Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Talheim Local Panel - part 5

The remaining buttons are now connected, and I can finally reset a badly chose route before throwing it with the left black button in the back. The black button right next to it will be used to toggle whether to set signals, too, when setting a route.

One minor snag is that the cross-overs at the bottom don't throw consistently in unison as I press the button to toggle them. I'm not sure yet if the computer is sending the turnout commands too fast, or if the commands get lost. However, since I'm experiencing zero problems with other turnouts, and it's always the same turnout that doesn't toggle, I think communication is fine, and JMRI is sending the turnout commands a little bit too fast for the Tam Valley servo controller to handle. JMRI routes allow to add an extra delay between commands when executing the route, so I'll try that later tonight.

I'm very tempted to pull out the semaphores and connect them, even if only temporarily ... It would substantially change the look and feel of the Talheim area, and would be really cool. Hmmmmm...

Update 23:00:
My stupid perfectionism found a few issues:

  • The old signals need a color refresh. Particularly the red color on some of the semaphore arms is in sad condition.
  • To my utter surprise I'm short 2-3 signals. Had I realized this earlier, I could have picked up a few real cheap last weekend at Eurowest... However to my delight I noticed that there are two signals that can show Hp0/Hp1/Hp2. Those will be used as entry signals to Emsingen, and/or maybe Talheim. Though for Talheim I can pretend the entry signals are inside the tunnel.
  • The semaphore masts feel small, but it turns out that a mast height of 10.5cm above the bottom of the rail works out to just over 9 meters in HO which is right in the middle of the prototypical heights of 8 or 10 m. I'm mounting the semaphors lower than intended to partially hide the huge Maerklin twin-coil machines in the base.
  • In some locations the semaphore arms are partially above the neighboring track. My literature says that is prototypical as well. Tough one location in Talheim is very tight, and the prototype would have used a different kind of mast with tracks that close together.
  • At least one track in Emsingen needs the semaphor location adjusted by a few centimeters.
Just toggling the cross-over turnouts in Talheim doesn't give reliable results, apparently because the QuadP can't handle the turnout commands right after each other. Adding a delay helps, but it looks like there's a race condition around releasing the sensor button, so the logix still didn't work correctly.

I broke up the one logix into three: One logix to toggle an internal sensor based on the pushbutton sensor going active, and one logix each to explicitly set the turnouts to thrown or closed based on the state of the internal sensor, including a small delay between the turnout commands. That works very reliably, and I couldn't get the turnouts to go out of sync any more.

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