Monday, October 31, 2016

Module tests

I couldn't write any post in the last months but I was a little bit stressed trying to finish my two first modules. If you read previous posts, you know ClubNCaldes created its own digital normative for N scale modules. The base and module headers are according EuroN standards. But as there is no standard norm in N scale for digital exploitation, we created our own.

We have our first "public appearance" in less than one month and all club members were quite stressed in finishing the modules with an acceptable decoration, and also quite concerned about the technological part as we are making also our own electronics, despite all the system is fully compatible with Loconet and any Loconet device can be used. One of our main goals is to create an Open Source and Open Hardware digital system, but compatible with the main standards in the market.

Each of us had until now his own layout at home. Each one depending on the space restrictions of his home was building a bigger or smaller layout, but none of us has never finished it. There is people in this club investing time and money in his layout for more than 15 years, others less, but nobody has finished his layout. Probably is because none of us wants to face the question that would arise once the layout is finished: "And now, how should I continue my hobby??". Probably destroying it and starting again from scratch. I still remember when I placed last piece of track in my layout and closed the track circuit, and instead of being a happy day I was quite sad, because I realized I won't place any more piece of track in the future. And it was a pity as I had to go through many errors until I learned the good way to do it. But then I learned about modules, and today I would never start a traditional layout again.

Modules are an enclosed work of 91.5 x 40 cm (size is free, but this is a standard size for a module as it has the exact length of an straight Peco 55 track). Wiring is very simple if you don't want to install switches, and even with them you don't have to worry about current loops or short circuits as in our norms all this has been solved. And create a simple decoration in a board of this size is quite fast and very satisfactory. Because you see it finished very fast, you can always enhance the decoration, exchange modules, create and substitute them with newer ones with better designs, join your modules with your friends' ones and run long trains that will never fit in your layout.

And the fact is in July 11th we started building our module headers ordering them to a local professional woodworking company:

And this weekend, October 29th, that's what we accomplished:

You see the decoration theme is not uniform. Some of you may be was shocked seeing a JR Freight train from Japan crossing a Spanish RENFE. But over being a railroad club, ClubNCaldes is first a friends group and each member puts a remembrance, lived experience or personal image when building a module that deserves all the respect, so we decided not to have any type of restriction in decoration themes, epoch or rolling stock type. This makes our meetings even more funnier and interesting.

I have many photos stored to write more articles about the process of building and decorating those modules, I promise to do it soon.

Meanwhile I hope you like these videos and get inspired to create N scale modules like us.