May 27, 2013

Making a Tennessee River Run



In between other jobs this Memorial Day weekend, I added the water to the Tennessee River.  I used about 12 light coats of Minwax Gloss Polyurethane. After the first few coats I realized that the surface prep was inadequate. So I stripped off the first water layers. Then I applied a thin coat of wood putty  to fill the imperfections and sanded it smooth when it was dry. Then I repainted the surface dark blue and black with a fade to mud at the shorelines applied by airbrush.

While I had the paint out, I gave the fascia a final coat of paint.

Andy Small from Train Troll sent me a note with a photo of the 40 ft hopper barge he built for the layout. He will be mailing it soon.  Andy still plans to build the Cinch, but it will have to wait  until the fall.

Paul Dolkos also called to say he had finished the covered barge except for the doors, which I will install with some scribed siding. He will drop it off soon.


Another thing on the do-list was to reprogram some of the CVs on the Whiton, the battery powered loco, to improve its operation. I was under the mistaken impression that the Stanton throttle can not program CVs. But it can do some of the basic CVs such as CV1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 29 and 65. It took a little experimentation and an email to the Neil Stanton, the system designer, but I was able to program the loco so that it starts smoothly and has momentum on start and stop. Bottom line is that the loco is 99 percent of where I would want it in terms of operation. The only complaint is that the minimum speed is about 1-2 MPH more than I would like. Now if there was something I could do about the noise in the gear train.

I also ordered a CVP Airwire T5000 throttle based on the recommendation of George Sebastian-Coleman. With that throttle, which is compatible with the Stanton system, I'll be able to programm all CVs on the battery loco. I want to at least disable the headlight dynamo and air pumps, as my engines have oil lamps and no air brakes. It will also gives us a second battery throttle. We'll see if we like it better than the Stanton before ordering more.

While I was on the phone with the CVP rep he told me that CVP is coming out with a smaller battery system that will fit in some HO, O and On30 equipment. It can convert a regular DCC decoder to radio and battery. The main problem is that it does not have trickle charging.  This is getting interesting.

I also had some visitors this weekend. On Sunday, Bill Barker from Hamilton, Montana stopped by. He and his son rode their motorcycles from Montana and Denver to participate in the Rolling Thunder Memorial event.  Bill is an Army veteran and a serious model railroader. He has a 30 by 40 feet HO layout devoted to the Milwaukee Road. He depicts the main line from Deer Lodge to Avery, including the electrified area. His layout features nicely done scenery and numerous scratch built buildings. He does not have a website. But in the small world department, he lives in the same town as the NWSL company and is friends with the owner, Dave. I let him run the Whiton,so he could report back to Dave on the success in installing and programming it.

On Monday Rainer Kurth and David Cooper stopped by for a quick visit. Rainer is on a sabbatical from his job in Switzerland. He plans to spend about 6 months in the US and Canada.  David is a local Alexandrian and will try to come to future work sessions. He has a HO layout. It is a sectional design devoted to an urban area. His intent is to incorporate it later into a bigger layout when he has more room.




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