Wednesday, December 30, 2015

XPT Sound - Part 2

I hope everyone had a great Christmas. Danielle and myself had a good time however are happy to be back home after a fair amount of travelling.
Before Christmas I embarked on another XPT recording session. Blacktown railway station was a real eye opener. Never before have I seen so many ankle trackers in one place. Glad to be alive still!
I now have better XPT horn recordings. Still, these recordings have been by far the most challenging recordings to edit. For the XPT project, if the applicable function button is held the corresponding horn (there are three horns) will play a full 4 second burst and fall silent. If you only want a short horn burst you simply deselect the function quicker. No function room on this project for three separate long and short horns.
As the XPT project is really my first full blown attempt at a diesel project, I thought I would try and modify how the general diesel sound flow works. While I am sure there are third party sound developers out there that have already paved this path, I personally have not come across anything that suited me.
What didn’t suit me:
Generally when you accelerate an ESU diesel project, the model accelerates at a set momentum rate and the sound flow increases as per set thresholds. These thresholds can comprise of multiple factors. This all works well.
It was decelerating that bugged me a little. When a locomotive comes up to speed and no more power is required, say cresting a hill, accelerating up to track speed, drifting down a hill, the throttle is generally shut off an amount that suits the conditions. This could mean the throttle is simply backed off one or two notches or placed back into one notch (I won’t say placed into idle here as I will have a flurry of people tell me how a diesel locomotive should be driven). What I am trying to say here is that the throttle directly effects the prime mover engine revs. Track speed is a product of environmental and power requirement factors.
When it comes to models fitted with sound, generally the locomotive speed needs to be decreased so the sound flow transitions into lower notches. This in a way creates the sense that the locomotive is being braked by the throttle.
ESU have ways of detaching the engine sound to driving speed in the form of manual notching. This however can be a little cumbersome and I really wanted a method of doing all of this by throttle manipulation rather than function button playing.
Some may not agree with this thinking.
The XPT project:
Here is another badly filmed movie! It's a shame that the function buttons did not show up better in the video. You can just make out the selected function button by the border that appears around the box.

My XPT project now has the ability to let you travel at track speed and ‘coast’ with the engine in any notch, all selected with the throttle.
If accelerated up to speed step (SS) 22 (I always use 28 speed steps), the XPT engine will accelerate up to throttle notch 5 (max throttle setting for an XPT) and track speed will build as per momentum settings. I have used speed step 20 as one of the thresholds for the diesel engine sound being at maximum revs. This was to help simulate a hard working XPT while traveling at two thirds max track speed.
Once the XPT is up to speed (SS 22) and the throttle is decreased down one SS to 21, the XPT engine will progressively come back to notch 1. As the throttle is still selected at SS 21 the models track speed remains relatively constant. The XPT will maintain notch one and track speed 21 for good if no change is made.
Once the engine sound has settled to notch 1, by increasing the throttle one SS, back to 22 the engine sound will progress back up to five notch.
If for instance we are travelling at SS 22 again and we want to decrease the throttle to four notch without effecting track speed, you simply move the throttle to SS21, listen for the decrease in engine sound and then reselect SS22 and the XPT will remain in four notch. If three notch is then required move the throttle to SS21 again, listen for a decrease in engine speed and then reselect SS22 on the throttle. The engine sound will then remain in three notch however track speed is still set at SS22.
Once again if the throttle is increased one SS, to SS23 the engine will once again move to notch five.
Another feature is the incorporation of a function operated brake. When the braking function is used, the XPT will come to a stop faster. Braking times are adjustable by changes in momentum setting. When the brake is applied and released brake pipe sounds are heard. When the loco is stopped with the brake function, braking squeal is played.
For me this has added a little bit of fun to the project and once being operated on a layout, will make it quite a challenge to stop at a platform. Just like the real one.
As in my last blog posting, the project still allows for one XP power car to operate in service mode (engine speed remains in two notch). This is function button selectable and applies to the trailing power car.
I am happy with this project for use in the XPT. I think a diesel freight locomotive, for most prototypical realism would need a similar throttle notching set up for when increasing engine speed also. Perhaps one day.
Decoder Installation:
For the XPT I used two ESU V4 21 pin decoders, two ESU Power Packs and two Zimo LS 10 x15 sugar cube speakers.
The XPT install was one of the most straightforward I have carried out. The strobes, headlight, white marker lights (ditch lights) and red markers are all wired individually. The blue and green wires are both commons for lighting (markers and ditch lights). These commons run through two of the switches under the fuel tanks. The grey wire is connected to the red markers and the yellow wire is connected to both white markers and ditch lights. You may be confused here - I was. Weirdly if the blue wire (+) and the yellow wire are powered the white markers light up. If the green wire (+) and the yellow wire is powered the ditch lights illuminate. I found the lower lighting board impossible to open up for fear of breaking it. This means, to separate the white markers from the ditch lights will require the green common wire to be isolated. This will be possible by using an amplifier circuit switching the positive side, utilising one of the decoder logic only outputs.
The headlights and strobes are connected through a 4 pin connector. The lighting connections are already made to the 21 pin plug. All that is required is to map the functions correctly.
Pin 15 - Aux 1 [1] = Strobe - These have been mapped to flash when the horn is blown. May have to fix up the cabin disco. I didn't notice all the flashing in the window until I watched the video!
Pin 14 - Aux 2 [1] = White Markers – This requires soldering onto plug (yellow wire)
Pin 7 - Rear light output = Head light
Pin 8 - Front light output = Red Markers
I also swapped the motor wires around as I think they were wired backwards. I am using the same address for both loco units and have simply used the ‘reverse direction’ option on the trailing unit. This allows all the direction features to operate properly.

That’s About That:
I am yet to run my XPT set on a layout but so far running on the rollers looks favourable.
I need to thank Dave for being so helpful in allowing me to record the XPT. Much appreciated and a copy of the file is all yours if you want it.
Now to get on and weather the set. This could be interesting!
Thanks for looking. Have a great New Years!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

XPT Sound Project


My Blog has seen little action over the past few months. As we are still waiting for our house to be finished, not much has been happening on the modelling front. In saying that, sound project stuff has still been happening in the background, mainly due to it really only requiring a computer and a few gadgets.

I have wanted to build an XPT sound file since the Auscision model arrived. I reached out using social media for anybody that could get close to the prototype. Lucky for me a gentleman named Dave answered the call! Dave being a driver made recording sounds all that much easier. It's great having somebody that is able to describe how the locomotive works and what sounds should be where.

There was not much to the XPT recordings. It’s a five notch locomotive, has three whistles, no dyno, and no real compressor sounds to be heard. Pretty simple really compared to the steam projects I have been doing of late, however, like most things that seem simple, they rarely work out that way.

I have never been a fan of the way the ESU V4 handles diesel projects, hence why I have mainly stuck to building my own steam projects. I still use ESU diesel projects however, exclusively supplied by Mike Walters at DCC Sounds, mainly because they sound very good. For me the way in which the loco sounds is more important than having to live with a few ESU diesel project quirks. My layout is flat, however the prototype location is fairly heavily graded, particularly leading on to the viaduct. I actually like the manual notching feature as this is really the only way to simulate a locomotive in eight notch at low speed and still have the locomotives whole speed range available.

For my XPT project, I wanted to try and produce a coasting effect as in my steam projects. This means that the XPT can be running at max speed (28) and the engine can be idling without having to use manual notching. With my steam projects I can also simulate a hard working engine at low speed simply by using the throttle. I am still not at this point with the XPT project however I have a few ideas to explore.  

Another aspect that needed capturing is the ability to hold the trailing unit in two notch. As Dave explained to me, this happens so as to service the train’s power etc. He also explained that either the leading or trailing locomotive can be selected as the service unit and was a driver preference thing. As Dave prefers the rear unit servicing the train, that's how I incorporated it into my drive schedule.

Adding these features has really had me thinking. It has been great to do as I have learnt so much more about the ESU sound scheduling.

I have taken a quick video, using my phone (yes not very good I know), of the decoder on the tester. My XPT is not accessible at this time so this is as good as I could do.

The decoder is an ESU V4

Speaker is a Zimo Sugarcube

·       The first part of the video shows start up and notching up the engine using the throttle. It can be seen that if the throttle is cut by one speed step the locomotive engine heads to idle however the model will remain at the selected speed.

·      The second part shows manual notching.

·       The third part shows the notch two servicing feature, when shift is selected (F1) and then the locomotive is selected to reverse (trailing unit) the engine sound is locked into notch two.

The horn recordings I captured were not up to scratch. The horn heard in the video was recorded on the day with Dave however I cannot edit any part of the recording due to an echo.

I still need to add the brake release sounds, better braking sounds, whistles and perhaps a little track noise while coasting.

All in all it has come out ok and I am looking forward to getting the model running with it for testing.

Hope you enjoy the video and once again sorry for the poor phone recording quality.

A big thankyou to Dave for helping me out. Hopefully the guard is ok now after thinking I was trying to hijack the XPT. Much appreciated.  

If this ends up being my last post for the year, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Great New Year.


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

NSWGR 36 Class - ESU V4 Project


Just a quick update.

I have wanted to build a 36 class sound project for some time now. As I have three 36 class models, and they are one of my favourite locomotives, I was keen to get some recordings. Lucky for me 3642 was out and about last weekend in Sydney and on the Southern Highlander tourist train. With a few phone calls I was able to record 3642 being prepared for its weekend run.

I spent five hours hanging around getting in the way and recorded over 70 sound files. One interesting sound is when the headlight was turned on, the generator dips in sound and starts to work harder. I was able to capture this and then found a way to incorporate it into the sound schedule. This now means that the generator sound does not simply come on when the headlight is turned on. You must now start the generator (like the real loco) and then switch the head light on. I have tried to show this in the video however the random compressor noise interrupts a little.

I was also able to include sounds for the power reverser. When you change direction, the power reverser sound now plays. Hopefully it will suit the 38 project also?

I have included a video. The project uses the same throttle type control set up that I have explained previously. I have had a good time building this project, now all I need to do is paint a couple of my 36 class models!

Still on the sound front, I intend on recording an XPT in a few weeks. I have a great sound schedule ready and all I need now are the sound files. Regarding XPTs, I have to say that the Auscision model is very nice. I am looking forward to fitting sound to my set and adding a few bits and pieces to the coaches.

I am heading to Liverpool this Saturday, hopefully I will see some of you there.



Monday, August 24, 2015

Turntable, Version Three

Hi All,

Just a short post to show some of the latest progress on my 60 foot Sellers Turntable.

I think I am up to about version three with this turntable, however this time I  am much happier with the results and feel it is very close to depicting the Picton turntable.

As for the TT drive, so far I have used a stepper motor coupled to the original worm drive, stepper motor directly coupled to the bridge and now I will try out a toothed belt drive. The belt and pulleys are still a few weeks away so all effort has been focussed on the bridge itself.

The TT well has been modified since it's last appearance on this blog. I have added some extra height to wear the ring rail mounts and then profiled the well using casting plaster. This has allowed the support wheels to sit in the correct location.

There are still a few things to do. PCB and wipers need to be added for ring rail pickup, all the timber stuff needs adding, a tidy up of a few things and painting.

The photos show one of the handrail assemblies temporarily tacked to a few of the copper clad sleepers. Looking over some photos of Pictons TT, it is obvious that there was an angled handrail post fitted to the outer most sleepers at some point. This angled support ran from the end sleeper up to the handrail, attached at the first vertical post. I have a feeling that this angled piece was fitted post 1955 as a few photos in William Bayley's books show it without. I would like to add them for interest however as the layout is set in 1955, they should not be there. I would love to hear from anybody that has more information on this aspect.

That's it for now.

Thanks for taking a look.


Monday, July 20, 2015

C32 - Two Posts From Two

G'day Again,

Two posts in two days! Probably a good idea to get a few posts out of the way as I will be consumed with study shortly. I really hate studying, especially when there are much more interesting things to do.

Anyway, here is the P Class ESU project I have been working on. Once again videoing was done by recording the sound separately on my Zoom recorder and combining with the video afterwards. As per normal, something always decides to go a little wrong. This time the front pony truck decides to get in the way towards the end.

This sound file, like the 50 Class, was created using recordings I have taken over the past few months.

Like all my projects, bar the 57 class file, this one uses throttle steps to vary how loud the chuff sound plays. If the speed is increased by more than two speed steps rapidly, the loco chuff sounds are louder and longer. If the throttle is decreased by one step, the chuff sounds move to a quieter, shorter sound. If the throttle is decreased by one more speed step the locomotive will coast. Ian Phemister first challenged me to make the decoder behave this way and now done I really like it. You can hear this change in sound throughout the video.

The model in the video is a Classic brass 32 fitted with an ESU V4 decoder and Zimo sugercube speaker.



Standard Goods Sound


With the upcoming release of Eureka's 50 Class I was asked by a mate if I had made any progress with my 50 class sound file.

I recently bought a new recorder and the quality of audio it records is much better than what I had previously. For the past few months I have been recording a few steam locomotives, tracking down their whereabouts and then trying to be in the right place at the right time. This process has proved much harder than originally thought. It seems a lot of steam drivers like to play the whistle and I guess if I was in control of the cord, I would too! This however is no good at all for the editing process, as any variations in the mid section of the sound flow are very noticeable. If only drivers would just blow the damn thing solid for a few seconds hey!

After hours of trying to loop whistle sections together, I feel that I finally have a half decent NSWGR whistle. I have included this whistle in my STD goods project, which I feel fits quite well. Please tell me otherwise if I have ballsed it up.

The new whistle uses a slightly different sound schedule flow to what I have used previously. The whistle length is determined by how long the whistle function is held. The long whistle has two finishes. One that is short and sharp and the other sounding more preservation loco driver (a little more character).

I have included a video of my Classic Brass saturated 50 Class. I have recorded the sound separately with my Zoom recorder and then married up the sound/video using movie maker software. I think the quality is better than previous videoing attempts however it may be slightly out of sync.

Also, the compressor gets a little bit muddled up in the beginning of the film. This is because I had the compressor function running and then the random sound compressor kicked in also. Something that may need some work.

The loco is fitted with a Loksound V4 21 pin decoder and a 15mm x 12mm Zimo Sugarcube speaker.

Anyway here it is -

I am not sure if it is a good idea yet, but I have been thinking about actually charging a small fee for my ESU projects. While I am an amateur and not likely to retire on the idea, I feel that the time put into them is probably worth something? Feel free to tell me what you think about this.

Hopefully within the week I will be able to video my 32 class and post on here also.

Thanks for looking and please offer any advice. I am all ears.


Monday, July 13, 2015

Labour of Love

Hi Everyone,

Just a short post as I have not really achieved all that much on the model railway front lately.
Although I would have liked to, I didn't make it to the Epping exhibition in June. While I heard some negative feedback about the show, It still would have been better than going clothes shopping! Yes that's right, that's what I did.

Loco sound wise, not much is new. I am still messing about with the 32 class file. Last Saturday night Danielle and I froze our butts off waiting for 3237 and 5917 heading the Fotoz Flyer. We waited for hours at the cheese factory level crossing in Robertson. Little did we know, it had a few issues coming up the mountain. Anyway with Danielle watching me run around like a frozen, wet mad man, I was able to capture an ok whistle recording. After it zoomed past we jumped in the car and caught the train in Moss Vegas. The whole night was a bit of a waste of time as all the stuff I recorded was pretty much useless. It was however really nice to see two steamers at Moss Vale on a cold winters night, something I have only seen in books. One thing I did find funny was that the train crew were much, much cleaner than all the passengers. It really looked as if they had just emerged out of a coal mine. Apparently the passenger cars were filled with soot through one of the tunnels, pretty funny.

One thing that I have been making progress on is refining my hand laid point work. I bit the bullet and soldered all the etched sleeper plates onto the rail ready for attaching the timber sleepers. This would probably be one of the most boring tasks I have ever carried out. Lucky for me, the sleeper plates only need to be fitted to mainline track.

 I have also decided to hinge the point blades with a pin which fits into a hole. The point blades feel more robust now and will be easier to replace the point blade should something go wrong in the future. The point blade actuator PCB strip is now under the point, as suggested by Geoff (Splitters Swamp Creek). For the photo, I have added one of the spreader bars. Obviously this one would short the point out being made entirely of brass. Not 100% about the this end of the point yet. Still some more experimenting. Next step is to paint, add sleepers and run trains - yeah right.

My new shed has now finished construction. Next thing will be to paint the floor and add two internal walls. The layout room will end up being 14.5m long and 2.4m wide, Picton (Stonequarry) will fit very nicely. At this point it is my intention to house the dog bones in the main part of the shed. These will fold up when not in use. The house slab should be finished this week . Hopefully the planets align for an early 2016 move in.

That's about it for now.

Thanks for looking, bye.


Saturday, May 30, 2015

D57 Class Sounds - Again!!!


Not much to report these days. As we are living in a small rental (while our new house is being built) I have not really had the space or equipment to do any proper modelling. While I could get all my tools out and set it all up, I just don't feel comfortable! This is probably due to knowing we have to move it all again in six months. Not sure.

I have been able to fiddle around with some more track work stuff. I recent blog post by Rob (Picton Blog) was very interesting and I loved the colouring he used for his hand built track. Just days before he posted on his blog, I was pondering over what colour to paint the rail. With a few hints from Rob I think rail colour is sorted. Just need to unpack the air compressor and air brush, aaahhhh.

Sleeper staining seems to be another one of those processes where everyone does it differently. I have been experimenting with Indian Ink, thinned paint washes and Raven Oil diluted with metho. So far I am liking the Raven Oil mix method over the others. I first heard of Raven Oil while reading Rod Kelly's blog (NSWGR Southern Line Layout In A Shed). He has used it with great effect on his laser cut structures. I went down to my local Horse World, or what ever its called and bought a small bottle of both black and brown stains. When I got home I mixed some brown stain with metho and threw in some sleepers. They looked ok, a little on the fresh side for railway work. With the second lot I added some black stain with the brown. I liked the colour better however the stain to metho mix was a little strong and they stained dark very quickly. Still some experimenting to do. I have included a picture of some stained sleepers. I think they are a little too dark but I am sure after some weathering with the airbrush and chalks they may come up ok? Please offer some colour advice.

The cross over now needs all the sleeper plates soldered where the timber sleepers are to be placed, rail to be painted and then timber sleepers added. After much experimenting I think I am going with an under track type stretcher bar fit out. This will allow me to add close to scale, decorative stretcher bars between the two point blades. More to come later.

On the locomotive sound front, I have pretty much finished my C32 class file. Just days before the Loftus Convention, I DCC'd one of my Classic 32 class models. The install was not one of my best and it will need some re-work once I get my lathe and mill back on line. It's amazing how much I rely on these two tools these days for making decoder/speaker mounts for brass locomotives.

The damn 57 class sound file has sucked me back in. While in Sydney I started to experiment with using a generic chuff sound and modifying it heavily to match the rhythmical beat of the three cylinder beast. The quality of 57 class recordings I have on hand are just not good enough however they are great for working out timing and pitch changes. After much modifying and playing around I think I have a better sounding 57 class file. The camera and YouTube compression does not do it any favours however I thought I would share it.

BTW the urinal sound at the end is suppose to be a water filling sound feature. Don't listen to the end if your are busting for a leak!

The Loftus Convention seemed to be good this year. I didn't attend any lectures as I was lashed to the 'Waterfall' layout but from what I heard everyone seemed to have a good time. As always with these events I got to catch up with friends and made some new ones along the way.

That's about all for now.

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Picton, Moving Closer to Picton


Just a quick update. As described in a previous post Danielle and I are moving to the Southern Highlands. After growing up there I have a warm spot for the place and can't wait to make the move.

Our house will not be finished until the end of the year however we have sold our house in Nowra and need to be out in two weeks. Last weekend I hired a truck and moved the layout and all other bulky shed stuff items. The layout now resides in Moss Vale, at my uncles house. We set up 4 of the five modules (one day to be six) in his loft above the garage. Not much will happen while it is in Moss Vegas but I am hoping I will be able to build some track, in our to be found yet, interim house.

Looking at the photo my uncle sent to me, it really highlights the need to use flat paint for back scenes. I have this thing for enamel paint (thinking it is more durable?) with the two furthest modules back scenes finished in semi-gloss. It took me a while to find flat enamel paint however I did and it looks much better on the third from end module. Lots more painting ahead!

Last week the new shed/layout room's form work went up with the slab to be poured next week. Who needs a house when you have a shed! I have learnt a lot of things when it comes to a layout room so this shed will be split into three separate areas. The layout specific room will be 14.5m x 2.4m. I want another dedicated room that stays clean (I am dreaming) for modelling and painting. Having saw dust and general shed mess hanging around the layout and painting area has caused many headaches. Hopefully this shed layout will make things better.

One bonus to moving is that while you're packing, you find things that you didn't even know you had! I didn't realise how many RTR wagons I had collected over the years. I have so much detailing, modifying and weathering to do! Who said RTR makes life easier? ha ha.

After reading a friends sad blog entry this afternoon, I came to realise just how good this hobby can be. Not only does the hobby provide enjoyment but it introduces you to people that become life long friends and support networks. My deepest sympathies go out to you and your family through these tough times.

That's about it for now, see you later,


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Garratt Sounds


I hope everyone is doing well.

Not a great deal has been happening on the modelling front lately. I have been fiddling around with an Ian Lindsay EHO kit which so far is coming up well. The filling of the roof was quite challenging, particularly getting the fillet shaped correctly. So far so good.

Regrettably I missed Thirlmere's steam fest this year. I would have loved to go however I made plans with a mate to attend the Avalon air show. The air show was good, some jets flew around making lots of noise and the stunt pilots put on great shows however it was an original Sopwith Camel that really impressed me. What a beautiful WW1 aircraft. It would have been a very hard aircraft to fly due to its large rotary engine, causing all sorts of gyroscopic precession issues (something that made the plane very manoeuvrable actually), but above all it's engine only ran at one speed - flat out. While flying, the engine is constantly cut so as not to over speed. It's quite strange, the engine was probably only powering the aircraft for half it's dog fight display flight. Very cool.

Here is a picture -

Fitting for 6029s big show last weekend and as the title eludes, I have been working on an AD60, ESU sound file. I recorded most of the sounds while in Canberra during 6029's photo shoot last winter. It's amazing what you can do with good quality recordings, unlike the battle I am having with the 57 class stuff I have. This project has pretty much been complete for some time now, however I have not had it installed in a locomotive.....until now.

I decided to test it out in my DJH model. The brass Garratt would allow for a better install however I have not painted my Mansfield version and don't know if I really want to. It will be a big job!

There are a few ways to achieve this install so as to create the sometimes out of sync exhaust beat. The expensive method would be to use two sound decoders and two speakers. At $190 a decoder, along with two power packs and two speakers, I think this method is just too expensive. It would sound great though!

The avenue I took was to use one ESU Loksound micro decoder, one Zimo 15mm x 11mm x 12mm sugar cube speaker, two ESU power packs and a Lokpilot V4 micro (non-sound) decoder. While still an expensive install, the original value of the locomotive needs to be considered I guess.

On the subject of speakers, I have found the genuine Zimo SC speakers tend to out perform the generic Knowles type speakers being sold everywhere. I don't know if this is because the Zimo is supplied with a fitted enclosure, keeping the very sensitive speaker cone protected or if the speaker is in fact manufactured by a different company? I have never had a Zimo speaker crackle or distort with volume where as I have found the Knowles types to be very unreliable. Just my observations. I would love to hear from others.

Anyway back to the DJH AD60 install hey. I fitted the sound decoder, with power pack into the front engine unit. A pair of wires run, via a two pin connector to the Zimo speaker located in the boiler section ash pan. The sound quality from the taller sugar cube is quite impressive. I am still waiting for my Lokpilot (non-sound) decoder to arrive, so at this point the back engine does not run. When it does turn up, it and it's power pack will be installed and the locomotive will hopefully be able to move its self.

Loksound Micro and ESU Power Pack

You may ask (well you may not ha ha) how will one decoder give an out of sync beat? The answer is ESU magic. I was playing around one day and found a setting for articulated locomotives. If you add another drive sequence into the second sound slot, you can set the decoder up to play the second drive sound with an adjustable delay. The positives to this set up are that it can all be set up with one decoder however one negative is the repeated in and out of sync sound. I can live with the repeatability and now that I think about it, would most likely happen with a two decoder set up anyway.

The project is set up using the throttle type sound manipulation which I talked about in previous posts. I am starting to like this control method as it allows you to control the engines chuff intensity simply with small throttle changes. Much like driving the real thing I guess.

I still need to level out the different compressor profile volumes and load the stoker sound files but hope the included video gives you some idea as to where I am at with it.

Sorry for the not so good audio quality. I still don't know how to turn off the automatic volume gain setting on my video camera. It tends to level out the overall volume unfortunately even with the Rode mic attached.

That's it for now. Have to get back to my Auscision 45 class and work out how to separate the damn lights.



Sunday, February 8, 2015

Somewhere Between Sydney and Home


Things have been busy lately. Working in Sydney and living in Nowra has certainly decreased modelling time. On top of that, we are building a house in Bundanoon and have our Nowra house on the market. Weekends are filled with mowing lawns and keeping things tidy. I am a little restricted on starting large projects at the moment. This has been good in some ways as have been able to finish a couple of jobs that have been lingering. Ticked off the list was a mates PSM 38 class sound install and DJH R class leading pony truck reconfigure. Now that the R runs without melting its wheels, I have been challenged to install sound in it. I will most likely build my own R class ESU sound project for this one as fiddling on the computer does not make much mess, its the perfect house sellers project. More to come on this one.

I have received a few models over the past few weeks. I bit the bullet and bought a Trainorama 48 class. I was a little stand offish regarding this model as I did not pre-pay and the Auscision version is so much cheaper (pre-payed that is). As I had family connections to Toms Hobbies (now Bobs Hobbies) I really felt the need to spend my money in the shop and support a manufacture that has supplied us many superb models. As for the model, its beautiful. They did a great job. If it weren't for the price, I would have bought four of them. Maybe the price will come down eventually, like the 44 class did? I guess it depends on stock levels and other things that I have no idea about.

Along with the 48, its big brother showed up packaged in a typical Auscision sent padded bag. The 45 class is a stunning model. I only bought the one, a 1980's version. I received a sound decoder today from Mike (Dcc Sound) and am looking forward to hearing what he has come up with for the old ALCO.

The excitement of receiving a new model is just not like what it used to be. These days new models get pulled out the box, looked at and then packed back up. I don't know if this is due to a lack of time or just plain being spoilt? Its so easy now. I was at Casula Hobbies last Thursday and Joe mentioned that one knock-on affect of all this RTR stuff is the huge increase in guys that take weathering models to the next level. He is right, people now spend the time in which they may have once built the kit and use it for weathering. Some of the results are amazing although I think some models are weathered way beyond what they looked like in regular service. I feel that its a hard thing to add all the features of a filthy diesel in model form. I don't know why but it sometimes looks over done. This is just my opinion and a criticism that I am guilty of also. Perhaps it's a scaling thing?

While on my soap box, I feel that Facebook and model trains don't go together. I like the manufactures being on FB, providing updates however some of the groups I have been introduced to are depressing. People can be so rude when armed with a keyboard and no decency. Facebook is a form of social media and unfortunately the model railroad hobby is made up of many un-sociable characters. Its a recipe for madness.

On to other things. I was invited to take a look at Ray Pilgrims 'Bylong' a few weeks ago. Rays layout looks as good in real life as it does in his photos. It was a great afternoon and thanks Ray.

Work has continued on 5708. The locomotive is supposed to depict a red lined 5708, circa 1958 as seen on page 203 in Graig Mackey's book 'The 57s and 58s'. An interesting shot of 5715, also in 1958 shows the lining on the cab side. It seems to me that during the mid 50s, the red lining was most commonly applied to 57 class locomotives allocated to Enfield or Chullora. While this statement is not gospel, it sure seems this way after looking through photos.

With finishing my 57, I also decided to have another look at my 57 sound project. I have included another 57 class video (sorry) to illustrate.

Luckily I have solved the vibrating body sound problem, thanks mostly to Mr Bolivia. I ended up replacing the cylinder drain cock sound files with audio equalised versions. This seemed to clear the condensed water much better and now no more hammering vibrations. Seriously though it was just loose body parts such as the working footplate inspection covers and a few pieces of piping touching each other.

Well that's about all. If anyone wants to move to Nowra and buy a house I have one here ready to go, perfect for the model railroad enthusiast.

Thanks for looking,


Sunday, January 4, 2015

One of Those Models - The D57


I hope 2015 started well for everyone. Ours started badly by losing the car keys on a beach during new years eve celebrations. Luckily, my wife spotted the so called childish Lego key ring I had fitted and plucked it from the sand. The Lego key ring is no longer so childish and the new year was saved!

Anyway, I am sure everybody has one. One of those models that no matter what do something always goes wrong. Mine at this point in time is my Bergs, second run D57 class. I purchased the model and decided I would strip the paint and give it a restoration if you like. Normally stripping a model is pretty easy, especially brass models. This model however needed to be stripped four times, as each time I applied etch primer I would find tiny patches of what I am guessing was the original clear coat. I couldn't really see this clear coat until the thin primer was applied.

After this continuous saga I found that the cylinders and front valve gear platform had been araldite glued on to the chassis frames. I know this is not how they are suppose to be as I had not that long ago converted my Uncles 57 to DCC. Over the araldite was this really thick black paint that needed to be chipped off. Eventually it was all removed and everything was ok. I am still not sure why the model had been glued together? Perhaps it was because all the valve gear just flops around once the boiler section is removed? I am not too sure?

I wanted to line my 57 as it seems this is how they were often out shopped during the 50s. The red lining didn't last long but in some photos you can still see parts of it. This is what I wanted to achieve. With my Graphos pen loaded with paint, I went about lining the tender and cab. Keeping with tradition, the lining of this particular model was not at all easy. First the pen would not work, then I couldn't get the paint consistency right, then I placed the forward vertical red line on the tender in the wrong spot. I know all these problems really sound like they are more to do with the numb skull doing all of this however it is far easier to blame something else, so that what I did! Eventually I ended up with a not too badly lined model. Now to cover some mistakes.

The sound install differed slightly from my Uncles. I ended up using two speakers. One a 15mm x 12mm Zimo sugar cube and the other a Knowles 18mm x 13mm phone speaker with a styrene built sound chamber. This makes the Knowles speaker a sugar cube I guess, a sweet tooths sugar cube.
I am not sure if this set up sounds better or I am just being fooled by the increase in volume output achievable by having the two 8 ohm speakers paralleled (making the load 4 ohms). This has meant that the stay alive needs to go in the tender, something I am now regretting. One downside of the increased volume is that the model rattles. I am getting some horrible rattling sounds when blasting the whistle from the valve gear. Of course this didn't happen on my Uncles model because its not mine.

I will do a side by side comparison between the single and twin speaker installs. If it is just volume that is making it sound better I might consider removing a speaker and then move the stay alive into the boiler. Unfortunately my D57 class sound file is lacking in volume slightly. I have not been able to edit the chuff file sounds any further, so as to increase the volume without degrading the quality.

Anyway, after many days fiddling around with this model, lining parts, wiping the lining off and re-doing, soldering pieces back on that just fell off, fixing a weird short and touching up damaged paint here is the result. Sorry for the pony truck wheels still having tape on them. Still a few things to do.

For some reason the front vertical red line on the tender followed the rivet line rather than the tender side. 

Sound install. This replaces the original lead weight utilising attachment screws. Decoder is a 21 pin ESU V4 on 21 pin adapter board. Zimo speaker at the back and Knowles speaker with styrene enclosure in front.

See you soon,