Sunday, 12 April 2015

It's a Breeze; fbb's LEDs Please

Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould (28 January 1834 to 2 January 1924) was an English Anglican priest, hagiographer##, antiquarian, novelist and eclectic scholar. His bibliography consists of more than 1240 publications. His family home, Lew Trenchard Manor near Okehampton, Devon, has been preserved as he had it rebuilt and is now a hotel.
He is particularly famous for one hymn, an extract of which is included here with apologies if fbb hasn't quite remembered the words correctly.

Onward, Christian solderers; irons, hot, are sore, 
Dropping red hot solder so you burn the floor.
But you'll have to solder, wiring LEDs
If your layout viewers you would wish to please.

When fbb was  about 10 he found an old tool box in his aunty's shed. It contained massive screwdrivers, a broken hammer, a rusty saw, a wooden block shaped plane, a brace with several bits and a mysterious tool for self-mutilation as illustrated below.
Dad informed him that it was a "soldering iron". Dad's old Hobbies book explained all about soldering. It involved a blow lamp ...
... solder, flux, doing something called "tinning" and dire warnings about the danger of every part of the process. Such was his parents' vehement banning of any attempt at "soldering", that fbb remained in fear of his life until well after his model railway was mothballed during University years. He has never soldered - until now!

This is a 3mm LED.
It runs on 2 volts direct current (2vDC) of electric. But a model railway uses 12vDC. So you need to connect a resistor in the circuit (to turn down the volume, as it were) otherwise something unspeakably terminal would happen to the LED. The convention is to connect the resistor to the + wire which, again by convention, is the long stalk.

Bruce, a model railway club member, told fbb that soldering was easy.

Hmmm.

Alan, a chum from church, had lent him his spare electric soldering iron ...
... and a few turns of solder on a reel.
A full reel would last fbb about 50 years!

So, using one hand to hold the soldering iron, one hand to hold the solder, a third hand to hold the LED and a fourth to hold the resistor, work could commence. But the first snag is immediately apparent. Whilst fbb does have more than he average number of hands**, he doesn't have four.

Plan B involved perilously propping the iron on the railway baseboard, melting a blob of solder onto the iron then bringi onng the two bits of wire together. Capillary action coats both bits with hot solder and, once removed from the hot bit, all sticks together beautifully.

Here's one fbb did earlier (LED top, resistor bottom).
Practice makes perfect and pretty soldering comes with experience. Using quality wire rather than recycled stuff from busted Christmas lights might have helped, but fbb is a meanie.

And there is another snag. This is the first stage of an fbb model pub.
It is made of light grey plastic. If you put lights inside it, not only do they shine through the windows, but through the walls as well. Translucent walls are not common in the real world. So the inside has to be painted black (tricky after you have started gluing it together) or lined with an opaque material, in this case some bits of cardboard from a cereal box.

But having done that, all that remains is to thread wires through suitable holes, glue the LEDs to "ceilings" ...
... and there you are.

Here is the pub assembled with lights.
The roof is not yet finished as it had to be glued on after all was working. You can glimpse part of the festoon of electrical knitting on the left. And here is the same building but in the dark ...
... described (in cruel irony) by No 1 son as a "pub on fire"!! The lights are nowhere near as bright as that in reality, but blame the phone camera which adjusts its own exposure.

A pleasing first effort but better soldering would improve the neatless of the wiring. Fortunately, the twisted mess will be well hidden underneath the baseboard.

And St Hardulph's Church Peterville has also gained lights and a stained glass window.

## No neither did fbb. A hagiographer writes biographies of the Saints.

** Most people have two hands; some (sadly) have only one; some have none. That means that the average number of hands is less than two - very slightly less. Hence fbb (and most human beings) have more than the average. Think about it!
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Nanki Poo Says it All
(from the Mikado by Gilbert & Sullivan)

The colours that bloom in the spring, 
Tra la,
Breathe promise whene'er the sun shines;
 As we wait at the stop and we sing, 
Tra la,
 We welcome the bus that they bring, 
Tra la,
If we could work out the times
If we could work out the times
 And that's what we mean when we say frustrating, 
When cursing the colours that Stagecoach may bring. 
Tra la la la la,
Tra la la la la,
The colours that Stagecoach may bring.

Stagecoach Northampton has a (bad) habit of using different colours of text to highlight timetable "exceptions". Their new timetable for the cross town route 16 and 17 starts today. The route is changed on the north of the town, reverting to the pattern of the old** First Bus service 4.
But the timetable is(n't) a joy to behold, full of the colours of spring, tra la. (click on the timetable extract to enlarge)
Blue text is for buses than run Monday to Saturday
Pink is Monday to Friday only
Orange is Saturday only
Green - runs 1 or 2 minutes later Monday to Friday
Black - runs 2 minutes later on Saturdays
                 (i.e. 0852 from North Gate)

Dead easy for those with impaired vision! Now if the Stagecoach leaflet had a set of times for Monday to Friday and a separate bank for Saturday, NONE misleading onslaught of hues of this would be necessary.

Sometimes you can be too "clever"!

** Even further back in the mists of antiquity, Northampton Corporation Transport ran services 3 and 16 via Kingsthorpe to the Easter Avenue area.
Chalcombe Avenue (the first wiggle on the map above) was served by 24 and 25 an extension of the very old 5 to Five Bells, i.e. Kingsthorpe.  The bigger loop via new building on Obelisk Rise materialised in the 60s.

Thanks to our Northampton correspondent for information and idea!
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 Next bus blog : Monday 13th April 

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