Will the Switchmaster work with Rix Rax flat mounting brackets?

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Alan, First, thanks for a great web-site and most important your devotion to DCC. I've read about the Switchmaster machines with the Rix Rax. I'm starting a double-deck layout in HO and would like to use Rix Rax Flat mounting brackets. Any suggests on a switch machine or will the Switchmaster work here also? What are your thoughts on the Rix twin-coil machines? I'm using Digitrax and plan to model the Pennsy mailine thru Baltimore (1950s).

Thanks, Ken Meyer Bel Air, Maryland

-- Kenneth N. Meyer (knmeyer@home.com), August 13, 2001


Great questions! Thanks for sending them to the Q&A forum for all to benefit from the answer!

I'm double decking my layout, too. So the thought of using the flat Rix Rax brackets has occurred to me, too. Unfortunately, they are designed for the twin coil style of switch machine. Could they be adapted for the Hankscraft/Switchmaster machine? I'm about to build my second level. So maybe in the next several months I'll try.

You can always mount the the Switchmaster machine the way it was designed without the bracket. Personally, I don't care for this approach, but it will be lower profile. For one thing, it involves linkages of sorts. I find linkages troublesome. It also doesn't have a GREAT way of mounting micro switches for feedback and frog power routing. You end up with a mess of stuff bolted under your layout. The bracket is therefore highly desirable. If necessary, I will see the standard bracket hanging down slightly from my second level.

Rix twin-coil machines? They make great brackets. Their twin-coil machines on the hand, are the worst things I have ever tried to use. Besides not having any switch contacts on them, they are difficult to strip the insulation.

Regular twin-coil machines, such as the NJ International type, are equally terrible. For one thing, linkages are involved again. I never have any luck getting them set up easily. This type of switch machine has three sets of relay contacts. Two sets look like regular relay contacts. But they are so close together, it is very difficult to solder wires to them without them touching even if they are spread as far apart as possible. In time, the screws that hold them come loose becoming unreliable. Lastly, the third set of contacts are plated with something that you have to scrape off to solder to and the contacts themselves provide low pressure and very poor and intermittent electrical contact.

Twin-coil machines, if DCC controlled, usually require a secondary power source.

The Atlas under table type are the only twin-coils I've had any luck with.

Therefore, stick with Switchmaster or Tortoise! Note: I understand that neither company, especially Circuitron, is keeping up with demand. I hear Walthers will therefore introduce their own slow motion machine. I buy my motors directly from Hankscraft. You have to buy at least 100 to be cost effective.

-- Allan Gartner (wiringfordcc@augustmail.com), August 13, 2001.

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