Turnout controller for a senior

natsb Oct 5, 2016

  1. natsb

    natsb TrainBoard Member

    My 95 year old father wanted a train layout, so I made one for him.

    I am wondering if there is any experience out there concerning the best turnout control to use for someone with shaky hands?

    Right now I am looking at two options.

    The first is the Bullfrog manual turnout control. This control has a large handle that looks easy to use, but I am concerned about the durability of the plastic cable in a shaky hand.

    The second option is to use an electric motor (like turtle) controlled by large LED push buttons or push pull switch.

    I am all ears for any other options. Whatever will work for Dad is what I am willing to do.
  2. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    I would recommend going with some form of electronic control - not the Bullfrog. The Bullfrog's work well, but I have seen them pulled out of whack (by eager hands at a show).
  3. MarkInLA

    MarkInLA Permanently dispatched

    Not sure about other brands, but Atlas has powered switches with an expandable interlocking button control system. The motors on the solenoid-powered switches mount on top of table and very easy to hook up to the controllers (mounted on a panel at edge of layout) . These motors are grossly out of proportion and make a noticeable 'snap' sound when activated. But if neither of these matter to your dad, this is probably the easiest system to install and operate. I know this goes for Atlas HO, but not sure if exists for their N scale track.
    I believe you meant ' Tortoise' not 'turtle' switch motors. These are pricey and mount under the layout via linkage, but are silent and activate points slower. Further, if you are going to be running DCC as opposed to analog, there are digital switch control mechanisms which are operated with needing little to no additional wiring. Simple 'how to wire a model railroad' books can be found at train stores or on line.. And there are many videos in this forum which tackle this end of the hobby. Finally, unless dad wants a huge MRR, you can even buy already made layouts (how they are shipped is beyond me)..

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