Switch Machines Pt. 3 …

Since I have the switch machines installed, wired up and programmed I thought I was set. Using my new found power to throw switches on demand, I was feeling pretty good about all the crawling around underneath the layout hooking them up. Went to grab another local freight from the staging yard and found I had a problem.

Digitrax’s (digitrax.com) DT throttles are full function. Their UT (utility) throttles are not. Which means that an operator, usually the yard operators, are unable to throw a switch from their throttles. Not  wanting to scrap the UT throttles and replace them with DTs (hello, they are expensive) I was going to have to do something.

Turns out that “something” isn’t that difficult.

My plan has been to use the fascia as a “kind of” control panel. Like I had done  with the staging yard, the towns will be laid out with striping tape. White for the main lines and the sidings in yellow. Industries will have their names and car capacities labeled. The number for the switches would also be by the turnout. Also kicked around adding LEDs for turnout indication.

The plan was to do this as time permitted. But the need for a way to control the turnouts locally moved the project front and center. In addition to the above I added a momentary push button switch to the panel at each turnout location. The DS 64s have additional input capabilities for just this situation.

Of coarse this meant pulling more wires. but one does what needs to be done. And actually with the roll around wire rack this really isn’t work, just time consuming.

The solution in pictures:

Fascia with industry labeled. Track capacity number is also on the fascia.
Fascia with the switch numbers in place. Holes for push buttons and LED indicators.
Fascia going in place, push buttons and LEDs installed.
Fascia in place.

Don’t have a shot of them lit up (the LEDS, not me), but I will try and get one for the future. The LEDs are powered through the DS 64 and the red (for a thrown turnout) is not as bright as I would like, but the green is. And when you are rolling through town with a hot freight green is what you’re looking for. If I wanted to as a future project, I could rewire the LEDs through the extra contact points on the switch machines, but for right now they are fine.

So Jackson has it’s switch machines in place with control from either the throttle or the fascia. For right now its a lot of fun switching the town, though I’m sure that it wear off after a bit. Which is a bit sad.

For now that’s it, next time we switch gears again. Till then Happy Modelling…




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