Onwards - Control Panel and Ro-Ro Elevator Connections
The BQR has made a couple of major steps forward since last posting:
All those wretched Atlas turnout solenoids were removed and replaced with remote Tortoise connections. Just enough distance between the upper and lower decks to allow me to install the motors under the lower deck and route the remote actuator cable up the side of a support. Amazingly, after installing a dozen of these, only two failed to work correctly the first time. Nice piece of engineering. I am hapy for the folks who were able to use the Atlas units -- but on my layout they just didn't have enough torque to toggle the turnouts reliably.
The dilemma of how to connect my (removable) layout to the Ro-Ro elevator mounted on the wall has been solved. In the end I changed how the track flowed to the end of the elevator, with a stub extending out that mates on a diagonal with the layout -- forcing the two pieces of track into alignment. Installed sectional table bullet pins on the end of the layout and the elevator frame, added a sectional table locking clamp underneath to pull the two together. Seems to work quite well (will add pictures to this post later). Had thought about using modified rerailer pieces to butt the two pieces of track together but for now a movable pair of rail joiners seems to do just fine. But when there are some buidings in the way it will be somewhat less easy to connect things -- so a passive solution appears most sensible.
I had acquired a Ro-Ro remote kit as well but had a number of issues with it -- in the end using it as a source of parts. Not using it for DCC operation probably compromised the overall intent. Given the distance between my elevator and the control panel, direct wiring for most functions made more sense. My implementation of the shelf position indicator shows all 9 shelves and is integral to my panel. The elevator motor controller in the end was not used, just built a more compact version of the supplied switches and left the original switches mounted to the wall under the elevator to allow servicing when the layout is pulled out.
The layout has two Atlas turntables -- one in the Deseronto yard and the other in the Sydenham engine service facility. These are both operated from the control panel with push buttons and a directional switch. Both turntables use a common DC power feed -- stepped down from the 13.7v DC supply using an adjustable 'buck' module I bought on eBay. This stepdown unit allowed me to adjust the output voltage to the point that turntable rotation seemed about right. It also ran MUCH cooler than the resistor network I had previously been contemplating for this function. The output voltage is also just about right for supplying LEDs.
Did a quick setup of the layout for visiting family, discovered that with all my sound locos and lighted cars on the track at once the Zephyr (and the RRMeter) were pretty much at capacity -- so will be adding more power as expected. In the end I decided to add a DCS100 and make the Zephyr a throttle/booster only. The feed into the PM42 had been built with this eventuality in mind. I will use the Zephyr to power the Deseronto yard (power district 4) as this is one place where monitoring power consumption seems most needed (there is an inline RRMeter on the Zephyr outputs).
Control panel wiring has been 'interesting'. Discovered that my old wire wrap pencil was the perfect tool for wrapping the stripped end of a ribbon cable conductor around the (cutdown) LED pin prior to soldering. Had been a pain before I noticed that the LED leads were the same size and shape of the old wire wrap pins. The ribbon cables provided with the DTM30 board break out into individual stranded wires which when twisted slide right into the wirewrap slot. The LED pin needs to be cut down, of course, but the wire wrap tool slides right over it and makes a tight connection. A quick touch with the soldering iron and its done. A big change from the struggling I was doing before.
The control panel itself is a composite structure. Originally I had planned on having a sign engraved, then drilled for LEDs and controls. But this ended up being too costly. Similarly with using heavy gauge metal or masonite. In the end I decided to use thin aircraft plywood with a lexan oversheet. Had a bunch of acrylic in my junk box but had trouble machining it properly. The lexan cut like a dream. The plywood is painted with a soft Pullman green and drilled to pass switch bodies and LEDs. The actual mounting is on the lexan sheet. After some experimentation, the track paths were done using chart tape on the underside of the lexan -- it didn't move when I tightened switch lugs down. The little LED clips were a pain. I think the lexan sheet was a tad too thick for them to snap in place. In the end I fastened them with CA -- probably not the best approach. By the way, I used transfer letters to label a few places on the panel. They were miserable to get lined up properly and I don't think a single group of letters came out right. So this will all get redone in a future major release of the Universe as a whole (or not...).
|DS64 Wiring Panel -- Helix End||122.19 KB|
|DS64 Wiring Panel -- Deseronto End||127.85 KB|
|Control Panel -- Rear (sets on swing-out supports for service)||93 KB|
|Ro-Ro Elevator Connection -- revised||106.23 KB|
|Layout Clamp -- seen from below||81.91 KB|
|Control Panel, Throttle and Power Meter||92.47 KB|
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