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Noel

Kingsbridge - Old New Layout

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You can use hand held cabs, it will take a few different makes too. The Roco Multimaus works with it, that has a knob for speed control.

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Well I've been testing the track again in past few days after 10 years of being almost completely dormant, and it still works. A little track cleaning was needed but not much.

 

Forgive poor video, it was taken on a phone and edited very quickly just to get a quick rough clip up. When I get one of the scenic sections done I will take a decent clip using a video camera.

 

141, 071 and 181 at work.

[video=youtube_share;Ya8gRZ4RE6U]

 

You have no idea guys how much the superb layouts and models on this web site have reactivated my interest in this wonderful hobby. You have stirred me to start finishing our layout. For that I thank you. Starting the DCC conversion of the layout wiring next week. I can't wait to start the scenic work, and the next number of years working on the rest of the layout, but obviously some 'play' time too. :)

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Noel, you'er doing exactly what I intend doing when I get my layout going, who cares what 141, 181 & 071 are hauling, it's on your layout & they look just mega, keep the pics coming,

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You have no idea guys how much the superb layouts and models on this web site have reactivated my interest in this wonderful hobby. You have stirred me to start finishing our layout. For that I thank you. . :)

 

well now - lets see, a thanks here on the site is measured in pints and with over 500 members ...mmmmm - no we will just count the active ones and thats 191, and allowing for spillage, you owe us 200 pints! you pick the night and we'll all call over!:cheers: great vid bty and i know i sound like a parrot, but will you keep looking when you get a ninute for the track plans?

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Well when (and IF) I get it finished - I will gladly come to some sort of club meet or exhibition meet and buy a few pints :)

 

... i know i sound like a parrot, but will you keep looking when you get a ninute for the track plans?

 

Your wish is my command! :) I just found the original track plans, but I can't find the slightly revised ones that I actually used. Will explain below. I will try and find the final revision drawings.

 

Original Mk2 Track Plan - Revision Circa 1980

(Slight change to upper level and transition gradient between L1 and L2)

ModelRailTrackPlan5.jpg

 

 

 

Block Section Switch Diagram - Middle Level L1 (All soon to be redundant with DCC :( )

ModelRailTrackPlan4.jpg

 

 

 

Block Section Switch Diagram - Upper Level L2

ModelRailTrackPlan3.jpg

 

 

 

Engine Shed Design (drawn cira 1986) - Actual building 70% complete (see layout pics on earlier thread pages)

ModelRailTrackPlan1.jpg

 

The Changes

 

The original plan was always to get L1 and L2 fully functional and landscaped before completing L0 (single branch line with reversing loop). Back 20 years ago I had planned to build the branch line with Peco fine scale track. The main difference between the plan shown above and what I built, is the transition gradient from L1 to L2 is much more gentle and the upper section on that side is now straight without the twin points to a downhill gradient back to L1 (bottom of page). Also the corner (bottom LHS of page) does not expose L1 track, rather a goods yard and turn table at the L2 station.

 

Block Switch Panels I built 18 years ago - soon to be redundant with DCC

DSC_6528.jpg

 

DSC_6529.jpg

 

Inertia Controller I built circa 1978 from a hobby electronics magazine circuit diagram. Back in the 70s "Inertia/Braking" simulation was regarded as something of a novelty.

IMG_4162.jpg

 

I do like the tactile feel of a rotary knob with stops and visual speed indication. I hope I don't find the transition to HH DCC Cab controllers a disappointment in terms of precision running control.

Edited by Noel

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superb! thanks Noel - will study this well!:tumbsup:

 

Here is another layout design I did when I was about 12. Despite the station names it had a LOT of poetic license as regards track plans having any semblance to reality. Basically it had a twin continuos loop at base level, a terminus, and a transition gradient to an upper branch continuous loop with two branch stations. I spend many hours during school study time doodling designs for either RC model aircraft, model railway layouts, or the odd suspension bridge. (Example below drawn on back of my Geography copy book)

 

One of many earlier alternative concepts

ModelRailTrackPlan2a.jpg

Edited by Noel

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you did that at 12?[ATTACH=CONFIG]14786[/ATTACH]

 

Yes I'm fairly sure that was when I was 12 +/- a year. Drawing was my thing as a child aside from trains, meccano, and lego. I probably spend 1 hour every night in the school study hall just drawing mechanical stuff, planes, trains but never automobiles for some reason :) I was a bit of a frustrated pretend junior architect, loved building things - and dismantling them to see how and why they worked! :) Model trains had it all. Thanks to my dad who ran Hornby-Dublo models under my cot at bed time when I was an infant, and got me a small lego set when I was 4, then giving me a small meccano set for my 6th birthday.

 

This afternoon I quickly bodged some adjustments to the earlier plan using tippex to make it more like the actual real layout plan. Forgive poor quality, it was a photocopy of a photocopy, tippex'd and hand corrected. See below.

 

Old New Layout - Track Plan

ModelRailTrackPlan5b.jpg

 

The middle level twin track continuous loop runs under the upper twin track level for about 70% of its length and the hidden section is not visible on the plan above only the visible section (ie. thru station at bottom of page). The attached image is not 100% accurate, there are a few minor extra sidings in the terminus.

 

PS: I can't draw like that anymore because my hand co-ordination has deteriorated in recent years.

Edited by Noel

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A few more photo's. Murphy Models have helped me realise my dream to run proper scale Irish stock on this layout. A pal came around today (an engineer by trade) to have a play and advise me on DCC and signalling.

 

MM 071 passing on the express loop

DSC_6580.jpg

 

Hopefully in time the goods shed will be replaced by a lime stone block building in the GS&WR style.

DSC_6575.jpg

 

Terminus as 4-6-0 prepares to move wagons to the shunting spur.

DSC_6572.jpg

 

MM 182 on up line of mid level through station (L1). Most of this level is out of view under the upper level (L2). The righthand most platform serves the single track branch line to the lowest level (L0). LMS on the down line. I know the stock is a bit of a mix up, but I like both Irish trains and British outline.

DSC_6571.jpg

Edited by Noel

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This layout has a lovely feel to it, probably only enhanced by the stock mix :)

 

i like it because it you can do the steam and diesel era and feel equally at home!

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In the end I decided to go with NCE for the DCC conversion. I like their HH cabs and price for what you get.

 

The only feature the NCE lacked that might have been nice was to have a database of locos with alphanumeric names for recall by number or from name lists. The Ecos 50200 had that, but wasn't taken by their HH cabs. In the future NCE may probably end up with a more modern base controller which supports iOS or Android tablet apps for configuration and setup rather than rather dated two line mono LCD screens. I believe the existing NCE setup can be used with cab/throttle apps on smartphones, but only indirectly via a separate PC running JMRI. Hopefully future controllers will have a more elegant direct WIFI or BlueTooth interface for direct use with smartphone DCC apps (i.e. not needing a PC in the mix), or perhaps I have missed something.

 

Q1 - Any recommendations for 'wires only' DCC loco decoders for about 40 of my old non-DCC steam locos (Bachmann/Hornby) none of which have any lights. (To be fitted gradually over the years)

 

Q2 - Do 'keep alive' versions work or is it better to stay away from that option?

 

Thanks again for the advice received so far.

Edited by Noel

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In the end I decided to go with NCE for the DCC conversion. I like their HH cabs and price for what you get.

 

The only feature the NCE lacked that might have been nice was to have a database of locos with alphanumeric names for recall by number or from name lists. The Ecos 50200 had that, but wasn't taken by their HH cabs. In the future NCE may probably end up with a more modern base controller which supports iOS or Android tablet apps for configuration and setup rather than rather dated two line mono LCD screens. I believe the existing NCE setup can be used with cab/throttle apps on smartphones, but only indirectly via a separate PC running JMRI. Hopefully future controllers will have a more elegant direct WIFI or BlueTooth interface for direct use with smartphone DCC apps (i.e. not needing a PC in the mix), or perhaps I have missed something.

 

Q1 - Any recommendations for 'wires only' DCC loco decoders for about 40 of my old non-DCC steam locos (Bachmann/Hornby) none of which have any lights. (To be fitted gradually over the years)

 

Q2 - Do 'keep alive' versions work or is it better to stay away from that option?

 

Thanks again for the advice received so far.

 

Noel, I have been using the Lenz system with LH100 Hand helds for some years now, and a year ago set up an NCE system for a friend. I have to say that apart from the feel of the hand held controller, which feels better in the hand than the Lenz, I felt that the NCE system was not a patch on the Lenz system. All systems have advantages, and disadvantages, over other systems, so it is best to try to experience other systems before committing to what is, after all, a large financial investment whatever system you settle for.

As regards DCC decoders, over the years I have tried various makes and models of decoders. The decoder that I found best for my requirements was the Bachmann 3 Function decoder. The price is not excessive and my locos all performed better with it. I would recommend staying away from Hornby decoders, unless you are really stuck for space, as the current rating is quite low compared to other makes. Also, if you are 'hard wiring' decoders into non DCC locos, the wiring on the Hornby decoders has a nasty habit of coming adrift from the decoder. While you are soldering the wire back on, very often another wire will come off, and so on. I have installed many decoders for people, both plug in, and hard wired, but I am reluctant to fit Hornby plug ins, and certainly will not hard wire them any more.

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Thanks Dhu Varren. One thing I was wondering about for my old non DCC stock; might I be better installing decoder by using plug harness types and then plug them into a bare wires harness that is soldered onto the loco (or 21/8 pin direct decoder plugged into a bare wires harness). That way I could remove or replace decoders by just unplugging them rather than desoldering or cutting wires. Appreciate there won't be enough space to do this with tank engines, but there should be enough space in diesels and steam tender engines.

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You can buy chip harnesses very readily, and to my mind they are a great way to 'future-proof' your dcc upgrade. You will be able to replace the chips down the line as needed.

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You can buy chip harnesses very readily, and to my mind they are a great way to 'future-proof' your dcc upgrade. You will be able to replace the chips down the line as needed.

 

Thanks. The more I learn about DCC the more I learn how much I still have to learn. :)

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Thanks. The more I learn about DCC the more I learn how much I still have to learn. :)

 

its true what they say...every day IS a learning day!:)

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Thanks Dhu Varren. One thing I was wondering about for my old non DCC stock; might I be better installing decoder by using plug harness types and then plug them into a bare wires harness that is soldered onto the loco (or 21/8 pin direct decoder plugged into a bare wires harness). That way I could remove or replace decoders by just unplugging them rather than desoldering or cutting wires. Appreciate there won't be enough space to do this with tank engines, but there should be enough space in diesels and steam tender engines.

 

Noel, using chip harnesses is a very good way of fitting decoders into non DCC locomotives, provided there is room to fit the harness and a decoder. Experience has shown that space is a limiting factor in many locomotives, particularly steam outline locomotives, and even with many diesel outline locomotives, it can be difficult to fit both.

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DCC installed with some provisional wiring. Basically I've feed it though my old DC block section panels and switch every section to ON, which in effect provides about 16 drop feeds. Got three DCC ready locos chipped, now to tackle some older steam locos with direct wiring. I went with NCE Pro Cab in the end. Will need to spend may a winters evening learning more about DCC, NCE and programming and fitting decoders. Anyway got three locos running simultaneously, two on upper level and one on the middle level.

 

141 hauling empty coal wagons, 073 inbound

MR_073_141.jpg

Edited by Noel

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Ok after my moaning about jurassic software interfaces for decoder programming, I hooked up our NCE Pro Cab DCC controller to a laptop running JMRI, which in turn could be controlled by the WiThrottle app on my iPhone and iPad over WIFI. (too many acronyms :) )

 

And surprise surprise it all worked! :)

 

Now I have an almost zero cost walk around wireless cab that can operated as a single or dual throttle control. OK the daft laptop has to be running, but it has spared me the cost of buying more cabs and especially wireless ones. An added bonus is I did not have to buy one single extra bit of hardware. Out of the box the NCE controller has an RS232 port so no need for USB converter as I used my retired old Win7 Laptop.

 

WiThrottle iPad app running two locos - WIFI interface to Laptop running JMRI connected to NCE via RS232 cable.

DCC_WiThrottle01.JPG

 

WiThrottle iPhone app - low cost wireless hand held cab

DCC_WiThrottle02.JPG

 

Now if there was a half decent iPad app for decoder programming . . .?

 

JMRI is not bad for advanced decoder programming, especially for speed curves, function mapping and quick access to sound settings. It takes a while to import an entire decoders settings from the program/test track. JMRI didn't have library settings for the popular Bachmann 36-557 decoder (ie. rebadged SoundTrax tsunami). Lots to learn, lots to experiment with.

 

BUT in the end - I now have two wireless cabs for only €9

Edited by Noel

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Noel,

 

DO I understand that the WiThrottle app will interface with any system that's compatible with JMRI?

 

I use a Gaugemaster/MRC Prodigy Advance 2 and MRC have just opened up their software to be JMRI compatible.

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Noel,

 

DO I understand that the WiThrottle app will interface with any system that's compatible with JMRI?

 

I use a Gaugemaster/MRC Prodigy Advance 2 and MRC have just opened up their software to be JMRI compatible.

 

As I understand it YES, but I think you will need to download the latest version of JMRI which is still in beta test, but available for download (i.e. 3.9) and supports MRC. I just checked the latest production version of JMRI Decoder Pro that I am running on my Mac and PC, both of which are running version 3.8, but MRC/Gaugemaster is NOT listed as a manufacturer in the 'Manufacturer' section of the system preferences in 3.8. Suggest you download the free 3.9 version and check to see if MRC is listed in Preferences.

 

Cheers

 

Noel

 

Steps:

  1. Install JMRI on PC/Laptop
  2. Connect PC/Laptop to DCC system (ie RS232 or USB depending on system)
  3. Configure 'System Manufacturer' section of JMRI preferences, and 'System Connection' (i.e. COM Port, etc). Check the bottom of the main JMRI window to see that your DCC controller is listed as 'ONLINE' in green. (i.e. RS232 or USB cable is working and correctly wired/configured).
  4. Add a LOCO to the JMRI Roster list (i.e. choose decoder type and enter loco address)
  5. Test JMRI is talking to your DCC system by trying to drive the loco using JMRI's Throttle Window.
  6. Ensure your laptop is connected to your domestic WIFI router.
  7. Under 'Actions' click 'Start WiThrottle Server'. This will listen over WIFI for any devices running WiThrottle.
  8. Start WiThrottle on smartphone/tablet that is connected to the SAME wifi network. After a short while it should see your JMRI system, and your JMRI WiThrottle Server window should see your phone or tablet.
  9. Choose a LOCO on the phone, SET, and run it. For MRC there may be an earlier step to tell JMRI which MRC cab it is.

 

JMRIDecoderPro38macPrefs.PNG

Edited by Noel

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At last an Irish steam train has joined our layout. 385 via Chris Dyer stand at the MRSI show weathered in CIE snail livery.

 

Newly acquired 385 N-Class on platform 5 with goods van and two CIE snail coaches circa 1950

DSC_6825.jpg

 

Surrounded by coaching stock of the big four - at last an Irish Steam train in our version of Heuston (before the roof is built)

DSC_6828.jpg

 

Have been building up a stock of MM GM's and mix of CIE/IE/IR coaching stock for the diesel upper layout level, now the lower level steam layout has some Irish steam at last.

 

Now to repaint some of my older hornby LMS Stanier coaches to olive green.

Edited by Noel

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Busy place, looks fantastic

 

Thanks, well hopefully it will get a lot busier this winter as I have almost completed 'tooling up' for the start of the scenic work now that the DCC wiring conversion is nearing it's end. It's thanks to the modellers on this forum and Murphy Models that my dormant interest in the hobby was awoken again this autumn. I've got enough locos DCC converted for the moment to operate it a 'little' while engaging in the scenic work over the winter. I'd never thought of a name for our layout until coming on this forum, so have decided to call it 'Kingsbridge' as that what was what I remember Heuston being called in the 60s before renaming in 1966, and for a decade after many Dubliners still referred to it as 'Kingsbridge'. The main terminus on the middle level of the layout is loosely based on an 'artistic' impression of 'Kingsbridge' or at least will be when I start on the buildings. The track layout was designed for 'steam' era operations with the old release road between platforms 4 and 5.

 

My main interest is 60s and 70s operations as well as British outline steam, so this layout will have a bit of split or dual personality. The 60s/70s CIE/IR GM era mixed with 30s/40s UK steam era and hopefully a few 1950s ex-GSWR and ex-MGWR Irish steam trains. My first arrived on the layout last night thanks to MRSI show (i.e. 2-6-0 mogul). Post 071 class my interest rapidly falls off, probably for excellently observed reasons in the 'Dinosaur' thread - reversion to 'childhood' view of an ideal world. :)

 

Upper level through station which has been invaded by Irish stock thanks for Murphy models, yet one GWR/BR Pannier tank pilot loco is on the inner road waiting to be over taken by a MM train of cravens behind a recent weathered 073 addition. Newly rediscovered Lima CIE vans behind weathered MM 183 (before detailing added but at least with apron). The weathering on the 183 was a little light compared to the 073 especially on the roof.

IMG_4431.jpg

Edited by Noel
Lexdisia

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Passing mid day expresses on Crinkle Wood line. 183 destined for Kingsbridge, rear of 073 for Crinkle Wood :)

DSC_6834.jpg

 

Crinkle Wood junction - somebodies kicked in one of the windows on the goods shed on platform 1

DSC_6835.jpg

 

Kingsbridge with new arrival 2-6-0 CIE Mogul

DSC_6845.jpg

 

Once the preserve of British outline steam locos, Crinkle Wood junction is now taken over by Irish trains.

DSC_6844.jpg

 

Can't wait to get started with the scenics next month.

Edited by Noel

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Hi Noel. Great to see the progress you're making and you've already gathered up a nice collection of Irish stock. It's also great to see an existing layout being transformed into an Irish layout- I wish I was at that stage where it was only the scenery that was left to do! You're enthusiasm is infectious! And it's one of the joys of this site! Someone is always tinkering with something amazing and it's brilliant that everyone is willing to share their projects. Keep up the good work Noel!

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A busy day testing DCC + sound on Kingsbridge. Its before the scenery work starts, but you get the general idea of train movements on the two mainline through stations.

 

Turn the volume up

 

 

Forgive video quality, I was trying to hold a phone and operate a cab with the other hand :) Next time I'll use tripod and camera.

 

I'm loving this move from DC to DCC - 20 years and things have moved on for the better. Now to start the scenery . . .

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