Author Topic: Pushbutton Problem  (Read 1308 times)

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VonRyan

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Pushbutton Problem
« on: January 10, 2016, 08:02:56 PM »
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I've been googling as best as I know how in hopes of finding a specific pushbutton switch.

The specs I require are:
 - Normally open, momentary close.
 - Lighted button with a Red/Green bi-color LED with its contacts/power seperate from the switch itself.
 - The bi-color LED must have three legs (common positive).
 - The light visible under bright fluorescent convention-center lighting.
 - Button must be no larger than 10mm diameter/square.
 - Must be panel-mount style.

Only place I have found anything remotely close (but uncertain if it actually meets my criteria) is on a website which was clearly for industrial supply, asking questions like how many would be ordered per year.

Now, I'm sure that this is probably something that given some time with expensive machines, a bag of the required LEDs, some springs, aluminum tubing, acrylic rod, and who knows what else, that I could probably attempt to manufacture something on my own, but would prefer not to if I don't have to.


The project these are needed for is a set of three identical control panels for an N-Trak junction module where the turnouts and their Lemaco switch-machines are controlled by AD1-HP stationary decoders made by DCC Concepts.

The AD1-HP decoders have 9 screw-terminals. Two for power in (from the DCC/Track bus), two for power out (turnout motor), two marked "PB" (meaning "Pushbutton"), and the three remaining terminals for two LED lights (common positive).

The "Pushbutton" terminals allow for a simple momentary Pushbutton switch to be wired in so that those folks without expensive fancy DCC throttles or smartphone throttles to be able to still throw the turnouts despite being controlled with a stationary decoder.

The plan is that the bi-color lighted pushbuttons will be right in the track diagram of the panels so that people can simple push the button for the turnout they wish to throw without having to look back and forth between a bank of buttons and a diagram.


Anyhow, if anyone knows of a reasonable source of pushbuttons that fit my criteria, I would be most appreciative if you would kindly share it.
Cody W Fisher - Modeler of the PRR, PRSL, GWR, SZD, and DRG

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Scottl

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Re: Pushbutton Problem
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2016, 08:35:16 PM »
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What is the link to the one you found?  I'm surprised such a thing exists, but there might be clues to seek out others there.

peteski

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Re: Pushbutton Problem
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2016, 09:39:01 PM »
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All the 3-lead bi-color LEDs I have ever worked with have common cathode (negative).  That is because the part of the LED die which is fused to the center lead (which holds them in the center of the package) is the cathode.  Maybe a common-anode version exists but it will not be easy to find.
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jagged ben

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Re: Pushbutton Problem
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2016, 10:13:35 PM »
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Why do you need the buttons themselves to be lighted?  Just put the LEDs right next to the buttons.  Our club panels are all done this way, two LEDS in the track diagram on each leg of the turnouts, with pushbuttons a half inch or so behind them.   It will be a hundred times easier to do this with separate parts than to find the right lighted buttons.

 (Are lighted push buttons even a thing?  I can't think of anything I've ever owned with such a feature.)     

peteski

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Re: Pushbutton Problem
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2016, 10:33:59 PM »
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 (Are lighted push buttons even a thing?  I can't think of anything I've ever owned with such a feature.)   

There are lots of illuminated pushbutton switches (just do a Google search). I think the problem is with bi-color LED (and probably the price of illuminated switches in general).

--- Peteski de Snarkski

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Kisatchie

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Re: Pushbutton Problem
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2016, 10:08:46 AM »
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There are lots of illuminated pushbutton switches (just do a Google search). I think the problem is with bi-color LED (and probably the price of illuminated switches in general).



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VonRyan

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Re: Pushbutton Problem
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2016, 12:18:51 PM »
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There are lots of illuminated pushbutton switches (just do a Google search). I think the problem is with bi-color LED (and probably the price of illuminated switches in general).



Those things are actually quite big by what I've read on eBay. They're like 19mm in diameter.
Plus, they aren't illuminated buttons. Just rings.
Cody W Fisher - Modeler of the PRR, PRSL, GWR, SZD, and DRG

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C855B

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Re: Pushbutton Problem
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2016, 12:43:11 PM »
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Cody, you're being entirely too specific in your design. With kitchen-table projects like this, you have to design around components that are easily available and can get the job done. Yes, you have this vision, and that's good... but if you've designed something that cannot be built except with custom components at great cost, the project is relegated to failure-land. I've soooooo been there.

So... as a long-experienced electronics designer, I respectfully suggest backing away from the ultimate vision, and use off-the-shelf non-illuminated pushbuttons with LED indicators next to each button. The user interface will be obvious enough to what is basically a closed group of operators trainable with a 10-second acquaintance with how the buttons and indicators interact.
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VonRyan

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Re: Pushbutton Problem
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2016, 01:05:37 PM »
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Cody, you're being entirely too specific in your design. With kitchen-table projects like this, you have to design around components that are easily available and can get the job done. Yes, you have this vision, and that's good... but if you've designed something that cannot be built except with custom components at great cost, the project is relegated to failure-land. I've soooooo been there.

So... as a long-experienced electronics designer, I respectfully suggest backing away from the ultimate vision, and use off-the-shelf non-illuminated pushbuttons with LED indicators next to each button. The user interface will be obvious enough to what is basically a closed group of operators trainable with a 10-second acquaintance with how the buttons and indicators interact.

You'd think it would be simple.... But the type of people that will be using this panel can't even figure out that the six color-coded 1.5" tall numbers next to turnouts in a 9-track yard (with a panel with the six same color-coded numbers) are the turnout numbers, not the track numbers. Especially since we don't number our tracks.

Bi-color lighted pushbuttons exist, but only on the sites of two manufacturers, which want gross quantities ordered on a yearly basis. And I don't need more than 20 of these things.
Cody W Fisher - Modeler of the PRR, PRSL, GWR, SZD, and DRG

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Switchboard Technician - 33rd Signal Construction Battalion (reenacted)

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peteski

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Re: Pushbutton Problem
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2016, 03:21:36 PM »
+1
...the type of people that will be using this panel can't even figure out that the six color-coded 1.5" tall numbers next to turnouts in a 9-track yard (with a panel with the six same color-coded numbers) are the turnout numbers, not the track numbers. Especially since we don't number our tracks.


Um, maybe they simply should not be allowed to play with model choo-choos? Even a 5-year old should be able to associate an indicator light or a number with a push button.  :facepalm:

Idea:  get rid of the "complicated" control panel and make all the turnouts manual-throw.   ;)
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pdx1955

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Re: Pushbutton Problem
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2016, 04:12:14 PM »
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Maybe you should try some sort of diode matrix/route control instead? This way you only need one pushbutton per track with a separate LED showing which track is active. All other turnouts will throw appropriately lining things up for that track.

Peter
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VonRyan

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Re: Pushbutton Problem
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2016, 10:33:51 PM »
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Maybe you should try some sort of diode matrix/route control instead? This way you only need one pushbutton per track with a separate LED showing which track is active. All other turnouts will throw appropriately lining things up for that track.

Peter

A good idea, but defeats the purpose of the simple nature of just wiring a single pushbutton to the respective terminals of the AD1-HPs.

At this point, I'm probably just going to start looking into making my own bi-color lighted pushbuttons.
Far easier than scouring the Internet for answers that don't exist.
Cody W Fisher - Modeler of the PRR, PRSL, GWR, SZD, and DRG

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Switchboard Technician - 33rd Signal Construction Battalion (reenacted)

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Philip H

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Re: Pushbutton Problem
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2016, 10:37:10 PM »
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On the one hand I wish you good luck. On the other and I agree with @peteski (!) that your efforts seem to be . . . More then the intended recipients deserve.
Philip H.
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peteski

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Re: Pushbutton Problem
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2016, 01:58:32 AM »
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On the other and I agree with @peteski (!)...

WOW!  ;)
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Philip H

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Re: Pushbutton Problem
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2016, 07:21:44 AM »
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WOW!  ;)

Don't let it go to your head.  ;)
Philip H.
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Baton Rouge Southern RR - Mount Rainier Division.

"Yes there are somethings that are "off;" but hey, so what." ~ Wyatt

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