Since my last progress post, I've made good progress.....
I got the board and panel fitted by the end of Wednesday with very few problems. I then spent the best part of Thursday setting up a shortened layout...in my lounge!!, cos its the only room long enough....and cleaning track, etc, essentially setting up for testing, which I started Friday morning.
The system didn't complain when powered up...and initial tests showed up a few funnies. Firstly, with power connected to just section one, a train ran round the complete loop!! Connect power to section 2 & three, and the train runs on all sections except section 4, and with power on section 4, just that section! I checked all the power wiring & the only thing I found was I had forgotten to connect one power connection...which made no difference when correctly plugged in!! I eventually traced the issue to products of track cleaning shorting all three of the cuts I had made to create the sections. I removed the crap with a piece of paper & things worked a bit better. I need to permanently resolve this one.
The second issue was that some of the sensors were not always being triggered by all of the trains I had running. I also found and cured a wiring issue with the signals on one of the board sections.
The final issue I found was that I'd placed three of the four stop sensors too close to the ends of the rail sections...a boo boo on my part, I'd cut the rails at the wrong marks in error and didn't notice until I'd located the sensors. Trains were over-running the end of the section....and powering on ahead of where they should be. This resulted in all three trains either ending up stopped at stations permanently, or one train catching up with the train in front!!
I had a day off on Saturday, but today I corrected the sensor positioning errors.....and ta-dah! I had three trains running round the layout, pausing and/or stopping at stations to wait for the train ahead to clear the next track section. Brilliant!!!!!
I sat watching poetry in motion for the best part of an hour to prove things worked okay.
The next step is to tidy up the installation....I have wires underneath the layout sections to fix into their final position and protect from damage. I also need to insulate the sawn gaps in the track to prevent any possibility of shorts developing when I clean the track. And I can then carry on with getting the layout sorted for its first show...which is just under three weeks away!