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About the Model Railroad

RTAC Software


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.

2021-11-22 - Maintenance and Debian Updates

Category Randall

A few things have happened this week-end.

First the visible yet inconsequential thing: the Bridgeport Ballon Track #2 now has the proper Auto-Reverser.

The story about this is that I had ordered two Tam Valley Dual Frog Juicers to be installed and configured as auto-reversers, one per balloon track. Unfortunately in the order I was sent a DCC Hex Frog Juicer by mistake. The Dual Frog Juicers can use up to 4 amps per track, whereas the Hex Frog Juicer can only only 1 amp per track and that’s not enough when running multiple engines in consist with sound. So now I just got around to installing the proper board. It was a rather trivial swap since I had done all the prep work when installing the Hex Frog Juicer, so really only terminals to unscrew/rescrew. Probably took more time to take the pictures and write this post than actually installing the board. But hey, one more task is complete on my long list.

The more exciting news is that I got around to update my Layout Presentation Documentation. I know, exciting, isn’t it? “See? Nobody cares.” Well I do. I added a whole chapter on the computer setup used in the “train room exhibit”, and updated the pending work list, and I think that’s pretty neat. I’ve also updated the Known Issues list.

In the kind of even more silent maintenance that nobody will notice yet is crucial is that I’m updating the Debian version on all the computers. I used to run Debian 9 (“stretch”) on them with the latest updates, and I have them upgraded to Debian 10 (“buster”) and another one to Debian 11 (“bullseye”). One more to go and I’m done for a little while. I will likely keep the automation under Debian 10 for now and switch to Debian 11 after its first update. I never like to run the latest hotness on these, as long as I have all the security updated & backports applied.

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