Sunday, December 25, 2016

I am Slipping


Well as the title suggests, I have been slipping when it comes to updating my blog. As Bob Stack mentioned in his Blog a few months ago, the Russians seem to have taken a keen interest in NSW modelling. I have had hundreds of blog hits coming from Russia! I have not received my new Russian mail order bride yet, as I am sure Australia Post have been quite busy between sorting Christmas deliveries and throwing everybody's Ixion 32 class models around!
Danielle and I are now feeling more at home in our new house so a little bit has been happening on the modelling front.
While on the subject of slipping, I purchased a Mansfield AD60 Garratt off a mate a few month ago. I have stripped the model of all its paint and have begun the long process of repainting and re-assembling everything. There are a bloody lot of parts to the Garratt, I hope I can get it back together!
Anyway while disassembling the chassis I noticed that there were four Delrin bushes fitted to the chassis rails. To me they looked like plunger pickup bushes. On closer inspection I discovered that they lined up perfectly with the driving wheel rims. The Mansfield Garratt was built from the factory with phosphor type wipers on the leading and trailing insulated driving wheels. While these tend to be ok, I prefer plunger type pickups due to their robustness. I find it interesting that the plunger bushes were fitted, without the actual plunger pick up from the factory? Lucky I guess, as drilling the holes in the chassis (like I did for my Trax Z13) is tricky work.
Original phosphor wiper seen on rear right hand driver
The factory plunger pickup holes in the chassis just to the left of the rear driver horn block guides

I turned up a few little brass bushes which locate the spring on the plunger. A trial fit to the chassis and they seem to work nicely. I am not sure why Mansfield ended up steering away from this type of pickup method. I hope I don’t find out once the model is all put back together.

The forward driver plunger pickup fitted

While my engineering brain was in gear, I wanted to come up with a neat way of attaching one side of the DCC connectors – the ones that will link the decoders to the engine units. I didn’t want the connector flapping about and I thought if the female side of the connector was fixed, it would be much easier to make the connections.
I ended up fabricating a little keeper which is soldered onto the inboard pony truck nut. The whole lot seems to screw together nicely and will keep the connectors out of sight, yet accessible.

AD60 Sound Project
The Garratt would not be complete without a new sound project. I have taken quite a few sound recordings of 6029 and have been filtering through and editing my little heart out.
Sometimes I have brain waves. Sometimes, well most of the time I don’t think about things enough. The Garratt however opened up a new opportunity in regards to DCC and realism. When it comes to realism, particularly for a Garratt, one thing that is so important is to have the exhaust of the two engine units falling in and out of synchronisation. While this effect can be done with only one ESU decoder, using two decoders (Yes it’s costing a fortune in decoders!) gives me the ability to induce a proper wheel slip in one engine unit.
It has taken me around three months to perfect the Loksound V4 slipping template however I now have a reliable and responsive project. I have designed the project so both decoders are using the same DCC address. As with all my projects, the throttle will once again control the sound flow – none of that ESU ‘Full Throttle’ function button pressing rubbish in my models thanks ha ha! When accelerating the Garratt, in the lower speed step region, if you open the throttle too much, one engine unit will slip. The wheels slip instantly and obviously the chuff rate rises to match. To arrest the slip the throttle must be closed slightly. Once the slip stops the engine units match their speeds and the locomotive will continue, as long as the throttle is not abused! This feature will allow the chuff synchronisation to be actually put out by a real slip. While typing this I have been testing it on the bench. It is not installed in the locomotive yet. It is looking promising however will most likely need tweaking once the locomotive is running. ESU V4 decoders are simply amazing when it comes to producing a realistic driving experience. If you can imagine it, there is most likely a way to build a template to achieve it.
Layout news, well there isn’t too much. The layout is still safely tucked away in Moss Vale. While I do have the room here, I will wait until the layout room is lined before I relocate it. I think I previously mentioned that I was changing my layout modelling location. I have been building bits and pieces for Picton now for many years. While a little sad to make a change, I have decided that I need to do something much simpler and concentrate on the quality. I have decided to build Fish River, I railway location on the Main South between Goulburn and Gunning. This location is quite interesting with it having two dead end refuges and a sand siding. The bridge over the river is fairly substantial and is located close enough to the station for me to model the whole location to scale. One of the biggest drivers for my change is model visibility and sound project staging. The mainline track at Fish River climbs steadily at both ends away from the station area with the refuges remaining level. This split and track elevation will stage models visually and aurally really well. I felt Picton was going to hide the models in the cutting a little too much.
I have drawn the entire track plan in Templot and have printed a full ten metre section and a four metre section out. The four metre section (pictured) will be used to build all the points on. The points have been drawn to NSWGR practise in OO-SF.
The sand siding ran very steeply into the river. I have plans for a sand loading platform however can find no information on whether the platform was actually built, what type of wagons were used and how the wagons were shunted. If anybody has any information I would love to hear from you.


On sound news, once the Garratt is running, I will set up a Facebook site which will outline my projects and how they are controlled. I feel this will make managing peoples requests easier and give me the ability to monetise my work. Look out for Llewot Digital soon.

Well I hope everyone had a great Christmas, I had a good time at the Illawarra clubs Chrissy party. It was great to catch up with so many people.

This year Santa bought me a motorcycle rather than coal which was nice. The coal would have actually been quite handy as my 57 is still running around with no fuel.
Well that's it. Happy New Year and stay safe,


  1. Linton

    I can't wait to hear the Garratt once you get it reassembled and running.

    I had a look at my blog stats and the most hits come from the USA then Russia then Australia, weird! It can't really be an accurate page view count.

    1. Hi Ray,

      Yeah the counter is probably a nothing. I hope that is the case as the Russian hits would more likely be from scammers than interested folk.

      I have a little more painting to do on the Garratt and I am also waiting for some Delrin rod to turn up so I build the decoder and speaker mount in the boiler.

      I need to get my Shapeways order in also! Great deals at the moment.

    2. Hi Linton,
      Sorry to hear you're abandoning Picton, I was looking forward to having a Picton bake off....haha. Anyway, I'll be looking forward to seeing Fish River in operation soon, its certainly a great deal simpler than Picton so progress should be swift ;-)
      All the best,