The D&J Railroad -- From Scratch

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Ken: It's nice to have a room that size for a layout. Is that cinders you used for ballast in the yard next to the grade in your last video? I'm thinking of using black cinders for ballasting my future yard expansion.

Thanks.

Greg
 

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
It is black ballast or coal. It reacts different to water than the regular ballast does. It floats on the wet water which makes it hard to work with.
 
Ken:

Have you tried using straight alcohol as a wetting agent? I had the same problem with real coal and alcohol did the trick.

Just my 2 cents worth.

Greg
 

montanan

Whiskey Merchant
I used what looked like coal in one of my years, but for the life of me, I can't remember who put the stuff out. Went down quite easily with no problems.

htc 146.jpg
 
Ken:

I also used Woodland Scenics fine black ballast for the spur. Works great.

Chet: Your yard look very realistic with the black ballast. How does that rotary ground throw that's in the left hand side of the photo work for you? It looks interesting and I may use them for my future yard.

Greg
 

montanan

Whiskey Merchant
Greg - They work fine but they are a bit delicate. The do have a signal that rotates with the turnout, but I found it got in the way of my 0-5-0 cruising over the yard area.
 
Getting back into a day to day routine here. This past summer has been very busy for being retired.
I hosted an op session this past Saturday on the railroad. That took a few days to prep for. The op session started out with a glitch in the Digitrac system as it showed a Max Slot on the hand throttles. I did a quick reset of OpSwch 39 on the master station and all was good.
I did a little resetting stuff this morning and captured this video.


Next op session will be a steam only operation. Preferably locomotives with smoke. Theme will be, "Smoke it Up". That will be in November sometime.
 
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Good Afternoon Everyone....home from the cabin. Fall has arrived 34 degree on Saturday morning.

This afternoon working on why the ditch lights don't flash on my new locomotive, well almost new just took it out of the box after purchasing it two years ago. Never worked with LokSound CV changes.

Ken:
Nice video. DCC can throw DCC operators some curves. I never had a Max Slot with my system, thank goodness.

Brought home a can of faded red spray paint. Will work great for painting brick work.

Have to run...

Later.

Greg

##################
 

montanan

Whiskey Merchant
Nice to see you back posting. Enjoyed the video. I can relate to sometimes being busier after retirement.

I am getting DCC lessons. Staying busy at my club which of course is DCC. I am still pleading ignorance, but the guys have been very helpful.
 

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
Did some experimenting today with the boosters on this empire. As I had built this empire, I planned it out for 1 command station and 2 boosters. When additional power systems beyond the primary command station are used, power levels must be exact on or some decoders won't play nice when crossing from one power district to another. The Digitrax DT and DB tend to drift a little bit from time to time in their voltage levels to the track. This causes locomotives to kind of stumble across the insulators between the systems, especially BLI locomotives. They will come to a complete stop then resume speed.
I eliminated the two boosters and wired the command station directly into the Power Managers of both power districts that had the boosters. After sorting out a couple of reversed polarity between the districts, it all was working fine and I could drive a loco from one power district to another without interruption.
The command station is powered by the Digitrax PS2012 which is set to HO power level.
I wanted to see where the load limit was by how many locomotives could be running at the same time. I had 10 steam locomotives sitting on rails idling. I started adding diesels with sound to the track and MUing them to one address. I had 16 in a single consist when I started getting overloads on the district PM. That was a total of 26 locomotives, all with sound and some with smoke.
During op sessions I might have about 15 locomotives on the rails at any one time, so this is good to know and it makes life easier with one command station and not have to balance boosters.
So 2 DB150s and 2 DB200s on the shelf. I might ebay them someday.
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
This afternoon working on why the ditch lights don't flash on my new locomotive, well almost new just took it out of the box after purchasing it two years ago. Never worked with LokSound CV changes.
What is your new locomotive Greg? Some factory Loksound decoder installs e.g. Kato SD80MAC, don't provide for flashing ditch lights. All they have is 1 LED each end for all the lights via plastic light pipes.
 
These tasks are getting to be painful.
Building the hand rails for the bridge is getting frustrating. I built handrails for three catwalks then when I installed them on the bridge they were to tall. Wouldn't fit under the cross beams. Have to dismantle them carefully then cut them down about 1/16th inch while trying to save the horizontal parts.
Working on the layout wiring. I eliminated the two boosters and conducted the op session with no shortage of power. Now, I'm using the Digitrax Loconet Repeaters (LNRs) to isolate the BDL168s, SE8Cs and the signal control laptop. Basically this puts the data traffic of each item onto it's own loconet cable back to the command station. Panel three is 45 feet from the command station. Panel 2 is 60 feet and panel 1 is just a few feet. The run of loconet cable to the signal control laptop is almost 80 feet. There is no practical way to put the laptop closer without running exposed loconet tacked to the ceiling or wall. I want to keep it a clean appearance. Crawling around under the benchwork is a real aerobics workout. The reason I'm isolating the boards is because of a few instances of run away trains during op sessions. I think it might just be too much data on the loconet cables from the UR91 and UR92s. Putting each item on its own loconet will decongest the runs.
 
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montanan

Whiskey Merchant
Ken - Good luck getting everything sorted out with your layout. Sounds like you opened a can of worms.

Thanks for the updates also. Sure missed your posts.
 
Getting it sorted out this morning. A little troubleshooting steps has narrowed it down to a probable loconet cable joiner.
I ran out of time this morning but should be able to pick back up on it this evening when I get back from my daughter's house.
 



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