Tuesday, February 9, 2021

An Orange Simplex

I've not had much time for modelling lately so the work on completing the 16mm scale Simplex locomotive seems to have taken forever, but as you can see I finally got there.

Now I know most Simplex locos are painted a shade of green, but my four year old son was insistent that it had to be orange. I wasn't convinced by the idea at first but I'm actually really happy with how it looks and it certainly won't ever get lost in the garden! Strangely there is a prototype for painting Simplex locomotives this colour (in fact this exact shade of orange) as Alan Keef Ltd. paint their locos, inlcuding their hire locos, orange and over the years that has included a few Simplex locomotives.

So given the lack of dirt (I've not yet had the heart to weather the model) my back story is that it's just been over hauled and repainted by Alan Keef Ltd. and is now ready for it's first hire contract.

And to finish with here is a short video to show that it does actually work. Sorry about the shaky camera work, but I was controlling the locomotive via an app on my phone while also holding the camera and trying to ensure it didn't run off the end of the track!

15 comments:

  1. Looks well worth the effort. Couldn't you use your phone for both filming and loco control?

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    1. Possibly. The control software is actually just a web page so I'd need to switch between the browser and the camera and with such a short test track I didn't want it to run off the end!

      You'd probably quite like the control hardware in this as it's a tiny little board that sets up it's own WiFi network which you connect to. The one web page it then serves up has the controls on it, and pressing the buttons has the board drive the motor. It's really simple and well thought out, although there are a few more settings I'd add if I was designing it.

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    2. I used an old Smartphone to get around this problem - I suspect you can get away with a very low spec device. It's worth digging in the drawers for one!

      And orange is an excellent choice. A bit of weathering and it will look superb.

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    3. Yes, I was tempted to borrow my wife's phone to make life a little easier rather than trying to hold the big camera steady. Amazingly, given the amount of technology junk I own, I don't have an old smartphone gathering dust as I'm still using the first one I ever owned.... I was a very late adopter having only got a smartphone just over 4 years ago and bizarrely it's still working well enough (it's a Samsung Galaxy S7) that I've not had to upgrade it yet.

      I'm still in too minds about the weathering; add some or wait until it just gets a little dirty from being played with in the garden. I might add some subtle hints (muck in the door entrance etc.) and leave the rest to nature. I'll have to make a decision at some point before I finish writing up the build for a magazine editor I know ;)

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    4. It sounds more up John's street. He is always building gadgets with old stepper motors. I'll look for the link to Loco Remote.
      All my 3D stuff have the controls built in to the machine.

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    5. Not quite sure why I didn't stick the link to Loco Remote in my reply but.... http://locoremote.co.uk/

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    6. Chris occasionally alerts people when Amazon have a deal on with their Fire tablets - currently available for £34, which might be worth considering. I got one so that I can give it to children to drive without worry.

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    7. Actually, thinking about it I have an old Tesco hudl tablet somewhere. Toby was using it to play simple puzzle games, but there is no reason why it can't also be used for driving the locos and free up my phone for filming. Not sure why that didn't cross me mind before, especially after Phil's helpful comment about old phones yesterday. Now where did I stash it last...

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  2. Is that using a Loco Remote? If so it might be worth talking to Chris about adding extra settings, he seems quite open to ideas.

    One thing with orange is I find it can look different under different lighting, so it would be interesting to see what it looks like out in the garden.

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    1. Yes it's a Loco Remote. I did ask Chris about some extra settings but I got the impression that what I wanted was more complexity than he was willing to add. Essentially I wanted to be able to limit the top speed somehow. The speed in the video is 5% so even the first gear option sends it screaming off at ridiculous speed. I wondered about being able to set the percentage for the two gear buttons, or even maybe add a max percentage option (i.e if set to 50% then you'd get 5% of the 50% with each step rather than of the full 100%). I know I could add a resistor to calm things down but it's the kind of simple software teak that my brain is happier with.

      As for the orange yes it's a pain to photograph. I'll try and get it outside at some point for a daylight photo. That one was taken on my desk under a daylight bulb and then auto white balance on the PC so the details didn't get lost on the black sections. In the photo it's a little bright, but the colours in the video are a pretty good match.

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    2. I've got a couple hanging around to go into a 7/8ths LAT from PDF Models, and to retrofit to an old Brandbright Peldon. TBH with most of my battery locos I'm happy just to have direction control as long as the maximum speed is realistic in the first place.

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    3. Yes, I think the issue here is that if I was just fitting batteries and a direction switch then I'd be running from a maximum of 3v -- the kit came with two holders for AAA 1.5v batteries although the motor will turn over on just one battery. Unfortunately you need a little more than that to power the Loco Remote so I'm using one of the recommended 3.7v LIPO batteries. When fully charged this is reporting 4.2v and as far as I can tell it essentially routes the full voltage to the motor just using PWM to change the speed.

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  3. If no weathering, what about some sign writing on it then...
    “On hire from Alan Keef” with the old telephone number....

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    1. I was tempted by that, but with my penmanship it would have to be a transfer, and I've not tried designing them before... although as coincidence would have it that is exactly the subject of Phil's blog today. Annoyingly I can't use his recommended paper though as I don't have an inkjet printer so would have to find something I could safely stick through the laser printer. Might be worth giving it a try though.

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  4. As I have absolutely no technical information I can impart I shall simply say that it's good to see the final product.

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