Tuesday, December 23, 2014

right angle tool

So today Nancy and I went around to Sears and Lowes and some other stores buying stuff.  Got a large vice grips, and a dremel right angle tool.  That tool was well worth it.  I was able to drill holes in seconds that were taking minutes.  That was until I tried to drill through some bondo, ground down the tip of two brand new drill bits to uselessness.  Maybe it was three.

Today I also formed and installed another new mudflap.  Pondering if I should replace another.  The only issue is the one in place now is short, I have to run a rivet through the folded over lip of the electronics tray and some bondo, By making a new longer mud flap i can go through just one layer of metal.

I also drilled and ground out a path for the headlight wires.  This little 90 degree head is well worth the price.  And Nancy is great to help me get a 10 dollar discount on the tool.

Monday, December 22, 2014

installing rivets

Saturday I installed my first rivet, two actually.  It was a challenge since the gun I had was not meant for such a small shank.  Sunday I bought a new rivet gun that would work for small rivets.  I installed 9 rivets so far but now my drill bit is dull and not drilling through the mudflap flashing.

As expected, complaining about something on the internet fixed it.  Along with drilling out the other rivets on the part, drilling it with a backer board, and reinstalling it.

The last mud flap I choose to make a new one, the old one was the first one made and did not have enough material to attach to center tray.  New one fits great.  But it will still be a challenge to drill the holes and mount.  Wish I had a right angle drill that was small.... er... google says dremel sells one... and that Lowes has them in stock.  It is time for a tool run.

The girls and I did a run.  Well it was cheaper at Home Depot, but non in stock.  So a generic version was purchased from Menards.  Reviews of the Milescraft is 3.5 stars, dremel is 4.5 stars.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

amazon delivery

Today the rivets for the mud flaps and the shrink tube arrived.

I also did the bidding of Nancy and threw together a "roller skate" to hold the SBT oak tops and the big batteries on wheels so I can tuck it in a corner of a shop, it is ugly but it works.  The rest of the day was spent sleeping or resting the flu going through our house and while I am not loosing anything I am wasted, and did not work today.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

electrical work

This weekend I sorted my wire by size, this jumble of three boxes of wires was just that a jumble of store bought and rescued from past projects.  I was looking for enough 18 -22 gauge to wire up the SBT.  I found 20 feet of 4 conductor 18 gauge that will work perfectly.

I also looked for and found a momentary switch for the enable test button in my collection.  What I do not have is shrink tubing.   Also before I wire it up I should mount the mud flaps.  I do not have rivets for this thin of metal.

I did drill the hole for running the headlight wires back to the center box where it will hook up to Robb's new control box he is working on.

Next task is to drill the hole for the enable test switch.  That will be fun since my drill is longer than area I have to fit in.

The electrical plan has been drawn up many times.  The three speed wires and one of the direction wires is going to a 4 pole three position switch mounted under the side of the machine.  This switch will decide between onboard, teather, and radio control.  Onboard and teather are going to be simple systems, speed and direction only.  The radio control will also have the complexity of headlight, horn, voltmeter, amp meter, and speedometer.  Though I am going to hide my current odometer inside the machine.  

There is a risk of someone changing control source to onboard and having the machine take off.  It is not supposed to do that per the design of the control board but it has happened this summer with the current setup, hence our use of the enable test button.  Not sure if  I can find a robust system to drop out the enable when the control is changed but not when the machine is jolted around.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

it fits.... it doesn't work

Well  I used the drill press as a lathe to modify the bottom housing so that the 24v led will fit inside the headlight housing.  A die grinder bit in the dremel was the cutter.  Next I exchanged the prongs on the light for wires to go back to the switch inside the SBT.  I tested the wires on the 24V battery pack, it worked... then it did not.


Friday, November 28, 2014

Winter Rebuild

This weekend I started fixing the SBT.  Some of the things I want to do:
1) rivet in the mud flaps in place - duck tape is just so unprofessional.
2) move the signal test button from inside to under edge.
3) move the control selector to under edge.
4) install headlight wiring.
5) install arduino based radio control system.
6) change onboard pot to 1k and 3.3k resistor

So far I pulled out the guts and installed the 4 pole 3 position switch.  This will set speed and direction between the onboard, radio, and ... nothing, or a tethered remote.

I also started on the 24v LED light modifications so it will fit in the light housing.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

last run of the season

We stopped by the Boone RR on the way to the 7.5" track.
 I could buy a speader for less than the cost of my loco.

 Boone also has some trolley line.  how odd to see this flat car / building combination.
 This 2' gauge car was up front.
 Who knows if this is on loan or owned by Boone.

 the track was cold and windy.  I ran around once and rode once.  The rest of the time Jeff was running.

Yep that was it, 2 trains, 3 hours of running.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Good train running

Our time at the convention went well.  The only derails appeared to be loading or track related not equipment based.  Over the three days that the loco was ran 53 miles were added to the odometer.

Lots of other steamers and such there also.  Some with short trains, some with long.

Friday, August 08, 2014


To fit the five of us, our luggage, the gon, the tugger, the flat, and of course the Jeffrey Storage Battery Truck in the van takes some work.

The SBT goes into the gon, with support stuff stuffed around.

The flat is turned over and put on top.  These three are rolled into the van where the middle two seats go.  To protect the floor there is a plywood with 1x2 rails.  This is strapped down to the seat mounting pegs.  Hopefully we do not get into an accident, as that is a heavy load.

The kids get the third seat.  Yes it is a challenge having them all so close to each other and so far away from us.  Good thing I have a pretty convincing stare.  And I put the computer / DVD player on the railcars, sound over the stereo system and they can watch a movie.  Quite a treat for our normally DVD free van.

In the trunk area are two batteries, the battery cover and of course the tugger.  We skipped the suitcases and packed the clothes around the tugger in ebags packing cubes.  (advice to anyone that travels with family, buy one pattern of ebags cube for each person, it is easy to find each person's stuff.)  I do wish the batteries were either centered or farther forward in the van, but I do not have a good, safe, place for them.

 Oh I should mention that the best way I found to wedge the car to limit rolling is to place wedges between the wheels.  I did 3 of the 4 truck points.
In a few years, as the kids grow I can see us transitioning to the more traditional trailer for trains.  But for now, with the small van, and small kids, this works.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Straps, ammeter, and mudflaps

To keep the big batteries attached to the top I screwed four velcro straps to the wood.  
 Then because the ammeter stopped working while the SBT was in Michigan I bought a new ammeter and installed it.  This on is only 0-30v the old one was 100V max.
 Then Nancy did not like some varnish drip marks on the top.  So she sanded it.
 Stained it.
 Stained it again.
 And again.
 She will start varnishing tonight after 8 hours of dry time.
While she was fixing the top I decided that I should install mud flaps.  This is good as steamers drop oil and water, if it gets kicked up and onto the control board I will be in trouble.  I suppose this will help if I run during or after a rain, or a sprinkler, hose, or spilled drink.

While the flaps are steal they are held in place with duck tape.  I will have to remember to bring more in case I need to do a field repair.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

New wood top

Yesterday I drilled all the holes in the steel strap.  48 holes for 4 screws per board.  I also countersunk all the holes with the drill press.   Then Nancy painted the two straps and 4 pins from 9pm until 10pm last night.

This morning they were dry.  I took my time to square up the two end boards, then I clamped and screwed them in.  after those two boards were well positioned I moved on to filling in the gap.  One trouble was getting the pilot hole in the wood centered in the steel hole.  If it is off center the screw moves the board.  I clamped some steel on the outside of each board to keep them all in line.  Then I found a roll pin.  This centered the drill bit, and had the added benefit of setting the depth of the drilling.  Worked quite well.
 Now the second top is complete.  All that is remaining this week is to make some mud flaps to protect the electronics from grime that the wheels may kick up.
Of course there are other things that need completion.  Wire up the headlight, install a new arduino based control system, touchup the paint, make the spiral spoke riding cars, and make a second larger engine.  But as of now we are ready for the Buckeye Limited.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Control stick #2

Today I drilled the hole to mount the new control stick mount.  This one is like the other one in that it it is held on by magnets.  The difference is this one has the magnets flat to the frame.  The holding power is better.  I have a 1/2"x1/4" N52 magnet coming from ebay that should be even stronger, as well as be the same size as the base.

 Those crates may look huge, truth is they are only 4ft high from deck to top.  
 They have some odd looking horses in these parts.... gauge is a little narrow, and the troller pole is up.  Better tell that engineer this is SBT territory.