Developing & Building Bell Code Block Instruments.

Discussion in 'Workshop Benches' started by gormo, Nov 22, 2020.

  1. gormo

    gormo Staff Member Administrator

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    Today the first Instrument case has been rubbed back lightly with fine grade ( 0000 ) Steel Wool...just enough to dull the shine and take out any pimples or imperfections in the finish. I then took the Beeswax cream and rubbed it liberally into the surface and then the excess was removed and the surfaces were buffed with a clean cotton cloth.
    It has resulted in the Satin like finish I was after, probably better described as the " old but cared for look ".
    It is not absolute perfection but rather an impression of what an instrument should look like if it had survived to this day. Consequently some little dings or marks evident in the timber have been left to give the impression of age. It could have been taken further and could have been distressed much more, however I do want it to look nice on my railway.
    So I have done a trial partial assembly to see how it shapes up.


    DSC00562.JPG


    The surface is very smooth to the touch, which is the result of this method of finishing the surface.


    DSC00563.JPG


    I think this pic shows the shine, or lack of it , rather well. A nice balance I think......but that`s just my preference.


    DSC00564.JPG


    The bottom is done as well.....you can see some dings on the edges of the base..... and why not.??...it`s supposed to look used and old.


    DSC00565.JPG

    And trialing it on one of the potential mounting places around the railway.


    DSC00566.JPG

    I am very pleased with how it`s coming along........a labor of love though that still has a considerable amount of work left to do to get these things operational.
    I don`t expect to get any more done prior to Christmas, so this will probably be the last update until next week some time post Christmas.
    I`ll see you then
    :tophat::cheers:Gormo
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2020
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  2. Andy_Sollis

    Andy_Sollis Full Member

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    That looks very smart! Very impressed.

    I look forward to the progress in 2021..
    Ps. How much to ship one to the UK?
    (I’m kidding!)
     
  3. gormo

    gormo Staff Member Administrator

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    Thanks Andy,
    Shipping to the UK..???.....would be reasonable I think.....there is not much weight or volume involved.......it`s the work required beforehand to get it there that is prohibitive...:faint:
    :avatar::avatar::avatar::tophat:Gormo
     
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  4. gormo

    gormo Staff Member Administrator

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    G`day Folks,

    No progress since Christmas on the instruments, however I have sorted out the electrical set up for the track sections.

    What`s not mentioned in the explanatory video below is that each instrument will control it`s relevant section of track via a commutator which can be set to either LINE BLOCKED, TRAIN ON LINE or LINE CLEAR.

    If we imagine two instruments talking to each other…...A & B

    If A wants to send a train to B , A`s commutator will be set to TRAIN ON LINE and B`s commutator will be set to LINE CLEAR.

    To ensure the train can only travel in B`s direction, A`s commutator when set at TRAIN ON LINE will activate a diode in the feed to the track that will only allow travel in B`s direction.

    Of course B`s commutator when set at LINE CLEAR will activate a diode that will only allow travel towards B from A.

    Everything is reversed when sending trains back in the opposite direction from B to A with the second set of diodes activated within the instruments.

    So, in theory, a train travelling between the two points will stall at a diode controlled rail break if the two instruments controlling the section are not set correctly. The train will also come to a halt at the same rail break if one or both of the instruments are set to LINE BLOCKED

    Enjoy the video


    :tophat:Gormo
     
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  5. Bazzmund

    Bazzmund Full Member

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  6. gormo

    gormo Staff Member Administrator

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    Nah.....no telephones.......and really it`s no more over the top than running a computer controlled railway.........just depends how you look at it......:scratchchin:
    :tophat:Gormo
     
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  7. Echidna

    Echidna Full Member

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    Hello Gormo,

    1 / effectively, you have created a version of Lock & Block, very impressive.

    2 / in normal train running circumstances, telephone communication is not required, that, after all, is the point of Block Telegraph Working.

    In the case of a model railway, even in Exhibition circumstances, Block Instuments and a Time Table ( or Train Graph, if you are so inclined ) eliminate the need for constant chatter, allowing the operators to concentrate on running trains. ( The onlooker are usually quite impressed ! )

    3 / Gormo, I presume you intend to use GWR bell codes ? These codes are derived from the Railway Clearing House / RCH Model Bell Codes, hence the reason why most railway bell codes were the same.

    Australian railways used a simpler set of 1905 Model Bell Codes, derived from the RCH Model Bell Codes.

    If you wish, I can supply the GWR Codes from Adrian Vaughan's "A Pictorial Record of GWR Signalling", alternatively, I can supply the VR 1966 ( 1919 ) version if you prefer.

    4 / Nice video by the way, and you have achieved an excellent, and safe, Lock & Block set up.

    Best wishes and regards, Echidna
     
  8. D827 Kelly

    D827 Kelly Full Member

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    My cohort with whom I am developing a couple of layout plans is very much interested in signalling and she'd be rather happy having something like this controlling the layout!

    Personally, I wouldn't want all the bells going off and certainly not at an exhibition, so I'd probably modify it so the bells went off in earpieces for the individuals doing the signalling.
     
  9. gormo

    gormo Staff Member Administrator

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    Thanks Echidna,
    Yes I lean towards GWR in most things, however with Bell Codes......I don`t know.?
    I have seen a couple of lists of codes on the internet listing the differences between the big companies and my gut instinct is to follow the accepted codes in common with most companies, however probably reduce the list to deal with just the stock I am running.
    So a basic set of codes to start with, keeping young Grandsons in mind, and maybe expand the list as we move forward and become more familiar with this method of operation.
    In saying that....they are only codes....a language in effect.....so a range of sets of codes, varying from easy to complex, could be applied to suit the age and ability of the operators.
    Horses for courses Echidna..........so I guess I`m saying I`m open to using what ever works with the emphasis on ease of use.
    :tophat:Gormo
     
  10. gormo

    gormo Staff Member Administrator

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    G`day D827 Kelly,
    Yes earpieces would work, although could be distracting.
    I have seen a system where the instruments were actually hand held boxes with LED indicators carrying the messages from one end of a layout to the other and it was built for exhibition conditions.
    Can`t remember where I found it now......it was quite some years back.
    :tophat:Gormo
     
  11. Andy_Sollis

    Andy_Sollis Full Member

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    If your doing that, may as just send a text on a mobile phone!
     
  12. gormo

    gormo Staff Member Administrator

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    Well Andy,
    The system was a bit more railway like and sophisticated than using a mobile phone........yes you could use a mobile phone but it does not quite have that fun element that railway style instruments bring to running trains.
    I have rummaged through my archives and found the information.
    I have inserted two files below that explain how the system works as developed by Brush House instruments in the UK. I don`t know if they are still in business.?
    I have also inserted below an update on my instruments......we are at the polishing stage after being slowed considerably by the Christmas Season, and the subsequent loss of mojo associated with partaking in the real world for a while. Yes it does affect ones drive and enthusiasm......does one sit and eat mince pies and consume various brands of alcohol whilst enjoying the company of family and friends, or does one skulk back out to the shed to build a railway..........well????.......the booze and mince pies got me again.....:avatar::avatar::avatar::avatar:



    :tophat:Gormo
     
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  13. Andy_Sollis

    Andy_Sollis Full Member

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    Looking good. The mobile phone was not in reference to what your doing. That would just take the fun out the operating.

    keep up the great work. Enjoying the following of the build.
     
  14. gormo

    gormo Staff Member Administrator

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    No I never thought that Andy....:thumbs:
    Well folks......I`ve got into the wiring.........I have created a monster......:avatar:......well not really ....but a heck of a lot of wiring.
    I`m still finding my way with the first box to be wired, so I`m sure I can pick up the pace for the other boxes. You learn as you go and I`ve already worked out a short cut, it`s a bit late for this first box, but I will employ it with the others.

    The LED`s are glued into place ready to be wired from behind .


    DSC00629.JPG


    The LED`s are arranged in such a way as to provide an easy route for the common wire, which has the drop down resistors included in it`s circuit.


    DSC00628.JPG

    The jig I made earlier has come in quite useful. It`s the same width, or depth to be more accurate, as the boxes, so I can confidently work out the wire lengths that cross from the front to the back of the boxes. The list of pin allocations and the plug diagram help immensely when it comes to sorting what wire goes where.


    DSC00631.JPG


    This is very early days here. Basically all we have here, is the power feed coming in to the BUS and the Call Indicator switch wired up with it`s appropriate LED`s as well.


    DSC00632.JPG


    Another layer on top sees the input wires sorted out for their various purposes.
    I should point out that I am testing as I go as well. These inputs are for the LED indicators on the front panel. They are powered from this box, but switched from another, so to test them I am inserting a bridging wire into the appropriate holes on the 25 pin socket on the back panel of the box.
    Better to sort it out now rather than trying to find it when the system is installed. The testing allows me to move forward with confidence.


    DSC00633.JPG


    The next stage is to wire up the rotating switch and then this box is pretty much done.


    DSC00634.JPG

    More as it happens
    :tophat:Gormo
     
  15. Echidna

    Echidna Full Member

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    Dear Gormo and others,

    I realise that this is a bit late in the day, but I am just reading about Bill Tate's 7mm O gauge Millport & Selfield, a NER / LNER layout dating from 1951, in Railway Modeller, March, 1966, pp 66 - 73. On page 72, there is an illustration of a pair of genuine 3 position Double Line Block Instruments ( origin not specified ), and in the text, Bill mentions the use of tobacco tins and lids, as well as various bicycle bells to ensure different tones. ( Strepsil tins also come to mind. ).

    Now, whilst bicycle bells now seem to be of one variety ( and presumably tone ) only, the use of tobacco and Strepsil tins may be useful, if you can still obtain them.

    Regards, Echidna.
     
  16. gormo

    gormo Staff Member Administrator

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    Thanks Echidna,
    That`s good to know, but unfortunately, as you say, it`s a bit late in the day for me now at this stage of the build.
    There is a lot to be learnt from some of these older articles, especially for anyone going down the DC route and attempting to employ something similar to actual railway methods.
    My bells all have the same tone.....yes indeed....possibly a problem in close quarters, however I have inserted an LED indicator in the top of each box. The LED will light on the receiving instrument when the call switch from the sending instrument is switched ON.


    [​IMG]

    The call switch needs to be on in order for the Morse Key to work. The call switch breaks the Morse Key circuit when in the OFF position.
    Therefore, even though the bells on my instruments all have the same tone, we know who is calling who by looking to see who has an illuminated LED on top of their instrument.
    Of course the operation of these instruments requires procedures and disciplines to be followed, in order for operations to run smoothly without mistakes.
    My role as Fat Controller, is to oversee these procedures and practices to ensure that every operator understands his or her role and how to use the equipment properly.
    I have to little Grandson recruits. One is a stickler for the rules and the other does his own thing and bends the rules to suit himself.
    I look forward to the lively debate between the two when things get messy on the branch line.
    Of course I will have the final say on all situations, as is the case with any Fat Controller of my standing.........:avatar::avatar::avatar::avatar:
    :tophat:Gormo
    PS .....testing tonight has revealed that my diode protection system works as expected......so we`re good to go.....that`s the last unknown sorted out.
     
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  17. gormo

    gormo Staff Member Administrator

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    Wiring finished on the first box.......Yaaay !!!!
    And it has been a learning curve,,,,,,as I said before, some short cuts have been worked out and some methods that will make the next unit easier and quicker to put together.
    This is what it looks like fully wired.......and it`s a bit of a squeeze to get it into the box, although I must say it just fits, and that`s down to carefully routing the wiring and strategic placement of parts.


    DSC00635.JPG


    I am able to connect a power feed to the unit and test various things with a bridging wire in the socket at the rear. These boxes are powered locally and switched remotely for most of the bits and pieces. The one exception being the call switch indicator LED`s which respond to the call switch next to them. Below you can see the box in it`s default ( OFF ) setting. The call switch is OFF, which means the Morse Key is disabled, and the line is blocked at the Bamford branch and also here at Little Bardfield, where this box will be installed. The position of the rotating switch tells me that the line is blocked at Little Bardfield.


    DSC00641.JPG

    When this box is being called from another box, the LED on top will light. The LED is switched on by the call switch from the calling box.


    DSC00643.JPG

    Time to hit the sack.....:thumbs:
    :tophat:Gormo
     
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  18. Andy_Sollis

    Andy_Sollis Full Member

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    Cracking!
     
  19. gormo

    gormo Staff Member Administrator

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    Just a little video to wind up the build of the first instrument.....enjoy...:thumbs:



    :tophat:Gormo
     
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  20. Andy_Sollis

    Andy_Sollis Full Member

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    Very very impressive!
     

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