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Can't get switches? - Electrics - DC - Getting You Started. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Sat Feb 20th, 2021 06:00 pm
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Colin W
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A homemade solution to building a switchboard panel of point switches

I started out with the plan of using "handomatic" operation of my limited number of points but when I finally succumbed to the lure of point motors my very practical electronics expert-friend suggested using paired micro-switches would do the job to drive the point solenoid motors. He just happened to have several gleaned from the plethora of failed microwaves which people throw away.

This appealed for two reasons, I feared a "fat finger" event caused by one of the then very young users on an expensive flimsy switch and the total cost of a bank of these (about 60GBP or 5GBP each at the time I think)

Armed with nothing more than two micro-switches I knocked together this switch design. This photo is from later on when I splashed out $0.25 each for a load of switches once the concept was proven.



The whole device was powered by a kit built CDU ($16.50) powerful enough to drive paired points so total switchboard cost, switches, CDU and PS was $22.50 as I reused an old redundant power supply.

As to robustness, the switch arms sit loose to trigger the switch button momentarily so are hard to force and in 4+ years not one arm or micro-switch has failed or been broken by young or old.

They are small enough to sit in a compact control panel board and while cheap and cheerful, the setup provides a simple switching system if cost is an issue.






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Westown - Heathfield
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 Posted: Sun Feb 21st, 2021 02:13 am
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Sol
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So Colin, they spring back once released?

Can you get a photo from underneath please to show the mounting?



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 Posted: Sun Feb 21st, 2021 03:03 am
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Colin W
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Sol wrote: So Colin, they spring back once released?

Can you get a photo from underneath please to show the mounting?

1) standard micro-switch so once depressed it springs back lightly, not strong enough to recoil the lever. Even the youngest youngsters have mastered the gentle tap / release that's required.

2) The switch photo shown is in situ. The white PVC support strip is just hot-melt glued in place on the base with the lever poking thru the front face.



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Colin

Westown - Heathfield
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 Posted: Sun Feb 21st, 2021 06:39 pm
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Petermac
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Nifty looking setup Colin. :thumbs

How long is the lever throw from up to down - it looks to be quite a distance ?   I'm just wondering if a slightly different configuration of the micro switches and operating lugs would allow an almost vertical lever with just a short flick up or down to operate the switches....................... :hmm  Nice idea - and cheap too.



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 Posted: Sun Feb 21st, 2021 08:12 pm
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Colin W
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Thanks Peter,

Certainly you could choose to place the switches at a greater angle achieving the effect you suggest but there were three reasons why I chose my particular orientation:

1) Personally there's something more satisfying about a longer throw

2) The lever is not sprung or held in place in the axis of the switches so less chance of it being knocked "accidentally" in the wrong sense in my configuration (those with little fingers have been known to fiddle!)
   - It helps you easily see chosen point settings from afar and if you trigger the wrong impulse on the solenoid that's less than ideal.


3) It would increase the depth of my control panel making it heavier and overly cumbersome. I had intended it to be removable.
    - It is still so, but became a semi-permanent installation which I can take off the layout easily for modifications, e.g. I later added in the lighting switches

I think there are smaller types of micro-switch you could use but these come at a significant higher cost than mine



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Colin

Westown - Heathfield
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 Posted: Mon Feb 22nd, 2021 06:22 am
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Petermac
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Now that's why you're a good modeller Colin whilst I'm struggling just to achieve "average" .................... :roll:

All points taken, accepted and never even thought of by me !!!  :thumbs




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