Servo control manufacture choices

videobruce Sep 14, 2021

  1. freddy_fo

    freddy_fo TrainBoard Member

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    From what I can tell those Octopus III's would have done everything you wanted. You just tap into the 3 conductors of the SPDT control switch for the bi-color LED. Not sure of the polarity without looking through the manual but looking at the Tam Valley control switch that is what they did using a servo Y connector with one end going to the switch and the other to the LEDs.

    I have 3 of the Octopus III's yet to be installed along with the aligner tool. If the ESU units go on sale before I start my layout I'll likely sell the ones I have and get the ESU's.
     
  2. videobruce

    videobruce TrainBoard Member

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    Now, that's better.
     
  3. videobruce

    videobruce TrainBoard Member

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    freddy_fo;
    You are correct. I researched those thoroughly (for the most part) many years ago, after the fact I discovered a problem with one unit I tested. By inadvertently touching the jumper pins to switch from toggle to pushbutton, it caused a fail in most functions in the controller starting out with the inability to use pushbuttons. Hard to describe all of it, but the thing was toast. Making the others suspect and the fact I was one short. I sold the rest and partially cu
     
  4. freddy_fo

    freddy_fo TrainBoard Member

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    I suspect on the ESUs it is a ground sensing circuit rather than powered for the manual switch inputs which is why it needs only be momentary.

    Although it'd be more work to install a micro switch at the turnout it would give a true indication of turnout position.

    The reason I like the ESU is that you can set the SwitchPilot to deenergize the servo once it has reached it's travel endpoint. This would save greatly on the wear and tear of said servo over time as well as eliminate the buzzing that some of them make when they are driven to the endpoint and holding the current position. Usually you can tune that noise out but some servos can be real finicky where one day they work fine and the next that danged buzzing returns lol.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2021
  5. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    That is why I have the momentary pushbutton switch to use with the simple circuit I'm using. The controllers and servo are only under power while the switch is being pushed. You can put together the servo, controller and control panel switching with LED indicators for under $8.00...

    http://1fatgmc.com/RailRoad/Servo Control/Servo Control-Index.html

    With that being said and after looking at the ESU product it isn't bad at about $7.00 per turnout for the control part alone. If I wanted to throw the turnouts with DCC switch commands I'd for sure look at it and it has servo speed control and one button panel control which I don't have. $7 a turnout plus a couple more dollars for a servo and switches and it isn't a lot more than what I'm spending. If you can't 3D print a mount....

    http://1fatgmc.com/RailRoad/Servo Control/page-12.html

    .... or build one by another means then of course the cost is going to go up even more but as far as control goes without ever having one it appears to do the job at a reasonable price.

    Sumner
     
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  6. videobruce

    videobruce TrainBoard Member

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    How much is this SwitchPilot 3? Their web site shows no prices at all marks or Euros or dollars. :unsure:
    More important; is this only for DCC which I don't have??
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2021
  7. freddy_fo

    freddy_fo TrainBoard Member

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    They can be had for around $65 apiece. Just search "ESU switchpilot 3" and retailers should show up in the results.

    Yes, it allows for the option of switch inputs rather than DCC control. Go to https://www.esu.eu/en/downloads/instruction-manuals/digital-decoders/ then locate the Switchpilot 3 manual and download. Page 24 discusses how to connect/control with switches for non DCC use.
     
  8. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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  9. freddy_fo

    freddy_fo TrainBoard Member

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    With the V2 there is no option to program except with a DCC command station or the Lokprogrammer based on what I read in that manual. I thought about that one at first but since the condition is no DCC to program it I didn't suggest it. The V3 has onboard programming using 3 buttons and a mini OLED screen so one can set it up and run it without any additional equipment.
     
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  10. CSX Robert

    CSX Robert TrainBoard Member

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  11. CSX Robert

    CSX Robert TrainBoard Member

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  12. videobruce

    videobruce TrainBoard Member

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    In that price range, MegaPoints at $73 is a better buy; 12 servos, not eight.
    That apparent older version is even more expensive; 3x $30 for 12 servos.

    According to this it looks like one need 2 pushbuttons per servo to make this work which rules that out even more and how does one set end points w/o DCC there's nothing about that mentioned on that page;

    SwitchPilot 3 direct switching.png
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2021
  13. videobruce

    videobruce TrainBoard Member

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    What Sumner proposes may be a possibility, but not in the DIY state it is now. For a small layout with 5 or maybe 10 turnouts, but with 60 TO's it's a non starter. RTR, not DIY. ;)

    That Berrett Hill controllers in Maryland at $35 each for 8 servos seems the best choice thou there is a issue with the control end (toggles) he was working on if you don't use his "Touch Toggles".

    He also has a routing controller for $60 he just introduced which is less then the MegaPoints at $108 thou only 8 servos, not 12;

    https://www.berretthillshop.com/store/products/matrix-controller/
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2021
  14. CSX Robert

    CSX Robert TrainBoard Member

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    It's explained in section 6 of the manual - "Configuration with OLED" (starting on page 14).
     
  15. freddy_fo

    freddy_fo TrainBoard Member

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    Not trying to convince to go this route but you don't need two pushbuttons so I feel compelled to correct that. You need only an SPDT pushbutton switch per servo. The light gray wire in the diagram is common and is electrically the same across all the lower pins. You wire the common of the SPDT switch to one of those pins then the switched outputs to the corresponding A/B pins for the servo # it is to control. The manual does describe how to set endpoints with the OLED programming. I would not have said it was so if it wasn't in there.
     
  16. videobruce

    videobruce TrainBoard Member

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    Understood, but w/ a SPDT center off, that won't show turnout position w/o the LED's which I decided not to install from my original plan due to additional wiring complexity under the panel. (it's too crowded as it is :()

    BTW; the SPDT center off did cross my mind)
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2021
  17. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    Time wise 30 minutes or less will do it for both the components you need to control a servo (non DCC and no control over the servo throw speed). If you started assembly line type builds probably even less time. 20 easy evenings ought to get you there :)

    I've made over 40 hand-laid turnouts (and will make more). 60 of the controllers would take far less time than that took but I realize some aren't retired or have no interest in making any of this as their interests are probably in a different area. I like making things but also buy plenty of ready to use items :) so understand if someone wants to buy a ready to go product.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    .... wiring the switch control (or panel control), show above and the controller is basic wiring. The wiring is straight forward using simple components (DPDT switch, LEDs or bi-polar LED, pushbutton switch, resistor and a SPDT slide switch (optional).

    [​IMG]

    The servo controller is even simpler. One only adds two wires and the pot to the $1.50 servo controller. The DPDT switch shown further above and the controller can control the distance the servo throws in both directions.

    For less than $8.00 and a little time...

    [​IMG]
    http://1fatgmc.com/RailRoad/Servo Control/page-2.html

    ... you can control a servo.

    More on the above ( HERE ) along with a video here ( )

    Sumner
     
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  18. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    Back to the ESU cheaper 51822. I found the following on Bryan's SBS site

    ( https://store.sbs4dcc.com/ESU51822SwitchPilotServoDCCAccessoryDecoderV2.0.aspx ).

    I haven't read the actual manual instructions but to me it looks like you can use the controller with switches and exclude DCC from being needed.

    ================================================

    ESU SwitchPilot Servo V2.0, Model Number 51822

    Modes of operation

    The SwitchPilot Servo can be used with DCC or Motorola® protocols. It is compatible with the DCC norm and reacts to switch commands
    .............
    .............
    .............
    Analog operation

    The Switch Pilot Servo would not be a typical ESU product, if it had not even more to offer: You can operate the decoder without the use of a command station! Conventional switches can be controlled with the help of eight switch inputs. Therefore fans of “classic” analog model railway can benefit from the advantages of the servo motor. In other words: the SwitchPilot Servo does not need a command station to switch and set servo paths as well as speed.

    Comments?

    Sumner
     
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  19. CSX Robert

    CSX Robert TrainBoard Member

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    Yep, I guess I was wrong, I double checked the manual and the Switchpilot Servo V2.0 can be used without a DCC system.
     
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  20. chinapig

    chinapig TrainBoard Member

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    Hi,
    I've mentioned this European product before but it's relevant so I'll do so again.

    https://www.arcomora.com/dccnext/

    The DCCNext will control a maximum of 16 DCC controlled servos for a cost of either €16 (assemble yourself) or €27 (pre-built), plus postage of course. It's Arduino based but programmable through a list of multiple-choice questions. As each of the 16 ports is separately configurable, it can also be set up to control 8 servos leaving 8 ports to control relays to change the frogs. Another alternative would be 5 servos, 5 frog relays and 5 control push-buttons leaving 1 port spare.
    I must have about 70 turnouts controlled using these devices and am very happy. Controlling servos using Arduinos is not new - what makes this different is the ability to set it up easily through the series of multiple-choice questions.

    Cheers, Ted
     

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