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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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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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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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Apologies, now a little bit out of synch, I missed the 'edit-window'!

Here is the promised Roco turnout picture



What is so admirable is that the solenoids are so very neatly and completely concealed beneath the track bed, yet need NO cutout in the baseboard. I find this principle very appealing, in permitting small positional mistakes to be easily corrected, without hacking any holes in wood or having to fill the mistakes in again. It can save much wasted labour time and encourages experimentation in arriving at the ideal, desired result.
 

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Yes, John, that is HO and I think it's great!

This next bit is about Arnold, therefore is N-Gauge, but the principles seem good and useful for any scale.

Although many will know this material inside out, there will be others who have never seen it before, so I continue to add to this informative thread.

Here is a scanned diagram of Arnold's End-Off solenoid wiring, which is built in to their turnouts.
The principle is that the remote electrical control switches no longer need to be momentary contact, as the power is automatically cutoff by the electrical switch in the turnout itself. This enables the still powered remote electric switch to fulfill other electrical functions as shown in the diagram following this one.



This diagram shows how the Arnold remote switch is directionally illuminated.
(Don't be concerned by the squiggly little 'thingy' just to the left of the solenoid case - it is only the mechanical linkage from the solenoid to the turnout.)


This diagram expands the previous one in showing how colour light signals can be included with the remote switch directional indicator.


I must confess that although I fully understand 'end-off' electrical switching, I am still confused as to how, at the same time, "current can continue to flow", illuminating the remote switches and colour light signals, without flipping the turnout back the way it was before the button was pressed!

While requiring a little more thought and work, Doug's suggestion that route indication may be better served by separate power circuitry, I find that a good deal easier to understand than Arnold's method. Having said that, there is no doubt that Arnold's system worked, so I guess I'd better concentrate my mind a little more!

I would just add that I always thought Arnold's track looked horrible, the turnouts looked even more horrible and the external, surface mounted solenoids added one more touch of horribleness! So I never bought any.
But the electrical principles appeared to be ingenious.
 

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I just fell over another slow acting turnout motor!
This one is a Hoffman from Aspenmodel
QUOTE Motor driven with slow throwtravel, reliable and robust, suitable for all scales. Pressure is maintained to keep the point in position, there is no need to use latching turnouts (like Peco). For analog operation with track polarity contacts and automatic shut-off. Even with simultaneous touching of right and left control buttons, there is no contact burning. With sliding contacts (instead of the previous impact contacts) By this arrangement, function and durability have been improved. With a minimum lifetime durability of 100,00 switch operations. Lenght: 2,75 inch Hight: 0,83 inch, width; 094 inch. Current draw: 0,05 Ampere. Throwtravel: 5/16", Throwtime: approximately 1 second.
€9.95
 
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