Friday, June 28, 2019

A computer for the layout room

A couple years ago I replaced my computer.  There was nothing wrong with the old one it just would not run some of the new software.   In the past at work I had on a number of occasions re-purposed older computers to use in situations where the program applications being run were limited so I thought why not do the same with this old computer.  The computer and monitor had been collecting dust in a corner of the train room while I was waiting to decide where to set it up.

The space under the DCC drawer was the perfect spot to set up the computer as it was right next to the work bench.

I made a shelf supported by a pair of steel brackets for the computer and monitor and added one of those pull out keyboard trays.

This train room computer will be primarily used for running JMRI Decoder Pro to program locomotive decoders and possibly experiment with some layout control in the future.   I will also use it to program Arduino micro controllers. Up to now I have been doing the Arduino programming in the house and then bringing the Arduino back to the train room to try it out.  This was rather inconvenient so this will be a big improvement.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Starting some car cards and waybills

Since having finished a few on line industries in Battle Mountain,  I have been looking into way of having a more structured operations scheme.   After looking at different operating schemes from many different sources on the Internet, I decided to go with a type of car card and waybill system.  I drew upon several things I saw and adapted them to my own needs.

I did my car cards and waybills on Microsoft Visio.  Here is a JPEG of my car card template.  The dashed line is where it is folded over to form the pocket for the waybill.   This is printed on a medium quality paper but I laminate it with clear packaging tape to make it sturdier.

My car cars have color coded dots corresponding to the 3 different eras on my layout.  Most of my cars overlap into 2 different eras so have 2 dots.

In the September 2017 post Trying to get organized I give an explanation of the 3 eras on my layout.

For the waybill, I use one side as the "loaded to be delivered" part and the other side is a "empty to be delivered" part.  This is printed out as one part then folded and glued back to back with stick glue.  Once this is folded over it is sturdy enough without lamination.
Micro-Mark offers some nice car card boxes which are widely used but because my bench work is thin they would stick up above the bench work so for now I am going to clip the card cars to the light valance right above the location of the car it represents.
At this point I have limited my car cards and waybills to the cars needed to support the 4 industries in Battle Mountain without regard to any through traffic.

After running a couple of test locals using this system I already get the sense of a "bigger" layout with the references to some of the far away locations suggested on the waybills.  Over the summer I hope to get a couple of my train buddies over for a sort of operating session so they can critique this system and make some suggestions for improvement.  This will be an on going process.