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Monday, January 18, 2021

Boards a-Buckin'

 Constructing a Berkshire Valley Buckboard Kit

The demise of Jordan Highway Miniatures caught me completely be surprise. I needed those horse drawn vehicles and early vehicles to populate the busy streets of my multi-era layout! But it seems Berkshire Valley Models has stepped up to fill some of that void left by Jordan. So I thought I would give them a go by starting with their buckboard kit.

The Berkshire Valley Buckboard dodging trollies.

Their kits are laser cut wood with tiny parts. Bust out the Opti visor, this is going to require a steady hand!
Before construction started, I painted all the parts with a thin wash and dry brushing of craft acrylics (Folk Art and Americana). After construction a lot of touch up painting was required as well.

I also ordered and painted up one of Berkshire Valley's Harnessed Horses. A Preiser figure was added as the final touch.

Not bad!
Yes sir! 
Not bad at all!


Monday, January 04, 2021

DCC Turnout Control

 With the Success of Automating the Control of the Streetcars, I'm Moving Ahead with the Automation of Route Control.

This means replacing the old NJ International Twin Coil 'Snap' Switch Machines with Servos and Decoders.

Tam Valley's Singlet II Servo Decoder with Servo oughta do it.  I have 8 turnouts on the layout so to drive all these servos I will use...

    Tam Valley Depot Octopus with OctoCoder. The Octopus allows for the manual control of the turnouts while the Octocoder allows Loconet to communicate to the servos decoders which will make computer control of the turnouts possible.  I lucked out as one of these setups will power up to 8 Singlets. 

Control panel with controllers installed. It's not lit up yet since I haven't installed the servo's yet.

    The instructions state that its best for the input wires to be short and the servo wires to be long. So I installed the Octopus inside the control panel next to the servo controllers.

    Under the layout, DCC turnout control will simplify this wiring substantially when I replace the twin-coil switch machines (four of which are visible in this shot) with servos. Each servo will have just 3 wires compared to the 7 required for each of these machines! The capacitor on the lower left will also be eliminated. The cable left of center is DCC from the command station to the overhead trolley wires and BDL168s block occupancy detectors. A couple of wires from this will go back to the Octocoder allowing for Loconet communication with the turnouts. The twin cables in the center was the turnout wiring to the old DC control panel. These will be replaced by a removable cable from the new control panel for the servo wires.

    The control panel is built to be removeable so that the layout can be more easily moved. So a connector is needed for the cable from the control panel to the servos. John McWhirter was generous enough to gift me this one (Thanks John!). Wires from the Octopus will connect to the large end of this. The small end is attached under the layout and wires from the servos will connect to it.

Alright- I've got a lot of dewiring and new wiring to do. So lets fire up the soldering iron and get to it!

Yes sir! Get to it!