on my layout. I have two brands of bathtub gons, Deluxe innovations and E&C Shops. The Deluxe are, empty, close to NMRA weight standard because they have metal inserts. The E&C are absurdly light. But turns out when you actually add coal to the E&C they are dead nuts on NMRA weight and the Deluxe are well over.

    So I think the NMRA weights are indeed related to 160 cubed because the coal, 160 cubed, got the E&C to hit the NMRA.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NtheBasement View Post
    Sounds about right. Interesting thing...

    I load real coal on my layout. I have two brands of bathtub gons, Deluxe innovations and E&C Shops. The Deluxe are, empty, close to NMRA weight standard because they have metal inserts. The E&C are absurdly light. But turns out when you actually add coal to the E&C they are dead nuts on NMRA weight and the Deluxe are well over.

    So I think the NMRA weights are indeed related to 160 cubed because the coal, 160 cubed, got the E&C to hit the NMRA.
    The NMRA weight recommended practice was determined by an experimental study.

    Weight is really related to density, so the only way our models will have "scale weight" is if we build our models using the same materials in the same proportions as used on the prototype.

    As for what the prototype weighs, there is a tare weight and a load limit printed on the side of every car. Add those two numbers together, and you get the maximum loaded weight for the car.

    Paul

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    Quote Originally Posted by TexasJeff View Post
    Here is my take on a scale house, I got it from a prototype photo, I think that photo was taken in Canada some place.

    https://www.nscale.org/photos/data/50...lroad_1963.JPG

    https://www.nscale.org/photos/data/50...lroad_1962.JPG

    https://www.nscale.org/photos/data/50...lroad_1961.JPG
    When I was a Carman On the Burlington Northern In the 90'S there was a Scale shack that looked exactly like that
    I used to take naps In it when we had down time from lacing air hoses and doing Air Brake tests on outbound trains in the departure yard.
    Last edited by B&O CT; 26th Jan 2017 at 11:21 PM.

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