Thursday, 28 February 2013

422s Have Arrived.


The postman "Played Well Done Good" today with the delivery of the long awaited order for Auscision's 422s

I ordered 42201 & 42205 as delivered & thought i would post a couple of shots to celebrate the arrival.

Out of the box, they are impressive in every detail.  I can't wait to fit DCC & a voicebox & in this instance I may just order a couple of Loksound "projects" from DCCSound in Victoria when they are available.  This will allow me to sample the latest that Loksound has to offer & who knows I may be a part time convert.  With this in mind I am not in a position to offer an opinion of running qualities...

Following all of the mixed comments regarding locos being released with crews at both ends, it is probably understandable that Auscision have decided to include crewing at one end only ( unless mine missed out on a relief crew )

At this early stage...the only item i see that will be an issue is the sander pipes.  These items may be a pest as time goes by as they are very fine & can be dislodged quite easily & may well pickup on points etc etc...

Anyway all in all a very nice model of a fine NSWGR prototype.

Friday, 22 February 2013

O, O, O, It's Big!!!


Following a fairly hectic week I decided to have a sicky today.  Yes i know most of you are aware I work for myself but about twice a year I gift myself a day off which keeps me mentally in touch with salaried workers.   These "sickies" normally coincide with a busy work schedule & that's the magic of taking a day under those circumstances... It is pointless taking a sicky unless you feel guilty about it!!!  Mind you I don't get paid....but sometimes it helps the soul.

Earlier in the week we took delivery of an order of basswood & other stuff which should have included a large quantity of 3mm/ 1/8th sheet.  This material was earmarked to commence production of the first two timber road bridge kits but Murphy's Law kicked in and half of the order went missing during shipment.  After kicking the cats around for about an hour I decided to look on the bright side of things & that was the fact that the 6mm or 1/4" sheets had arrived & so a start was made on some O Scale items we had in the pipeline....

We were approached by Gary from The Model Railroad Craftsman, a while ago, who expressed interest in our long mothballed "O" range of products but specifically enquired into our ability to "upsize" the timber water tank stand.  Of course I relished the opportunity & decided that today was the day to create the tank stand on steroids. I am of the understanding that Gary has a tank on the boil & at this stage we will supply him with componentry & see what he comes up with.....To move Gary along...give him a call to discuss details & tank arrival timeframe. 

Before i go any further & run the risk of a Railpage type verbal scale/gauge exchange...The tank stand is being manufactured to 7mm scale...but with the size of this unit...1/4" followers should not be offended either.

In comparison, the only real difference ( apart from shear size ) from the HO kit version is the economic viabilty of producing the columns & bearer assembly in one piece.  This variation is of little significance with the size of the components proving very easy to assemble.

I have included a couple of pics of the first test assembly.  With this now achieved I will measure up, design & manufacture some extra detail items such as brackets & nut/bolt detail & then post some more shots when these are fitted.

I could not help myself & also took the opportunity to get the wire brushes & washes out and weather the assembly while I await a sample tank from Gary so final dimension matching can take place.

Yeh, I know looks familiar

Shot taken in natural light....more highlight work required


Land Of The Giants... An "In Workshop" Traino 44 looks on

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Jumbo Gets A Voice...The Final Chapter


Well the speakers & other items arrived during the week so an afternoon was spent finalising the Tsunami/DCC fitment to 44214.

After perusing the available speakers it was decided to re-examine the original idea of placing the speaker at one end with the decoder capacitor....with the upshot being that speaker wires were run to the opposite end of the chassis & both items now have thier own homes.  The speaker finally decided upon was a 20mm x 10mm High Bass unit as supplied by the ever obliging & patient Warren at Gwydir Valley Models.  The enclosure was modified from an existing larger unit & all now sits well within the confines of the loco chassis end.

A trial was undertaken without the body fitted to ensure that all operated as planned & the trial was very promising.  As per usual the loco will visit the Decoder Pro bench for final tuning.  It is interesting that this loco as well as the 49s appear ( after conversion ) to be a tiny bit jerky at extremely low speed & while i might just be a touch anal, I would like to sort this issue out & believe it to have something to do with the back EMF settings.  I will undertake a crash course in this aspect of programming & indeed if Mr Pilgrim reads this post...he may be prompted to tackle the riddle on his Bylong blogsite...HINT HINT, Ray.

During fitment of the body the horror of all horrors was experienced & that being it would not properly seat on the chassis.   Everything was checked & double checked for height clearances which revealed nothing. It was decided to make a cuppa & have a answer to any problem... this corresponded with a couple of rare visiting 82 class passing the hacienda on a down empty after clearing my head another look was undertaken.  The problem was eventually found & it was due to the LEDs sitting too far forward on the chassis & clashing with the headlight lens in the loco body.  Mods complete & now all fits as it should.

The loco is now in service for the short term until I have a chance to tackle enhancement mods & weathering etc etc.

With regards to weathering... .  I certainly favour heavy weathering but with my chosen era being late 60s / mid 70s  a complete rethink of my normal weathering style will need to be undertaken.  Most of the "second generation" D/E  locos were relatively new or entering service during this period & it would seem more love and attention was bestowed on the fleet in those it would appear that i will have to create more subtle methods where these locos are concerned & leave the heavy stuff for the ageing steam & rollingstock fleet.

Well thats about it with the jumbo conversion...I have learnt a lot & the confidence levels grow.  The next loco class to be tackled will be the Austrains 80 clsss & will post the journey if I haven't bored everyone  #*&%less with this conversion.

Speaker & enclosure fitted to one end...

 Capacitor mounted in the other end...

442 now complete....Lots of detail work to do on the body etc before totally road ready....Choice of handrail material was very questionable on this loco ex factory...

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Jumbo Gets A Voice - Part 2


I can happily state that I continued to fly under the " family radar " again today & have completed three 44 class Tsunami installs complete & have just about finished the 442 install which is the subject of the last couple of posts.

It has been great to spend a weekend disconnecting with work & just fiddling with trains.  I must say though that a couple of exchanges overheard during a weekend where I was having such fun made me think...The first was between two employees at the local newsagent this morning & in part went  "As slow as a wet weekend"  while the second exchange with a similar intent was overheard elsewhere & that was " As slow as a month of Sundays " .

As much as I have heard these sayings many times, the origins of both had me puzzled.  Now I don't know about you guys...but I find that whether a weekend is wet, hot, cold or other....they all go way too fast & I wasn't sure you had a speed option.  The second saying had me thinking that I would like to try this option out... all in the name of research... of course as 30 or 31 Sundays in a row sounds good to me!!!

Anyway I guess I had better complete this post...

The 442 is now completely wired up & has been tested and is operating as it should.  The only issue left to address is the speaker. A search through the DCC section of the workshop failed to uncover a speaker that is a good fit for the intended spot so I will order a number of the correct ones this week so I have spares on hand for the next jumbo install.  I hope Warren from Gwydir Valley is reading this he will be getting a call in the morning....( Yeh I know love my calls...NOT ).

While the attached photos speak for themselves... A couple of things require clarification & explanation I guess. 

The first is the speaker used in the shots...As stated above I have no "fit for purpose" speakers so I utilised a 35mm x 20mm unit roughly mounted in the chosen position so all decoder functions could be tested.  The other item still to be mounted is the capacitor.  This will find a home adjacent to the speaker but I will finalise it's location when the correct speakers & enclosures arrives  The capacitor wires can be seen leaving the decoder & travelling down the existing wiring gallery that is cast into the weight...they then travel adjacent to the bogie ( firmly attached to the inner wall of the weight ) with the capacitor itself visible near the trial speaker.  I originally had visions of mounting the speaker at the other end of the chassis...but both the speaker & capacitor will easily fit at the one end saving the need for running extra wiring.

I will now commence detail work on the pilots, bogies & staff exchangers of the body & chassis...while I am at it I had better replace the handrails underneath the windscreens as both are bowed badly....seems that this issue is a very common problem with this loco.

One last piece of advice i would offer to anyone contemplating this project is to take the time while you have the loco stripped & ensure all parts of the mechanism are cleaned & where applicable lubricated before reassembly....You will never have a better opportunity to do so.

Work nearly complete...Please disregard the speaker & capacitor....

I love it when the calculations work out correctly...The decoder is sitting at the right height & should just clear the inner roof of the body

      A close-up of the new voicebox for the jumbo...

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Jumbo Gets A Voice


After a busy week at work & spending the last too many weekends working I decided that i needed some me time.  So Saturday & Sunday would be dedicated to some sort of advancement on the layout front.

With an invoice arriving late in the week from would seem the 422s are on the way & i found myself  mentally planning sound fitment to these locos.  I then pondered the fact that i had fallen behind on the present the decision was made to carry out a conversion i had been putting off for ages....Sound for the Jumbo.

Surprisingly ( or not surprisingly ) which ever way you look at it, there is not a lot of info on the web regarding DCC & sound fitment to Aussie locos & in particular the earlier Austrains offerings.  Even though i appreciate what info is out there it does not go into great depth & expects some prior knowledge.

While i have fitted a fair few locos with DCC/Sound, I am certainly not an expert in this field but thought it might be fun to post my attempt at fitting DCC & Tsunami sound to an Austrains 442.  This saga will probably take a few posts to complete & I welcome you guys to come along for the ride.

Firstly I must state that i am a fan of Tsunami Sound & am trying to standardise on AT1000 decoders where possible.  In the case of the 442 where conversion is not as straight forward as some other locos...There may have been a more convenient decoder than an AT1000....but me being me... I will carry on regardless.

One last thing... as we go along please offer any info or advice as this may come in handy for me or anyone else intrepid enough to attempt the coversion.

When you remove the body...this is what you are faced with.  As much as the 442 does have an 8 pin plug for DCC fitment, the space available is limited & there is certainly not a lot of room if adding a decoder.  It must be said there is very little room ( read almost nil ) between the top surface of the chassis & the roof of the body.  In my case i have decided to fit an AT 1000 decoder so some modifications will need to be achieved.

       With the diecast weight removed from the chassis, all electrics removed & measurements taken...I have marked out what needs to be removed.

I set the weight up in the mill, removed the required material & have mated the modified weight back on the chassis to check clearances etc.  Of interest in this shot & more for people not experienced in DCC the wiring.  If you compare this shot to an earlier one, you will notice that there are only six wires left remaining on the chassis & they are the bogie pick-ups ( 2 per bogie ) & in the centre are the Motor + & - wires.  Everything else has been tossed.  The headlights from each end have been removed & these will be replaced with LEDs at a later stage in the conversion. 

I now needed to fabricate a place for the decoder to sit & this design is based around the fact that when the weight was milled it exposed the top of the motor.  The material chosen will also give the decoder support & total electrical isolation from the weight.  The two layers( top & bottom of photo ) were laminated to give the shape i required

The decoder mounting plate has now been trial fitted & I will utilise VHB ( very high bond ) double sided gel tape to adhere this component to the weight... decoder fitment can then take place.

The AT1000  decoder is also trial fitted so clearances can be measured & to ensure all is well before rewiring takes place.

The clearance between weight/decoder & roof is paramount...

As can be seen there is now plenty of room for the decoder & associated connections.  The capacitor out of sight to the right of shot will be housed in the opening between the chassis & weight.  Speaker location will need to be decided & LEDs will be fitted in readiness.

So... this is as far as i have gone & if i can fly under Vanessa's radar for the next day or so i will commence wiring tomorrow...Will post again soon.