date stamp is Eastern Standard Time, 24 hour (Newest notes first, oldest at the bottom)


2019-12-24 14:55

for the layout top, i plan on using a product known in my area as Multi-ply. it is a high grade multi-layer hardwood plywood. it is my hope that the added strength will allow for less extra support in the frame. i plan on using 1 X 4 lumber, and space it 24"oc. the wiring will be brought to the fascia, for ease of access, and will be labeled for clarity.


2019-12-24 02:03

My plan is to clear room in the front of my Man Cave (former camper) to build my HO scale layout. First, a little about my Man Cave, to define my working restrictions.

The Man Cave is a gutted out 29 foot Fleetwood Prowler camper trailer. my plan was that when i get a place of my own, that i could simply tow the trailer there. the Camper electrical has been replaced with a conduit buried 10/3 w/ground that runs to a sub-panel. most of the power feeds the woodworking CNC router in the back of the camper. i have yet to run proper outlets, so currently the electrical looks like a disaster.

I will be adding a partition between the CNC room, and the forward train room, pending money. as Maine winters are rather cold, i have installed a Chinese diesel heater. this runs on 12Vdc, so currently it is powered by a switching power supply. i will be constructing a 12Vdc battery system for the train side, including the lighting. the battery will be kept charged by a solar charger, with a future RV power converter added if the load becomes more than the solar can maintain.

the reason for the 12Vdc power system is for the diesel heater, and the general power for the train layout electrical.

My layout will likely be a point-to-point run, due to the space limitations. my thinking is to have a yard at each end for re-ordering the rolling stock to simulate further train runs. it will not be based on any particular location, rather it will be used to simply model train life. really, it depends on what i choose to simulate at any given moment. i am more interested, at this point, in the electronics aspect, than exact realism. i will base the construction on a reconfigurable future, rather than permanent fixation of components. so if i want to change something, it can be done without screwing up everything (i hope).

Layout control will be a combination of DCC++, and MQTT. and i will use JMRI as the software. signaling inputs will be handled with the DCC++ controller (my variation). and the outputs will be handled with MQTT, via some Arduino boards (most likely MEGA2560).

Track turnouts will also be handled with MQTT, and will drive servos to make the switch. While test versions of JMRI can handle MQTT sensors, i opted to hold off until the feature became more mainstream, in favor of being able to upgrade JMRI, and maintain compatibility.

The MQTT server runs on a server in my server rack, but i have a WiFi bridge to connect my Man Cave to the network. so currently the network in the Man Cave is ethernet. i will have to add a WiFi access point, as both my DCC++ connects via WiFi, and the walk-around controller (Android tablet with EngineDriver, that connects to JMRI) also needs WiFi.