Saturday, November 24, 2007

A Timesaver

I've been reading for a while about micro- and mini-layouts in Carl Carendt's Micro Layout Scrapbook. Micro-layouts are not larger than 4 square feet. It's amazing what some people manage to squeeze in this little space.

A theme that comes up fairly regularly is how to have operational fun with such small layouts. Obviously, there is not nearly enough space to let trains run in a circle (unless you choose to build a "pizza style" layout). Furthermore, a layout that largely consists of a circle is really boring and one quickly looses interest. A solution is the world of railroad puzzles, often reproducing switching/shunting problems. The two classic examples are Inglenook sidings and the Timesaver. In both cases the trick is to solve a switching puzzle with very limited space.

I used my old "Bauspielbahn" to build this version of the Timesaver.

The track is HO Fleischmann Modellgleis. All switches are operated manually. Due to the size of the Bauspielbahn trains, the effect is as if the track is actually narrow gauge.

This is obviously a work in progress and so far I spent only a few hours on building this. Tatjana is having a lot of fun with operating the locomotive and shunting cars, while Pascal is not quite convinced.


Ich lese seit einiger Zeit in Carl Carendts Micro Layout Scrapbook ueber Mikro- und Minianlagen. Mikroanlagen haben eine Flaeche von nur 4 Fuss im Quadrat. Es ist erstaunlich was manche Leute in so wenig Platz quetschen.

Ein Thema dass immer wieder aufkommt, ist wie man auf so kleinen Raum richtig Betrieb haben kann. Offensichtlich ist das zu wenig Platz um Zuege im Kreis fahren zu lassen (ausser man waehlt eine Anlage im "Pizzastil"). Darueberhinaus, ist es auf Dauer sehr langweilig einem Zug zuzuschauen, der nur im Kreis faehrt. Eine Loesung fuer dieses Problem sind Eisenbahnpuzzles, bei denen oft Rangierprobleme geloest werden muessen. Klassische Beispiele sind Inglenook sidings und der Timesaver. In beiden Beispielen liegt der Spass darin, eine Rangieraufgabe in sehr beschraenktem Platz zu loesen.

Ich habe meine alte Bauspielbahn genommen um diese Version des Timesaver zu bauen.
Gleismaterial ist HO Fleischmann Modellgleis. Alle Weichen werden von Hand gestellt. Durch die Groesse der Bauspielbahnzuege, wirkt das Gleis wie Schmalspur.

Offensichtlich, bin ich mit dieser Anlage noch nicht fertig. Bisher habe ich nur ein paar Stunden daran gearbeitet (und gespielt). Tatjana hat einen Riesenspass mit der Lokomitve zu fahren und Wagen zu rangieren, Pascal ist noch nicht so ganz ueberzeugt.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Installing a dryer circuit

I spent parts of the last couple weekends installing a new 120/240 dryer circuit in my garage. When we bought the house there was only a very old gas dryer. Here are my notes and lessons learned.

Dryers need a 30amp circuit, which translates to an AWG #10 wire. The national electric code requires 4-wire installations for new circuits. The proper socket is 14-30. I used Schedule 40 PVC piping to run the circuit from the corner of the garage to the back of the panel. I used separate THHN wires (black and red for phase, white for neutral, green for ground) inside the pipe, and a 4-wire Romex cable from the junction box through the wall to the panel.

Pulling the wires through the piping is tricky and requires two people. In order to make it through and around the bends, remove an inch or two from the wire insulation and hook a cable through the hole at the end of the fishing tape, all nicely tied up with plenty of electrical tape. One person pulls the fishing tape, one person feeds the cables at the other end of the pipe. For Schedule 40 PVC the NEC requires at most 4 bends between pull locations.

It's a very good idea to get an electrician for the actual hookup in the panel, and installation of the breaker. Well worth the money.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Taco Town!

I just can't stop laughing every time I watch this...