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Control Panel Layout

  • Switches built into the picture layout

    Votes: 1 33.3%
  • LED built into the picture layout

    Votes: 1 33.3%
  • dont do a layout but just have switches all over and wing it

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok so I have everything to run O and just not the room. I can make room but looking at a house on sunday to which we have seen a few times before. I am going to get the wifes final "what are we offering or are we not".. if not gonna start setting things up but if we do, ill have to wait till we sell our house, move into that one and all.. plus get mine ready to sell...

I have read and read and read here and google and youtube.
I have approximately 11 HO trains and some cars. I want to use my atlas 205 ( ? ) turntable and track changers, etc...

so this lead me to definitely DCC.. ok fine...

anyway... point of this post..
now this isn't a question of what should I do... its more of a your preference....

on youtube I have seen and really like the toggle switches into the layout but curious if you prefer having switches outside of it and just LED inside the layout?

forgot to add an option..

push button LED...
 

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Not really clear what you are asking. I think I
you wonder whether or not to put turnout control
switches on the layout (beside the turnout?).

That would be unusual except for 'ground throws'
which of necessity must abut the turnout.

Most do a graphic panel of pertinent parts of the layout
where turnouts are used. Depending on the type
of control you use the switch may be 'in' the panel
'track' or beside it. Buttons for twin coil would
go 'in' the track, so would DPDT switches for stall
motor type turnouts. There would be exceptions
though.

Don
 

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I definitely don't think you should put anything on the layout itself, u less you do plan to use manual ground throws.

Many people put the activation switch and indicator lights on the fascia of the layout near the turnout. This simulates local control by the train crew, and assumes that the operator will be near the train.

The other common option is a remote control panel, like a repost dispatcher would use on a real railroad.. I'm attaching photos of one made by my then 12 year old son using Tam Valley Depot servo motors, controllers, and activation switches with bicolor LED indicators.

IMG_20170101_203835348.jpg

IMG_20170101_203847995.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I definitely don't think you should put anything on the layout itself, u less you do plan to use manual ground throws.

Many people put the activation switch and indicator lights on the fascia of the layout near the turnout. This simulates local control by the train crew, and assumes that the operator will be near the train.

The other common option is a remote control panel, like a repost dispatcher would use on a real railroad.. I'm attaching photos of one made by my then 12 year old son using Tam Valley Depot servo motors, controllers, and activation switches with bicolor LED indicators.

View attachment 521444

View attachment 521446

thats what im talkin bout.. bring all switches to 1 location...

do ya prefer toggles on the physical printout of track or just led to show you what is thrown?
 

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For DCC/servo controlled turnouts I use track signals or semaphores to indicate which track is switched.

For manually controlled switches I have to physically check as I have no ground throws.

For Atlas twin-coil controlled turnouts I refer to the activation switch position(s).

Eventually, each turnout will have an aspect to refer to so I know which direction the turnout is aligned.

Some turnout locations make it very difficult or impossible to install a DCC/servo controlled turnout because of table structure under the sub-roadbed. This is something that was not taken into consideration during layout design and table construction.

Life is full of surprises.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
For DCC/servo controlled turnouts I use track signals or semaphores to indicate which track is switched.

wow something I haven't read up yet on DCC.. I am going DCC for sure... and that looks cool. A servo controlled throwout via dcc.. hmmm
 

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A different control panel option

thats what im talkin bout.. bring all switches to 1 location...

do ya prefer toggles on the physical printout of track or just led to show you what is thrown?
Riggzie;

Rather than having one big control panel for the whole railroad, I prefer to use small, local, control panels for my sectional N-scale bookshelf layout. Each little panel controls the turnouts and any other electrics, (ie. On this section, the motorized doors of the engine house are controlled by the switches mounted on the white portion of the panel.) that are on that 4' section. This way, if I have to remove a section to work on it, or if I ever need to move, the panel, and wiring, go with that section. I won't need to cut a bunch of wires to remove a big panel, and then have to re-connect everything later.

I also like "route control" a system that aligns all the turnouts for a particular track, simultaneously. I use a super-simple route control system where simply turning one dial to the desired track will automatically set all the turnouts needed to access that track.

By the way, the wording of your posts is quite difficult to understand. Is English a second language for you?

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:

Cedar Falls control panel.JPG

Cedar Falls module. showing lightwood bookshelf arch with enginehouse & station in background.jpg
 

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Some turnout locations make it very difficult or impossible to install a DCC/servo controlled turnout because of table structure under the sub-roadbed. This is something that was not taken into consideration during layout design and table construction.
I found this out the hard way too when I was retrofitting servos to an existing layout. Some work with a drill and bell cranks solved the problem, though.

But it's much easier to fix in the planning stage, which is what I did on my current layout.
 

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thats what im talkin bout.. bring all switches to 1 location...

do ya prefer toggles on the physical printout of track or just led to show you what is thrown?
Mine are a simple push button that clicks when pressed. You can see them in the photos I posted -- the small black dots on the far side of the mounting screw from the LED indicators. The turnout throw takes a couple of seconds, at which time the LED indication flips.

I prefer not to have DCC control on my turnouts (train crews throw them by hand), but it's often done and not very hard.

Signals or semaphores, on the other hand, is too much wiring for me... but I admit it looks cool.
 

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Riggzie, just for fun and completeness I want to show you the option of no physical controls. For larger layouts with a lot of turnouts there are control systems available that run on a tablet and interface with the DCC system in HO. Four years ago I had the opportunity to operate an HO layout with just a hand held tablet. The first layout picture below is a part of that layout. You can see it is not a beginners layout and it has operating catenary plus a signal system.
As I result of this experience I had my layout built with no physical controls. Since it is S gauge it uses Legacy, the Layout Control System (LCS) and AC power. The LCS runs on iPads. The layout has turnout position light stands at each turnout.
The second picture is a screen shot of one of the pages of my layout on an iPad, it is the freight yard. The turnouts are visible, color indicates position, just touch the item on the screen to change its position. Also visible are 15 Block Power Controllers and uncouplers in all the sidings, all touch operated.
The final picture shows part of the freight yard controlled by the above iPad screen the turnout position lights are visible near the turnout points.
I am not suggesting this is right for what you are building now but if you use DCC this can be added later. I have been running this layout from an iPad for 3 years now and do not miss physical controls.

A17B0036-77B5-4EB0-B960-6C2734B561C1.jpg

EB3F3AF3-F02D-42FE-95A7-687A1BFDDB85.png

DB7D2242-FC67-4198-B149-A3727F3E143F.jpg
 

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Some turnout locations make it very difficult or impossible to install a DCC/servo controlled turnout because of table structure under the sub-roadbed. This is something that was not taken into consideration during layout design and table construction.

Life is full of surprises.
MichaelE;

While careful planning is always best, we have all had similar experiences. Murphy's law will often see to it that a turnout, which must be in a particular spot to make the track plan work, will end up directly over some frame of the benchwork. There are several ways to deal with this problem.

1) Go deep.

If you use a rotating wire inside a tube, "Earl Eshelman" type linkage, where the rotation of the inner wire moves the throwbar, The tube and wire can go deep and right through the obstruction. The servo can then be mounted below the frame member. This is actually more practical when dealing with thick foam, but can be adapted for use in other circumstances. (See first four photos. They were taken to illustrate my $5 switch machine, but the same linkage can be adapted to any switch machine.)

2) Go sideways.

Another form of wire-in-a-tube mechanical linkage uses a push/pull motion of the wire, instead of rotation. This can be extended from the inconvenient turnout location to a place where your servo/ switch motor will more easily fit. For a different reason, I use this type of linkage on my own layout. Being old ans partially disabled, I wanted to eliminate as much crawling under the table as possible. I installed all the motors, frog polarity microswitches, and any other gear that was likely to need repair/adjustment up front, right behind the fascia, which hinges open. Wire & tube linkages and power feeder wires are the only things under the benchwork. (See photos 5 & 6. These show the motors up front, and the linkages connecting the motors to the turnouts.)

3) Move the frame member.

If you use the old 'L'-girder type of benchwork, the stringers, or joists, (which are rigidly fixed in open grid benchwork) can be easily moved. 'L'-girders are also extremely strong, and resistant to warping. One disadvantage of traditional 'L'-girder benchwork is the depth of the benchwork itself. This can be eliminated by mounting the stringers inside the 'L' frame, instead of on top of it. If the stringers themselves are small 'L', or 'T' shaped beams they can simply be screwed in place from the bottom, and thereafter can be moved whenever necessarry. (See photos 7 & 8 This is your basic 'L'-girder made from a 1x3 and a 1x2 pine planks glued in an 'L' shape. The same construction can be used with any sized lumber. I use 1' x 1/4" side beams glued to the bottom of my 1/4" Luan roadbed, to keep it from warping.

4) Go topside.

For a single oddball situation, a servo could be mounted on top of the layout and disguised. This could be done by cutting a place to recess it into thick foam, or it could be hidden inside a structure, or scenery. A horizontal, push/pull type, linkage would connect the servo to the turnout. This linkage could also be buried in the foam. Whichever hiding place you choose, make sure the servo can be accessed when necessary.

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:

switch machine green foam.JPG

switch machine green points.JPG

switch machine green linkage.JPG

switch machine green mounting.JPG

Cedar Falls motors & linkages.JPG

Cedar Falls section bottom view.JPG

L-girder 3.jpg

L-girder 1.jpg
 
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