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Building a layout on a rotisserie

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, July 9, 2020 8:14 AM

carl425

Maybe someday the progress you, Mark, and Randy are making will get me motivated to get some work done on my layout.  In the meantime, I'll just sit on my butt and critique the work of others. Smile

Those swivel plates look like a lazy susan base.  Are you sure they will operate long term in the vertical orientation with the weight of the layout?  Many things (like early hard drives) are only engineered to operate reliably in one plane. Run of the mill ball bearings only work in a single plane. The bearings in these brackets (if there are any) are likely placed so they don't support any weight when mounted vertically.

 

 At the rate Dave's going, he'll have his scenery done before I get any track down. It took me 2 days last weekend to put a second coat of primer on the backdrops - 48 linear feet across the two levels, 16" high. I still haven't put on the blue. And that's only a small part of the layout. 

                                        --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by Track fiddler on Thursday, July 9, 2020 9:42 AM

I made it through this thread last night.  It was kind of like reading a good book that I haven't done for quite a few years.

What a great idea Dave.  And your thread came along just in time for me.  My N scale 4 by 8 layout I had mounted, cantilevered off the wall.  It had heavy duty slide mounts on the table top like a drawer, so I could pull it out two feet away from the wall, duck under an work on both sides.

This seemed like a good idea at the time but I didn't think things all the way through.  I work in the building I live in now and all my tools ended up under my layout so I don't have to run out to my truck anymore.  This has made things a royal pain in the butt and I'm not getting much done anymore.

I do not care for my original planned system. I like Dave's better.  All the pluses of this idea is going to make everything easier.  Another plus is you can tip it upside down when you're not using the layout and no dust will accumulateYes  I'm adopting your idea Dave, ... Thanks.

I found an old Home Depot in store credit card in my wallet I forgot about.  I think it's been in there for about 2 years and has $116 on it.  I know what that is going to be used forSmile, Wink & Grin

 

Thanks Dave

 

 

TF

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, July 9, 2020 3:55 PM

Track fiddler
I made it through this thread last night.  It was kind of like reading a good book that I haven't done for quite a few years.

Hey TF!

Do you mean that you actually read all 12 pages? You must be really desperate for reading material!Smile, Wink & GrinLaugh Thanks for your interest.

Converting a 4x8 should be fairly easy. I doubt that you will need to build the support structure as solid and heavy as I did. You just don't want it to wobble when you lean on it.

I'm getting close to the point where I can actually test the rotation. It will still be a couple of days because it it too hot and humid right now to work in the garage, even in the evening. Right now the humidex is at 42 C. That's almost 108 F if my math is correct. I'm glad we have air conditioning!!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, July 9, 2020 10:25 PM

Well, I lied. Despite the heat I had to work on the layout. So here is how it looks now (sorry, the sound quality is poor):

I have one small clearance issue with the location of the barrel bolts, but that can be fixed fairly easily.

The rotation is very smooth. The castors roll smoothly on my less than perfect floor. Perhaps most importantly, the benchwork is as solid as a rock. I put a fair amount of weight and it did not flex. I could get a tiny bit of end to end motion when I bumped one of the end supports, but I had to hit it pretty hard. Also, the height when level is perfect for working from a chair.

The next step will be to level the benchwork and mark where the barrel bolt receiving holes will be in the end supports. Fortunately the bolts came with plates that can be adjusted if needed to get the alignment correct. Then I will cover the benchwork with 1/4" plywood as a base for mounting Tortoises etc. I will also build shelves in and on the end supports, and there will be a 5 1/2" elbow rest along either side. Everything will have a 1/8" lip to prevent rolling stock from taking a dive.

First, I need a shower! Ick!(Too much information!!!). It was well over 90 degrees F in the garage and there was no through breeze!Crying I was soaked! You can tell by looking at my hair (what's left of it!) which is normally fairly 'fluffy' (couldn't think of a better word!Smile, Wink & Grin).

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, July 10, 2020 12:31 AM

Tinplate Toddler
Dave, I don´t want to rain on your parade, but I don´t think that building a 5´4" deep layout "on a spit" is really a workable idea. To be able to rotate the layout, the layout must be close to 3´ above the floor, which puts the top 5´8" high. Either you have to stand up doing all the wiring or you have to crawl on the floor. I would not be able to do either! I think that building this layout in manageable segments, similar to the original "Beer Line" layout is a better idea.

Hey Ulrich! Have I changed your mind?!?

Granted the layout doesn't rotate a full 360 degrees but that doesn't really matter. I can easily reach the upper 2/3rds of the underside of the layout from a seated position, and I simply have to rotate it the opposite way to reach the rest of the layout.

Sorry, I'm not trying to pick on you my friend!

Cheers!!

Dave

 

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, July 10, 2020 12:37 AM

RR_Mel
I string all my wires around the outside perimeter of my layout using Telco D Ring hangers.

Hi Mel,

Can I ask where you got those hangers?

Thanks

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, July 10, 2020 12:51 AM

Thank you for posting the video, that was an amazing smooth operation!

Thumbs Up   Thumbs Up   Thumbs Up   Thumbs Up   Thumbs Up   Thumbs Up   Thumbs Up   Thumbs Up   Thumbs Up   Thumbs Up   

Bow

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, July 10, 2020 1:42 AM

SeeYou190
Thank you for posting the video, that was an amazing smooth operation!

Thanks Kevin!

I can hardly wait until I dump my first train on the floor because I forgot to take it off the layout before tilting the layout on its side!Bang HeadBang HeadBang HeadDunceDunceGrumpy

Seriously, I want to make all of my buildings removable so that nothing falls off when I tilt the layout. Taking them off will be a PITA but better safe than sorry. I'm going to use Mel's method of locating the buildings with magnets, and I'm also going to use his brass tube power contacts to feed the buildings. Hopefully that will allow me to lift the buildings straight up off the layout without having to disconnect any wiring harnesses etc.

Something else that I'm going to try again to get into is using Arduinos to control lighting in the larger buildings. I got stymied the first time I tried to work with Arduinos. I would like to have just two power connectors to each of the buildings and then use an Arduino in each building to control random lighting. That's a ways off, but if I can get it to work the effects should be pretty good. Come back to me in 2055 to see how I'm doing! It will probably take that long!Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaughLaugh

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by "JaBear" on Friday, July 10, 2020 5:54 AM

hon30critter
So here is how it looks now

Cool Bananas, Dave. Thumbs UpThumbs Up Smile

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, July 10, 2020 8:45 AM

 Looking good (I mean the layout - though, back issues aside, I can only hope to be as healthly looking as you appear when I hit your age - any guess would be way off had you not already mentioned it). I'm getting far to used to not leaving the house - just a few minutes outside in this 90+F and humid weather and I am ready to be back inside. Even the dogs are reluctant to go out, they like their AC too.

 Smaller structures, or at least lower ones, I bet will not move the slightest if you use Mel's magnets in the bases to hold them on the layout. If you swing it hard enough to bounce off the center support that might be a problem, but just tilting it as in the demo, only taller buildings might have issues and pop the magnet loose. Locos and rolling stock of course...

 Hang in there, I'm sure between Mel and myself we can get you going with Arduinos. Random lighting sequences are really just variations of the basic Blink an LED sketch that is the first one the lessons have you run. For the idea of one per building with just the power wires coming in, there's an alternative to the big boards (which might not even fit in some structures) but that's Level 2 - the code is the same, but because I'm talking about a little 8 pin IC that's about the size of the bridge rectifier you might put in a passenger car, the way you need to get the code into it is a little different than for the full blown Arduino. So you can learn with what you have, then apply that to a more practical option for individual buildings. That is the same approach I am taking, rather than a massive bank of Arduinos with multiple wires to mnultiple light circuits going in to each structure. Small chip, just 2 power wires, each one self contained in the structure. 

                                                     --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, July 10, 2020 11:36 PM

Cool Bananas, Dave.

Thanks Bear!

I'm happy so far! I just wish the heat would quit so I could do more work. We are supposed to get a couple of cooler days next week but then it is supposed to get hotter than ever!Grumpy

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, July 10, 2020 11:47 PM

rrinker
Smaller structures, or at least lower ones, I bet will not move the slightest if you use Mel's magnets in the bases to hold them on the layout.

There will be several larger structures so those definitely will have to be removed. I'll have to test the smaller structures to see how stable they are.

rrinker
rather than a massive bank of Arduinos with multiple wires to mnultiple light circuits going in to each structure. Small chip, just 2 power wires, each one self contained in the structure. 

That sounds interesting.

I'm going to concentrate on finishing the benchwork and getting the track running properly before I get back into building structures, so the re-attempt at Arduino will be a few months down the road. At that time I will definitely take you up on your very gracious offer to help. I'm sure Mel will help too.

I'm also going to have to go easier in this heat. After yesterday's session I felt lousey. I should have known better.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, July 11, 2020 10:13 PM

DunceDunceDunceDunceDunceGrumpyDunceDunceAngryDunceDunceBang Head

That about sums up the hour or so that I spent in the garage tonight. I was all gung ho! The weather had cooled off magnificently, and there was a cool breeze through the garage. What could go wrong?!?

As I had said previously, I had a small problem with a couple of parts that were interfering with the maximum rotation of the benchwork. All I had to do was reposition one of the barrel bolts and cut about an inch off of the side of the plywood barrel bolt mounting plate. I'm sure that you are all familiar with the old maxim to 'measure twice, cut once'. Not me! Being quite impulsive I decided to wing it! Bad decision!!! I managed to make three cuts before I realized that I was cutting material off of the wrong side of the mounting plate!DunceDunce (Actually, the emoticons don't say it well enough!). Oh well! Fortunately there is still enough of the mounting plate left to do the job.

I discovered another minor challenge. The barrel bolts are very sloppy. I'm going to have to position them very carefully so that when the layout is level the barrel bolts will cancel the play in each other. If I can't get that to work I will have to devise another system for holding the benchwork steady. I already have a couple of ideas.

Thanks for your interest!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by rrinker on Sunday, July 12, 2020 1:36 PM

Mount them one at a time - first one, you may need your helper, but witht he layout level, position it to one extreme of the slop, the lower side is probably easier. That way, when you go do the one for the other side, you know that pressing down on that side makes the layout level, then screw that side down with the bolt tight. It does mean every time you secure it back level, you will have to apply some pressure to get the bolts to slide, but by both being tight at the extremes of their free play, it cancels out. If that makes sense. 

                                       --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, July 12, 2020 9:47 PM

rrinker
Mount them one at a time

Hi Randy,

Yes, your suggestion makes sense, but I think I have devised a simpler, easy to install system using smaller pins or dowels with an interference fit. The principle is pretty much the same but getting the alignment correct should be much easier. Also. my idea should keep the benchwork stable even when there is only one pin at each end in use, such as when the benchwork is tilted.

If it doesn't work I can go back to the barrel bolts doing what you suggest.

Thanks,

Dave

Edit:

I just ordered these locking pins:

https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B004S6RKSW/?coliid=I34VXP1E6WVB0D&colid=2E63JHR5GZN5&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

I can drill the same sized hole through the plywood end support and the benchwork frame. With four pins in place there should be very little play. Once I get to the stage where the layout won't need to be flipped up I can run some long screws through the end supports and into the benchwork so it won't move at all.

 

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, July 13, 2020 7:58 AM

 Yes, that should work, lock the benchwork level, drill friction fit holes through both surfaces in one go. If there are any wear concerns - small squares of sheet metal over the holes, so the pins have a metal surface to press against in addition to the wood, might help. Though I suspect the hole in the plywood won't get too sloppy to matter any time soon enough to worry about. Worst case - bushing the size of the pin, redrill the holes to fit the bushings.

 I like to keep things simple. Dealing with the slop in the barrel bolts would work, but not having to deal with it at all is even simpler. I keep overthinking my moveable section in front of the furnace and water heater. All I really need is some way to remove the section without destroying the rest of the layout, because it's not like this is an entrance gate that will get moved constantly. I shouldn't have to move it out of the way for years, the water heater isn't that old. Neither is the furnace. 

                                     --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, July 13, 2020 11:53 PM

rrinker
Though I suspect the hole in the plywood won't get too sloppy to matter any time soon enough to worry about. Worst case - bushing the size of the pin, redrill the holes to fit the bushings.

Or, just drill another hole.Smile, Wink & Grin

Seriously, if they get sloppy quickly then putting in bushings would be a good idea.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, July 14, 2020 12:23 AM

hon30critter
I can hardly wait until I dump my first train on the floor

I have not put a train on the floor in over twenty years. I did drop a brass caboose last year. I am still mad at myself for that.

I know it is going to happen again... and I know I will be very upset with myself when it does happen.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, July 14, 2020 12:34 AM

SeeYou190
I have not put a train on the floor in over twenty years.

Hi Kevin,

I figure that if I make myself paranoid enough about rotating the layout with a train still on it, I might be able to avoid having that happen.

I have never dropped a car, although our nephew did manage to drop an E6 of mine when he was quite young. It only broke one coupler, but he felt so bad about it that he never wanted to touch the trains again.Sigh

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by "JaBear" on Tuesday, July 14, 2020 2:26 AM
Gidday Dave, as someone who has the tendency to over engineer things, I’m wondering if you’re trying a little bit too hard to get the locking pin arrangement, prefect.
 
There’s nothing wrong getting things right and after all you have to satisfy your own standards, but there is a saying that I use from time to time which is, “It’s good enough for the girls, I go with!”
 
It can save time, money, and angst. BTW I’ve been happily married for 30 years, and yes, her-in-doors hates that saying!!Smile, Wink & Grin
Cheers, the Bear.Smile

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, July 14, 2020 2:49 AM

Gidday Dave, as someone who has the tendency to over engineer things, I’m wondering if you’re trying a little bit too hard to get the locking pin arrangement, prefect.

Hi Bear,

I'll admit that I have spent a lot of time and a lot of money trying to get the locking pins figured out. My goal, obviously, is to eliminate any movement of the benchwork when trains are operating. That includes keeping things still when I lean on the layout, which I know I will be doing a lot. In fact, I'm going to install 1x6 'elbow rests' down both sides of the layout outside of the scenery so I have a place to rest my arms and set my throttle and tools down. If I have something to lean on then my back is generally fine so having arm rests is essential.

The heavy duty barrel bolts were tres expensive but I'm hoping that I can return them. The locking pins were fairly cheap and I think they are a much better solution:

https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B004S6RKSW/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

One thing that upsets all model railroaders is constant derailments. I can make my track perfect (theoretically anyhow) but if the trains get bounced off the track because I put my elbow down, that just won't cut it.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by "JaBear" on Tuesday, July 14, 2020 2:55 AM

hon30critter
One thing that upsets all model railroaders is constant derailments. I can make my track perfect (theoretically anyhow) but if the trains get bounced off the track because I put my elbow down, that just won't cut it.

Fair enough Dave, you've got to be happy, though I don't think you're going to get that much movement, besides we want your cup holders secure, don't want to splil any of that refreshing drink. Beer Whistling

Cheers, the Beer.Wink

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, July 14, 2020 2:57 AM

Fair enough Dave, you've got to be happy, plus we want your cup holders secure, don't want to splil any of that refreshing drink.

Oh Wow Bear!

I hadn't even thought about cup holders!!! I must be drinking too much!!Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaugh

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by "JaBear" on Tuesday, July 14, 2020 3:00 AM

hon30critter
I hadn't even thought about cup holders!!!

There we go Dave!! A good idea, and I didn't even charge you consultancy fees!!!

LaughLaugh

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, July 14, 2020 3:42 AM

There we go Dave!! A good idea, and I didn't even charge you consultancy fees!!!

LaughLaughLaughLaugh

Now I will have two challenges! The first but least important will be to remember to take the trains off before rotating the benchwork. The second but far more important step will be to remember to take my drink out of the holder!!!LaughLaughLaughLaugh

Dropping a train on the floor is one thing, but wasting perfectly good alcohol.......sacrilege!!!LaughLaughLaugh

Thanks for the laugh!

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, July 16, 2020 10:35 PM

The new locking pins work extremely well!! The layout is absolutely rock solid with four pins in place, two on each end. The benchwork had a very small twist in it, about 1/8" over 12', so I was able to position the pins to correct that.

Home Depot gave me a full refund for the barrel bolts so I am a bit ahead of the game $ wise. The locking pins were 1/3rd of the price of the barrel bolts.Big Smile

I still have to drill a couple of holes so that the benchwork can be tilted to one side, but that will only take a few minutes. I ran out of steam again tonight. The garage was hot and I am soaked.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, July 18, 2020 2:03 AM

This is an electronics question but I would rather keep the answers in this thread if the moderators are okay with that.

Here is the situation:

- I will have two control panels, one on either side of the layout.

- Most turnouts will be controlled from both panels.

- I want to have signals on the layout showing the turnout positions as well as LEDs on the control panels doing the same. There will be RG LEDs on both routes for both the signals and the panel.

Will this wiring work?

Note that I am using an 18 volt DC power supply in order to compensate for the voltage drop caused by the four LEDs (- 2 volts each).

Edit:

Here is one of the control panels:

 

Thanks,

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by Track fiddler on Saturday, July 18, 2020 5:56 AM

Hi Dave

I could wire a brand new house complete from the panel but simple electronics is about as far as I go there. This is why I'm doing old school MR wiring in blocks with one reverse loop my older brother taught me when I was young.  So I'm not the one to be of any help here.

I just wanted to drop by and tell you how much I've been enjoying your thread.  I'm glad you got your positioning pins worked out so your layout is stable wherever you want it.  That's cool you were able to iron out that slight twist discrepancy in the benchwork with them.

You should have a great sense of accomplishment about yourself coming up with such a great idea and making it so.

 

Impressive Dave!  A great job your doing here!

 

 

TF

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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, July 18, 2020 1:14 PM

 Yes, that will work. The toggle positions will not match, but the LEDs will indicate properly regardles of which toggle is used to change the Tortoise. A button system would eliminate conmflicting switch handles and LEDs, but that requires more electronics - not much, but more than zero. Rob Paisley has a circuit on his site that allows continuous power to a Tortoise but uses momentary buttons on the panel. We're not talking big expense here - the key part is a 555 timer which you can get for 30 cents or less in quantity on Amazon. Then you could get fancy and use pushbuttons that have the LEDs built in - if you have MRVP and saw the Candian Canyons videos where Ben Lake installed the control panels, I'm using the same ones with my servo controllers. I even made a small PCB that solders to the pushbuttons and converts to a standard RJ45 jack so you don't have to solder wires right to the rather small switch terminals. Which is freely available if anyone is interested.

 You probably don't need that choke coil in there (just fooling - the older way to indicate wires crossing with no connection, with so many loops close together, resembles the schematic symbol for an inductor).

                                      --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, July 18, 2020 9:46 PM

Track fiddler
I just wanted to drop by and tell you how much I've been enjoying your thread

Thanks TF! It's very kind of you to say those nice things!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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