It’s been ten months since our last Newsletter. Terribly sorry for that; it’s proving somewhat difficult to maintain my day job whilst also manufacturing and delivering Nelevators.
However, we have delivered nearly 100 units now, mostly N Gauge, but with the first batch of OO units finally being shipped as well.
All of the revised OO tooling has now been completed, with the new stacker ends arriving two weeks ago, so we are starting to get through the back-log of outstanding orders slowly but surely.
It’s been an incredibly frustrating year for us with the manufacturing of Nelevators.
We employed an apprentice engineer who helped us ramp-up manufacturing and deliveries, only to decide that Nelevation wasn’t for him and to take a different career path.
Good luck Josh, we hope it’s going well for you.
We then employed another young man, and for different reasons that didn’t work out, so here I am by myself assembling Nelevators for now with the part time help from my son Jack, who many of you will have met at the various shows we’ve attended.
Unfortunately for me, Jack creamed his A-levels and is off to University in September. Well done Jack! He will be studying 3D model design and effects, so we hope to see some fantastic model railways coming in the near future.
We are totally committed to Nelevation and are encouraged by all of the positive feedback we have received.
Moving forward we want to be completely focused on delivering current orders and supporting our customers. For that reason we have decided to take no further orders until we are up to date. We will continue to register interest and will re-open orders once all outstanding deliveries are completed.
To that end we have also decided to stop all sales advertising and won’t be attending any shows this coming season. This will allow us to put all revenue and resources into building and delivering Nelevators.
We have made great steps forward in the Nelevator workshop to improve production and transportation.
We now build units in wooden frames with castors on, which allow us to easily move units around the workshop and wheel them straight into the van for delivery. This has made a huge difference, especially with the OO units which are so heavy due to the increased counter balance weights.
DCC / Traffic Lights
Richard has done a great job in developing the new DCC module and Traffic Light control system, both of which are now fully developed and ready for production.
We have one system on our demo layout, and I have also been giving the Traffic Lights a thorough testing on my home layout.
We recently gave a DCC module to a customer who works with a fully automated, timetabled layout. He has kindly given the module a very positive review:
First things first – I’m very impressed with the DCC unit. Really, really good!
- Nice and clear, easy to follow and accurate. I was up and running DCC in less than 10 mins – so the plug and play nature of the whole setup is a real strength.
- The only comment I could think of to share (and it’s very minor): Instructions refer a number of times to the ‘NellyCOM’ port, however on this Nelevetor itself this is actually labelled ‘COMs’ (or perhaps that is just my unit?). I knew what you were referring to so was no issue for me, but I thought I’d mention in case it created confusion for anyone else.
- Worked first time. No issues whatsoever.
- Jumper change for polarity response – great (just what I needed).
- Address learning configuration – perfect, and a great addition (and miles easier than manual programming).
- So far it has performed flawlessly. No issues with reliability, no lost messages.
- I have interacted with it ‘directly’ (as in via Digitrax DT402 controller with DCS100 command station), but I’m mainly using it in a full automation setup.
- Windows 10 PC running TrainController Gold -> RR CirKits LocoBuffer-USB connection -> RR CirKits SSB Gateway (allows me to link in a Simple Serial Bus (SSB) for block detection using RR CirKits WatchMan’s) -> then LocoNet connection to my DCS100.
- I have been running the Nelevator without issue from the control panel on my PC. The image right shows how I have modelled the Nelevator in the software – essentially as a ladder of turnouts, with each turnout assigned an address corresponding the the appropriate Nelevator location.
- By playing with some logic rules (see example) I even managed to setup the software so that on train approach, if the current Nelly position is occupied, it will direct the incoming train to the next nearest empty slot. And it will give bias towards the central position (when open slots are the same distance above and below) – in order to place most trains towards the middle. The whole objective here being to optimise the stacking and minimise transition times…
- I use block detection (WatchMan) to monitor when a train is entering the Nelly, and the software is calibrated with train lengths and track lengths to calculate stopping distances as accurately as possible. I’m VERY interested in the Traffic Lights development you have underway though (October 2017 Newsletter) as that will eliminate ALL the risk of my software-based stopping points! Please do keep me in mind if you need another guinea pig for that one 🙂
So the whole experience has been overwhelmingly positive – and I certainly think this is a product you can stand behind with confidence. This is a great product, Richard – well done!
Thanks again Andrew for giving the module a thorough test. We have taken on board your comments about the addition of track position feedback for future reference.
We will be offering three packages for the DCC and Traffic Light systems.
Package 1 – DCC module only:
- DCC module: This can be mounted out of sight (within two metres of the Nelevator). This board will allow full DCC control of the Nelevator, but it cannot be upgraded to add the Traffic Light system to it at a later date (see package 2 below).
Package 2 – DCC & Track Relay Power Control:
(upgradeable to add Traffic Lights later)
- Combined DCC / Traffic Light control motherboard: This can be mounted out of sight (within two metres of the Nelevator). The motherboard comes populated with the Traffic Light interface ready to upgrade if required, but also contains eight relay contact pairs that are controlled by the Nelevator to interrupt track power and prevent potential collisions.
Package 3 – DCC + Traffic Lights:
- Combined DCC / Traffic Light control motherboard.
- 2 x Traffic Light boards: Housed in custom black plastic mouldings that clip into the Nelevator portals.
- 2 x Interconnect Cables: To connect the Traffic Light boards to the Traffic Light control motherboard.
NOTE: You don’t have to use the DCC function to take advantage of the Traffic Light functions.
Before committing to manufacture these new products, we would like to gauge demand from you. If you are interested in any of these products, please could you email us to register an interest.
Approximate costs of the systems will be:
- Package 1: DCC module – £60
- Package 2: DCC & track power control (upgradeable) – £150
- Package 3: DCC and Traffic Lights – £250
Due to the large amount of track that we buy from Peco for the Nelevators, we are now an official re-seller of Peco products.
We always carry stock of Code 55 N Gauge wooden sleeper and Code 75 OO Gauge wooden sleeper flexible track, but can get any Peco products you may require.
Please drop us an email if you need any Peco products.
Well, that’s all our news for now. Thank you once again for all of your continuing support.