120 more 'bottle brush' trees added.
Also, added foliage to the black fiber that I, previously, missed.
120 more 'bottle brush' trees added.
Also, added foliage to the black fiber that I, previously, missed.
WOW Sam you sure have been busy! First the signal bridge and now trees! You are such an inspiration !
Thanks, Mike. Gotta' do something during the day, and evening!
Motorists can finally see the road at night!
Eight lamps installed, so far, and eleven more 'to go'.
Would be cool to have headlights on the vehicles. I've got the 0402 mico LED's but not the time!
The fun part. Soldering under the layout! I used the woodland's control module for these lamps.
Street lights finished.
Took half a day (12 hours) to install 21 street lamps.
A little 'clean up' still needed.
Had to use a pair of 'double' lighted lamps at the end.
Next: 10' icing station.
Looks good Sam! that sure is a lot of lights, but really makes a difference!
Thanks, Mike. It's really a lot of lights when you have to crawl under the layout to connect them all together!
Hiring on the night shift for icing reefers.
Lamps installed on the icing platform.
The icing platform is 10' long.
There are two 4' sections and one 2' section which made easy displacement of lamps every foot. Wires were run to each lamp and connected in parallel lines.
The wires were taped to the bottom of the platform....
and then painted black.
Two prong connectors used between each section....
from this company.
This LED tester has, easily, paid for itself. After completion, each section was tested.
Only took about 4 hours work.
Woodland's 'dimmer control' unit used.
Turnout detection on virtual track plan via miniature contacts.
The mainline uses switch machines to throw turnouts save a few places. One is right next to the dispatcher's panel. These turnouts are controlled by cable chokes (hopefully, you younger people know what they are!). The rest of the mainline with the switch machines have toggles on the dispatcher's panel where they, also, send signals to the LCC virtual track plan indicating which way the turnout is thrown. Since these two mainline locations next to the dispatcher's panel are manual controlled by chokes, I needed a contact switch to send a 'signal' to the LCC for when the turnout is thrown. These worked out well and were easy to install from the top of the layout. Trying to install any switch machine in this area would require arms about 5' long to reach them from under the layout. The contact switches are only about 0.45"X0.75" so they can look like motorized turnouts or just camouflage them. The turnout control rod pushes against the 'arm' on the contact switch to 'open' it letting the LCC track plan know the switch has been thrown.
A little vegetation will hide this one.
This is the LCC FOB that the wires from the contact go to that sends a signal to the track plan.
Virtual track plan.
Seattle Jct and Marias pass are the contact locations.
GNRW OPS session:
I had a good time showing off my new scenery and signalling system. Must be about 350 new trees plus vegetation. Total 3-light signals added is 46 with two more 'to go'.
Besides the usual GN engines that 'run' a B&O EM-1, PRR T-1, UP 8500 turbine, N&W A and SF RDC's were in 'the mix'.
Surprised my camera can't take moving objects, especially when they aren't moving very fast!
Ordered enough hardware to remove the old fluorescent lights with LED's. Have:
1) 30 amp, 12 volt power supply for all the LED strips. This will make all low voltage (12 volts) running from the power supply to the LED strips in the ceiling. Terminal strips will be used to route the wires via lamp cord.
2) 15 strips of LED's that are 5 meters long (got the warm white LED's).
3) 4 remote controllers so I can control the brightness of the LED's.
This is another 20 minute run of testing the LLC installed signals on the GNRW. 46 3-light signals have been installed in 23 blocks. Non-scenic areas have been included where there are signals installed. Also, 80' of cliffs have been 'vegetated' with shrubs and about 350 conifers. Lamps have also been added to the 12' ore dock, to the road running next to the Seattle's freight yard and to the 10' icing platform. Three new tunnel portals were also added. This layout is now 40 years old. Visiting the layout appears done but I've got enough projects to keep me busy until I croak. Maintaining this size of a railroad takes a lot of work and there's always something that can be improved: prioritizing those improvements and doing one thing at a time keeps me busy!
Several new topics:
1) New PC:
Needed to replace my old 12 year old PC. My son said I could get a nice one for $800 or a really good one for $1200 so I got the $1200, figuring, getting a new one every 12 years, that's only a 100 bucks a year! Went from windows XP to Windows 10. Also two hard drives at a tera byte each, double write to each for back up: used to have to do this once a month on the old PC (no 'cloud' for me: keep everything 'in house'). The system drive is solid state so this thing is really fast. No hearing 'head movement' when browsing the 'web'.
back lighted keyboard and mouse
Neon lights inside the PC with a glass side wall so you can see it. This is a 'gaming' PC. It took awhile to get the old files to the new PC and learn how to use new windows 10, etc.
2) A visit to John's B&O N scale layout.
3) new capacitor discharge unit to help my solenoid switch machines work better.
Quick to install: 2 wires in, 2 wires out: I can 'handle' that!
4) A track current detector. Audible as well as visual with voltage range indicator.
5) more trees. 30 large, 30 medium, 120 small and 80 bottle brushes. Except for the bottle brush trees, these trees are different than the previous batch that I bought in that they have brown plastic trunks and limbs. I liked the previous trees that I purchased with the wire for the trunks in that they can be easily bent which was good for the sides of my cliffs.
The large are about 6"
Medium are about 4"
Small are 2"
The bottle brushes are really ugly but, with foam, they turned out nice, amazingly.
They are pretty uniform so I mangled the branches for some variety. Left (before), right (after).
About an hours work using hair spray and foam. The bottle brushes are left box, top and they are, now, presentable. They came with plastic bases. I left some on, sprayed them with hair spray and added foliage to the base while doing the tree to see how they work by just standing them on the layout. The base comes off, easily, so can remove. I removed about half of this batch's bases. Tried making some aspen trees also with the fall colors. See how those look on the layout. This adds another 'layer' of variety of trees to the layout.
Another 25-30 more trees 'sucked up' by the layout!
I put the 'tree stands', as stumps, along the 'right of way': they are 4'-5' away so presentable. I had to remove all the 'tree stands' from the bottom of the trees as it "didn't work out'.
A few aspen plus others 'sprinkled' among the other trees.
A few along the rock cliffs for more variety.
Needed the 'above creeper' to 'plant' the trees.
looking GREAT Sam !!!
Sam, congrats on the new computer! It should make your life a little easier! Nice job on the tree's! They are looking great, but what would one except from such a great looking layout!
Finished 'decorating' the new trees.
The 'bottle brushes' are the left 3 pans. The center two top pans are the 4" and 6" with foam added. The center bottom two pans are 4" and 6" with 'fall' colors and the far right are the 2" which I left 'as is' as they are small and just 'fill in'. Doesn't take long to get trees 'ready': only about 2 hours on these. As before, I mangled the branches to remove the uniform shape on the 4" and 6" trees.
260 more trees added:
The small 2" trees was easily 'planted' by just sticking the trunks into the brush (poly fiber).
Some 'color' to add interest, plus several bottle brush and some 4" trees.
More 2" trees, untreated, planted 'as is'.
Glacier area needed some 'bottle brush' trees.
As did Glasgow.
More 'color' added at Hillyard.
Plus chumstick canyon.
Logging 'switch backs' could use some 'upgrading'.
This area use to be pretty sparse for trees.
Sam, Amazing work! I just hope no loggers come threw! LOL I just love fallowing your updates! Thanks for sharing!
I got this idea of using LED's to replace my fluorescent lights by an article in the NMRA March, 2019 magazine.
First, I had to test what I planned on doing before installation. Another railroader suggested that I video tape under these light conditions as some LED's do not record easily. I videoed the coil of LED's and all looked good on that aspect of the test.
This picture shows the parts to be tested.
I had to connect 110 volts to the 30 amp power source. This power source has 1-9 screw terminals (left to right). 1-6 is 12.2 volts output. 1-3 is the positive, 4-6 is ground and 7-9 is 110 input with 7 being ground. I used a 2 wire with ground. The 110 volt input stranded wires were soldered and then bent into a U and securely screwed (wire on clockwise) onto 7-9 terminals to insure they would not come out. There is a plastic cover over the terminal strip to protect them. Since this power unit is connected where all power is shut off with one switch, no on/off toggle was used. This unit has a fan so it needs to be placed where there is adequate ventilation.
A remote voltage controller is being used so that had to be tested. That came with a 110 volt converter, a two output receiver and a remote.
Last are the fifteen 5 meter strips of LED's (I got warm white).
Power unit with 110 input and 12 volt output.
For the remote voltage controller, I cut off the plug that goes to the receiver and connected it to one of the 12 volt terminals on the power unit. No instructions came with the remote so some testing had to be done. The receiver has two output plugs and an antenna (center in picture). Of the 4 pin outlet, I found the far left pin is the hot (also marked on the plug) and the rest are ground, thus I can connect, at minimum, three 5 meter LED strips to each plug giving a total of 6 LED strips per remote. I have 4 remotes.
The remote keypad has multiple keys. I'm only using white LED's so I only need ON, OFF, increase brightness and decrease brightness. These functions all tested OK. The keypad uses a disk shaped battery which is already in the remote. There is a thin piece of clear plastic that is pulled out so the battery can engage the remote.
LED's on the lowest brightness setting.
LED's on the brightest setting.
Next: getting strips of thin wood to mount the LED's to the ceiling.
Cascade tunnel portals.
Didn't even know anyone made these. Happen to see them when 'googling' for tunnel portals.
One was an easy install, the other will require 'rock' cutting.
Hi Sam, they look great! Do you have a link to there website so I can see if they make O scale?
Here's their web site. Looks like they sell two O gauge tunnels but no cascade ones.
Cascade tunnel portal installed.
Would have been nice to move the portal forward but, with a turnout at the exit, no movement was possible.
Dremel large diamond cut off wheel and grinding bit used to carve area for the portal. Shop vac needed to keep plaster dust to a minimum. Track and area got some paper towels to help keep cleanup to a minimum.
Since original paint used was artist's oil colors, same used again.
Also, some 'brush' vegetation made.
Once dry, I'm figuring the new colors will blend into the surrounding area.
Vegetation added to cover up the cracks. Not an exact replica of the original but, 40 years later, it 'will do'.
LED ceiling light testing:
Hard to tell the brightness via the picture but the LED's that I bought are inadequate for the job. Will have to do some research to get better wattage. Seems like I'm going to need higher wattage value LED's. The LED's I have are labeled 3528's and it appears the 5050 type are brighter but not sure if the 5050 are bright enough. Hope they list LED's by wattage to match the 40 watts of the fluorescent lights.
Interesting video on rail transportation:
OPS session on the East Broad Top Railroad.
Ric Case's layout.
All narrow gauge with PRR standard gauge interchange.
Track diagram plus town names.
Some very nice stone tunnel portals and cut stone culverts. Cast plaster made by a fellow in Canada at a very reasonable price. I bought enough to finish up the rest of my tunnels. No finish but easy to just add some diluted India ink or light paint washes to them. The stone marks wrap around the top of the portal but not the sides but that's an easy fix with a scribe and straight edge. Some of the mainline is right next to the wall so the portals with 'side walls' will help add some dimension to that area.
Extra benefit on the cut stone culverts: thought only got one side so, now, have double. My mainline is all homasote laid on edge and laminated and 2" deep so I'll just paint the small hole black and glue the culverts to the side of the homasote versus cutting out a hole and weakening the roadbed.
web site location on ebay:
A subjective view of LED strip lighting.
In this picture, the left LED strip is 3528's warm white and in the center is the 3528's cool white and the far right is the 5630's cool white.
This is the setup of the far right 5630 strip: I got a PVC made 8' corner molding strip and ran the LED's strip along one side and then back along the opposite side.
This is, obviously, the brightest of the three, although the other two LED strips are only single strand and not doubled as I did with the 5630 strip.
This is the 5630 strip and, visually via the camera, it appears brighter than the fluorescent lights (next picture) but it isn't brighter. The keyboard, monitor is brighter since the LED strip is, directly, over this area. The distance from the LED strip to the table is 4 feet.
This picture is with the fluorescent lights on, directly, over the ore dock. In my subjective view, the fluorescent lights provide more lumens than does the LED strips. The fluorescent lights are also 4' above the table. I'm viewing LED strips as good for being pretty close to the subject matter, such as a multi-level layout where the LED strip is only 18"-24" away from the layout. Starting on a new layout, LED lights would be a nice way to proceed. For conversion from fluorescent to LED strips, I'm not seeing a lot of benefit. To produce an equivalent lumens, the wattage goes up on LED's and 40 watt fluorescent bulbs are pretty efficient. I've heard that replacement LED fluorescent type bulbs are only 8 bucks apiece but, when I went to HD, they are around 40 each bulb.
NMRA MCR Div 7 monthly meeting.
After the clinician Lou Sassi presented his 'improving trucks and trains', we visited two layouts after the meeting.
Cincinnati Model Railway Club: O gauge 2 rail.
Sam Swanson's and Nancy Windes HON3 layout in attic and ON3 in basement.
Their house build in 1900.
Landing going upstairs.
This is not a room but the upstairs hallway.
Inside the 'witches hat'.
GNRW operating session.
Order of business:
Pizza first, run trains, discuss speed of light, universe mysteries, eat orange creamsicles, etc.
B&O EM-1 2-8-8-4 freight drag.
Bob brought some SF passenger cars to make the E-1's look respectable.
Jor did some road testing on his PRR 2-8-0.
Joe's SF rdc's.
Bob Chapman's ops session.
Good to see someone under 55 in the hobby!
John Allen's original layout plan.
Sam, looks like fun was being had by all! What a great layout!
Springfield, Ohio spring train show (1 day).
At the fairgrounds: two large buildings connected by a wide building.
The fellow that I bought a bunch of early, all metal Varney and Athearn cars (see last pictures for 'booty' purchased ).
Something new: some well detailed and lighted buildings.
Pretty cool: Husband's wife made these rails out of wood.
Dave from Middletown. Building an O gauge layout.
MVMR club. Some cool bridges.
Bob selling some rocks. I bought 6 packages.
His 'slot' car!
Some nicely detailed scenes.
Some nice pre-war stuff.
Several tables of N gauge.
Didn't plan of buying anything: so much for that theory!
The older fellow was selling a lot of early Athearn and Varney all metal freight cars that he as made over the decades. I bought 38 of them. Not sure why I bought them since I have around 700 cars, presently! Emotion overrides logic!
Some are all wood.
The one exception is a Bachmann depressed flat with load.
Some more heat shrink tubing, some weathered fences, #5 couplers, rock slag and a double slip switch. I only have one turnout not made on my layout and it's a slip switch. After 40 years of use, the one on the layout gives a few 'bumps' on cars, once in awhile, so I bought this one as a 'back up': 15 bucks was worth it!
County court house in Xenia, Ohio
This should have a good size basement for a layout!
Newly acquired freight cars.
The bulk of them are the old Varney or Athearn all metal cars. They need new Intermountain wheel sets and Kadee couplers.
Several have Kadees.
Not metal but unusual so I purchased it.
The rest have no couplers.
A little roof repair needed after some damage during transit.
All wood kit.
Some decal damage but it's GN!
Two of these.
Don't see many Clinchfield's plus a nice flat load.
A few have the old baker couplers which John Allen liked to use. All his pictures have the couplers behind something.
All wood kits.
Reminds me of the Lionel cars.
This one was made out of a brass kit.
Got two more BLI operating water tanks and another on the way. Will have 4 along the mainline where the steam engines will have to stop for water
Impressive drone video of the tehachapi loop:
Didn't know it had so many turns before and after the loop.
The best I can do to duplicate the 4014!
Sam, nice looking water towers! Plus thanks for sharing the video, fun watch!
NMRA MCR Div 7 annual spring excursion trip.
A charter bus used to transport us to 'railroad' interesting locations.
This year, sights around Cincinnati, Ohio.
American sign museum:
Newly installed Cincinnati street cars.
On the 'road' through down town Cincinnati.
Findlay market. food market that was built in the 1800's.
Drink beer while customers and driver peddles a 'people' powered vehicle.
Cohen scrap yard in Middletown, Ohio.
They have two 'critters' for power.
The excursion participates.
Precision strip mill, also in Middletown.
They had one 'critter'.
Remote operating crane to handle 15-20 ton rolls of steel.
Large row of coke ovens.
OO scale British theme layout.
Runs on HO track.
Also a battle historian with battle of Waterloo.
They had a lot of nice antique furniture.