Learning Arduino

My brother, the same one who sent me a static grass applicator for Christmas, sent an Arduino starter kit for The Boy. Yeah, he kinda hit it out of the park this Yule. The Boy had a heavy first term at school, but now that exams are over he finally has some time to play […]

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Turnout control Mark II

Now that I almost have a functioning locomotive again, I’m eager to get back to operations. As I had to get the 3D printer out to create a new steam dome after the first got chipped after its tungsten weight propelled it at the floor, I decided to try out a plan for an improved […]

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A tiny switch boosts enjoyment

#622 and I have been working bugs out of the layout. After correcting a gauge issue with one of the engine truck axles, all the faults have been with the layout, and have been easily identified with a track gauge — a track gauge that Ed McCamey had EDM-cut from highly-conductive 18-gauge steel because he […]

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AR will kill the knob

In 2016, I suggested that it’s time to stop running our trains as if they were a slot cars. Real locomotives have throttles and brakes, not huge speed knobs. As if in answer, Iowa Scaled Engineering developed the Protothrottle for diesels, and a thread over on Model Railroad Hobbyist suggests that we may see something […]

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Turnout controls started

Well, I really thought tonight was the end of Daylight Savings Time, and per tradition, I made use of the extra hour to work on the layout.  It is an especially welcome hour this year as we are only 7 days away from the layout tour. Mark Dance suggested I attempt to get the roundhouse a little […]

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DCC decoders are too smart

My colleague, Darryl, came by my office at the end of the day on Friday.  He’s been following my thinking about control systems for steam locomotives, and is considering doing some inventing of his own.  His ideas have more to do with counting ties and trying to keep automated trains from running into each other. […]

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The knob killer

In response to my post, Time to kill the knob, the ever-insightful Trevor Marshall asked … but if we get rid of the knob, what do we replace it with? Are you thinking along the lines of a miniature backhead? I assume it would have to be something hand-held… Yes, exactly.  The knob killer will […]

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Time to kill the knob

Over on Mike Cougill’s excellent blog, he asked a few weeks ago I wonder, what sorts of hare brained ideas are we dismissing today, that we’ll take for granted tomorrow? What sacred cows are we clinging to that will soon be as antiquated as outside third rail power distribution? Naturally, he has us all thinking […]

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New throttle for Pembroke

Thanks to my friend, Brian Pate, who recently decommissioned his fabulous Klondike Mines Railway, I found myself in possession of a CVP ALR900 radio receiver and a clutch of T5000 throttles.   Having only one engine in steam, I passed most of the throttles over to another friend, Scott Calvert, and kept only one. It has […]

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