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Extracting Feeders From Cable

Imagine if you will, a friend gives you a 200 ft spool of microphone cable for your feeders (and says there’s more if you need it). The cable has 2 pairs (black/red, white/green) of stranded and tinned copper wire, 22 AWG that would be great for feeders. The catch is, the pairs are shielded and also twisted along with another ground wire. This is the part of the hobby I really do not enjoy because it is very tedious. When are we going to “do” trains finally?

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North Ladder Laid

A bit more work was done today on the staging yard. The North side of the double-ended main staging yard has been laid down, feeders and all.

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First Feeders Installed

After a bit of a break, which was spent mostly shoveling ungodly amounts of snow and ice, it’s official. First feeders have been installed on the railroad.

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Custom Built LCC Boards

The Holidays have been slow, I hate to admit it but I squandered my time off doing electronics and code, instead of laying track. The other stuff still had to be done though, as I need to set a direction. With that in mind, I wanted to give a custom board a try that I saw in a LCC clinic video by Balazs Racz on YouTube, because it basically does everything I want: block occupancy detection, circuit protection, track power on/off, and RailCom.

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Arduino Uno OpenLCB Test Node On the LCC Network

I have to say it, I wasn’t expecting it, but it happened. From a rather cold start (doofus here picked a wrong USB port for the RR-CirKits LCC Buffer device), to mach speed, in a blink of an eye. Proof is in the pudding (third entry in the list in the OpenLCB Network Tree window on the left). Hooray!

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Electronics Parts, LCC, et al

I mentioned in the previous post that I spent the last week or so doing diddly-squat on the layout. A few tests of the BOD, but otherwise more time was spent building a PoC (Proof of Concept) circuit for LCC (Layout Command Control) or more precisely getting the CANbus code for Arduino CAN-BUS Shield integrated with a development code from the OpenLCB group.

As it always happens (of course), I did not have all the necessary electronics parts to complete the circuits, to my satisfaction, so I went today to look for more. I came back with two bags of various items. Some that I needed to get and some…that were nice to have.

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Block Occupancy Detection Experiments, part 1

It’s been slow past few days – I squandered some of my time-off doing nothing, or driving around getting things, or just having hard time focusing. Maybe I should not be feeling guilty about it, time-off is supposed to be time off things, all of them. Oh well, onto the trains now.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been experimenting with various methods of block occupancy detection. As I plan to have the entire railroad detectable (for automation purposes) and it’s a mid-size layout, there will be many, many (…many) blocks (probably a hundred or so across 3 decks). I built couple of circuits, namely the single transistor one based off of NCE BD20 and modified by Reinhard Müller, and another based on a similar Current Transformer detector but with a LM555, originally from Paisley, with modifications from Helmut Schäfer.

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