Don’t get me a present. Don’t even bother with a gift certificate. Skip the tree. Forget the decorations. A turkey sandwich and a beer will suffice for dinner. Please don’t make me listen to that Mariah Carey song. There’s only one thing I really, truly want at Christmas time: a few hours spent watching a train do laps in a dimly-lit room.
Well, okay…some cookies might be nice, too. (more…)
In a normal year, this would be the first day of the fall train-show season. I’d be in the car right now, with a load of T-Trak modules and gear, on the way to the fairgrounds in Syracuse. I’d spend the afternoon dragging folding tables into position, shimming them up into some semblance of levelness, spreading tablecloths, laying out modules and cables, and building a railroad to run in public all weekend. I’d be doing the same thing next weekend, and several weekends after that, right into mid-December.
But this is 2020. None of that is going to happen. Everything is cancelled. (more…)
I do nearly all my operating at train shows. There have been no train shows since February. There won’t be any train shows until November. There might not be any then, either. How to satisfy my burning desire to watch a train travel around in circles for an extended period of time? (more…)
I’ve never seen anything like this. Occasionally, a train show gets cancelled for a snowstorm, or maybe some last-minute problem at the venue. But within the past few days, two local shows, and an upcoming NMRA division gathering, have been cancelled for the COVID-19 outbreak. (more…)
The Windlenook layout, unfinished as it is, has been out to a number of different places this year: a few library shows, an NMRA-sponsored 4H event, and even a birthday party. The electronics haven’t changed since last winter, but I have made progress on structures.
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…)