Friday, April 22, 2011

Another dead corner gets life

I have another dead spot on my layout that now has scenery! My PA State Trooper's cruiser hides behind this building Main Street in Anytown, PA, and beside him is a dirt/stone lot with some random wood, boxes, and barrels. I used a combination of 5 different ballasts, dirts, and soil turf to make the base. I added some SuperTurf and fine green foliage as weeds. Barrels are K-Line and Lionel, small crates and barrels are Woodland Scenics with some Gargraves ties thrown in. Chain link fence is from Scenic Express and spray painted with silver metallic and Krazy glued together. I weathered the yellow K-Line barrels with some diluted india ink. Fun project!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Town square dead corner comes to life

I have a couple "dead corners" on my layout. This one was on the town square so I thought I'd fix it up.

I started with a foam core base primed with Gesso on both sides. The sidewalks are from Scenic Express, laser cut from balsa wood, and stained with creosote stain. Bricks are sheet foam from Heki. I made the planter out of railroad ties I pulled from Gargraves track, glued together with Krazy glue. I used dead leaves from Scenic Express as mulch and made and installed a SuperTree. Benches are ModelPower. The broad is from Arttista figures. It came out nice for a night's work.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


I purchased grade crossing signals and circuit board from Custom Signals at the York meet. Installation requires use of insulated tracks on the blocks you are trying to protect. I needed to cut the outside rail about an engine length from the actual crossing on each side of the road to be protected. Then needed to go back a distance on either side and cut again to make a "north" and "south" approach that triggers the signals. Transformer ground cannot be attached to the outside rail to be insulated at any point. This proved to be a challenge since my one approach was on a switch. Let's just say I learned a bit about switch design and wiring in this challenging puzzle but I believe its working correctly for both tracks now. I powered the circuit board from my converted PC power supply and tied the DC ground to track ground. I included a few night shots, some of which contain the signals in the foreground.

I also picked up some Z-Stuff track signals for the heck of it. The are wired together on my outside loop.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Computer power supply for layout building lights

I had several old PC power supplies laying around the basement so I did some wiring and made a power supply for my lighted buildings.

It's a 230-watt AT power supply that should provide about 9 amps on the 12 volt drop. Being an AT supply (and not an ATX) it only provides -5v, -12v, +5v, and +12v...but I'm really only using the +12v so no problem. I had to wire a 10-ohm, 10-watt resistor in-line on the 5v line in order to get the full output on the +12v line. Since the resistor gets hot, I attached it to the grill on the back of the supply so the cooling fan blows air over it.

I attached a barrier strip to the power supply case and shortened the wires to keep the project self-contained.  It was a little effort, and if I did it again I would just gather the similarly colored wires and terminate them on a barrier strip that was mounted nearby but not ON the supply.

Being an AT supply, it came with the power switch attached to an umbilical which I routed and mounted near my control panel.  I screwed on a wire nut as a push button.

Considering a 100-watt model railroad transformer costs around $100 and I made this for free, I think I did ok.

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Night time is the right time

I did a quick wiring of my town buildings just to see what it would look like at night. Pretty cool...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Under the lights

A couple quick shots taken with just the distant yard floodlights illuminating the scene