Tuesday, 11 December 2012

What happened next....

... was I worked out that the Scotchlok connectors used to connect the drop wires to the bus hadn't worked. As it happens this doesn't have a material impact at the moment  because for once my track-laying has been good enough to ensure electricity is flowing to all the right places. However I doubt that will remain the case over time. So I think I'm going to raid the tool box for some low tech chocblok connectors.

Fitting a collar onto the wire connecting the switch to the tiebar seems to have worked as well so I should be able to install that permanently one day this week. So if all goes to plan Saturday will be spent ballasting the track  and Sunday will be spent removing all the ballast and starting again building the over bridge. I can't describe how much I'm looking forward to moving on to the scenic work.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Progress of a Sort

So today I decided I really should get some progress made before getting buried in Xmas preparations and a couple of new work assignments that will probably take me out of the country once again.

I had to buy a new soldering iron a few months ago, but in the end never got to take it out of its packet. SO when I did today to start work on the layout I was taken aback to discover just how short a power cable it came with. Fine if you have a desktop socket on a workbench, but not for me. I could have used an extension lead you are thinking, but that would be to forget that it is Xmas and every extension lead in the house has been re-purposed for the festivities.

To some extent I could compensate because the baseboard is so light it is relatively easy to take it to the tool rather than the other way around, but it made everything very awkward, that's my excuse for what follows...

My plan had been to use Tillig's own power clips to attach to the rails, and then solder drop wires through the baseboard from those. I thought this would be less obtrusive than soldering wires direct to the rail with the power clips being relatively easy to hide under ballast.

Unfortunately whatever the trick is to attaching these clips I haven't worked it out yet and having bent several out of shape without them coming any closer to gripping the rail I moved on to plan B and soldering the droppers directly.

Had I thought things through in advance I would have made provision to do this at an earlier stage by cutting away more of the sleeper webs and removing the chemical blackening that the rail has. Trying to do this with the rail and sleepers already assembled wasn't that easy. It probably would have been if I had put everything down and started again tomorrow evening. It usually is. It would also probably been easier if at this point I'd changed the wire I was using, but having already cut some to length I ploughed on. Big mistake.

The net result was I've ended up with some problematic connections, including one dropper that seems determined not to be soldered at all. Unfortunately repeated efforts have probably made the situation worse, so tomorrow some radical cleaning up will be called for before I start again.

The good news I guess is that the track is actually laid now, and mostly connected to the DCC bus. For such a simple track plan I've probably made things a lot more difficult for myself than I needed

Oh then there is the question of the point mechanism. The use of the DPDT is proving problematical. I suspect there is just a little too much springiness in the wire I've got connecting it to the tie bar, but the tie bar also seems to be lifting rather than sliding. I need a think. I can probably put a  collar round the wire to alleviate the springiness.