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Old 07-03-2019, 01:03 AM   #1
shaker281
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Ideas for switch box and panel?

I am thinking it would be nice to have a single panel with the switches for decouplers, coal dump cars, log loader, log dump car and other accessories like light towers. I think at least 6-8 momentary and 2-4 toggle/rocker switches for expansion purposes.

Does a good option exist pre-made and not too expensive? Or would anyone care to share what parts they used to create such a contraption? I figure a box/panel, some single pole momentary contact switches, some toggle/rocker switches (possibly with leds). Maybe something else I have not thought of?

I can cobble something together, but might not want to re-invent the wheel. Not looking for anything elaborate and off-the-shelf would be just fine too. At a minimum I would just like to replace the beat up AF switch boxes with a single unit.

Last edited by shaker281; 07-03-2019 at 10:06 AM..
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Old 07-03-2019, 05:51 AM   #2
flyernut
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shaker281 View Post
I am thinking it would be nice to have a single panel with the switches for decouplers, coal dump cars, log loader, log dump car and other accessories like light towers. I think at least 6-8 momentary and 2-4 toggle/rocker switches for expansion purposes.

Does a good option exist pre-made and not too exopensive? Or would anyone care to share what parts they used to create such a contraption? I figure a box/panel, some single pole momentary contact switches, some toggle/rocker switches (possibly with leds). Maybe something else I have not thought of?

I can cobble something together, but might not want to re-invent the wheel. Not looking for anything elaborate and off-the-shelf would be just fine too. At a minimum I would just like to replace the beat up AF switch boxes with a single unit.
I just use what came with the switch/accessory.. I would be embarrassed to show you a picture of what I have, lol.. AmFlyer is the man for this question..
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Old 07-03-2019, 06:54 AM   #3
Sagas
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Before starting a pannel there are a few questions I would ask myself:

- Is the layout pretty much set the way you want it for accessories, switches, and so on for running your wiring (buss lines & branches to accessories)?

- Do you have sufficient power to operate what you have plus more later on (dedicated transformers for lit only and functional accessories plus train operations to feed the pannel areas)?

- Are you prepared to rewire multi-function accessories like the coal loader, "Gabe the Lamp Lighter", electromagnitic crane, etc.?

Most have made their own control pannels based on the above but there is no set rule. The sky is the limit as far as expence is concerned but I would keep it simple to start and improve later since you will have done most of the heavy duty wiring in either case and assuming you would not modify your layout too much in the future.

First, if you haven't already, I would check out My Layout and the Layout Design Forum on the main page to give you ideas and see what others have done to resolve issues especially when it comes to wiring, buttons and swiches that could be used and positioning your pannel. That should give you a better insite as to what could work for your particular case and what your pannel layout could look like. Then the fun can begin. J.B.
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Old 07-03-2019, 10:04 AM   #4
shaker281
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Thanks guys, I guess I was thinking of keeping it real simple and creating a small panel that was not necessarily a fixed unit, rather than 6 or so separate boxes of various vintages. Some of mine are rather shabby.

I need to explore this site outside this subforum for sure, and yeah I need to think about another transformer for just lighting of accessories too. Thanks.
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Old 07-03-2019, 10:25 AM   #5
AmFlyer
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When I build a traditional Gilbert layout I try to keep it organized and use original items. Here is a recent layout with its control panel. The transformers are hidden under the layout because I used MRC AH101’s with the walk around hand held controls. They can be seen hanging from the sides of the control panel.

514059EE-D7BB-472D-8305-A83C4D83947B.jpg
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Old 07-03-2019, 10:41 AM   #6
AmFlyer
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Going back a bit in time, here is a larger control panel. While not obvious the arrangement of the controls follows the track plan from left to right. The 15B powers all the yards and sidings, the two 19B’s power the two main lines. The 4B is set to provide 12V to all the turnouts and their controllers to reduce the heat and brightness of all the bulbs. This layout predated LED bulbs.

8C4E9CF4-16E5-4FC0-B520-C43650C54D99.jpg
My new permanent layout has no physical controls. It is operated entirely with an iPad using the Lionel Layout Control System, LCS. This is by far the best approach and the most fun and easiest to operate.
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Old 07-04-2019, 05:37 AM   #7
shaker281
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Wow, I love both those setups! Now I am re-thinking my panel idea. I do like vintage and original. I really like the water tower and coal loader. Now you've got me searching Ebay!

Last edited by shaker281; 07-04-2019 at 06:46 AM..
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