Tom Pierpoint helped wire the first telegraph station today. Most of the process was straight forward, but we did encounter some curveballs. Tom had ordered some jumper cables from Adafruit. They were nicely made, but the female end did not fit securely on the posts of the rotary switch. So I had to solder each connection, instead of simply pushing each one on.
|First wires to be attached|
After Tom left, and we had a dinner break, I went back through the documentation for the tenth time and finished the final wires. Sure enough, I got the system to work. All train numbers except 6 work properly for regular and extras.
When I select train 6 and push either switch, the small LED on the back of the Arduino flashes, indicating it got a signal, but the message doesn't start playing. The wire connections appear good, so it might be a software issue.
|Fully wired with some test leads to the sounder|
We still need to build 4 more station panels and the dispatcher desk, so lots of work to go but, so far I am pleased with the system. This is US Army Dot Code, a simplified version of Morse code adopted by the US Army during the civil war to allow new operators to be trained quickly. It was easier to learn than RR Morse, but did not allow messages to be sent as rapidly as regular railroad morse. We have the speed set so that it sends messages slow enough, that even a new operator can take down the dot code, and then translate the messages with a cheat sheet. Perhaps, now we can have a dispatcher job position on the RR. It won't be the most exciting job, but it will be a change of pace. And everyone else in the layout will enjoy the sounds of the telegraph clicking away.