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             Rating                           Building Yeovil Pen Mill in EM
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121st message | this message only posted: 7 Sep 2018 23:40
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Andrew Duncan
Reigate, United Kingdom



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Andrew Barrowman wrote: Andrew Duncan wrote: I am actually quite concerned about the micro switches( also operated by the  servos) not being held in place once the blades have been thrown. This is partly because the latest version of the software switches off after a second after it’s thrown the blades and does no further checking on the servo until it’s asked to switch back again. And partly perhaps because the servos I’ve used have the standard lenght  arm; would a long arm with great leverage be the answer? This means I get no twitching and chatter from the servos which is a blessed relief, but I also understand that there’s no power to keep it in position and with the micro switch pushing against the servo arm my fear is that it may allow the switch to return to the opposite/ wrong polarity for that road.
Hi Andrew,


If you want to reduce the pressure on the servo from the microswitch you should use the shortest possible servo arm. That will minimize the torque that's tending to rotate the servo. Likewise with the mechanism that acts on the points. What you really want to do is make the servo rotate through the greatest possible angle. If the actuator arm rotates through 140 degrees it is almost impossible for the points to "back-drive" the servo.

Cheers,
Andy

Hello Andy 
Thanks for your thoughts on how to avoid the back drive on the servo from the microswitch which I will look into to see how much more rotation I can achieve with the existing servo brackets. I think I’ll have to move the control wire either in or out along the servo arm to achieve the extra rotation. If I feel that it’s still going to be a problem then I’ll either take Martins advice or go the frog juicer route. 

As to ripping them all out and going back to Cobalts or something more conventional, this thought doesn’t fill me with joy and I’d like to prove to myself that I can do it. Time will tell!

Kind regards 
Andrew


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122nd message | this message only posted: 7 Sep 2018 23:47
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from:
Nigel Brown
 

 

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Andrew Duncan wrote: Hello Andy 
Thanks for your thoughts on how to avoid the back drive on the servo from the microswitch which I will look into to see how much more rotation I can achieve with the existing servo brackets. I think I’ll have to move the control wire either in or out along the servo arm to achieve the extra rotation. If I feel that it’s still going to be a problem then I’ll either take Martins advice or go the frog juicer route. 

As to ripping them all out and going back to Cobalts or something more conventional, this thought doesn’t fill me with joy and I’d like to prove to myself that I can do it. Time will tell!

Kind regards 
Andrew
Best of luck. I'd like to go with servos in future so I'll be following your progress with interest. Other options like Tortoises have their own drawbacks. I've used servos successfully on a couple of signals, but these don't quite have the same need to get the end points right.

Nigel

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123rd message | this message only posted: 8 Sep 2018 00:07
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from:
Andrew Duncan
Reigate, United Kingdom



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Martin Wynne wrote: Andrew Barrowman wrote:but if you just want everything to work without a lot of potential aggravation, don't touch them.And the same for microswitches, the installation and adjustment of which is a form of cruelty in contravention of the Geneva Convention.

To switch the polarity of a V-crossing, use a sugar-cube relay. They cost very little more than a microswitch. They can be installed anywhere you like with just a dab of the glue gun. Given the typical model railway use, they will last forever and never need any attention whatsoever -- you can safely bury them under the scenery.

If you have an all-mechanical lever-frame setup for operating the points, all a relay needs is an on-off switch, not a changeover. That can be very easily contrived by grounding the frame, and having an insulated bit of springy wire making contact with the lever or rodding somewhere in the run. The contact quality is irrelevant for a low-voltage relay and will have no effect on the train running over the crossing.

Martin.
Hello Martin
I think I’ve heard you voice this reticence about microswitches before and I must say I’m beginning to feel that they are going to be a bit of a challenge to keep,adjusted correctly.  Im wondering if I should just whip them out and try either your idea of relays or I’ve got three of the Gaugemaster frog juicer devices. They have a rating of only an amp,or two if I recall correctly. Is that likely to be problematic do you know when the power amp for the DCC is 5 amps? Typically my engines draw 0.3 to 0.4 of an amp. 

Kind regards
Andrew


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124th message | this message only posted: 8 Sep 2018 00:26
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from:
Andrew Duncan
Reigate, United Kingdom



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Nigel wroteBest of luck. I'd like to go with servos in future so I'll be following your progress with interest. Other options like Tortoises have their own drawbacks. I've used servos successfully on a couple of signals, but these don't quite have the same need to get the end points right.

Nigel
Hello Nigel
I’ll keep you posted on my progress. My initial experiences with the Megapoints control has been positive and certainly setting the end points has not been difficult with every control board being completely self contained with its own controls built in. The signal control even has bounce built in which varies every time by a small amount so no two returns to danger are the same. Very nice. 

What I’dont  know yet is how it performs in regular use and that concerns me a bit. But, nothing ventured ....Kind regards 
Andrew



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125th message | this message only posted: 8 Sep 2018 06:47
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from:
Andrew Duncan
Reigate, United Kingdom



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Nigel BrownI've used servos successfully on a couple of signals, but these don't quite have the same need to get the end points right.



Nigel

Nigel realise that I don’t know and didn’t ask last night what system you are using for the signals and how does that work. I’d be very  interested to know your experiences with another system. 

Andrew


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126th message | this message only posted: 8 Sep 2018 07:13
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Andrew Duncan wrote:I think I’ve heard you voice this reticence about microswitches before and I must say I’m beginning to feel that they are going to be a bit of a challenge to keep,adjusted correctly.  I'm wondering if I should just whip them out and try either your idea of relays or I’ve got three of the Gaugemaster frog juicer devices. They have a rating of only an amp,or two if I recall correctly. Is that likely to be problematic do you know when the power amp for the DCC is 5 amps? Typically my engines draw 0.3 to 0.4 of an amp.Hi Andrew,

In an ideal world, a crossing polarity switch never operates under load (i.e. with current flowing). So it needs only to be rated around 1 amp or so for the max likely loco current.

In practice on a model railway, there are going to be times when it accidentally switches into a dead short condition, for example changing the crossing polarity when a wheel is bridging an isolation gap in the rails. So you need contacts which can handle that without being degraded. I suggest therefore that a relay contact needs to be rated around 5 or 10 amps or more for long term reliability. Looking at some of the contacts typically used by railway modellers I wouldn't be too happy about that -- for example the copper track wipers used inside a Tortoise point motor.

Sorry, I know nothing about using small model servos. If you are saying that a microswitch is capable of pushing the arm back in standby condition, I'm puzzled to know how the servo is capable of holding the point blades against the stock rail?

In fact looking at your servo installation:



it's not clear to me how it drives the points over? Is the top plate acting as a fulcrum for the drive rod?

Whatever, all you need to operate a relay is to arrange something to make contact against something else as an improvised on-off switch. This is 100 times easier to do than improvising a changeover switch. For example an ordinary choc-block connector could have a bit of springy phos-bronze wire sticking out of it, which makes contact with the drive rod to the points in one position, and not the other.

Connect the drive rod/bracket/whatever to the system ground (common return), and the springy bit of wire through the relay coil to the power supply. To be really posh you could add a reverse diode across the relay coil to quench any inductive sparking and keep the springy wire nice and clean, although even without I suspect it would work fine for 50 years without needing any attention.

What you probably can't do is slave the relay directly across the servo connections (over to Andy on that) as you can do for example with a Tortoise point motor.

If you buy relays on eBay from the far east you can get them for about 20p each in bulk packs. But I think I would prefer a branded product from a proper distributor, such as something like this:

 https://www.rapidonline.com/good-sky-rwh-ss-112d-12v-rwh-series-12a-spdt-relay-60-4668

or maybe something more rugged:

 https://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/non-latching-relays/2172876/

which are a lot cheaper than a frog juicer. There a dozens of types and coil voltages available (those are for 12v dc power supply).

To install such a sugar-cube relay you just dab it with the glue gun anywhere you like under the baseboard.

cheers,

Martin.

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127th message | this message only posted: 8 Sep 2018 08:21
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Stephen Freeman
Sandbach, United Kingdom



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Good Morning,

Martin - I think you would need latching relays for polarity changing. Servos are constantly powered (5vdc) direction speed etc is controlled by the signal, so I don't think powering a relay off that would work.

Don't know the proposed method of controlling the switching of the servo but a dpdt switch could control the polarity as well.

If you are worried about the servo switching off and the blades losing contact, then you have the blades too stiff. The servo will in fact still be powered, it's just that the control signal stops.

If you need to have the servo constantly trying to hold its position with stiff blades and use a system which can do this (optional under MERGs Servo4 I think), you run the risk of burning out the servo motor and fairly rapid failure follows etc.

In practice it is usually found (at least in my experience) that there is enough resistance in the servo motors gearing to hold the blades in position.

If you want to use a Frog Juicer, I think I'm right in saying that TAM Valley ones can handle 5amps, in fact I seem to recall without checking that they are switchable between systems that are less than 5 amps and those that are 5 amps or more. I have some but still in their packets.

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128th message | this message only posted: 8 Sep 2018 08:57
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Stephen Freeman wrote: Don't know the proposed method of controlling the switching of the servo but a dpdt switch could control the polarity as well.

If you are worried about the servo switching off and the blades losing contact, then you have the blades too stiff. The servo will in fact still be powered, it's just that the control signal stops.
Hi Stephen,

I'm not worried about servos because I would never use one -- far too fragile and fiddly for me. My idea of a point motor is something like this:

 https://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/dc-d-frame-solenoid/9059944/

with a relay slaved across it for polarity switching. Adding a disc such as a jam pot lid to the linkage provides some air damping to slow it down and reduce shock.

It doesn't need to be a latching relay, unless you also use a latching magnetic solenoid to save power consumption. Yes you could use a DPDT panel switch, but that then requires an additional wire connection in the cable to the control panel. A relay near the actual turnout is less trouble.

But Andrew is using servos, using the Megapoints controller. I have no idea what the interface signals are for that, but almost certainly they don't allow the direct connection of a relay. Hence my suggestion of an improvised switch for the relay.

I believe the servos are in fact unpowered in the stopped state, to prevent twitching from interference on the control line.

cheers,

Martin.

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129th message | this message only posted: 8 Sep 2018 10:21
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Andrew Howlett
Torquay, United Kingdom

 

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I am using the MegaPoints system for my 0-gauge layout, but I am using the relay controller boards and relays (5A) working in conjunction with the servo controllers for switching the polarity on the crossings.  I've used the shortest servo arms on the second or sometimes third hole to give the maximum rotation on the servo.

I am very pleased with the MegaPoints system.  Dave Fenton has bent over backwards to assist with getting my system to work correctly when I've had problems through not reading or understanding the installation instructions, although I did recently discover an error in the firmware on the MultiPanel controllers!  Dave spent a whole weekend reproducing my system, reproducing the fault, rewriting part of the software to fix the problem, and sending me replacement controllers.  How's that for service!

Andrew Howlett.

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130th message | this message only posted: 9 Sep 2018 00:17
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from:
Andrew Duncan
Reigate, United Kingdom



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Hello MartinThanks for your replies to my questions. I’ve put mine in your text. 
Andrew
Martin Wynne wroteAndrew Duncan wrote:I think I’ve heard you voice this reticence about microswitches before and I must say I’m beginning to feel that they are going to be a bit of a challenge to keep,adjusted correctly.  I'm wondering if I should just whip them out and try either your idea of relays or I’ve got three of the Gaugemaster frog juicer devices. They have a rating of only an amp,or two if I recall correctly. Is that likely to be problematic do you know when the power amp for the DCC is 5 amps? Typically my engines draw 0.3 to 0.4 of an amp.Hi Andrew,

In an ideal world, a crossing polarity switch never operates under load (i.e. with current flowing). So it needs only to be rated around 1 amp or so for the max likely loco current.

In practice on a model railway, there are going to be times when it accidentally switches into a dead short condition, for example changing the crossing polarity when a wheel is bridging an isolation gap in the rails. So you need contacts which can handle that without being degraded. I suggest therefore that a relay contact needs to be rated around 5 or 10 amps or more for long term reliability. Looking at some of the contacts typically used by railway modellers I wouldn't be too happy about that -- for example the copper track wipers used inside a Tortoise point motor.

Thanks for this explanation about the amperage. Understood. 
Sorry, I know nothing about using small model servos. If you are saying that a microswitch is capable of pushing the arm back in standby condition, I'm puzzled to know how the servo is capable of holding the point blades against the stock rail? 

The servos are quite stiff and provide a reasonable amount of resistance that keep the blades in place, plus I’m building loose heeled switches which have very little inclination either way
In fact looking at your servo installation:



it's not clear to me how it drives the points over? Is the top plate acting as a fulcrum for the drive rod?   
 Yes the top of the frame is the fulcrum and the operating wire goes through an 8mm hole in the baseboard to drive the switches
Whatever, all you need to operate a relay is to arrange something to make contact against something else as an improvised on-off switch. This is 100 times easier to do than improvising a changeover switch. For example an ordinary choc-block connector could have a bit of springy phos-bronze wire sticking out of it, which makes contact with the drive rod to the points in one position, and not the other.

Connect the drive rod/bracket/whatever to the system ground (common return), and the springy bit of wire through the relay coil to the power supply. To be really posh you could add a reverse diode across the relay coil to quench any inductive sparking and keep the springy wire nice and clean, although even without I suspect it would work fine for 50 years without needing any attention.

What you probably can't do is slave the relay directly across the servo connections (over to Andy on that) as you can do for example with a Tortoise point motor.

If you buy relays on eBay from the far east you can get them for about 20p each in bulk packs. But I think I would prefer a branded product from a proper distributor, such as something like this:

 https://www.rapidonline.com/good-sky-rwh-ss-112d-12v-rwh-series-12a-spdt-relay-60-4668

or maybe something more rugged:

 https://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/non-latching-relays/2172876/

which are a lot cheaper than a frog juicer. There a dozens of types and coil voltages available (those are for 12v dc power supply).

To install such a sugar-cube relay you just dab it with the glue gun anywhere you like under the baseboard.

cheers,

Martin.
Megapoints do have a board that will control relays which I’ve used on the junction board that I built before this one. I got in a bit of a muddle with it because I’m not very good at remembering where the wires were meant to go for some reason and on several occasions connected the wrong crossings to the switch. But I got there eventually and that works ok as it does for Andrew Howlett on his O gauge layout by the sound of it. 

The appeal of the individual frog juicers is the reduction in wiring with no wires longer than a turnout being involved, no remote switching or wiring going back to the Megapoints board. Downside is that I can’t test the layout in analogue mode as they don’t operate in DC. 

A bit more thought required I think. Thanks again. 

Andrew


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131st message | this message only posted: 9 Sep 2018 00:33
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from:
Andrew Duncan
Reigate, United Kingdom



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Andrew Howlett wrote: I am using the MegaPoints system for my 0-gauge layout, but I am using the relay controller boards and relays (5A) working in conjunction with the servo controllers for switching the polarity on the crossings.  I've used the shortest servo arms on the second or sometimes third hole to give the maximum rotation on the servo

I am very pleased with the MegaPoints system.  Dave Fenton has bent over backwards to assist with getting my system to work correctly when I've had problems through not reading or understanding the installation instructions, although I did recently discover an error in the firmware on the MultiPanel controllers!  Dave spent a whole weekend reproducing my system, reproducing the fault, rewriting part of the software to fix the problem, and sending me replacement controllers.  How's that for service!

Andrew Howlett.
Hello Andrew

Thanks for the feedback on your installation, its good to hear of an example which is up and running and working well. And I can echo your experience of Dave Fenton, he has been very  helpful on a couple of occasions.

One question for you, did you install the Megapoints relay control and relays themselves near the main control board or did you try to get them more locally placed to reduce wiring length.

Kind regards

Andrew


ps sorry about the gaps...I used IE by mistake for this reply   edited them out 

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132nd message | this message only posted: 9 Sep 2018 00:44
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Andrew Duncan wrote:The appeal of the individual frog juicers is the reduction in wiring with no wires longer than a turnout being involved,Hi Andrew,

The same applies to a relay if you mount it close to the turnout. The only extra wire to the board needed is a power supply for the relays, which would be 1 wire for the whole board.

Or 2 wires, in the unlikely event that you don't already have a system ground (common return), for the servo power and items such as uncoupling magnets, lights in buildings, etc. 

cheers,

Martin.

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133rd message | this message only posted: 9 Sep 2018 08:01
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FraserSmith
Dundee, United Kingdom



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Hi Andrew

I have missed some of your recent postings as I'm away on a working trip so my response may not quite be the answer you want but I'm off out again soon and don't have the time to read back through all your postings.

In your photo you show the operating wire in the top servo arm. It really should be through the bottom arm and a reasonable distance down. You then get less up and down movement of the wire. Where it goes depends on your baseboard thickness and scale. A thicker BB will have more movement of the operating wire than a thin one. N and 4mm will need about 2mm of movement at the tie bar height. Your O gauge will maybe be 3mm. Simple proportions can be used on the distances above and below the hole in the mounting plate of your servo mount. If the BB is say 20mm and you want 2mm travel up top and your wire goes through the horn at 25mm down your movement sideways will need to be 2.5mm (25/20*2).

Frog juicers are an expensive tecchie solution to a problem that should never occur. If you know which way the point is set then you know the polarity of the frog that's needed. It can be switched with one microswitch as you have on your mount or with two so that the frog is isolated in mid travel.If you are using Megapoints then I don't know when that does its switching. I assume you will have the switch and closure rails bonded to their adjacent stock rails and isolated from the frog.

I designed a board that drives the servo and has a built in relay that changes the relay at the mid point of travel. It can be located adjacent to the servo and driven by a simple switch or electronically via a module on a control bus. At £5.50 each they work out much cheaper than Megapoints. You haven't mentioned what feedback if any you are using to show point direction or occupied blocks but if you are heading that way then now is the time to install that as the rest of the wiring is done. That way you can have one or more control panels that are connected to the layout by just four wires each. Becoming a member of MERG would be a useful step along that path as well.

HTH

Fraser

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134th message | this message only posted: 9 Sep 2018 11:47
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from:
Andrew Howlett
Torquay, United Kingdom

 

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Andrew Duncan wrote:
Andrew Howlett wrote: I am using the MegaPoints system for my 0-gauge layout, but I am using the relay controller boards and relays (5A) working in conjunction with the servo controllers for switching the polarity on the crossings.  I've used the shortest servo arms on the second or sometimes third hole to give the maximum rotation on the servo

I am very pleased with the MegaPoints system.  Dave Fenton has bent over backwards to assist with getting my system to work correctly when I've had problems through not reading or understanding the installation instructions, although I did recently discover an error in the firmware on the MultiPanel controllers!  Dave spent a whole weekend reproducing my system, reproducing the fault, rewriting part of the software to fix the problem, and sending me replacement controllers.  How's that for service!

Andrew Howlett.
Hello Andrew

Thanks for the feedback on your installation, its good to hear of an example which is up and running and working well. And I can echo your experience of Dave Fenton, he has been very  helpful on a couple of occasions.

One question for you, did you install the Megapoints relay control and relays themselves near the main control board or did you try to get them more locally placed to reduce wiring length.

Kind regards

Andrew
I have tried to locate the servo controllers as near to the turnout groups as possible. There is a 12-channel servo controller with its associated relay controller and relays at each end of the station, and an additional two 12-channel servo controllers with relay controllers and relays at the entrance to the fiddle yard. These are all network connected back to the two MultiPanel controllers at the control panels.

Some turnouts and signals are operated from both control panels, and one crossover in particular which is on the hinged section across the door has the two servos on different servo controllers.

The two control panels are connected together by a two-wire network, and the servo and relay controllers are connected to the nearest control panel by a three-wire network.

Andrew Howlett

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135th message | this message only posted: 9 Sep 2018 12:37
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from:
Nigel Brown
 

 

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Andrew Duncan wrote: Nigel BrownI've used servos successfully on a couple of signals, but these don't quite have the same need to get the end points right.

Nigel
Nigel realise that I don’t know and didn’t ask last night what system you are using for the signals and how does that work. I’d be very  interested to know your experiences with another system. 

Andrew
Hi Andrew

I used control board and servos from Heathcote Electronics. The board controls 4 servos; not too impressed, could only get 2 to work correctly and the instructions seemed to be out of date. As far as I remember each servo is controlled by an on/off switch; on moves it one way, off the other. Only had 2 signals on that layout board, so did the job; programming the movement was easy enough except that it didn't work on 2 servos. Other people have said they've been OK with Heatcote.

For the 4 signals on the second board I've bought a Peco Smartswitch kit. Have yet to try it but the board looks a quality job and the instructions are clear enough.

All the points on the current layout are already powered by Tortoises so aren't using servos for those. With the Tortoises I find one needs to leave the power on to ensure the switch blades remain fully closed, which means you get an irritating buzz from them! They're controlled by switches with centre off so I do have a means of turning the power off when I don't need them. I'm contemplating a small portable experimental layout and am thinking of trying servos for points on that.

Nigel

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136th message | this message only posted: 9 Sep 2018 12:49
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FraserSmith
Dundee, United Kingdom



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Hi Andrew

More thoughts on your servo mount. I think the servo would be better turned around and so too would the microswitch(es). My hashed together picture attempts to show what I mean. You want the end of the activating bit of the microswitch to be pushed by the servo horn so that a much smaller force is required to activate the switch.

Another thought, although I guess you have all your servo mounts already, are Dingo servo mounts. The great advantage of these is the linear action of the operating wire so no poking up and down as your current version and any that use the same system do.

Cheers

Fraser



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137th message | this message only posted: 9 Sep 2018 14:26
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from:
madscientist
 

 

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Having installed both cobalts , soloneids , and servos , both with frog switching and frog juicers let me give u my perspectives

The simplest form of existence is undoubtably cobalts etc. , easiest to install and integrated switches for feedback and frog switching , but it’s the dearest option

Solenoids are the least sophisticated and unrealistic but simple and medium expensive

Servos are cheap , very configurable and will do for points and signals whereas solenoids ate far too fierce , servos can be left active where they will exert considerable force holding the point over, or the signal can be removed in which case the gear train friction is more then enough ( the 5W RS solonoid mentioned would just break up points quite frankly ) 

I would agree with many , do not use micro switches with servos. Buy a controller that can switch relays Better yet join MERG and access their considerable range of servo kits

Switch the relay from the servo controller , arranging micro switches on mechanical linkages etc is a mega pita especially with servos having programmable setting points . Servos despite requiring some “ roll your own work “ and the cheapest , Most realistic , and configurable option 

Now frog juicers are just brilliant and for dcc. If you can afford them , they are the best way to go , why because in dcc with ordinary frog switching when you go over an incorrect point in the trailing direction, you short put your whole dcc layout even if the switch blades would trail over , whereas
With frog juicers everything keeps working , Complex Slips and scissors are a doddle

Dave

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Jim Guthrie
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madscientist wrote: Now frog juicers are just brilliant and for dcc. If you can afford them , they are the best way to go , why because in dcc with ordinary frog switching when you go over an incorrect point in the trailing direction, you short put your whole dcc layout even if the switch blades would trail over , whereas
With frog juicers everything keeps working , Complex Slips and scissors are a doddle
I would agree with Dave - juicers get you round the complex interlocking on a DCC layout - like diamonds.



This is my US style switching layout with a diamond on the sidings and two Tam Valley mono juicers doing the business. :D   They will be covered with buildings. :D

Jim.

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Martin Wynne
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madscientist wrote:( the 5W RS solenoid mentioned would just break up points quite frankly )That depends on the design of linkage/escapement, the size of the air-damping plate, the inertia of the return system (such as a weighted lever), and of course the voltage used.

The great advantage is that they are made of solid metal, not flimsy bits of plastic, and anyone can see how they work -- you just need some power and a switch, with not a chip in sight, all built out of Meccano and string. :)

Or go for a hi-tech system:



 https://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/pneumatic-roundline-cylinders/8389550/

Or slightly less hi-tech:



 https://www.srb-photographic.co.uk/20ft-air-release-8905-p.asp
 
p.s. I have had one of those for about 40 years. It is still good as new, and requires no batteries. Every time I use it, I see model railway possibilities. The stroke is an ample 15mm at constant force, and easily able to operate a set of points.

air reservoir = old tyre under the baseboard.

air valve = plastic syringe from pharmacy, drill hole in side of barrel, link to lever frame.

Martin.

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madscientist
 

 

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Martin , your just getting odder as well as older :D 
As Henry Ford said 

If I asked my customers , they’d have just said “faster horses”





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Martin Wynne
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madscientist wrote: As Henry Ford said 

If I asked my customers , they’d have just said “faster horses”
Which don't need petrol, and don't drive on the wrong side of the road if they lose the GPS signal. :)

Andrew is modelling the railway at a time when they employed thousands of horses, see:

 http://www.movietone.com/assets/BMN0624/wmv/BMN_92091_3.wmv

Here is an interesting picture, from the above Movietone newsreel clip showing (allegedly?) the last working shunting horse on BR, filmed on 27th Feb 1967. Notice the catch points in the foreground -- the turnout rail is chaired on alternate timbers only. The only reason I can think for this is economy of chair castings. This may be a one-off for this location (Newmarket) or maybe typical of GER / LNER practice generally -- anyone know?



Picture linked from the PhotoBucket site: http://s193.photobucket.com/albums/z205/lamdelz/

regards,

Martin.
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Andrew Duncan
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Hello Fraser
Thanks for younr thoughts. I’ll try the control wire in the bottom arc and see if that improves things. 

Kind regards 
Andrew

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Andrew Duncan
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Hello again Fraser 
I should have read a bit further down the page! 

I’m pretty unsure about using micro switches now but the Dingo looks the business with a sliding tie bar of sorts which would stop the arc motion very neatly. But at present I need to decide on how to switch the crossing s if I’m not going to use the micro switches. 

Thanks again for your posts. 
Andrew

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Andrew Duncan
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Hello DaveThanks for your thoughts on things servo etc
madscientist wrote: Having installed both cobalts , soloneids , and servos , both with frog switching and frog juicers let me give u my perspectives

The simplest form of existence is undoubtably cobalts etc. , easiest to install and integrated switches for feedback and frog switching , but it’s the dearest option

Solenoids are the least sophisticated and unrealistic but simple and medium expensive

Servos are cheap , very configurable and will do for points and signals whereas solenoids ate far too fierce , servos can be left active where they will exert considerable force holding the point over, or the signal can be removed in which case the gear train friction is more then enough ( the 5W RS solonoid mentioned would just break up points quite frankly ) 

I would agree with many , do not use micro switches with servos. Buy a controller that can switch relays Better yet join MERG and access their considerable range of servo kits

Switch the relay from the servo controller , arranging micro switches on mechanical linkages etc is a mega pita especially with servos having programmable setting points . Servos despite requiring some “ roll your own work “ and the cheapest , Most realistic , and configurable option 

Now frog juicers are just brilliant and for dcc. If you can afford them , they are the best way to go , why because in dcc with ordinary frog switching when you go over an incorrect point in the trailing direction, you short put your whole dcc layout even if the switch blades would trail over , whereas
With frog juicers everything keeps working , Complex Slips and scissors are a doddle

Dave
I agree with your logic on solenoids and yes I like tortoise type motors, that are realistic and gentle on the mechanism. But I have found their switching to burn out though.  

I was a member of Merge a few years back and I’ve recently been very impressed by a couple of chaps I met at summer retreat at Missenden  this summer. John Gowers ( edit:mixed out the s in John’s name) had a very impressive set up that he showed me briefly but I’m in no way an electronics man and I’m unsure of my ability’s to build electronics reliably.

 Having said that a friend did recommend the Merge “district cutouts” and they sounded reasonably easy to build so I will be investigating them. I also liked their hand held controllers. I currently use ZTC which although a bit old hat has excellent handhelds. The Merge one is the closest I’ve used to mine and if one day I had to change this would be my first choice. 

So far as the existing control boards are concerned I’m pretty well committed to Megapoints. They are very well thought through and well supported by Dave Fenton and not unreasonably priced. Wish they did a frog juicer also at a reasonable price as well!

Yes I’ve very tempted by frog juicers as well for all the reasons you’ve just mentioned. 

Thanks again for your thoughts 
Kind regards
Andrew



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Andrew Duncan
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Hello Jim
That is some very neat trackwork and even neater wiring, well much neater then mine. I really should put more effort into that aspect of layout building. 

Thanks for your thoughts and the picture
Kind regards 
Andrew

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Martin Wynne
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Andrew Duncan wrote:I like tortoise type motors, that are realistic and gentle on the mechanism. But I have found their switching to burn out though.Hi Andrew,

There is a long topic on the Scalefour forum about the inadequacy and unreliability of the internal switching in Tortoise motors. Having dismantled one myself and seen the design, I would not use those switches for anything, especially not polarity switching of crossings.

But if you use a Tortoise, the answer is simple. You can slave a relay straight across it with no more than a single diode, and the job is done. No additional wiring to the turnout, no microswitches to adjust. If you want the simplest and most reliable system, it would be hard to beat. No Meccano needed. :)

Martin.

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Andrew Duncan
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I used control board and servos from Heathcote Electronics. The board controls 4 servos; not too impressed, could only get 2 to work correctly and the instructions seemed to be out of date. As far as I remember each servo is controlled by an on/off switch; on moves it one way, off the other. Only had 2 signals on that layout board, so did the job; programming the movement was easy enough except that it didn't work on 2 servos. Other people have said they've been OK with Heatcote.

For the 4 signals on the second board I've bought a Peco Smartswitch kit. Have yet to try it but the board looks a quality job and the instructions are clear enough.

All the points on the current layout are already powered by Tortoises so aren't using servos for those. With the Tortoises I find one needs to leave the power on to ensure the switch blades remain fully closed, which means you get an irritating buzz from them! They're controlled by switches with centre off so I do have a means of turning the power off when I don't need them. I'm contemplating a small portable experimental layout and am thinking of trying servos for points on that.

Nigel
Hello Nigel 
I’ll be interested to hear how you get on with Peco set up, should be good coming from that pedigree. I’m surprised to hear that your tortoises buzz. Maybe  it’s my hearing but my old Maiden Newton layout has Tortoises and I can’t hear a thing. Mind you I’m using an old H&M one which is probably wheezing a bit these day so not many volts I suspect. 

At present I do certainly recommend Megapoints based on my experience of installing them and the back up,  but perhaps I should be cautious until I’ve had it in daily use. 

Kind regards 
Andrew




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Martin Wynne wrote: Andrew Duncan wrote:I like tortoise type motors, that are realistic and gentle on the mechanism. But I have found their switching to burn out though.Hi Andrew,

There is a long topic on the Scalefour forum about the inadequacy and unreliability of the internal switching in Tortoise motors. Having dismantled one myself and seen the design, I would not use those switches for anything, especially not polarity switching of crossings.

But if you use a Tortoise, the answer is simple. You can slave a relay straight across it with no more than a single diode, and the job is done. No additional wiring to the turnout, no microswitches to adjust. If you want the simplest and most reliable system, it would be hard to beat. No Meccano needed. :)

Martin.
Hello Martin 
I wasn’t thinking of using either tortoises or  Meccano, at least not unless all the above fails and I end up with egg on my face!

Andrew


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Martin Wynne
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Andrew Duncan wrote:I wasn’t thinking of using either tortoises or  Meccano, at least not unless all the above fails and I end up with egg on my face!Hi Andrew,

Does that mean you have now found satisfactory answers to your problems in your message:

  http://85a.co.uk/forum/view_topic.php?id=2547&forum_id=6&page=3#p25595

cheers,

Martin.

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madscientist
 

 

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having reviewed both , I found the switching in cobalts to be more robust then tortoises
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Andrew Duncan
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Well a wee update


Yup as I said to Jim I do need to be neater in my approach to wiring. Anyway I’ve now finished splitting this board into 3 districts and  compared to muddle I had before I now stand a sporting chance of finding electrical problems as I can now switch off each district separately wooow!!!!

Other wise you can see the Megapoints plug and a hole where the track power din plug will go when it arrives from RS. Oh and the din plug for the Megapoints power. 
Food calls. 
Andrew



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Martin Wynne wrote: Andrew Duncan wrote:I wasn’t thinking of using either tortoises or  Meccano, at least not unless all the above fails and I end up with egg on my face!Hi Andrew,

Does that mean you have now found satisfactory answers to your problems in your message:

  http://85a.co.uk/forum/view_topic.php?id=2547&forum_id=6&page=3#p25595

cheers,

Martin.
Hello Martin
Good question. Yes I think I probably have. 
1. I’m going to dispense with the micro switches; too difficult to adjust reliably. 
2. Try the Gaugemaster frog juicer as I have 3 and see how they do. 
3. If they work well I’ll buy more to finish this board. 
4. If they don’t I’ll replace them with Tam Valley juicers. 

Thanks to everyone who's let me know what their experiences have been. The feedback has been really helpful. 

Kind regards 
Andrew



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Hi Andrew.
Can't believe how this thread has grown since my last comment at post 117, but glad Andrew has reached some conclusion. My only further comment regards the perceived problems with micro switches. I have used them on several occasions and once set up have generally performed reliably. I don’t use them for crossing polarity, but as limit switches. I have had failures with some on Green Street, but that was after 30 odd years use, so perhaps to be expected.
Being a non DCC person, I have also learnt something as 'Frog juicers' were a mystery before.

As an aside, I am custodian of the Nottingham Area Group's test track at Scaleforum this year, if anyone fancies a chat. Being a test track, the opportunity was taken to test various options on it. There are three crossovers, one being switched by Tortoise point motors, and the other two by servos, but using the Peco Smartswitch system for one, a MERG board for the other. The test track is not kept in the best of environments, it has to be said, being kept in an unheated storeroom at the the club. To date we have had one failure with a Tortoise point motor failing to switch a crossing polarity (traced to a contact failure within the motor). The Peco Smartswitch has performed impeccably, but one of the MERG controlled servos suffers badly from the twitches, which seems to decrease with use.

PS I don't wish to hijack Andrews thread with comments about this, merely posting the above as observations.
Regards Tony.

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Tony W wrote: Hi Andrew.
Can't believe how this thread has grown since my last comment at post 117, but glad Andrew has reached some conclusion. My only further comment regards the perceived problems with micro switches. I have used them on several occasions and once set up have generally performed reliably. I don’t use them for crossing polarity, but as limit switches. I have had failures with some on Green Street, but that was after 30 odd years use, so perhaps to be expected.
Being a non DCC person, I have also learnt something as 'Frog juicers' were a mystery before.

As an aside, I am custodian of the Nottingham Area Group's test track at Scaleforum this year, if anyone fancies a chat. Being a test track, the opportunity was taken to test various options on it. There are three crossovers, one being switched by Tortoise point motors, and the other two by solenoids, but using the Peco Smartswitch system for one, a MERG board for the other. The test track is not kept in the best of environments, it has to be said, being kept in an unheated storeroom at the the club. To date we have had one failure with a Tortoise point motor failing to switch a crossing polarity (traced to a contact failure within the motor). The Peco Smartswitch has performed impeccably, but one of the MERG controlled servos suffers badly from the twitches, which seems to decrease with use.

PS I don't wish to hijack Andrews thread with comments about this, merely posting the above as observations.
Regards Tony.
Hello Tony 
Good to hear from you as always; I don’t believe there was a complete condemnation of micro switches in general  but certainly in the application I was using them for they did seem a bit iffy. Quite apart from anything else the adjustment screws were difficult to get to and to see what was happening. They also had an inclination to push the servos back from whence they’d come although I think I might have overcome that problem?  So as I strongly dislike stuff under the baseboard I thought a system that didn’t need adjustment was called for. Judging by his reference to the Geneva convention I’ve a feeling Martin probably agrees as well!

I’m delighted that you’ll be at Scaleforum this year so I’ll pop along at some point. Not sure which day yet. Your experience with Tortoise switch gear is the same as mine and sounds like it’s common problem judging by the comments over the weekend on this thread. 

When you refer to solenoids for the other two examples, Merge and Peco, you then finish with a reference to servos? Were one of the boards controlling servos and the other solenoids, or have I just misread ....not unknown

To complete your education on frog juicers, well actuall not a frog juicer, but an Autofrog( same idea but  

uses a relay rather than solid state to change the polarity. 

The first picture shows the Autofrog first wiring up with a Wago plug stuck to the top as they don’t come with proper terminals, just three solder pads, hence the need for something to make them unpluggable! The next shows one installed on the layout. Not a neat job but I’ve got it colour coded and I think with the records I’ve now got I should be able to understand it in a few years time when all this is but a distant memory!



Kind regards 
Andrew

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As an idea for future builds , why not create an electronics/ wiring duct , in our case ( club O gauge layout , based on the GWR direct line ) , designed by yours truelh , you can see the frog juicers n place , it’s much more crowed now with the Merg cobalt controls and other boards , but I don’t have a recent pic. The green boards are tam valley frog juicers the red ones are my own design DCC dropper connector boards

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Andrew Duncan wrote: Tony W wrote: Hi Andrew.
Can't believe how this thread has grown since my last comment at post 117, but glad Andrew has reached some conclusion. My only further comment regards the perceived problems with micro switches. I have used them on several occasions and once set up have generally performed reliably. I don’t use them for crossing polarity, but as limit switches. I have had failures with some on Green Street, but that was after 30 odd years use, so perhaps to be expected.
Being a non DCC person, I have also learnt something as 'Frog juicers' were a mystery before.

As an aside, I am custodian of the Nottingham Area Group's test track at Scaleforum this year, if anyone fancies a chat. Being a test track, the opportunity was taken to test various options on it. There are three crossovers, one being switched by Tortoise point motors, and the other two by solenoids, but using the Peco Smartswitch system for one, a MERG board for the other. The test track is not kept in the best of environments, it has to be said, being kept in an unheated storeroom at the the club. To date we have had one failure with a Tortoise point motor failing to switch a crossing polarity (traced to a contact failure within the motor). The Peco Smartswitch has performed impeccably, but one of the MERG controlled servos suffers badly from the twitches, which seems to decrease with use.

PS I don't wish to hijack Andrews thread with comments about this, merely posting the above as observations.
Regards Tony.
Hello Tony 
Good to hear from you as always; I don’t believe there was a complete condemnation of micro switches in general  but certainly in the application I was using them for they did seem a bit iffy. Quite apart from anything else the adjustment screws were difficult to get to and to see what was happening. They also had an inclination to push the servos back from whence they’d come although I think I might have overcome that problem?  So as I strongly dislike stuff under the baseboard I thought a system that didn’t need adjustment was called for. Judging by his reference to the Geneva convention I’ve a feeling Martin probably agrees as well!

I’m delighted that you’ll be at Scaleforum this year so I’ll pop along at some point. Not sure which day yet. Your experience with Tortoise switch gear is the same as mine and sounds like it’s common problem judging by the comments over the weekend on this thread. 

When you refer to solenoids for the other two examples, Merge and Peco, you then finish with a reference to servos? Were one of the boards controlling servos and the other solenoids, or have I just misread ....not unknown

To complete your education on frog juicers, well actuall not a frog juicer, but an Autofrog( same idea but  

uses a relay rather than solid state to change the polarity. 

The first picture shows the Autofrog first wiring up with a Wago plug stuck to the top as they don’t come with proper terminals, just three solder pads, hence the need for something to make them unpluggable! The next shows one installed on the layout. Not a neat job but I’ve got it colour coded and I think with the records I’ve now got I should be able to understand it in a few years time when all this is but a distant memory!



Kind regards 
Andrew

Hi Andrew.
You have spotted my typo, it should of course have been servos in both instances. They wouldn't work with solenoids. I have corrected the original post now.
I must admit that I am having similar thoughts regarding equipment under the baseboard re accessibility.
Regards
Tony.

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Tony
Ah that explains it. Thank you!

As to your further thoughts of what goes on top and what below, I’d be interested to hear how they go as time goes by. 

I’m considering going back to the way I construct my first version of Yeovil, in 00, where everything was on top of the boards and the jigsaw scenery covered most point motors and the wiring lay in trenches cut into the cork surface. In fact I’m increasingly masking myself why I didn’t do it this way on my current attempt!
Part of the answer to that question is that I thought that by having all the baseboards removable for easy  maintenance I’d not need every thing so accessible. I’m not sure now that that was such a wise decision?

Kind regards   

Andrew


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Hi Andrew.
With my previous layout Green Street, everything was underneath.
My current thinking is to have the wiring underneath the layout, but the mechanical things such as point motors accessible from the top. You may have noticed that my straight scenic boards have a trackbed narrower than the subframes, the inner side spaces is where the point motors and control circuitry will go. Bare in mind that the electrics will be conventional DC, so there will be rather a lot of it. My approach for the fiddle yard will have to be different as there is too much track on top to do that, so it is most likely that the point motors will be mounted on the outside edge somewhere with (over scale) rod linkages to the blades.
PS. When I say the outside edge, I mean the outside of the inner baseboard edge.
Regards
Tony.

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159th message | this message only posted: 11 Sep 2018 19:11
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from:
Andrew Duncan
Reigate, United Kingdom



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madscientist wrote: As an idea for future builds , why not create an electronics/ wiring duct , in our case ( club O gauge layout , based on the GWR direct line ) , designed by yours truelh , you can see the frog juicers n place , it’s much more crowed now with the Merg cobalt controls and other boards , but I don’t have a recent pic. The green boards are tam valley frog juicers the red ones are my own design DCC dropper connector boards
Hello Dave

Well funny you should suggest that, but that is not a million miles from what I have in mind (but not planned in detail...will I never learn?) for the front edge of my layout. There are some photos on page one of this thread  which show the side  of the base-baseboards. That is to say the baseboards that I've laid track on, sit on top of the base-baseboards. I think the  picture will show you what I mean if you can find it. Its two thirds of the way done  page one.

What is different however to yours is that most of the wiring and the Megapoints control boards, as you know, are integral to track baseboards, whilst the lower supporting baseboards will just carry the buses for Track Power (split into 4 districts) and the  Megapoints / Servo Power. I've done it this way to enable me to build and test complete sections of the layout independently in the comfort of our kitchen on one end of the kitchen table!

I've a tolerant wife and family!

Kind regards

Andrew 

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from:
Andrew Duncan
Reigate, United Kingdom



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madscientist wrote: having reviewed both , I found the switching in cobalts to be more robust then tortoisesHello Dave
That’s interesting, have you understood why? Like Martin I’ve had a Tortoise apart and although by looking I wouldn’t condemn them out of hand, my experience says there is something wrong with the design both from my experience and those of others. 

Have you taken one of the Cobalts apart to see why they seem better?

Kind regards 
Andrew

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