NP Lester WA T-Trak Z Module Set Project

rray Feb 11, 2020

  1. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    Yeah, I also forgot the darned pit rail again. I hate to have to tear it out again, but I really want it to look like the photos, so this will be the third time I rebuilt the turntable. I'm going to finish the roundhouse first, at least the outside of it. Even so, at least it don't look like this anymore:
    Image1.jpg
     
  2. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    I'll hunt that out, the coaling tower will need to be built too.
     
  3. bostonjim

    bostonjim TrainBoard Member

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    Excellent job. It went from a really bad looking toy to a real model. No room for a roundhouse in my layout. Too much real estate and too many locos. I did see a massive fire that took out the NHRR roundhouse on the Dorchester Avenue side of the Dover Street yards. It must've been in the early 70's. They had another one on A St. in South Boston but it got torn down. The power house chimney still stands as part of the condo complex there now. Jim
     
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  4. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    Made some more progress today. Took all day to rebuild the turntable, but I am finally happy with it. I made a new arch over the bridge, and code 25 turntable pit rail. Added the boards on top of the bridge deck, and modified the electronics, relocating all the tall backside components to the frontside, so I can hot glue it under the module. I plan on wiring an overhead bridge light once it is permanently mounted on the module, with live overhead power wires. The LED will go through the hole, and I will have an industrial shade on it.
    1.jpg
    Here is what the prototype looked like before it was electrified:
    Lester Turntable.JPG

    Here is what the overhead electrical looks like after electrification. I am not sure what points the power wires were suspended between, so I'll take a "Modelers License" on that one and make a best guess. :
    [​IMG]

    Here is a video I made testing the operation after all the component relocations on the board, which highlights, my modelers license taken on the pit... The bottom of the pit has to rotate with the whole bridge. That's the only way I could hide that ugly gear and 16' scale deep pit bottom. MY pit is not round, rather it was poorly molded oblong, causing the bridge drive gear to slip a tooth randomly at the widest point, which is probably why they have manual index buttons on the top of the controller:



    And here is the roundhouse with the annex added, the stall doors installed, and the roof part freshly cut. I'm researching smokejack options, since there is nothing similar in Z, I am looking at all scales to see if I can find a close match for the smokejacks:
    2.jpg
     
  5. bostonjim

    bostonjim TrainBoard Member

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    I like the look of that. The smokejacks are unusual looking. Are they brick with metal caps? The middle one looks similar to one that comes with the London Bridge roof stacks assortment. I think they are still available. Jim
     
  6. Chris333

    Chris333 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Looks like 6 different smokestacks.
     
  7. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    Been sick all week, watched youtube, and classic 50-60's sci-fi B movies then started feeling a little better today, so went to work on installing the turntable controller under the module. Made a template, and drilled 24 2mm holes for the turntable LED's. Instead of doing them all green like the original controller, I used 2mm x 6mm light pipe LED's, with 8 Greens for the tracks used, and 16 Blues for everywhere else:
    1.jpg

    I did not like the huge momentaries that I bought for the project, so I ordered some smaller ones, which should be here tomorrow. While waiting to finish the turntable controller wiring, I started making the chimnies for the roundhouse. In the early photos all the smokejacks were "Round Potbelly with a Chinese Hat" type, for lack of a correct name, and in later photos they were being replaced with "Square Tin Taper with Square Chinese Hat" type. I have to assume they used the Square Tin Tapers moving forward, so I designed one with 13 parts that look close enough, and started making them:
    2.jpg
     
  8. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

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    Dang Robert, that's some good lookin' wiring!(y)
     
  9. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    Yeah, I know huh? A spiral mess, but there are 24 LED's and 4 momentaries, track wires, bridge motor, and power from a buck converter, so the math calls for exactly 66 wires soldered to that board. There comes a point when a box should probably be used, so that will require another couple wires for a power switch. [​IMG]
     
  10. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Member

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  11. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

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    Pheeeew!!!!o_O
     
  12. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    Those look reall nice. You will have to post pictures of how your pit's turned out.

    It makes me want to do a modern engine house just so I can have pit lights, but I don't think they had pit lights in the Lester roundhouse. Still I will have overhead hanging industrial lights, and I will have to illuminate a couple pits with lanterns or something.
     
  13. gmorider

    gmorider TrainBoard Member

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    You were right to redo. If you were not happy with it when installed, I promise you, you will be more unhappy later and will still want to rework the project.
     
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  14. Heay Equipment Designer

    Heay Equipment Designer TrainBoard Member

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    This is really coming out great Robert. I had the same concerns you did about with the deep well of the Rokuhan turntable and hiding the motor. It really looks like an afterthought and sticks out like a sore thumb. Huge exposed screws all over the place. If I bought one of these in the future as I l plan to, I was going to hide the motor with the control house on one side and a set of access stairs on the other (why did Rokuhan not at least do that?...). But your raised ground takes care of it really nicely. And your bridge looks a 1000 times better than Rokuhan's. Did you look into Marklin's turntable? Just as insanely expensive.... But wondering if it would be better built and run better. I'm pretty surprised with the manufacturing molding issues and everything else you have had to fix with this turntable for the cost they charge for this.

    -Jon
     
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  15. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member

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    Great work! Those chimneys look delicate...
     
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  16. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    I have one of the Marklin turntables, but it's another $400 pile of smoulder too. I also have a Marklin transfer table, yet another $400 steamer! For love of god or country, you cannot get a decent turntable in Z. The only reason I gave the Rokuhan a try was because of it's supposed DCC compatibility. NOT!

    I finally broke down and bought an Arduino training kit, to learn how to do my own electronics and hardware.
    ELEGOO Mega 2560 Project The Most Complete Ultimate Starter Kit w/Tutorial Compatible with Arduino IDE

    Next time, I'm going to buy the $25 Peco N Scale turntable, and modify it for Z. It's the easiest to modify, and has the split rail ring wiper to automatically switch track polarity at the turntable bridge rotates 180 degrees. It just needs an indexing stepper motor controller.


    So I made a bit more progress. I got the smokejacks assembled and applied to the roof, the roof painted flat black and framed for easy drop in, removable access, and I applied plaster cloth to the foam behind the turntable:
    1.jpg
    I also got all the electronics wired in, powering the Rokuhan controller with a 10V buck converter fed from the 12v accessory bus. I found that it works most stable off 10V instead of directly off the 12V for some voodoo reason. The buck converters have both a trimmer pot, as well as 6 preset output voltage settings by solder jumpers, and sell for about $2. I just used hot glue to mount them and tack the wiring in place. 2.jpg
     
  17. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    Surprisingly, they are very robust. I cut full square rings, and there are 4 of them strapped around the outside parameter of the smokejacks, so I can use them as handles to lift off the roof.
     
  18. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    I made a bit more progress today. I put base scenery and static grass behind the turntable, and glued it in permanent. Then after testing electrical operation good, and installed my track templates with mini C clamps, and glued down the cork roadbed.

    I test placed my Lester depot and took an update picture. You can see the circle of LED's to indicate the turntable bridge position, and the small 3mm buttons to index and jog the turntable. Also, the Rokuhan controller's circle was about 2.2" diameret, and i made mine 1.5" diameter to better fit the front facia of the module. The original Rokuhan controller used all green LED's, but I used green for the tracks present, and made all the other ones blue. They are 2mm lightpipe LED's
    1.jpg
     
  19. Heay Equipment Designer

    Heay Equipment Designer TrainBoard Member

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    That sounds like a much more affordable option in this expensive sport that seems to just be getting more expensive. Ebay has all kinds of "all in one" stepper motor controllers from China. I ordered some with some stepper motors to play around with.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/DC-5V-12V-...e=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

    This controller wont do indexing but not sure if there is something you can add to it for the index to line up the tracks without hassle.

    Regardless, lots of cheap electrical parts, motors and micro reduction gearboxes great for z scale experiments can be bought off of Ebay from China real cheap. Once you start looking around in these Chinese electronics stores on Ebay, you start getting all kinds of ideas. It can be dangerous.... If you have not poked around in these types of Ebay stores already, i recommend it. Only downside is that you have to wait one to two months for shipping via container.
     
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  20. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    My Grandpa taught me how to lay flextrack without track nails around 1970. Flextrack was new back then, as was Waltherd Goo in a tube. Prior to the tube it came in a brown glass bottle with a flat wide acid brush lid. Track came as seperate rails, spikes, and ties, or ugly sectional track pieces with a big screw hole to nail it down.

    Grandpa taught that with the tube version of Goo, you can hold it perfectly vertical, perpendicular to the cork roadbed, and lay out the most minimal, finest "Snail Trail" worth of goo, then lay your flextrack on top, press down and give a slight left and right slide of the flextrack, stopping perfectly centered over the cork roadbed, any your track is ready to be painted then ballast. If you changed your mind and wanted to modify the track, you could just peel up the flextrack if you had not ballasted yet. Because you used so little of the Goo, your flextrack was still good, where if you had used spikes or nails, you would have busted ties to deal with.

    To this day, I still use the "Snail Trail" of Goo to lay track. Thanks for teaching me the best tricks in model railroading Grandpa!
    1.jpg
     

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