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Push-Button Control Box: If you don't have one, make one!

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  • Member since
    February 2014
  • 178 posts
Push-Button Control Box: If you don't have one, make one!
Posted by Leverettrailfan on Saturday, September 18, 2021 11:16 PM

Boy has it been busy lately for me! Well, I have a couple minutes to share a recent project with all you fine folks, so I'm going to do just that! Forgive the hastily taken pictures- there will be better ones eventually.

I recently dug up my 456 coal ramp- an accessory I've long found fun. Perhaps 3 years ago, maybe 4, I purchased my ramp at the "Big E" show in Springfield MA- for a whopping $10. One of the best ways I've ever spent $10, if you ask me. The main issue with the ramp, above all else, was that it was just the ramp. No control box. Now, I had taken it apart to clean it and remove a broken railing stanchion that still needs replacing, but only now have it back in one piece more or less. 
I didn't even want to think about what sort of prices I'd find for an old control box on eBay, I knew I wasn't going to be able to get one at a price I could agree with anywhere short of a bargain bin.

So, Friday morning I dug around, and found a simple wooden box that probably came from Michaels, and I turned it into a very simple replacement control box.
So far, so good- it seems to do exactly what I intended it to do. I just have a bit more to do on it and it'll be ready for service.





Materials were things I had kicking around. The buttons are brass nails- the springs are used Lionel 1661E-30 brush springs. The brass contacts and traces are cut from some brass flashing which I find very useful for all kinds of things. The screw on the back clamps the hot lead between two washers- the end of the screw hits the contacting fingers inside the box. I have not yet added any screw terminals for the leads going out to the coal ramp.

It may not be the prettiest, but it does exactly what it needs to do, and it was easy to make with materials I had on hand. I may end up using this rudimentary design of push button for other accessories- so long as I'm servicing gang cars, whistle tenders, and some prewar Lionel equipment, I'm going to be replacing springs- and they work great for this purpose!

-Ellie

Tags: 456 , Coal Ramp

"Unless bought from a known and trusted dealer who can vouch otherwise, assume every train for sale requires servicing before use"

  • Member since
    July 2020
  • 552 posts
Posted by pennytrains on Sunday, September 19, 2021 5:58 PM

Leverettrailfan
It may not be the prettiest, but it does exactly what it needs to do

And that's all that matters in the end!  Big SmileThumbs Up

Big Smile  Same me, different spelling!  Big Smile

  • Member since
    February 2014
  • 178 posts
Posted by Leverettrailfan on Monday, September 20, 2021 11:20 PM

pennytrains

And that's all that matters in the end! Big SmileThumbs Up



So true! I'm eager to finish it up, but it has to take a back seat to some other important things... like preparing for a trip, and cleaning my work bench (and surrounding area). I keep thinking about how I might add lights to the control box that come on when a button is pressed. For now, I think I'll pass on it, but perhaps I'll wind up revising my control box in the future- and then add some lighting in the process.

-Ellie

"Unless bought from a known and trusted dealer who can vouch otherwise, assume every train for sale requires servicing before use"

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