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Almost free stud and probe point operation. - Hints, Tips & Smaller Projects. - Getting You Started. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Wed Apr 16th, 2008 06:45 pm
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Robert
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So, here we go then. The first picture shows an old biro, in this case it was one that had coloured ink in it, stripped down to it's component parts. After stripping it down make sure that the metal end where the ink comes out is clean. Poke a bit of wire down it and waggle it around a few times, that should do it.





The next photograph shows that the only bit we have discarded is the plastic tube that holds the ink. Now we need a length of wire that will lead from the tip of the pencil to the solenoid power supply. Ensure that this wire is long enough so that the pencil will reach all the studs you want to operate after it is connected to the power supply.




The next sterp is to drill a hole in the plastic end big enough to take the size of wire you are going to use going from pen to power supply. If your choice of wire is too thick for the bared end to fit into the metal end of the biro, as mine was, then use a short length of copper wire as shown in the photograph above. Solder the wire into the metal end of the biro, the bit that holds the ball, and if required clean up after soldering so that the plastic sleeve slides over the metal as it was originally. If your wire was thin enough to solder into the tip then all you have to do now is reassemble the pen and that's it. If you had to use a short length of copper wire then after soldering to the metal tip solder the other end to your length of cable and assemble the pen.



The final photograph shows the complete 'Electric Pencil' finished and ready to use. Neat eh?





There's nothing to say about the studs really, they are just taken from the packet and pushed through small holes in the control panel. If needed a touch of glue under the head of the pin to hold them down securely. The other side of the point motor wire is then soldered to the pin on the underside of the control panel.
You can see the 'studs' quite clearly in this picture of the temporary control panel I was using before the track design was completed.



You want cheap? It just doesn't get any cheaper than this.

To show how these are wired up I have added this post by Matt who kindly gave me permission to use his useful and accurate drawings using Sketchup.






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 Posted: Fri Apr 18th, 2008 03:39 pm
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Petermac
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Now there's the master "cheapskate" at work !!!

Ingenious Bob and not too expensive !! :roll: :roll:

Just a small question - I've never taken a ball point apart (at least not intentionally !!). Does the ball just push out and what do you wash the ink residue out with ?

Petermac



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 Posted: Fri Apr 18th, 2008 03:59 pm
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phill
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With something cheap i imagine Pete :D :D :D :D , sorry bob had to say it :D

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 Posted: Fri Apr 18th, 2008 05:50 pm
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Robert
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Looking at the first picture Petermac the second item from the left is the metal ball holder, which is complete in itself, and to which your wire is going to be soldered. I mention in the post about cleaning it out.
Anything else that's not clear, just ask. I would remind you however that the Peco item is only 2 which saves you the trouble but if the budget is really tight then my solution works perfectly.



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 Posted: Fri Apr 18th, 2008 08:21 pm
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Petermac
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Thanks Bob - didn't realise "wiggling the bit of wire about" was to actually clean it sufficiently to solder to !! :shock: :shock:

Even if the budeget will run to the 2 for the Peco version, it would be fun to try your method and at an easier scale to use too. :wink: :wink:

Petermac



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 Posted: Fri Apr 18th, 2008 09:32 pm
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Robert
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You will probably need to use some flux as well, I know I did.



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 Posted: Tue Jul 29th, 2008 03:36 am
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I found this old topic and thought I would add a different idea.

If you put in three studs per point motor instead of only two, you don't need the wire on the probe. To change the points, just use any metal object to bridge across the middle stud to the outer ones. You could wear a metal sewing thimble on your finger, or fix it on a stick.

If the studs are close enough together, you could use Bob's idea of an old ball-point pen -- except that you don't have to modify it, just use it as it is!

This idea saves the nuisance of the wire always getting in a tangle, or becoming disconnected. You can also make as many probes as you like and scatter them round the railway room, so there is always one handy.

It's especially useful if you have two operators, because they won't be fighting each other for the probe, or tangling them together if you have two probes.

I modified Matt's drawing to show what I mean:

Martin.

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 Posted: Tue Jul 29th, 2008 04:16 am
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Sol
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Martin, a very neat idea :!:

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 Posted: Tue Jul 29th, 2008 07:13 am
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henryparrot
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Martin

Thats a very good variation of the stud & probe that way may be more use full to some members and dependant on situation be better than the wired probe.

cheers Brian.W

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 Posted: Tue Jul 29th, 2008 07:13 pm
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georgejacksongenius
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That idea is absolute gold-dust,and SO simple too;Some VERY clever people on this forum!!!
I think I can see myself nicking this idea for the next layout! :wink:

Cheers,John.B.

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