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Chuck

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  1. I use my DCS handheld remote and throw my switches from anywhere in the immediate vicinity...that's why I chose to use Command Control.
  2. Sean, I've seen those and wondered how they held up. I can't use them in some spots as indoor layout have some switches that are in real inaccessible areas or way out of reach.
  3. Yes very very nice! And only one of two...well that's just over the top congrats!
  4. Hi Jan, Servo motors is an interesting concept, easily obtained and reasonably priced...hmm. The Aristo-Craft machines I'm using operate on either 12 or 24V DC and stall out and have a relay for frog power or operating a signal light. I've been thinking about using compressed air but that brings along it's set of problems.
  5. Here's a few pics of the new website that were "leaked" today...
  6. Here's the twin coils that activate the switch. The set of open contacts operate the dwarf signal. I had troubles from the start with this switch as the point for the diverging route wasn't closing properly and engines would pick it then short out the layout. This is as far as it would go. Ended up being the point rails were just a bit to long and they'd bind against the closure rails. So removed them both and sanded a bit off the ends. So I could see just how much material I was removing I just use a black Sharpie and "paint" the rail end a bit. I just wan to remove maybe half that line. I did just that and reinstalled. Now it works just fine. Okay as here the switch is working fairly well. Once I put the cover back on and tightened down this mechanism started acting up by not throwing the points tight against the diverging rail aka straight thru. They use a piece of spring steel between that "bellcrank" and throwbar. Bending that a bit to help point "close tighter" works but then that throws off the frog polarity switch setting. Here's same but switch set for diverging... This plug for controller is bad as one of the wires make intermittent contact. It's a sealed unit which is basically 4 female spade terminals encased in rubber/ plastic and non-serviceable. Believe it or not this switch is still under warranty but USA Trains service told me any switch sent in for warranty work is returned as a manual switch...yeah real nice. So I've decided to abandon this "fine" setup and convert these switches to use the Aristo-Craft ART11298 Slow Motion switch machines. I have a bunch of these brand new. Al Kramer of San Val Trains told me long ago to go this route. Infact he's trying to get Bachmann to start making them again. Test fit and run...works just fine!
  7. Heck that train looks great! Like a real one...well guess in a way it is real!!
  8. Nick, Yes on the shim afterthought but the Aristo switches are still the only ones available that match the U.S. tie spacing in code 332 rail. Could buy Sunset Valley switches but then the code 250 to 332 mismatch happens. It's a wonder somebody hasn't filled that void. Why the arcing with the USA switches is a many faceted problem with the major flaw being how the frog is wired. Maybe a better way to put it is the engineering behind how power is routed to the frog. Here's the underside of the twin coiled switch machine housing. Twin coiled makes me think all that they did was copy the Atlas HO & O scale track switches. Never mind the 6 piece capacitor bank on the left with the 2 black and 1 red wire as that's to fire the solenoids. To the right of that cap bank is the microswitch or cherry switch with hot glue that routes power to the frog and has red, black & green wires. Here shows the red wire going to outer diverging stock rail, green wire to straight stock rail and black going to one point rail. Then black jumper wires going from each point rail to the closure rails. Here shows more black jumpers going from closure rails to the frog. So the micro switch is powering the points, closure rails and frog. Problem is the micro switch will "trip" and change polarity of all that before the points have a chance to move. Crappy design I say. In the past what I did was change that wiring so that micro switch only powered the frog as I isolated the frog from the closure rails as they touch. So remove those rails and shorten them a bit then reinstall using bits of styrene as an insulator. That's all good and fine but the switch machine solenoids need 18V ac to work and that power tends to melt the dwarf signals and burn out the bulbs. Like this as can see how the cover has started melting after maybe 8 hours of use. This one the bulb for the top green aspect has already burned out. Tomorrow I'll post more pics of the crappy solenoid machine design.
  9. Chuck

    Logging cars

    Jan, Sorry about your loss. 21 years is quite the run! Cars look great too!
  10. I'll start off by saying I do like the USA Trains line of track switches. Most locomotives and cars roll thru them very nice & smooth. The trackwork is darn near perfect and points are actually slotted so they'll tuck in under the stock rails...when they work correctly. I have had Aristo #6 switch but gave up on them. Rails are loose in the ties, frog sits higher than the adjoining rails and trains just sort of "bump" thru them. I remember when Aristo and later Train-Li had "shims" to raise the bottom of the frog so as to help cars from bumping when rolling thru. But the USA #6 has it's problems. Here's my main concern and that is when the points pull away from the diverging stock rail they arc. I've had dozens of these over the years and most all exhibit this weird trait. What I don't like about it the most is the voltage spike that's being sent down the rails. Also the current draw will actually cause lights in cars to momentarily dim. Here I caught it on video. Here's a closeup of the arc area...
  11. Yes what an incredible piece of machinery!
  12. I use a Astron VS-20M as a power supply on my test bench and it works fine for that. I had a VLS-25M that I tried on my layout and it did work for that but not very well. Those Astron's will "droop" under load. That is the output voltage will drop as the load increases even though they advertise the opposite. Bridgewerks output current will remain steady even under full load.
  13. Chuck

    Logging cars

    Looking good!
  14. Rayman is right as I emailed mark@bridgewerks.com few weeks ago and heard back within 12 hours.
  15. Chuck

    Steam Leak

    Cool engine!

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