years ago I had a layout with a panel of toggle switches ( I think from
radio shack) that allowed me to control undermounted atlas switch machines.
Building new layout and now I am not sure what type I need. I am looking
for the same function as the atlas snap switch control boxes but toggle
switches that look better and can be inserted into a wood panel. Would these
be DPDT- and how do I wire them ?
ANY help would be appreciated.
SPDT Momentary contact is what you are looking for. you run one wire
from your AC source to the black wire if the atlas switch machine, the
other wire from your source to the center screw of your spdt switch
and the red/green wires to the outside screws of your switch. IT IS
ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL THAT YOU USE A MOMENTARY CONTACT SWITCH;
otherwise you will burn out your switch machine faster than you can
Gardner Bender makes a bat handle momentary spdt. The model # is
GSW-117, you can find them at your local Lowes.
"SPDT momentary contact" (Single Pole, Double Throw ...)
You _might_ find a double pole, double throw with one pair momentary and
the other pair/pole snap, which is very useful for operating signals,
track circuits etc. I know there's a British firm that stocks them but I
don't know about US suppliers. Either way, such specialized switches
would be expensive.
Cheaper would be "momentary SP push buttons". You need two per turnout.
Atlas motors have three terminals, one common which should link to your
transformer's accessory output (16v AC) The other two terminals should
each link to a switch, the other terminal of which links to the other
transformer 16v AC terminal.
Normally one creates two "bus" terminals on the control panel, each with
a wire to the remote mounted transformer. Wires from the bus to the
switches can thereby be kept short.
On my layouts where two (or more) turnouts need to be thrown together
for a specific route I use just one pushbutton to throw both all of
them. An example would be a crossover between two tracks where trains
either both go straight or crossover. I use Peco turnouts which isolate
the non-selected route, so turnouts also serve as track power switches
resulting in a control panel with no, or very few, track toggle
Greg Procter wrote in
news: firstname.lastname@example.org: *snip* *snip*
You can use a DPDT toggle switch if you want to have something
continually powered from the switch as well as control the turnout. (A
dwarf signal, perhaps.) Wire your turnout through one side of the DPDT
switch, and add a single pole momentary contact switch.
When you're ready to throw the turnout, move the switch and press the
button. Note that when you move the switch the thing that's powered from
the other poles will change immediately, not wait until you press the
button. Remember the switch crew's saying: Always look at the points.
That sounds to me like a system that's bound to create disaterous
For example; signals should not be able to show clear routes until
turnouts are correctly set to give the path indicated.
Now now Greg - lets not get TOO hung up on "fidelity to prototype"
After all, how many fatalities will occur on our layouts if the train
runs a set of points set against the signal? :) And they should throw
99.9% of the time anyway.
One method I used to have for controlling twin coil switch machines
was to use a 4-position rotary, The inner two sets were used as
passing contacts, the outer ones showed position of switch via LEDs.
Also, using a knob for the switch with a definite pointer shape also
gave me a further indication of route setting when on a track diagram.
Made for sexy looking panel, it did. :) Nowadays, with a small On30
logging line, I put two push buttons on the fascia next to the
turnout. This encourages the oeprator to actually follow the train.
Newcastle NSW Aust
"should", could, might ... In my experence turnout mechanisms work fine
(when set up properly) for long enough to forget to worry about them.
Then there's a period when they "give trouble" and then finally they
I like pushbuttons and motor mounted auxiliary switches. With
interlocking one can be reasonably sure that there's a clear route
It doesn't hurt for the operator to look for his route and actual
turnout settings. Where that's impossible, some feedback from the
turnout is advantagious.
I've given up building formal control panels - they've always been
months behind the actual layout.
Some of my locos are of sufficient value and fragility that I don't want
them to come to grief!
Thanks ALL you guys,
Going to try a Gardner Bender GSW-117 from Lowes, only $ 2.00 or so. I
understand the Momentary part of it. I'll just play with how to wire one
until it works. Glad it was pointed out about using one control for double
A little confused regarding powering a light signal from the same switch,
Getting track and switches to work reliably is priority one for now.
PS, Is soldering HO code 83 a lot trickier than code 100 - or is it me ?
Code 100 seemed a lot more forgiving especially keeping solder away from
inside of rails.
Actually, code 83 should be easier since there is less mass to absorb the
I use a 40 watt radio shack pencil iron. I let it get good and hot, then I
flux the rail and wire and tin each. Then I touch the wire to the rail, and
the iron to both. It should not take more than 10 seconds to make the joint.
Why are you soldering in the flange area of the rail?
"tex shalter" wrote in
Soldering irons are too cheap to deal with a bad one for long. Mine's a
Radio Shack 15W/30W switchable model and it costs about $10. There are
better and more expensive ones out there, it just depends on what you
want to do. For rail and circuit boards, the one I have does fine.
Greg Procter wrote in
Sure, I can design a system that goes based upon the placement of the
points... if you really want it. I can also design a system that guesses
the position of the points by changing when the turnout gets a change
request... Or you can use this simple two switch model (don't CTC boards
use a similar method anyway?) with the understanding that the signal may
NOT be correct, or the switch may be in the WRONG position.
In this case, I think you gain a lot more enjoyment than you do worry.
If you're concerned the signal is wrong, press the button and it will be
If you don't care about realistic scenery, you can connect the throw rod
on the turnout to a slide switch. Each time you move the switch, then
your lights would change. I guess you could also run the throw rod under
the layout, but that's a lot more complexity and worry that I'd like to
On 9/30/2007 9:24 PM tex shalter spake thus:
You may not; what you really need is a good clean tip on the iron. Try
cleaning the scale off the tip; use a file or a grinding wheel to get it
down to new metal, then immediately heat the iron and tin it (melt some
solder on the metal to cover it). You can also reshape the tip this way
to put a nice point on it.
When you go to make a joint, clean the tip every time with on a wet
sponge. You'll get good joints every time.
The signal lights are powered through a seperate but parallel switch, eg
Double pole, double throw, using the second poles.
Soldering is a matter of the material(s) to be soldered, their
cleanliness, the size of the iron, the power of the iron and the
Get any one of those wrong and you fail to get a good join. Code 83
should be easier to solder than code 100 because it has less mass and so
should heat to soldering temperature quicker and more easily.
My philosophy is to put the complication into the wiring rather than the
switch manipulation/operation. However, I quite enjoy wiring.
One of my oft told stories :-) is about my shunting layout. (grown up
"timesaver") At an exhibition a friend offered to take over while I went
for refreshments. By the time I got back he was convinced that it was
inhabited by friendly gremlins because whenever he hand-threw a turnout
all the rest in the sequence he wanted would also throw. It is simple
enough, all the point motors include additional switches for sequence
delay. He always worked back from his intended destination, so the
wiring actuated all the logical turnout sequence for him. If he had
worked from the throat there would have been no logical sequence for the
wiring to activate. I use added switches to turn on/off traction
current. After all, if a dead-end siding has the turnout set against it
then you don't want a loco on it to move. The only traction current
switch on the shunting layout and 7 track staging yard is one arranged
so that two locos can use the coaling stage at one time. I can have 8
locos on a 7'x1' layout and only the required one will move.
I'll just add that reshaping the tip to suit the position on the rail
that you want to solder is worth the effort. In all likelihood the tip
comes to a ">" or even a round tip cut diagonally which presents a tiny
area against the rail side which will severly limit the amount of heat
that can be transfered to the rail.
Also it's a good idea to clip heat sinks an inch or so away from the
soldering point to limit the damage to the plastic sleepers.