Old style control planels and electronics

traingeekboy May 19, 2017

  1. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    I need help. It's hard to find older 70's style examples of how people controlled their trains.

    Since the appearance of DCC a lot of the control systems are more geared toward computer sreens and hand held interfaces. I really want to see things that look more like what a real railroad would have used in the 50's to 70's.

    I am curious about control panels that look like CTC panels.

    or, train detection using older tech like relays and such.

    Pictures greatly appreciated. :)
     
  2. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    Like this?

    [​IMG]
     
  3. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    HA HA that is so awesome!

    Yes, I am ok with this kind of design. :D
     
  4. Eagle2

    Eagle2 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Where is that from?
     
  5. Eagle2

    Eagle2 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    You might try picking up some older issues of Model Railroader. A lot of the times hobby stores have them real cheap, and you can find issues from decades back.
     
  6. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    It's from the Northlandz layout in Flemington, NJ and it's open to the public.
     
  7. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    Eagle2, I have a lot of old MR's. Kinda looking for different sources to see what else is out there.

    I am kind of a model train collector these days. DCC seems like less of an option. So I am regressing into a control system that would be similar to what most of my trains would have been run with back in the day.
     
  8. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    This was the panel on my 1980 layout using Arnold Rapido switch controllers (and track). I used simple plywood, green paint and white tape. Block control buttons were from Radio Shack.

    81-01 DSN I No Scenery.jpg
     
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  9. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    The older control method was referred to as cab control or block control.
    Insulated rail joiners or physical gaps cut into the rails divided the layout into multiple electrically isolated sections called blocks. An array of switches were then used to connect the power packs (or cabs/controllers) to each block.

    Here's the basic concept for one block:

    [​IMG]

    A CTC panel would be used to control the positions of turnouts and the aspects indicated by signals.
    A basic description of how such a panel operates is given here: https://www.logicrailtech.com/ctcdemo.htm

    Block occupancy detection can be accomplished in several ways by either sensing the power fed to the block or by optically sensing the physical presence of a train.
     
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  10. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Supporter

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    Geeky, I also had an elaborate DC block control panel for a fairly complex 8'x15' layout, similar to Hardcoaler's. Sadly, I can't find the photo(s) I took of that panel. Though I'll continue to keep looking.
     
  11. Mike VE2TRV

    Mike VE2TRV TrainBoard Member

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    Point353 - that looks straight out of Star Trek (just missing Scotty).:cool:

    This sucker (prototype) used to be in CP's Wellington tower:


    It was salvaged and restored, and set up at the Exporail museum. Who wants a computer screen when you can have this?:)
     
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  12. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    Some good images. Lots to think about here. I must admit I am a ways off from building a new layout, but I purchased a shed and plan to do some kind of passenger terminal inside the shed and long single track mainlines outside the shed running through the garden with passing sidings. I am hoping to get about 70 feet of mainline on this new layout, so it should be fun. Old layout is double track and about 47 feet for each oval.

    The general idea is to do some kind of chedule for the passenger trains and then have to run them over the mains stopping at smaller stations where the passing sidings are. The number of european locos I have already would preclude doing DCC. I have a DCC system, but I am more partial to having lots and lots of toggles to flip and some kind of indicator lights.

    I had been thinking something like a 12 pole toggle would help run power to track and also to signals and indicators on a panel.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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  14. jdetray

    jdetray TrainBoard Member

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    That's actually a 4-pole, double-throw (4PDT) center-off toggle switch. Nevertheless, it's quite a switch -- I've never actually seen one in person!

    - Jeff
     
  15. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I have two on my programming / test layout. They control which programmer (LokProgrammer, PR3, command station programming or mainline operations) is being fed to the programming track, along with outputs that control LED indicators, so that one can see at a glance what is selected.
     
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  16. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    I've also seen rotary switches being used for more than two cab systems. That is sort of appealing as well.
     
  17. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    Works for me. They're available with half a dozen or more positions. I get one more than I need (four throw switches for three cabs) and attach nothing to one set of contacts, so I'll have an 'off' position.

    They're easy to use, but not as easy as toggles or rockers. I use toggles on the main line away from the yard for the quickest possible selection, and rotary switches in the yard where the third cab is needed.

    In the engine facility, I combine a rotary switch with SPST toggles slaved to it. The double pole, multiple throw rotary controls the whole area, while the simpler, cheaper toggles cut off the power coming from that rotary switch and going to one rail of each individual parking spot. So I can cut power under the engine I park and power up another roundhouse stall without touching the rotary switch and my cab selection. This is not only a saving of control panel space and a little money, it's nice because locomotives can 'jump' a little (and trains on the main can 'stumble' a little) as you rotate a rotary switch past an active circuit on the way from 'off' to 'Cab C'.
     
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  18. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Once again a dollar short and day late.

    I don't know if this following link will answer your original question. Here's a link: Control Panels

    You'll find several How-To's from some of the best in the hobby and then there's mine. (y)
     
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  19. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

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    @traingeekboy and everyone I'll be using the good old block control method as well. Given that my layout will be so long, (about 50 feet), it is going to be an interesting challenge.
     
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  20. Josta

    Josta TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks Barstow Rick.

    My Gulf & Pacific layout is also cab control with four throttles and toggle/rotary switches that Barstow Rick is very familiar with. It really does feel more like railroad operations having to flip switches to keep the train moving along. Here's a picture of the panel; the knobs along the top are for the turnouts.

    John

    [​IMG]
     
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