Thursday, December 30, 2010


Well, this part of the hobby is definitely my nemesis! Though I have enough interest and fair amount of idea about electrical concepts, I definitely lack the hands on skills to do what I actually want to do. Clearly I was anticipating trouble while wiring (especially given I am using DC) and yes, one hell of a trouble it is!

Anyway, somehow I have done the basic wiring to run the trains around the layout, and quite a few tasks are still pending, but overall I am kind of satisfied... well not really satisfied, but relieved that I have finally done it!

I started with the control panel. I used Masonite board (insulation board) to construct the control panel. My wife had drawn the diagram on a black background that I pasted on the board and drilled the holes to fix the DPDTs and Peco Studs for turnout control (Yet to be wired). This is how it looks now after the primary wiring of the blocks.

By the way, this panel is totally removable. Creating this panel also required some carpentry work (again!). But this was required since I had to make the arrangement for easy portability.

Another important part that I wanted to do was avoiding soldering as much as possible because that's another grey area in my skill inventory! Especially soldering to the track. I tried this before and realized that it will be really hard for me to bring the level of perfection that I want to see. Now, to do this, I cut small pieces of thin (.1 mm) copper sheets and slide them between the track and the ties. This makes a flawless connection with the track and is very reliable with less risk of lose connection as compared to soldered joints (especially the ones I do :P). I wired the whole railroad using this method and it is working fine.

Now about hiding these copper plates, it will be pretty easy for me since most of the tracks in the port will be concealed in concrete. Moreover, if you look at the joints, it will be easy to hide these using normal ballasting.

The video below will show the first trial run:

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