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 Manual Turnout Control - PRR Allegheny Division
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shark_jj
Engine Wiper



Posted - 11/10/2008 :  3:32:34 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
My first thought when designing the layout had been to use Tortoise Machines. As the layout progressed and I realized that I had over 100 switches on the mainline alone I began to rethink this. Like everyone else dollars for model railroading are finite and several thousand dollars on Tortoises are several thousand not spent elsewhere. I looked all around for a solution and since the layout is walkaround, manual throws were a viable option.

First up was Caboose Industries ground throws, I had used them in HO and they work well. Two problems, they are horribly oversized in N Scale, and secondly there was no way to install them on the inner switches of a 4 track mainline interlocking.

I had looked at the work of Gerry Leone, Bill Darnaby, and Bill Denton using DPDT switches and decided to give them a try.

The following posts are an outline of how I evolved through several variants of this method until settling on one that seems to work very well with my Atlas Code 55 switches.
John Johnston
Grand Trunk Southern

Country: Canada | Posts: 389

shark_jj
Engine Wiper



Posted - 11/10/2008 :  3:35:25 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The Gerry Leone method. Gerry cuts up coat hangers, puts a 90 degree bend in them and inserts them into the front of the knob on the DPDT switch. He thn epoxies them in place. When installed this is how they look.




My major concern with this method was that once the coat hanger throw rod was installed and glued in place, the whole mechanism was rigid. If you changed your mind and reworked the track or the fascia you had to destroy everything to get it out.


John Johnston
Grand Trunk Southern

Country: Canada | Posts: 389 Go to Top of Page

shark_jj
Engine Wiper



Posted - 11/10/2008 :  3:39:42 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The rigid airplane control rod method.

A friend suggested I look at control mechanisms for model airplanes. I found these rods which have a 2-56 thread on the one end. I drilled a hole through the knob on the DPDT switch and using a 2-56 nut on each side secured the rod to the knob. This system as shown in this photo worked quite well.




It did however have one major downfall. It was first off a major exercise in geometry to identify the correct spot to drill the hole in the fascia so that the rod lined up perfectly with the hole in the knob, and secondly it was an exercise in carpentry to keep the drill perfectly level both horizontally and vertically as you drilled the hole through 3/4 inch plywood. If not perfect the bow in the rod made operation of the throw stiff.


John Johnston
Grand Trunk Southern

Country: Canada | Posts: 389 Go to Top of Page

shark_jj
Engine Wiper



Posted - 11/10/2008 :  3:45:04 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The flexible airplane control rod method.

A friend has used flexible airplane control rods to reach a turnout from a tortoise which was located about a foot away. It worked very well. As I looked at it I wondered if this material would be rigid enough for my manual turnouts. I decided to give it a try. For the experiment I tried the most difficult turnout on the layout. This turnout is located under a mountain about 3 feet from where the control rod would exit the fascia. There was no straight line to it.

The flexible control rod comes with 2-56 threaded rod which can be inserted into the rod with a drill. With that in mind I decided to use my tried and true, threaded rod, nuts, and hole through the knob method.

In the case of the test turnout the rod would have to make a large 3 ft arc turning 180 degrees on itself passing through several pieces of benchwork. Installation of this test took about an hour. Here is a photo of one end showing the arc as well as another DPDT which has the control rod attached.





John Johnston
Grand Trunk Southern

Country: Canada | Posts: 389 Go to Top of Page

shark_jj
Engine Wiper



Posted - 11/10/2008 :  3:48:58 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Normal Installation of the Flexible Rods

While the first one was a "toughie", normal installation is a straight run and in the photo below you can see three controls which have been attached. The photo below that shows how the control rod exits the fascia.

If you are unfamiliar with these control rods, they are in two parts, a sleeve, and the control rod. The control rod slides through the sleeve. In the photos, the sleeve is red, the control rod is yellow.






PS: the scratches on the fascia are from where I sanded the edges of the drill holes and the entire fascia will be repainted.


John Johnston
Grand Trunk Southern

Country: Canada | Posts: 389 Go to Top of Page

BigLars
Engineer

Premium Member


Posted - 11/10/2008 :  3:52:18 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
John,
Are you powering the frog with the slide switch as well?
What size slide switch did you use and is there a cheap source for these?
I want to do something along this line in ON30
Thanks,
Larry


My current build:
http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=50375

Country: USA | Posts: 11151 Go to Top of Page

shark_jj
Engine Wiper



Posted - 11/10/2008 :  4:13:54 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes lars I will be powering the frogs through the DPDT switch. As you can see from the lack of wires that is still ahead of me.

I have been buying my DPDT switches from a local electrical wholesaler for around $1.50 Can. Source/Radio Shack has them in 2 packs for $3.99 Can. Radio Shack describes them as Heavy Duty Slide Switches.

I figure the cost per turnout, slide switches and control rods to be around $2 Can. That compares to $15 Can for a tortoise. The control rods come in a package which has two 4 ft lenghts (8 foot total) for $10 Can.


John Johnston
Grand Trunk Southern

Country: Canada | Posts: 389 Go to Top of Page

Tyson Rayles
Moderator

Premium Member


Posted - 11/10/2008 :  7:27:50 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote


Mike

Country: USA | Posts: 12677 Go to Top of Page

MarkF
Engineer

Premium Member


Posted - 11/10/2008 :  8:46:46 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
John, excellent idea. I am familiar with those throw rods, used mainly for model aircraft models I believe. It is amazing how flexible they are with little resistance. Are you going to mount some sort of knob on the outside of the fascia?

Mark

Country: USA | Posts: 13720 Go to Top of Page

shark_jj
Engine Wiper



Posted - 11/10/2008 :  9:40:57 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes, I have tested 4 or 5 trying to find one that I like. I've been getting wooden knobs from Michaels. The holes pre-drilled in them are too big and they don't sell any without the drilling. Best answer I can think of is to fill the pre-drilled holes with epoxy and then drill my own holes for a tighter fit. I will probably then epoxy these to the control rods.

Gerry Leone in his MR article mentioned using fishing floats with the red half indicating which way to throw the turnout for the straight route and the white half to show the diverging route. I purchased a few of the smallest size but even that is too big for the separation in an n scale interlocking. Besides, I didn't really like the plastic look.


John Johnston
Grand Trunk Southern

Country: Canada | Posts: 389 Go to Top of Page

Geezer
Engineer

Premium Member


Posted - 03/06/2009 :  10:28:33 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Great idea John...I purchased some of the control items to test on the
blud point switch machines available thru Micro mark for on30.
The control sleeeve and rod work with just enough resistance to
make it all come together. Instalation is relatively simple.

Thanks for the post...I will give this one a shot too....

The Geezer


"You can find my Website & Threads here:"
http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=47229

Country: USA | Posts: 12973 Go to Top of Page

jatravia
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 03/06/2009 :  11:54:15 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
John,

It is great being able to watch you work through to a solution with these controls. As far knobs go, have you looked for wooden balls in Michael's? I am fairly certain that they sell them without the pre-drilled holes. I know for certain that they carry small wooden cubes and I thought I have seen balls. If Michael's doesn't carry them then AC Moore does. In anycase, then you don't have to fill the holes and drill them back out again.

Joe <>< (currently wearing one of my PRR shirts)



Country: USA | Posts: 2831 Go to Top of Page

shark_jj
Engine Wiper



Posted - 03/06/2009 :  1:53:57 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Joe, thanks for the input. I have found a knob at Michaels that I like and after a visit to my local airplane hobby shop, I found that they have tubing which fits snugly into the knob and which the golden rod then fits snugly into the tube. The whole thing will make a nice press fit with no glue or drilling involved.

John Johnston
Grand Trunk Southern

Country: Canada | Posts: 389 Go to Top of Page

jatravia
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 03/06/2009 :  3:26:05 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Now that is certainly the way to go. Good thinking.

Joe <><



Country: USA | Posts: 2831 Go to Top of Page

GSax
New Hire

Posted - 05/22/2014 :  3:16:14 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This was a great presentation. I have been puttering around with the same components but you put them together so elegantly.

I have a few questions.

1. It been several years. How are they holding up.
2. Any revisions or new developments?
3. How is the wire running between the DPDT switch and the railroad switch held in place?
4. What was the size of the wire?
5. It looks like you are punching through half maybe three-quarters plywood. I have to go 1-1/4 inch. Comments?
6 What is used to glue the DPDT switch to the hardboard (Masonite) base?
7. What is the travel or horizontal movement of the DPDT switch?

Thanks.



Country: USA | Posts: 1 Go to Top of Page

LandNnut
Fireman



Posted - 02/08/2016 :  11:21:54 PM  Show Profile  Visit LandNnut's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Just wanted bump up this valuble topic so its not lost.
L&N nut
Jon



Country: USA | Posts: 1608 Go to Top of Page
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