Dongits Model Railway

Dongits Model Railway is 3 today!

Let's take a tour of the layout as it stands today, review what's happened to get to this stage, and where future content can be found.

0:00 -- Tour of the Layout
1:10 -- History
2:28 -- Block Detection, ABC and Electronics
3:30 -- Internet Presence

RMWeb (Layout Thread):
RMWeb (Workbench Blog):
Railway Modellers Club:

In this video I fix some things I dislike about the train detector board, and order a new set using surface mount component assembly from my channel sponsor, PCBWay. []

00:00 -- Layout Current State
01:11 -- Why update the DTC8?
03:20 -- Surface Mount Components & Assembly
07:02 -- Unboxing
08:37 -- Current Transformers
14:08 -- Testing
15:18 -- Economics

In this video I diagnose and repair a Bachmann Class 44 Peak which had wheels turning in opposite directions when it arrived.

00:00 - Initial Look at the loco and test on DC
00:28 - Disassembly & Diagnosis
02:33 - Replacing the bogie gear tower
08:09 - Testing the new bogie
08:53 - DCC Fitting & Testing
10:10 - Fitting missing Cab Interiors
11:57 - Test Running

To have custom PCBs made to your own design, check out my channel sponsor, PCBWay: []

In this video I diagnose a Hornby Class 50 which is causing a dead short across the rails once DCC fitted.
I work out what the factory PCB is doing, simplify and modify it to work properly in DCC, followed by a thorough test run.

00:00 - Initial Look at the loco and test on DC
01:18 - DCC fitting
02:43 - Fault diagnosis
04:14 - Understanding the stock PCB
06:40 - Planning modifications
08:21 - Testing the modified PCB
10:40 - Bug fixing and Final Design
12:19 - Test Running

A New Year update from Dongits Model Railway, showing the progress of construction over the Christmas period. The four track mainline is laid from the south side of the room across to the north side via the lift out bridge.

Table of Contents:
00:00 - Intro and Review of current situation
00:27 - Detail design, marking out
03:29 - Laying the rest of the hidden track
05:39 - Laying track on both sides of the bridge
07:30 - Soldering rail to PCB sleepers
10:16 - "Gluing" plastic chairs to wooden baulks with MEK
13:50 - Cutting the lift-out bridge back out
15:56 - Completed bridge

Testing the ABC braking features of a Hornby Sapphire DCC decoder I received with a second hand locomotive purchase to see if it's ABC implementation will allow it to be used on my layout.

Table of Contents:
00:00 - Introduction
00:38 - Hornby Sapphire R8245 DCC Decoder
01:28 - ABC Settings
01:46 - Testing
02:27 - Conclusion

To have custom PCBs made to your own design like the ones I use to control Asymmetric Braking under DCC, see my channel sponsor, PCBWay: []

In this video I wire an Electrofrog diamond as part of a Double Junction for DCC with support for block detection and asymmetric braking.

This junction is at the back of the layout hidden in a tunnel, and forms one of the two ways that trains can get between the storage yard and the scenic part of the layout.

Table of Contents:
00:00 -- The Junction and Motors
01:01 -- Preparing the Points
02:55 -- Requirements
07:50 -- Diagram & Bench Wiring
09:56 -- Point Motor Installation
12:09 -- Wiring the Electrofrog Diamond
14:01 -- Block wire back to Electronics
14:57 -- Testing the points
15:50 -- Testing the block detection

Testing the ABC braking features of an ESU LokPilot 5 DCC decoder to see if their ABC implementation is up to required standard.

Can I use this decoder on my fully-wired-for-ABC layout? Let's find out!

Table of Contents:
00:00 - Introduction
01:11 - ESU LokPilot 5 Basic 59029
02:00 - Motor settings
02:35 - Constant Distance by braking later
03:30 - Constant Distance by braking slower
04:20 - (Not) Handling overrun due to Mechanical Momentum
07:10 - Comparison to a Zimo decoder
08:06 - Conclusion

Improving the Electronics Mounting clusters at Dongits Model Railway.

To have custom PCBs made to your own design, see my channel sponsor, PCBWay: []

I have built myself into a corner with how some of the Electronics are mounted. It's time to sort that out before making more progress building the rest of the layout.

Table of Contents:
00:00 - Current state
00:40 - Creating an Electronics Cluster
03:16 - Custom PCBs from PCBWay
04:05 - A bad location
04:41 - A good location
05:17 - Looks bad, actually fine
05:51 - Looks fine, actually not
06:51 - How to fix the one I built earlier
08:19 - Making new supports
11:14 - Fixing the new Cluster
13:01 - Fixing the re-used Cluster
13:16 - First attempt at fixing the bad Cluster
14:23 - Second attempt at fixing the bad Cluster
16:08 - Reinstalling the upper running surface

Diagnosing a problem with Lit Pullman Coaches causing a train to fail to stop in an ABC braking section.

Do you want to make your own PCBs? Design a PCB yourself, and have it produced for you by PCBWay: []
Also check out the PCBWay Community site at []

Two of these lit pullman coaches in the same train was interfering with the ability of a locomotive to stop in the ABC sections at the club layout. In this video I check out the DCC waveform with an oscilloscope as I see if I can reproduce the issue at home.

Table of Contents:
00:00 - The Problem
00:28 - DCC Waveform -- Data and ABC
00:47 - PCBWay
01:32 - DCC Waveform -- Noise
02:20 - Testing the coaches
04:33 - Disassembly to review lighting circuit
05:46 - Options for how to proceed

DCC Concepts Zen Black decoders are being recommended by other Model Railway YouTubers for their comprehensive ABC implementation.

Does it live up to the hype? Can I use this decoder on my fully-wired-for-ABC layout? Let's find out!

Table of Contents:
00:00 - Zen Black ZN218.6
00:57 - Decoder not recognised by JMRI
02:02 - The Manual (What's there, and what's conspicuously not)
02:40 - Sanity Checking on the DCC Concepts Forum
03:05 - Different Constant Distance ABC Braking implementations
04:48 - Testing the decoder's braking distance
07:11 - Understanding what has been implemented
08:20 - Testing the decoder's response with no.2 end leading
10:13 - Conclusions about the decoder
10:43 - Conclusions about the company

Did you buy non-lit Bachmann Mk2Fs, and now find you'd have rather bought the lit versions? Never fear, you can upgrade them to full DCC lit specification today, with all OEM parts direct from Bachmann spares so they look and work identically to factory lit examples!

Mk2F coach electronics are available here:

Table of Contents:
00:00 - Bachmann Mk2F TSO
00:53 - Lighting parts from Bachmann Spares
01:27 - Body removal
02:40 - Fitting the Pickup PCB
04:47 - Fitting the Lighting PCB
05:10 - Hiding the wiring and reassembling the coach
05:50 - Testing the installation
06:34 - One last thing to fix

De-soldering, removing and replacing components on a PCB to repair an early-batch MERG DTC8a DCC train detector with the low sensitivity fault.

Do you want to make your own PCBs? Design a PCB yourself, and have it produced for you by PCBWay: []

The first run of the MERG DTC8a kit had a fault in the board markings resulted in low sensitivity when built as described. The fix is to turn the transistors around, but doing so if you've already built the kit is quite a challenge.

Table of Contents:
00:00 - The Problem
00:29 - Desoldering using a Solder Sucker
01:18 - Removing Components for Re-use
02:09 - Problems with Component Removal
02:36 - Sacrificing the old components to preserve the board
03:17 - Installing new components
03:56 - DTC8 History Lesson
05:57 - PCBWay Rapid Prototyping
06:57 - Possible Explanation?
07:29 - Fixing another mistake
08:07 - Testing sensitivity

Building baseboard frames to close the gap in the upper levels at Dongits Model Railway.

I'm making some complex shapes to support the upper levels, using a technique christened by the internet as "Cardboard Aided Design". Using cardboard templates allows both a rapid iteration on the design and a level of testing before cutting into potentially expensive materials.

Table of Contents:
00:00 - The Gap
00:31 - Outer Framing
01:30 - Cardboard Template
02:56 - Cardboard to Ply
05:11 - Installing the first ply side
09:39 - Installing the second ply side
10:18 - More templates
11:28 - Testing clearance
11:55 - Cutting out the remaining supports
13:57 - Installing the remaining supports

Building my way out of 'dependency hell' at Dongits Model Railway.

Sometimes the obvious sequence to build things doesn't work, and I end up working in a completely unrelated part of the room, trying to unblock something apparently unrelated.

Table of Contents:
0:00 - Dependency Hell
0:40 - Terminus board frame
1:19 - Terminus board top
2:05 - The Filing Cabinet problem
2:53 - Moving inconvenient wiring
3:32 - Measuring the height difference and correcting the plan
4:14 - Building the first incline supports
4:34 - 1:1 Plan and foam roadbed
5:20 - Next steps

Rapid prototyping an updated version of the custom PCB for ABC braking modules with PCBWay: []

Table of Contents:
0:00 - Intro
0:21 - Rapid Prototyping
1:26 - Ordering PCBs
2:09 - Unboxing
3:10 - Veroboard
3:40 - Hand Etched PCB
4:14 - What is ABC and how does it work?
6:05 - Using ABC on mainlines: how to switch it on and off
6:51 - Using ABC effectively: avoiding common problems
7:47 - ABC board design
8:15 - Problems with the first run
9:01 - Updated design
9:52 - Outro

A construction update on my model railway for June 2022, featuring new baseboard sections with gradients and vertical curves, and finishing the slide-out workbench.

Table of Contents:
0:00 - Frame built at gradient
0:36 - Cutting the ply surface
1:27 - Installing the ply surface
2:23 - Track underlay
3:58 - Extending a Leg
5:35 - Surface above the workbench
5:58 - Workbench
6:28 - Controller mount
7:13 - Audio improved?

Despite the inherent inaccuracy in OO Gauge, it can indeed be made as a scale representation of real track. Put down the foreign HO, and use some real 4mm/ft scale track on your next project.

In this video I have a look at a few different track types, and build some Exactoscale FastTrack Concrete Sleeper Flat-Bottom Code 83, the track I will be using for my mainline scenes.

0:00 Peco Streamline - the "default" track
0:38 Bullhead track - scale track for the Steam era
1:21 Flat Bottom track - scale mainline track for the 1960s onwards
2:10 Assembling Exactoscale FastTrack
3:10 Scale points: The harder part of the problem
3:58 An eBay score: Salvaged Bullhead Points
5:19 Missing product: Flat bottom track on wooden sleepers
6:02 Sneak Peek: Baulk Road for the Bridge

How did I get here, and what's the plan?

0:00 Intro
0:18 Confessions of a Serial Planner
1:05 First Attempt: A Planning Fail
1:13 A diversion: The Club Layout
2:00 Home Layout: Rapid Initial Plan
3:29 Plan Evolution - Getting the Bridge, Double Junction and Yard right
5:25 Terminus Station
6:19 Slide Out Workbench

A construction update on my model railway as of Easter 2022, showing the new baseboard sections and lift out bridge.

Table of Contents:
0:00 - Intro and Review of the layout and room as it stands
1:16 - New baseboard and bridge
2:12 - Plan for the track
3:00 - Power and Electronics
3:19 - Workbench plans
4:07 - Lift out bridge
4:30 - Trackbed
4:49 - Choice of track
5:35 - Outro

Recently I was invited to guest operate at Onehouse Model Railway. I brought some trains with me to give their legs a bit of a stretch. This particular train ran for a most of the day both pushing and pulling, and I'm very happy with how well it performed.

You can see the full stream here:

Configuring a Zimo MX600R for predictable speed response and Constant Distance ABC braking in a Hornby 'Super Detail' Stanier 8F.

Table of Contents:
0:00 - Intro
0:37 - Body Removal
3:10 - Replacing the DCC chip
4:35 - Reassembly
6:21 - Tuning Full Speed
7:22 - Tuning Half Speed

Configuring a Zimo MX638D for predictable speed response and Constant Distance ABC braking in a Heljan Class 86/0.

Table of Contents:
0:00 - Intro
0:35 - Bodyshell Removal
1:43 - Fitting a DCC chip
3:22 - Reassembly
4:18 - Tuning Braking Distance
6:33 - Tuning Full Speed
7:43 - Tuning Half Speed

My Bachmann Class 25 would not run smoothly, and would not climb hills at all. In this video I dismantle it, diagnose the fault, repair the loco, and test my repair.

Configuring a Zimo MX600R for predictable speed response and Constant Distance ABC braking, in a ViTrains Class 37.


Created 2 years, 7 months ago.

35 videos

Category Science & Technology

A model railway under construction in my study.