Monday, December 22, 2014

ECos, CPH, BLV and More Gears


I hope everybody is having a good lead up to Christmas. I have had a few days off, so like usual I have been fiddling around with a few bits and pieces.

Last month I purchased an ESU ECos command station. I have been on the fence for quite a while regarding which full DCC system I should purchase. My NCE Powercab has been doing  great job however I have always been a little disappointed in its cheap like feel and clumsy function buttons. I know I may of just offended a few NCE users, and I agree the NCE system is good however as I was in need of a full system all avenues had to be explored. After owning the ECos for a month now all I can say is wow. Its easy to use and the graphical function representations are great. I used to have to print out the function maps for each loco as I would always forget. Now I just have to look at the screen. Another nice feature is that I can still use my Powercab. The ECos has what they call a 'Sniffer' input so the output of any other DCC system can be connected and the ECos will direct it to the rails. As for wireless control functionality, I have had it operating with the Apple 'TouchCab' app. You do not have to run it through JMRI however you do need a wireless network. One nice feature of TouchCab is that all those assigned function button symbols are also transferred to the wireless controller. Next year ESU plan to release their own wireless controller utilising an android based device with a rotary control knob. This will be very interesting.

The locomotive pictures are a great feature.

When time permits 44 class gear cutting continues. I have fitted one bogie out with the homemade gears and 88 thou wide wheels. The model runs well however I do need a better way of pressing the stub axles in straight as a couple of wheels have has a slight wobble. More on this later.

I have been working on my Eureka CPH now for quite a while. I have separated the front and rear headlights from the markers. As I am using a Loksound V4, which has only four amplified function outputs, I had to use one of their 21 pin adaptor boards. The adaptor board has two amplification circuits included, making the Aux 3 and 4 decoder outputs load switchable. This gives you six usable function outputs which has allowed the separation of all CPH external lights. Along with the install I started to create my own sound file. I cheated with this one and used the motor sound from one of the available ESU files. I have no idea if it sounds like the real deal as I can not remember for the life of my what a prototype CPH sounds like! One thing I did do though, was use a genuine recording for the horn. Unfortunately, I had to use the ESU speaker as I could not fit a Zimo Sugar Cube in the model along with a Stay Alive. I still need to seal the speaker but will wait until everything else is finished. All in all I am happy with it. I may need to lower the braking volume a little but until I can actually record a CPH this will do. One interesting feature of this project is that you can coast the rail motor by decreasing the throttle one step, much like how I set my steam sound files up. Increase the throttle one speed step and off the motor goes again. The little Eureka model looks great cruising around. I have included a video. The video is crap and you cant really see what's going on, sorry.

Finally, I decided to do some kit building. I have had a couple of AndIan Models BLVs tucked away in the cupboard for way to long. After reading some history it seems that they are a little early for my 1955 period. Ian Dunn did a presentation on the 36 foot vans at the 2012 Early Days convention. I grabbed the notes out and found a picture of a BLV modified into a MLV, riding on different bogies (2AE) and missing the lower paneling for ventilation. As I do like milk trains, I decided to build one of my kits to represent this MLV, No. 5285. So far I have removed the lower paneling however will have to close the gap up by half as per the prototype. I removed the whole panel as I thought I would be able to achieve a squarer cleaner hole. I will use styrene to replace the half panel. The cantilevered underframe is still a mystery as I am not sure exactly what they looked like underneath. I am hoping they had some sort of bracing down the center. This will make the model more interesting.

Still plenty of cleaning up to do.

Milled recess for new underframe 

Anyway, I hope everybody has a great Christmas and a good start to the new year. Thanks to all those that have helped me out and offered advice. Next year is promising to be a busy (expensive) year for us model railroaders. Plenty of interesting stuff heading our way hey.

See you soon,