Bench Testing Locomotives

During the early years of the layout, I programed the DCC decoders during installation into the locomotives.  I then used my outdoor layout to program the trains after they have been modified.  This caused me to waste a lot of time and I would have sometimes have programming issues with the locomotives, had to have…

Water and Electricity Don’t Mix

When I started this train project I researched how to effectively wire the layout and I used standard LGB track.  I planned the layout, wired up the layout, and after everything was in place I found that the layout electrically is not reliable. Sometimes planning and research is not enough.  Experience is critical, as well…

Challenges of Electricty Outdoors

AS I built the track, it was raised on Hardiboard and had no dirt.  I ran the wires as needed to feed the power sectors of the track.  There are about 100 different sectors for the track layout and each of these had individual wires to feed the voltage to the track.  The wires feed…

Getting the Electronics to Work

After we got everything wired up with the Digitrax components we started to have several problems. When we moved the locomotives the sound would shut off and locomotives moved slower than I though they should.  We originally though it was because the layout was so big 600 ft of track. But the zone / sections…

Learning JMRI

Since all of my electronics were performing correctly it was now time to determine how to automate the processes.  I have selected JMRI which is a Java based open system that connects to model railroads.  As I have talked about previously I have standardized on Digitrax and I have connected my computer running JMRI to the…

Test the Electronics

I finally got the first phase of the track, signals, and turnouts wired up. I was able to test out each of the boards. I had trouble with the BDL186 showing the occupied blocks. After a lot of checking I noticed the green network light was not behaving as the other circuit boards did. This…

Train Track Finished, Starting Electrical

With the help of lot of my children who were home for Christmas and Baptism of Betty Murry we made a lot of progress on the train.  After attending some railroad shows last year, I decided to add some additional track that would allow the trains to stop while other trains passed them on the…