Monday, November 13, 2017

Single turnout control panel

It if often said that a higher layout height gives a much more realistic view of the railroad.  While agreeing with that concept I am also aware that it makes it more difficult to see the position of the points on any turnouts compared to a layout that is lower especially if the turnout is not close the the edge of the layout.   On the Battle Mountain section of the layout I have a long siding and 4 industrial spurs for a total of 6 turnouts.   These turnouts will be controlled by push / pull rods and all are toward the back about 12 inches from the edge.  So I decided I needed some indication of the point position near the control for each turnout.

There will be 6 acrylic panels sized 1.5 x 3.75 inches.  They will be distributed along the front edge of the layout in line with their turnouts.  A paper drawing can be placed under each panel.

A 7th panel is the master for hole locations on the panels and in the front frame of the layout.

I am using a bi-color Red / Green LED connected to contacts on the slide switch that holds the points in place.  A hole was drilled in the front frame large enough for the LED to pass through. 

The panel can then be placed with the LED fitting snugly into the hole made for it in the panel.  The paper drawing is on the outside now but in the final version will be behind the panel.

This pair of photos shows both the aligned and diverging conditions on a temporarily installed control panel for testing.  Once the knob is installs it covers the larger opening made for the 1/8 inch head of the control rod.

I have since added "Pull = Diverging / Push = Aligned" or "Pull = Aligned / Push = Diverging" at the bottom as the positions can be different depending on if the turnout is right hand or left hand.
This is a diagram of how the LED is connected through the slide switch that holds the points.  The resistors are of different values as the red seemed brighter to my eye than the green with the same voltage so I gave it a larger resistor.

I am using a common anode LED.  When using a common cathode LED the voltage source polarity would be reversed.  These LED's will be powered by a 5 volt regulator circuit under the bench work which gets it's power from the 12 volt bus that runs through the layout.  The bi-color LED's are readily available on the Internet.  I get mine from  They have a great selection of items for model railroad controls.

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