Monday, 15 July 2013

Track and Wires

It has taken over three weeks, but finally I have finished the trackwork. Well, almost - I should add the nice plastic fishplates KB Scale supply with the sleepers! Also the section over the bridge is not yet fixed as I need to complete the bridge and walling first.

I'm pleased with how it looks, although at about a week per foot of track it has been pretty tedious! At the ends the track is hidden inside structures, a few copperclad sleepers add strength and I have ensured there is no chance of a train leaving the board! Track feed wires are visible here too, but every rail section in the scenic area has a feed wire soldered to the bottom of the rail.

I have also fitted a control panel using the method I've applied to a few layouts now. The panel is an offcut of 2mm Aluminium from the guillotine waste bin at work, onto this is stuck a print-out of the schematic (Word is OK for drawing this), then a sheet of clear plastic (Wills kits bubble packaging in this case!). The toggle switches bolt through and hold the layers together, then the whole lot is screwed in place behind the facia.

The position of the panel allowed me to incorporate the manual point actuators - these are the two dowels visible in the panel. Behind the scenes these slide through a block of wood, and are screwed to the plastic lever of slide switches. The point operating wire is also attached to the slide switch, then goes to the point via a tube as seen in the last post. The slide switch is then used for feeding the vee of the point and provides the latching mechanism. I'm rather chuffed with this idea - operating the wooden dowels in the panel is nicer than operating the slide switches directly, and they have a nice "clunk" action.

Also visible in the photo above is the main terminal block for the wiring. I used to use tag strips, and would prefer to but these terminal blocks are much cheaper! As well as joining wires together they act as a point to route and test wires.

A wider view of the under-board wiring. The power comes in from the controller via a socket bottom right, the panel is centre right. Wiring is colour coded for ease of understanding, and despite being a simple layout the need to feed each rail length and switch point frogs makes it surprisingly complex:
- Red is main track power (controller fed direct)
- Blue is the common return to the controller
- Black is for switched point-frogs and any rails joining to them
- Yellow is for the three isolating sections. 

And yes, it did all work first time! Sketching it out in advance, and drawing the layout and labelling feed wires on the underside of the layout helped. Incidentally the yellow wires are the only ones a DCC user could skip, along with the three switches. But then you'd have more wiring in each loco. Who says DCC is two wires?

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