Making a Test Board & Rolling Road for Analogue & DCC Model Locos

I’ve been doing an increasing number of DCC decoder installations and model locomotive repair jobs – both for myself and others – and setting up my tester and rolling road each and every time I needed them was becoming a bit tiresome (not to mention the rat’s nest of cables).

After pulling what’s left of my hair out for the final time, I decided to put together a small loco and decoder test board, incorporating my LokProgrammer and SPROG, as well as accommodating off-board control integration (DCC and DC/Analogue).

The board also features a rolling road, using DCC Concepts rolling road modules, and my own take on a means to permanently integrate them into a test set up and improve usability, using acrylic sheet, spacers and screws.

You can download a PDF version of the wiring diagram for the test board featured in the video via the link below:

This is only one way of approaching a decoder test board setup and there other examples out there. I do recommend that you consider something like this if you’re intending to do a lot of decoder installation and maintenance – it saves a lot of time and hassle!

CORRECTION: in the video, I mention the acrylic/perspex sheet as being 6mm when it is actually 4mm. A thickness of 6mm is likely to be too thick and may interfere with the wheel flanges.

Project Components

You can buy some components for this how-to project via the links below. Buying via Amazon affiliate links means I get a (very) small donation and helps to support the website and channel:

– DCC Concepts rolling road: https://amzn.to/2C1IB6t
– Red and black wire pack: https://amzn.to/2C1Infx
– Green 2-pin terminal plugs/sockets: https://amzn.to/2PiVfiW
– Peco straight track: https://amzn.to/2LGgPM7
– A4 clear acrylic sheet (4mm thick): https://amzn.to/2Cae1Yk
– M5x8mm black nylon spacer: https://amzn.to/2Pq7tX4
– A4 plywood 12mm: https://ebay.us/LGRLYW
– A4 plywood 3mm: https://amzn.to/2C03bE2
– ESU decoder tester: https://ebay.us/aBLzSi
– SPROG dcc module: http://www.sprog-dcc.co.uk
– Green power panel-mount socket/plug: https://ebay.us/nBLfXz
– DC power-style socket: https://ebay.us/nBLfXz
– 3 position, 2-pole switch: https://ebay.us/WyKD3b

3D Printer STL Files

If you’ve got a 3D printer, you can download STL file for the 3D-designed parts for free and print yourself a copy:

Switch box/enclosure: https://skfb.ly/6B6Cy
SPROG3 cradle: https://skfb.ly/6B6DY

Please note: If you choose to follow any of the steps or suggestions outlined in the video, you do so at your own risk and any damage or injury to yourself, your models, your equipment or others is your own responsibility. Your own test board wiring requirements will vary depending on the components that you use and also the specifics of your design. The diagram provided above is only a guide and you must work out your own wiring needs yourself to avoid costly damage to programmers, testers and decoders.

Layout Update: August 2018 – Baseboards, Track Plan & Cataloguing Rolling Stock

It’s been just over two months since I posted a layout update. Despite the incredibly hot weather and other distractions of the Summer, I’ve still managed to make some reasonable progress up in the loft.

In this layout update video, I take a look at the track plan for the Strathpeffer Junction layout, as well as where I’ve got to with the baseboards, my initial thoughts for DCC busses and some sorting and cataloguing of rolling stock and locomotives.

I’ve had to jettison the idea of a two level layout with large fiddle yard below due to space constraints, so now it’ll be mainly one scenic level, albeit with an upper level TMD at one end with a small fiddle yard below that.

The station layout is loosely informed by Dingwall station during its heyday (click the map below for a larger image). There’s also a great thread on RMweb that looks at Dingwall’s layout in years gone by. You can read it by clicking here.

The plans show what I’ll be working towards, but are by no means set in stone. I’d love to know what you think about my plans and ideas, so please feel free to leave any thoughts, comments, suggestions and questions in YouTube’s comments section.

EDIT: In the video I put up text on the screen mentioning two booster units for my two power districts. I should have written one booster. The one district will be run run from the DCC controller itself (in my case, a Z21 black), and the one from a booster.

Installing a flashing tail (EOT) lamp on your model railway coach or wagon

When the Model Railway YouTube Community Group coach tour visited Strathpeffer Junction, we took the opportunity to drop the coach into Fodderty TMD for a quick once-over and flashing tail lamp installation.

This in-depth, two-part how-to series takes you through the installation process, step-by-step. Part A looks at designing and building a small rectifier and stay-alive/keep-alive circuit, from component selection to soldering.

Part B looks at adding a switch, installing the red tail lamp itself and, because the flasher unit used requires a specific voltage, the design and build of a small rectifier circuit.

The circuitry used in this video series is just as applicable for coach lighting circuits or most other situations where you need to get power from the tracks into a coach or wagon to power a light.

You can download the schematic for the circuitry here:

 

#StrathpefferJunction #MRYCG #NetworkYouTube

You can buy items similar to/the same as some of the consumables featured in this how-to via these Amazon affiliate links:

Prototyping circuit board: https://amzn.to/2OzU2Ez
Bridge rectifiers: https://amzn.to/2NYMQRq
Electrolytic capacitors (1000uf 25V): https://amzn.to/2n4Jm45
Electrolytic capacitors (mixed box): https://amzn.to/2v727bB
+5V 150mA voltage regulator: https://amzn.to/2n2KWDy

Please note: If you choose to follow any of the steps or suggestions outlined in the video, you do so at your own risk and any damage or injury to yourself, your models, your equipment or others is your own responsibility.