Thursday, July 31, 2014

Controls for a junction module - Part 2

The control panel is now complete and shown here  mounted on the front of the module.  There is also a place to mount in on the back of the module.  This is the first time I've used this method for control panels and really like the way it looks.

July is almost over and it seems the only model railroading work I did this month involved the electronics but it's something that had to get done and it's completion marks a big step in this module being ready for it's next show.

While many model railroaders hate working with the wiring and controls, I rather like it.  Besides this control panel, I also built a power supply to AsiaNrail specs and repaired another smaller power supply I use to power accessories on the modules including the turnout motors.  Next month (starting tomorrow), it's back to finishing more of the scenery.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Controls for a junction module - Part 1

The Musashi-Koyama module set has two tracks, and two pairs of cross over turnouts.  The only controls I have for those modules is a slide switch on the roof of one of the taller buildings, and a "mode" switch under each module.  The mode switch is only set once during setup and selects between a double track or single track arrangement.

While the Musashi-Koyama modules actually have more track and turnouts than the mountain division / AsiaNrail lines on the Hot Springs Junction module, the fact that it is a junction and because the module may used in either a combined Ntrak / AsiaNrail layout or an AsiaNrail only layout an actual control panel was going to be needed.  This control panel would have features for:

  • Control of cross over between AsiaNrail and Ntrak Mountain lines
  • 4 track blocks - AsiaNrail, Station Spur, Mountain Right, Mountain Left
  • Each block selects one of two throttles or center off.
  • Indicator lights would be nice but not absolutely necessary
  • Can be mounted on front or back of module depending on setup

I created this drawing on Visio.  This will be used as a drilling template and also as an overlay on the control panel.  The large dots are for mini toggle switches and the small dots are for LEDs.

During the operation of the layout a the Hiller Aviation Museum in April the Hot Springs Junction was used as one of three terminals.  Referring to the drawing above, a train would enter from the AsiaNrail layout and come into either the Station Spur or the Mountain Left, which was also a spur in this setup.  It was envisioned that it would have been useful if the Mountain Right block could also have been used as a storage track.  There is actually a similar track arrangement not far from my home at the Mountain View light rail station which is at the end of the line.

I picked up an aluminum box measuring 6.25 inches by 3.5 inches and 3 inches deep.  Using some scrap of 1/8 inch Plexiglas I made a panel that would fit on the top and drilled all the holes in it using the drawing as a template.  I also tried out the product shown next to the Plexiglas panel to clear up any scratches and found that it actually works.

This view is of the bottom of the control box. Mounting brackets were made from 1/2 inch aluminum angle.  The holes for the screws that will mount it to the module were made in such a way as to allow a screw drive to pass through the hole on the opposite side.  A pair of 8-32 Tee nuts are mounted on both the front and back of the module to mount the control box.