Switching it up…

When I last left you, this is where I was at…

And on to the end of the line.

I had reached the upper deck and had enough plywood for the first “town” area after the helix. Like I had said this isn’t necessarily a town as it will be a sawmill scene with a hint of a town. The plan was to keep moving on with the track work on the upper deck.

Well, I have the plywood for the subroadbed, but no space to cut it. My daughter and her husband are kind of in between homes and there is a lot of furniture in the garage. I’m able to squeak a car into our 3 car garage. This has been the case since early May.

Wanting to move forward I decided to start installing switch motors. Seemed like something that would be relaxing, easy and fulfilling. I have been slowly collecting them and have 19 Tortoise switch motors (www.circuitron.com) on hand. Along with 3 Digitrax (www.digitrax.com) DS 64s.

Originally my plan was to start at the staging yards and just keep moving around the layout. However without a finalized plan for the New Brighton yard I decided to skip it and start at the berm scene.

First thing to do was to wire them up. I was originally going to use Acculite snaps (www.acculites.com) to hook up the Tortoises. Instead, I have a bunch of CAT 5 cable on which has 4 pairs of wire. Works out great as there are 8 wire hookups on the switch motors. The thought is that they are all wired if I wish to use the contact points in the future.

Anyways, got the CAT 5 cut and stripped. Then started soldering production line fashion. Made sure all terminals strips wired the same. I also made sure to note the order in the “Book Of Standards”.

One of the first nineteen switch motors wired up.
Switch motor wiring using CAT 5 cable.

And after a couple of evenings they were set to install.

First 19 switch motors wired up and ready to be installed on layout.

Just a side note. I have noticed when the “Experts” talk about building a multi deck layout, they say that you should start with the upper deck. The reason being that by installing the upper deck first it will be easier to wire the upper deck. After crawling around the lower deck installing these I would disagree. The lower deck is to low to sit in a chair and wire and just a little to high to lay on the ground. Where as the upper deck is about 4 1/2 feet off the ground. Easy to reach in and install and wire these puppies up.

Anyways, got them installed. But nothing to hook them to. So it was time to start pulling wire from the electrical cabinet to the switch locations. For crossovers I used two Tortoises instead of using Circuitrons Remote Tortoise Mount to drive both switch points. Even Circuitron acknowledges that cost wise it’s not much different, but it’s easier to use two tortoises.

Got the wires pulled and the switch motors hooked up.

Switch motors going in and wired.

Then it was time to get the DS 64’s in.

Next time the journey continues. Til then, Happy Railroading…

 

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