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Baseboards and electrics

5556 Views 19 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Dennis David
Those at the point of locating their new layout, producing baseboards, and wiring the layout up, could certainly take a look at Brian Lambert's website. Brian has only very recently updated it and has now included a lot of infomation about baseboard construction, location and electrical wiring. Brian promises to keep us up to date with progress of his new layout. Its all very useful information:-

Happy modelling
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As a newcomer I have just started to electrify my hornby points. The first attempt was not entirely successful. I have no problem with electrics. The problem is that the point motor (Hornby) would not operate the point in one direction, the motor worked fine by itself but when connected to the point using the extender, no joy. I am running the point supply from an old Hornby controller. At the moment, operating points works to some degree but not very positively. I cannot mount the motors under the board as a lower track runs directly underneath, neither can I attach directly to the points as rolling stock fouls both motors. It appears that there is limited force available from the solenoids and if these see a point which is slightly stiffer than normal they baulk. Any advice would be welcome.

There are point motors that can just about open and close a garage door.
Let me see if I can turn something up this weekend. But I think one of several American companies may be able to fit the bill. The problem is of course that often the stronger the motor the bigger the motor. You might be able to rig some wire contraption and hide the motor in a hut. Shame you have no room under the layout.
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A capacitor discharge unit is very cheap, easily fitted and certainly gives extra whoomph.
Are you using the latest design of Hornby point or is it an older version?

By older version I mean any Hornby point with a switch box at the side.

Happy modelling
Good site and full of usefuel tips which i will read all of later on. (Heading to the Barrow Hill open weekend in a few mins - I am aware that it is 7:19am as well.

Not sure if anyone can answer this but what i'm going to do is to try and make any electrical connections on one baseboard, then simply bridge the gap using standard Hornby R600's. The theory goes that the weight of the baseboard on the carpet will hold the layout together.

Just need to try it now.
I would presume that the motor installed was in fact not properly carried out.
I have found that it is required to place the motor on the baseboard and attach the extender arm - one end to the motor and the other to the point (each have a nipple that fits perfectly to either end of the extender arm).
Before fixing permanently the motor assembly to the point - you are required to push the point motor rod fully home and checking that the point blade is touching tightly the outer rail - then again pull the point motor rod back until point blade is now touching tightly the inner point rail. Holding the point motor firmly, flick back and forwards several times the point motor rod, noting each time that the point blade is tightly touching in turn the point rails. On being satisfied that all is correct, then screw down the point motor assembly down on the base board. Check again and if satisfied, you are now ready for a worry free train running.
It is best to use a CDU as this unit gives a much cleaner operation, and reduces the chance of a point motor burn out through holding down the switch passing the voltage necessary to operate the point motor.
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QUOTE (double00 @ 15 Oct 2005, 14:15)It is best to use a CDU ... and reduces the chance of a point motor burn out through holding down the switch passing the voltage necessary to operate the point motor.

You've got just as much of a chance of burning out a point motor with a CDU as you do without one. It provides a momentary charge of high voltage power, but if you keep the switch closed it will still continue to feed the input voltage (typically 12v DC) to the motor and this will burn it out.

If you want to guard against motor burn outs you will need a circuit like the one below (presuming I've got the URL correct!), this will also enable you to use an ordinary Single Pole Double Throw or Double Pole Double Throw switch, so you can also tell which way the point is set by which way the switch is thrown.
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LisaP4 is correct in what he states and his circuit diagram of great value to the modeller.
However to just point out, that the switch has to be released to allow the voltage to pass and enable the capacitor to recharge to capacity and ready for the next operation of the points motor. Most CDU's have a sufficient capacitor charge for one motor operation at a time. New CDU's have two or more capacitors fitted in its circuitry, allowing more than one point motor to operate.
Use of "press for on" switches are to me the best as they are small in design and require to be released to enable the capacitor to recharge for the next operation and also safeguarding against a possibility of a point motor burn out. I have personally used this type of switch for years now, with no loss of point motors through burn outs.
less of the HIS and more of the HER would be appreciated please.

Also just to clarify things, in the diagram above you don't have to release the switch, the circuit is designed so that even with the switch permanently on the motor will only receive a short pulse of power when the switch is thrown, no more current can pass until the switch is thrown again.

With a CDU (or any circuit other than that shown) you will have to release the switch, to prevent burn outs and recharge the CDU as mentioned by double00.
LisaP4 has a good point. Please remember that although this wonderful hobby of ours may be dominated by men, there is an increasing number of women joining in. The trade needs to wake up to this fast!

LisaP4 you will probably know this, in using a SPDT switch (on/off) the voltage will remain on at the point motor terminal until such times as the switch is turned off and failure to do this can in fact cause a point motor burn out.
As I said previously, a better switch is a press for (on), as on releasing the switch small knob, immediately cuts off the voltage to the point motor and therefore safeguards against any possibility of a burn out to the point motor, and if use of a CDU, an immediate recharge of the capacitor
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It's not on-off that would be a single pole single throw, the switch shown is on-on SPDT. The switch is never turned off, the design of the circuit means that the motor will only receive a short pulse of power when the switch is thrown, no more current can pass until the switch is thrown again.
Basicly throwing the switch one way connects the capacitor to + and current flows through one side of the motor to charge the capacitor, once the capacitor is charged the current stops. Throw the switch the other way and the capacitor is connected to - and the capacitor discharges though the other side of the motor, once the capacitor is discharged current stops.

There is absolutely no way of burning the motor out with this circuit. Try it for yourself.
I have been wiring up point motors since 1986 and to this day, used two press for "on" switches ( to a point motor)- each switch has either a Red or Black coloured button and terminals wired to the + - + of the point motor. Another switch I use is a SP c/over "on/on". The only time I buy point motors is when I add further points to my layout - I can certainly say LisaP4, that I have never experienced a burnt out point motor.
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Thanks to all for the advice, I have just had a good look at the points setup, one was not quite lined up square, after adjustment it now works. I am using an old three position controller for a power supply, it has to be at full power to make the points work. I had three old train sets given to me so decided to utilise the controllers for points and lights.

Branchie: As a suggestion, you could buy a separate 16volt 1.5amps transformer solely to operate your point motors. I myself bought a suitable 16volt 1.5amps transformer. I found when using the point motors on my layout, it did slightly drained the other aspects of the controller while in use.
The controller has one or two transformers to feed either one or two variable rheostats and in addition the transformer has other tappings to feed 12v dc uncontrolled voltage and 16v ac as in most cases for supplying the point motors.
One must remember that most transformers fitted in the controllers are rated at 1amp Max - not much spare amps against overloading and cause to over heating.
Thanks Double00, I read somewhere that some of the older controllers were not suitable for point operation. My three spare DC controllers will be used solely for ancilliary items, the track is controlled by DCC, admittidly the Bachmann EZ job but when funds become available I shall upgrade to one of the all singing/dancing systems. However as you say it may be necessary to install a more robust DC supplier for the points.

Hi all
This is probably a bit late now as this topic has been ongoing for some while! Anyway, as far as I'm aware all commercially produced CDUs only allow a "One Shot" discharge all the while the switch, push button or probe (whatever) is remaining operated (closed). They don't receive another recharge until the switch etc is broken again. Hence, when a CDU is placed in circuit point motor burnouts are eliminated (Unless you're unlucky and have a defective motor coil anyway!) The supply for a CDU is normally anything between 16 and 24 volts ac or dc. Most people will use ac. The input current is often on the low side and therefore a low milliamp winding from the transformer can be used, as its the capacitor that stores the energy and becomes ready to give a hefty single pulse output when the point operating switch is finally closed. CDU's offer freedom from motor burnout due to sticky switches etc and can, when heavy duty units are employed, throw up to six or seven motors at once if need be. Though why so many being moved at once would be needed I cant really understand!

Best wishes to you all for Christmas and I hope 'Santa' will bring you the models you have wished for!
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It's curious that we don't hesitate to call a 'solenoid' a 'motor', even though they are actually quite different.
This can be very confusing for newcomers, especially when they eventually discover that turnouts CAN be powered by conventional rotating electric motors instead of solenoids!

There is an amazing amount of ambiguity and innate ability to confuse in model railways, probably the most common being the other terms used for turnouts - points and switches, which terms are also used for other purposes.

No wonder 'normal' people think modellers are strange!

With reference to the possible need for enough current to power several solenoids more or less simultaneously: this can become very important, in fact essential, when operating automated fiddle yards with several passing loops, most especially with double main line traffic. Every train entering its controlled passing lane will activate, at the very least, two turnouts, all on its own. In addition, you need to allow for the same thing happening at the same time in the opposite direction. So that involves an absolute MINIMUM of 4 simultaneous solenoid operations and that is completely discounting any other operations elsewhere on the layout. So, in this type of layout, it can be seen that the oomph to operate at least six solenoids simultaneously would be an absolute necessity. The juice to operate eight or even ten of them would be much better and highly recommended.

If I ever get my main N Gauge layout operational again, I seem to recall that it has a cluster of six hidden passing routes, plus another four in the main station and another two on a branch line. Plus a few dead-end sidings here and there. This takes quite a bit of juice to operate the solenoids effectively and and I installed a 16 volt AC transformer to power them exclusively, together with a capacitor discharge unit (CDU), which, later, had to be swapped for a bigger one because it couldn't handle the demand. The solenoids didn't burn out, the CDU did!

Because they don't need anything like this, branch line operators may not appreciate this particualr need, but I assure you it is true.
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QUOTE Best wishes to you all for Christmas and I hope 'Santa' will bring you the models you have wished for!

He better ... since I was his little elf!
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