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1st message | this message only posted: 22 Nov 2009 14:17
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from:
Stephen Freeman
Sandbach, United Kingdom



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I am now convinced of the advantages of using servos to operate turnouts (and signals for that matter) and have attached one to an 00 turnout, this is fastened by means of a nut and bolt to a piece of pcb, which in turn is soldered to the underneath of a pcb timber, which in turn is soldered to the rail via brass rivets.

I have removed the first timber for clarity.

Picture attached.



There are also a couple of short Youtube videos on my website if anybody would like to take a look.

It's my first foray into the world of Youtube videos etc and I'm still coming to terms with the various programs I have on my PC (Windows Movie Maker is easy but quality in my opinion leaves something to be desired, so I haven't used it). Gone a bit OT there.

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2nd message | this message only posted: 24 Nov 2009 22:23
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Martin Lloyd
Middlesbrough, United Kingdom

 

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There is a system on the market. It's interesting but pricey.

http://www.copnor.enta.net/FS/TheBouncer.htm

I quite like the idea because I couldn't really get my head around the idea of using a Tortoise or Fulgurex motor for a 4mm ground signal. I've experimented with memory wire and like it but it takes up rather a lot of space.

Cause for some more experimentation!

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3rd message | this message only posted: 25 Nov 2009 05:10
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from:
Stephen Freeman
Sandbach, United Kingdom



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As far as I can see from his website, The Bouncer gives you just one bounce. Well if you just want it for turnouts, there is the MERG design, I believe the design is freely available along with the software and firmware. but you also have to have all the kit to flash program the chip. The software to do this is free from Microchip but you have to buy the Programmer (Pickit2 possibly - there are others).

To buy the kit for Servo4 though, you need to be a member of MERG but if you have no other need for flashing eeproms then membership is recommended as the chip in the kit comes ready flashed.

There are other systems on the market too, even ones for DCC e.g. ESU at a price.

For signals my system will be available shortly with multiple bounces - next week or so hopefully (of course you can use it for turnouts etc) too but you won't need an expensive setting box as it will come with a bundled PC (MS Windows) program, full details of all this and more are on my website.

I didn't mention this before because the original post was trackwork related rather than anything to do with signals.

Of course CBUS will be along from MERG hopefully, more fully developed, next year ready to do all this and more (possibly needing a few tweaks) but that's a thread for another place (Mergcbus Group on Yahoo or MERG's Cbus forum).

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4th message | this message only posted: 25 Nov 2009 15:18
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from:
Donald MacLean
Ottawa, Ontario Canada

 

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Martin Lloyd wrote: There is a system on the market. It's interesting but pricey.

http://www.copnor.enta.net/FS/TheBouncer.htm
I have been trying for some time now to contact them, without any response either e-mail or snail-mail. Am in contact with another source for boards - with bounce - for proposed signals on the new layout.

However I am over endowed with ancient H&Ms that work well with a single wire connection via a Roger Amos circuit from one of his books. So the added expense of equipping some 30 sets of points doesn't seem cost-effective.

[Having been lightly flamed on another thread for admitting that I still use copper clad sleepers, I anticipate that my use of H&Ms will be seen as so last century!]

Donald

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5th message | this message only posted: 25 Nov 2009 19:08
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Brian Lewis
United Kingdom

 

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Have a care Donald.  One more antideluvian admission like this and the Natural History Museum will haul you in as a prize exhibit.......:D

Actually, I was grateful for the link to that signal control system, for I  did not know about it.   Having sold Llaniog at the NEC last weekend I am now without a layout, so am receptive to new ideas to be incorporated into planning my next - and last, effort.  I have always wanted to model Oxford, but at fifty six feet in 7mm from New Osney to the bridge at Walton Well Road, (i.e  just the station area), it may be just a little more than  I can achieve......

T gauge anyone?

Donald MacLean wrote:[Having been lightly flamed on another thread for admitting that I still use copper clad sleepers, I anticipate that my use of H&Ms will be seen as so last century!]

Donald


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6th message | this message only posted: 25 Nov 2009 21:20
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from:
Alan Turner
Dudley, United Kingdom



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Borg-Rail wrote: For signals my system will be available shortly with multiple bounces - next week or so hopefully (of course you can use it for turnouts etc) too but you won't need an expensive setting box as it will come with a bundled PC (MS Windows) program, full details of all this and more are on my website.
software for bouncing signals is already available from MERG. It's called sema4. Three bounces can be set each way.

You just need to have the means to burn it to the PIC or there was an offer to do it for you I belive.

Alan

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7th message | this message only posted: 26 Nov 2009 04:26
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from:
Stephen Freeman
Sandbach, United Kingdom



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I am of course, well aware of sema4 but it is only available for MERG members and I have some minor reservations about it, mainly the setup program and the fact that you might need to change the PIC to fit all the extra code in despite what is claimed, I could be wrong of course.

I'm not sure how much longer Servo4 kits are going to be available for (currently out of stock), as I think the Cbus project is getting all the attention at the moment and will have a servo operating capability and of course can be used with both DC and DCC.

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8th message | this message only posted: 27 Nov 2009 16:46
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from:
Richard Spratt
Stockton-upon-Tees, United Kingdom



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Borg-Rail wrote: I am now convinced of the advantages of using servos to operate turnouts (and signals for that matter) and have attached one to an 00 turnout, this is fastened by means of a nut and bolt to a piece of pcb, which in turn is soldered to the underneath of a pcb timber, which in turn is soldered to the rail via brass rivets.
What are you doing for switching the frog?

I'm not sure how much longer Servo4 kits are going to be available for (currently out of stock), as I think the Cbus project is getting all the attention at the moment and will have a servo operating capability and of course can be used with both DC and DCC.
They are back in stock today.  I hope they don't get replaced by the CBUS version, I've only just made the setting box.

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9th message | this message only posted: 28 Nov 2009 06:28
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from:
Stephen Freeman
Sandbach, United Kingdom



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That's good news. If you use a DPDT switch to work the servo, the spare pole can be used to switch polarity. Now does anybody know of a DCC (I know I should be asking elsewhere and I will) 4 unit accessory decoder which only switches on/off i.e. does supply a current?

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10th message | this message only posted: 28 Nov 2009 08:44
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Brian W Lewis
Lakeland, United Kingdom

 

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I think MERG do a DCC board that takes the DCC signals from the track and provides either 4 or (I think) 8 ON/OFF switched outputs
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11th message | this message only posted: 28 Nov 2009 08:51
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Brian W Lewis
Lakeland, United Kingdom

 

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Bad form to follow up my own message, I know. Sorry, but...

Both the Servo4 and the DCC board I have just mentioned need to be modified to work together.

The mods are dead easy. Some components are omitted, and a few linking-wires added.
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12th message | this message only posted: 3 Jun 2010 06:10
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from:
Stephen Freeman
Sandbach, United Kingdom



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Servo Control Boards

I can now offer the following versions

                       Normal on/off switch control
                       DCC Interfaceable (Price depends on DCC Accessory Decoder)
                       Momentary Switch control



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13th message | this message only posted: 30 Jun 2010 07:43
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Stephen Freeman
Sandbach, United Kingdom



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Until now unless you opted for a built in DCC version, interfacing existing Servo Control boards has not been as straightforward as some would have you believe. Now in addition to the new units, I can also offer interface units for use with other boards, such as 'The Bouncer', MERG's SERVO4 and Embedded Controls, price depends on type of DCC Accessory Decoder.

For MERG members using the Steady State Accessory Decoder with mods to both it and SERVO4 is possible but not so easy for existing boards.

 


Stephen

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14th message | this message only posted: 21 Nov 2010 15:49
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Judi R
Sutton-on-Sea, United Kingdom



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Borg-Rail wrote: I'm not sure how much longer Servo4 kits are going to be available for (currently out of stock), as I think the Cbus project is getting all the attention at the moment and will have a servo operating capability and of course can be used with both DC and DCC.
The Servo4 kit is MERG's most popular kit and it will be continued in production for the foreseeable future. It is also excellent value for money and even better value in the multi-pack if you're building lots. Our kit producers are working as hard as they can to keep up with demand!

CBUS is developing nicely and will run in parallel with the conventional DCC kits for those who have invested in DCC.

Judi


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15th message | this message only posted: 7 Jul 2016 09:42
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redken
BRISTOL, United Kingdom

 

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Being fairly new to railway modeling.I'm nearly 70 by the way.I rely very much on you people for help and advice.All my track is now down and working.I need to motorize the Points and Semaphores signals I have obtained.I like the idea of using servos but my soldering skills are very limited so Servo 4 might be a little beyond me.  Do they sell a pre assembled version?
Judi R wrote: Borg-Rail wrote: I'm not sure how much longer Servo4 kits are going to be available for (currently out of stock), as I think the Cbus project is getting all the attention at the moment and will have a servo operating capability and of course can be used with both DC and DCC.
The Servo4 kit is MERG's most popular kit and it will be continued in production for the foreseeable future. It is also excellent value for money and even better value in the multi-pack if you're building lots. Our kit producers are working as hard as they can to keep up with demand!

CBUS is developing nicely and will run in parallel with the conventional DCC kits for those who have invested in DCC.

Judi



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16th message | this message only posted: 7 Jul 2016 11:35
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Judi R
Sutton-on-Sea, United Kingdom



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MERG only offers kits to our members but I'm sure that someone will be able to help you with assembling a kit for you if you enquire through our Forum. We have several active members in their 70s so don't feel intimidated!

Judi R


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17th message | this message only posted: 7 Jul 2016 12:03
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redken
BRISTOL, United Kingdom

 

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Thanks very much for your encouragement! lol I think I need it,looking at some of the technicalities.
Just printed off Davy Dicks MORG manual Vol. 1.
Dizzy already!
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18th message | this message only posted: 7 Jul 2016 17:12
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Stephen Freeman
Sandbach, United Kingdom



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Hi,

Servo 4 is indeed very much still with us, though the design has changed since last I commented.

If you can solder a wire to a piece of rail, then you qualify to assemble the kit, MERG membership is all that is required!

If you prefer of course, you can now go the commercial route via Megapoints or GF Controls etc.  but the MERG option is still the cheapest and possibly the best.

BTW I don't do the boards mentioned in my original posting, just don't have the time any more.

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19th message | this message only posted: 7 Jul 2016 17:32
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redken
BRISTOL, United Kingdom

 

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Thanks for your response.Much appreciated
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20th message | this message only posted: 8 Jul 2016 09:00
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from:
Nigel Brown
 

 

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I used the Heathcote electronics products with success in driving a couple of signals. Having said that, I'm not sure that I'd recommend them; the products didn't conform to the docs, and I had a bit of trouble in using both channels on a double channel unit.

I have the Peco products, not yet used in earnest but overall I think the documentation is good and I'm optimistic they'll do the job.

Cheers
Nigel
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21st message | this message only posted: 8 Jul 2016 12:19
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Tony W
North Notts., United Kingdom

 

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Hi Nigel.
My local club has successfully used the Peco servo control boards and relay extenders on our test track to control several turnouts and once set up (the trick bit) have worked reliably since. In my opinion a worthwhile alternative to the MERG product. The PCBs are ready assembled and no soldering is required but do consequently cost more.
Tony W.

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redken
BRISTOL, United Kingdom

 

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I think I will go the Megapoints route as I will have quite a lot of servos.What with the points and the signals
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23rd message | this message only posted: 8 Jul 2016 14:07
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Nigel Brown
 

 

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Tony W wrote: Hi Nigel.
My local club has successfully used the Peco servo control boards and relay extenders on our test track to control several turnouts and once set up (the trick bit) have worked reliably since. In my opinion a worthwhile alternative to the MERG product. The PCBs are ready assembled and no soldering is required but do consequently cost more.
Tony W.
Thanks, Tony.  Useful to know.

Cheers
Nigel

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24th message | this message only posted: 30 Jul 2016 00:04
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Andrew Barrowman
USA

 

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Just a note of caution:

Model railways can produce some pretty amazing electrical interference/noise, but servos don't have much in the way of noise immunity. This can lead to spurious servo operation (and extreme disappointment) when the servos are installed on an actual layout.

That's not to say that you will have a problem. Some people have used them without any problems at all, but others have given up on them entirely.

There are several ways to address problems that might arise, some of which are more extreme than others. I know of one that is guaranteed to work in any situation, but as it involves some modification of the servos it's probably not for everyone.
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25th message | this message only posted: 30 Jul 2016 08:43
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Stephen Freeman
Sandbach, United Kingdom



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I believe the latest MERG has largely overcome the problem, as it can be configured to switch off the servo once it has reached the set position, there being enough resistance in the gears to hold the blades in position.
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26th message | this message only posted: 30 Jul 2016 09:21
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Howard
United Kingdom

 

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Andrew Barrowman wrote: ...I know of one that is guaranteed to work in any situation, but as it involves some modification of the servos it's probably not for everyone.Can we have details? Maybe a link?
Howard.
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Judi R
Sutton-on-Sea, United Kingdom



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Borg-Rail wrote: I believe the latest MERG has largely overcome the problem, as it can be configured to switch off the servo once it has reached the set position, there being enough resistance in the gears to hold the blades in position.It's not just a case of switching off ... the control line is held high which prevents spurious noise confusing the servo and making it twitch.

Judi
MERG Kit Sales Manager


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28th message | this message only posted: 30 Jul 2016 10:29
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Stephen Freeman
Sandbach, United Kingdom



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True but also  if you don't mind me quoting from the building instructions,

"The Servo4-F module is provided with the option that either the pulse drive is removed approximately 2 seconds after reaching the limit of travel omit jumper LK3), or is maintained (install jumper LK3)"

Judi R wrote: Borg-Rail wrote: I believe the latest MERG has largely overcome the problem, as it can be configured to switch off the servo once it has reached the set position, there being enough resistance in the gears to hold the blades in position.It's not just a case of switching off ... the control line is held high which prevents spurious noise confusing the servo and making it twitch.

Judi
MERG Kit Sales Manager



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29th message | this message only posted: 30 Jul 2016 10:42
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Judi R
Sutton-on-Sea, United Kingdom



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I don't want to get into a slanging match here but we are both right. The pulse drive is removed *and* the control line is held high, although not explicitly stated in the building instructions.

Judi
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30th message | this message only posted: 30 Jul 2016 10:56
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Stephen Freeman
Sandbach, United Kingdom



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Hi,

No slanging match, I understood perfectly that we were both right.
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Andrew Barrowman
USA

 

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Howard wrote: Andrew Barrowman wrote: ...I know of one that is guaranteed to work in any situation, but as it involves some modification of the servos it's probably not for everyone.Can we have details? Maybe a link?
Howard.

Here you go. As I said, it may not for everyone but it is immune to any electrical interference  :)

http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/96929-no-stall-servo-point-motor-servo-hack/?hl=servo

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from:
Andrew Barrowman
USA

 

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Borg-Rail wrote: I believe the latest MERG has largely overcome the problem, as it can be configured to switch off the servo once it has reached the set position, there being enough resistance in the gears to hold the blades in position.I don't want to get into a debate about what the MERG controller does or does not do, but I do have a pretty good understanding of how these servos work.

Holding the input at a constant high or low level should not make the slightest difference. In either case the servo will not receive any stimulus to change its position. It is essentially "off".

The reason holding it high rather than low might make a difference is because the noise immunity of the input in the low state is really lousy as opposed to merely "not very good" in the high state, but in either case, if noise does mange to trigger the servo it will adjust to an indeterminate position and because there are no subsequent "real" drive pulses, it will remain at that indeterminate position.

That doesn't seem like a good thing to me, particularly if a bad point setting launches your latest $200 locomotive off the baseboard and on to the floor :shock:

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