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Old July 3rd, 2012, 07:47 PM
ssmegner ssmegner is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Coppell, TX
Posts: 24
Default Big Bend control panel - old version

OK, I will apologise in advance. I cannot get a decent scan of this old page that the upload limits here will accept.

This is the piece of paper that we gave out to ride operators when we taught them how to operate the Big Bend. This was the older control panel. The main difference between the old and the new boards was the back panel. The switches and lights were updated on the lower panel as well.

On the old board the track was represented as shown and each segment was a single lit white section. Big Bend was originally designed to support single cars but the throughput was hard to maintain and timing on the dock was much more critical to avoid a shutdown. The original system allowed for 9 segments on the track not including the dock operations. After the train left the loading position it rolled on a curve past the drivers box before it even appeared on the board. Right as the train got in front of the operators board it would light up on the first segment of lift 1. Three segments would light up in order as it climbed the lift and as the car fell off the lift the 3 segments would go dark and the entire segment labeled in the attachment as "Valley off lift #1" would light up. Then it was on to brake 1, the the circle, the break 2, then the "Section next to the puppet show", lift #2, valley off lift 2, brake 3, then the train would vanish off the board as it entered the automatic brakes.

When the new board was installed the board had a series of small lights running the the track. At the top of each hill (or brake) there were 3 orange lights leading up and 3 orange lights just after the hill. The rest of the track had blue lights. The ride control logic was designed such that each orange light (sensor) must be hit, and in order or that section and behind would shut down. The blue lights (sensors) could be skipped as long as none lit in reverse order. That was done to sense rollback but skipping a blue light was not considered an issue. This setup was one of the main reasons the Big Bend tended to shut down more often than they liked. The limit switches were proximity switches actually and there were steel plates on the front and back of the cars that would set off the switches. But they were prone to being tripped by vibration from time to time and we would see a rogue light on the board and we knew the logic would shut the ride down. I actually have one of the older German proximity switches and one of the newer ones they switched to at one point.

On the bottom panel (I know it is hard to read) starts with a pressure guage off the main compressor which powered all the brakes. The notation says the pressure has to be between 120-180 or the safety system would shut down. Missing on this panel, and added on the new panel, were amp meters which would show how much current the trains were pulling as they climbed the lifts. On a hot summer day the amps would be much higher than a cool fall day.

The buttons from left to right in the center were:
Bridge Over Brake, Program lift 1, Kill lift 1, Program brake 1, Program brake 2, Program lift 2, Kill lift 2, Program brake 3, Unloading brake, Manual operation of feeding motors 3&4, program automatic brakes, and the horn button (3 times to call maintenance or supervisors, 1 long horn to signal operation and warn anyone out on the track a car was going to be dispatched).
You had to program the ride from right to left and there was a time out on each section before you could program the next section closer. Notice you could kill the lifts but you could not manually activate the brakes without hitting the panic button.
There were big green lights for each brake and lift indicating whether the brake was programmed (open) and the lift running.

On the lower row from left: Panic button (closes all brakes, turns off all lifts, stops all motors, and unfortunately turns off all lights on the board so you would lose track of the trains on the track), keyed switch used by mechanics to enable/disable power to the ride, power lost lift 2 light, dispatch buzzer (it buzzed a little buzzer in the box at the loading station when it was time to dispatch the train. the train was manually dispatched from the dock), safety on dispatch (renamed to presence on new board), M16/16.1 defect, light indicating safety system was on, key to overide safety system, manual control of automatic brakes (this button was function only when the override was active).

The safety on dispatch / presence button was designed to make sure that an operator was in the control box and paying attention. Every so many seconds the light would go dark and the operator had to hit the button. When the light was off you could not dispatch. You also could not hold the button down. Now there was plenty of time to hit the button, walk out of the box and onto the dock and dispatch a train. We did that in the mornings sometime when it was only the foreman and assistant at the ride.

And finally, there was a big loud nasty buzzer / vibrator that would go off and shake the whole board in the event of a system failure and it went off with a brief pulse each time a train entered the automatic brakes. I was driving once when the system failed, the buzzer came on solid and we had a wreck. But that is a story for another thread.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Big Bend Control Board - old.pdf (11.6 KB, 32 views)
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Old July 3rd, 2012, 07:57 PM
cleusk's Avatar
cleusk cleusk is offline
General Manager
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Dallas
Posts: 5,876
Default Re: Big Bend control panel - old version

Originally Posted by ssmegner View Post
OK, I will apologise in advance. I cannot get a decent scan of this old page that the upload limits here will accept.
Use this site. It converts pdf files into jpg files. I just tested it and the results were great.
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