Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Wired Wednesday - Construction Report: August 16, 2017

Feeders! Lots of feeders went in to Pine Valley Yard over the course of a few evenings. Once I settled on a technique the rest went pretty fast.

I choose white/red bell wire for my feeders (red in back, white in front) with a spool of green 22AWG for the frogs.

This side of the layout is actually the back.
Using the bell wire, I soldered the first few feeders along the web of the rail. This was fine for the back of the rail that won't be seen but I thought it looked a bit unsightly for the front of the rail. So, I switched to a method I've seen in various paper/online publications.

I bent the end of the wire 90 degrees then flattened the end with needle nose pliers. After that I cut off a small amount of the smashed copper to allow the wire to rest inside the rail web just like a track spike.

Feeder wire
There's also a way to solder the feeder wire to the bottom of the rail to make it totally invisible. A Resistance Soldering unit makes this that method really easy-peasy. The way I settled on was pretty fast also and made for an acceptable minimally visible solder joint. When I get to laying and wiring Adena Yard I know someone with a resistance soldering unit that will help make very short work of that project.

One small problem I found were my drill bits were too short for certain areas. To help punch though the 2 inch foam and the thicker removable fuse box access section, I purchased a 3/16th 6" aircraft-type drill bit.

Feeders on the removable section

Feeder drops 
The green wire turnout frog feeders were soldered using the same method described above to one of the PC board ties used to build the switch. I made the connection at the back side of the frog so it would be out of view. The turnout frogs will be powered though DPDT switches attached to linkage that is typically used to move not only the turnout rails but also to change the frog electrical polarity.

At first I felt over whelmed at the amount of feeders that needed soldered to the DCC bus under the layout. Daydreams of battery equipped engines with the new "dead rail" systems started to fill my head. I soon remembered that many layout builders in the Yahoo Groups Proto-Layouts group swear by using 3M ScotchLok displacement connectors. I ordered a box of the red type off Amazon and quickly found them to be a godsend. I ended up with grouping feeders together with a wire nut connected to a short drop wire that in turn runs to the 3M connector at the main DCC power bus as seen in the below photo.

3M ScotchLok and wire nuts
I can't imagine wiring the layout in any other way, in only a few hours I had the whole yard wired. The best part was not soldering at awkward locations under the layout and making my neck sore. Actually that was the second best part, the BEST part was finally testing it out.

Taking some NKP GP9s for a spin.
My next plans are to get some turnout controls in place and begin the east end of Adena Yard.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Wordless Wednesday #139

A new 50 pack of of Kadee couplers inspired me to upgrade the plastic couplers on a majority of my RTR cabooses, mainly the Atlas ones. I ended up creating quite the scene in Pine Valley Yard as I upgraded each one. I threw in a custom painted W&LE caboose by Jim Kehn to finish off the heard/flock/gaggle? of cabeese.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Wordless Wednesday #138

A couple pieces of flextrack temporarily link the bridge at MP 193.22 with Pine Valley Yard at one end and the temporary mainline through Adena at the other end. Here a pair of NKP Athearn Genesis GP-9's 468 and 483 take advantage of the nearly 60 feet of mainline run. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wordless Wednesday #137

A neat piece of railroad history rolled through NE Ohio a few days ago. On July 21 Norfolk Southern train 17N contained the Illinois Railway Museum's ex Conrail E33 RPCX #4601 (former CR 4601/PC 4601/NH 300/N&W 230/VGN 130). It sat at Altoona, PA for over a year waiting restorative work but then was shipped back to the museum where that work will now be done elsewhere. The fact that it once hauled coal on the Virginian Railroad's electric lines in Virginia and West Virginia in the late 1950's makes it pretty cool in my book! Chris Ellis Photo