Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Turnouts & Switch Machines

No major changes have happened to the layout in the last 3 weeks other than the installation of 4 new Atlas under table switch machines, 1 Atlas trackside switch machine, and a new motor for my turn table. I have also been collecting the various parts and components for the control panel that I am still in the design stage on. I will need 4 Atlas snap-relays, as well as the dual cab MRC controller I’ve had my eye on. I will have more details on this when I get a more finalized plan on its design. In the meantime, I’ve installed 4 Atlas under table switch machines on the front area of the layout, completed with roadbed to cover to hole and eventually blend into the track bed.

Atlas turnout switch pointsAtlas turnout switch points
The under table switches installed pretty easily, with only a few adjustments needed in the end. The hardest part was keeping them positioned while screwing them in, luckily I had a helper to assist me with this. Another factor that needed great attention was the ease of movement of the turnout itself. The actuator motors themselves are pretty powerful, especially with around a 16VAC burst of power. However the issue comes from the very small distance of movement as well as the plastic pin that goes through to table and attaches to the switch. The switch movement is just barely longer than the distance of the turnout itself, which doesn’t leave much room for error. With this, the plastic pin does flex, so if there is ANY resistance in the movement of the turnout, the switch will not completely move the track, even if perfectly centered. Because of this, I ended up having to remove the roadbed under the sliding bar of the turnout to ensure there was very little resistance. After a few adjustments, everything worked fine.
Under table switch machine wiringAtlas under table switch machines

As for the wiring, each switch machine will be on an independent Atlas switch controller, green being for the main line and yellow being for the turnout. All are grounded by a common ground, which is the center brown wire. Switches 2 and 3, which branches from the main line to the front spur, are on a common switch and operate in unison, as they will always need to be switched together when crossing off of or onto the main line.

Trackside switch machineTurntable motor

Unfortunately, I was not able to install a under table switch (at least not easily) to the turnout to my turn table. Because of this, I had to use a trackside switch machine. I wired it just as I did with the under table switches, and attached it to the same brown common lead. I will have to find some way to hide this machine in the future. I have also attached my new turn table motor. It works great, but is a little loud. Hopefully this will be quieted slightly when the cover is attached. With that, there is where I am this rainy Wednesday evening.


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