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Old 12-08-2010, 07:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default New Dining Establishment open for business!

A new dining establishment just opened in the village of Watuppa...



... Most of you guys will recognize this as the old discontinued "Frank's Diner" kit by Pola.
(An eBay "catch" I made a few months ago).





...but with the addition of 10 "warm white" LED's.



Although the seller did an excellent job of packing it, a lot of details were knocked loose in shipping.
(Over the years, I've found this to be a common occurrence ...Structures in general do not tolerate
the "knocking around" of shipping well). It also didn't help that whoever originally built the kit did a
marginal job of assembling it. - Lots of insufficiently - glued joints. The figures & several
stools were knocked loose, several window frames were loose, even a couple of major wall joints were coming apart (I kept finding more problems as I worked on it! ). - But with some patience (& a LOT of plastic
cement & silicone rubber! ), I was able to restore it to it's former glory!



As I mentioned previously, a total of 10 LED's were used. 4 were strategically placed on the roof
to try to "spotlight" both sides of the sign relatively uniformly...



A single LED was placed under the canopy of each doorway, & 4 more were placed under the roof
to illuminate the interior. The 4 "sign spotlight" & interior LED's were wired in 2 series sets (4 each),
then the 2 sets of 4 were wired in parallel, requiring a nominal 12 volt supply for their power. The 2
"entrance" LED's were wired in parallel (needing 3 volts). I built a small voltage regulator circuit consist-
ing of a full-wave bridge rectifier, filter cap, LM7812 & LM7805 three-terminal voltage regulator chips, &
a couple of voltage dropping / current limiting resistors. (The regulator circuit can be seen on the floor
behind the left-hand counter; it's virtually invisible through the windows at normal viewing angles).
The use of the bridge rectifier permits me to use AC, DC, or DCC track power for a power source. (I'm
currently tapping power for ALL my lighted structures from the DCC power feed to the track, but plan to
change that in the near future; if I'm running some of my live-steamers with uninsulated drivers, I have to
shut down the DCC system so it won't be shorted out. ). I'm considering doing a solar or trickle-charged
battery supply, possibly with automatic photo-electric control, to isolate the lighting power from track power.



Hey, the crossing flashers nearby just started up - here comes Mallet #9 blowing for the crossing!



The crew's pretty hungry, but we have to clear the crossing first...



- As soon as the caboose clears the crossing, DINNER TIME!



You might wonder why I went to the trouble of turning a relatively-ordinary plastic kit into a

bit of a "showpiece"; "Frank's Diner" is a bit of a "tounge-in-cheek" memorial to a close
friend of mine, Frank Dubiel, who LOVED "greasy-spoon" style diners & had a great
sense of humor as well. Frank passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack 7 years ago.



Tom
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Old 12-08-2010, 08:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default RE: New Dining Establishment open for business!

Tom well done a greasy spoon cafe/diner for caferacers my world is complete your Railroad looks neat caferacer
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Old 12-09-2010, 04:24 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default RE: New Dining Establishment open for business!

I'll take two cheeseburgers and a coke, please!

It's a good looking diner, very well done restoration job!

Perhaps if you place it somewhat closer to the tracks you can design a drive in for the traincrews ;-)
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Old 12-09-2010, 04:34 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default RE: New Dining Establishment open for business!

Tom
That is a great job, looks as though you took photos of a real life sized eatery, good info on the lights. Thanks for sharing with us.
Dennis
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Old 12-09-2010, 06:13 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default RE: New Dining Establishment open for business!

Nice job of lighting it up. May have to do that to mine. Good tip. Later RJD
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Old 12-09-2010, 01:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default RE: New Dining Establishment open for business!

Great Find Tom and It looks GREAT all lit up, Almost like the SHAWMET in New Bedford.
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Old 12-09-2010, 01:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default RE: New Dining Establishment open for business!

Great job Tom, Like to hear how your Isolation of building lighting goes too. I like the idea of a solar powered trickle charge. Using LEDs won't task the system very much and should make it very plausible. I see you got one of the TD internationals on your Flat car too, Nice. (that was a funny thread, with the price going up and down as people started and stopped buying) Thanks for the post.
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Old 12-09-2010, 04:37 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default RE: New Dining Establishment open for business!

I like it allot, thanks for sharing!
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Old 12-09-2010, 08:07 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default RE: New Dining Establishment open for business!

Thanks for all the nice comments, guys! Glad you all like it. In reply to a few of the comments -

Paulus, the current location is as close to the track as I can get it. The "underbrush" between the rear of the diner & the right of way is the top of a box hedge. (The entire Watuppa Railway is is built elevated @ 2 feet off the ground - there would be no solid support underneath the diner. ). Come to think of it - next spring, when I start my annual battle with keeping the hedges in check (often unbelievable how fast they can grow if we get a lot of rain!), I'm probably going to have to temporarily remove the diner to safely trim the hedges without risking "re-kitting" the diner in the process by an inadvertent swing of the hedge trimmer. (For clarification - "re-kitting" is a common RC airplane experience when one runs out altitude, airspeed & ideas all at the same time! ). The entire "village" of Watuppa is built atop a formerly open area that I decked over after my Ruby 2-4-2 attempted to re-kit itself by doing a "swan dive" though it after running away downgrade at something like 150 scale MPH! (The Ruby survived, & has since been "tamed" by RC installation). The 2 nearby grade crossing flashers (they're the old Model Power ones, with the flaky, unrealistic original flasher bulbs removed & replaced with large, high-intensity red LED's & a home-made transistorized flasher circuit that flashes in a realistic manner ) are in a similar hazard situation & plug in to 1/4" phone jacks installed at the edge of the roadbed; I just unplug then when it's time to trim the hedges. The power supply connection to the diner is via a cut-down audio cable with a 1/8" mini phone plug on the end, plugging into a jack underneath the supporting decking; I've got all but one of my lighted structures set up similarly, it makes electrical disconnection easy if I have to work on the building (or quickly remove them in anticipation of severe weather). All of the structures are secured to the decking with screws (to prevent them from blowing around in high winds); I also use the "garage" method (written up in a "Garden Railways" article a few years back)of protecting my more delicate structures such as the diner, my Aristo "Victorian" station (which has received lots of additional detailing, including a working, lighted station clock), Pola coaling & water towers, the small green Pola farm house near the diner, & Aristo signal tower from sun fade, heavy rain, & birdie doo ; Frank's Diner gets covered by a trash bag weighted down by small rocks when the train's aren't running. All the lighting power leads are brought together to an old screw-type telephone terminal block mounted underneath the decking; it's a relatively easy task to lie on back underneath to make wiring changes, such as the planned isolation of the building lighting circuits.

The pictures were taken at dusk; this coming weekend, if I have a chance & the weather co-operates (it's down to 19 degrees F. here as I write this!), I'll try to take a few daytime photos. In answer to a few of realism compliments - there is a very similar art-deco style diner maybe a 1/2 mile from where I live; I'll try to get some shots of that too! (Oh, & by the way - the camera used for all these photos was an Apple iPhone 4! ).

Tom
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