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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need your help, I am building my first all singing, all dancing layout in 00 gauge that makes use of no less than 12 sets of points. i want to build some sort of light board so I can keep track of all of the point settings. there are 2 reasons for this, first i want to minimise the risk of short circuits and second i want to keep shunting operations as error free as possible. is there anybody out there who has done this before or would be able to design a wiring diagram that would work?
 

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Simple question:

Are you going to motorise the points?

David
 

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Hi parksie, welcome to the forum.

I am in the process of doing exactly what you have in mind too.

I have 3 main control areas to my new layout that is now under construction.

I have electric push-button point controllers that link up using DCC at each control post.

There will be a simple schematic at each post indicating the way that the points are set. I want this because the points can be changed by two types of controller (walkabout cab and fixed point switches), and by hand. The indicators on the switch boxes are not updated if another device switches the point or if it is done by hand.

So attached to the underside of each point-motor will be a Peco micro-switch that will be linked to a 3 volt circuit and a couple of LEDs. I'm using bi-colour LEDs that will indicate green for the through-route and red for the other section.

This should then nicely indicate the route available to the loco as it progresses through the section.
 

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thanks for your idea, I never thought about using microswitches. I was trying to come up with some sort of system using relays but your idea is now so obvious.

would i be able to use the microswitch method for point motors sited next to the track or do i have to have all of my motors underneath?

erm...this might sound a bit silly but where can i get peco microswitches from and how much are they? also,...exactly where would you put them on the motor and how would they be attached?

I have so many questions he he he
 

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I think that it is this one (PL-13) - I must go and check:


The switch sits under the pin that moves the point. You can extend the pin through the table top as long as you have a hole for it to move.

There is another type of switch (PL-33) wich can be used above the table if it is hidden in a hut or building.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
aha i see. you might of guessed by now that i am still a novice at this but i love challenges that is why i have gone for quite an ambitious layout. can you tell me of any pitfalls that i should really know about or stay clear of before i start to landscape?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
wow thank you. I have studied the diagram and it seems to fit my need perfectly. now all i have to do is produce the circuit 12 times lol
 

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I am not a great fan of that particular Peco switch. It is stiff in operation and consists of little more than a copper coated strip sliding back and forth. If you don't fancy going the whole hog for the more sophisticated Peco microswitch contraption (cost ~ £5) it occurs to me that you could mount one of this switches type next to the tie bar so that it gets flipped when the switch changes over. Peco do sell these switches in pairs (part number PL33) I think for about £3.00.

I had intended to fit motorise my points with Peco motors and the twin microswitch but the thought of cutting all those holes does not appeal, works out quite expensive and has a very "snappy" action. I spotted a Fulgurex motor in the model shop I frequent and noticed that when you add in the cost of the microswitches, it works out a little cheaper. It only needs one small hole through the base board, has a slow action and comes with two SPDT switches as standard. The only downside is fitting it since you have to bend the activating wire "just so" under the baseboard. This, I have not yet attempted, so I don't know whether I am going to prefer it or not.

David
 

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David,

I am glad that you have introduced Fulgurex slow acting point motors into the discussion because I use them on my layout, as well as the very similar Lemaco type. It is cheaper to buy them in batches of 5 or 10 than to buy them indivually. I got mine from Kittle Hobbies, of Swansea, 01792 232508. You only need two wires to a Fulgurex, one will be a common return to all your point motors and the other goes to the other point motor terminal. Each point motor has four microswitches, two of which control the travel of the actuating rod. The other two are for you to use as you wish. You can use one for the live frog and the other for switching signals or interlocking with other points.

I supply about 12 volts AC to one side of a double pole switch through a pair of diodes so that one switch terminal gets positive volts and the other gets negative volts. By throwing the switch you reverse the polarity of the supply to the motor and it drives the actuation rod to the other end of its travel where it is stopped by another micro switch. I use the other side of the double pole switch to operate LEDs indicating the route set on a mimic diagram above my control panel. However it only shows where you have set the points, not where they really are, something to bear in mind.

This method of wiring provides half wave rectified power to the point motors. There is a more complicated method of wiring that uses two transformers and two bridge rectifiers. It provides full wave rectified power, which makes the point motors slightly less noisy.

The advantage of the Fulgurex system is that there is much less wiring, which is so important when you are building a portable layout with multi pin connectors or DIN plugs at the board joints.

Colombo
 

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Hi Guys,

I agree with dwb & Columbo - I, also have found the Peco switch to be unreliable - the more expensive one is better, but by the time you add up the cost of the point motor & additional switches you are getting near to the price of the Fugarex/Lemaco ones with all the advantages they have, smooth sloww action, no "clack" when operating (no CDU either !) & they are kinder to the point mechanisms.

Unfortunatly, IMHO Peco design & tooling is still in the 60/70's.

If you use solenoid type motors with "end-off" swiching you can use the Viessmann 4 gang switch (cat no.5549) it has momentry contacts & has red/green LED indication, it is also small & neat & a reasonable price.

best regards
Brian
 

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I was piecing my response together before the previous post. It sounds as though the Wiesssmann system is very similar to Arnold's, which I mention later. I must look at the Wiessmann system - it sounds very good.


But I'll post what I had prepared anyway


On similar lines to above, you might like to consider Fleischmann's rather neat switch and control system which gives a graphic indication of point settings without any complex electrics. Straight sections enable the build up of a rather neat schematic of your whole layout or just parts of it.

Here is Ontracks pic of a standard Fleischmann points switch


The complete Fleischmann range, suitable for both N and HO/OO is shown at
Ontracks Fleischmann control switch page

Arnold used to do something very similar but with lovely illuminated angled press buttons on their triangular switch units that gave the same effect, albeit at greater cost but with considerably more tech-cred! Unfortunately you don't get the lit up colour effect in this picture.


Acknowledgments Acme Locomotive Works

A full page on Arnold's electrics is provided at
Acme Locomotive Works

I have used the Fleischmann system and it's just fine.

Must go and find Wiessmann stuff now.
 

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I don't like twin coil switch machines even although I've used several types over the years. I changed over to Tortoise switch machines. These will run on an 12VDC down to 3V dc, have power routing built in and can be very easily adapted to use leds to indicate position. Their only drawback is their size which means leaving plenty of clearance if you build a two deck layout. With the addition of a Hare adaptor DCC route selection is made simple. Once you use them you won't go back to twin coils.

Ozzie21
 

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I'll second Ozzie21 on the Tortoise point motors. They are very good.

Solanoid type motors like Peco, Seep and Hornby etc; are a bit crude in my opinion.
The "SNAP" action is rather toy like and un-prototypical.

However, many modellers are happy to use them, even when they are sticklers for detail and accurracy elsewhere on their layouts.

I guess it's what you want or will put up with.
 

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There are, or can be, quite a lot of very important aspects to this one specialised part of the hobby, as soon as one graduates from that first single siding with its FREE finger operated turnout!

Appearance (does it actually make visual checks any easier), effectiveness (does it actually WORK), space (for power mechanisms), wiring complexity, ready availability and REASONABLE COST would all be important.

It seems that most if not all the best equipment is Germanic and thus very expensive. No kidding, I feel very strongly that it is ALL very over priced and that there may be a genuine opportunity for a cost conscious company like Hornby to set the cat among the pigeons with a sensibly priced but effective and logical control system - a system that could be applied to ANY make or scale of model railway (within reason!). They could do an awful lot worse than base a new range on the old Arnold products, but it would HAVE TO BE priced more affordably.
 

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Bad form to post twice in a row, but please forgive me as I have quite a bit to add.

In this one topic, it's absolutely great to see so many options being offered up for consideration, some of which readers may well never have heard of before. With a view to helping others to actually see more of what there is on the market, here is a direct link to the appropriate Wiessmann web page for the (electrical) switches previously mentioned.

Wiessmann 5549 Push button panel with feedback indicators.
Be prepared for a small delay - this is quite a large document.

Scroll down to its page 3 for Wiessmann's excellent schematic diagram.
It's interesting (in an expensive way!) to see that mechanical limit switch contacts are absolutely mandatory in the turnout mechanism (or its actuating mechanism) and that another module is required to incorporate colour light signals. In Wiessmann's favour, they very clearly state these important facts and the documentation on their website is very good indeed.

However, IMHO the system is complex and yet, even so, the push buttons still fail to give a clear visual indication of routing. This marks it well down in my book. I have yet to check their prices and may well refrain from doing so, as I value my stress levels!

Actually, I did eventually check and, although not exactly cheap, I have seen worse.

Here is their full price list in Euros.
Weissmann complete Price List

I also checked the price of Tortoise Switch Machines at around $15US, call it £9. That's in USA - I dread to think what they might cost in UK, where sources will probably be quite limited and therefore prices sky-high (and plus VAT). Of course, you will still need visually indicating electrical switches at nasty prices too. Incidentally, their description of 'switch machine' draws attention to how plain daft it is to call turnouts 'switches', with guaranteed confusion as to whether a 'switch' is a rail turnout, an electrical switch IN the rail turnout or some other electrical switch not in the turnout! Similar confusion can rage over the word 'points'.

This discussion really does make you think about the OVERALL cost of a powered turnout.
Additional to the turnout itself, is its actuating mechanism, its remote electrical switching mechanism, route indiication, plus wiring, working track signals and possibly switching of track power. Even then, I've probably forgotten something important! Hell, I dare not calculate the full cost of a properly powered and controlled turnout + track signal + switches and visual schematics now!

I do agree that solenoid actuation is very noisily violent - even moreso with the added and well-advised oomph from a Capacitor Discharge Unit. Nevertheless, that is what I use, on the basis of ready availability, COST and space requirements. I would much prefer (rotary) motorised actuation, but these are simply too expensive. Careful design should make it possible to effectively incorporate a mass produced, tiny motor costing only pennies to the manufacturer and all that is then needed is a simple gear-train, a group of simple, low-amp switches and a utilitatian chassis. Manufacture cost could be buttons IF efficiently designed and resourced (and a natural inclination to screw the punter is resisted!). Just for good measure, I'll add that even the Peco solenoids are too expensive, especially for the quality on offer. Yep - I'm a tightwad - and proud of it!

I expect this will be seen as heresy by some, but I personally see digital control as actually having much more potential value and utility for turnout and signal control with schematic route indication than for driving locomotives!
 

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Average prices for Tortoise motors in the UK are £12 to £13 inc. VAT, but if you shop around you should pay no more than £10 (and less for multiple purchases).
US prices are about the equivalent of £7.50 I think.

They have two switched outputs for signals, frog switching, control panel lights or whatever.

Expensive? yes!
Peco plus switches are cheaper but you are getting a lot more with the tortoise.
Plus no CDU required, saving some money.
Not much more expensive for a much better product (just my opinion).
As they say, "Yer pays yer money and yer makes yer choice!"

Other slow action point motors include kit made designs, Fulgurex, and a number of Continental European brands. I would like to explore some of these options myself.

For the "experimentor" there's Memory Wire; "stealth technology"
now that could be fun??

If solenoids are acceptable, then Seep make a good alternative to Peco.

If you want cheap prices, then you generally get cheap products.
More important to me is "value for money", so let's be thankful we have a range of options open to us.

The Viessmann range of products intrigues me. I have often wondered if I could employ some of their electronic modules. There's not much help online as they are largely unknown to UK modellers.
And yes, they are pricey!

As for control of points/switches/turnouts and route setting, I too would prefer the software approach using a PC and something like RailRoad & Co, but for now, that's a long distance aim.
 

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Re Columbo's post #11, I use a similar method with my Fulgerex motors, but use two separate small PSUs to give me the +/- 12 volts - advantage is you only need a single pole switche, not double pole and one wire from the switch to the point motor plus the one common OV wire. If you link the unused terminals of the two limit switches controlling the point motor this can be connected back by one wire to the control panel and through a resistor to two LEDs wired in parallel but opposite ways round. This gives you the actual position of the point motor as well as operation for only two wires. (For those not using DCC, anyway!)
Regards,
John Webb
 

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OakeyQUOTE The Viessmann range of products intrigues me. I have often wondered if I could employ some of their electronic modules. There's not much help online as they are largely unknown to UK modellers.
If you rake around the Wiessmann site, it seems to provide a lot of useful information with very good diagrams - in English and (some) French as well as the obvious German. Full marks to them for that. I suggest downloading every PDF they have for future reference! (and thanks to dbclass50 for setting Wiessmann on the table in the first place).

John
So good to get informed input from people with experience of the 'other' type of power - motors. When pointed out, it is so darned obvious, but it never occurred to me that one complete wire (per unit) could be dispensed with using this method - every little helps. I will look further into this system for my next layout, without a doubt. This is a VERY useful thread from a seemingly simple question.


I really would strongly recommend dear old Horny to look into this area, drawing on all the experience and history of their recent Continental acquisitions. As I recall, the Arnold system, as standard, provided constant feedback for those sexy little illuminated turnout indicators.

Though not the first to do it, Roco's under-track (but not under baseboard) solenoid system is admirable. I have a pic of it somewhere on the forum and I'll see if I can link it here also, before 'edit time' expires.
 
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