January 2014 Status

January was a month spent on the mysteries of model train motors and the DC power supplies that drive them. There’s really not a whole lot to say beyond that. Work on the layout remains stalled, but at least I’m keeping myself interested in some aspect of the hobby. And hopefully this will blow out the mental cobwebs and let me get back to work with renewed excitement in a bit.

And motors are quite interesting things to study when you get right down to it. I’d spent some time on them a year ago when I was reviewing DCC decoders in preparation for converting the bulk of my trains over to DCC (another project on hold). But I realized partway through that effort that I knew less than I though I did, so I took some time off to work on other things before returning to the topic, which I did at the end of December.

This time, I decided to start with DC, rather than DCC, and clarify my understanding of how the motors worked in a traditional model railroad. Once I think I have that well grasped, I’ll return to looking at DCC decoders and what they do with motors.

At the very end of December I also added the new Tomix model of the E7 Shinkansen to my preorder list; the first train I’ll have bought in over six months, and only my second Tomix model (aside from a freight engine and some cars). This train is designed for slower “high speed” operation in a mountainous region, and thus has less of the “duck bill” look then other new Shinkansen (although it still has some of that), which also makes it appealing to me. I’ve never been a fan of that look, although it at least has the benefit of being done for a functional reason (reducing shockwave noise when exiting tunnels), rather than being stylistic.