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Meeting 7th March 2018

Posted 18/3/2018

Resistance soldering - Phil Rowe and Radio contol - Dave Evans & Ian Payne. 

Resistance Soldering.

                                     Phil Rowe brought his resistance soldering equipment with him and demonstrated the speed and accuracy of the technique, particularly with respect to the addition of small detail parts to a larger whole.  The part to be attached is tinned - or solder paste can be used - , held in position on the earthed larger part of the model by the electrode, and then a foot control is used to pass a short sharp current through the joint.  After a couple of seconds the joint glows brightly as the heat builds up; the solder is seen to melt; and, most importantly, once the current is switched off, the electrode is then kept in position until the solder has solidified, ensuring absolute positional accuracy.  To the ham-fisted, or at least those of us without the benefit of three hands,  the advantage over normal soldering was immediately apparent. Though Phil works in larger scales, it was clear that the accuracy possible with this system makes it very useful in smaller scales.  The downside is that a fairly robust transformer (up to 50 amps at 1-4 volts) is needed, and these are expensive (well over £100), but Phil’s demonstration certainly convinced us that the investment would be well worth while for anyone doing serious modelling in brass, especially after he generously allowed several of us to try for ourselves.


    Radio Control.

                                    First David Evans told us about his experiments with radio control in 00, in particular in using the Protocab system (though Deltang and RC trains are also producing systems).  It was particularly interesting to see how small the necessary components have become recently, making it perfectly possible, with a little ingenuity, to fit the receiver and the rechargeable battery in a standard 00 tender.  This makes radio control available in the smaller scales where it would not have been seriously considered until recently unless using an auxiliary van or coach - which may still be necessary for tank engines.  Protocab provides a complete starter set, with a controller which can control up to nine different locos, and the parts needed to equip one loco.  This kit currently costs around £240, and fitting out subsequent locos costs about £100 each (roughly comparable to adding sound in DCC), but all you need after that is the rails to run the trains on, and there are no short circuits to worry about from incorrectly set points or reverse loops.

                                    Ian Payne then took over to talk on radio control in larger scales, where it is already more established.  He talked about two systems of control, the Timpdon which was designed specifically for model railways and the Planet which originates in model aircraft and model boat practice, and a third (half) system which is very cheap, but can result in conflict, confusion and possible disaster if anyone else uses it at the same time!  Taking examples from his own experience and models Ian was able to surprise us pleasantly by how economically and effectively locos can be run by radio control.  Space is not of course at so great a premium in the larger scales, but he showed his inventivenessin just how much can be packed into models of even small (0-4-0) prototypes, with the aim in his case of having sufficient battery storage to ensure a minimum three hours running time.  He also showed how he had modified controllers designed for model aircraft to be more appropriate for use in driving locos.  His practical can-do approach to problems with his emphasis on keeping costs down and the advantages of standardisation in, for instance, batteries and servos was very convincing, once again raising dreams of the garden railway in those who have not yet gone there!


Many thanks to Phil, David and Ian for taking the time and trouble to prepare and deliver such interesting and thought-provoking talks.  Once again it was made apparent just how much expertise and knowledge we have in the Association, and how willing members are to share it.


Peter Cox

March 2018