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January '02
This page describes work accomplished on the new TMRC layout during the month of January 2002, as taken from the descriptions posted to the club mailing list.
January 9

Work continued in the Berkmannville area, as Roger Neumann worked on the layout skirting and John Purbrick worked on extending the scenic backdrop. A few feet away, Tom O'Reilly worked on switches in the section of old F-yard that has been temporarily placed at the end-of-track. He has been replacing the heel-thrown point switches with the Tortoise machines used on the rest of the new layout. John McNamara assisted by drilling a few holes. John Shriver did some more work on trolley system wiring. Andy Miller did some exploratory work on modelling water for the Watahack River. The river will eventually have operating lift bridges at either end and some river craft (and river cruft). James Knight worked on various software projects.


January 10

The following news flash from James is important to all members:

System 3 is not really ready yet, but it is my opinion (shared by some other clubmembers and not opposed by some others) that having people try to use it, find that it doesn't work properly, and complain, will get it working faster. So, on saturday, we are going to connect system 3 block cards in the cabinets on the wall and run wire to the terminal blocks behind system 2 then disconnect system 2. The plan is for the layout to not be working properly for the next month. Hopefully it will work mostly, but no guarantees. I am fairly confident that it will work at least at a basic level, unreliably. I definitely expect it to be at the point where people can attempt to use it and get annoyed at specific things being messed up, rather than the whole thing not working at all. But, if you want to run trains, before Saturday might be a good time. :) The idea is to get System 3 in a wide scale test with people wanting to use it, and just keep banging on it until its working right. Hopefully by a month from now it'll work well enough to actually have some sort of confidence that you can just turn it on and use it without having strange issues, even if not all the desired functionality is implemented yet.

If this is a complete disaster and it still isn't anywhere close to working after a month, we can still go connect System 2 back at the terminal blocks.

Current status report:

  • Block cards - seem to be working reliably. Need to have feedback compensation algorithm added at some point.
  • Cabs - semi-workable state. Can change speed and reverse. JP is working on new cabs.
  • GUI (rsig) - not great, but works well enough to throw switches and assign trains. Has serious issues, ASO is working on cleaning it up.
  • Server - seems to work. Has been observed running trains and advancing properly, but I'm not confident that it actually works right under all conditions. Definitely needs to be tested more.


January 16

John Shriver began electrical tests on the carbarn ladder, finding some shorted block gaps and not finding others. Andy Miller continued his project of painting North Shore locomotives. Ed Drozd brought in some additional Coca-Cola products and filled the Coke machine. John McNamara and Roger Neumann drilled holes in the throwbars for the (former) F-yard switches and patched a hole in that area. John and Genya Zaytman also installed a switch machine. Tom O'Reilly, who has been doing most of the F-yard work, turned his attention briefly to the Berkmannville area, checking and correcting track gauge. Roger Neumann, Alvar Saenz-Otero and James Knight mounted System3 block cards in their cabinets. System2 was disconnected from the layout this past Saturday and installation of System3 block cards began. At least 18 blocks have been wired, but there is plenty of additional work to be done in networking the computers, etc.


January 22

John Shriver continued his debug of the ladder tracks for the trolley car barn and found the shorted block gap that had eluded him last week. Tom O'Reilly worked on the switches in the former F-yard ladder. They now have a complete complement of Tortoise switch machines. John McNamara and Rodger Neumann refilled the Coke machine. Sales continue to be brisk. John Purbrick wired a switch control card in Berkmannville and counselled James Knight and Roger Neumann on their System3 work. They replaced some of the power feeds that had been connected to the old power supply with connections to a new power supply. They also connected a cab interface for testing purposes.



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Tech Model Railroad Club of MIT
MIT Room N52-118
265 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139

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