Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Rochelle Bridge Signals

I can't wait to get these signals on the layout!!!
Here's some more prototype photos.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Finally, a Track Plan (Thanks to Justin Parry)

I finally have an accurate trackplan to share.  Big, huge thank yous to Justin Parry for taking the time and effort to put the plan on paper.  Very soon I will be adding names of different locations, tracks, etc. and posting it as well.  Eventually Justin will add lanscaping, roads, building etc.   Justin did the track plan from one in-person visit, a simple dimensional drawing of the basment and benchwork, and lots of photos.  Thanks again Justin!!!!! 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Resistor Adjustment for SMD Signals

I adjusted the resistors for the SMD signals.  Found out from Serge that the installed resistors were 1000 (green) and 1500 (red) ohms.  After deciding that the result was just too dim, I removed the resistors and just went with the 100 ohm resistors that come with the Digitrax TSMK connectors.  This was way too bright and probably would have greatly shorten the life of the LEDs.  So I used 250 and 320 ohm which put the LEDs at the same brightness as the rest of my Sunrise signals.  Below are a comparison between 1000/1500 and 250/320.

Monday, September 20, 2010

SMD Signal Installation

   I was able to install the SMD signals I received last week.  Before I was able to install them I first needed to complete the basic scenery and paint the track in the eastern Rochelle Area.  This went pretty well, however, the close up picture of the signals makes me realize that I really need to get going on doing some static grass.  All in good time.
   As far as the installation of the signals goes, it was very straight forward.  The signals came with 100 ohm resistors attached and I connected them to the SE8c signal board via Digitrax's TMSK connector board which also have 100 Ohm resistors.  So, with 200 ohms of resistance, the signals are not quite as bright as the Sunrise signals.  I'm still deciding on whether or not to remove the 100 ohm resistors that come with the signals. I was leaning toward taking them off to see if that would brighten them up a bit.  But then I got to thinking that on a nomal afternoon, the prototype signals are not that bright either, especially if you are not looking right at the signals from the track.  The SMD lights are brighter looking stright from the track as opposed to from an angle.  I am not sure if this would change with the removal of the resistors.  I was only able to install two of the four signals as I ran out of ribbon wire that is used to connect the signals.  I will hopefully get more by this weekend.  Overall, I am very pleased with the SMD signals.  They look and operate great.  I highly recommend them.  I have placed an order for six more.  Check them out @

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New Signals from Scale Models Division

Just recieved my first order of signals from Scale Models Division of Canada.  I ordered and recieved four signals; two single searchlight and two double searchlight.  The signals will protect the crossover in Rochelle just east of the UP/BNSF diamonds.  I have been reusing the Sunrise searchlight signals from the old Rochelle Subdivision layout.   But, having used all those up signalling Nelson through the west Rochelle crossover and with Sunrise no longer in the business of making N scale signals, I was in need of a new source of signals for the remainder of the layout.   Awhile back John LaRocca told me about Scale Models Division and their N scale signal line whcih is quite extensive.  After checking out their website ( I contacted them about doing some signals for the Geneva Subdivision.  Scale Models Division owner and operator, Serge Lebel, was very knowledgible and easy to work with. After emailing back and forth a few times I placed an order for the four signals which arrived yesterday.

The first picture below shows the packaging the signals arrived in.  The boxes are cardboard with a foam insert that protect the signals during shipment. 

I removed one of the double signals and was immediately impressed with the scale fidelity and quality of craftmenship.  The signals come with resistors installed and have three wires of different colors (silver, red & green) which will be a great help in installation.  In order to compare the quality of the Scale Models Division to the Sunrise signals, I tape the signals to the fascia next to an already installed Sunrise signal.  The picture below show the signals side by side.


As you can see, the new signals from Scale Models Division are excellent and compare nicely with the singals from Sunrise.  The targets appear to be equal in size however the Sunrise have a lip around the edge.  After doing some research on the web I believe the lip is prototypical for that style of signal.  The Sunrise seem to be of an older style of signal than the Scale Models Division.  The ladders on the SMD signals are slightly more to scale than the Sunrise and the platforms look great.  The mast however on the SMD signal look to be a bit wider than Sunrise.  I am not sure if this is a compromise by SMD or just a difference in prototype.  Both mast look great however.  SMD at this time does not offer sinals with battery boxes.  However, most of the signals along the Geneva Sub are the more modern style without the battery boxes so this is not a concern to me.  I will need to find a source of signal control boxes to place near the signals a la the prototype.
   Overall, I am very impressed wtih the SMD signals.  They are reasonably priced, but like anything in model railroading and building a layout, if you need a lot of them like I do, it can get expensive. 
   I will be installing them on the layout in the next few weeks and will post more pictures at that time