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Discussion Starter #1
I have lurked here for a while and cant believe my luck in finding such a goldmine of information and experience, and might I say, a great bunch of people with a good sense of humour,
Like most of you I have been interested in trains since I was young, early memories of watching the steam trains on the embankment by my grandparents.
Started my model trains with a Hornby Dublo 3 rail set given to me at Christmas when I was 7. I was fascinated, particularly by the working Royal Mail car which would pick up and throw mail bags.
So for those who have read so far you probably have worked out that I am English and in my 50's... though now living in the States.

I modelled in OO scale for many years then after a divorce and a move to the USA, have not done much for several years. However now I am settled, I have decided to build a Garden railway, or should I say railroad :)
Am at the planning and acquiring stage...and at the point where I realize just how much I dont know....

I will probably go with track power and DCC, I understand how the engines are controlled by the DCC, however in my total ignorance I have to ask a basic question .... how do you remotely control points ...oops I mean switches...
I would welcome any help or suggestions on this score....

Many Thanks

Eddie

A Newbie
 

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Welcome to MLS Eddie!

As you noted lots of good folks here with a bunch of experience.

Regarding your question on DCC and remote controlling points, or switches :), I know of 2 ways. Since DCC provides not only power but signals, you can control the switches the same way you control the loco, with an accessory decoder- similar to a motor decoder but cheaper and less capabilities. The switch decoder controls a motor which moves the points to the position you want - straight or divergent path. You access the switch decoder the same way you access a loco, with an address and a command from your DCC controller. To hook up the decoder you just tap into the nearest set of rails and set it's address :)

The second way is very similar but some uses air to open and close the switch, an accessory decoder is still used but air moves the points instead of the motor.

Have you researched the various DCC systems? Do you have a favorite thus far?
 

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Hey Eddie: Welcome to MLS and Large Scale trains.

I don't know much about the sparkie end of things as I run Live Steam, so I can't help you there much.

But I thought I'd point out that the difference between Railroad and Railway is only in the spelling. I think Railway is more prevalent in the 1:1 world outside the U.S., but within the U.S. many Rail Transportation companies have used both terms at one time in their existance... often changing from one to the other due to a bankruptcy reorganization. In the Garden toy tran world, I think that the two terms are quite interchangable, except that it seems to ME that most clubs have chosen to use Railway in their name... dunno why, unless it maybe sounds a bit more pretentious.

I, personally, appreciate your use of the term "Switches" instead of "Points", because I like the realism of using the proper Railroad term.

As for remote control of switches... I hired a "Switch Tender" to control them... I don't pay him much because I, err... I mean, HE tends to get fascinated by watching the train and forgets to throw the switch.

Some Garden RailWAYS get to be quite large and some folk like to watch the train all the time and that means they have to be walking around to see them... unlike the smaller scales where the owner/operator sits at a console with a complete view of the whole layout with remote control of all the activities from that one place..., so manual (armstrong) control of switches is common in the garden. I do have a couple of Spring Switches for exiting a balloon track (loopback) but the others are all manual switch stands that my hired Switch Tender has to control (threatening me, err, I mean, HIM with whips and cattle prods tends to keep me... daing, did it again, I mean, HIM on task).
 

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In the next issue of Garden Railways, there's a product called "SmartSwitch" in the product reviews. http://www.anemodel.com This is a system that uses standard R/C car servo motors to control switches. It has a DCC interface. I'm not sure how you'd go about mounting the servos outdoors so that they'd remain weatherproof. One way would be to mount them inside a building such as a switch tower and run prototypic rods and links to the nearby switches like the prototypes. The servos would stay safe, and you'd not only have the cool effect of watching your switches throw back and forth, but you could watch all that cool linkage, too. (BTW, the system allows for multiple servos on the same control, so one control can run both switches of a crossover, for example.)

Later,

K
 

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Eddie, welcome to MLS and welcome to the US. I too started with 00, and with Hornby. My dad owned a newspaper/toy store in Birmingham and we built a window display layout with my Hornby 3 rail.... You will find MLS a great place and a great resource.
 

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Welcome to the forum and the world of Garden RR. I use DCC but as far as turnout control I use all manual as I like following the train as much like the real RR. More realistic. I have thought of just doing two turnouts as remotes on my newly installed reverse loops and looking at air power with remote decoders to operate. Later RJD
 

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Hi Eddie.....

From the UK to Columbia, Il.... That's quite a trip. Lived in Belleville for years until I sold my business back in 86. Kicked around the globe for a while, even in the UK....

Welcome to MLS..... A wonderful place with great information, a whole lot of answers (whether you have a question or not...)
and a place where we do have some fun in spite of ourselves.

However, we always have fun with our trains.....
 

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Gee what a small world Stan as I grew up in Palatine Ill and as a railroader worked on the line going to the new Chrysler plant. Later RJD
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hi
Thanks for the information - the mists begin to clear and I am starting to see a way ahead .... I will look into these methids further

As for DCC - the more I read the more confused I get ... I guess everyone stands by what t hey have bought and used . and like everything in life there is no one perfect solution

I have acquired mainly LGB locos so far so will be looking for something that works best with them.
I wil admit though, it is both interesting and fun to learn all this new stuff


Thanks again
 

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Discussion Starter #11
PS
Your responses have proved what i had thought of the forum, you are a very welcoming, knowledgeable bunch of people who love to share their experiences. thanks again for the welcome and information.
I look forward to learning lots on here

Eddie

"I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter." Sir Winston Churchill
 

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Eddie, as they said - welcome! (I still have an OO train: Nucast B1 and 4 Hornby teak coaches.)

how do you remotely control points


Let me make the observation that a garden railway is different in size from an indoor OO layout. Switches are a major maintenance item - the blades and check rail gaps get full of debris, so you have to brush them off regularly [= before each operating session.] And they can be a long way away hidden behind a bush!

When you start planning your garden layout, like many of us, you may decide to cluster the switches/points close to the accessible side of the layout. The link below is a photo of my garden railroad, taken from the roof when I was inspecting a chimney. It's about 60' by 20' with 10' radius (20' diameter) curves.

http://gold.mylargescale.com/petethornton/photos/Sunset%20Rd%20Layout%20040702.jpg

You'll note that all the sidings, crossovers, wyes, etc., are on one side next to the path. The far side is a plain running line through a tunnel beneath the big tree, made from chimney lining (square ceramic tube.)

That being said, one method of operating a remote switch that hasn't been mentioned is air, from a piston at the control point via tubes to the switch.
Stretch Manley, at California & Oregon Coast Railway, sells a system to do just that.
http://www.cocry.com/
 

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Eddie,

Welcome to the board!

I too am new--that is, I've spent 18 months trying to get a space to start an indoor layout.

To remotely control 'points' (many of us know the British terminology) you need of course, a 'controller', a set of center-off switches that apply electricity to the switch motor--er, points motor--to run it one way or the other. The controller comes in lots of varieties, better-informed people than I can tell you. Mine will all be manual, or mechanically operated with a cable.

Les
 

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I use DCC. I use the Digitrax DCC accessory controllers. They will handle 4 switches of almost any kind (electric motors).

I use these decoders to control solenoids to control air motors for my switches, I do not think any of the electric switch motors meet my standards for weather proof reliability.

You can see more on my site.


Regards, Greg

Here is an air motor on an Aristo switch:


Here is the decoder with BEMF supressing diodes: (4 sets for 4 switches)


Here is a box that has 2 decoders, 8 solenoids and a bunch of extra air line piled up! (I will cut away the extra)


See my site... TRAINS....TRACK...AIR OPERATED SWITCHES...


Regards, Greg
 

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Greg, I'd not checked out that section of your site before. Fascinating stuff. Is the solenoid you are using this - EZ663 Solenoid valve, 21.6 to 36 volt? What size air compressor are you using and did you find one that was limited to 40 psi or does E-Z Air provide some thing to limit it? I have a group of four switches that I could probably set up as a couple of DCC routes. They are in hard to reach locations, so it would be great to be able to clean them off at the beggining of a session and then be able to operate them remotely.

Very interesting stuff.

Peter.
 

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Here is a box that has 2 decoders, 8 solenoids and a bunch of extra air line piled up! (I will cut away the extra)



Regards, Greg





EEEEEEEK!


THIS is one of the reasons I like simple steam on a roundy-round............................... : )

tac
www.ovgrs.org
 

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Greg,

First, thanks for posting the pixes. Now my question: You stated that you used air motors. I've been thinking along the lines of using an air piston. Is there a reason why you chose an air motor over a piston? (My layout will be indoors--that might make a big difference).

Les
 

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Eddie, send me an e-mail if you would like to see first hand, 4 different methods of remotely throwing switches. Also, checkout or Club's website: www.ggrrc.org
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks again for all the information, lots to think about and consider, and some very helpful points (if you will pardon the pun) made.


I have acquired some LGB track and switches with motors., Greg's comments about reliability and weather proofness made me wonder about the LGB switch motors. Is this going to be an issue ? How weatherproof are the LGB switches ?
I am sure there are some of you with experience of using these ... so your experiences would be welcomed.

Eddie
 
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