Points

I'd be interesting in hearing what people do for point motors. I have about 70 sets to motorise on the current layout, and was going
to use the "traditional" Peco motors and sliding-contact switches, partly because a bit of me likes the conceit of lever frames at the layout side. But I'm definitely going to need a mimic (or three), and adding switching is fiddly and involves even more wiring. Are there motors with inbuilt switches that are better than the Peco ones? Or should I use DCC and run it off a computer? What do others do?
Guy
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On Sun, 04 Jan 2009 18:56:51 +0000, "Just zis Guy, you know?"

It would be a more expensive solution, but Tortoise motors are ideal for this.
Put a red/green Led in series with the motor and you've got yourself the mimic stuff with no extra effort.
Or use two reversed to show one route red and the other green.
The Tortoise also comes with two built in switches you can use for switching live frogs, etc.
Depending how you wire them you only need a single pole, double throw switch.
The instructions are at:
http://www.amhobby.com/download/man-tortoise.pdf
Whatever you use won't be cheap by the time you have done 70 sets but you're probably only doing a few at a time.

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wrote:

Dont have anywhere near that many points or complexity but use DCC with option of computer to set routes. Simple software with selection boxes for either routes or individual points. By setting up routes dont need a mimic - if point already set then it dont throw. DCC adds extra expense as need points decoder although can throw 2 points from same port with hornby points decoders and peco motors.
Cheers, Simon
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On Sun, 04 Jan 2009 14:53:00 -0500, Christopher A. Lee

Thanks, I had a sneaking suspicion that might be the case. The baseboard slots will work for either, of course, and I see you can get packs of 12 for "only" $62 - actually not a lot more expensive than Peco by the time you've added a switch.
Time for more research. But in a good way :-)
Guy
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"Just zis Guy, you know?" wrote

I'd be inclined to take a look at Seep point motors (made by Gaugemaster) - I've used these for donkey's years with extreme success. They have the added advantage (if you buy the right ones) of having a built in switch which is ideal for changing the frog polarity of electrofrog points and thereby offering more reliable operation.
You can use any type of operating switch to actually operate these, including the Peco unit if you choose.
John.
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DCC or not is largely irrelevant to the physical implementation of the motor.
If you do use DCC for the electronic side of things, run a seperate control bus so that a short that's shuts down the track power doesn't stop you changing the points you just ran over. Never, ever, use the track bus to power solenoid motors, unless you have a CDU. Even then, you should really use a separate power bus.
If you are using electrofrog with correct frog switching then a very easy, non-mechanical mimic can be made by connecting an opto-coupler (with suitable resistor and reverse protection diode) between the frog and stock rail. Use one for each stock rail to give confirmation that the frog has switched either way. The output of the opto coupler will be active when the frog is connected to the opposite stock rail.
MBQ
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I run it off my computer but without DCC using custom circuitry.
* One CDU - a big capacitor with a constant current charging circuit * Per point motor, one big FET plus a freewheel diode * Each FET gate connected to microcontroller gpio pin (I added a smallish resistor in between to avoid clobbering the logic power supply with the capacitance of the FET gate)
If you don't have a custom microcontroller in your setup a simple demultiplexing circuit connected to your parallel port may work :-).
In my the microcontrollers are 40-pin PIC18F variants and they are addressed via I2C from a master microcontroller which talks to the real computer via RS232.
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I have used almost every type of point motor with or without added switchs. There is an application for all (I am not keen on the Seeps as the one's I have needed gluing on. I have made up mimics (several now as things progress) some of which have been altered many times but are there to provide power control and point number reminders. To date TOT units have been rather hit or miss and are still awaiting some serious thought. The idea of lever frames is sound as they can be grouped functionally, give indication of last position commanded (not 100% reliable) and generally generate a little ambiance. I use 2 x 10 blocks levers but all the other swithches are either single pole on off on sprung switches or sprung press to make types. Multi routing is achieved with diode matrixes and resets similarely. An example being a cross over employing two point sets that are set & reset from a single switch using diodes. The power supply on the entered section being derived from the leaving section via point motor switch units. This application arises because I use dedicated controllers for mainline running in each direction and dedicated units for whole station areas and further units for passing loops. All of the track has a choice of controllers (2 only) to facilitate recovery in case of failure and to enable train make up and detachment. To date Peco motors and switches have been excellent. Where there are access problems and points whichrequire to be remote operated by rods and cranks I have used H&M motors ( also carrying aux switches) and am very pleased with them. I have also employed a couple of Hornby motors (new type) without problems. Few of my motors are new as my local shop is eBay but very few ( one or two) have been binned so far. Having looked at your fotos I would have thought that your present layout is inviting the positioning of motors on the perifery and to run tube and rod to the point units. This keeps all aux electrics to hand and the motors accessible without any need to undertake the massive task of lifting complex track in case of problems.
Regards
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