Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Testing Before the Convention

We had a session this past Saturday to test Lawrence's layout plan for the convention in May. It was a success!

Plan by Lawrence V.

Photo by Simon B.

As you can see, we expanded one of the loops to include four of the 1x4 foot modules, showing how flexible they can be.

Loop Modules

Over the winter, we built the loop modules, which will allow us to have continuously running trains at shows. A switching layout is fine for me but the public likes to see trains running in circles, so that's what we do. :-)

Photo by Simon B.

These are actually two modules, each built in two pieces to allow expansion. The modules feature DCC auto-reverse units to handle the polarity problem you get when building a reverse loop. In the photo, they're connected directly together but that's because we wanted to test them after finishing the wiring. They worked flawlessly the first time! :-)

We have operated the loops semi-successfully at one show in March but had problems with the auto-reverse units picking up moisture due to the hot-and-cold cycle of going from the house, to the car, to the show; the result was that they did not work.

Since that time, the auto-reverse units have been dried out and are working flawlessly once again. However, for extra insurance, we've added a bypass switch underneath to "remove" the auto-reverse units and also a DPDT toggle switch on top to handle manual polarity switching. In a test last Saturday, we had no auto-reversing problems.