WiFi Throttles & USB

Why fit a USB charger to your layout?
PLUS   WiFi THROTTLES – using old iPhones!

  • perhaps there is no reason at all!
  • or it can be handy for charging a lot of “devices” these days – phones; tablets; pads; cameras etc.
  • or in my case it has a specific purpose – to charge my WiFi throttles.

I have become a convert to using mobile phones as throttles. I first tried Android phones but lately I have become convinced that old iPhone 4s models are the go!

This post is supposed to be about USB chargers so here we go:
A bit disappointing I suppose. But on the right is a little 2 port USB outlet powered by the 12V DC bus which runs around my layout. It is a something I picked up from a marine supplier. On the shelf there are also 3 very old iPhone 4S mobile phones and my old Android phone which has … “carked it!”

The iPhones are ancient in the modern world of devices and each phone above  was donated by friends and family who had them stuck away in drawers and cupboards. They have the old 30 pin connector and nothing uses them these days. I did my research first and discovered that I could buy the USB to 30 pin cable for peanuts on the web. Get this:
On eBay of course and the cost? ……. $5 for 5 complete cables including postage!!
If you don’t believe me look at the eBay site. Back to the phones.

You need to get them to Erase All Content and Settings. This can done by:


  1. Going to Settings and tap General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.
  2. Then remove the SIM card as it has no use in a Throttle.
  3. Or best of all – look at the explanation on this site.

Android:    Look at the explanation on this site.

THROTTLES: you need to load an app into the phones:

Wi Throttle Lite on the iPhone
Engine Driver on the Android

(this will still be possible via WiFi using your App Store or Play Store.

This is what they look like when running on the device:


iPhone 4SWi Throttle Lite – this is what the “Address” screen looks like.

It is showing the Roster obtained from JMRI Decoder Pro which must be running in the layout room. The phone connects to this by WiFi and displays several screens. This the one shown as “Address” (lower middle).

I have scrolled down the list and selected 4201 then “Set” that selection. Next I will select Throttle circled in RED.



The next Throttle screen looks like this:

The selected loco is shown with a green background.

The throttle is a slider on the right.

Direction can be predicted by the arrow pointer at “Idle”

The BEST BENEFIT – you don’t have to remember F numbers and what they do!
The Functions are in text on the buttons (albeit abbreviated) and you can put them where you like.

The next screen is revealed by a swipe left and shows more Functions. As below.


This is the second page of Functions.

You can have more if you like on another screen!

To be quite honest, I now rarely use the command station throttles on my NCE system.

It’s a shame they haven’t come out with a similar screen to allow multiple plain English (or any language) buttons.


Android Option called Engine Driver.

Once WiFi has been established, this is the next screen.

When you press “Select” a Roster list appears and you select the loco.


As below:






This screen lists the locos in the roster obtained by WiFi from JMRI.


Touch the loco to select it.


Previous locos are retained in a “Recent” list for convenience.






The loco is now selected and the window shows the loco number, directions with the current selection in green.

This throttle is a horizontal slider.

Both throttles have a few options in preferences.

Speed steps shown at top right.

The Plain language buttons are a feature and there is room for plenty of them .



I have only lightly covered the interface between JMRI and Wi throttles. Perhaps another blog post??  (if there is any interest)

Regards – Rick

Layout Lighting – using LEDs

The photos above typify what my layout looked like in the past. There were small pockets of light and large gloomy areas.

My plan has always been to use LED lighting above the entire running surface of the layout. This has been achieved with low cost products available on-line or locally.

The first step was to build a lighting pelmet above the layout with the front surface directly above the fascia board around the layout. This was attached to the walls (or window and door architraves) as shown below:

Clearly this is a corner section above the room entry door.
Here you can see what the sectional profile looks like at a later stage when all the sections were painted The pelmet face is down. and the reinforcing rib is up.

The complete surface which will be facing the walls has been painted gloss white for maximum light reflection. Back to the preliminary fitting:

This is the only corner which requires fitting to a wall. To facilitate this I have attached a mounting plate to the wall spanning a bit more than the distance between two (steel) studs. The right angle joins have been made using pieces of slotted gal. angle from Bunnings (Metal Mate Galvanised Heavy Duty Slotted Steel Angle  38mm x 38mm x 1.8mm angle  x 900 long …$11 AU June 2018)
I used timber (hoop pine) which I had on hand to a finished size of 170 x 17mm but those dimensions aren’t critical.

The LED self adhesive LED strips were obtained on-line from Oatley Electronics at Ettalong Beach : Check the Website
I purchased 4 x (SB-5m long 24V -NW-PW) Pure white LED Strips at a total cost of $36 inc GST [so a 5m strip costs $9 excluding postage]

If you want to see the pics full size – Right Click on it & select “View Image”

OR                                                             Double Tap on an iDevice

For testing purposes I also bought  a KC24 24V/1Amp power supply but it was not up to the task when I tried it on a 4m length of LEDs. The non ventilated plastic pack couldn’t handle the load and overheated as expected. This is explained fully in the PDF Oatley makes available on their website:  PDF

Some of the strips they supply are 12v but they would not have been bright enough for my

This is the power supply but you would need to purchase a proper 24V ventilated unit to run LEDs in a room such as mine. I used 2 units rated at 5Amps – each one to power two 4m strips. They were purchased on eBay.
Here you can see a corner bracket and one end of a strip of LEDs which have a self adhesive backing.
This corner feeds power to 2 pelmets and this is one of the 5amp supplies I purchased. The other supply is fitted under the layout:
The supply to the other 2 led strips is in the diagonally opposite corner to the one mentioned above and instead of mounting the supply at the pelmet, I fed 24V DC to from the supply mounted under the layout. I had the screw terminal strip on hand, but you can buy a 2 way one from Jaycar Electronics for $3 (HM-3167).
The reinforcing rib has a top surface also and I am considering adding a blue LED strip to that side. With a dimmer to shine towards the ceiling it might provide night effect?

The end result below is the effect I am after with most of the light restricted to the layout only. There is a problem visible here …

In the corner above, I should NOT have taken the LED strip right through to the wall near the blind as I am getting a doubling-up effect with a super bright pool of light. The LED strip can be cut at 100mm intervals as shown below:
You can see that it is marked 24V and the bottom side is marked “-” for negative, just below the DC24V. These strips can be cut with scissors but only at a line marked across the strip of copper. Because the LEDs are wired in parallel the supply voltage to the SMD (Surface Mount Device) LEDs reaches each one. The SMD resistors are already in place. How good are these little strips for lighting building etc. however 12V ones would probably better on a layout.

I suppose the question is DOES IT WORK?

It’s getting there. The layout surface is now well lit and you can see OK to uncouple wagons. The white ledges around the lower fascia will disappear when painted green. But – the decision to paint the pelmet flat Old English white is wrong I think. Various advisors suggested other wise …

What I was trying to achieve was something like a continuous “stage” effect. I think the pelmet should be painted Brunswick green, the same as the fascia. Here is trial run with Photoshop to see what it might look like then.

As is:   “A”

How I think it should be:(it’s a shame I took both pics with the main overhead room light on. What do you think????
Option “B”

There may be a bit more as I finish it off … Rick

Workbench Update 2018

Movable workbench  2018.

Never static, always something to be added as can be seen in the previous setup above. This configuration was temporary until the layout nears completion when the bench part will be divided into 2 sections, both of which will wheel under the layout for storage until needed (that prediction proved to be incorrect).  Storage drawers will then reside on existing shelves under the layout. Note the suitcase vacuum cleaner under the bench – perfect for servicing the table saw above.

What prompted me to recently implement the storage of the work area below the bench work was that the central work area, whilst convenient in the early construction stage, became a TOWERING MONOLITH in the room. It was becoming impossible to get around it to operate the layout.

Out with the old and in with the “new” (so to speak). Some of the gear has been attached to the rolling workbench and the magnifying lamp will lay flat and clear the layout.

The legs of the original desk were sawn off to a level where, with castors added, the whole thing would slide under the layout. Two of the castors have brakes, but I have found it unnecessary as it doesn’t move too freely.
It does fit under the layout. The work height is a little low but the chair (to the left) adjusts down to the workbench level.

A lot of the tools and equipment now reside in the green drawers to the right – I must paint the darned thing a different colour!

What is added the work bench:

This ends holds (L to R) a 12V DC power supply; the stand for the maggy lamp; a VHF CB so that I can talk to the house; and a small vice.

The other end:

This end L to R: 12V DC banana sockets; soldering iron; super sharp scalpel mounted in a small piece of PVC pipe for blade safety; a brush bottle epoxied to the shelf; & a small set of screwdrivers. On the ledge below is the battery Dremel; its charger; and 6 240V power outlets.

The little blue gadget on the side shelf at top right above is a USB powered low wattage soldering iron for delicate electronics.

Lots of trays on the top hold all the tools and bits and pieces you need within reach.

I have still got to build my “Dalek” to house all the sets of small drawers that I have. It will mount on a lazy susan turntable with the whole gadget on castors so that it too, can roll under the layout.

Thanks for looking in.

Lima 42 Remotor + DCC

The old Lima 42 class diesel has been around my layouts for decades and I am not too proud to run it mixed in with all my more recent and highly detailed models. It ran well on DC and even better on DCC with a LokSound V4.0 decoder coupled with a replacement pancake motor and pickup on all wheels.

The motor shown in the top 2 photos was purchased on eBay as a specific replacement for the 42 class and other similar models. It satisfies the requirement of isolating the motor from the frame for DCC and runs well.

I always try to achieve pickup on all wheels or as many as possible. In this case it was easy. I added two small pieces of PCB to form solder pads. They are clearly visible attached to the two sideframe brackets with epoxy and carrying the RED flexible feed wire and the phosphor bronze pickup wires.

Note the holes shown in the bottom of the chassis to the top left. These are for the speaker shown in later photos.

A thicker piece of copper wire connects the 2 pads and one carries the p/bronze wires for 2 wheels and the other for 1. The photos show the setup.

The photos above and below show the decoder attached to the roof of the body shell with Blu Tack and small piece of strip board (Veroboad) used to carry the series resistors (1k – 1000Ω) for the front and for the rear headlights. Notice the “interrupts” cut into the tracks under the resistor. These were made with the tip of  a small drill. This isolates both ends of the strip. Normally the resistors would be mounted on the other side of the board but this method works  just as well

In the photo above I have removed most of the interior glazing except the sections for the front and rear windows. The portholes are glazed with Butyrate 15 thou strips held in place with tiny spots of Canopy Glue. [K & S Clear Plastic Sheet #1308]

In this model I used a 5mm (front) and 3mm (rear) yellow glow LEDs with ends of the LED filed flat and then polished. To avoid light appearing from other than the headlights, I carefully painted all but the front of the LED flat black.

I couldn’t find an appropriate and cheap socket to accept the 8pin decoder plug on the LokSound V4 so I made my own from a machined pin DIL (Dual In Line) IC (Integrated Circuit) 8 pin socket (eg Jaycar part# PI-6452 or on eBay).

The first step is to carefully cut the socket into 2 parts…

… as shown here.

Clean up the cut edges – the ones below need to be filed, but it’s not important as the correct spacing is achieved by gluing the IC socket back together on the smooth faces…

… as shown below with the prepared pair stuck in a blob of Blu Tack. Rough the surfaces a little and bond together with a spot of epoxy.

For this installation it suited me to bond the lead weight into the chassis with silastic and epoxy the prepared socket to the top of that. I have an old plug cut from another hard wired LokSound decoder that I can use as a guide to indicate which coloured wires need to be soldered to the rear of the new socket.
Note that installing the socket this way means that the off-centre plug can only go in one way around (good).

The mounting position of the speaker is shown above requiring some holes to be drilled in the bottom of the chassis. The speaker (which is not my preferred sugar cube type but was one of a number of spares I had in the workshop) is mounted just clear of the surface to allow sound to escape into the body shell. The speaker fits within the its housing but importantly, needs to be very carefully sealed into the housing. I use Canopy Glue on a toothpick to carefully seal every gap around the edge of the speaker, keeping it clear of the speaker cone. Also seal the spaces where the wires exit the housing – silastic may be better here.

This was the 25mm (1″) 4Ω  1.5Watt speaker and enclosure used for this project.

Here is a short video:

“Charles” Gets a Decoder

A project with a difference – PART 2.
A friend has a Fleischmann™ type 4028 0-6-0 Steam Locomotive which he would like to use as a “proving” loco for his under-construction Wolgan Valley layout. It’s a sort of a recycling exercise. This is the next exciting episode – Charles gets a decoder!

The decoder is a LokSound V4.0 running the ESU sound file: 54413-LSV4.0-Dampf-BR80-R5      It sounds like this:

Very Germanic!! But it will be OK for the purpose, assuming that the NSWGR may not have bothered changing the whistle.

This is where the LokSound decoder will reside. For a tank engine, the Fleischmann 0-6-0 has plenty of room. After a little testing, it was least obtrusive in the cab roof and is held in place with Blu Tack.

There are other things to do with DCC sound installs one of which is the Speaker and more details will follow. This is one is my favourite Sugar Cube speakers in my favourite mounting area – the smokebox. That way the sound comes from the right part of the loco! [post coming on fitting a sugar cube into the smokebox of a brass 30T class loco]

The motor, especially in this ringfield type requires special attention to make sure that it is isolated from the frame.
There is excellent technical advice on this in an article I obtained on the “All Aboard” Mittagong website – except it doesn’t seem to be there any more. The original PDF file I downloaded from “All Aboard” is however available HERE.

The replacement Isolated Motor Shield is shown below fitted to the mechanism. It is sold as Fleischmann replacement part # 50 4730 and is available from All Aboard as a spare part (not shown on the web site).

Here you can see the wiring from the decoder to the motor – Orange and Grey to the motor and Red and Black to the track pickups (loco frame and wheels). Some other wiring is visible and is described below.

The decoder has a number of unused function wires and they are held captive by the (yellow) kapton tape. Two extra simple PCBs are also visible. Simple PCBs are described in THIS POST.
The one on the LEFT has 4 strips – 2 carry the brown wires to the speaker (in the smokebox) and 2 carry the wires to the front headlight.  The bottom strip can be seen to have a connection via a resistor to the WHITE function wire (headlight).

The value of the resistor is 3k3 (3,300Ω) indicated more clearly on the board to the RIGHT where the colour code is ORANGE, ORANGE, BLACK, BROWN, BROWN which is 3 3 0 (1 nought) and (1 percent tolerance) ie 3300 Ohms ± 1%  This value is higher than most people use but it provides a more prototypical yellow glow in the Warm White LED.

Image© courtesy eBay

Incidentally the LED is a tiny pre-wired device where the LED size is 1mm x 0.5mm and is available in Warm White, Bright White, Red and Green & available on eBay for ridiculous prices.

Sold as: Pre-soldered micro Litz wired leads Warm White SMD LED 0402

They will fit into the smallest headlights on a loco but must be handled with care.

The pcb to the RIGHT is shown in detail below and feeds the rear headlight and the 3k3 resistor is on one strip which has been interrupted under the resistor making 2 isolated pads.

The common wire is BLUE and feeds to both small PCBs. The YELLOW wire is the function output to the rear headlight.

The speaker used is a Sugar Cube which measures 12mm x 14mm x 5.4mm thick (bare). This is one being prepared in an enclosure.The following speaker is ready to go in:More about speakers in a separate Post.
And to save you scrolling back up – the photo below is repeated and shows the sugar cube sitting in the Smokebox and under the chimney which has been drilled out so that the sound is coming from the front of the loco both top and bottom. I will go to any length to try to get the speaker OUT of the tender and into a more realistic place. You can detect the difference in a passing HO loco.

If the speaker enclosure is mounted on the chassis it is inconvenient to wire as a plug and socket arrangement would be needed. Instead, I have located the enclosure to the inside of the body shell by the simple of expedient of a blob of Blu Tack in the top of the body which “grabs” the speaker when you assemble the two parts.  [Yes, I know … there should be a plug connecting the decoder and the motor/pickups but I got lazy]

Here is another loco with homemade plugs and sockets so that the body mounted  speaker can be separated from the chassis:The 2 brown speaker wires from the decoder are connected to the speaker via a 2 pin plug. The body and chassis can then be separated. This loco is a 73 class shunter.

The next episode will cover painting into NSWGR “colours” but in the meantime, here is a preview of “Charles” making some noise! Deutschland Über alles!

“Charles” Gets a Makeover!

This is a project with a difference. A friend has a Fleischmann™ type 4028 0-6-0 Steam Locomotive which he would like to use as a “proving” loco for his under-construction layout. Sort of a recycling exercise.

He decided that a hypothetical, but possible scenario had occurred with his Wolgan Valley railway: “the NSWGR had decided to import a German 0-6-0 class loco for evaluation. Part of the process involved a repaint into NSWGR colours (or lack thereof) and a later sale to the Commonwealth Oil Corporation, Newnes for use on the Wolgan Valley line.”

Here is “Carl” pretty much as he arrived at Brolgan Road, with the exception of the Kadee couplers which have been fitted as described below.

My task was to implement that conversion on the model and convert it to DCC with sound. This is the story of that conversion of “Carl” (which name appeared on the side tanks) to “Charles” on its rebirth on the Wolgan valley line. I believe it will carry a NSW “X” number.

It is a little over the NSWR loading gauge but squeaks past my platforms. Wheel flanges are a bit gross but have been filed a little and now run through my code 75 points OK. As it is also to be a test bed for DCC it is an interesting exercise. The model itself is beautifully constructed.

Step 1 is the fitting of Kadees to match the rest of the rolling stock.
And in the process give it a good run on DC to make sure that the project is feasible. As you can see in the lead photo, it is running just fine on my layout under DC and it proved to be quite powerful and relatively smooth.

I am impressed by the engineering in this model but not surprised due to its West German origin. The chopper coupler keeper is easily removed by unscrewing the buffers.
That releases the keeper plate, chopper coupler and the centreing spring strip (latter 2 not used).
Tap the metal chassis with an 8BA thread (or to your choice) to suit a standard Kadee plastic machine screw.
As pointed out earlier, I found the existing hole in the front of the loco to be a little large and tapped the hole throught the plastic foot plate under the smokebox door. That means that the front coupler now needs to be unscrewed to remove the body.
The hole in the keeper plate needs to be enlarged to take the Kadee screw – I achieved that with a small file.
The screws are quite long and need to be cut to length (sprue cutter or similar) and the end filed smooth.
The chosen Kadee was a #149 Long Overset Whisker coupler to get the coupler jaws down to an acceptable height. The draft gear box fits within the existing housing and the mounting hole can be aligned with the original holes by trimming the back off the draft gear box.
The #149 coupler needs to be trimmed to length as shown below. You can see here why they are called “whisker” couplers.

The bottom plate is glued in place (I used Faller Expert Plastic Cement which has a nice fine delivery tube).
You can see here how the top lip has been cut and filed flush
The coupler height is still a fraction high – if it is a worry a small styrene shim could be added above the Kadee.
And here is “Carl Charles” happily coupled to a small freight consist. Still running DC.

The next post will cover conversion to DCC using a Loksound V4 decoder with sugar cube speaker in the firebox. Then the re-paint and a video of him chuffing happily away to his new home in the Blue Mountains.


The basics of DCC at “Brolgan Road”.

The backbone is a commonly used NCE system comprising a 5 Amp power supply to the left and the Power Pro DCC Command Station to the right.
The primary controllers are both wireless and consist of a Procab on the left and Cab-06 on the right.

The wireless antenna is mounted high on the wall and coverage is excellent in the small layout room.

Ground zero is near the main station Brolgan Road. A laptop slides out from beneath the layout when required. Left to right on the fascia: Brolgan Road Panel; the only NCE cab bus outlet (no others required with radio); a switch to isolate Brolgan Road DCC sub bus and the Procab. The shelf underneath houses L to R: a 12V power supply for the Canbus/ servos/ ancillaries; a grey box controlling power to the layout via DCC or DC (rarely used – just for testing); two track sections used as “Programming Tracks” – one for JMRI and the other for the Lok-programmer (shown below).

JMRI DecoderPro provides another throttle but more importantly, a means of programming the decoders in locos in a simple way and while operating on the main (line).

JMRI  stands for “Java Model Railroad Interface” – it is an open source program for model railway (railroad) hobbyists. It includes DecoderPro, Panel Pro and a Throttle. The computer above runs on the house WiFi and in my case I have a WiFi extender in the layout room as the signal from the router (modem) in the house is patchy.

Other throttles which can be used include:

  • smart phones,
  • tablets
  • iDevices

… using either “Engine Driver” app on Android or WiThrottle on Mac. Phones need to connect to the WiFi network in the layout room.

The DCC signal is fed to the rails and provides power to the loco; control of the loco(s) and other devices; and sound – if the decoder is so equipped. On the photo above the DCC main bus is “A”. There are some excellent websites explaining DCC operation and wiring and one of the best is by Marcus Amman at Main North.

The other Bus pairs shown above are:
B – 12 volts to power servos and other equipment.
C – DCC sub-Bus (because even though you can run ALL of your layout on the main DCC bus, it is bad practice when it comes to fault finding short circuits or other problems. Much better to isolate areas so that the fault can be found and operations can continue on the rest of the layout.
D – my CANBUS which is a control system which manages everything on my layout. See the post on MERG.

On the drawing board is a lot more material on DCC for future posts… Rick

Fitting Brass Numbers on Locos

I have fitted many brass numbers to HO steam locos, but it was so long ago I had to remind myself how to do it.

Frets of brass and nickel silver loco numbers are available at hobby stores like Casula Hobbies. The latter have sets like “AM-1 HO Numbers Brass Etch Sheet” & “AMO-4 HO Contractors Locos”

This is one way to do it – on a DJH white metal kit of loco 3214

The first problem is positioning the numbers on the cab side. With this 32 Class (3214), the rivets provide a good guide. Prototype photos also indicate the correct position for numbers. Always start with the middle number or the space between 2 middle numbers and work outwards. The number “1” requires a little more space either side.
Numbers need to be cut from the fret on a hard surface with a very sharp blade – scalpel in this case.
With care they can then be held in flat jaw pliers to remove any waste with a fine jewellers file.
I use a tiny dot of Blu Tack on the tip of a toothpick to hold and position the numbers.
In my opinion super glue is NOT the answer to attach the numbers.
Use a speck of dilute PVA or Canopy Glue applied with a toothpick to the back of the numbers. Canopy glue seems to dry a little faster than PVA but is also water soluble for cleaning up a disaster. It is great for attaching windows in models as it dries very clear.
Canopy Glue or PVA also allows a little degree of movement to shove the number around a bit.
Glue is on the back and I’m ready to position it by eye.
Small adjustments can be done with a scalpel or toothpick.
The end result showing the increased spacing either side of “1”.

I find it easier to apply brass numbers than decals.


  1. Another method I have used in the past is to use a strip of clear sticky tape after severely “de-sticking” it by repeatedly attaching it to a clean smooth surface then peeling it off. The tape needs to be super low stick so that you don’t peel off paint at the end of the process or that the numbers are pulled off when the tape is removed.The numbers can then be lightly attached to the reverse of the tape by the blue tack method or by picking them up with a super sharp scalpel point. The advantage is that the whole number set is done in one hit and the numbers can be adjusted and moved around before gluing. The disadvantage is that you are setting out the numbers back to front.Coat the back of the stuck-on numbers with dilute PVA or Canopy Glue and apply the strip with care. Once positioning is OK leave the PVA to dry for a day or so.
  2. It is also possible to lay all the numbers out on a clean surface using specs of blu tack , then pick the lot up in one go with the tape.

Manual Points by WIT

This section covers the construction and installation of mechanical lever frames which are not prototypical in appearance but do move in a manner not dissimilar to the prototype. Also covered is the associated “Wire in Tube” (WIT) operation and installation. The photo below shows some lever frames in position near the proposed Carriage Works in the early stages of my layout. Four of these control single points and two control facing points (crossovers).
In this post:-  “Point” = “Turnout”            “Sleeper” = “Tie”The lever frames are two assemblies – the frame mechanism itself and the housing.


The housing was fabricated from 2mm ply and a small block of wood.


The frame is based on a standard aluminium section plus some metric nuts, bolts and screws, an electrical connector, and a PVC and brass welding wire handle. I have some sketches – if there is any interest.
This frame is for a single point
This frame is for a crossover with one wire pushing and the other pulling. Component “A” is one of the brass terminals from a piece of Terminal Strip shown on the right. That makes it a very economical solution. The visible screw allows adjustment of the position of the point. The second screw in the same brass terminal piece allows it to be screwed to the handle with a small countersunk screw.
The aluminium mount is held to the fascia by a single screw through the bottom hole. The top hole receives the WIT.
This is the tube I used. It is the outer part of a Bowden cable used for the gear shift on a bicycle. A bike shop should be able to sell you a metre or two.
Test assembly – then glued with PVA
A single lever frame with the operating wire bent at right angles.
I use 1.25mm dia piano wire which needs a powerful hardened cutter as shown at the bottom of the photo above. In this install the WIT was fitted through a hole drilled straight to the nearby point.

For this crossover (above and below) near the front fascia of the layout, there was no room to fit a WIT the normal way. The frame directly controls the rearmost point by the bottom wire on the frame and this wire runs directly under the plywood mounting for the bellcrank (white above) and come up through the throwbar as can be seen below.
There is a very short piece of tube to hold the wire in place near the point. I glue these in with PVA.
In order to throw the second point in the crossover, the top wire from the frame operates a bellcrank which changes the direction of the pull (so that it is parallel with the fascia) and operates a second bellcrank for the front point.

To get some necessary adjustment between the 2 bellcranks, fit one of the brass electrical connectors (descibed in the picture 5th down from the top of this post). The interconnecting wire then needs to be 2 pieces – one long one and a shorter one near one of the bellcranks – as above.

The photo below shows the setup for the other point. I had to drill a hole right through the fascia to get the short piece of WIT to the throwbar. Again, the bellcrank is mounted to a thin plywood plate which will sit above the throwbar wire. You can buy these bellcranks from Model Aircraft shops.
The normal method of installing facing points with WIT is shown below. In this example originally there was only a single point and the trench for the WIT is still visible to the left. In changing it to facing points the frame was relocated; swapped to a double wire type; and new trenches laid for the WIT.

This jig is used to make sure the WIT hole(s) and the mounting screw pilot hole is in the correct position.
Here is an earlier version in use.
To cut the trenches, pin the tube in place over the best and smoothest path. Run a fine marking pen along each side of the tube.
Hand held Dremel and vacuum cleaner in use the cut between the lines.
This cutter does the job well. The vacuum is very necessary especially in the expanded foam unless you want to generate a snow storm!
This template locates the cut-out needed to accept the microswitch under the point.
The red lines are used to align it to the rails as the microswitch is installed off centre. That is explained in my post on MODIFYING PECO POINTS FOR DCC.

In some ways I preferred the manual point operation as it is more appropriate for my 1960s layout where the train crew or shunters did much of the groundwork. However the change to servo control does allow simpler use of area conrol panels and some likeness to a signal box diagram.

Rail Joins at Lifting Section

To make sure that joins in lifting sections are in alignment care needs to be taken.
The following method works well on Brolgan Road.

This is the latex carpet adhesive used to hold all the track, points and underlay in place. Preparing the join on the entry lift-up-flap a small section of cork was added to provide a stiff base. The PCB sleepers are soldered in place and the track suspended in the air with paddle pop sticks. The Tee pins allow the track to be aligned; then raised for the glue; and lowered into position.
The track has weights added until the latex cement sets. Note the plywood pieces to align the rail joins. Short pieces are great for keeping curves aligned where flex track joins.

Note: it would be better to use 5 sleepers instead of 3 to give a bigger bonding surface. Epoxy on these sleepers was a better option.

Three sleepers were removed and PCB replacements soldered in place. The middle of the sleepers sanded away to insulate both sides. The track is code 75.
When the glue sets, the join line was cut with a razor saw. Slow and tedious. The latex was not up to the job on these sleepers and I now use epoxy.