Author Topic: Need guidance on Turnout Control System  (Read 612 times)

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primavw

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    • Nittany and Lock Haven HCD Layout
Need guidance on Turnout Control System
« on: July 05, 2014, 10:21:55 PM »
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Hey folks. I need EXTENSIVE guidance on how to install turnout control on my layout. I have 8 turnouts total on my layout and they are already installed and glued down. I was initially going to use Caboose Ground Throws but I'm leaning away from that due to how big and ridiculous they look in N scale. I'm also not interested in paying top dollar for Tortoise at this point.

I have done some searching and research online, but I'm sort of confused on where to go, what to buy, and how to install...

I found this link on servo-controlled turnouts:
http://www.modelrailroadforums.com/forum/showthread.php?25994-Installing-n-scale-switch-machines-manual-and-remote/page2&s=83d31886dbcb2c519ca91006693ee222

The servos look to be $1.98 apiece on ebay, but the big dollar item would be the Hex/Tam Valley turnout control board.

I have a few questions:
-I'm using a Digitrax Zephyr DCC system, but I'm not planning on switching directly at the controller. Do I need a fancy DCC board?
-I see Tam Valley has a nice system for servo controls, but is there a more universal, simple system to do this? Would plain old Atlas toggles work ok?
-Anyone using the Tam Valley system? Do you need the frog juice in conjunction with the octopus system?
-What is the suggested toggle switch for controlling the turnouts?
-Once I make the necessary purchases would a Lehman like me be able to muddle through the installation?
-Are there any good write-ups or how-to's (preferably with pics) on making a good functioning turnout control system?
-Whats the suggested gauge of piano wire for this setup?
 
Any and all help in this matter much appreciated!
Modeling The Dark Horse


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reinhardtjh

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Re: Need guidance on Turnout Control System
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2014, 03:25:40 PM »
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Answers I know:

I have a few questions:
-I'm using a Digitrax Zephyr DCC system, but I'm not planning on switching directly at the controller. Do I need a fancy DCC board?

If you only want to use pushbuttons on the fascia or a central control panel then you don't need a DCC capable control board, but you still need some sort of servo controller because...

Quote from: primavw
-I see Tam Valley has a nice system for servo controls, but is there a more universal, simple system to do this? Would plain old Atlas toggles work ok?

Not for servos - servos work by comparing a pulse sent to them about every 20ms.  The pulse width varies between 1ms and 2ms and the deviation from 1.5ms determines the direction and how far the servo turns.  You need something to output this pulse.  That's what the TAM circuit does.  They are not the only game in town.  There are other commercial products and people have used home-brewed Arduino board and others to do this.  Google searches will find them.

That said,  you can modify a servo to run off a toggle switch.  Basically you gut it and leave the motor, gears, etc and replace the internal electronics.  There was an article in Model Railroader within the last year covering this.  Probably Model Railroad Hobbyist has had one too.
John H. Reinhardt
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C&O HS #11530
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