My health has improved considerably since I wrote that, but I got the chance to go back to work part time after being retired for 16 years, doing something that I've always wanted to do - "Drive a Train" (see my avatar), so I haven't spent as much time in my wood shop as I had been planning. It's mostly a low stress fun job and I love it. I'm not only am I driving the train, but I have taken on the added work of re-building the controls for the 6 crossing gates. They had been wired by someone not at all experienced in doing electrical work, and they have been a maintenance disaster, mostly because of poor crimp terminations and many mixed sizes of wires being held together with wire nuts and when used in vibrating machinery wire nuts will not stay tight (it doesn't work). Add to this the fact that there is no documentation or parts lists for the electrical portion of these gates and there is no standardized color coding of the wires (I think he used whatever color he had in his hand at the time).
When I opened the control box of the first gate, a ball of wire rolled out with relays suspended in in it, and you can get an idea of what I am up against. They are all like this. I worked on the Apolo and Sky Lab Programs and my whole career was in industrial electrical control system design, so I was able to reverse engineer and figure out the circuit, which is actually a pretty good circuit design, if it had been implemented correctly.
Now I am going through each gate control and repairing the bad connections and replacing the wire nuts with good machine wiring practice (eliminate the ball of wires and wire nuts as much as possible). I could rip everything out and start over much easier, but the gates have to operate when the train runs, so I'm starting work two hours early on the days that I work and I'm doing what I can, while keeping an eye on the time and what I'm doing, so I can get it back together and working again before the train ride opens. I then drive the train for 4 more hours. Then my shift ends and someone else drives the train from 2 pm until 7:30 pm. The Sunday schedule starts at noon and runs until 7 so it is only one shift. Since working on the gates, I've only been working the early morning weekday schedule and it's been on Monday and Wednesday since I started on the gates.
With the temperatures in the high 90's here every day I'm working outside in the direct Sun on these gates as early in the day as possible, and before the ride opens. This is a very inefficient way to do this, but it's the only way, when the park is open every day. If I can get the gates to be reliable, I'll have more time to work on them after the end of the Summer season (2 weeks away) when the kids go back to school and we go to weekend only operation. It will be a bit cooler then too.
I've been asked to build a new larger ticket podium, so when the gates are finished I'll be in my wood shop building it. I'll post pictures of this project.
Central North Carolina