Points /turnouts on my layout were initially operated manually using a wire-in-tube mechanism. There are currently 44 points on the layout and I started converting to servo control about half-way through.
The wire-in-tube (WIT) method I used worked very well and is shown to the right.
The mechanism is relatively easily fabricated and the cover is removable with one screw to allow easy adjustment of the point blades at the fascia.
It will handle a second wire to allow push/pull operation of 2 points in a crossover.
If there is any interest, contact me and I will add a section on the design and fabrication of the WIT method and the fascia mounted lever frames..
I changed to servo operation for the following reasons:
with this type of mechanical operation, control panels would not be able to operate the points (there are 4 mini panels on the layout).
the system selected allows precision adjustment of each point blade; variable speed of movement; position indication
servos can be installed from the top of a 50mm (+) foam layout
points can be controlled from a central position; a local panel; by a computer; as a route by changing many points at once and other options.
the system I use is based on the UK MERG model. Circuits vary from simple to complex.
Plus – I like working with electronics.
MERG sells kits for the above 2 projects and they cost just £1.55ea +postage from the UK for MERG members. Almost all of the more sophisticated CBUS kits are based on professionally manufactured Printed Circuit Board (PCBs) and usually kits of the necessary parts are available or you can buy the parts locally.
There are other alternatives:
The device shown to the right is a ” MegaPoints Controller” by a UK company and could be very good for those people not confident in building PCBs themselves. I have not used it or seen it in operation but it comes ready to connect to 12 servos and has 12 corresponding switch inputs. Here is their Website and here is a YouTube Demo There are 2 videos in sequence. Cost is said to be £50 in the UK.
I also notice that DCC Concepts have an “above board” system that looks interesting for someone not interested in a DIY approach – Cobalt SS.
Since my layout uses foam sheets as a trackbed, there is a need to drill holes, often many of them, through the foam.
The drill used is made from a piece of metal tube. I use brass tube which does the job and is available in in a variety of appropriate diameters (eg. K&S). I use two main sizes:
6mm for track feeders and points (turnout) wiring.
12mm for mounting Servos in foam
+ 10mm for other odds and ends
You could use aluminium tube but it doesn’t hold its edge well. Steel tube would work well if you could get the size.
Not actually how to fix a hernia! but more about how to ease the problem of working under a fixed layout.
With advancing age it becomes increasingly difficult to work under the layout. There are some alternatives such as tilting or fold-up layouts but they have disadvantages. I didn’t want a portable layout so my layout is screwed to the walls and supports. The layout height is 1020mm (3’4″) with a floor to head clearance of 840mm (2’9″) under the layout. Having the seat close to the floor was mandatory.
So I had to figure out a way to work with at least some comfort under the layout. I tried a very low stool on rollers but on my lino floor it was just too prone to sliding around (rocketing around might be a better explanation) and had no back support. The back support is what I need along with a stable base.
A light weight lifting flap (entry panel) to make getting into and out of the Layout Room easier than ducking under. Especially for an around-the-wall layout and useful for geriatrics!
The panel has an electrical interlock which cuts all power some distance
either side of the panel when it is raised a few millimetres. That still doesn’t cater for person who attempts an “underpass” but rises a little early, distributing locos etc. onto the floor. I think a mechanical interlock is the next project!
Also see the section on “Laying Track Across the Join” Yet to be added.
This section explains the important step of reinforcing (or stressed skinning) the 1″ (25mm) foam sheet to give it tensile strength on the bottom surface. The top is not such a problem as the extruded foam seems to have reasonable compressive strength.
This technique borrows from bridge building and surf board building techniques – remembering that our loading is occurring primarily from the top. You can also use it on 2″ foam to allow increased distance between the supporting battens.
I am assuming that you are not going to be walking around on the top of the layout! Having said that, I have stood on the layout by placing strategic wide pieces of plywood on distributed spacers between the tracks and close to the edges.
No hi-tech tools here! You may need to thin the PVA with water just a little to help spread it. Re-coat if doubtful.
When it is completely dry, cut around the edges with a sharp knife. The reinforced surface will be the bottom!
Then glue the sheet in place with PVA. (No, this is not an advert for Valvoline!)
The reinforced side is down (up in the photo) and and the assembly rests on a flat surface to keep the top true. I then glued the battens and all the support timbers to the bottom of the foam and to the supporting structure so no screws were needed.
Shown below is a test run I did in 2008 when I lived at Bensville (I tend to live in places with strange names). It was a test track for both DC and DCC which fitted on the bar in our lounge room. It vaguely reflects the track layout (considerably condensed) used at Oberon in the Central West of NSW when I lived nearby at Hazelgrove. The latter was a station on the now closed/ suspended railway from Tarana to Oberon. A model of the mighty Hazelgrove station will feature on Kalrail layout (later to be re-named “Brolgan Road”).
I couldn’t resist adding this photo of Hazelgrove Station posed on a temporary diorama. Yet to be finished and weathered.
The underside of the test track shows that 1″ foam has been coated with muslin and fitted with a light weight frame. The ugly blocks on the right were added to help it fit on the bar which was a bit narrow. It is 2m long, 58cm wide and weighs 4kg. Could be made much lighter with thinner timber and no ugly blocks.
Could be a neat way to take a 2m x 1/2m layout to a display. Carry it in one hand.