Thursday, April 20, 2017

A Step Forward, Then Back, Then Forward Again

I've written here before of my ongoing focus on doing things once - not having to re-do projects due to mistakes or less-than-stellar work.   In a cumulative hobby like model railroading, progress of any sort adds up to great results, but having 'do-overs' sets us back.  Well, you win some, and you loose some.


Here's an image of ML-482 rolling downgrade in the morning through CP 277.  This past week I had to 're-do' the ditch light installation on the lead locomotive, Conrail SD50 6712.  One of the ditch lights had burned out.  Frustrating!  I opened the unit up and found that one of the wire leads had become entangled in the drive shaft, which had sheared it right off.  A simple fix, and a good reminder to tape wires out of the way of moving parts.

However, several hours later, the other light went out.  Now I'm getting really frustrated.  I decided to look at the manual, and thanks to Alex Lang's advice, learned that the resistors on LED lights will only support one LED.  I had wired both bright surface mount LEDs to the same resistor, and burned out the channel in the decoder.  No good!

Thankfully, JMRI's DecoderPro easily allows us to re-map functions to different buttons.  Since there were other light function channels that had not been affected by my mistake, I remapped the ditch lights to that function, and wired each LED to its own resistor.  A test showed we were good to go.

Here too are shots of ON14's power in Onondaga Yard:


And, a shot of the maintainer's view of the CP282 westbound signals, from the cat walk:


Sometimes, even our best intentions can still lead to mistakes, and in those cases we need to take a breath, learn from the mistake, and move on.  Lessons learned can be worth the cost of a mistake, and in this case there is no doubt.  As more ditch lights come to the fleet, this lesson will save me plenty of mistakes to come!

~RGDave

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Moving Trains on the Onondaga Cutoff

Here are a few videos for you all of the last operating session.  These are minimally processed, taken straight off the iPhone I had available, but I think they give a good sense of what we do each month, when we model the operations of a certain day and night in 1994 or 1995.  

First, we have Conrail TV-9, a westbound piggyback train from Boston, coming upgrade through the approach-lit 275 intermediate signals as he approaches CP 277:

video


And, here is TV-556 coming downgrade at CP 277 later that day, with an all-SP (and D&RGW) consist up front as was typical for that train in this era:

video

The operating sessions remain some of my favorite ways to enjoy this hobby, combining modeling with operation and personalities.  We are able to re-create the atmosphere of the railroad on a model of it, and the experience is quite reminiscent of Conrail.  That will only improve as scenery grows more complete and as the crews get more familiar with the operation.   As we say often on the OC, the best is yet to come!

~RGDave