24th April 2020
After buying a Lokprogrammer to allow me to program DCC decoders, it struck me that I needed a test station that would let me program decoders from all manufacturers, as well as test them and the locomotive on a rolling road.
The version 1.0 plank that is illustrated consists a modified Hornby Rolling Road with extra rollers added, an ESU Lokprogrammer and test stand, and a SPROG programmer. These all link together via USB connectors to my old laptop that is loaded with both Decoder Pro and ESU Lokprogrammer. This lets me both program ESU sound chips and other brands easily.
The Hornby Rolling Road was originally designed for their Live Steam product range. It consists of a section of anodised Aluminium extrusion with two insulated metal rods that carry track power to insulated rollers that slide along the section to adjust to various locomotive wheelbase. I removed the plastic track section that is designed for a steam locomotive tender to sit on and added extra rollers to allow a six axled diesel or electric loco to be accommodated. The power wiring from the Rolling Road was then connected to a chocolate block style connector.
Modifications planned in future include:
1) Switches in the power cabling to prevent both SPROG and Lokprogrammer powering the same circuit at the same time as at the moment, I have to remember to unplug one side or the other;
2) An adaptor to only need one USB cable to plug into the computer;
3) A short section of 4mm and 2mm track to allow short length running;
4) A speed sensor unit to allow speed matching of stock on 3) above.
Floor board from B&Q c.£9;
Exterior grade sticky pads from Sellotape c.£4;
ESU Lokprogrammer c.£135;
SPROG 2.0 USB programmer c.£45;
Hornby Rolling Road and extra rollers c.£60.
Notes: Connectors and cables were ones I had already. You can substitute other brands of rolling road. This is one I bought about 15 years ago.
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