7mm Birmingham Moor Street

Discussion in 'Layout Progress' started by Focalplane, 9 April 2019.

  1. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer

    This evening I painted all the back scene panels a pale blue. I am not sure how I am going to embellish the sky but have some ideas for introducing clouds with ominous lining! We’ll see.

    Our previous apartment had a view of the most incredible sunsets and no two were ever close to being the same, so however the sky eventually looks it will be unique! One thing is certain, Birmingham’s skyline doesn’t look like this!

  2. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer

    My second (or was it third) attempt at the sky has proved to be better and I am going to move on with it. You'll see it later when I have something to put in front! So all the stuff has been put back in the railway room while I continue with the parallel world of Goodrich Castle. This coming week I will need to get some ramin as the base of the viaduct parapet which will then be cloaked with blue brick papers. There will be sturdier pieces of parapet to represent the road crossings, as seen is various photos. Then I can think about what structures might be visible above the parapet. I have two chimneys for a start, one 7mm scale, one 4mm scale (which will appear to be further away, I hope). I also have lots of plywood offcuts that already look like gable ends of houses with some imagination.
    AdeMoore likes this.
  3. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer

    The track has been giving problems and after cleaning it now seems that the problems are under the baseboard rather than over it. I have isolated two key areas and now think it is the wiring that is at fault. The simplest solution is to go around checking all the joints and connections but I will also start to run a back up "ring main". While I am at this I really need to address the point motor wiring.
    AdeMoore likes this.
  4. Yorkshire Dave

    Yorkshire Dave Western Thunderer

    When I painted the backscene for a long scrapped ON30 layout I primed/sized the wallpaper lining paper with a pale yellow ochre wash then added the sky in afterwards. I used a watercolour technique with artists acrylics.


    This one used a similar technique and I added the merest hint of red to the sky to make it more like an evening. Again, watercolour technique for the background and an oil painting technique for the trees.
    Iden Road 19.jpg

    For the record I'm not a artist - I only read a few simple learning to paint guides.
    AdeMoore, jonte, Jordan and 11 others like this.
  5. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer

    Dave, that is excellent, a good representation of what an artist does! Me, I must be an abstract painter!
    AdeMoore likes this.
  6. simond

    simond Western Thunderer


    If the ‘lectrikery gets problematic, give me a shout.

  7. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer

    Thanks Simon

    Track cleaning seemed the obvious problem, and I thought it was after about 2 months of non-use, but two areas remain. One is furthest away from the power source and was installed as part of Penmaenpool. I plan to run a direct bus line to that area, forming a ring main so that current can get to the track section in one of two ways. But first I will check all the soldering in the area.

    What happens is that a train will run over the outer oval for several circuits and then stutter as it passes one of two track sections. I turn off everything and reboot the ProCab and it works fine but only for another few circuits. It has occurred to me that the ProCab could be at fault but how to test that! I have a 5 amp booster installed so lack of motor current isn’t a problem. Any way, the ProCab runs trains all day over other sections of the layout, including the inner oval circuit.

    Different locomotives can suffer the same problem, though the heavier current motors seem to be more prone to stuttering. Again this suggests a poor connection. Also those motors with a large stay alive seem less likely to stutter.

    So that’s where I am today and may explain the slowdown in activity elsewhere. It looks like the old Antex will be brought out of semi retirement.
    AdeMoore likes this.
  8. simond

    simond Western Thunderer


    I’d concur that it sounds like a bad connection, I now only use plastic fishplates, which means I have to put droppers on every length of rail (though I do cheat and sometimes simulate a joint by half cutting the rail, and gluing a dummy fishplate over the cut) which does tend to eliminate such issues. It’s also handy to connect the frog switch supplies to the busbars. Bad connections might temporarily sort themselves out, but eventually only get more annoying. Time, humidity and changing temperatures will have their way!

    If you do make a busbar loop, I’d suggest putting a switched break somewhere in it so if you ever have to look for a wiring issue, it’s rather easier to find. You’d leave it on, normally of course, to minimise any voltage drop.

    It’s worth checking a voltage drop calculator (lots on line), but repurposed 1 or 2.5mm2 mains cable would do fine for most layouts, I’d expect. Just make sure there’s no risk of confusing a real mains cable with the busbar...

  9. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer

    I think I have installed a dropper on each yard/meter of track but of course if the dropper isn't soldered properly to the bus and the rail it will cause a problem. I do have metal fishplates fitted but they are not reliable by themselves so I need to check that the suspect track is fully wired and that the droppers are properly soldered.

    There is another way to improve continuity and that is to wire each rail to the next, essentially bypassing the fishplate.

    This is all worth doing even if it is not the solution, because, as you say, problems can arise at any time. Better to get this sorted before the scenic stuff is started.

    AdeMoore likes this.
  10. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer

    I’ve made a start on checking the wiring. One or two problems now resolved but others seem to pop up to replace them. This is now a priority. Loco building will continue as and when I get fed up with crawling under the baseboards.
    AdeMoore likes this.
  11. LarryG

    LarryG Western Thunderer

    I found the O gauge railhead soon tarnishes. I didn't have this problem so much with OO, so constant track cleaning has become a necessary routine. It's why I relocated the goods shed.
    AdeMoore likes this.
  12. paulc

    paulc Western Thunderer

    Maybe try a temporary power link to the suspect area and see if everything works , this should also narrow down where to start looking for a dodgy joint .
    Cheers Paul
    AdeMoore, simond and Focalplane like this.
  13. Peter Cross

    Peter Cross Western Thunderer

    Have you tried cleaning then putting son graphite on the rail head for the loco and stock to drag around. Helps keep rail clean.
    AdeMoore, 3 LINK and Focalplane like this.
  14. simond

    simond Western Thunderer

    Ah Peter

    You remind me of the Great Graphite Storm of 1993. It’s still spoken of in these parts in hushed tones. A pal, who had better remain nameless, applied graphite liberally to his exhibition layout, claiming that it would improve pickup, eliminate rail cleaning, solve world hunger, etc...

    His layout became a skating rink, where even running round was fraught with wheel spin and skids. It took ages to clean up...

    So if you do, go gently!

    AdeMoore, 3 LINK, Pencarrow and 3 others like this.
  15. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer

    More track cleaning today and many of the problems not associated with unwired track sections have gone away. I ran an interesting test, a Minerva 57xx pulling the seven (heavy) brass coaches. The loco did well and ran without stopping for a couple of dozen circuits before I pulled the plug. Well done, Minerva!
  16. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer

    More testing while we have had family staying and all seems to be well. So some time has been spent on the Castle. However, I do intend to start wiring the Tortoises very soon. A prolonged Indian Summer is making that rather difficult, though!
    AdeMoore likes this.
  17. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer

    Here's a useful wheel cleaning device made by Kadee. I found it in my HO only "local" model shop and it's for G & O gauge locos! It simply connects to the track (DCC as well as DC) and the brass brushes do their job on both the treads and the tread backs. This afternoon I cleaned and lubricated several locos as part of the general cleaning of Moor Street.


    The third lead doesn't seem to be needed with my locos, perhaps it's for American style engine/tender pickups.

    I lubricated one of the Minerva pannier tanks and noted that the centre axle is very "sloppy". I suppose this allows the loco to negotiate +/-3' radius curves. Given the hauling power of this loco, it's all being driven by the other two axles.

    No other activity today. I have been re-reading the Tortoise manual though.

    But I have added another locomotive to the future Moor Street roster - I ordered the nickel silver version of the Finney7 51XX Large Prairie. If ever a layout required two of these locos it would be Moor Street. I am now very happy with the Heljan version but it took two whole months to get it into an RTR state and only then with much gnashing of teeth (mine). Besides, the Finney7 kit will be another, hopefully more satisfying, challenge!
  18. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer

    I am not sure which was funnier, watching a Benny Hill Show on YouTube or me struggling with the first of many point levers switching a Tortoise point motor.

    But it does work! Only about 20 more to do. I bought several of the 8 pin connectors which people say makes wiring a Tortoise easier. I don't get it. Soldering the wires to the connector is more difficult than soldering the wires directly to the Tortoise. Having bought them I will use them but never again.
    AdeMoore likes this.
  19. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer

    This afternoon I decided to tackle the scissor crossover point levers. Those who followed Penmaenpool on the other forum will know that it was a major achievement to get this to work then. The best documentation is available on the Gauge O Guild web site and my wiring is suitably labelled to mimic the Guild's plan. The difference between Penmaenpool and Moor Street, though, is that the control levers are remote from the crossing so I have had to rethink how this should work.

    Without going into details, I got both crossovers working. Then I decided to run a train through one of the crossovers. The Lee Marsh Jubilee approached the crossing and promptly stalled. The DCC system has not recovered so I have a permanent short somewhere. But where? I have completely disconnected the scissor crossing and also the point control wiring. Still no power. I removed the stock that was moving when the short occurred. Still no power. I disconnected the DC system that drives the Tortoises. Still no power! So I have temporarily abandoned the layout while giving it some thought over dinner.

    This is a "rhetorical" post, by the way, no need to reply while I work on it.
    AdeMoore likes this.
  20. 3 LINK

    3 LINK Western Thunderer

    Hi Paul,

    I like to be able to master most tasks when it comes to building a layout, but to me the electrics have always been a black art. A while back I built an outside slip, because I like building track and I think they look the part! Anyhow I was dreading the part when I had to try and get it wired up, well I know it's a bit of a cop out, but I brought a couple of " frog juicers " around £5 each, soldered on the 3 wires on each and " bingo " all worked first time, brilliant piece of kit. Hope this might help.