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.