Geo Ghost

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Geo Ghost last won the day on October 2 2015

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About Geo Ghost

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  • Birthday 08/10/1989

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Name
    Richard
  • Location
    Stevenage
  • Interests
    Railways, Steam Locomotives, Aviation & Aircraft, photography, Animation and character design, documentary and film making, travelling, gaming, sleeping, Model Rail and electrical engineering of model railway layouts/engines. And of course... my job - Dispatching trains =)

    http://geoghost.deviantart.com/
    http://www.safirgroup.co.uk
    http://www.youtube.com/safirgroup

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  1. I'll try to put one together soon. Been pretty busy with work and such. But I can say.. we had our first exhibition last weekend and all went well! Few problems here and there, but all in all it mostly works :)
  2. Be afraid... for I have returned once more.
    I have some catching up to do it seems! Good to be back =)

  3. With the control panel complete and ready, we were now ready to start re-wiring the Fiddle-Yard boards and curves. And my goodness... Just when you thought the control panel might be confusing enough... With the exhibition in August looming... we were on an extremely tight deadline. It seemed like we weren't going to have at least the track operational in time. Until this happened... Stevenage Museum faces 'daunting task' after 'knee-deep' deluge floods facility Flooding still affecting services and transport around Stevenage and Letchworth As terrible as the news was.. for us that came as something as relief as we wouldn't have been ready for the exhibition in time at the Stevenage Museum. Did it mean I got away scot free? Of course not! I was the lucky mug on duty at work that night trying to prevent the station from flooding. Trying and failing terribly I might add... Anyone on my facebook has probably seen the result of that haha. But anyway. Despite the news, this has given us a lot more time to get the layout functioning. So far, I've been working on the first Fiddle-Yard board, whilst others have been working on the curve sections. The wiring on two of the Fiddle-Yard boards is, as you might expect, a lot more complicated as I have different track sections, points, and also the route-setting idea which is achieved by the use of diodes. The work has taken many weeks to complete, but I'm happy to report that as of Monday last week, The 10th of August, the first Fiddle-Yard board was 100% wired up ready and fully tested successfully. Yes ladies and gentlemen, On my 26th birthday, and day off from working on the real railway... I spent the evening finishing wiring and testing for part of a model railway. That is my life in a nut-shell! Track wiring is completed. Now to work on the point wiring. Meanwhile, the rest of the layout is certainly out of use and has been re-purposed as a work table for tools, paperwork, components, etc. Two boards for the curves are completed by some other club members and as you can see.. are certainly a lot simpler than the board I'm working on! Slowly but surely it comes together... and is finally completed. All diodes fitted, and everything is tested successfully. With a few hiccups that were ironed out of course. Now, with one board done... it's time to do the exact same thing to the next one! And at the moment, that's really as far as it has got. I've taken down one end of the main Coleware layout to wire in the new plugs to link up with the curves. Whilst I'm at it, I may fit the turn-table motor as well. But that's not an urgent thing. Plan is at the moment, to get half the layout operational again so members can carry on running trains on part of the layout again whilst we complete the other half. And so... that really is it for the moment. Hope you've had a good read and it's not been a traumatic experience. Any comments or questions, please do fire away! Would greatly like to hear them. I shall try to keep this thread updated at we progress though the re-wiring, fixing, and eventually into the scenery - of which we plan to make a LOT of changes. Getting rid of the blank 'grey-carpet' ballast everywhere for a start. Needs some spicing up! But, that is a job for a later time. First priority is getting everything working and the layout operational again. Our next exhibition is the 26th of September and then the 10th of October. So the challenge is set! Thanks for reading
  4. As you can also see, we added 'spurs' on the end of the Fiddle-yard for extra long trains, and also for additional storage space. The central lane in the Fiddle-Yard has a double purpose. Either for extra-long trains, or as a reversing lane for trains coming off one line, and going back onto the other running line. Now... this is where the REAL fun begins. Especially for me. Planning the wiring, and making a start with all that. Because of the new fiddle-yard, we needed to completely re-think how we approach the Fiddle Yard control panel. More wires would be needed, extra plugs, a new top, new switches, and an absolute poop-tonne of new wiring. An enormous amount of thinking went into how we approach it, how it couple all match together, and also if on earth the damn thing would even work. It came down to this: 1) The point work would be done by a rather complex, yet simple theory or 'route setting' using a few buttons. Rather than a button for each point motor, there would be a button for each of the 7 lanes in the fiddle-yard. Plus a couple for the spurs at each end. 2) Trying to keep the wiring colours as consistent as possible with what existed in the box already. Ideally, we wanted to change as little as possible. 3) The ability to switch the fiddle-yard lanes between being controlled from the layout, or from the local Fiddle-yard controller which was the system we used previously. 4) NO COMMON RETURNS FOR THE TRACK. That was a super no-no. Not at all. Even if it resulted in needing more tags and wires... no commons. We've run into the problem before of shorts, and DC/DCC problems because of common returns before. This was not something that would be repeated. The only common we will ever have, is the point motor common return! 5) To extend the area in which the Fiddle-yard controller could control trains on the layout. Before, it was only within the Fiddle-yard itself. We wanted to extend that round to the curves. And below... was the plans that eventually resulted from this criteria. Be warned, if you don't like wiring.. don't read on. This MAY induce head-aches. And admittedly, there is a small mistake on one! The control Panel Wiring: The Fiddle-Yard board wiring (Track and Point motors) The new design for the Fiddle-Yard Control Panel. Along with the underside for where switches would be located. As you can see, I take planning very seriously! And so far, it has yet to fail me. Apart from one minor error with a couple of wires on a switch round the wrong way... I've had no problems of faults. Though of course.. the rest is yet to be completed! But I'm a firm believer that if you invest a lot of time, thought, and effort into planning... and think everything through on paper and computer first before cutting the first bit of wire, then everything will come together without too much of a hitch. It is worth it! However, now we were in trouble! Because fast approaching was an exhibition in August and we were at a great risk of not being ready in time. Knowing the control panel was the most complicated, I decided to take it home myself to work on. Made sense as I planned the wiring and in my head knew what every wire was for, and how it would work and come together. Rather than spending a good couple of months doing it at the club, I completed the control panel in about 4 days straight. Being off work with an ear inflammation at the time was quite frustrating. So being able to do something productive and engaging was a welcome relief! As you can see below... a lot of work went into it all! And I'm proud to say... no burns or accidents with the soldering iron! Though I did manage to stab my finger with a small screw driver... Before and after. The previous control panel wiring is gutted out entirely leaving the plugs and tag boards. The CDU is fitted and the connectors for the controller are connected up. The additional two 9-pin connectors are also fitted and wired into the sides. The panel top and base. Switches fitted, ready for work! As you can see, the underside is also perspex so that the sheet on the bottom with the switch labels and diagram cannot be damaged or moved And so... it begins! Yes, that is indeed the wiring plan being put onto the TV. It would later transpire... that the one heavy duty CDU would not be enough to throw 4 point motors in one go. So I had to fit another in at a later date! Luckily, it did just about fit!
  5. With a great deal of work, we over-came most of these issues. But then came the biggest part of our work... double tracking the entire layout. It was to be probably the biggest and most complex project we have ever attempted on the OO section of our club before. So much so, that we're still doing it even now! The first challenge was working out where the tracks were best to line up. What points should be taken out, what should be put in... but we slowly figured it all out. Probably the trickiest part was working out how we should approach the fiddle yard. The photo below shows how it looked with the old single-track run. Taken just after we pulled up the track on the curve (as seen by the outline). In the end, it came down to two possible plans. Using standard medium turn outs, or opting for a set of Y-points. We decided to go with the Peco Y-points as these took up the least space over all, but also offered a much smoother run into and out of the fiddle-yard. And that was a very important thing to have if we wished to stick to improving the layouts reliability. At the same time, we prepared each ends of the main layout for changing the track and setting up the double-track. This included removing the tunnel from one of the ends. After a couple of months work, we had completed the double track around both curves, modified the ends of the layout to accept double-track, and upgraded the points in the fiddle-yard. The control panel and wiring was adjusted slightly so we could test run, but nothing was permanent as a lot of work needed to be done. The track across the joints was fixed with copper-clad soldered to the rail. This ensures a solid fix to the board and reduces the changes of the track being knocked out of alignment. At this stage, we did not cut the track because we wanted to be able to run trains all the way around the layout still and enjoy the benefits finally of having double-track. And ho-nelly.. did we enjoy it! For the first time ever, we had two continuous loops on the layout. Although only two lanes in the fiddle-yard were operational through temporary wiring, it was a really fun time and we left it for a little while whilst focusing on planning the wiring stages. During this time, we had an open day at the village fete. Being able to run so much on the layout for a change was an absolute blessing and kept so many people interested. We even managed to steal eyes away from our big O-gauge club layout. An achievement we're most proud of!
  6. Surprise everyone! I'm back, and just as nutty as before! Sorry I've been absent from this place for so long. Life and the real world has taken over and I was finding it a bit difficult to find enthusiasm to post on any forums really, not just here. But, I'm trying to get back into the swing of things a bit, and what better way to do so than a massive post about what we've been working on at my club this past year. Hold on to your internet connection ladies and gentlemen... this one is likely to be a killer! ------------------------------------------------------------ So as many of you will know, I'm part of the Stevenage & District Model Railway Club along with a few other members on the forum. Whether they are still active, I'm not sure though. Last year, we were making preparations to replace our old and tired OO layout called Neware. Whilst we'd kept it going for a very long time, it was getting near its end and wasn't really providing enough interest for us as time went on. Last September saw its final exhibition before retirement and what a great send off it was. A lot of fun was had all round and we gave it a good old send off. Another club layout has been worked on in previous years, even before I joined. But pretty much sat around gathering dust in a workshop/garage for years. After a lot of work and talk, it was given a place to reside inside our club till such time as we could start work on it. This layout is of course, Coleware. Based on a Colliery industrial area, it had a lot more features than our previous little old layout of Neware. We set it up initially to see how it looked and unfortunately discovered that time had not treated it well. With cracked ballast, track out of alignment, and generally a lot of areas for improvement. The biggest one being only single track in and out - which we were very keen to change. So after a lot of note taking, list making, and work, we finally got everything set up and ready to test! Only to find nothing actually worked.. go figure. And thus followed a couple of months of fault finding, adjustments, cleaning up, fixing wires, and modifying small parts will most of the layout was working. Though we still had issues with dodgy points, power not being carried through points, occasional shorts, and of course the lack of a double track system. With that in mind, we embarked on the most ambitious project we've undertaken yet. To upgrade our entire club layout to a double-track continuous run, upgraded fiddle-yard and wiring, both DC/DCC compatible, to improve the running potential and reliability of everything on the layout, to make a massive upgrade in the scenery and ballasting, and generally recreate the layout to something we want and can be proud of. Additionally to that, we also want something which we will enjoy running on time and time again but also something people can enjoy watching at club, and at especially exhibitions. As of the time of typing this... we're still going! And so with that introduction... Ladies and Gentleman, this is where The Coleware Project began! The first biggest step we had was getting the entire layout functioning. We hit a number of problems along the way from some track being out of alignment, points stuck, stock striking the platforms on curves, and also having no power to the track or layout in the first place. Slowly but surely, all of these problems have been.. mostly resolved. We're still suffering from a couple of sticky points. The most annoying problem is that when the track was laid, it was sprayed with paint as I'm sure many of us do. However, the points were also heavily sprayed thus resulting in power not being carried though the switch blades. Creating a lot of dead sections. Removing this paint is still a bit of a pain even now... but I think we've got there with it all now.
  7. Woooah. This is new... I thought I'd clicked the wrong link! Looks pretty swish! Yes guys, I am still alive ;)
  8. And so, Virgin/Stagecoach now run the East Coast franchise. Looking forward to seeing how it will go and what, if any, changes occur. They're new livery has been unveiled too! Which looks pretty swish! You'll never see that livery the same again now ;)
  9. That's the kind of price I'd expect for a double-sound fitted pack. I don't understand how they can justify the price being that high! It is extortionate!
  10. In the UK it means Train Operation Company. Out of the UK though... not sure at all.
  11. It would certainly not be I like the grey ;)
  12. I don't tend to agree with that. There's a good balance between the two in my view. Just the reputation tends to bring down the service more than anything. A load of people say it's bad, everyone expects it to be bad. When something goes wrong, everyone jumps on the bandwagon saying "Look how bad they are! Horrible service as always!". Even though the previous 10 or so days may have been flawless =/ I can't speak for Scotrail though as such. Only First services down south.
  13. Not sure if it exactly what you're after, but I know allcomponents do mini-jacks which may be along the same line of thinking? :) http://www.allcomponents.co.uk/product/miniature-mono-jack-plugs-and-sockets-11693.html
  14. Certainly no exaggeration that one. The heavens opened on me yesterday evening. Turns out my waterproof coat wasn't waterproof after all... Tis a beautiful city indeed Dave. Haven't got to go up the mountains yet. Hopefully will tomorrow!