My Manual Turn-out Controls

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Gary S., Mar 15, 2007.

  1. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

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    looking good Loren. Is that some kind of plexiglass angle? Great idea. Cutting all the aluminum brackets was a pain! Looking forward to more pics and the results of your experiments.
  2. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

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    Gary, THe angle is actually a 1x1 corner protector for hallways. I saw that cutting metal would be to hard, so I settled for that. Thay won't be as sturdy as your's, but it works. Also, I could not find the turnbuckles you used, so I used a piece of garden soaker hose for the connector. I filled the hose with epoxy, then screwed on the rod and pushed in the eyelet. The main thing is , they work !

    Loren
  3. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

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    I love your "I can make it work" attitude! The soaker hose is a marvelous idea.... and way cheaper than my fancy-schmancy rod couplings! As for the actuator rod, I had originally thought of and experimented with using a coat hanger wire. It worked, but I ended up settling for the 10-24 rod. The hanger wire would be good for someone on a tight budget. You don't even need the eyelets... bend the eyelet in the wire.

    So far, I made around 27 of those switch controllers, and cutting and drilling that angle iron was a major project = time consuming. Bad news is I still need about a dozen more.

    Hey, are you using single pole electrical switches or 3-ways?
  4. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

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    Gary, I used single pole. I need 26 controllers, and three ways would have been a major expense. I thought if I did panel lights, I would just have one to show when the turnout was thrown. Btw, one of my ideas is to is pass the spring wire all the way through the switch handle and fasten it to the bracket on the bottom. I think this will increase the throw of the wire and increase the tension on the switch points. Of course, then I would have to use channel instead. The reason is, without the plastic pieces, the tension seems to be a little light, and when I installed that first one , I had to do a lot of ajusting to get it to work right.
    And yes, I thought of coat hangers too, but I thought they would look to rinky-dink. After all, part of the hobby is the show.

    Loren
  5. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

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    Loren:

    Was thinking....

    As your controller works now, when you push the knob in, which track does it select? The back or the front? I am assuming the front. So that kind of works backwards (of course, this is not a major drawback).

    The way I did mine with a pivot, when I push the knob in, it selects the back track. When pulled out, it selects the front track.

    What if you still use the plastic "angle" just as you are, but put a fairly small hole for the spring wire to go up through? Would this give you a pivot action which would do two things: Make pulling the knob to the front select the track to the front? And would it put more spring pressure on the points?

    There may not be enough layout thickness for you to do this. You have, what, 3/4" plywood and cork roadbed on that? And your spurs and yards are directly on the plywood?
  6. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

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    Gary, are you a mechanical engineer by trade? Your ideas sure sound like it. Going to a smaller hole was perfect. The only thing is , when you drill the hole, it has to be centered where the light switch button is centered. I hope I explained that right.
    The way they are now, with the knob in, it selects the straight thru track. Pulled out, it selects the converging route, which is what I wanted anyhow. So everything is working out great. Btw, I used 1/2" plywood. I have cork for the mainline and the industrial tracks are on the plywood. So I have 8 turnouts on roadbed, and the rest on the plywood. The thickness does not seem to matter in my case though.
    Thanks for the advice.

    Loren
  7. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

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    I am really happy that these are working out for you!

    But no, I'm not a ME, although I have been in construction for 27 years and I've always loved mechanical stuff. My Dad was constantly working on something, fixing vehicles, building mud buggies, gunsmithing, and I was laways right there with him form the day I was born. My Mom tells the story of when i was 3 years old, I actually got my Dad's tools out and dismantled the lawnmower engine!
  8. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

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    In the brag book my mom had for me, it says my favorite toys were hammers and nails.

    Loren
  9. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    It occurred to me that even though the single-pole switch cannot feed the frog, it could still be used to turn the siding off and on - which is useful in DC-powered layouts.

    This "revelation" :rolleyes: came to me at 3:00 this morning, so take it for what it is worth hamr ;) :D

    Andrew
  10. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    Ok, another question....! ;)

    Can you come up with a scheme whereby the control can be mounted on the surface of the layout instead of the facia? I'd like to use this idea to throw my Walthers/Shinohara turnouts that I will use on my modules.

    The challenge here is that there is 2" of foam decking to get through... The good news is that I have a whole box of light switches to experiment with...!

    Unfortunately, nothing can stick out of the "facia", since the modules are routinely set on their edges during assembly/disassembly.

    Andrew
  11. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

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    Andrew, here is a rough idea. If you mount the light switch vertically then run the wire to a pivot point and wrap it around and then up to the turnout. Moving the switch up or down should throw the turnout threw the pivot point.

    Attached Files:

  12. phoneguy

    phoneguy member

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    You asked about soldering to the frog on an Atlas switch; the answer is no. Solder will not stick to this casting. Now for the bad news. To power Atlas switches you need to put a screw in one of the holes with a nut and solder lug on the bottom. Trying to push a wire of about the same diameter as the hole doesn't make good contact; also if too much force is use the casting will pop off the switch. I have 50 switches on my layout to power and this has been the only sure way to make things work.
  13. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

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    Gary, sorry if I stole your thunder helping Andrew:cry: . This is your thread afterall.

    Loren
  14. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    Loren,

    That's ok, I am not sure I understand your diagram...! :confused: ;)

    The other challenge is to make the turnout move the same direction as the throw of the "control lever". So pushing the lever at the edge of the module moves the points towards the back of the layout and vice versa...

    Can you clarify your diagram?

    Andrew
  15. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

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    Andrew, sorry about that ! I was in a hurry yesterday. The square box is the switch and the round thingy is a pivot point. The heavy line is the rod going up to a knob, and the light line goes to the turnout. What I was trying to show is mounting the switch vertically and then using a pivot point, the pivot point would change the vertical movement at the switch to horizontal movement at the turnout. But my simple idea works backwards. The turnout, when thrown, would move towards the front of the table. What your asking is way over my head. Maybe Gary can help.

    Loren
  16. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    Loren,

    Thanks, I understand your diagram now...! ;) :D It is a relatively simple matter to change the direction of the way the turnout is thrown by adding some more linkage in there... But probably what I should consider is the devices at www.humpyard.com, rather than reinventing the wheel :) :thumb: Thing is though, that I like the "positive lock" afforded by the light switch mechanism.

    Andrew
  17. Gil Finn

    Gil Finn Active Member

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    That is fascinating Gary.
  18. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

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    Andrew, I like the lock feature also. The ones at the Humpyard are nice, but to do my layout would run about $600. I bought all the light switches I need for $15. I like those figures !

    Loren
  19. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    Loren,

    That is also a big factor for me...! I already have a box of a dozen switches I got for about $4, and coat hanger wire is free. ;)

    Andrew
  20. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

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    Hey Gary:wave: , Thought you might like to see this. I have three more to put in and my yard area will be done:D . How you doing?

    Loren

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