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Discussion Starter #1
It's getting time to do a control panel of sorts. I'd love to see what others have done. I have a relatively small layout, 10 turnouts in all, DC only. I'm looking for ideas to control the turnouts and a few lights/accessory switches. Something compact, yet easy to follow what switch controls what turnout. My 7yo will be operating it, although he catches on quickly.

I'm sure many of you will have something well beyond what I need, but it might give me ideas. Let's see what you've got

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I have no control panel to speak of. I have two twin coil machines operated by slide pushbuttons on a station siding. You know, the ones everyone and his sister warns you about using because you'll end up smoking them. They've been in operation now for over two years without trouble.

The other two electric switches are operated via DCC control for another station siding. The rest are all manually operated either by hand or a 3' dowel rod.

My last HO layout had a nicely done control panel with LED's and a track diagram. That was a long time ago.
 

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Ha, we have a 3' piece of corrugated plastic we used to reach the backside of the layout. It will be used for the turnout in case of remote failure as well!

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My control panel is on the computer using Train Controller Silver.
I can throw turnouts using my Digitrax throttle, momentary pushbuttons near the turnout or using the mouse on the computer screen.

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Roger, I think this is something like I was planning. What's the board on the left and how big is your board on the right? I wanted to do something like you have on the right, but I'm not sure I'll have enough room without making the panel too cramped.

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The board on the left controls switches, while the board on the right is pretty much striped of what it was originally. It however is about 2 feel across and about a foot high. Yes, I know it is at an angle for where the track comes through.
 

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I have two twin coil machines operated by slide pushbuttons on a station siding. You know, the ones everyone and his sister warns you about using because you'll end up smoking them. They've been in operation now for over two years without trouble.
It's funny, I ran those for years as a little kid. I had five Atlas turnouts on my original 4x8 and they all still work just fine. You press the button for a second until you hear it snap, then you let go... I never understood why this was a problem?
 

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I had a control panel for my old layout. Here is a picture (sorry about the quality):

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It was made with ChartPak tape on a piece of 1/8" lauan plywood.

For my new layout, however, I won't be using a control panel, but will install the activating switches on the fascia below the turnouts affected.
 

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It's funny, I ran those for years as a little kid. I had five Atlas turnouts on my original 4x8 and they all still work just fine. You press the button for a second until you hear it snap, then you let go... I never understood why this was a problem?
Well, neither have I. They've been selling them and being used for 50 years. I never had a problem with any of them. I guess you just have to be smarter than the switch...
 

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It's getting time to do a control panel of sorts. I'd love to see what others have done. I have a relatively small layout, 10 turnouts in all, DC only. I'm looking for ideas to control the turnouts and a few lights/accessory switches. Something compact, yet easy to follow what switch controls what turnout. My 7yo will be operating it, although he catches on quickly.

I'm sure many of you will have something well beyond what I need, but it might give me ideas. Let's see what you've got

Sent from my Moto Z (2) using Tapatalk
vette-kid;

I use small, local, control panels spotted around my layout. I like route control, where you can align all the turnouts for any given yard track with one switch, so my panels tend to be pretty simple. Here's a sample.

Traction Fan 😊
 

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Discussion Starter #16
vette-kid;

I use small, local, control panels spotted around my layout. I like route control, where you can align all the turnouts for any given yard track with one switch, so my panels tend to be pretty simple. Here's a sample.

Traction Fan
I kind of like that idea. Not sure if I want then all on one spot, or spread out more. Our layout is only about 13ft long, so it's not far either way!

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It's funny, I ran those for years as a little kid. I had five Atlas turnouts on my original 4x8 and they all still work just fine. You press the button for a second until you hear it snap, then you let go... I never understood why this was a problem?
It's not - as long as you use the correct wiring/switches to control them and don't apply constant power. The solenoids are meant to be "momentary". If you use a switch that applies constant power, or you hold your thumb down on that button for a minute instead of a second, the coil will heat up and melt the plastic casing. But if you've wired it with the correct switch, no one does that.

Motor-driven machines like Tortoises do take constant power and "stall" against the rail when at full thrown. These are wired very differently than Snap-Switches.

I personally don't prefer the "snapping" or the unrealistic appearance of the surface mounted switch machines (though you CAN acquire under-table versions separately), but in terms of function they're totally fine. That's a merely a preference issue, not functional problem.

lovin it's yard in an above post is likely using motor machines as the 2-pole toggle switches (latching not momentary) are not appropriate to control the twin-coil machines and would burn them as they are "constant-on" power.
 

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I used a plastic sign that I glued stylene strips to for the track outline. Then spray painted the entire think a nice flat black. Then using enamel or acrylic pens (can't remember which ) colored the top of the strips. For the LED's and switches it drilled small pilot holes and used a tapered ream to finish to the desired size. LED's are held in by a little stylene lever. All the toggle block control switches are wired the same to a connector. All the push button turnout control switches are wired to connectors. So the wiring looks complicated but is all the same and just uses connector wire to couple it all together.
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