On watch with the Sentinel

Hornby 'Balfour Beatty' Sentinel

If you want to see a short clip of the Hornby ‘Balfour Beatty’ Sentinel in action on Dales Peak during track testing follow this link to the Facebook page

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Little and large

Lima Class 37/5 37673 in Railfreight Distribution livery and Hornby 'Balfour Beatty' Sentinel

Two new engines for Dales Peak

As I said in my last post, I did pick up a couple of engines for Dales Peak while I was at the Peak Model Railway Exhibition. They where a Lima Class 37/5 37673 in Railfreight Distribution livery and a Hornby Sentinel in ‘Balfour Beatty’ livery.

I’m happy to trial them both as they are at the moment, but I will probably do some work to both of them in time. The Lima pancake motor will definitely need upgrading and both of them need decoders.

Do you want chips with that?

Engines ready for decoders

I’ve just had a delivery from Hattons (always prompt and efficient) that will convert three of the Dales Peak engine fleet to DCC. For the most part, I’ve used Lenz decoders in the past, but this time I thought I would give Hattons own DCC decoders a whirl. Watch this space, as they say.

Class 59 and Wiring Update #2

Hornby Class 59 - John F. Yeoman

As a final footnote to the Derby Model Railway Exhibition, I did buy a new engine for ‘Dales Peak’. This Hornby Class 59 – John F. Yeoman in DB Schenker livery. It will stand out like a sore thumb against a backdrop of limestone dust coated buildings.

Also, I have finally got around to continuing the wiring update on the rail load out building. Replacing the original plain enamelled copper wire with coloured enamelled copper wire.

Replacing the original plain enamelled copper wire with coloured enamelled copper wire

Two new engines…

Two new engines for Dales Peak

I had a very welcome surprise for my birthday on Friday. Two new engines! I must have been a good boy.

Both engines are ideal for Dales Peak. A Hornby DCC fitted Class 08 and a ViTrains DCC ready Class 37. I’ve tried them both out on the layout and I’m very pleased with them. They are going to fit right in!

The Hornby Class 08 and the ViTrains Class 37

Happy Birthday to me… Dales Peak gets some new traction

Well, today was my birthday (Err Hum years old!) and I was lucky enough to receive two new additions to Dales Peaks’ traction, a Lima Class 47 and a Hornby Class 56 with sound.

Dales Peaks' traction fleet as it stands at September 6th 2012
Dales Peaks’ traction fleet as it stands at September 6th 2012

This is it now! Anything I’ve described before on ‘Dales Peak Mk 4’ has long since gone via eBay, etc. (During the down time). Now Dales Peak is starting to come to life again it’s time to expand the fleet.

The Hornby Class 56 'Harworth Colliery' with sound
The Hornby Class 56 ‘Harworth Colliery’ with sound

The Hornby Class 56 ‘Harworth Colliery’ was bought locally, with my birthday money, from my very friendly Loughborough Model Centre in Derby.

The Lima Class 47 in Railfreight Distribution livery
The Lima Class 47 in Railfreight Distribution livery

The Lima Class 47 my good wife bought for me online, from Classiccover Collectables on eBay, who provided a very prompt delivery for my birthday.

My new acquisitons ready for some quarry action
My new acquisitons ready for some quarry action

Lights, camera, action… connecting the JMRI software to the layout

With all five lines of track wired up to the LDT RS-8 feedback module I’ve got to the point where need to install the JMRI (Java Model Railroad Interface) software, and get it talking to the layout.

Installing the JMRI software for Mac OS X
Installing the JMRI software for Mac OS X

The attraction of the JMRI software for me, apart from the fact that it’s FREE, is that it can be run on a Mac, which is what I work on every day (See My Day Job). Once I had downloaded and installed the JMRI software the next thing I had to do, because I’m using a Mac, is to install some Virtual COM Port (VCP) drivers. I downloaded these from Future Technology Devices International Limited (FTDI) as suggested on the JMRI site.

Installing Virtual COM Port (VCP) drivers for Max OS X
Installing Virtual COM Port (VCP) drivers for Max OS X

The VCP drivers allow the Mac to communicate with the Lenz LI-USB interface and through that to the LZV100 Command Station. The Lenz system doesn’t come with any Apple Macintosh drivers. It worked like a charm too! As soon as it was installed the USB indicator light, on the LI-USB, came to life.

Launching JMRI's DecoderPro
Launching JMRI’s DecoderPro

To test everything was working, I put my Hornby Class 60 on one of the tracks and launched the DecoderPro element of JMRI. DecoderPro allows you to program your decoders and create a roster of your locomotives. As part of the JMRI package DecoderPro also allows you to create a virtual, on-screen, throttle.

JMRI... opening a new throttle
JMRI… opening a new throttle

JMRI software connected to the layout, ready to take control of my Class 60's lights
JMRI software connected to the layout, ready to take control of my Class 60’s lights

JMRI throttle... lights off
JMRI throttle… lights off

With a simple mouse click of the on-screen throttle... we have lights
With a simple mouse click of the on-screen throttle… we have lights

JMRI throttle... lights on
JMRI throttle… lights on

Total success! Just need to create an on-screen control panel, using JMRI’s PanelPro and Adobe’s Illustrator and Photoshop, to display the occupied and unoccupied sections of track. At a later stage this will also be used to control points, etc.