Life continues to be hectic.

Making Tracks

I’ve put a lot of work into Pete Watermans videos and layout. I’ll be at Blakemere on the three opening days (16-18 DEC 2023) if you wish to come and have a chat.

It’s been a privilege to have the layout up and running in a cosy, secure environment where I’m able to just turn up and play with it. This Friday’s video took over 8 hours to film across four sessions. I set out to document every train on the layout in detail. This caused some challenges as I would often go back to another shot on a train only to find it had different locomotives or changes to the rolling stock.

This illustrates the living nature of the exhibit as no two days are the same.

Locos were removed for a variety of reasons including decoder updates, shipped off to manufacturers for repair or even a repaint.

What’s been videoed represents the layout in early December and should be a pretty accurate representation of the rolling stock on opening.

New products

We just launched the System2 MiniPanel, an 8 port Panel Controller. Unlike our legacy MiniPanel, this fully integrates with System2 and has all the features of the Panel Controller, just with a reduced port count of 8.

Use it on its own in as an integral part of a System2 installation.

You can expect an 8 port starter kit this week too.

Product availability

There’s a bit of a cock-up with panel Controllers. Due to a huge surge in sales during December we ran out of circuit boards and can’t make any more at the moment.

This is exacerbated by the seasonal holidays as we’ll be away and therefore not shipping until our return on 8th Jan 2024.

If the Panel Controller PCBs arrive in time I’ll work around the clock to catch up with any back orders, else they’ll be shipping in the New Year.

Under development

Tail lamp

Chris (a Railnut) has been driving me crazy with a new product request. He wants a flashing tail lamp on all the trains and asked me to design one for him.

How hard can a flashing tail lamp be?

We’ll I’m on my 5th iteration of the product following component changes and scope creep. As the Milton Keynes track is often dirty we decided to build in a huge capacitor too. So now the flashing tail lamp board will take power from your DCC track (a tiny amount) and handle dirt thanks to the capacitor. We expect to have a few on the layout before I leave for my holidays.

There’s a possibility that Making Tracks will offer these along with the lamp and pickups for sale.

I think the biggest part of the brief was to make the installation as simple as possible.

Solenoid Driver

System2 will get a solenoid driver next. Like all System2 products it will operate from 12 Volts DC and include a capacitive discharge unit. I plan on completing this within Q1 of 2024.

That’s it from me. Have a great seasonal holiday and see you in the New Year if not at Blakemere.