This site is dedicated to my model railroad, the HO scale Virginia Midland Railroad. This layout comprises a 10X9 room with two levels. The upper level is about 95% complete and the lower level scenery has just begun.

I do a handful of train shows in the Virginia/Maryland region and go by the name of Virginia Midland Shops.
I also can help you find that freight car/locomotive or other hard to find item.

Email: stctigers@gmail.com
You tube videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/Virginiamidlandrr/

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Soldering and signal frustration

Well after about a month or more of doing other things, I decided to install more signals on the layout.  This did not seem to be a long task but a tedious one.  My signals at the crossing have been put in for a few years now.  I installed them with on-off-on toggle switches.  I did the same with these.  These toggle switches have 6 connectors in the back to connect the correct wires.  I did myself a favor and ran the 2 main power wires all the way around the layout when I first thought about the project.  So that was done.  Those connect in the middle connectors on the switch.  Then the LEDs are on one (with the correct resistor) and the common is on the other.  Simple as that, right!  Solder them in and your done right!  Wrong! If the common and LED were switched connections, they would not work.  I found this out the hard way.  Soldering them in: not working, clip them in: working.  I went through toggle switches.  This was the obvious choice.  Went out and got some heavy duty ones like the other switches.  Then I found out about the common and LED thing.  Talk about frustrating.  I spent most of the day trying to get these to work!  The positive:  I did go several hours of soldering work without burning myself.

Soldering is something that if you are going to be in this hobby, you are going to have to learn.  It used to be painstaking but I found something that makes it so easy.  Tinning flux by Oatey is sold in Home Depot and other hardware stores.  Before this, my soldering was bad but this makes it so easy.  Put some on the end of the wire or connector and the solder bonds instantly.  No preheating!  I use and old soldering iron that has a little indention that holds my melted solder.  Works for me!  I use Micromark's Soldering Iron Stand instead of the little one that come with the iron. I use the same method on decoders and those expensive Tsunami decoders.

On with the progress:
My working (frustration) area above my desk.  The signals would control exiting of Battlefield yard.  Gator clips are great for testing connections.  Lots of tedious soldering work.
This is the larger signal that controls the VM out of Battlefield Yard.
Red signals coming out of the yard.  The one on the right is the RF&P connection that leads to hidden staging.  Need to lean it to the right some

Green Signal on the VM and an approach on the RF&P connector.  I wanted to wire the toggle to show a red over green or visa versa and it would not let me do that.  I'm sure you could but I could not figure it out.  I was happy they are lit!
Toggles are set and the fascia did not fit back even but that might be for another day!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Looks fantastic, Shan! I hope I can get over again to see it. I like how you do the signals - I must consider this soon!