I have to admit, the pandemic does have its upsides. There’s been much less wear and tear on the car than usual. Disruptions from door-to-door ESCO sales reps are just a fading bad memory. Begging off holiday gatherings with annoying in-laws is delightfully easy to do now. Best of all, conventions have gone virtual, which means we can participate without regard to travel expenses or advance reservations, and nobody asks to see your membership card.
The Northeastern Region, NMRA had originally intended to hold its annual convention in October, but Covid-19 has moved it online, and it’s happening this week. I’ll be giving a clinic about Inglenooks (and Windlenook in particular) on Thursday evening. Click on over to the NMRA’s YouTube channel, and tune in!
“Hex Frog Juicer” sounds like something out of a Harry Potter novel, doesn’t it? I’d be lying if I said my purchase decision wasn’t influenced just a teeny bit by the name. But, colorful connotations aside, that name is actually quite descriptive: the Hex Frog Juicer is designed to provide electricity to six turnout frogs. Just what Susquehannock Industrial Park needs! (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.
I overpaid for this ’80s-vintage Model Power boxcar at the train show in Cicero last December. I mean, look at it: crude, heavy molded-in detail, exposed assembly tabs, graphics printed directly on raw plastic. I paid $5. It’s not worth a nickel over $3. But still, that color! Oh, the color! Glorious, gaudy traffic-cone-orange plastic! It practically glows in the dark. Just what I need for the Windlenook project.
So I handed over the whole $5, took it home, pried off the shell and the horn-hooks, and proceeded to spend way too much time installing Kadee couplers. I had to do a surprising amount of surgery to both the underframe and the shell to get everything to fit properly, but it’s back together now. It’s prone to wobbling, however, and I’ll probably spend way too much time fixing that.
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…)