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Model Railroading > HO-gauge turnout control without under the table mounting


Date: 09/05/19 13:24
HO-gauge turnout control without under the table mounting
Author: DocJohn

When my Son, now 21, got old enough to help me with my HO-gauge model railroad, he quickly lost interest when I tried to teach him how to do wiring under the train table and mount Tortoise switch machines.  I have given this much thought as there has to be a better way.  My train table is covered with Homasote (great stuff, has always performed well and allows easy rearrangement of tracks), so I could get a router and make trenches for the wiring. Turnout control is the issue.  First, spring switches.  Surely there are coil springs with enough force to hold the points in position for facing movements, yet would allow trailing movements to pass through.  Yes, cars will have to be weighted, probably much more than recommended weights.  However, I am running short trains, so locomotive pulling power should not be an issue.  I have a mental picture of whatI need (some pictures of typical spring switches from late 1950s would be helpful), but I don't have access to a machine shop that deals in micromechanical devices.  For powered turnouts, the spring mechanism could be replaced by a miniature solenoid.

I doubt if I am the only person who has considered such ideas.  Perhaps someone has built such devices.  With all the advance in micromechanical technology, we should not have to "dig a hole" to power a turnout.

John



Date: 09/05/19 19:27
Re: HO-gauge turnout control without under the table mounting
Author: TomG

Have you tried Atlas snap switches?

Ok I couldnt keep a straight face while typing that short line.



Date: 09/05/19 20:48
Re: HO-gauge turnout control without under the table mounting
Author: DocJohn

I have an Atlas turnouit from 1960 or so.  I couldn't afford power ones back then.  At least Atlas made an attempt to do something that had resemblence to reality.  Current turnouts are PECO and Walthers/Shinohara.  At one time when I was in industry, my department included the machinist who service the entire R&D facility.  Secret to working with him was to show him the problem you wanted solved and then let him come up with solutions that worked.

Some pictiures of power turnouts of the 1950s would be helpful to get an idea of the size of what one would be in HO-scale.

John



Date: 09/06/19 02:03
Re: HO-gauge turnout control without under the table mounting
Author: tunnelmotor

I use Peco turnouts extensively, both electrogfrog and insufrog. I also have Peco point motors on some but where that has proved inaccessible for motors I use wire in tube attached to a slide switch just inside the baseboard edge.  I drill a hole through the switch at the top and bend the wire to secure through that hole. Single pole should suffice with frog wire attached to centre tab and the outer rail wires attached to the outer tabs making sure the right wire is attached to each side. Works for me and my operators.  The turnout can then be decorated with a cosmetic switchstand or motor from Details West.

Mike Arnold



Date: 09/06/19 05:50
Re: HO-gauge turnout control without under the table mounting
Author: santafedan

I use hand throws on everything within reach.  



Date: 09/06/19 07:12
Re: HO-gauge turnout control without under the table mounting
Author: SPDRGWfan

santafedan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I use hand throws on everything within reach.

I'm with Santa Fe Dan on this one.  To control a turnout, you can reach for a switch after going to the trouble (and expense) of wiring a switch motor/machine, or reach for the turnout itself and throw it manually.  I like the idea of the latter as long as they are within reach, and most of my planned turnouts should be within reach.

I'm going mostly with Peco which have the built in finger flick feature so problem solved.  For a few which aren't easy to reach, I can use the Peco under table switch machines.  IIRC, they have a long throw rod version which will reach up through Homasote (I am using sheet Homasote sandwiched to 1/2 inch nominal OSB.

It just seems more intuative and simple to just reach for the turnout rather than look at a panel, figure out which button goes to which turnout, and throw it that way.  More looking and maybe even more chance for making a mistake.  Plus, less of the not necessarily pleasant wiring.  =P



Date: 09/06/19 08:11
Re: HO-gauge turnout control without under the table mounting
Author: aehouse

I only power the switches that would be powered in the prototype world, and for those, I use Atlas table-top switch machines.  Yes, they are big and out of scale, but they are dependable and easy to both mount, power, and if you need to power the frogs, there are numerous options including using Atlas's own relays. 

All other switches on my layout use Caboose Industries sprung hand throws.

Art House



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/06/19 08:14 by aehouse.



Date: 09/06/19 13:23
Re: HO-gauge turnout control without under the table mounting
Author: SPDRGWfan

If you don't mind the appearance of the Atlas above table switch machines, they seem to work ok for Atlas turnouts but not so well for Shinohara or Walthers/Shinohara turnouts.  I've found the latter can often have too much resistance for the Atlas switch machines reliably throw them.  I've used Switchmaster slow motion stall type machines for some of the Shinohara as they have plenty of torque to throw them.

Caboose Industries ground throws work well for turnouts which require a manual throw and don't have a built in spring like the Peco or ME turnouts have.



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