Construction 2019

Progress Log 2019

This is the 2019 progress log for my model rail build after yet another wasted year mainly playing with Raspberry Pis.

January 2019

Raspberry Pi
I have just configured several Raspberry Pis and plan to use them to control LED lighting and effects.

The plan is to use multiprocessing to run traffic lights continuously, turn lights on or off as single shots and other lighting effects. More details to follow.

February to September 2019

Raspberry Pi
I have now have 33 Raspberry Pis !!
1 as a server backup for DNS & DHCP
1 as a master controller 31 as slaves all using Python. My first Python program !

OK, I know I don't need this many and I don't know how come I have so many, so don't ask  !

October 2019

Point Motors
I have ordered and received 12 Cobalt iP Digital point motors from Hattons.

Updated the RR & Co software to Version 9.0 B1 and did a years worth of Windows 10 updates. I am not saying Windows updates are slow, but, whilst they were downloading and installing, I managed to completely complete a fresh install of two Ubuntu computers (my desktop and server) along with updates and restoring backed up data.

November 2019

Point Motors - Cobalt iP Digital

I have programmed the DCC addresses of the 12 Cobalt iP Digital point motors'

Mounted 2 Lenz LA152 XpressNet Adapters and 2 latch switches as emergency stop for the Lenz DCC system in the work room. One for connection to the main train room and the other for my test circuit.

I have received a new Lenz LZH200, LV200 and LH101. Excited to try them out  !

December 2019

Disaster !
Due to bad luck and my forgetfulness, I (thought) I had successfully updated my server to Ubuntu 19.10. All programs seemed to work, SQL dumps were running and backups were running.

MySQL backup was running but failing and I didn't notice. All the backups were overwriting the good data until no good data remained. However, I had a local backup that I created before I did the update. Again, unfortunately, the disk crashed !

My only solution was to reverse engineer the database and tables from the HTML pages. It's taken me 4 days, but I am almost there ! I am doing a final comparison of old vs new HTML pages to check. Found a couple of errors and a few tweaks. Recovery complete! It took about 5 days to recover the information and store in MySQL database and, of course, to verify I can generate the same pages.

Cobalt Alpha Mimic
I have been experimenting with the Cobalt Alpha Mimic after buying a couple without noticing they are NOT N gauge signals. I found them simple to program and use, but, they are only two way signals. I want two way and three way N gauge signals. The output from the Alpha Mimic is 5v on two wires. The voltage swaps polarity.

I have successfully tested replacing the two way signals with some cheap N gauge two way and three way imports from China with built-in resistors. They work fine on 5 volts although they were designed for 12 volts. All I have to do now is attach them to the extension cables that plug into the Cobalt Alpha Mimic.

Point Motors - Cobalt Classic Omega and AD1HP
I had ordered 12 more Cobalt iP Digital point motors but was supplied with the alternative Cobalt Classic Omega and AD1HP accessory decode. Unfortunately, I could not program the AD1HPs, so I have been sent back to DCCconcepts for service.

DCCconcepts found no problem with the AD1HPs and kindly programmed them for me.

I tested them and they didn't work !! Anyway, to cut a long story, it turned out the point motor was using had a defective, switch to change the voltage from 6v-12v to 12v-18v. It did not work on the 12v to 18v, which is what I was using.

I have now tested all the AD1HPs with the Cobalt Classic Omega and found just one to be defective. Luckily I have a spare !

Point Motors - Cobalt iP
I have programmed two Cobalt AD8-FX, an 8-output DCC accessory decoder for Cobalt type motors, and tested them with the six Cobalt Digital point motors I have. I just need to buy 10 more to fully populate them ! (Update box of 12 Cobalt Classic Omega on order)

My DCC voltage is about 14v. AD1HPs provide 13.9v to the point motor and the AD8FX provides between 7.2 to 7.5v (varies between segments).

What Next...
I need to get on with building the model railway and stop 'playing around' with hardware and software ! Of course I need to program, test and document the DCC addresses for the new hardware !