A new test track

As mentioned a little while ago, Pembroke didn’t have a programming track until recently.  For most of the past couple of weeks, the programming track has been a section of flex track on my workbench.  This is clearly not sustainable, and so, I have now lifted it off the workbench.

Six and three-quarter inches off the workbench, to be exact.

I found a nice piece of 3/4 inch plywood in the garage, and faced it – nobody wants to see the edge of plywood.  I thought for a while about what finish I should apply and finally decided that any cabinets hanging over the workbench should be white to reflect as much light into the workspace as possible.  Also, a white test track will make it easier to see what is going on with engines’ motion.

New test track

I installed a piece of quarter-round on each of the walls of my work alcove, and the test track sits on these.  Normally, it sits back against the wall, out of the way above all my soldering irons and my scrap bin.  When I need to use it, I can pull it forward near the front of the workbench so I can see what’s going on.

New test track

Having a test track that is near the front is critical to figuring out steam engines.  It just can’t be done if the engine is running behind a pile of materials and glue bottles at the back of the workbench.  Raising it also makes trouble-shooting easier as you don’t have to crane your neck so much.

Finally, I wired it with a three-way rotary switch.  One for DC (you need to get an engine running on DC before attempting DCC), another for DCC and finally the DCC programming track.

New test track

It wasn’t a big project, but it was a fun diversion, and I’m sure it will pay dividends when I start working on #10’s stable-mates.

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