Alcove Expansion - Turnout control installation

rtw3rd's picture

This post may seem basic by many modeler, but I wanted to share the process I have for installing my fascia mounted turnout control panels.  This is just one of may methods that could be used and I use this method because 1.) I don't know any better; and 2.) It works.

Here's what the back of the turnout panel looks like with the rotary switch and two LEDs.  I'll need to make some holes in the fascia to flush mount the panel.


Here's the location where I want to mount the panel - to the right of the existing turnout panel and centered above the LocoNet(tm) panel.


First I add some easy remove painters tape.  This will protect the paint job and give me an area to mark the location of the panel.


I want to line up the new panel horizontally with the panel on the left and center it vertically over the LocoNet(tm) panel.


I'm shooting the picture from a downward angle, so it doesn't look like 8-1/2" inches to the bottom of the panel but it is.


I HATE things that aren't level, so I'll make sure that the bubble is in the middle.


I'm a great believer in templates for repetitive tasks, so I use my handy-dandy template to mark the two holes for the hole saw cutouts.  The template is two sided so that I can use it for left or right turnout panels.


I'm using a 1-1/2" hole saw to make the hole after drilling small pilot holes.


Now with both holes drilled I'll cut out between the two.  Notice the piece of tape protecting the LocoNet(tm) panel from the dust.


A jigsaw with a medium blade makes quick work of the cutout.  Without the blue painters tape the saw would mar my fascia paint job.


It's a little rough around the edges so I use my knife to trim off the protruding lip.


Now I need to drill the pilot holes for the panel mount screws.  My small drill bit wouldn't chuck in my regular drill so I use a couple of my new Christmas presents - a cordless screwdriver and a chuck that fits it that holds small bits.  I also use the same rig to drill holes in the sub-roadbed to insert track nails.


I've taped the panel in place and made sure that it is level.  Using the cordless screwdriver is slower than a drill, but it works.


And here's the finished product held in place with the (4) #4 screws.  You may notice that on my other turnout panels there aren't any screws.  I used double stick tape for them and I'm finding that it's not holding.  I'll probably be going back and adding the #4 screws to them.

The entire mounting process took about an hour.  Now I can get rid of those push pins that were holding the rail points in place!



cordless screwdriver

Rick, could you give us a shot of the cordless screwdriver and details of the mfr/part number?  It looks like the type I've been looking for (but am repeatedly told no longer exists).

Thanks for the posting!



Bluesssman's picture

I am glad you are sharing

I am glad you are sharing everything about your layout. I learn a lot from you.

I would like to ask what DCC system you use and why?




Head of clean up, repairs and nurturing of the eccentric owner

LKandO's picture

So Easy to Follow

Rick, you do a fantastic job using pictures to illustrate construction. Well done.

Here is a thought for you - make your panel from 2 pieces of Lexan glued together. The front panel being the same thickness as your fascia board. The rear panel being 1/2" larger on both dimensions. Cut the hole in the fascia to match the front panel dimensions. Mount the panel from the rear by gluing/clamping/taping/whatever the rear panel to the rear of the fascia. Presto, a flush mount panel with no visible fasteners.


All the details:        Just the highlights: MRH blog

When I was a kid... no wait, I still do that. HO, 28x32, double deck, 1969, RailPro

rtw3rd's picture

Cordless screwdriver


Here's the information on my cordless screwdriver:


And here's the link:

I've been very happy with the unit.  I got the chuck from MicroMark.




The Richlawn Railroad Website - Featuring the L&N in HO  / MRH Blog  /  

rtw3rd's picture

My DCC system


I'm using the Digitrax Zephyr with a DT402 wireless throttle and a UT4 throttle. I went with Digitrax as our operating group (NCIOG) mostly uses Digitrax and at the time they were based in Atlanta near me.  I found it difficult to learn but reliable.



The Richlawn Railroad Website - Featuring the L&N in HO  / MRH Blog  /  

rtw3rd's picture

Thanks, Alan


Thank you for your kind words and for the great idea on panel mounting.  I may just give that a try!



The Richlawn Railroad Website - Featuring the L&N in HO  / MRH Blog  /  

Cordless screwdriver

is exactly what I'm looking for, although I'd prefer to buy it locally (Victoria BC) if I can.  I have the same chuck or its little brother.

Thanks Rick


Tom Patterson's picture

Painter's Tape

Using the painter's tape to keep from marring the finish of the fascia is a great idea, Rick. And using it to mark where to drill and cut is genius, too, except that those of us who never make measurement mistakes wouldn't need to use it...


Modeling the free-lanced Chesapeake, Wheeling & Erie Railroad, Summer 1976   


ChagaChooChoo's picture

Rick, it looks great!

I got thinking about the rotary switch instead of the usual toggle.  My first thought is that it's expensive.  But then I dashed that thought because I wasn't going to spend modeling time checking out price comparisons.

What settled in however was that a fascia-mounted panel is easy to do, as you've shown, and the rotary switch is GENIUS!  If someone bumps the fascia they can't inadvertently switch the turnout.  A toggle switch is much easier to mess up.  And it would seem more likely to catch on clothing than a rotary knob.

Also, the diagram can be aligned with the travel of the rotary knob so the user has tactile feedback on which way the turnout is supposed to go, with the pointer going right over the diagram lines.

I like it.  I really, really like it!

And I do agree with Tom, you might be alone using the blue tape.  None of the rest of us would EVER make a misteak.  <eraser dust> I mean a misstake.  <eraser dust> I mean a musteak. <lots of eraser dust>  I mean - - - goof up.

Excellent photo-essay, too.  Thanks!



Just my 1.1 cents.  (That's 2 cents, after taxes.)


Just my 1.1 cents.  (That's 2 cents, after taxes.)


rtw3rd's picture

Thanks, Kevin - 75 cent rotary switches


Thank you for your kind words.  I've saved you some shopping on rotary switches as you can get them for 75 cents each (in lots of 10 or more) from All Electronics.  Here's the link:

And here's a picture:

Since I'm a "wide body" and my aisle is only 36" I know someone would be knocking into toggle switches which is why I went with the rotary and because with the "chicken head" knobs (an ebay item for around $1.00 each) they won't change directions with a bump and do indicate visually the position of the turnout.  You will notice that the switches are three position and you only really need two positions.  I didn't modify the switches to two position (which you can with some work).  If an operator rotates the switch into the third position by mistake both LEDs go off; however, the turnout stays in the last position.

I don't know if you saw my previous post about making a panel, but here's the link:

And, long live Blue Tape!



The Richlawn Railroad Website - Featuring the L&N in HO  / MRH Blog  /  

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