Sunday, March 31, 2013

March Update

Well after a productive February things came to a grinding halt in March. My wife spent 26 days in hospital following a post op complication.  Most of the Round Robin Group have been away as well so March has been a bit of a "Dud" for modelling time.

However I did a few things to take my mind or attempt to take my mind off the family issues.  I spent some time on the fixing up damaged Athearn Ore Cars, Broken Relay Bases, Flintston Control Panel, un-boxed some Rolling Stock and I Programmed some locos.

Athearn Ore Cars

I purchased the three boxed sets of six low side ore cars. Upon opening two of the three sets to fit Kadee couplers many ladders and bake wheel assemblies were loose in the packaging.  See the second set which was in better nick than the first....

I sent the following message to Athearn via their website: "I have just received my three sets of six SP low side ore cars (97676, 97677, 97678 which arrived by FedEX nicely & securely packaged with no signs of damage from Lantz Hobby Shop, Horseheads NY.  Upon opening two of the three sets of which the exterior of your packaging was in perfect condition, many of the handrails and brake wheel assemblies were not attached and loose in box.  Further some ladders and brake wheel steps were missing. " 

They responded promptly with: "Please note that we need your shipping address in order to complete your request. We will send one the # ATHP94997 LADDER SET 26'ORE CAR parts to you at no charge."

I responded with: "Thanks for the prompt reply. My address is: ....  One question does the ladder set include the brake wheel step as I have two of them missing?

They responded with: Please note that the ladder set includes. Four rung side ladder (2)
Two rung side ladder (2) Four rung end ladder (2) Two rung end ladder (2) Two brake wheel (2) 
Please let us know if is one set is enough?

I responded with: I had a detailed look at the 12 damaged cars and have found that there are: 3 x Four rung side ladders, 5 x Two rung side ladders, 1 x Four rung end ladders, 6 x Two rung end ladders, 3 x brake wheels    that are bent or broken and require replacement.  This will take three sets.

A few days later 3 sets arrived down under - Thanks for the prompt service Athearn!

And here they are on the layout after reinstatement at Huntington:

The new low sided hoppers on the left with the older high sided hoppers on the right.

Relay Bases

I use 4PDT relays to transfer control of turn outs from the main to a local control panel.  I buy them on eBay from Hong Kong at 1/10 th of the local retail price.  However when i received the last delivery four of the twelve has pieces broken.

I messaged the eBay supplier with the pic and: "Hi I received these in the post today along with the relays and on four of them the cable deciders were broken in transit. Can I get replacement ones please?"

Within a few hours I got this reply: "Hi, I will send you 4 replacement item asap. If you have any questions, please feel free to let me know again. Thank you."

Good customer service again!

Flintston Control Panel 

Last month it finished here

This month the basic panel wiring has been completed.

Still to install is the two sets of Double slip indications, CD discharge unit below.

The Bi-colour LED's for the Panel

And of course the commissioning too.

Programming Locos

I have four groups of locos: Freight, Passenger, Commuter, Ore & Shunt.  Each group has its own acceleration and deceleration rate and top speed settings (see Loco Programming Standards below).  This will help me with either consisting or running helpers. I use JMRI in ops mode connected to my test track for configuration.

This month I have programmed up: my two new Atlas Gold Series Fairbanks Morse locos ready for commuter service and my Proto 2000 F Unit Ore Train consist and all the locos now have balanced speeds and acceleration & deceleration rates.

The Proto 2000's were interesting to setup. I found that CV23 on QSI V7 works to vary the acceleration rate but some V7 decoders - releases 150 & 158 respond slightly differently.... or is it the motors?

The final values were:

  Fwd Trim
Rev Trim
6315_F7A QSI_V7_Model_158
6320_F7A QSI_V7_Model_158
8215_F7B QSI_V7_Model_150

I guess the motor characteristics of the two F7A’s are quite different!  Perhaps 6315  & 8215 have a very similar motor to 6320?

Rolling Stock

I un-boxed two six car sets of BLI hopper cars that had previously been fitted with Kadees.

Ready for test running

Thanks to those that continue to help me achieve my ambitions and hello to all my followers!

Till the end of April.