Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Adopting a "little steps" policy ...

I’ve take a decision: force me to dedicate half an hour of my time everyday ( well, “more or less” everyday) to advance on my layout. That’s the only way to see something moving, given a sad event to my mother-in-law that make like impossible for me to have a whole afternoon during weekends. 
This “little steps” approach demonstrates “very” effective ( you remember the Esopo story about the fox and the grapes? )
Anyway: I’ve finish to wire the DCC track power bus on the two intermediate peninsulas and done with one of the command panels at Burlingame!
To finish the panel I draw it in 3rdPlanit as show, and will print on a transparent adhesive sheet ( pay attention to select a "proper" sheet... if you've a Laser printer and don't want throw away it).

The electronic driver board is one of the “old” Octopus from Tam Valley with fixed angle servo driver ( I’ve another two and want to check if I can use for turnouts or I’ve to relegate to drive in the future a semaphore blade or other animations). The main reason I doubt was my Fast Tracks point: it's very hard to hold in position.
Experimenting some different solutions for the music wire lever, I turned out with a solution as described in this past post: http://valleybeforesilicon.blogspot.com/2011/01/modified-actuator-for-servo.html

Note a short piece of code 55 rail on top of the throw bar that hold the moving wire. I weld it and then made a slot with a Dremel abrasive saw.
This way I use the elastic wire play, to hold firmly the point rail against the side rail leaving the servos to reach his programmed angle. I’ve add to the octopus 8 relay to switch the frog polarity.
See this short movie of the result. To hide the actuator wire I plan to cover it with a replica of the pneumatic actuator that was used on the peninsula Coast line at the time ( and till now too! See this picture taken at 3rd ...OPS... 4th&Townsend in the City):

On the command panel, made by a Forex sheet, I’ve used DPDT  switches (double pole) connecting one pole to the Octopus input and using the second to light a pair of Led indicating the valid route on the front fascia.
I use rectangular LEDs ( mainly ‘cause I’ve already have a bunch of it) but at the end the visual effect … was better than the “classic” ? To fit the leds just drill a couple of holes with your Dremel tool, then file with a little file (Oh, my poor English!) to obtain the squared corners.
Ok, here a short movie of the "thing":