Proof of concept - turnout control.

DD99 Jul 10, 2018

  1. DD99

    DD99 TrainBoard Supporter

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    In readings the advice is to do a small layout, before attempting a room size. Makes sense. I have an HCD started, but also want to hook up a turnout with the electronics. The intention for any turnouts not manually controlled is to have both fascia control and computer control. Here's a start on a test turnout.

    I'm using PECO electrofrog Code 55 and modifying the wiring, not without anxiety.
    Tam Valley electronics:
    servo driver Octopus III with stationary decoder add on
    Servo switch with snap switch
    red/green fascia controller

    I've drawn their fascia controller mount in Sketchup and printed it on a Makerbot Replicator II, the yellow parts in the photo.

    I'm using 1" or deeper foam glued to 1/4" birch plywood, so using same for this.

    I'm waiting for a resistance solder unit to do the soldering on the bottom of the turnout. I've done power feeds with a regular soldering pencil but for this delicate wiring I bit the bullet on the resistance solder unit.

    20180702_210306 lr.jpg
    20180707_091901 lr.jpg
    20180710_090603 lr.jpg
     
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  2. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Wow, that looks fantastic! Mine will be a smallish DC road, so will have one old skool master panel control. I'll be using Kato Unitrack and will build a capacitive discharge circuit for each turnout. I've built and tested several circuit designs and have chosen this prototype with an DPDT toggle and green and yellow LEDs. The final build will have everything mounted in a black laminate panel.

    2018-04-16 001 Turnout Controller - for upload.jpg
     
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  3. DD99

    DD99 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Nice. Will you have one discharge circuit be the source for all the switch motors?

    Are you figuring on a black fascia as well? I'm not overly fond of black, but it seems the most common.
     
  4. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you. Yes, I'll need to make one discharge circuit for each turnout. The top photo shows what my panel will look like (with Kato power pack residing in the center). Block controls will be on the left panel and turnout controls on the right. No holes have been drilled in the laminate in the top photo.

    The bottom photo shows the interior of the turnout panel with holes. In the photo, I'm just beginning to think through the layout of my terminal strips. I mounted the laminate to 1/8" plywood for strength, but the resulting thickness made backdrilling each hole necessary. This leaves each hole the perfect depth for LED and toggle switch mounting, yet retains a stiff and durable panel. The block panel will be much simpler, with toggle switches only.

    I'd have preferred dark green panels, but I was able to secure a nice and inexpensive surplus piece of flat black laminate at a local cabinet shop, so went with it.

    2018-06-08 DS&N Control Panel - for upload.jpg
    2018-07-08 DS&N Control Panel - for upload.jpg
     
  5. DD99

    DD99 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Niiiice. I thought you could get away with just one or two discharge units, but looks like they are pretty simple and not too expensive. Look forward to seeing the completed wiring.
    I'm inspired to start drilling holes in my tester...
     
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  6. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    The circuits are indeed pretty simple. The only thing that varies is capacitor values, depending on the number of turnouts that one controller will handle, like two on a passing siding or four on a double crossover. To save space and simplify wiring within the panel, I'm planning to place the capacitors at the turnout locations. I experimented with this and the caps are happy wherever they are placed.

    Your 3D print parts will likely save you a ton of time and your components look perfect. I had to precisely drill 72 holes in my turnout panel, then backdrill them all with a Forstner bit and it about drove me nuts! :eek:
     
  7. DD99

    DD99 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Indeed, precise drilling 72 holes... A forstner has a little pilot, right? Hard to keep stable?
     
  8. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    You're correct -- in the center of the bit is a tiny centering point. The first 72 holes I drilled were tiny, drilled by hand with a pin vise. This provided precisely spotted holes to reference for all drilling.

    To keep everything perfect for the next steps, I lifted the work to the bit and when the tiny Forstner centering point fell into the tiny hole, I lowered the bit and work to the drill press deck. THEN I turned on the power. With this, everything stayed perfectly aligned.

    Lastly, I used a 1/4" brad point bit using the same technique, with its tiny centering point in the tiny hole.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I made four panels knowing that I'd mess up and need spares. It was a wise choice. :)
     
  9. DD99

    DD99 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Meticulous, as you'll need to be once you start wiring! Building 4 panels was smart, so much easier than building 1, blowing it, building 2, etc.
    You'll be using a schematic diagram on the top of the panel?

    I've mounted the controller and electronics and did a test of the unmounted servo. Works great. I'll post a bit of a video, but I need to edit it first.

    Here's what I'm pondering this morning, hence my question re: schematic. Seems to me I'll need a schematic and panel for this portion of the layout:

    upload_2018-7-11_5-59-24.png

    The benchwork will be built as one piece, but the surface in two sections for easy building on my workbench and moving it on and off the benchwork. One advantage of having no powered turnouts in the second section is I won't need a way to unplug the turnout wiring between the sections.
    Unfortunately, this is 9 powered turnouts (counting the 2 - 3 ways. The Octopus III powers 9. I'll need another octopus on the other side of the backdrop for Seaforth, so I'll need to switch one turnout from it.

    (you can see the full layout at http://www.trainboard.com/highball/...s-instead-of-loops.116105/page-3#post-1059284)
     
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  10. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    I'll simply number my turnouts and letter my blocks; I provided space above each controller for 1/4" tall lettering. I like your recognition of "reach", as it matters greatly when uncoupling too. Your diagram is excellent and I'm glad that your testing went well. Looking forward to seeing your video!

    My block "lettering" will respect railroad telegraph heritage and be easy to reference. As an example, mainline blocks will be marked with call letters such as "OE" for Outside East (outermost loop to the right), "IW" for Inside West (innermost loop to the left) and such. This worked well on my previous road. Numbered turnouts will remain a bit of a pain, but my old road had small numeric markers by each turnout (as seen below) and they worked well. Though I may have to make them a bit larger now, given my aging eyes. ;)

    2015-02-12 Switch Motor Success.jpg
     
  11. DD99

    DD99 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Nice scene! Numbered turnouts a good idea, a lot easier than trying to infer from names or schematic.

    You'll see in the bottom pic, a clip from the video, the fascia mount. Looking at this, I figure I'll remove the switch assembly (centre screw) and spray paint the fascia and the mount all in one go. That way the screws and everything will be the same colour.

    Do you know the easiest way to share video?
    20180710_204636 lr.jpg Sequence 01.Still001.jpg
     
  12. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Videos must be uploaded it to a website, then the link shared using the "motion picture film" icon in the black bar above your post. Most people seem to choose YouTube, but Vimeo, Facebook and a few others will also work.

    Your set up also looks easy to service if needed. What kind of power supply are you using?
     
  13. DD99

    DD99 TrainBoard Supporter

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  14. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Good video -- the motor movement is butter smooth and the controller/display is perfectly scaled to the task. I too like to think through ergonomics when I design things -- durability, angles of viewing and use, visibility, safety, ease of build and serviceability. Oh, and economics and available tools take a large stake too! It's satisfying to start from scratch and end up with a result custom-suited to the situation. You'll have a lot of fun working your install.
     
  15. DD99

    DD99 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Thanks! I'm really looking forward to getting started on that first section, maybe a couple of months.

    I partly do useability analysis for work, so ergonomics is high on my list. As per your comment re reach, reaching back to uncouple at the warehouse on the backdrop is going to be the hardest, esp. N scale and old eyes... It's 24". I'd like to put an auto uncoupler on that siding, but scarce for N.

    Did you get a look at the trackage? I'm no expert layout design and don't want to build something I have to change later...
     
  16. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    It looks like a lot of switching fun to me. You're provided run-arounds so that each end of the train can be worked if needed and I like the traditional house track to the right of the passenger station. You mentioned use of auto uncouplers and that's something that I never thought about. I'll have a spur that would benefit from that. I should invest in this Kato Unitrack piece to see how well it might work. I can maybe camouflage it as a highway crossing.

    upload_2018-7-12_9-44-1.png
     
  17. DD99

    DD99 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Thanks for the track comments. House track for an old style baggage car as office... Just like the look of them.
    That coupler is a good idea. Maybe the plastic ballast could be removed? I'm still hoping for an electromagnet remote uncoupler, but there doesn't seem to be one for n scale. I've emailed Rapido to see if their HO one would work, but don't imagine it will or they would have said on their product page. Seems to me an even more important product for n scale given the small size for manual uncoupling...
     
  18. Joe D'Amato

    Joe D'Amato TrainBoard Member

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    [​IMG] About as complicated a switch machine I can deal with LOL
     
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  19. DD99

    DD99 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Designing, or the use thereof? If use, before coffee in the morning I'd rather have a push button ;-) Coming to think of it, designing a finger isn't exactly uncomplicated either...
     
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  20. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    I think the Kadee 708 Electromagnetic Coupler will work for N, even though it's mostly marketed for HOn3. Might be worth some experimentation. Amp it up and perhaps also use it to collect errant hand tools scattered around the layout. :)

    https://kadee.com/htmbord/page708.htm
     

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