Welcome to SouthwestTrakers blog. We are dedicated to sharing N-Scale model railroading through the use of T-Trak modules. We are in Lubbock, Texas, USA and currently number 7 modelers, well over 50 presentable modules, with over 24 modules cut out and in some stage of becoming presentable.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

July 17 - I started the assembly of the new power cables to use with the Digitrax DCC system we (BJ and I) are starting to learn. With help from various people "out there," I made a drawing of the cables and connectors to help get everything straight in the mind before starting the assembly. And, here's a couple of pix of my first (short) cables. A number of long (~8'3") cables are under construction, almost finished. All will have a Kato compatible drop. I call this the 'away' end, as in 'away from the Cmd Stn.'

We (BJ mainly, and I) are looking into easy to apply mid-span taps. More on that later, after our Aug. 12-13 show.

I spent a lot of time looking at the housings and contact pins, and finally was able to 'think through' the issues, including pin orientation while crimping, before starting.

There will be two versions of the Cmd Stn pigtail. One is straight to the Power Pole connectors, and the other is through a PM42 Pwr Mgr card, with four fan-outs.

In addition, there are three special 2' long cables. These have Kato triple blocks on them rather than the single connector. The Rattlesnake Junction module requires additional connections for all the tracks, so these were created to fulfill that need.


20110713-3, 20110717-1

July 7 - I got a bit more done on the new Payne Boxes this morning. These two are the final ones until after the Wolfforth Library show in August.

Unlike the previous box, these have only one shelf in them. However, the shelf is divided, so a box holds three modules. Only one shelf is used to allow for taller scenery and structures in it.
The pictures should make this need a bit evident.

Two things to note: First, the shelf positions are not the same. These positions were determined by the overall height of the sceniced modules on the upper layer. Second, the junction module in the bottom of each box is a bit narrower than the two corners above it. This results in a 5" x 18" open space at one end of the Payne Box. A project for that space has "announced itself" to me. All I have to say about that at this time is "stay tuned."

I still need to cut the hand holes in the top of each end, but that is an easy task. The final item to attach is the front panel. I'm considering hinging it at the top or splitting it vertically and hinging from the sides as doors. Decisions, decisions, decisions . . .


July 4 - It was a bit cooler this morning, so I got a good session in the shop before starting to overheat.

I built my first new generation Payne Box. Almost everything had to be cut today. The front, rear and sides were cross-cut pre-cut to the desired 29" height by the big box store. They are cheap 5mm paneling, but plenty good for this app.

The ~11/16" sq. strips everywhere were ripped from a pair of 2x4's to start the day. Then, based on the dimensions of the modules +~3/8" or so, four strips and four pieces of paneling from another sheet (the bottom of each layer and the top) were cut to size to form shelves. The module nestles down inside the strip frame. The front, rear and sides were cut to width. Then, assembly started.

Really, it went together well. With the sides glued and bradded to the shelves and top, I layed the back on the assembly to check for square. By far, this is the most square thing I have ever built. Maybe I am improving? Ha!

So, the back was glued and bradded in place. All that remains is to attach the door on the front once I get the hardware. Now, the modules will have a home with protection from dust, etc. and security whilst being transported. There are several more Payne Boxes to do, and each is a custom fit to the modules involved, but the basic design is constant.

Why 29" high, you ask? Well, BJ (another module builder here) realized that these table-top modules sit on banquet tables that are 29" high. So, if the Payne Boxes are 29" tall, they can serve as auxiliary tables for shows.

I'm tired, it's time to visit Mr. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz - - -