Full Time JMRI

Tired of lugging the laptop down and connecting things to have JMRI automation. Cobbled together a working computer system from an old Mac-Mini with a dead harddrive to host JMRI.


Also got the boys running trains using an old iPAD.

Electronics Clean-Up

Managing the Spaghetti
Or at least attempting to.

Switch Wiring

2015-02-22 12.47.48

Switch wiring to DS64, and Loconet interconnect, amidst power wiring.

2015-02-22 14.35.18

Now tucked away under layout, in space between racks, while providing plug in access to Loconet.

2015-02-22 14.35.44

And folds open to provide access to switch wires.

Power Wiring

2015-02-22 10.58.19

14 AWG twisted pair power Bus
20 -24 AWG feeder wires (spaghetti).
Many pairs of feeds "Siamesed" together on, too few, terminal blocks.
Very few track blocks isolated.

Defined and isolated several new power blocks.
Consolidated existing separate terminal blocks in a central location.
Added new feeds, lengthened feeder leads, where needed, to reach new central distribution area.

2015-02-22 18.30.53

Added several terminal blocks at new location.

2015-02-23 11.53.29 2015-02-23 17.15.27
Looks better, and eiser to work on (once feeders are wired), but still room for optimization.


Organizing and identifying (labeling) feeders on terminals.
Dedicated terminal block for accessories currently using track power; 2 switchKats, 2 DS64s.

Control Center

Digitrax Zephyr
2 "jump" throttles
the DC mine train control.

Kato Double Crossover Reverse loop 2

Well, nothing could be simpler than my current "solution".  I've dabbed a bit of acrylic paint on the "offending" rails and the AR-1 is working like a charm.
Yes, I suspect I will have some issues with the paint wearing off, possibly gumming wheels and track.  This is not a long term solution.


WRT moving the gaps,...
The "typical" configuration of a Kato Double cross is to have the power feeds in a configuration where (from top to bottom) the polarities are:
That makes moving the gap "downstream" feasible, even reasonable.  
But, it seems, most folks who are asking about the double cross and reversing loops have double loops (i.e., plopping the double cross in the middle of an existing loop).  In such a configuration the rail polarity at the double cross, ends up being:

Cutting the outside rails becomes necessary, and would be all that's required, if it weren't for the inside rails being so close together (and uninsulated).

So, for now, I'm "happy" with the "fix".

Kato Double Cross Reverse loop

I am using the double crossover is a configuration which creates a reversing loop.  And using a Digitrax AR-1 to autoreverse.  Cutting the outside rails is essential to any attempt to use the Kato Double cross as the isolation for a reversing loop, but as was identified in online board discussions, "with the rails end being so near each other in the center of the crossover locos and anything with metal wheels would keep changing the PM42 reverser or just shut it down." I am experiencing this, but (interestingly?) in only one direction (NW to SE). I am seriously thinking of increasing the gap of these center rails in an effort to eliminate this reversing "chatter". 


Superchief DCC

Decoder for the Kato Superchief F7


Digitrack ZephyrExtra for Christmas
Also Kato SuperChief Starter set
Track wiring upgraded


Close, but,… defective


PSX Circuit Breaker