Finally Running

Today, I have achieved a train triumph! I spent bits of the morning and afternoon and a good solid couple of hours this evening, dinking with the TTFH. I added a couple of feeder wires to the dead spot on the layout and connected them straight to the controller. Of course, I had them crossed the first time so I had to redo it, but that fixed the dead spot very nicely. Except, it showed up some other weird little incinsistencies in other places. So, since I already had the 14g house wires running around the frame under the layout not connected to anything, I decided to shorten the 20g feeder wires and connect them to the “bus” wires I had going (I guess that’s what you call it) and connect that rigamarole to the DCC. That worked nicely, so I decided to completely disconnect the “old” wiring from the new box. That came up with some very consistent, specific dead zones and I was starting to get pretty comfortable with the idea behind the wiring business, so I proceeded to rewire the whole stinkin’ thing. Well, to be honest not all of it, but enough that I feel enormously accomplished by the feat, and like I learned quite a lot in the process.

I did a pretty sloppy job on the soldering and will be spending some time with a file and sandpaper trying to fix my bumps, and I didn’t solder the feeder wires to the bus wires at all, just sort of wrapped them around for now. I didn’t even put any electrical tape on it, because I didn’t want to have to futz with it if I wired something wrong and had to go back in and undo it.

The internet says, “Don’t wire and solder the whole thing, then turn it on!” So, I did everything one or two connections at a time and if I came across a dead or kind of choppy spot, I drilled holes and stuck another couple of feeder wires down in there. It has obviously worked, because I was able to let two locos run independently for an extended period of time, without having to stop and chivvy them along over the dead spots every go ’round.

Of course, after I was “done for the night”, I went back downstairs to get my water glass, and ended up staring at the table for 5 minutes, imagining what else I could do with it.

I’ve decided that if I take out the turntable (something I’ve been considering anyway, since it wastes space, is a PITA, and encourages the kids to reach across the layout to turn it) and lower that section to be level with the bottom bit, I can un-complicate things a bit. I’m also thinking about taking out one, maybe  two of the switches and spurs on the switching yard. We only ever use the first two, anyway, because that’s all anyone can reach. If I leave a third one, I can pretend it’s an Inglenook switching puzzle.

Lots of ideas to go forward with! I’m enormously pleased by the progress I’ve made so far, though. Go me. 😀 Olin will be thrilled when he can run his trains without as much help.

No picture this time, because there’s really nothing to look at. All the work I did is on the underside of the layout, and isn’t even soldered together yet because I’m not actually sure how you do that. Gotta do some more searching the Intarweb!

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