Turnout Operation (TOUs etc.)

Discuss the prototype and how to model it.
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grovenor-2685
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Turnout Operation (TOUs etc.)

Postby grovenor-2685 » Mon Jul 28, 2008 4:20 pm

Allan Goodwillie wrote:hi Matt,
The following may help you solve the problem-

When Studiolith stopped producing the actuator I developed a new one for myself which is simple to make and has 3 components. It takes minutes to fit with any soldering taking place above baseboard level and any adjustment again above baseboard level. It is being used on Burntisland, the 5th layout to use it successfully. I have written an article on it in the Railway Modeller last year, if you are interested I could email you a copy. It takes a few minutes to make, is simple and cheap and is a component thet can be adapted for any scale.
Allan Goodwillie


Allan,
Assuming you retain copyright in your article I would be happy to put it on the website for everyone to see. Personally I have restocked with Studiolith ones at the Bring and Buy sales so I can replace my Exactoscale mark 2 versions when they fail.
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Keith
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Allan Goodwillie
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Re: Turnout wiring / soldering

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Mon Jul 28, 2008 11:12 pm

Here is an extract from a draft prepared for the article in the Modeller, which covered how I constructed the signals for Burntisland and techniques used for the lighting of signals as well as other usefull tips - I commend you to the article. To make my turnout bar requires only three materials, 0.7 or 0.9 brass wire, insulation suitable for the wire and a length of, preferably, double - sided copper-clad for extra strength. The copper-clad should be cut first - a little longer and broader than normal sleeper length for added strength. Score insulation gaps both sides, but offset the scoring so as not to weaken the copper-clad. Drill two holes of the wire diameter that you have chosen 15/16 mm. apart (for EM or S4), leaving about the same length of sleeper over at each end. The two lengths of brass wire are cut to length to allow for the depth of the baseboard, underlay and height of the track as well as about 2 cm. This is to allow for the bends of the wires where they are put through the tie-bar and the actuating prongs, which extend down vertically. 1/2” ply was used for the baseboards, and 1/8 “ foam underlay, so I made mine 44 mm. It is OK to make them longer and trim them at the fitting stage. Using the dimensions, the wires were bent to shape. When you put in the two right - angled bends leave a nice 2 mm. gap between the prongs when they are soldered in place on the underside of the tie-bar. Two pieces of insulation material are glued in place on the prongs to stop any electrical shorts created by the point motor arm. Check that the insulation gap on the copper material has not been breeched between the prongs. As an alternative, the operating arm itself could be insulated. Slots should be made through the baseboard and the underlay. Any roughness created on the underside of the board should be removed before the underside of the baseboard gets a waxing down using candle wax. The unit is offered up from below and allowed to slide on the underside of the baseboard. This will maintain the height of the rails above the baseboard when they are soldered in place. Each of the moving rails is soldered in turn using the appropriate track gauges to hold everything in place. The stiff wires hold the moving rails against the stock rails. Any tweeking can be done by holding the bar underneath and bending the brass wires from above to set the gauge, resoldering as necessary. Any cosmetic work can be done after the fitting.
When I fit them I try not to give a strong bias in either direction to equalize the effort needed by the point motor, on Burntisland we were using tortoises. The tortoises required a right- angle bend in the operating wire before they could be used with the unit. If a motor should ever burn out then it is a simple case of “take one out put one in”; there is no mechanical coupling of the tiebar required, another advantage. I started fitting these to my Grayrigg layout and they have worked well ever since. I only have had one failure and that was with one I made with single copperclad material where I had weakend it by cutting too deep a slot. I will try to post a couple of photographs to illustrate this sometime soon.This is only a small part of an article which includes a number of unconventional ideas. Missing from the article was a comment on the creating of a flat top on each diode as you have to be very careful reshaping diodes as there are some nasty materials deep inside. I mention this as there may be one or two wish to dig out the full article and read it.
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Under baseboard operator.jpg

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grovenor-2685
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Re: Turnout wiring / soldering

Postby grovenor-2685 » Tue Jul 29, 2008 7:28 pm

Allan,
That's really helpful, the place I get most failures is where the actuator wire is soldered to the point blade, you have not said anything about that really, what shape do you bend on the end of the wire to solder it? And don't you get extra stresses in the joint by soldering the wires at top and bottom, rather than the wire in tube that the Exactoscale units use? Or is this avoided as your under board tiebar is not constrained in a track, which marks it out from all the other variants of this method that I have seen.
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Turnout operation 2

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Wed Jul 30, 2008 9:24 am

I believe in keeping it simple, I don't bend the wire in any particular way I tend to trim the wire to length once it has been offered up to the point blade with the point blade held in place against the rail with a cut back hair clip. I cut the wire as long as possible as long as it does not catch the flange of any wheel passing over. (It can always be filed / ground back anyway once fitted) It is neat and it is easy to examine for a good joint.

Once soldered this way I have not had one come apart in operation. I think there are possibly several reasons for this. The first is that the wire allows for some flexability in operation and this puts less strain on the soldered joints. Part of the flexability in the system is the movable tie bar and the fact that it does not travel in a straight line , but the point blades behave as you would hope they would. I think again that this is also due to the torsion effect in the wires as the bar is moved. My initial fitting is to put them in the mid position when first soldering up the wires having roughly set them to the gauge and then fine tuning by moving them left and right and clipping the rails together and on the clipped side I touch the joint with the iron and at the same time press the barr gently from below to ensure it is against the under surface of the board. I then put the point over the other way and do the same again on the other side. This time tweeking the the wires together / apart, if required, until the clearance is right before touching again with the iron. To ensure there is no possible damage caused to the bar during this operation ( tweeking or soldering ) I support it underneath against the board with my hand.

If you look at the system although it sounds as if there were no constraints there are built in parameters. The length of the wire, and its stiffness/flexability, the use of the underside of the board to maintain the levels, the balance of movement and interaction between the wires and the bar and moving rails, etc. I am sorry I could not begin to go into the maths of all this to prove some great theory, I am more interested in things that work well, are robust, simply made and once fitted in a straight forward fashion do not require any further work. Sophistication in design should not mean more complication, if anything it should lead to simplification, or so I have been teaching my students over the years.

Are there things that can go wrong? Yes one or two. The over cutting of the copperclad to create a weakness is one I have already mentioned. The use of too fine a wire is another, this can cause problems in keeping the gauge, so make sure that the right type of brass wire is used 0.7mm or 0.9mm. Not drilling the clearance holes properly or widely enough to allow for the travel. not cleaning properly under the board after drilling and forgetting to wax the underside of the board can add friction to the system. Drilling the holes in the bar too wide apart and therefor not allowing for the travel required between the blades, oddly having them too close together does not matter so much as you can always prise them apart, the other way and they run up against the edges of the baseboard hole below the stock rails. It just comes down to care in fitting and making. Although this is the quickest method I have been able to come up with. One other slight problem I had better mention is with the fitting of the tortoises in that the tortoise motor wire has to be bent at right angles to operate the bar. It is important to bend the operating wire at the right height for the motor to engage the bar. The thickness of the bar must be considered for the clearance to be right, avoid bending the bar so that it just clears the underside of the baseboard and no more. Even if the wire is quite a bit short of reaching the bar it will still engage with the prongs which are a descent length to allow for quite a bit of variation. On Grayrigg for instance, I have most of my points working on Seep motors, I will try to send a photo of one of these linked up as well. I also have a number of remote options of the unit for difficult to get at positions. I will come back to you on this .

I hope this has answered most of your questions, I will try to send a couple of photos later in the day, although a visit to the dentist is on the cards for this afternoon. If only that coulld be done remotely

Allan

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Rod Cameron
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Re: Turnout wiring / soldering

Postby Rod Cameron » Wed Jul 30, 2008 1:24 pm

Nice one Allan, and quite timely! :D
Rod

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Re: Turnout wiring / soldering

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Wed Jul 30, 2008 3:05 pm

I have taken one or two photographs to help with the above. The first two show one of the turnout operating units I have just been making for Burntisland. I have produced 25 of them in about an hour and a half - so they don't take long to make, especially if you are batch building. You will notice one or two things , firstly that the insulation cut on the top of the unit is offset from the one on the bottom. The second thing worth mentioning is the fact that the operating wires are only cut roughly to length at this stage and will be trimmed to length at fitting. The prongs and the wires have been bent to vertical and pretty much parallel to one another prior to fitting. This is done by eye only as this is only what is required at this stage. On fitting they may be bent out of vertical as they are tweeked, but you will find that this is OK.

Allan
Attachments
P2.JPG
P1.JPG

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Re: Turnout wiring / soldering

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Wed Jul 30, 2008 3:44 pm

Now some examples, showing various uses other than with Tortoises. The first time I made these, I realise now was back in the 1980's at Melrose Museum when I made a number of variations for some of the new work done then on the enlarged layout. In the end the present arrangement was successful. At that time I used a mixture of H&M's and post Office 2000 Relays - a blast from the past. Under my Grayrigg layout I have used Seep motors. When I purchased these motors (12 years ago) they did not have the improvements which they have now. The operating wire was just a force fit and would occasionally work loose. Superglue normally cured that, but Tortoises are better and have a slower action, but both work with the bar. My Seeps were a lot cheeper and quieter working with a diode matrix to help with route selection in my storage yard. They use a simple perspex bracket cut from a perspex storage box.
Attachments
P5.JPG
The first image shows an extended arm (single sided copperclad - the type used for point sleepering) with the prongs made in one piece and the motor mounted on a vertical surface.
P4.JPG
This shows a seep with a piece of masking tape used as the insulator. Now I tend to put a sleeve over the wire instead, but the insulation has worked OK for years.
P3.JPG
Another possibility is to bend the prongs out to the point where the actuating wire from the point motor no longer makes contact with both prongs at once. I prefer to insulate, but there is the possibility of connecting the point motor chassis up to the frog of the point and using the wire connection to give the polarity. I prefer to use the switch on the motor, particularly with the Tortoise. I have not tried the system with Peco motors, but think it should work providing the motor uses the sprung point motor base. Use with lever frames and mechanical transfer should be OK as well, but again I have not tried it. perhaps someone out there has already adapted it since the article was published.

modelmaker87

Re: Turnout wiring / soldering

Postby modelmaker87 » Fri Aug 01, 2008 12:35 am

Alan,

I am running an online handbuilt turnout clinic here in the US. Your illustration is just the ticket and I would like permission to use it to explain the way the Brits do it, I like what you have done and that illuistration explains a Lot. May I....? usual credits if your response is in the affirmative.

Cheers, Tony

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Re: Turnout wiring / soldering

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:04 am

Hi Tony,
good to hear from you again. I enjoyed our chat at Linlithgow. I am OK about you using the information and hope you will try it out yourself to see that it is simple and does work 100%. It is not a system that is widely in use yet, because it has only been used on a few layouts I have been associated with, but I am happy for anyone to use it now that I have had it published in the Modeller. I would not have published if I had not been sure it worked and could be used by other modellers. When considered it is obvious that the extended arm version could be an actuator for more than the point. In the case of Tortoises there are already two switches on the motor for indicators , frog feeds etc. The extended actuator bars can have a number of wire lugs attached to operate microswitches / make/break relay contacts etc. (sorry no photographs at the moment), but being a practical man I am sure you can see straight away the possibilities yourself. By the way, you may be interested in something I have found out about tortoises, which may not be generally known. When we were building Burntisland I was co-opted on to the committee to advise on some of the technical aspects of the layout and maybe give some suggestions as to development. As we were working against time for the competition ways were looked for to advance the project quickly. We had made the decision to use Tortoises as they seemed to be the most reliable motors around. The motors come with two ways to wire them up. The understanding is that the motors move untill they stall and are ready to be switched the other way. The assumption is that the power has to be on to keep the motors in the fully over position. This sounded as if we were into building a control panel or at least the fitting of switches mounted say at the back of the layout somewhere to give control. Both options take time to set up and there was also the problem of exposed switches etc. I decided to set up a trial motor and point with one of my actuator bars and a set of three studs made from round headed screws. The screws are set up to feed the motor with power to move it back and forward by shorting across the screws using a coin - an old and tried method for actuating point motors, cheep, quick to install and totally robust. What I wanted to find out was, was it necessary to have the power flow through the motors to keep them in their fully thrown position? I was told by several, that the received wisdom was that it would not work. Turned out it did! It took a bit of time to convince the others but we installed the system and it has worked well on Burntisland. There is no loss of power in moving the motors and once the motor moves over, the rail is held firmly in place. The studs are set geographically along the back of the layout and of course are completely neutral from the point of view of fitting chips to the motors for DCC at a later date, the next stage in our learning curve. This is something we are hoping to add as we extend the layout down to the Ferry Terminal. It is hoped to use the chips for route setting. Do you have any experience of this Tony? I have been several times over to the States and know how far ahead of us they are in terms of control.I am sure my mate Mel in Chicago will also give me some advice, but I would be interested in your comments, are there any things we should watch out for?

Allan

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Rod Cameron
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Re: Turnout wiring / soldering

Postby Rod Cameron » Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:22 am

Allan Goodwillie wrote:When we were building Burntisland I was co-opted on to the committee


Committee? The Burntisland team was big enough to have a committee! :o You were lucky etc etc ... ;)
Rod

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Re: Turnout wiring / soldering

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:53 am

Yes Rod we have a committee, and even planning meetings! Being the founder member of the group I am amazed that we now have over 30 members, of course,like any group, not all our members contribute to the layout, :shock: but most do in some way. I have been amazed how many members who have moved away from Scotland continue to contribute to our group and equally amazed at some of the skills that we have at our disposal nowadays. I regard myself as the average jobbing modeller and am knocked out by the standards of so many today.
Much of this development within the group is due to individuals within the group and our organisation and committee. We have an electronic magazine, just for the membership, which arrives once a month and have contributed two Chairmen to the Scalefour Society as well as the ex-Society Journal editor Jim Summers. We do try to pull our weight up here in Scotland and a great deal of effort is required for us to travel down south to the society events, that for many are just on the door step. I guess from your location you are down in the South West and probably feel like us, somewhat remote from London and the South East, but I think this new set up is great as it allows us all to be in more immediate touch with one another and be able to share our skills and knowledge, something we both appreciate.

Allan

modelmaker87

Re: Turnout wiring / soldering

Postby modelmaker87 » Fri Aug 01, 2008 12:51 pm

Allan Goodwillie wrote:I think this new set up is great as it allows us all to be in more immediate touch with one another and be able to share our skills and knowledge, something we both appreciate.

Allan


Allan, AHMEN to that.

Allan, I'll get back to you on your message, but briefly WFRM (Wirrall Finescale Railway Modellers) use Tortoise motors on both our expo layouts, Charlotte Road and Widnes Vine Yard and both are 100% computer controlled. I'm the strcuture/scenery man for the group as sitting here in North Carolina there is nothing I can sensibly contribute in terms of baseboard construction, wiring and those type of tasks. So I sit here making all the buildings and signals as units, then bring them over on one of my two annual UK visits, or if the guys are in dire need, I actually mail these models across the pond. So far we haven't had a lick of problems doing that either. :D

I know Dave Skipsey is on here and I'll send him a PM (private message) using this web forum, he did all our computer stuff as well as a lot of the wiring of Charlotte Road, or re-wiring after I shipped it over from the US. Tim Rogers and Mike Turner also know a good deal about it too as they are responsible for a lot of the wiring, planning, track making and such. After they are done, I'm get the job of laying all the ballast.

For the US guys I am walking them through some ideas, the main one is more to do with building and detailing your own turnouts. The image is typical of what I'm posting and decribing what I do. My online clinic seems to have been received very well, at least I have got the majority interested in wanting track roller gauges, so I'm looking at getting these made in a local small machine shop for them and oiffering them at cost.

Thank you for permitting me to use your photos and your knowledge. Its is very much appreciated.

Cheers, Tony
85.jpg

modelmaker87

Re: Turnout wiring / soldering

Postby modelmaker87 » Fri Aug 01, 2008 12:51 pm

Allan Goodwillie wrote:I think this new set up is great as it allows us all to be in more immediate touch with one another and be able to share our skills and knowledge, something we both appreciate.

Allan


Allan, AHMEN to that.

Allan, I'll get back to you on your message, but briefly WFRM (Wirrall Finescale Railway Modellers) use Tortoise motors on both our expo layouts, Charlotte Road and Widnes Vine Yard and both are 100% computer controlled. I'm the strcuture/scenery man for the group as sitting here in North Carolina there is nothing I can sensibly contribute in terms of baseboard construction, wiring and those type of tasks. So I sit here making all the buildings and signals as units, then bring them over on one of my two annual UK visits, or if the guys are in dire need, I actually mail these models across the pond. So far we haven't had a lick of problems doing that either. :D

I know Dave Skipsey is on here and I'll send him a PM (private message) using this web forum, he did all our computer stuff as well as a lot of the wiring of Charlotte Road, or re-wiring after I shipped it over from the US. Tim Rogers and Mike Turner also know a good deal about it too as they are responsible for a lot of the wiring, planning, track making and such. After they are done, I'm get the job of laying all the ballast.

For the US guys I am walking them through some ideas, the main one is more to do with building and detailing your own turnouts. The image is typical of what I'm posting and decribing what I do. My online clinic seems to have been received very well, at least I have got the majority interested in wanting track roller gauges, so I'm looking at getting these made in a local small machine shop for them and oiffering them at cost.

Thank you for permitting me to use your photos and your knowledge. Its is very much appreciated.

Cheers, Tony
85.jpg

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Allan Goodwillie
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Re: Turnout wiring / soldering

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Fri Aug 01, 2008 8:56 pm

That's great Tony I will look forward to hearing from him. I have seen the layout in operation with the computers set up and it was all very impressive as is the trackwork you have there, it does have the look of American track, heavy! 8-)

Allan

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Allan Goodwillie
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Re: Turnout wiring / soldering

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Sat Aug 02, 2008 8:20 pm

I have been asked which copy of the Modeller contained my article on the signals. It was June 2007,in case anyone else wishes to have a look. :|
Allan

merlin46
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Re: Turnout wiring / soldering

Postby merlin46 » Fri Aug 08, 2008 4:07 pm

Hi Guys

This is the process we have adopted on the WFRM layouts, Charlotte Rd & Widnes Vine Yard.

TOU Construction on WFRM Layouts
Objective - to make the TOU as robust & reliable as possible yet maintaining fidelity to the prototype.

My preference is to use the Exactoscale Tortoise adapter plate - see images Base_01 & Base_02. These retail at £5 GBP for 5, good value for money in my book.
The contact details are available on image Base_01.

1) Using the Exactocale Tortiose point motor adapter base it is easy to use the tie bar under the layout & use a comestic one on the scenic side.
As for the for the staging roads/fiddle yard you can use a PCB tie as well, thus doubling up the requirement.

2) Image TOU_01 is a typical under baseboard install with the motor mounted directly underneath.

3) In tight spaces the under the baseboard tie bar enables one to access more inaccessible areas where one cannot site the Tortoise directly underneath the tie bar - see image TOU_02

4) Electrical connections & feeds are doubled up to help increase reliability, which is a must to withstand the rigors of an Expo layout. In TOU_01 we used a cut down edge connector,
, but found these were found to be prone to damage during transportation & hence in image TOU_02 you will notice that the electrical connections are hard wired onto the Tortoise.

5) Also of note is that we run the Tortoises on DCC using NCE SwitchITs or NCE Switch8s & we only do the "frog" switching via the Tortoise contacts & we do not use any
external microswitch. We have been operating like this for the past 8 years & to date we have had no failures.

6) The actual control of the NCE SwitchITs & NCE Switch8s is done via a USB RRCirkits interface, using Railroad & Co. software on a Laptop driving a Digitrax DCS100.

I hope this is of some use to you out there.

HTH


Tim
Base_01 Exactoscale Tortoise Base.jpg
Base_02 Exactscale adapter base.jpg
Attachments
TOU_02.jpg
TOU_01.jpg

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Allan Goodwillie
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Re: Turnout wiring / soldering

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Fri Aug 08, 2008 10:06 pm

I am sure it will be Tim. At a pound each you can't complain and clearly built for the job, I am also sure they can be adapted for other situations, too late for us on Burntisland as we are probably finishing putting in the motors this weekend on the new extensions.I may take a few photographs of the underside if I can find time. your wiring looks very professional I must say. Perhaps we should have an exhibition showing the undersides of our layouts sometime.At Dundee Art College in the library there was a book dedicated to the backs of famous paintings. Equally interesting,with other versions of the more famous works or cut up masterpieces, or graffiti on the back of a Leonardo, all sorts.My first baseboards were made from ex-drawing/painting boards and still have the paint marks to prove it, money was tight in those days.

Allan

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Russ Elliott
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Re: Turnout wiring / soldering

Postby Russ Elliott » Fri Aug 08, 2008 11:55 pm

In the underboard rebuild of Pete Runnacle's Somersham, I used some bits of ply, tube, wire and copperclad for the new TOUs. No more than about 20p each, I'd guess.

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Tim V
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Re: Turnout wiring / soldering

Postby Tim V » Sat Aug 09, 2008 2:05 pm

When I replaced the Fulgarex/Lemaco motors on the layout, I couldn't use Tortoise drive system as supplied, I had to modify them and I put this arrangement of lever driven by the motor. Gives a very positive drive.

IMG_2047.JPG


The original screw was used.

IMG_2048.JPG
Tim V
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mattots

Re: Turnout Operation (TOUs etc.)

Postby mattots » Thu Aug 28, 2008 9:24 pm

I'm about to construct my first ever TOU and I intend to use Alan's method, but with a mechanical operating system. I haven't quite figured this out fully yet but I think it'll be a rod-in-tube running under the baseboard with some kind of simple, manual 'locking' mechanism and rudimentary electrical switching built in. I'll try to photograph my efforts and post them on here - it could be a while though as I'm only getting a couple of hours' modelling time each week at the moment!!

beakie

Re: Turnout Operation (TOUs etc.)

Postby beakie » Wed Nov 05, 2008 10:31 am

Hi guys great contrution.....

This has been really helpful and very inspirational to know this support is available.

Wil definately be using some method from this post, the pictures tell a thoudsand words for a beginner.

Many thx guys

Regards

Dave

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Penrhos1920
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Re: Turnout wiring / soldering

Postby Penrhos1920 » Wed Nov 05, 2008 1:28 pm

modelmaker87 wrote:For the US guys I am walking them through some ideas, the main one is more to do with building and detailing your own turnouts. The image is typical of what I'm posting and decribing what I do. My online clinic seems to have been received very well, at least I have got the majority interested in wanting track roller gauges, so I'm looking at getting these made in a local small machine shop for them and oiffering them at cost.

Cheers, Tony
85.jpg


Where can we see postings of your US turnouts?

Thanks
Richard

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Bob Ellis
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Re: Turnout Operation (TOUs etc.)

Postby Bob Ellis » Thu Apr 30, 2009 8:28 am

A very interesting and informative thread.

I am in the process of converting to DCC usung the NCE Power Pro system and have just constructed a small test track with three turnouts to test out the system before using it on my main layout. I intend to operate the turnouts with Tortoise motors fitted with Hare decoders taking power directly from the track bus as this should not cause any significant power loss on a test track that is only just over four feet long. However, I shall use a separate accessory bus on the main layout.

I have decided to try the tie-bars marketed by Masokits, which I am planning to operate from a pair of wires in tubes that will descend through the baseboard below 'ears' on the tie-bars that have holes in them through which the wire is soldered after the ends have been bent through 90 degrees. The maximum diameter of wire that can be fitted through the 'ears' once they have been reamed out is 0.7mm. Can anyone suggest how much side-play for the wire in the tubes is likely to be acceptable with such an arrangement?
Bob Ellis

Modelling Hawes (NER/MR) c.1905

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Russ Elliott
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Re: Turnout Operation (TOUs etc.)

Postby Russ Elliott » Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:20 pm

I'm not sure I quite understand your question, Bob, or why you asked it. I'm envisaging you have two 0.7mm wires, each secured to the tiebar, and descending through an unknown length into tubes. It's not clear what the tubes are attached to, nor how that below-baseboard attachment is linked to or mounted on the Tortoise.

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John Bateson
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Re: Turnout Operation (TOUs etc.)

Postby John Bateson » Thu Apr 30, 2009 3:00 pm

Of course, a diagram and/or picture in the July Scalefour news to supplement the track articles might be good ...
EditorJohn
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