John Carmichael

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About John Carmichael

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    Tucson AZ

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  1. MTH Triplex - Erie (Black) (One Gauge) - photos

    Please excuse my ignorance, but to what are you referring Sean? Is the paint job on the Triplex incorrect?
  2. Planning new frieght yard

    Jerry: Thanks for sharing! Grant: Since reading your first reply, I investigated your Mirbou hardwood which confirmed all you said about its great durability and strength. My research lead me to a great website of a company in South Carolina that specializes in imported exotic hardwoods that are especially good for things like outdoor decking, siding and railroad ties, and flooring. see Perhaps you or some of the forum guys would be interested in my findings: I was looking for woods that have a very dark color (like railroad ties- you call them sleepers) and resist termites and rot. And I found many good candidates. Ipe: Camaru: Afroromosa: Jatoba: Mirbau (You call it Mirbou): Teak: Wenge: Might be interesting just to call East Teak for prices. ( I bet they are all horribly expensive!) I wonder how they compare to Redwood? I also did a lot of research on deck sealers and stains. (I have only used Minwax stain on my trestles, but no sealers). I was going to use clear Thompson's Waterseal, but the trend now seems to be towards sealers that stain too. You want longevity of more than a year before needing to re-coat. And you want UV, termite and rot resistance. For years the popular "go to" sealer was clear Thompsons Waterseal. So I was surprised with the horrible reviews Thompson gets. People say it doesn't last and doesn't resist mildew and rot. On this website for the decking trade it lists the top five sealer/stain brands that they have tested and recommend. (I imagine that you would want to stain and seal railroad ties and trestles the same way you treat outdoor decking.) Interestingly, most must be ordered directly from the factory because I don't find them in Lowes or Home Depot, although Amazon carries some of them. See: I ordered a gallon of transparent dark oak TWP 100 “Total Wood Preservative” to try out on my trestle walkways which need re-staining anyway. It appears to be the number one choice for the best quality stain & sealer.
  3. Planning new frieght yard

    Grant: Great reply- full of useful tips. Love your philosophy of longevity and strength. That's mine too. I also used thousands of brass escutcheon pins in the three miles of wood in my redwood trestles, so your tie pins will match what I have. I didn't realize that scolloped nail punches were even available. That was news to me. So I searched the web and they are indeed hard to find. I only found one supplier who makes them for gunsmiths. They call them "cupped" punches Since we don't have Mirbou wood, I'm not sure what I'll use. My trestles are made out of redwood which has held up very well, so I might use that. The only changes that I think I'll make to your method is that I think I'll rough up the ties a little bit and slightly round the corners just to make them look older more rough hewn, and I think I'll stain them. Otherwise I really like your system and the materials you are using. Thanks! Jerry: Do you also drill spike holes into the foot of the rail the way Grant does? Or do you also use the Micro Engineering tie plates? Or do you just put the spikes next to the rail directly into the ties? Do you only put them on the outside of the rails? Do you have problems of them coming out over time? What kind of wood do you use?
  4. Planning new frieght yard

    Hi Grant- For years I have toyed with the idea of replacing the plastic LGB ties on my LGB flex rails with homemade wooden ties. Seeing all your photographs showing your beautiful wood ties on your track has inspired me to write you. Would it be possible for you to post some closeup photos of the assembled track showing the "spikes" you used to attach the ties to the rails? I am good at woodworking so I think I can do it. But do you see any problems with me using my existing LGB brass flex rails? Can you give me (us) any tips for how you inserted the spikes? (for example, did you use a small hammer or some sort of hand held squeezing devise?) Did you need to drill pilot holes? And finally would you mind sharing the name of your spike supplier? thanks so much in advance, John Carmichael
  5. MTH Triplex - Erie (Black) (One Gauge) - photos

    You're welcome Larry! Let me know how they work for you. Ever since I shorted out an engine from slider drop, I just don't want to risk it again by depending on the sliders being perfectly aligned since the only way to test them is to run them over the frogs. With the inserts, I NEVER have to worry.
  6. MTH Triplex - Erie (Black) (One Gauge) - photos

    Hi Larry: The problem you encountered is somewhat common. Unless the sliders are perfectly level and aligned they can get hung up in LGB switch frogs. The exact same thing happened to me a few years ago the first time I ran my new Triplex. It also happened to the sliders on my old MTH F-3. Ray came up with a solution on his webpage at But unless you get it exactly right, you can still have the problem or worse (when one of my F-3 sliders got caught in the frog it also shorted out the motor!). I have come up with a great way to avoid this completely without using tape. I made plastic inserts from a scrap piece of thin (about 1/8" thick) plexiglass from Ace Hardware. They are about two inches long and about 3/16" wide. I made one tip pointed at the same angle as the frog. I simply slide an insert into the frog channel with the pointed tip aligned with the rail, allowing enough space for the wheel flange to pass through. With the insert in place, it is impossible for the slider to drop down and get caught. You want to make the insert wide enough so that it fits in tightly so that it doesn't come out. I made about a half dozen of them so that I have enough for all my switches whenever I run my MTH engines. Note the you can put them on either side of the frog depending on which track you want to use. Since the plastic is clear they are almost invisible so they are not ugly or distracting and won't tear like your electrical tape. Note that the LGB frog channels can warp slightly in the hot sun over time, so I made inserts of slightly different widths so that they would always fit tightly. Here are some photos:
  7. USA Trains Hudson Repair/Modification/Maintenance Questions

    This Letter is mostly for Ray: A film crew from a local TV station filmed my railroad yesterday. We decided to use the USA Trains Hudson that Ray modified for me last year. He added Protosound 3, Protosmoke, and a better speaker. The Hudson was a great choice. Everybody present was amazed with its wonderful sound. But they were especially impressed with the heavy realistic smoke it created. Ray, your Hudson was the star of the show! Here is a link to the clip: Thanks again Ray.
  8. MTH - Big Boy (One Gauge) - Photos

    Great video Joe- taken on a great day, of a great layout with a great engine! Love the white flowering tree too! a couple of questions- The smoke stacks are covered with a grey rounded roof open at the back I have never seen this roof on a Big Boy. Is this a scratch-built addition? Did any of the original prototypes have this roof? And what function did it serve? thanks for sharing, John
  9. How do I pick a controller?

    Hi Doug: I'm sure you'll get many different answers to your question. My own recommendation would be to try the Railboss remote controlled controller for trackside use. It is VERY user friendly, easy to learn and use, and is not expensive. It is available for track power or battery power. You can read about it and purchase it here:
  10. MTH DCS Wifi & App - Support / Feedback / Issue reporting

    There was a MTH wifi premium app update this morning. It updated automatically on my android. The More/Settings page says that this version is now called v2.0.0 Build 37. I wonder what it fixed?
  11. MTH DCS Wifi & App - Support / Feedback / Issue reporting

    Thanks Ray. The Advanced Features sound like things we won't be using very much. By the way, the kids (me included) love the microphone feature on the hand-held remote. I don't see this feature in premium. Is it there? Do you think we could use the device's microphone with the Protocast feature to behave like the remote's microphone? (Once I stopped a little kid who's curious hand was stretched out from derailing my engine by yelling on the microphone "Don't touch me!")
  12. MTH DCS Wifi & App - Support / Feedback / Issue reporting

    Thanks Ray for relating your experiences. One wonders when seeing something odd if it is unique to his particular system or if everybody else is seeing the same thing. On the "More" tab page, in "Advanced Features" there are four things: Record/Playback Import/Export Recover Engines System Settings Please correct me if I'm wrong or explain the things I don't understand, but this is how I interpret these: Record/Playback is for recording and playing back a running session. I'm pretty sure this is what it does. Import/Export- I have no idea what this is. I don't remember this on the hand held remote. What is this! Recover Engines- I don't remember this on the remote either. Sounds useful, but what does it do? Is it possibly for making unresponsive inactive engines active again? System Settings- Hide E-stop button, Max Engine Speed Lock, TIU settings. self-explanatory. No doubts here.
  13. MTH DCS Wifi & App - Support / Feedback / Issue reporting

    I have three android devices with premium version all on one account. Yesterday evening I tested a lash-up with a F-3 Diesel in front and a Hudson in rear and used my Samsung phone which was the 2ond device for which I purchased the premium version. Creating the lash-up was easy, and every feature on the engine page worked perfectly-even the whistle (actually a horn in this lash-up since the lead engine is a diesel). However, with the lash-up active, neither the 2ond page (features) nor the 3rd page (settings) would appear when I touched their page icons on the engine page. The screen went blank on those two pages. Does this mean that these pages are locked out? I read your comments Ray on this issue and saw that you have reported it to MTH. Was I seeing the same thing you saw? Has it been fixed? Will the fix require an update to the premium version? This evening I will test the first device to see if it also blocks those pages. thanks in advance.
  14. MTH WiFi Control App & WIU (WiFi Interface Unit)

    (Ray-To finish off this topic, I'll post my last observation here, but I'll use the error reporting page for future error reporting) A friend of mine had the same payment problem as Ray and I did. He said he turned off his phone and rebooted it and the app payment issue got fixed. So I did that to my phone and tablet and they both allowed easy payment after rebooting. Perhaps that was just a coincidence since you attribute the cause and the fix to MTH and Google. Did you reboot your phone and tablet Ray? If you rebooted yours, then perhaps rebooting is necessary for the fix to work. We might suggest rebooting to anyone who is having problems.
  15. MTH WiFi Control App & WIU (WiFi Interface Unit)

    Damn! (excuse my French) Just when I thought the big updates were going so well and smoothly. At the very end of the process this fatal glitch shows up. It is serious on two fronts. One, because there will be a lot of unhappy people who have been waiting a long time for the premium. And two, because MTH won't be able to sell the premium and get paid until it is fixed. I guess we'll just have to tread water until help arrives. Thanks Ray for telling MTH. Stay on top of them!