Every once in a while I have to remind my readers that these notes are not in any way an official record of PIDRM activities. They are the ramblings of one, slightly twisted, club member's recollections of a pleasantarvo. Principally for the "benefit" of members who could not be there to share it in person.
With only six of us present, yesterday should have been a quiet afternoon. However, Jack was one of the six - that always puts the dB count up. Much of his afternoon was spent in trying to flatten the battery in his r/c diesel. I have to confess to being impressed by the performance of that loco. He also wondered (at approx 87dB) if he could build a battery powered G scale loco in time for our January show. A phrase including pigs and aviation came to mind.
I had promised George that I would re-address a loco for him, so I brought along a lap-top to talk to the Club's Digitrax PR3 unit and its associated HO and N scale tracks. In the end, George had brought along about six assorted German locos. I am guessing that these probably had Lenz decoders. Whatever they were, they appeared to conform well with the NMRA standards, so all went smoothly. (I think - still awaiting George's report of what happens when he puts them on the Waverley club's layout). Then Geoff the Pres took time out from helping Dale to paste up branch line backdrops to present me with a couple of Hornby locos that had gone beserk. One of the good features of the PR3 setup is that it can read back all the information that has been fed into the decoder. Geoff's "Evening Star" loco turned out to have a strange address - no wonder it ignored commands. That sorted, it still did not work when we tried on the layout - more on that shortly. Then there was his little 0-4-2 tanker - a very old Triang loco I think. When the Club bought the Porter 0-6-0 to work the Stanley Creek yard, I replaced the Bachmann decoder with a Digitrax N-gauge sound decoder. Geoff then squeezed the original Bachmann decoder - it is a tiny unit - into the 0-4-2 that was built before DCC was a twinkle in any one's eye. It remained stubbornly on its 03 address until I remembered that it is part of the Bachmann E-Z range, and will only take a 2 digit address. So we gave it one of the remaining 98 2 digit addresses that were available, and all is well. Finally, Jack took time out from flattening batteries to offer up his Hornby A4 for re-addressing. That one was easy, and then it chuffed and whistled its way around the main lines for the rest of the afternoon hauling the blue Pullman carriages, plus a diner, and a guards van that parted company now and then. The guards van was always found by the battery powered freight that was following behind (still, impressive battery!).
It seemed that the decoder in the "Evening Star" might have lost its motor drive capability, so we pulled it out and plugged it into another bit of Club gear - a decoder tester that Ian Sayer made originally, and I tarted it up and added an old Jinty that had been donated, so that motor, lights and sound can all be checked prior to installation. Or after, in our case. Lo and behold the Jinty spun its wheels on cue and, after Geoff found the wiring problem and plugged the decoder back in, so too did "Evening Star". All in all, a successful afternoon for the locos.
Meanwhile, George had rejoined the chain gang, breaking rocks in his quarry, and Judy had sorted various financial aspects of hire of the Cultural centre with Dale. The bond - which we have always had returned in full in the past - has risen from $200 to $500 this year! Not a problem in the long term, but it does go to emphasise that we need to keep a healthy bank balance.
Dale is threatening to declare a running day some time soon - I'll post the good news when I hear it.
See you on the 26th