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I just finished all the "wiring" and "jumping" on my Peco 0-scale 16,5mm turnouts ( code 100 ) following the hints and tips on the site to make them DCC-friendly ones.
Because I will make use of manually thrown switches only, I can't think of any simple/good way to powerroute the frogs, could you please help me out on this ?
Thanks in advance,
-- Sebastiaan Massa (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 26, 2002
A few months ago, I scratched my head for a better way of doing this than I had seen before. I think I came with a great approach. I want to add it to my web page, but right now, I'm busy with school. Hopefully, this written description will do.
The basic idea is this. Mount a micro switch to a small block of wood. Then you will attach a piece of piano wire to the block of wood. The piano wire protrudes through your layout and and goes through one of the holes in the turnout's throwbar. As the throwbar moves the piano wire, the piano wire pushes on the the microswitch.
This definitely beats all the top mounted approaches that required one to bury the microswitch in the scenery. No glue is involved so it's ready to go as soon as you are finished making it. If you ever need to work on this thing, it's as accessable as any switch machine. Burying a micro switch in the scenery always bothered me. Could potentially be hard to adjust and I was worried ground foam would gum up the works.
Here's a few more details. 1. Use a micro switch that has the short, flat lever arm. DO NOT use the type with the roller. DO NOT use the type that just has the button. Be sure to use the type with the short, flat lever arm. 2. I used pieces of maple to make my blocks of wood. I made them small (about 3/4" x 1" x 2"). I had the hardwood and figured it was less likely to split. If you use pine, you might make them a little bigger. In any event, drill all your holes to minimize the possibility of splitting them. 3. Make a jig and drill 3 holes in the side of the block of wood. 2 of the holes are for the microswitch. 1 of them is for the piano wire. (The two holes you will need to screw the block to the bottom of the layout don't need a jig.) 4. Shape the piano wire into an "L". Don't do anything to hold the piano wire in the hole. When you mount the block of wood under the layout, the throwbar will keep the piano wire from getting away. So there is no need to do anything special to hold the piano wire in the block of wood. Nice! 5. When you mount the microswitch, don't mount the microswitch vertically. Instead, with the lever pointing up and the electrical tabs down, tilt the "top" of the microswitch slightly towards the piano wire. By doing this, you will find the microswitch will be more sensitive to the small amount of movement the throwbar has.
You might have to make a couple of these until you get the ideal arrangement. Make sure your master/jig is made of hardwood. This will allow you to drill through it a lot of times without the master holes growing on you and ruining your jig. Once you get your master, you will be able to crank these things out.
Mounting the microswitch: The first set I made used nails that came in one of those finishing nails multipacks. They worked great. The head was just the right size and the shaft of the nail was just right, too. (While I'd prefer screws, long skinny screws are not commonly available. I like my web page to use common items whenever possible.)
When I ran out of those nails, I bought some standard nails. Surprise! The nails in the multipack were not of common sizes! Bummer. The common size was smaller than the hole in the microswitch and the head wasn't as big. Still, we were able to use common nails. Just make sure that your microswitch is not loose and will never be able to move about the nail. Otherwise, you might end up with reliability problems. This might sound worse than it is. Just make sure the holes in the jig place the nails so that the microswitch is firmly held.
Hope this works. One of these days, I'll make a picture of one of these things.
-- Allan Gartner (bigboy@WiringForDCC.com), September 26, 2002.
It's been brought to my attention that not everyone got the mental picture of how the piano wire is held in. When you have one in your hand or see a photo, it is obvious. No black magic required.
Rather than fail again at trying to describe this, for the moment, trust me. When you go to mount it, you will see the piano wire can't fall out. The throwbar traps it. For those that only trust in God :), I will get a digital photo taken this week or next. I can't post it on the forum, but I will put an annoucment on the forum that the photo is available.
-- Allan Gartner (bigboy@WiringForDCC.com), September 30, 2002.