Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
The interesting way in which
- Making sure the trackwork is top notch paying particular attention to check rail clearances and board joins.
- Making sure that electrical feeds are introduced more often than strictly necessary to give some redundancy
- Ensuring the track is clean
- Ensuring loco wheels are clean
- Building chassis that are dead square so all wheels are in contact with the railhead at all times
- Running in locos
- Installing flywheels and using the ‘jump start’ feature in many decoders
- Installing extra weight over the driven wheels to keep them from lifting off the track and to help adhesion generally.
- Ensuring locos are balanced and don’t have a tendency to pitch.
- Using modern mechanisms with quality motors and gearboxes.
And for the majority of the time the above will work… but even if I manage to do the above I am still concerned that locos with just two pairs of wheels picking up are prone to unreliability.
So the locos I am concerned about are:
- Prince – using a 0-4-0 ibertren, which I despise anyway due to its deep flanges. A better kit is available from Mercian.
- Blanche - using a 0-4-0 ibertren (see above), possibly to be swapped for the new Parkside outside framed RTR chassis version.
- (Linda) – I only have a scratchbuilt body, but the same issue with pickups would exist had I a chassis for it.
- Taliesin – 0-4-4 backwoods with mashima. The rear truck can be made to pick up too, so this may not be the problem I fear.
- (Palmerston) – same issue as Prince, but I don’t have a kit for this engine at present.
I am considering whether some special measures should be taken with these engines to ensure better running (and less hand of God [Thierry Henry?] from the sky). This would either involve double heading – Conwy and Upnor could well work that way for example, or utilising the County Gate ‘trick’ of using another vehicle with pickups and passing the juice through micro connectors.
Taliesin was at Rhyd Ddu recently on the Col Stephens’ set and Prince and Palmerston were used in a similar way during last year’s photo charters. So I could use a companion car with these engines and use micro connectors to pass the juice through to the decoder and thence to the motor. The problem with this is that I wouldn’t then be able to run around the train without disconnecting the micro connector, thus limiting my operating options. But at least they would run reliably.
Taking this one step further, I could actually create a small consist of carriages where some of the carriages bogies also picked up from the track and passed that juice through to the loco and also to lighting strips set into the ceiling of the carriages - I have recently bought such a strip from dcc supplies for testing purposes.
Perhaps a small subset of the Col Stephens’ set could be used to improve running AND also as a kind of showpiece lit set?
That train could also draw some serious current – perhaps 200mA per lighting strip and perhaps 300mA for the motor – good job I bought a 3.5A max DCC system!
For an image of the connectors see this link.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
The other end of the layout is coming on too, here is the 'bridge to nowhere' amongst the early scenic formers (Beddgelert desert anyone?).
An unusual opportunity arose to see the rear of County Gate...
and the front.
Accucraft's 16mm garden rail offerings include an NGG16 too, but new this year was an NG15. But at something like £3500 it's a bit beyond my purse.