Another 15 months has flown past and although progress has been made in that time frame it has been painfully slow.
We started the year by connecting up all the track wiring that had been left hanging below whilst we laid all the
track in our previous report. The track was then cleaned and thoroughly tested. No evident problems. Locos and stock
run round all the trackwork on all levels.
We had made no progress on the electronics during the winter months as we had spent what time was available making up kits. Metcalfe, Superquick etc. etc.. We now had a fairly large collection of buildings so after the wiring completion and testing we set about adding some scenery to the Level 8 ends. Graystones Farm was the first to be completed in the corner where the Level 8 starts to descend to Level 4. We then added the industrial area to the adjacent corner at the approches to the Level 8 station. Some groundwork was also completed in this area between the corners.
At this point we started to construct the platforms for the Level 8 station and to take a look at the electronics for
controlling the points and signals. That was when disaster struck!!!!
The long and the short of that experience drove us to find an alternative method of control, still PC based but
using a different technology.
As the current drive from the PICAXE is quite low, the original control boards for the points and signals will remain in the same format that we had designed them. The difference being that they will be controlled by microcontrollers. Further discussion on the trials and tribulations of the electronics will appear in due course on the electronics page.
Having spent enormous amounts of time trying to resolve the electronics problems, the Level 8 station was never completed and that was the end of the summer. We were than back on the road with Exhibitions to attend. However, the winter months are proving very useful and by the time we get back out to the layout we will have sorted the electronics completely and built a number of PICAXE control boards so that we can start installing them and putting them to the acid test - DO THEY WORK AS WE WANT THEM TO?????. Having proven the new electronics to our satisfaction, we WILL finish off the Level 8 station and hopefully the rest of Level 8. Hopefully our next report at the end of the summer will include photographs of a completed Level 8.