Friday, June 22, 2018

What's Happening Before Beer O'Clock Today

A bit of reverse engineering is what is happening today.

The N Scale layout at the club is capable of DC or DCC use and the old DC controllers are starting to get a bit iffy they reckon. So we need to build a new one or two.

Easy you say?  But sadly the fella that built them is no longer with us and I can't find any documentation at the club for how they were built. So I am pulling one apart to see how it was built and of what it was built. This way I might be able to find some diagrams etc on the web or be able to nut it out myself and build the new ones we need.

So after a few hours I've almost documented it - physically that is.  The next part will be to draw a proper circuit diagram...

Monday, June 18, 2018

I have now seen a Walthers Switch Machine

A friend of mine got me to grab him a few of these Walthers Switch Machines whilst I was shopping, so I did (pat self on back - aren't I a great bloke for doing that?... shut-up Scooter).

Anyway, they arrived today and I thought to myself "Self, you should at least open up the packet and see what these are all about before you hand them over to your friend... just to make sure it is suitable and non-harmful", I'm a good friend like that, always looking out for others (again, shut-up Scooter), so I did.

Since pictures speak a gazillion words, I'll put them up first and then the specs from Walthers will go up lastly.  But I reckon they have potential for those that do not want to muck about and source a pile of things from around the place from different suppliers to do the same job. 

OK, so it comes in a nice package with a picture on the front - good, I can't mistake it for something else.

The back has some brief specifications and a description about what it is.

Internal packaging is good so as to not get wrecked during freight movements from supplier to self.

You get instructions, a template for mounting the device, mounting screws, connecting cable and of course the device itself.

So the "switch" is a servo motor with the servo arm controlling your rail points  via a piece of spring steel wire. There are also two micro-switches to control power for things like the frog of the points and signals etc.

OK, the next shot is blurry, but I'm not going outside into the cold again - it will do for now. (once again, keep quiet Scooter!)

So all up, looks good. Once my friend gets these and installs them, I'll ask him for a few words.  Just remember, I am not endorsing anything (unless someone wants to pay me money - will not most anything for money (real money) - I was just being a nosy parker and sneaking a peak at someone elses goodies (shut-up Scooter).  Now here are a few words from the Walthers website about these little beastie:

Walthers Layout Control System brings you a low-cost solution for easy turnout control for HO, N, Z, S, and O Scale layouts! The system is expandable at any time to grow with your layout, and can be used with DCC- or DC-power (a DCC accessory decoder is integrated into the switch machine). The system uses plug-and-play servo-style wiring with connectors, so no soldering is needed; two styles of cables are available separately to expand your wiring as needed. User-friendly instructions are included with all items, and drilling templates for easy mounting on your layout or fascia are included as appropriate. Using combinations of the system components, which include a servo-based slow-motion Switch Machine, Power Distribution Block, LED panel indicator/control push-button switches, add-on system cabling, a 2-amp 12V Filtered DC Power Supply and a three-piece drill set, you can easily build a complete control system. 

The Walthers Layout Control System Switch Machine features:
. Fully assembled, servo-based unit with approximately one second throw speed
. Integrated DCC accessory decoder
. Two built-in 5A switches to power frogs, signals and more
. Self-locking mechanism for reliable positioning - servo power turns off when motion is
. Adjustable throw and tension from 1/32" to 1/2" (1mm to 12mm) for turnouts in any scale from
    Z to O
. Factory-assembled with output rod in centered position for fast and easy under-benchwork
. Wire in minutes with included cables
. Outputs for both single or bi-color LEDs
. Connecting cable included - easily expanded with Extension Cable (#942-113, sold

Options include:
. Adjustable throw speed from .5 to 5 seconds
. Remote lock input for dispatcher to enable/disable local turnout control with CTC
. Single/Alternate bi-color LED modes
. Polarity route control for use of DPDT switch in place of fascia control
. Complete instructions with mounting template - use with Walthers Layout Control System
   Turnout.  Drill Set (#942-140, sold separately)