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Thread: How to make a Control Panel?

  1. #1

    Default How to make a Control Panel?

    I am considering including a "Points/Turnout/Switch" control panel on my new N Scale layout but have no idea how to go about it. I don't even know if one will be worth while as I only have 16 of the afore mentioned so may be wasting my time.

    The majority of my points will be at the front of the layout so I suppose a control panel for them will be mainly for appearances than anything else.

    Essentially though, if it isn't too difficult/complex, I wouldn't mind a "Panel" that shows which way the points are thrown as indicated by lights. Obviously (I think) I will need slow motion machines for this to work and those machines will be DCC Concept machines.

    Yes, I have looked at a variety of google sites about this topic but most seem to utilize "assumed knowledge" and are not "simple enough or clear enough" As said, I have no idea how to go about making a panel or what is needed to do so; therefore, any advice will be greatly appreciated.
    Cheers,

    Tony
    (aka wombat457)

    "...knowing what to do is one thing, being able to do it is another..."

    http://www.modelrailroadforums.com/f...Indoor-N-Scale

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Colorado, Kansas, and servicing all points between
    Posts
    4,151

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wombat457 View Post
    I am considering including a "Points/Turnout/Switch" control panel ... that shows which way the points are thrown as indicated by lights. ...
    I have no idea how to go about making a panel or what is needed to do so; therefore, any advice will be greatly appreciated.
    That is a very tough question to answer since there are as many ways to make a control panel as a dog has fleas. Also usually one of the whole points of going to a DCC turnout control scheme is that one doesn't need a control panel anymore.

    But usually one starts with some thin material for the panel itself - sheet aluminum, plexiglass, lexan, or masonite. Make a simplified diagram of the layout on the panel. Determine the mounting method for the indicator lights (probably LEDs) and drill out appropriate size holes. Depending on which DCC Concepts stationary decoders you choose you would run 2 or 3 wires to the panel for each turnout or crossover. If your using the AD1 one wire will come from the turnout motor and the other from the decoder. If you chose the AD2fx it will be three wires all from the decoder. If you also want manual override push buttons on the panel, it is a matter of figuring out where you want them, drilling, mounting, and then running the appropriate wires from the switches to the decoder. Once again if you choose the AD1 there would be a single button and two wires, if you chose the AD2fx there will be two buttons and three wires. Very simple actually, especially if you just do one thing at a time and run one wire at a time instead of trying to put them all on at once.

    Or you could use the contact built into the turnout motor which would involve an additional power supply and running wires from the turnout back to the panel. The exact wiring would depend which model of Cobol motor you choose.

    Like everything you could go big and use bunches of LEDs on the track diagram and have the panel show routing. As ->
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Obviously more complicated, but not as much as one might think.
    Last edited by Iron Horseman; 09-29-2017 at 04:44 PM.

  3. #3

    Default

    Horseman,

    As always, thank you for your response and information. Not sure if I have understood you correctly or not but are you saying that apart from the turnout motor (Cobalt's) LED's and toggle/push button switches I will also need stationary decoders or this other decoder you mentioned?

    That being the case, would I need one of those decoders for each turnout OR does one decoder run more than one turnout? Keeping in mind I want to be able to change the points manually but remotely, if that makes sense.
    Cheers,

    Tony
    (aka wombat457)

    "...knowing what to do is one thing, being able to do it is another..."

    http://www.modelrailroadforums.com/f...Indoor-N-Scale

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Colorado, Kansas, and servicing all points between
    Posts
    4,151

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wombat457 View Post
    Not sure if I have understood you correctly or not but are you saying that apart from the turnout motor (Cobalt's) LED's and toggle/push button switches I will also need stationary decoders or this other decoder you mentioned?

    That being the case, would I need one of those decoders for each turnout OR does one decoder run more than one turnout? Keeping in mind I want to be able to change the points manually but remotely, if that makes sense.
    Oh, no. I might have misunderstood. I thought you were wanting to use DCC. It keeps being mentioned. No just toggle/push buttons will work fine. In my opinion that actually makes it easier. Still multiple ways to do it depending on the exact motor chosen and if you want push buttons or a toggle. With a toggle switch, the control panel LED indication can be put in series with the turnout motor. All self contained right there in the panel with just the two wires going out to the turnout motor.

    Help me out with "changing the points manually but remotely"? Stall motor type turnout drives do not allow the points to be moved manually. They have to be moved by changing the motor. That doesn't mean you can't have a control toggle/push button remote and another one right next to the switch.
    Last edited by Iron Horseman; 09-29-2017 at 09:03 PM.

  5. #5

    Default

    Horseman,

    Sorry mate I am confusing things a bit. Yep the layout will be DCC but I thought the turnouts (operating of their own power source) would be DC. Maybe I have everything arse backwards and upside down.

    Maybe this will help then ... this is what I was going to buy for the turnout motors X 16:

    https://www.dccconcepts.com/product/...c-single-pack/

    But after what you said I thought this would be what was needed X16:

    https://www.dccconcepts.com/product/...lassic-%CF%89/

    Maybe I am completely wrong on both counts. Maybe I need a different Point Motor altogether. This is why I stay away from anything more than basic track power and lighting for buildings and street lights
    Cheers,

    Tony
    (aka wombat457)

    "...knowing what to do is one thing, being able to do it is another..."

    http://www.modelrailroadforums.com/f...Indoor-N-Scale

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Caboolture in SE Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    7,409

    Default

    Here's some info from a ebay.uk seller on what that AD1HP does (didn't know what the heck it was)

    AD1HP is a Single output high power DCC accessory decoder for Cobalt type motors. It is also a DCC-addressable relay! Why not combine AD1HP with DCD-REX and switch multiple devices with a single digital command? The possibilities are virtually endless!On DC or DCC, AD1HP is easily capable of powering several Cobalt Classic… and also works well with “other brand” higher current devices. (Interfaced properly, it even makes Lemaco and Fulgurex point motors a little less angry sounding).The AD1HP has zero current draw when not changing so many of them can connect straight to track power and not load the bus. The ability to change several points at once and also operate with DCC or push-button switches as required keeps wiring really simple for complex crossovers and large fiddle yards too.Really simple set up and addressing.Designed to fit neatly into the side of Cobalt Omega or iP Analog and give you the option of digital or push-button control.

    AD1HP also works really well on DC power to make DC control and wiring the simplest it has ever been.
    Here's what the DCD-REX is

    https://www.dccconcepts.com/product/...tension-board/
    CONVICTED SERIAL KIDDER

    I'm lost. I've gone to look for me. If I should return before I get back, please ask me to wait.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Caboolture in SE Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    7,409

    Default

    I keep telling people that DCC is simple.
    CONVICTED SERIAL KIDDER

    I'm lost. I've gone to look for me. If I should return before I get back, please ask me to wait.

  8. #8

    Default

    Toot'n,

    Thanks and yep - DCC IS simple, if you know what your doing
    Cheers,

    Tony
    (aka wombat457)

    "...knowing what to do is one thing, being able to do it is another..."

    http://www.modelrailroadforums.com/f...Indoor-N-Scale

  9. #9

    Default

    It's hard to explain (clearly without confusion) something when you don't really know what it is that you want or need. Therefore, I am hoping a picture is worth a thousand words so my words don't cause confusion.

    This image depicts what I would like to do/have:



    So, can this be done when the layout (track) is DCC? In other words, can the turnout motors, AD1HP, toggle switch and panel be powered by the MRC DC Controller like for structure and street lighting independent of the Track Power (DCC)?

    If so, can I use these DCC Concepts Basic Turnout Motors OR do I need the DCC Concepts Cobalt IP Analogue or Digital motors? NB: I want to be able to change the direction of the points using the Toggle Switch, completely manual, no JMRI or Automation or any other hi tech methods using a cell phone etc.

    What sort of Toggle Switch do I need, SPST, SPDT, DPDT, On/Off, On/Off/On or some other?

    Lastly, how on earth do you connect those components (MRC, Motor, AD1HP thing, Toggle Switch and Panel with LED's for point direction) to each other?

    In so far as the Control Panel LED's are concerned ...

    how do you wire them so ONLY the "Active Track" (the track the train will run on) LED is lit?



    Hope this makes what I am after clearer.
    Last edited by wombat457; 09-30-2017 at 09:22 AM.
    Cheers,

    Tony
    (aka wombat457)

    "...knowing what to do is one thing, being able to do it is another..."

    http://www.modelrailroadforums.com/f...Indoor-N-Scale

  10. #10

    Default

    I use DCC, and I don't control my switches (tortoises) via DCC, but rather DC and DPDT (double-pull/double-throw) switches and LEDs. Here's an example of a control panel I built out of plexiglass: http://www.modelrailroadforums.com/f...ht=#post455014

    Things needed for this type of control panel:
    • Panel material (plexiglass is pretty useful)
    • Pinstripe Tape (local autoparts store)
    • DPDT switches
    • Green LEDs (I can dig up the exact specs)
    • Tools
    • Wiring


    I have a basic wiring diagram for this set up. If I find it I'll post it, otherwise it'll take me just a couple to recreate.
    Last edited by ianacole; 09-30-2017 at 04:16 PM.
    Ian

    Modeling my own reality: Cole River...

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