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The Randall Museum in San Francisco hosts a large HO-scale model model railroad. Created by the Golden Gate Model Railroad Club starting in 1961, the layout was donated to the Museum in 2015. Since then I have started automatizing trains running on the layout. I am also the model railroad maintainer. This blog describes various updates on the Randall project and I maintain a separate blog for all my electronics not directly related to Randall.

2021-09-21 - Maintenance

Category Randall

Yesterday was also time for some regular maintenance.

First order of business was to swap the engine for the automated UP passenger train. It has been running with UP 8736 for quite a while, and I swapped it for UP 8749. They are both identical SD70ACe engines, and I had previously programmed them to have identical running characteristics, so it was a quick one-line change in the automation computer’s event script.

Then I had been told the grade crossing bell was ringing all the time with no trains, so I spent quite some time adjusting it. One of the sensors is way more sensitive than the others. I readjusted them all. Unfortunately I’m told today that the bell was again ringing for almost 20 minutes when the layout was turned on. I had noticed that before -- when we turn everything on in the room, the lights are not as bright and they take time to warm up. And that can be enough to trip the grade crossing light sensors. Ideally I’d have to adjust the sensor right when the lights are turned on in the morning.

So I need to adjust the grade crossing sensors again. I’ll see if I can reduce the dimmable spots or turn off some lights to reproduce that “warming up” state from the morning.

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