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Saturday 28 March 2015

Filling Time

As I have stopped to wait for the glue and filler to dry I have some time to show some photos of the progress on the track.

I have been working on one end of the layout. I started here because it needs a barrier to stop the cars falling on the floor.

This end is not the most interesting scenery. It is intended to be a concrete supported road, a bit like a bridge section. I decided on this to explain why it overhangs the edge and to make it different to other parts of the track which will mainly be Armco barriers.

Even though it is a concrete wall it still needs some details to make it look realistic. At the first attempt the end of the barrier was too high. It just looked a bit overpowering to me.

I have softened it by stepping it down at the end and finishing it off with some support buttresses.

I finished off by filling all the gaps and using the filler to add texture in a few places.

Sunday 22 March 2015

Up and Running

I've added a little bit each evening and finished enough this weekend for the Scalextric track to be usable.

I also added a simple background before connecting up the track. It's ready to drive and ready to add scenery.

The background is just to give the illusion of sky.  Without the scenery it just looks blue but I have high hopes that it will make the scenery look better, once I add some.

I glued poster paper on to hardboard screens to form the sky.

I have read a lot of concern about electrical connections when Scalextric track is taken apart or even just over time. There have been lots of possible solutions suggested online. Many are too time consuming so I've been on the look out for a relatively simple low cost solution.

My method is to crimp any joint I take apart and add a tiny bit of electrical joint grease. There are lots of expensive products but I managed to find something that sounded like it would do the job and at a low cost.

I can't tell if it works but I connected up the track and it ran on both lanes first time. I did have one corner lane changer not switching but I cleaned up the jack plug connector with some spray contact cleaner and that sorted out that.

The overhanging corner that double back on itself needs to be taken quite slowly otherwise the cars fall off.  It's a big drop so I've put some temporary barriers round there and a couple of other places to save the cars.

Sunday 15 March 2015

Slow Progress

I've had a good amount of time to work on the track but it is taking longer than I expected to get the underlying framework built to my satisfaction.

Probably most of the time was spent adjusting one of the complex slopes.

This is two slopes on straight sections between curves. They are also at a slight bank.

I came up with a simple method to create the slopes. I've used 6mm MDF for most of the slopes that need forming but I have also got shallow curves with 9mm MDF.

I use two parallel straight bits of timber and cross members to form the height.

One end of the board is securely screwed to the flat of the timber and at the other end I just lift the board and push in the cross member. That can be slid along or the thickness changed until I get the angle curve I am after. More complex curves use more cross members.

What took the time was that after assembling it, I ended up with a very steep bank along the back wall under the window.  This is just because of the combined slopes in different directions. I expected a small bank but what I got was so angled I was concerned about the traction of the cars.

I had a rethink, took it apart and rebuilt it several times until I was able to get a gentle slope that curves back to near level.  This solved the banking problem.  At least to an angle I was happy the cars would not suffer from.

When going over the brow of a hill it is necessary to have only a very gentle curve. So many cars, because of the magnets, are very close to the track and make contact very easily. I won't know for sure if I've got it right until it is all back together and the cars are racing round.

I've had help at most stages as you can see by the photos.

One other thing. As this is only a semi-permanent design I have been marking up the best places to take it apart, as I go along. Without this I know I will not remember.

I just have two sections left to join together to complete the framework for the circuit.

CB Aerial Run

Last year I fitted a CB to our Discovery. A common addition for off-roading.

On a forum the other day I was asked if I had any photos of the cable run. Unfortunately I was in a hurry to go off-roading when I fitted it and didn't take any photos.

The best I can do is take a few photos now and describe the cable run for the aerial.

The CB is one that has all the controls on the handset so that the bulk of the electronics can be mounted out of sight.

I fitted the CB under the drivers seat (UK right hand drive.) I had removed the old CD changer, long obsolete due to MP3s and mobile phones with Blutooth. The removal of the CD player left 4 very handy bolts sticking up.  The CB mounting bracket fitted those bolts with only a little adjustment.

As a side note I used the same bolts to fit a bracket under the seat for a fire extinguisher of the type required to meet UK Motor Sport Association (MSA) regulations.  Recommended for most off-road activities and compulsory for some competitive events.

Back on the CB topic...

There is some power under the seat but I decided to run a separate feed from the front.  I have fitted an additional fuse box for accessories. It's under the steering column. The plastic panel next to the accelerator pedal is easy to remove by pulling out the trim clips. That gets the cable as far as the foot well carpet.

To be able to lift the carpet it is necessary to remove the plastic trim on the lip of the door. It's easier to do that if the trim round the seat belt real is pulled away. First pull off the rubber round the door then simply pull the tiny metal clip off the frame.

That clears the end of the plastic insert for the carpet trim.  The long trim insert can easily be pulled up to reveal the screws which need to be removed to release the carpet trim.

I did the same for the back door and carpet which is where I was going to run the aerial lead.

Without wanting to drill massive holes in the car the only way I could think to run the cable was to remove the big screw connector from the cable and refit one after I had finished. I left it attached to the aerial mount.

I therefore had to work from the back of the car where I wanted to fit the aerial.  The outer panel, with the rear lights in, is open top and bottom.  At the top there is a small hole next to the gutter where the panel is up against the roof section. I threaded the cable through and managed to get a cable tie through another hole in the gutter to hold the cable in place.

The cable is still outside the car between two panels. Luckily for me there is an unused hole through to the boot, behind the rear light panel. I covered the hole afterwards with sealant and some gaffa tape.

It comes out inside the plastic trim in the boot. You can reach behind that by removing the vent near the rear door and the top of the trim just behind the seat where the rear seat belt passes through.

I am struggling to remember if I had to remove any of the trim clips to push the cable from the boot section over the rear wheel arch. Whatever I did was easy.

I could not get the cable under the carpet but by pulling the rubber door seal the cable easily hides under that rubber seal when it is pushed back.

At the bottom of the wheel arch, with the carpet edge trim removed, the cable can go under the carpet until it is under the drivers seat.

Put all the trim back and the cable is completely hidden.  I soldered a connector back on, job done.

Tuesday 10 March 2015

The Size of Watches

With the advent of the new Apple watch and various earlier versions by other manufacturers, wearable technology is getting a foothold.

This started me thinking and in my opinion it will not be long before it will be socially acceptable to wear a full size smartphone on your lower arm.

This will then lead to the obvious enhancement of being able to rotate the phone so it is vertical or horizontal and all those health and fitness monitoring devices will be built right in to the back of the phone.

I'm not sure if the self destruct feature from the film Predator will make it in to many phones.