Tuesday, February 28, 2012


I run my layout in DCC using a cheap(er) way , I initially couldn't afford a 'proper' system, and at present don't really see the need of it.  I've been using a £45,- SPROGII, USB interface, which is controlling the layout via an old PC, and the free JMRI software.
One drawback was that the original SPROGII can only handle up to 1A current.  It was originally designed as a programmer only, but JMRI's flexibility meant that throttles can be used (including wireless ones running on iPods and iPhones)  and you can run a few trains, but the current limit is a factor, particularly with sound equipped locos.  This limit has now been eradicated by the release of two new products: 1st is the SPROG3, identical in most part to the SPROGII, but the current limit has now increased to 2.5A. (of course you need a powersupply that can handle that).  Second is the SBoost, a boost module that can be used as a booster for a SPROGII, increasing it's current to 2.5A, and it can also be used as an autoreverser. Multiple SBOOST can also be used to power separate power districts, as long as your powersupply(or supplies) can handle the total power.  Both the SBOOST and SPROG3 cost £60,- and are shipping now.   More info at http://www.sprog-dcc.co.uk/  I should clarify that the original SPROGII is also still available at the price of £45,- .

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Building a styrene trestle

I have reported from time to time, on my plans to build a set of modular layout boards, for use at my local club and elsewhere. I've finished the track plan a while back, and I have most of the basic materials in hand. however, with my job it is difficult to work on anything large while I travel, but I do work on small projects during this time. (one of which was my wood chip gondola). My next venture for this will be building a trestle for use on these modular boards. I've watched the 'Ten Mile Creek' scenery construction video's by Joe Fugate a few times, and he demonstrates an easy way of building one of styrene. (below screen shot is from this video series) As I have  a collection of styrene rods etc in my suitcase, I've decided to build mine using his methods. I'd recommend to take a look at his website http://model-trains-video.com/index.php
I will post progress reports here from time to time, so visit regularly to see what I'm up to.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Manual switch controls

Via another website, I was told about the below turnout controls. If you have a small layout, or just like to operate your switches/turnouts/points (which ever you choose to call them), there are several methods of doing so. Here's one of them. These are modeled after the real thing (to an extend) and look quite fun.
For more info go to: http://www.humpyard.com/, and here's a picture of what they're modeled after.

CFNR SD9E 203 progress

Here she is after decals being applied. Still loads to do.
CFNR 203 after decals

- cut out the little strip of decal now going over the cab window
- seal everything with a layer of dullcote.
- Apply more details (handrails, nose ladders etc)
- install number boards and lighting
- weathering
- Get the chassis finished (fuel tank still needs painting..)
- assembly and DCC programming.

I had one accident, in that a small drill bit broke off while trying to drill through the gyra light... I have tried to remove it, but no joy, this means that these will now be non functional, and will just install MV-lenses there. boohooh...