So like any model railroader knows, having something on the calendar only intensifies activities to get things done, and I have been diligently chipping away at my to do list of things I think are essential to hosting an Op Session. Short of cleaning the track and loco wheels (which I'll probably do that day before the session), most every critical thing has been done. Now I am focusing on some 2nd tier type items that will make things better.
One of those is the Central Vermont trains. If these do not run in the session, its no big deal. But if I have time, it would be a nice extra couple of small jobs to be assigned. I found that I was short on cars and waybills to support CV operations and a small amount of interchange with the LVRC at Sheldon Jct. So I have been addressing that. Of more concern has been my 'fleet' of 3 CV RS11s. One is an Atlas unit that runs fine, but it's older Soundtraxx decoder no longer does the sound thing. It would be nice to fix or replace that, but again, not critical. The other 2 locos are really nice looking Proto 1000 of Canada units. These have great detail, but for whatever reason, both run poorly, stopping and starting despite clean wheels and clean rail. I'm not sure if it is the decoder (both have simple LokPilot decoders from a number of years ago) or something in the drivetrain or pickup system. I probably need to remove the decoder and see how they run on straight DC first. This may or may not be possible by the 24th. So I could annul these trains, or use borrowed power, perhaps a MEC GP7 with a sticky note attached with CV on it perhaps...
I had a some extended time last night and decided to tackle the install of two more UP5 panels for the Digitrax Loconet system. One extra one at St. Johnsbury at the north end, and one at the Gilman paper mill. These will allow each "action" location to have a panel should there be wireless issues. I figured this would take maybe an hour and I could also move on to some other items. Wrong.
I cut the holes in the fascia no problem, I do run the common wire to provide daisy-chained power to each panel, and these two would come off an existing feed nearby (I power two separate branches of UP5s from 2 plug in transformers, plus have a UR91 and UR92 each separately powered). I also had to cut and run Loconet cable. I will say running wires is much easier when you do it before scenery and such is in place. Once in place, I disconnect the Loconet feed from the booster and test out the panels to make sure they are getting power properly from the common supply. If so, your plugged in throttle will start up and then the light will blink indicating no Loconet signal (using a DT400-series throttle). Well it seemed that the 2 new panels, and 1 existing one did not pass this test. After some time, I traced the issue to one panel not have a good solder connection on the feed wire and this caused issues downstream. I'd prefer if Digitrax made this common wire connection a screw terminal also like the others for track power. Oh well, that cost me about an extra 30 minutes. Coupled to the difficulty in routing the wires, and the decision to more logically route the Loconet bus with the 2 new panels, and I was past the 2 hour mark. Well at least that task is done and crossed off the list. It also is reassuring to have successfully tested each panel prior to the session, so that is a bonus.
|A closeup of the Hardwick Farms stand. An LVRC train exits the Fisher Covered Bridge while the rest of the town of Hardwick is in the distance. It's pumpkin season!|
Looking forward to the first session in 2 weeks. Still more I want to get done before then, as I really want to have as much success as possible in that session. Unknown issues are bound to occur, I just want to have addressed as many of the known issues as possible!