Friday 19 February 2016

I'm In

Well, I didn't think I would ever get there but I have finally joined the DCC club. Over to the dark side as some call it. As my loco fleet was going to be a lot less than the HO fleet, I thought why not. As I slowly strip out the kilometres of wire that faithfully kept the old SCR running, I realised this was the right move. You certainly don't get out of putting in wiring, just less of it.
I haven't reached the wiring stage as yet as the demolishing of the layout continues. The last week or so has been packaging up of HO items bound for the second hand stall at the Forestville exhibition in a few weeks time. It takes a while to get it all sorted but worth it in the end. Any unsold items are already packed for the Epping exhibition second hand stall in June. Eventually it all goes.
As well as going DCC I decided to adopt sound for my NA's and got a Loksound unit for it. Not cheap but a necessary item to get the maximum enjoyment out of the hobby.
I received great help from Marcus Ammann in organising the fitting of the sound decoder. Not a five minute job but to hear it come alive at the end was worth it all. The NA whistle is certainly well reproduced. The unit was lucky enough to do a trial on the Main North layout. (but restricted travel due to Ardglen tunnel mouth)
Well the exciting part was getting it home and down to the shed to put in on some remnant track of SCR for testing purposes. Red light on and we were in business. My first DCC loco running on DCC.
I was running backwards and forwards (all the track I had) having fun with the sounds and getting used to the throttle and its settings. I was so excited with it all, I had to share the joy with someone else. Going inside, unlucky for her, I got my wife to accompany me down to see and hear it all. Well after about 30 seconds of seeing and hearing and faking enjoyment, she retired to the house to leave me to go backwards and forwards again. This time I put a few coal hoppers on the tracks.
After a while when I tried to blow the whistle when the loco was the furthest away, it refused to blow. There was also a button called 'direction' and when pressed it did not change. Oh no. I sent an email to Marcus telling him of my dilemma. I had only gone one day and the bad gods were raining down on me. Was I to believe that this DCC wasn't all it was cracked up to be? Another meeting with Marcus, the answer was to replace the circuit board with a replacement board. This seemed easy enough to do but when the new board was tried, it didn't respond either. Well eventually the problem turned out to be a bad solder joint not on one but both boards. A quick hit with the iron has fixed the problems.
So one sound loco done two to go. I will have to order two more sound decoders soon so they can join the fleet. When this is done I should be able to do some detailing on them, numbers, builders plates, coal in the bunker etc.

My venture into On30 would not have happened if Haskell hadn't done the NA. It was with great joy when I read the latest AMRM that Haskell has announced that they are doing the bogie NQR open wagon. Soon hopefully to be ready in April this year. The NQR is the equivalent of the S truck on the NSWGR. Photographs show the G class garratt hauling up to a dozen of these NQR's behind them. They were used mainly for loading pulpwood and bags of potatoes or whatever other goods were offering.
The other drawcard to the scale was the availability of On30 kits made by Ian Lindsay models. These are made by Ian Storrie and are fine excellent kits. Most of the range of 2'6" gauge wagons have been made. I got an initial batch of vehicles, but also received a further order this week of more vehicles, a goods shed, a victorian station building and a few narrow gauge buffer stops. It seems like I am reliving the good old days of HO models. You used to buy kits because you always believed that "if you didn't get them straight away" they might disappear for good. How many of you still have Freidmont kits etc waiting to be assembled?
There is one section of layout left to be demolished soon. The walls will be repainted and then I should be ready to get some baseboards ready for the terminus.
There is a Yahoo group specifically for  Victorian Railways Narrow Gauge 1:48 Modelling.
I have joined this group and notice since joining that the member numbers are slowly increasing.  Hopefully member 100 will join this year. Jointly, there is also another group in Yahoo called Australian Narrow Gauge Railways. Sometimes there is similar discussion on both groups. I have joined both as answers are often forth coming to queries.