N Scale PRR Track Plan

eric220 Nov 18, 2010

  1. eric220

    eric220 TrainBoard Member

    338
    9
    13
    A small cadre of Gandy Dancers came over tonight. The ROW was extended another quarter mile. It's now within the city limits of Morrow!

    [​IMG]

    A total of 16 turnouts were also hooked up to DCC control. Now I just have to update the JMRI panel so I can control them.
     
  2. eric220

    eric220 TrainBoard Member

    338
    9
    13
    No pix, but I put in some time this afternoon finalizing the installation of the turnout decoders. This was my first time remote mounting a RRCir-Kits daughter card, so there was quite a bit of testing and redoing ribbon cable connectors before I realized that one of my stall-motor driver cards has a dead output. A replacement has been ordered, and this one still has 7 good outputs, so I'll put it aside for later usage. In the meantime, I've updated he JMRI panel, and I tested it with a run of a K4 pulling seven cars on a commuter run. I can now officially run trains in and out of Penn Station River City without having to jump up into the alcove!
     
  3. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    59,188
    3,874
    600
    Enough to really frustrate a person!
     
  4. eric220

    eric220 TrainBoard Member

    338
    9
    13
    Spent a few too many hours in the basement last night. The end result was the completion of the helix.

    [​IMG]

    I'm back to flex track! Unfortunately, I'm also at a standstill in eastward progress until I can get my hands on some code 55 #10's.

    I ran a freight pulled by an L1 down to the bottom. It started out alright, but by the time it got to the top, it had thrown both traction tires. Looks like I need to break out the BF-16's and try the camera car. Maybe double-head some K4's.
     
    FriscoCharlie likes this.
  5. eric220

    eric220 TrainBoard Member

    338
    9
    13
    Ran some trains today and made a video.

     
    Hardcoaler likes this.
  6. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    59,188
    3,874
    600
    I like that trains passing scene at about 45 seconds.
     
  7. eric220

    eric220 TrainBoard Member

    338
    9
    13
    Last week, I received two beautiful new Mk II Tower Controllers, which will provide support for the turnout controls, detection, and signalling for the rest of the upper level of the layout. I plopped them down, hooked them up, and went to my trusty old (and I do mean old) laptop to configure them through JMRI...

    JMRI didn't have the decoder files for the Mk II's... No problem, I'll just update JMRI, which will include the new decoder files...

    Except that I'm two full release versions behind... and the newest version won't run on OS X 10.6... and I can't upgrade the OS any higher (like I said, I do mean OLD laptop). It's right around this time that the case fan starts making grinding noises again. Methinks it's time to replace it.

    With all the talk of people getting JMRI up and running on a Raspberry Pi, I thought I might give it a try. It's an $80 computer, if you get the version with the "deluxe" black case and the basic startup kit, including a 64 GB memory card, so there's not much to lose. A few days later, the Pi was in my hot little hands, and all I had to do was set it up. I want to run it headless (without a monitor/keyboard/mouse) under the layout, so I had to get file sharing and screen sharing set up, as well as have JMRI load on login. In my native Mac world, I could have had that set up in under three minutes. On a Windows box, it might take five to ten, because I'd have to look up most of the settings. On Linux (which is the OS that the Pi runs) it took me the better part of five hours, including a wipe and clean install. I went through feeling my way around command line, making changes logged in as Root (which is no bueno), and trying my hand at writing scripts. Thank goodness this wasn't my first time doing any of that, but it's been nearly a decade. Searching the internet for help yielded all sorts of helpful suggestions that led me to drink. By the time all was said and done, Linux did not make any friends in this household, but I came out victorious.

    [​IMG]

    Thank goodness that's over with. Here are the directions I used to get everything going. (I'm putting them here for my reference as much as anything.)

    Set up AFP and VNC

    Set up Programs to Auto Run
     
  8. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    59,188
    3,874
    600
  9. eric220

    eric220 TrainBoard Member

    338
    9
    13
    Like I said, thank goodness that's over with.
     
  10. eric220

    eric220 TrainBoard Member

    338
    9
    13
    After a couple of days with the soldering iron and the remote-in Pi, the detection has been pushed to Golden, including translating hardware detection to "OS" sections and other signaling details. Not only that, but turnout control has been pushed through to Golden! A simple push button has now replaced the manual turnout throws that were required to turn a train at the Coors brewery. Not only that, I've built a JMRI panel that controls the entire operable dogbone, including a software repeater of the Coors routing button!

    [​IMG]

    Here we see the test M1 rounding Walnut Hill on the way to Colorado. I successfully tested the panel with said M1 by running it in circles and switching the Coors turnaround solely from the panel (web-shared to my iPhone none the less). We're well on our way to a USS style CTC panel.

    The panel also shows my progression in automating turnouts. The solid turnouts aren't hooked up to decoders yet, whereas the gapped turnouts are decoderized and controllable from the panel.
     
    Gravy likes this.
  11. eric220

    eric220 TrainBoard Member

    338
    9
    13
    I hosted the Gandy Dancers over this week and actually got some hardware work done. We started by undoing that which was done on their last visit. :D Specifically, we dropped Morrow two inches to increase the length of the grade from the boot of the helix. That will allow the grad into the Chicago staging yard to be a little less severe (it was going to have to be around 4% before).

    [​IMG]

    One crew was tasked with installing some challenging tortoises.

    [​IMG]

    One member of the team was a proponent of ripping out two turnouts and replacing them with new ones that still had throwers on both sides, but I wasn't so keen on that plan. (I removed the throwbars because they don't fit between the turnout and the adjacent track, and this area functions just about flawlessly.) Instead they rigged up two remote throws by passing the throw wire through brass tubing.

    [​IMG]

    Meanwhile, I broke out the Digitrax equipment that had arrived in the mail just before the Gandy Dancers. I got the PS2012 wired up and powering my DCS200.

    [​IMG]

    Yesterday, I took it one step further and installed the new DB200. I always intended that the layout would have two boosters powering it, and amazingly, I actually wired everything up correctly in anticipation! Not only that, but I located the correct place to cut the correct bus wires to separate the layout into two districts on the first try. Here's the booster doing its thing.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2016
  12. eric220

    eric220 TrainBoard Member

    338
    9
    13
    Ran some trains tonight. I had three trains going on the upper level. A mixed freight hauled by an M1a, a local passenger train hauled by a GG1, and a coal drag hauled by a Q2. It was really nice to get the Q2 out and stretch her wheels. The sight of that Q2 with a 10-foot long coal drag was downright naughty.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. eric220

    eric220 TrainBoard Member

    338
    9
    13
    I put in some work on the railroad This afternoon. The helix had developed a problem. Namely, the joints between sections had started to buckle. The worst of the joints was causing locomotives to walk themselves right off the tracks. When the Gandy Dancers had a guest operating session at a local layout in Alameda a few weeks ago, one of the Gandy Dancers noticed a helix whose levels were lined with metal straps. That gave me an idea on how to fix my helix. I went to OSH and found some 1" aluminum strips that had holes pre-drilled every 8 inches. The first couple of straps went in and were very encouraging. This afternoon I installed the rest of the straps that I bought. (I need to buy a couple more to finish the job.) With the worst of the buckled joints corrected, I ran a train hauled by a pair of M1s that were coupled with Keystone Details 's replacement couplers.

    [​IMG]

    The train performed flawlessly. I even got an unexpected chance to test the helix in a car freefall situation. The train came uncoupled about three cars back right at the top of the helix and survived intact all the way to the bottom. Not a bad day's work.
     
    Rocket Jones likes this.
  14. eric220

    eric220 TrainBoard Member

    338
    9
    13
    Spent some time JFRT tonight. The Pi cooperated, and I had fun running laps with two trains.

    [​IMG]

    I also got my new DCC equipped MRC 4-4-0. I hooked up my Strasburg cars and had a "happy place" moment, despite the crappy MRC sound system.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. eric220

    eric220 TrainBoard Member

    338
    9
    13
    Well, since Photobucket decided a few days ago to take all my photos hostage for the ransom of $400 per year, efectively destroying this thread, now seems as good a time as any to fess up. The Transcontinental PRR is coming down. I'm switching to HO for all the incredible PRR prototype models that are available.



    :D Just kidding, well about the switch to HO anyway. Our house is getting prepped for sale, and part of that is going to involve cleaning out the basement. I'm going to salvage as much as I can, and I'm pretty optimistic about how much I'll be able to take with me. One of our requirements in finding a new place is to find a suitable location for a decent sized Transcontinental PRR 2.0. Back to the old drawing board, as it were! I just need to determine what size and shape space I'll have to work with. I'm thinking that space is probably going to take the form of an out-building of some kind. Won't hurt my feelings to get the odors and noise into a different structure. That would also open up the possibility of open houses without having to trudge people through the house.

    I'll post some photos from the deconstruction as it progresses, but for now, here's the last versions of the plans before being abandoned. The upper level trackage was finished except for the coach yard and engine terminal. Altoona was the only part of the lower level to be built.

    Upper level:
    [​IMG]

    Lower level:
    [​IMG]
     
    Hardcoaler and JoeTodd like this.
  16. eric220

    eric220 TrainBoard Member

    338
    9
    13


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Once upon a time, there was a dream. A dream of a basement empire...

    The railroad tis but a memory. On to the next adventure. </thread>
     
    Hardcoaler likes this.
  17. badlandnp

    badlandnp TrainBoard Member

    2,039
    2,420
    54
    I want to 'like' the post, yet I don't . . .Can't wait to see the next iteration of the Pennsy!
     
  18. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

    906
    45
    24
    Best wishes with the new location and I hope you can find a photo site as good as Photobucket used to be. I haven't been lucky yet. Then fill us in on your new iteration.
     
  19. Doorgunnerjgs

    Doorgunnerjgs TrainBoard Member

    427
    402
    10
    Sad to see! How long was the actual takedown (1:07 seemed rather fast!). Was it hours/days/weeks?
     
  20. eric220

    eric220 TrainBoard Member

    338
    9
    13
    Six years to put up, six hours to take down. Shockingly fast.
     

Share This Page