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Thread: Weekend Update (22nd Jan 2021)

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    Post Weekend Update (22nd Jan 2021)

    Please update us on the progress you have made on your MRR projects this week (commencing: 22nd Jan 2021).

    This weekly thread is to post little snippets about your layout/project progress.
    This is not be a substitute for your layout build thread, but just a mini update on what you got done for the week.

    You can link from your layout build thread to your posts in this thread as a part of a more extensive post there, or visa-versa (post to your build thread and link to that post when contributing to this thread.

    Click on a post's #number (right-hand end of the post header) to get the URL to that particular post in your browsers address bar.
    Copy and paste this as needed.

    So, fellow nSn'ers, what have you been up to this week?

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    Not so long ago I installed decoders in my FP45 fleet. They're great runners except one of them that always behaved differently with the same settings as the others. At first it ran significantly faster than the others, but now - after a couple of months in a box - it seemed like it didn't really want to go faster than speed step 14 of 28. So today I tried to figure out what was going on. The motor ran OK with just DC, so I tried changing the decoder. No luck. Then I cleaned and lubed the drive gears. No difference. Then the motor sort of stalled and when I tried applying DC to it again, it started smoking.

    Oh alright, there's your problem!

    Okay, so I need a new motor, but for now I've just left it unconnected so it could be sitting in a workshop eventually. Also, I swapped the bodys so the dead engine is the renumbered one (#5943 - ex #103) and the live ones are nos. 100, 105 and 107.

    Here's the fleet lined up.




    As I now had a decoder out of the box anyway, I decided to fit it to the Atlas VO-1000. I've had this one for some years without ever running it, so first I tried the motor with DC voltage. It did need a slight waking up, but soon it hummed merrily along at 3 volts.




    I've cleaned, lubed and greased all the gear parts, but even so it starts screaming at high revs when running in reverse. Checking everything and re-greasing suspected spots didn't really change anything, so I worked around the issue by reducing the top speed to somewhere below the problem range. It's a switcher after all ...

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    Motor bearings may need a drop of oil ....Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikec6201 View Post
    Motor bearings may need a drop of oil ....Mike
    I did lube the motor bearings but yes ... could be. Thanks Mike.

    Anyway, it's running now, so I'm leaving it to focus on the other projects that take up space on the workbench. I've received materials for the Gottardo TEE and I've figured out how to fix it, so that's next in line.
    nScale.net: Elsewhere Yard
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    No new activity, being away on site with work.....Just been informed of impending move from home so everything gets packed up, stored and some sold off. The hard realisation that even a HCD layout may be too much for future space makes things difficult. Will just keep a core fleet of locos and cars for the moment.....
    Moss Lake Lumber may yet resurface as a small coffee table switching layout.....

    .sigh.
    Cheers,

    Russ





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    Sorry to hear about this Russ
    I hope this won't be your last move and you find space in the future for a bigger layout

    Steve

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    @mosslake
    That's sad news. But, on a positive note, at least you're seeing that there are future posabilaties. Your creative mind will find a way to make them work and then you can post photos of them here and we will all be happy :-)

    I wish you all the best through your 'up-heavals'
    Thanks, Tom

    Expect nothing except the opposite of what you expect, and then expect it to be something other than that ! Then that's about what it will be

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    Thanks guys. Recent events at home and now this (even though I half expected it) has taken the wind out of my sails so to speak. I'm at a crossroads on what to do next and where to go from here.
    An idea that I've had for a while -involving Climax locos and Barnharts- seems to hold possibilities for something small and manageable for the future but right now I have to start packing when i get home in 3 days.....
    Cheers,

    Russ





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    @mosslake

    Sorry to read of this. Hope all works out for you in the end.
    = > ÷

    ~ Moose (Co-founder of the Mt. Tahoma & Pacific Railroad, located some where in the Pacific Northwest)


    "Beware the Train of Thought that Carries no Freight..." "Reading is for morons who can't understand pictures..."

    Click Here to See Moose's Layout Thread

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    Finished the food service business scene -

    https://www.nscale.net/forums/showth...597#post603597
    Master Po - "Accept the ways of others, respect first your own"

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    Not much done this weekend. I did manage to get a little more pink foam board down though. I have aggregated a couple of previously ruptured discs, so I'm not moving around so well.

    I'm sorry to hear of your troubles mosslake. I hope things get better for you real soon. Stay positive.

    ​Doug (dilley340)



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    Quote Originally Posted by mosslake View Post
    The hard realisation that even a HCD layout may be too much for future space makes things difficult.
    An HCD layout might fit under a bed.

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    With the last of my necessary hardware arriving in the mail on Friday, this weekend I have been exploring the joys of turning an Arduino into a pulse-width-modulation throttle. In its most basic form, both the wiring and the software were surprisingly easy. I was only about 3 hours from unwrapping the board to moving a loco back and forth on a test track.

    Photos of the throttle to keep Moose off my back:

    20210124_114408[1].jpg20210124_114435[1].jpg

    At right is the Arduino. It connects to my laptop by USB, and transmits signals over 3 pins: two on-off signals, which send the forward or reverse instructions, and one PWM pin that turns on and off at high frequency, alternately transmitting 5V and nothing. If you set your DC multimeter on that pin when it is set to (say) 30% duty cycle, the multimeter sees 1.5V, as you'd expect it to.

    At left is a L298N board you can buy for about $3. This is basically just a circuit called an H-bridge. It receives 12VDC from a wall wart (black wires bottom right), the forward/reverse and duty cycle signals from the arduino (center right), and sends out track power, cycling between 0 and 12 volts at the same frequency as the arduino pin cycles between 0 and 5.

    With the pulses set to 30 or 60 Hz, the pictured Atlas GP7 starts to creep at a few scale mph at about a 14% duty cycle (i.e., full power for about 4.5 milliseconds, off for about 29 milliseconds) and is at something like prototypical full speed between 40 and 50%.

    At the other extreme, with the pulses set to 32kHz, the engine begins moving at about 50% -- and reaches realistic full speed around 65%. At this extreme it is acting a lot like garden variety DC (where some models might start moving after receiving 6V.)

    At in-between frequencies you get intermediate performance, but also get the high-pitched whine that gave PWM a bad name at one time. This frustrates people who don't look up how to change the frequency on the arduino and just work with the 500Hz out-of-the-box setting.


    From here I have a few different ways forward. One is to do everything with software -- write code where I type in the desired speed and it looks up the performance of the engine in question and chooses what duty cycle to apply.

    The other is to teach myself how to measure back EMF and calculate motor RPM like the professionals do. It turns out this requires no additional hardware just a couple extra wires. The L298 has two H-bridges on it, and apparently you can connect the motor (track power) to both H-bridges: one side as I have already done, and the other side connected to one of the arduino's input pins with resistors, and read the voltage off of that pin during the 'off' part of the pulse.

    If I do that, I can send the arduino an instruction to achieve a certain speed, and let it choose the duty cycle that produces the right speed.

    (Yes, I know half of you are saying "why don't you just convert to DCC and be done with it?" Well... it seems I am really enjoying manipulating the electronics myself.)


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    well ... wow, as for "surprisingly easy" , although I got the general idea I was lost!

    I have been playing with an arduino to use as a speedometer which is pretty simple code, I got it to work but struggling to refine it, it is in the box for now before I gave up the will to live.
    Alexander
    Currently building 8' x 8" switching layout progress here - https://www.nscale.net/forums/showth...switching-plan and 12' freemo module.
    My Shapeways shop. http://www.shapeways.com/shops/boxcarmodels

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    Default First track down

    After preparing all the bits there is now some track down.

    full thread here https://www.nscale.net/forums/showth...switching-plan
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Alexander
    Currently building 8' x 8" switching layout progress here - https://www.nscale.net/forums/showth...switching-plan and 12' freemo module.
    My Shapeways shop. http://www.shapeways.com/shops/boxcarmodels

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    @Siegmund:

    Great job. I've been intending on doing the same thing on the Pinnacle & Western.

    Would you mind sharing your code and wiring diagrams?
    - Gary R.

    President & CEO
    Pinnacle & Western Railroad

    Never under-do the over-kill.

    I don't always stop for trains, but when ... oh wait!, Yes I do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mosslake View Post
    No new activity, being away on site with work.....Just been informed of impending move from home so everything gets packed up, stored and some sold off. The hard realisation that even a HCD layout may be too much for future space makes things difficult. Will just keep a core fleet of locos and cars for the moment.....
    Moss Lake Lumber may yet resurface as a small coffee table switching layout.....

    Sorry to hear of this russ.
    Seem like a common thing for must modelers....
    I'm sure there will be a another time and place for you and the layout again.
    Keep your chin up.
    The Little Rock Line blog


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    Support the natural selection process, remove the warning labels....

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    Quote Originally Posted by dilley340 View Post
    Not much done this weekend. I did manage to get a little more pink foam board down though. I have aggregated a couple of previously ruptured discs, so I'm not moving around so well.

    I'm sorry to hear of your troubles mosslake. I hope things get better for you real soon. Stay positive.

    https://www.nscale.net/forums/attach...5&d=1611505064
    Sorry to hear your not moving so well, hope it better soon.
    I've been fighting a minor foot surgery that didn't go as planned for the last several months.
    So I've been hobbling around as well, I feel your pain.

    Not sure we can allow that image you posted of your layout Doug?
    I think it's a bit too tidy. But if the reason is due to your disks which has not allowed you to make that much of a mess, I guess we can accept that.

    In all seriousness, it's looking good, a little progress is better than none at all.
    The Little Rock Line blog


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    Quote Originally Posted by SteamPower4ever View Post
    Here's the fleet lined up.
    I love the look of the FP45 but since I don't model Sante Fe guess there won't be any in my collection. Cool looking locomotive just the same.
    " You can do anything if you have enthusiasm. With it there is accomplishment, without it there are only alibis " - Henry Ford

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    This week a few pics of the landscape updating. Obviously static grasses are so much better looking than regular ground foams but I could never justify the expenditure for the amount of space I would be covering so as most of you saw last week I picked a few static mats to see if I could get the effect of a fuller more realistic terrain, and I think it is going well. You all can be the judge. Much more to do, and I can see myself adding some wildlife in the future,

    009 by snwbluebyyou, on Flickr

    006 by snwbluebyyou, on Flickr

    003 by snwbluebyyou, on Flickr

    036 by snwbluebyyou, on Flickr

    028 by snwbluebyyou, on Flickr

    019 by snwbluebyyou, on Flickr

    046 by snwbluebyyou, on Flickr

    MEC GP7 562 pulling the grade with a short consist.

    055 by snwbluebyyou, on Flickr

    050 by snwbluebyyou, on Flickr

    May GOOD WILL be your constant companion
    " You can do anything if you have enthusiasm. With it there is accomplishment, without it there are only alibis " - Henry Ford


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