Sunday, 1 December 2013

Time Management and Control Panels...


Before I became self employed and worked in the "real" world...I was often told that my time management skills were pretty good.  Wind the clock forward a few years and I am not so sure about those earlier third party observations.
While not the major reason...the inability to get hobby projects through a gestation period and through to completion within a self imposed time frame, certainly was a contributing factor in my brain explosion and decision to mothball the layout earlier this year.

As with most issues in life we tend to examine only the obvious external reasons that have invoked or caused a problem and tend to avoid any evidence that our approach, attitude or methodology has played any part in the original problem. 

So with this in mind and my hobby and layout juices beginning to flow again I have spent quite a bit of time working out how to make improvements to my "headspace" and how I approach the hobby and the layout.  All of this sounds a bit over the top...but the hobby has bought me so much joy and is such an important part of my life that I figured it deserved time spent conducting an "audit and improvement" examination.

Certainly at the outset we all know that there is a finite time available to devote to a hobby and that time has to be flexible to cope with a range of external factors such as family, work, other leisure and general life.  Following on from this personal "audit" I have narrowed down the two major issues that have given rise to my hobby frustrations.  The first is unreasonable self imposed time expectations of completion of projects and secondly being personally organised and having an organised workspace for when the hard won couple of free hours arrives ( planned or unplanned ).  The first issue raised will be an ongoing rearrangement of attitude to which I have already started.  The being organised part of the equation is something that needs the bulk of the attention. What tends to happen now is that a couple of hours become spare and I then spend those couple of hours assembling the parts, tools and other "stuff" to achieve the task and of course when I am ready to go....The time available has expired.  With this constant cycle of disorganisation...when the time(s) become available to "hobby" the motivation evaporates...

The way around this for me is to setup an area within the house and an area within the layout room to allow flexibility of workspaces and over the years I have amassed enough tools to enable two individual areas and setups to be achievable.

So armed with all of this new found inspiration and organisational changes I set about commencement of building the second control panel for the main station area of the layout being "Fish River".  In an earlier post I wrote about the "UP" Box and now I can report on progress of the "Down" Box.  The new "Down" panel will be an exact replica of the existing "Up" panel in both design and construction. Once this box is complete and installed it will allow completion of general trackwork, pointwork and point control to be completed at this end of the yard.  It is then only a matter of a few lengths of track on the opposing wall and a complete loop of the trainroom will have been achieved.  I see completion of these works as very real and achievable over the Christmas period and in line with my new found "hobby logic"....I am working toward this project only and am not entertaining any other projects to cloud the issue until it is completed.

The reasoning for two panels to manage the rather humble "Fish River" environ was taken so that each panel is roughly located at the nest of points that they control.  It will also make things a lot more manageable and comfortable if a time eventuates where multiple operators are in attendance.  I have decided to stick to the exclusive use of Cobalt point motors and Cobalt decoders located within the panel so that point/route control can be undertaken via the panel or the NCE handset.  There has been a lot written ( good and bad ) about the Cobalt point motors but from my perspective I have had no issues with them and am now familiar with the find no plausible reason to change.

In the accompanying photos I have also shown the now long completed "Up" box so that together with the under construction "Down" box... an idea of the overall track plan can be seen.  There will need to be some modification to individual track legends on the original "Up" box panel to incorporate the changes to the overall track plan that have happened since it was installed.  Basically I have decided on single track main which will see the "Up Main" renamed "Loop"...The "Down Main" renamed as "Main"  and the Dock Siding renamed "Carriage Siding"

It is still my intention to remove the two double slips from the up end of the yard and this will be undertaken and the Up Box panel will be modified to suit at that time...

Anyway if some still find it confusing...I will add an "as built" track plan in one of the next postings.

Original Completed Up Box...

The Down Box panel being created on the laser...
holes for switches and LEDs will be laser cut in the same operation once the track plan has finished engraving 

The new panel being populated 

Although this is the innards of the Up Box...the Down Box has been constructed and will be outfitted in the same manner...

1 comment:

  1. Rod

    Nice control panels and I love the photo of the inside wiring, very neat, I wish I could do mine like that but I dislike wiring.

    Ray P