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My Little Railroad Buddy

Layout Progress Report 1/17/2009

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In This Report
  • Halland Yard "Bungalow" Progress
  • A Wiring Evolution
  • A Panel For BDL168 and PM42
  • Desktop lighting
Bungalow Progress

The removable turnout control module has been equipped with 4 DS64s.

I built a removable panel for DS64 modules. I wired Halland yard tortoise motors to RJ45 jacks. I affixed an iron-on veneer to the drawer edges. And I've installed a panel just outside of the bungalow for anchoring disconnects from track occupancy modules.

A Wiring Evolution

I've been in a two month battle over how to wire these DS64s. My basic strategy is to provide a way to wire tortoise motors to DS64s to control panel. Each element needs to be easily disconnected from the other. My focus has been on centering the disconnects in the vicinity of the DS64s. The problems have mostly revolved around selecting the right type and arrangement of connectors to do the job. I've tried:
  1. Barrier Strips

    They were too bulky. They were a pain to wrap wire around and I didn't want to crimp a bunch of spades to individual wires. I abandoned them pretty early on.
  2. Eurostyle Terminals with Molex connectors

    This seemed to be the golden solution. The eurostyle terminals work great with 22ga wire and Molex .062 series connectors looked sleek. Still I encountered several problems.
    1. The Molex connectors are expensive.
    2. I wanted a 16 terminal connector, but couldn't get one. I settled for a 12 terminal connector, and decided to use telecom splice connectors to wire the commons together.
    3. I got confused which wire was supposed to go where.
    4. I couldn't come up with a suitable solution for strain relief on the molex connectors. I tried different combinations of tape, but I always felt like I was going to rip one of the wires out of its terminal.
  3. Eurostyle Terminals with RJ45 Connectors
    This seemed to be the best solution. RJ45 connectors were less likely to confuse me. I'm working with four conductor tortoise feeds so each RJ45 jack feeds two tortoise motors. They also seem to handle strain better than the Molex connectors.

    The main problem I ran into with this combo was bulk. I couldn't figure out where to mount the RJ45 jacks. The top of the DS64 was pretty much covered by eurostyle screw terminals to feed the control panel.
  4. RJ45 Connectors, No Panel Connection

    This is where I am now. I had contemplated going with RJ45 connectors feeding the tortoise motors and the panel. Then I got a little money sense. For the price of an extra 2 RJ45 jacks and mounts x 8 DS64s, its cheaper to buy a mini-panel like an SRC8.
A Panel For

The PM42 panel built around a decora style light switch cover.

The BDL168 panel built around a decora style light switch cover.

Desktop Lighting

12" fluorescent lights beneath Halland Yard for desktop lighting.

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Updated April 10th, 2009 at 04:46 AM by gregamer

Layout Progress Reports , DCC & Electronics


  1. gregamer's Avatar

    Iron on veneer for drawer edges.

    I picked up a 7/8" roll at Home Depot a long while back. You cut strips close to fitting, apply with a hot iron, then trim the excess. The adhesive is not perfect, but it does ok, I have a couple of ends rolling up.
  2. MP333's Avatar
    I've used that drawer edge stuff before, really makes for a nice neat look and installation.
  3. gregamer's Avatar
    I wired up the PM42 panel.

    Next Step - test it.
  4. gregamer's Avatar
    I used Molex .062" series female terminals to make a good mechanical connection to the edge connector before soldering.

    The opposite side of each wire is fitted with a spade crimp terminal.
  5. gregamer's Avatar
    OK. I've really vacillated on this issue. I've decided again to wire my Halland bungalow panel using the DS64s input connections and LEDs in seried with tortoise motors.

    Wiring a DS64 for panel connections stage 2

    I had decided upon using an SRC8 mini-panel, but determined I just didn't have the space to cram one more component into my 22"L x 6"W x 5"H drawer that is already stuffed with 4 DS64 decoders, 4 surface mount RJ45 keystone jack housings, a Digitrax Zephyr, and all of the associated wiring. It comes down to a clearance issue.

    So instead I've crammed in 4 12 position eurostyle terminals & 4 more surface mount RJ45 keystone jack housings.

    The wiring is based on my diagram: DS 64 Wiring Schematic

    I've stuck a pair of LEDs in series with Tortoise #45 for testing. It does look cool to see the LED dim while the Tortoise is transitioning and then come on full brightness when the transition stops. I can see why people like that effect.


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