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June '02
This page describes work accomplished on the new TMRC layout during the month of June 2002, as taken from the descriptions posted to the club mailing list.
June 12

While System3 performed well at the recent Alumni Open House, there are still enhancements to be made. James Knight and Tom O'Reilly worked on these. John Purbrick continued his work in the Berkmannville area. However, he has switched from trackwork and switch wiring to scenery. He installed the "water level" for the stream that runs through the Berkmannville area. John McNamara has turned his attention from the roundhouse to the low portion of the Digital Widgets building and has pretty much completed one section of the front wall. Tonight he installed two more windows in the second section of the front wall. Andy Miller was the third person involved in scenic projects this evening. He installed more sidewalks in Gifford City. The sidewalks are not only for the convenience of pico-pedestrians, they are an important precursor to trolley poles, trolley wire, and real live overhead operation. Stringing wire will doubtless be the task of John Shriver, who has just completed the mechanical work on the carbarn ladder switches. Now all he has to do is wire them to the controller cards ;-) Malcolm Laughlin did some more layout design work using 3rd PlanIt and a more primitive set of tools - paper and pen. Lastly, Ken Terrell continued a number of his personal car painting projects.


June 19

John McNamara worked on the second side of Digital Widgets, which is currently clamped by vast amounts of lead.

John Shriver worked on connecting the MITCo carbarn ladder switch machines to the switch card. When doing some testing, he unplugged the power cable to the card. (You can't solder to the switch machines with power on!) When plugging it back in, he missed by one pin for a moment. This caused the release of the magic smoke. He turned on wired circuit breakers until they all stayed on. (Took a few tries on one.) Finally a large puff of magic smoke was noted under the layout near the turntable controller, leading to fears of it's demise. This wasn't the case. Voltages were measured on the card, and it was seen that there was no +12V. So a new regulator was pulled from the drawer, and the soldering iron and solder sucker taken to the scene of the crime. But there was no +12V regulator on the board! With some investigation, it was found that it had gotten so hot that it had melted the solder, and fallen out of the board. It melted itself into the side of the cable spool sitting on the floor under the switch card. Alvar arrived (wearing the Charles River) with a digital camera in his backpack, so this has been documented!


June 22

James, Tom, Armond (James's friend), Roger, and Alvar worked for long hours Saturday night to move the System 3 power supply from the east wall of TMRC, to under the tower. The new supply fits inside a single cabinet, placed immediately next to the circuit breaker panel (also under the tower). Because the IMP controller (controls switches) and several block cards are still mounted in the east wall, they left a bundle of power cables to return to the east wall temporarily. All the block cards and the IMP will be moved under the layout in the near future. Alvar and James also rewired the 120Vac supply for System 3, since the new supply feeds from a single phase, rather than the three phase old supply. The new wiring is closer to implementing the desired operations of lights and power in the clubroom: a circuit that is always on (server), a computer circuit that turns off only until the day is over (so that we don't reboot computers when going to dinner - this function is not yet implemented), a circuit which is on only when lights are on (general use), and a circuit dedicated to system power, which turns on via a new large pushbutton switch; the huge red pushbutton was mounted above the dimmers for the track lights.

John Purbick, Tom, and Alvar moved all the lumber and conduit from the floor to the shelf that remained from the System 2 frame, freeing up space around the clubroom. John also worked on Berkmanville Scenery, together with Bill and Malcolm. Malcolm began to study the rolling stock storage situation of the clubroom, and hopes to come up with a plan on how to store TMRC's rolling stock under the layout, rather than in boxes around the room!

Tom continued to work on the System 3 interface, fixing a couple of small bugs and generally updating the software. He also tested a color monitor we had hidden under the layout, to place it in a visible location to make better use of our Camera car.


June 26

Malcolm Laughlin mounted the snazzy new Berkmannville control panel and cleared an area under the staging yard "for exclusive Car & Loco use." Andy Miller added yet more sidewalks to Gifford City. John Purbrick continued his work on the helix between the staging yard and Berkmannville. John McNamara cemented more brickpaper onto the Digital Widgets wall section upon which he is currently working. System2 is now almost completely on casters ready for its trip to The Telephone Museum on 13 July.



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

+1 617 253-3269
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