Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Programming the Staging Yards:



Staging Yards.  ( BTW the German alphabet has no "Y")

This is the "north bound" section of the yards, with an almost reciprocal image for the "south bound" lanes.  One passing lane and 4 "holding" lanes on each side of the staging area.

Conceptually, the plan follows thus: 
1) The passing lane ( entry / exit lane ) will not be automated.
2) The staging yards will be automated.
3) Entry into the Staging lanes will be manually controlled, not automated.  ( more below)

Stop Blocks:
Prepare a stop block at the end of each lane with M84, K84 or VM 5213.  Make certain that when the train halts it will not impinge on any other adjacent lanes.

Contact Tracks:
Much has been written about Contact Tracks. Best reference: Curtis' article in the Marklin Digital Newsletter: Vol 27, No. 2 pages 6 & 7.  Make certain that then CT's are not too long ( about one car length) otherwise the CT shortens the length of any train which can be stored on that lane.

Be careful! Contact Tracks are a trap for frustration. Some pointers:
1) Use a Dremel to cut the "ground" joints under "C" track--cleaner method.
2) Solder a single wire to the CT section. I chose "blue" wire for simplicity...to connect to the L88. NO solder on these connections to the L88!!!!
3) Keep meticulous notes! Keep meticulous notes!!!
4) In the layout mode place the CT icon on each lane and ID the contact point.
5) Frustration:  Even tho the CT's were properly soldered, and insulated on all lanes, ( I thought!) the icon on the layout panel of the CS 2 --on only ONE lane indicated occupancy when there was none! Now what?  After replacing track, and essentially rebuilding the CT area, the same occupancy indicator appeared!  Aarrrgh!  Then the "light" went on....the insulator points were on the same "ground" side of the track, but not on the proper side....switched the insulators to the other side. and hooray ...it worked.

I have not seen this mentioned in some of the other blogs I have read....just a word of caution! ;-)

Now onto programming the yards..........

Now for "fun" times!!??  The process is actually fairly straightforward IF you follow all the instructions precisely.  ( I made plenty of mistakes!)

References:  Marklin Digital Newsletter: Vol 28, No. 1; ( pages 6-12);  Vol 28, No. 2 ( pages 6-13)
Study them...a lot!

1) Make certain all the components are programmed into the "Keyboard": Turnouts, Stop Blocks and Contact Tracts
2) Make certain all the components of the layout are programed on the "Layout" section, including all  Turnouts, Stop Blocks, and Contact Tracks.
3) Programming the "Memory" section, involves "activating" ( wrench) the Memory Section while accessing the components in the Layout Section  ( not the Keyboard....much easier to use the Layout Section)

See pix below with explanation:

Goals: 
a)  Have a passing "main line" lane through both sides of the staging yards, with 4 storage lanes on each side of the yard.
b) This allows "favorite" trains to pass thru the staging yards and return via the helix to the main level of the layout.
c) Option of "manually" operating a turnout, allowing a train to enter the staging yards to an empty storage lane on either side of the yard.
d) Once the Turnout has been thrown allowing the train to Enter the Staging Lane ( SLn), the train passes over the Contact Track,  converting the Stop Track on the same lane to turn red...to stop, and also turns the adjacent stop track to "green", allowing that train to leave and enter the main through lane.
e) When the train Exits the contact track, the turnout through which the train entered the staging lane now turns to prevent another train from entering the same lane.

Screen shot of the Layout: one side of the staging lanes. A train has entered the lowest lane and stopped. Simultaneously, the train in the lane just above the lowest lane has left the yards, because the stop track has changed to "go", releasing that train.


2)Memory screen:
 Wrench->Note: 
Address: SLn5 ( Staging Lane 5) 
Contact: 5 
"Tr." Loco on the ENRTY or Lt side of small screen. ( Entry into the Contact Track area). 
Add ( Stop Tracks): "Stop" for Ln 5 and "Go" for Ln 6, by clicking on the specific component on the layout screen. ( only the Memory Screen is "active" for programming, not the Layout Screen. 



 Programming the "Exit" component from the Contract Track:--> Move the "Loco" icon to the right side of the little box with the pointer. Then, select the turnout from the Layout Screen. Thus when the train leaves the Contact area, the turnout throws to prevent another train from entering that same lane.



 Next step: Click on the "EXT" icon. This screen appears. The top line is the "temporary" contact line ( see Newsletter). Make certain that the appropriate contact track number is registered. e.g #5! AND the L( S88) is registered!!!!!   Close this screen. When finished programming that Memory icon, then close the window with the blue down arrow and then the green check mark. ...to save the info.




This screen shows a Loco entering the staging lane at the top of the four lower lanes. The very top lane is the "main line". The contact icon is yellow....indicating occupancy.   REMEMBER: if your Contact Track appears yellow and there is NO train on that CT, then you have your insulator points on the WRONG side of the track!  


Good luck programming your staging yards.  Full disclosure: this section drove me crazy for awhile, till I sought advice from others and re-read the Newsletters...for the ~10th + time! 
I believe that one of my biggest obstacles was the time frame involved for the Central Station to "digest" the programmed information. My "hunch" is that the processor in my older 60214 is much slower that the newer models. ( When finished programming any information, I usually allow the CS to remain "on" and "idle" for about a half hour before "saving" the information and then "quitting" the CS. 

It's most difficult not to become discouraged or frustrated. Persistence  is the key. Ask for help if needed. Some "figure it out" before others. I am writing this blog to try to help others avoid some of the frustrations that I encountered. 

Blessings....alan 



Addendum: 

Side point: I marked the insulation point on the track in the Staging Yards with a double black stripe, so if I have to return to shorten or lengthen contact blocks or stop blocks I would know immediately where the insulation points were located. 

Contact track: marked with an "X" where insulator points are located. 


Brief video showing how train passes over contact point and throws turnout to prevent another train from entering that particular staging lane. 


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