Saturday, 15 August 2015

Layout, dcc thoughts and surprises in Carlisle

Well, Ive done a bit more on the old railway...but mainly on the deconstruction side of things!  Theres only one more set of boards to be separated - but as I probably already being a bit mean...(which is mad because Im getting paid a heck load of money at the end of the month!) Ive decided to reuse the baseboards.  So its not just a matter of separating the old ones, its also a matter of ripping off all the old track, then getting enough of the old boards flat so that i can turn them over and reattach the strips of wood to the previously ballasted side for strengthening, leaving me with nice clean surfaces to start laying track on!  And track, thats another thing I need to buy...


Oh i hate hate hate hate HATE respraying stuff!  My dad found some isopropyl alcohol in the garage though, so I was able to use that to get the 3 coats of paint + CSX decals off my AC4400.  But now that I've done the new coat of "Royal Mail Red" over the still doesnt look great.  Railmatch spray cans are supposed to be good, right?  Ah well, I'll just weather it plenty once I've put on new Canadian Pacific Beaver decals, and hope for the best!

Despite all that, I do still want to redo my SD45 in Wisconsin Central!

I just ordered 3x three-function decoders from Lenz, as I'm going for DCC on this new layout.  I'm also thinking of hooking up the old Lenz system John at the club gave me and just look at the waveforms on a scope if I can...though would have to filter out the 15V(?) AC 1st to be able to see the digital data properly.  In fact, at my work recently I was allowed to play with a Microchip PIC development board, and I decided to investigate using the MSSP (Master Synchronous Serial Port) module for I2C communication (said i-2-c or else i-squared-c).  This is a comms protocol to allow devices to talk to each other with a 2 wire bus, invented by Phillips in the 80s I believe.  Anyways, managed to get the module working, but Ive broken the oled display + controller I wanted the pic to talk to...great :(  But Im hoping learning this kind of thing will not only be valuable for my career, but also for potentially building a DCC controller at some point (I know that sounds ambitious...though I bet Donald and Kenny at the club have already done it...)  Alot of projects for that sort of thing online have their code written in assembler though...urgggh.  As my dad said "people only write in assembler instead of a higher level language so they can show off".  I have to agree :P (but only because I havent mastered assembly for even one device, let alone a whole bunch of em!)

Real life trains
A few weekends back I went down to a wedding in Carlisle, and stayed over.  On the saturday, I wanted to go to C&M models on Crosby St. to see if I could pick up any british modern image freight locomotives for my brother, especially as I wondered if they still had a 2nd hand DB Schenker class 66 for only £60.  This was gone already (figures doesnt it?) and most of the decent 2nd hand stuff had gone, but there was still loads of old men crowded round the cases having a look at stuff.  (My girlfriend felt very out of place being the only woman in the entire shop...) There was a beautiful model of Britannia "Clive of India", with DCC sound for only £137, which would have been a real steal.  I ended up chatting with a guy who was obviously sorely tempted to buy this thing, but who "really couldnt...I'll have to loook away!"  

Anyways, found a Hornby DB schenker 92 for £76 and then we headed to the station, as there was a craft fair on there my girlfriend wanted to look at.  Got into the station...and I saw THIS:
Duchess of Sutherland at platform 3, Carlisle citadel

Duchess of Sutherland was sitting at platform 3 with a train of West Coast Railways mk1s, and oh my goodness she looked fantastic!!  After a while she was moved off the train with only 1 carriage, and shunted far back onto another track further south in the station.  A class 47 was moved up to the front, and then the Duchess was moved even further south, presumably off to some kind of yard.  I guess the 47 was taking over for the rest of the trip!
I had never seen a de-streamlined Duchess before so this was a real treat!!

This was later on when theyd shunted her backwards toward the south-east end of the station


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