When I took the Windlenook project on its very first outing to the Maker Faire last November, I had to hook it up to an old MRC power pack. I’d attempted to get an Arduino-based joystick throttle working at the last minute, and couldn’t get it to respond. I finally revisited the throttle circuit after New Year’s, and discovered that it was just a few code errors away from working. Oh, well. (more…)
Once upon a time, Dave built some T-Trak modules. He spread a pair of passing sidings across several of them, and called them “the yard modules.” Those modules proved incredibly useful, and were included in every show layout. When Dave took a break from the hobby, Dana got the yard modules, and they went to so many shows that their foam-over-flakeboard carcases got all beat up. I built new carcases from oak-veneer plywood, and Dana and I installed the old track on them. They continued to go to every show. When Dana stepped back from his train-show activities, I got the yard modules, and here our story begins. (more…)
I could, I suppose, claim that the tsunami of workplace overtime hours since late March left me with no time for hobby activities, but that’s not quite true. My evenings did become shorter, and so did my Saturdays. I had a choice: spend my remaining, precious free time working with trains, or writing blog entries.
Well, which would you have chosen?
Did you know that you don’t actually need a Digital Command Control station to run your decoder-equipped locomotives? Use the power pack you already have. Just turn the speed knob up all the way, and encode the commands manually by flipping the direction switch back and forth, at about 8,000 times per second. If you do the timings precisely enough, your decoder-equipped locomotives will respond appropriately. What could be simpler?
Electronics retailer Radio Shack, which has been circling the drain for quite a while now, finally did what everyone expected it to do, and declared bankruptcy this week. If you’ve been in the hobby of model railroading for a while, you’ve almost certainly purchased something there that you needed for your railroad—some solder, a spool of wire, Cinch-Jones connectors. How will we survive in a post-Radio Shack retail landscape?
For me, it’s back to electronics this week. If you’ve seen my past layout projects, you’ll know that I like built-in throttles. I did it with the GVC ten years ago, and again with Lynn’s railroad. That’s simple enough to do with a homebuilt DC circuit, but will the rise of Digital Command Control change all that?