BN Ottumwa Subdivision

John Raid Dec 31, 2020

  1. John Raid

    John Raid TrainBoard Member

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    I moved a little east of the Mississippi bridge and decided to replace the cardboard HWY 34 overpass with styrene. I scratch built the bridge from some 0.040" sheet and 5/32" I-beams. I put BLMA k-rails down the middle. You can't tell it from this angle but the road is curved, super elevated, and arched. I still need to make the support piers.

    I masked for the stripes an used reefer white and UP Armor Yellow. I've finally decided I'm sick of trying to spray acrylics and bought some Tru-Color. This seemed like a good project on which to try it out. I like it. It took a little futzing with but once I thinned it enough I was pretty pleased. It doesn't cover quite as good as Floquil used to but it dries quick, doesn't stink too bad, and most of all doesn't clog my airbrush and splatter. I also still need some gravel shoulders and guard rails. And I really really need to do my photo backdrop.

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    I also built a signal for the other end of the Connett control point. It's a Showcase Minutures kit. I'm not sure I did it justice. They are nice kits. Of course I tested the lights at each step and once I installed it the bottom red doesn't work. Arg. I'm hopping it's a cold solder joint? I'm not real excited about replacing the LED.

    Now I have to do the one for main track 2. All told the signal took me about 15 hours, 3 of those were trying to shove 7 40AWG wires through a 0.035" OD brass tube, 3 for each light and 1 for my IR emitter on the mast for the detector. The mast is +3.3V supplying the anode of the LEDs. I'm not sure it's actually possible to get 7 wires through the tube, but the next one I'm going to start with the wires at the bottom and feed them out through the side hole and then solder them to the LEDs.

    IMG_2942.JPG

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    Trains, Joe Lovett, Allen H and 13 others like this.
  2. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Superb signal work.
     
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  3. BNSF FAN

    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

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    Signals look great and so does that highway!(y)(y)(y)
     
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  4. John Raid

    John Raid TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks! So there's at least as much under the layout as there is on top. The signal LEDs are driven from an i2c I/O expander based on an SX1509 breakout board. There's room for the other signal on the near connector. I have one of these for each end of the control point.
    i2c signal head driver.jpg

    The I/O board is driven by a Teensy 3.1/3.2 from PRJC. I mostly just solder on connectors to interface to detectors, signals, and panels. I wrote a fairly simple Arduino program to read and write bits based on Michael Adams's excellent ArduinoCMRI library. Note: the code is pretty specific for my layout in the event the JMRI isn't running so the signals use local panels and detectors. Regardless when it's talking JMRI it's just a bunch of inputs and outputs.
    Teensy Pinout.png

    I designed and built my own IR detector boards. They filter out 60Hz and provide gain with a threshold adjustment so the detectors work the same with layout room lights off or on. Each board can interface 3 detectors to a Teensy data concentrator. I also use them for turnout position.
    IR detector.jpg

    The C/MRI bus is on the back is RS485 and interfaces with a breakout board. I modified them to allow me to connect ethernet cables from one to the next around the layout. They are also powered from a 12V accessory bus with some small regulators I found on Ebay.
    Teensy data concentrator.jpg

    Finally JMRI running on an old laptop provides the logic reading all the panel positions, turnout positions, IR detectors, and other signals to generate the correct logic for each signal.
    JMRI signal config.jpg

    Now to figure out why my red LED doesn't work. It wasn't a cold solder joint Ugh.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2021
  5. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    You guys that do all this fancy electronics stuff are just amazing ! (y)
    It's all 96% Greek to me...although its still somewhat easy to understand. :)...:coffee:
    Like I said...it's amazing what you guys accomplish electronically (y)(y)
     
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  6. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

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    I agree.(y)
    Back in the late '80s and '90s I help wire the big layout and some computers. But, there wasn't any of this DCC stuff.:confused: But now that's what I have for power.
     
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  7. John Raid

    John Raid TrainBoard Member

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    Over the weekend I got the other signal built. It went much better than the first one. I had to pull the first one off the layout and found out I had one broken wire and one shorted. After repairing it I decided to protect the bottom where the wires came out of the mast with a dab of crystal clear. I was able to get all 7 wires to fit in the second one and had no issues.

    As far as JMRI they work great with detectors and following the next signal but I can't figure out how to get them to show diverging routes. Well I got is set up using Logix and it works once and the goes batty. I think there are bugs in Logix (as noted in the release notes). I don't really want to become a JMRI developer.

    I think 3139 passing the signals makes for a nice scene. I modified that Kato GP50 from a phase I to a phase II back in 1994 including building an angled blower housing out of brass. If only it ran as well as it looks.

    BN3139 Eastbound at Connett.jpg
     
  8. John Raid

    John Raid TrainBoard Member

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    I finally got sick of the hole in the layout and decided in install the turn table. I had been concerned that I didn't have enough room between the tracks and South Main Street but then I found aerial photos and it turns out the CB&Q had the same problems. BN tore the roundhouse down in 1980 and the turntable in 1984. I model 1995ish but we'll overlook that because everyone needs a turntable. I was considering just running rails over a gravel circle but I'm glad I decided to bend the rules.
    Burlington Turntable layout vs 1970.jpg

    So I thought I would do a quick 3D print of the pit and table and move on. Two months later.... I pretty much ended up scratch building the pit and turntable. I scored ties on 0.040" styrene, soldered feeder wires to code 40 rail and CA'ed them to the deck. I bashed the center from a Central Valley through truss kit and added beams from styrene T.
    Pit.jpg
    Turntable deck.jpg
    SD40-2 on turntable.jpg
     
  9. John Raid

    John Raid TrainBoard Member

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    After installing everything I graveled and detailed. There's still quite a bit of work to do including the control shack and motorizing it, but I think it's time to move on. Maybe I'll tackle the Burlington depot next or finally finish the station platforms.
    BN2813 on turntable.jpg
    BN3139 with expaditer.jpg

    Finally a couple of pictures my dad took of the roundhouse and turntable in 1970.
    CB&Q Burlington Roundhouse.jpeg
    CB&Q NW12 9206_1.jpeg
     
  10. BNSF FAN

    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

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    John, that turntable scene looks great! I like how it really has that well used look to it.

    Those pics from your dad are priceless. Thanks for sharing them too!
     
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  11. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

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    I would like a turntable but not the round house. I have seen them in use in yard work but never a round house.
     
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  12. Allen H

    Allen H TrainBoard Supporter

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    Nice update and models John.
    I was have been wondering about updates on your layout. Always enjoy them.
     
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  13. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    The new TT looks great! The early BN-era pics are a gold mine!
     
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  14. John Raid

    John Raid TrainBoard Member

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    Ethan came home from College for the Thanksgiving break. He said we should run the California Zephyr that had been sitting on the glass shelf for ten years. I said sure. Well that turned into some publicity photos, followed by some run-by videos, eventually leading to a full-on Movie with a shot list, red lined script, and some choice words for some signals that didn't want to behave.

    We made the video in style of 1950s advertising travel logs. While we model the Burlington Northern in 1994, we thought it would be fun to run something from the past. The train is from Kato with a MicroTrains RPO.

    I really liked the sunset shot. We created it by putting an orange BNSF hardhat over a desk lamp to provide twilight on the backdrop.

    Enjoy.

    CB&Q bridge meet.jpg

    IMG_0796D.JPG


     
  15. BNSF FAN

    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

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    Great to see an update John. The video is really cool. You and Ethan did a great job with it and making it have that '50s era publicity film feel. (y)(y)(y)
     
  16. DeaconKC

    DeaconKC TrainBoard Member

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    That was really fun! Kudos to you guys for making such a fun video.
     
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