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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
There's been several threads about various turnouts, DCC etc. Off and on I've been looking at this as well. I'm used to the buy the box plop it in Lionel fastrack switches which can be remote, or commanded as you desire.

Anyway I was looking at Kato and trying to sort this out -- maybe it's obvious but I think I finally got it after much confusion.

#1 -- buy a manual turnout such as this one: Kato #2-840 #4 246mm (9 3/4") Manual Left Turnout with 490mm (19 1/4") Radius Curve
#2 -- buy a switch machines such this one: Kato #2-503 Left Hand DC Turnout Machine [1 pc]
(put them together)

#2b -- got lost but buy one with powered switch machine already. Then...

#3 -- buy the remote throw: Kato #24-840 Turnout Control Switch [1 pc]
wire that all up. now you can manually or flip the lever make it go

Then you have to go digitrax only? And get this little do-hickey.


That will allow you to add DCC to it.

And according to this description


You can get both remote and DCC going if you want or have DC control and I assume always manual.

Anybody done that?

:
 

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Nope. I model the era before CTC, so all my turnouts are operated by buttons on the fascia, connected to servos mounted under the turnouts themselves. Separate power bus fed by a 12V 60W wall wart.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
What i have are several ME switches not installed with no motors, a handful of tiny DC motors and arduinos with a fantasy idea -- and the need for some kind of surface mount motor. Such as this which I've had my eye on for a while. Cobalt-SS 2 Pack

OR... just buy the kato to try it. as i am feeling really lazy... like SUPER LAZY.
 

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Have I pointed you to Geoff Bunza's arduino DCC decoder before? I think it's from his blog titled SMA20. I use that with a nano strong (made by DIY More) which has a three-pin connector for each I/O port. It's perfect for plugging in the mini SG90 servo motors, which I get from ebay for a buck each. Along with that you need a small circuit with an opto-isolator to read the DCC signal from the track. Altogether you're looking at about $25 in parts to run up to 17 turnouts.

Of course the "super lazy" will be a problem, because you have to work out a way to connect the servo to the points, allowing for some flex in case the servo travels too far.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Actually I have in a box all the parts in box for a decoder ...either what you mention above or similar. No it's not that... I just don't have the time. Maybe this winter. But right now I need a working turnout or two.
 

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What i have are several ME switches not installed with no motors, a handful of tiny DC motors and arduinos with a fantasy idea -- and the need for some kind of surface mount motor. Such as this which I've had my eye on for a while. Cobalt-SS 2 Pack

OR... just buy the kato to try it. as i am feeling really lazy... like SUPER LAZY.
Severn;

Those Micro Engineering turnouts you have are excellent. You can use just about any switch machine you like on them. Most of us prefer under the table type switch machines, but you can mount yours on top if that's what you prefer. The Cobalt "point motors" (British term for switch machines) in your link appear to be very overpriced. I'm not up on current exchange rates, but I think the British pound is still worth several American dollars. Forty-five pounds for two switch machines? That's got to be more than $50 each, or more than double the retail price of the excellent Tortoise switch machine. The Cobalt ad also didn't mention if the "point motor" actually contains a (DC) motor, or is simply a twin-coil switch machine. Peco, another British firm, calls their twin-coil switch machines "point motors" too. The Peco switch machines come in both under table, and surface mounted varieties. They should also be a lot cheaper than the Cobalt ones.
Stationary DCC decoders (Digitrax, or NCE, or other brand) take in a digital input signal (from the DCC controller) and send out either a quick burst of power to operate a Twin-coil machine, or a steady DC current to operate stall motor machines like Tortoise or Switchmaster. Now I'm a digital dummy, but couldn't an arduino be programed to send the same digital signal as a DCC controller?

If the "tiny DC motors" you have are those pencil eraser-sized surplus cell phone/pager vibration motors, they could be used to operate a turnout. You would just need to fabricate a linkage between the motor and the turnout.
Those vibration motors usually have a semi-circular weight attached to their shaft. If you could drill a tiny hole in this weight, then a simple bent piece of music wire could be put into that hole, and the other end of the wire threaded into one of the holes in the turnout's throwbar. DC current reversal would turn the motor weight clockwise, or counter-clockwise, to move the points. Micro Engineering"s built-in spring would hold the points against the stock rail when the motor turned off. If the arduino can output a positive voltage, and a negative voltage, then grounding one terminal of all the motors would let the positive, or negative, voltage turn the motor weight one way or the other.

Good Luck & Have Fun;

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Kato: Because they are long and straight and snuggle up to the track, they look like it.

On the cobalt. There's some us distributors. The 2 pack surface no nt plus control board is $54 us.

What I get is this is less any throws, so you'd have to supply that or hook it up to something to send the CMD. There's a manual on the website ... Which I should read.

I could explore and under the table but I'm on foam on plastic table top right now. I don't necessarily mind going through them but just thought the surface mount gave the option not to do that.
I could cover the motors if I felt strongly about it.
 

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Are Kato Unitrack switch motors essentially twin coil?
ted;

Well, sort of. There is no DC motor. It is a coil-operated switch machine; but Kato uses an unusual system employing one coil, instead of the usual two. I don't use Kato Unitrack or turnouts. I'm going by a repair video I saw on youtube, and making some guesses based on a lifetime of repairing electro-mechanical machines. However, they're still guesses.
With the Kato turnout's base plate removed, I could see the mechanism work. The one coil alternately attracts one of two permanent magnets attached to a bar. Since the Kato turnouts appear to have only two control wires, instead of the three wires used on twin-coil machines, I'm guessing that Kato turnouts operate on DC current, and that the current is reversed to determine which of those two magnets is attracted to the coil, and thus select the route. So, Kato turnouts do operate with a snap action, similar to Atlas, Peco, & other coil-operated switch machines, they just do the same thing with one coil.

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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Kato: Because they are long and straight and snuggle up to the track, they look like it.

On the cobalt. There's some us distributors. The 2 pack surface no nt plus control board is $54 us.

What I get is this is less any throws, so you'd have to supply that or hook it up to something to send the CMD. There's a manual on the website ... Which I should read.

I could explore and under the table but I'm on foam on plastic table top right now. I don't necessarily mind going through them but just thought the surface mount gave the option not to do that.
I could cover the motors if I felt strongly about it.
What i have are several ME switches not installed with no motors, a handful of tiny DC motors and arduinos with a fantasy idea -- and the need for some kind of surface mount motor. Such as this which I've had my eye on for a while. Cobalt-SS 2 Pack

OR... just buy the kato to try it. as i am feeling really lazy... like SUPER LAZY.
Severn;

The Micro Engineering turnouts have the same kind of built-in spring as Peco turnouts do, so they don't need any additional parts to be used as manual turnouts. If your turnouts are at a distance where you can't easily reach them, a simple rod-in-a-tube mechanical linkage would be able to operate them from a distance. I use these linkages on my own layout and I am installing them on my grandson's layout. Mine are under the table, but his are buried in the foam. They are extremely easy to make, very cheap and very reliable. (see photos)

I didn't know that Kato sold a separate switch machine. Their Unitrack turnouts have the switch machine built into the roadbed piece under the track. I also didn't realize that the Cobalt machines came with a control board. That explains the high price.

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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The Kato turnout motors run on DC.

I took the easy way out and got the Kato switch levers to control the switch motors on my layout. For a smaller layout, it doesn't seem worth the trouble to me to go through the additional work of trying to control them via dcc.

I prefer the look and operation of the manual #4 switches to the powered #4's. But having said that, most of my #4's are the powered version, because I learned the things I've learned AFTER running the stuff for a while.

The manual Kato switches are easily converted to power with the "screw-on" motors. The motors do add a little rectangular bulk to the side of the switch.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
i thought about the rod and tube thing as a near term solution. well i don't have any handy. i also thought about housed bicycle cable (also not handy). and of course it about just using my hand or pool cue or something like that.
 

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i thought about the rod and tube thing as a near term solution. well i don't have any handy. i also thought about housed bicycle cable (also not handy). and of course it about just using my hand or pool cue or something like that.
Severn;

I bought my .047" music wire, and my 1/8" dia. 3' lengths of brass tubing on Amazon. I greased the rod before putting it in the tube. The .012" music wire and the 1/16" brass tube that actually connect the throwbar to the .047" main rod, came from my local train store, but should also be available at Amazon, or online train dealers.

I know you said you were feeling very lazy, but I don't know of any way of controlling a turnout by just "thinking about it", unless you're Stephen King's character, Carrie White. :eek: Unfortunately, at some point, if you want those turnouts to work, you will have to work too.

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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Severn;

I bought my .047" music wire, and my 1/8" dia. 3' lengths of brass tubing on Amazon. I greased the rod before putting it in the tube. The .012" music wire and the 1/16" brass tube that actually connect the throwbar to the .047" main rod, came from my local train store, but should also be available at Amazon, or online train dealers.

I know you said you were feeling very lazy, but I don't know of any way of controlling a turnout by just "thinking about it", unless you're Stephen King's character, Carrie White. :eek: Unfortunately, at some point, if you want those turnouts to work, you will have to work too.

Traction Fan 🙂
There's been several threads about various turnouts, DCC etc. Off and on I've been looking at this as well. I'm used to the buy the box plop it in Lionel fastrack switches which can be remote, or commanded as you desire.

Anyway I was looking at Kato and trying to sort this out -- maybe it's obvious but I think I finally got it after much confusion.

#1 -- buy a manual turnout such as this one: Kato #2-840 #4 246mm (9 3/4") Manual Left Turnout with 490mm (19 1/4") Radius Curve
#2 -- buy a switch machines such this one: Kato #2-503 Left Hand DC Turnout Machine [1 pc]
(put them together)

#2b -- got lost but buy one with powered switch machine already. Then...

#3 -- buy the remote throw: Kato #24-840 Turnout Control Switch [1 pc]
wire that all up. now you can manually or flip the lever make it go

Then you have to go digitrax only? And get this little do-hickey.


That will allow you to add DCC to it.

And according to this description


You can get both remote and DCC going if you want or have DC control and I assume always manual.

Anybody done that?

:
If you are looking to go DCC for remote Kato switches you might look at LDT en:s-dec-4 [LDT] 4 remote kit for about 40 Euro's but that includes VAT which you don't pay. German made, postage can be a little pricey. They also sell completed kits and one more complete remote.
 
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