Chuck’s New Throttle: Installation


As you may recall, Chuck’s new throttle was essentially functional, but needed some detail work before installation in his layout. I’m smack in the middle of fall show season, so this is a particularly bad time to get things accomplished. The morning after the Mini Maker Faire, I dragged myself out of bed early, and proceeded to attach the remaining pieces.




As I mentioned in last week’s post, I just got a decoder into another Atlas RS-3. This is my first decoder installation since I got my new Hakko FX-888D soldering station last winter. After 30 years of working with Radio Shack pencil irons, I found myself doing enough electronics work (mostly, but not entirely, train-related) to justify the upgrade. The Hakko arrived just in time for a project with 115 individual LEDs that needed soldering together. What a difference!


Decoder Management for Dummies


I pop the shell off one of Dana’s Atlas SD-60Ms, remove the decoder, and clean the brush contacts, but the motor still doesn’t respond. “They ran great the last time I had ’em out,” he had told me, “but I can’t get ’em to move now. Can you take a look?”

If you’ve been into DCC for a while, you can probably guess where this is headed, but don’t shout out your answer just yet. Instead, let’s take this opportunity to explore JMRI—Java Model Railroad Interface. (more…)

Introducing Chuck’s New Throttle (a work in progress)


Let’s move on to something different: electronics. I’ve always tinkered in the electronics end of the hobby, but those efforts have intensified over the last few years, thanks to Arduino. This little device is helping me realize ideas I’ve been wanting to do for a very long time. At the moment, it’s helping me realize Chuck’s idea.