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Need Help Finding Pushbuttons

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Need Help Finding Pushbuttons
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 11:16 AM

After spending an hour searching through the Mouser catalog I thought that asking this question might be easier.

I want to use fascia mounted illuminated pushbuttons to control the track power going to various staging and turntable storage tracks.  I prefer pushbuttons to toggle switches since there would be less of a chance of "snagging" a pushbutton on the fascia (IMHO). 

I am DC now but will be going to DCC once the $$$ are available.

Pushbutton Specifications:

  • Small but not necessarily "minature"
  • Round
  • Panel Mounting
  • Latching (Push on, Push off)
  • Illuminated by track power when on (LED or conventional)
  • Voltage rating - DCC Max voltage
  • Amperage - Handle a maxium of 2 HO Scale engines (i.e. 2 Amps)

All that is needed is SPST but SPDT or DPDT will all work. 

If anyone knows a source and part that matches these requirements it would be greatly appreciated.




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Posted by cacole on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 11:30 AM

I don't think anyone makes what you're looking for, but the next best thing that is available are round, lighted rocker switches from All Electronics in Van Nuys, CA.

Their web site is    Look for catalog numbers LRS-25, LRS-32, LRS-28X, or LRS-30X.


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Posted by richg1998 on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 11:41 AM

If you ever fall over in public, pick yourself up and say “sorry it’s been a while since I inhabited a body.” And just walk away.

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Posted by Seamonster on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 4:47 PM

I'm sure you'll find a source of pushbuttons.  There's lots of electronic distributors out there.  However I see a potential problem.  You stated you wanted the lights to be powered by track voltage.  That's not going to work without some electronics in the circuit.  When you're operating DC, the track voltage is going to be changing anywhere from 0 to 12 volts or so.  An incandescent bulb will vary in brightness from dark to full bright (if it's a 12 volt bulb).  If it's less than a 12 volt rating, it will go poof! at full speed.  An LED needs a resistor of specific value in series with it to limit the current to 20 mA.  The value of that resistor depends totally on the voltage being applied.  No one resistor will do the job with varying voltage.  You would need a voltage regulator in series with each bulb or LED, and the bulb or LED wouldn't even light up until the voltage was over 2.5 volts.  As for DCC, I don't think the system would like a bunch of bulbs or LEDs attached to the track voltage.  Why do the lights have to be powered off track voltage?  Use a separate power source like a wall wart.


..... Bob

Beam me up, Scotty, there's no intelligent life down here. (Captain Kirk)

I reject your reality and substitute my own. (Adam Savage)

Resistance is not futile--it is voltage divided by current.

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Posted by jamnest on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 5:27 PM

I would suggest that you add the cost of the push buttons, indicator lights, wire terminals...etc.  You may find that the cost and work are approaching the cost of an entry level DCC system.

My first layout started with two MRC 20 walk around power packs.  Since I only had two power packs for the main, I used toggle switches to control the blocks.  I used common rail wiring so I needed three buss wires.  I also needed a bus wire for each of the throttles.  I worked just fine.  When I started calculating the cost to add an additional DC power pack, I decided it was time to make the move to DCC.  I have never looked back.

Jim, Modeling the Kansas City Southern Lines in HO scale.

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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 11:33 AM

A number of replies here.

First, thanks Cacole, I did not think about rocker switches.  The ones you note do fit my requirements of a low profile and round mounting hole quite nicely.

I am not trying to install block wiring.  I am only trying to kill one rail on storage/staging tracks.  This would be to kill things like lighting in passenger cars.  I have also heard (read) that leaving DCC engines powered but in "idle" for a long period of time can be detrimental.

I wish I could find a DCC system at the cost of ten $2.00 switches.

I apologize, I was less than clear when I said "track powered."  I was visualizing this feature for when I get to DCC and have a constant track voltage available.  Most control devices (pushbuttons, switches) with integrated illumination provide separate terminals for the light which is internally controlled by the device.  So the light can be wired to local track buss.  This would essentially be the same as a lighted passenger car. 

I do like the looks of the LRS-28 rocker switch mentioned by Cacole.,_RED_LED_.html

S.P.S.T., on-off rocker switches with red LED indicators on one side of rocker. Built-in resistors allow operation on 12 Vdc. Can be wired to be always on, or only when contacts are closed.

The rocker is only single pole but I seen three terminals so the additional terminal must be for power return to complete the circuit for the LED - I think.

Thanks to all,


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Posted by modelmaker51 on Friday, March 28, 2008 1:09 PM
 rustyrails wrote:

 I have also heard (read) that leaving DCC engines powered but in "idle" for a long period of time can be detrimental.


This is a myth. When an engine is at throttle setting zero or a sound engine is shut down, they are essentially dead, the loco is idle, not idling. The only component still active is the packet reader waiting to be addressed.  An idle loco is not going to suffer any damage by just sitting on the tracks. I have some 40 "idle" locos on the tracks at any given time and my layout is powered up at least 6 hours a day. Solid state electronics generally don't "wear out", they either work or they don't.


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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, March 28, 2008 7:31 PM

This is a myth.

Good.  Thanks for clarifying this, Jay.  This helps.


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Posted by Johnnny_reb on Saturday, March 29, 2008 9:00 AM
Just a thought, have you tried an auto parts store?

Johnnny_reb Once a word is spoken it can not be unspoken!

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Posted by Rotorranch on Monday, March 31, 2008 3:26 PM

These have to be neat!

I wonder if they work for Atlas EMD's too? Wink [;)]


 Jake: How often does the train go by? Elwood: So often you won't even notice ...

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