Lighting & Benchwork Update

Those of you who have been following along know that one of the core electronic pieces I’ve been working on for the CRNW is an LED lighting system tied into the fast clocks.  Over the run of an operating session, I want to transition from “dark” (really dim blue light) through the brilliant warm light of daybreak, the bright white of midday, and the through the golden hour and sunset back to dark.    The system will consist of the fast clocks – obviously – as well as a MRB-GIO to figure out color and intensity, and then a set of power booster boards that actually control the 2000W going to the LED strips.  The power boosters will be local, each controlling <20ft of layout, to keep the amount of power being switched to a more manageable level.

The prototype power booster boards for the LED lights showed up a couple weeks back, but this weekend was really the first chance I’ve had to try integrating them with the full system.  I connected one up to my test LED strip and mounted it back over Cordova, and then connected it to a MRB-GIO and did some basic programming to turn it into a lightning controller.

Results are promising – I need to do a bunch more tweaking on the exact light transitions, but my first try came off pretty well.  I also did a few tests using a bunch more strips to increase load.  The system was designed for up to 6A per channel, so I cranked it up to around that.  Heating was actually less than I expected – the board only slightly warm to the touch even switching 6A on a couple channels.

I’ve posted a few photos of the new power control board, as well as some samples of midday, evening, and night light.  Night isn’t that bright, I promise.  It’s just the camera evened out the exposure.

On the benchwork front, I did get the top deck extended from Strelna over to the north end of the Chitina yard.  The bottom deck is still being pondered – I’d really like to add a short Katalla Branch as a very low level.  The problem is that I can’t figure a way to shove a helix under where the junction should be.  I’m contemplating a train elevator along the wall (hidden behind the Miles Glacier Bridge area), since trains to/from the coal fields above Katalla would be short – 6-8 cars plus power.  Regardless, I’m still pondering it.

Oh well, off to Memphis for the week tomorrow.  I’ll figure out what I’m doing about a potential Katalla branch train elevator when I get back.

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