Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Trackwork at Wollar

The trackwork at Wollar has progressed slowly especially since last Friday morning. I have been battling with something in my eye and got to see an eye specialist this morning to find out that I either have viral conjunctivitus or shingles! I have been stressed recently with almost every facet of life presenting some issue or another. The doctor decided it was shingles so I now have a prescription and a return visit in a month. If I add up the eye wash, a visit to an emergency medical centre and todays visit and prescription I am out of pocket by about $306 until I get back something from Medicare and my health fund. Ok, enough excuses now back to modelling.

I removed the track to expose the baseboard bulges and pondered over how to level them out when I remembered that I had recently purchased a Bosch Multifunction tool with several saw blades. I crossed my fingers and used the flat square ended blade that is about 30mm wide. It worked a treat and I suggest that it could be a standard tool for baseboard work, for instance, I can see that it could also be very useful to cut slots or holes on the baseboard for undertrack magnets, point motors, etc.

I filled any baseboard imperfections and joints with Spakfilla, something I had not previously used for this purpose and found it worked well although it is best left to dry out thoroughly before sanding. I used a sanding block to sand it down and then laid 3mm cork roadbed. I followed this up with Micro Engineering Code 70 track. I didn't have enough of the un-weathered track and had to use a short piece of the weathered track much to my regret. I find that even though I try too remove the weathering back to bare metal I still have some difficulty getting solder to take even though I use flux.

That was where everything was up to when my eye trouble intervened. Tonight I ballasted the track and I used a tool that I have found very useful for levelling out the ballast to sleeper top height. It is an edge painter 'brush' that I found at Bunnings.

Here it is firstly showing the underside bristles.

Now in an action stance, less the copper bar weight I used to keep it upright for the photo (I take time shots and can't keep my hand still enough).

My Z13 now glides along as it shunts the Wollar sidings although I can now see a small dip just before the point in the near track. It is amazing what the camera picks up and shoves in your face on the monitor.

I hope that these two tools might be of some use to someone.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Little Trackwork To Do

For a long time I have been ignoring a problem that now must be fixed. I am sure that the Ramblers have been being very polite in not mentioning it as well. The issue relates to repairs to ballast in Wollar at the front of the layout in the middle of the platform, right under everyones noses.

Here is the problem!

What happened was that when I moved the layout to its present location years ago I took out a section of track about 150mm long on each track crossing a baseboard join  so that it could be unbolted and moved. I replaced the track sections and re-ballasted the small sections of the tracks. I must have used the wrong water to PVA glue ratio, obviously too much water. The baseboard joint is of course below the two pieces of track and the watery glue got down the joint and then absorbed into the end of the pineboard (chipboard to some) and caused it to swell. Of course being watery the glue didn't hold the ballast too well so I repeated the process exacerbating the problem ( hadn't noticed it the first time).

So the next job is to rip out the track and replace it with some Micro Engineering Code 70.

What caused me to finally do something is that I had recently fitted a TCS KA2 Stay Alive into my Craftsman Models Z13 along with a Loksound v4 Micro sound decoder and a speaker (more than a little bit of 'shoe horning' there).

Anyway I took a video of 1307 traversing one of the tracks and got a real shock, talk about a roller coaster ride!

The good thing is that 1307 glided over the hump without a hiccup which it couldn't do before fitting the Stay Alive circuit.

I can't express how great these Stay Alives are in improving the running and keeping the sound alive when pickup is not so good.

The Stay Alive has to charge up for a few minutes when the layout is first turned on.

I have just fitted a second Stay Alive into 5139 a Tsunami equipped old Bergs D50 and it now runs nicely but I did find out one potential problem while running it tonight. I double headed it with a Trainorama C32 and the 32 doesn't have the best pickups which causes it to hesitate. The end result result was that 5139 kept pushing when the 32 stopped which then made it difficult for the 32 to start again with the 50 pushing it along the track. So the only answer is that any locos with Stay Alives in consists or double heading will all need Stay Alives.