Electric Sunday

Today’s model railroading efforts were devoted to wiring. I connected up the feeders for the balance of the layout. I then tested the main and one path through the diamond and am happy to report that all went well except for the occasional loss of power due to dirty rails. Rail cleaning ensued. Since rail cleaning improves electrical contact I am calling that electric related.

I then drilled the holes for the three remaining turnout servo linkages. At that point, I realized that I was going to want a control panel since the minute you have two unlabeled push buttons dangling off an unattached board you have a user interface problem.

I then assembled four more Tam Valley fascia controller kits (one more than required so I have a loose one for servo installation if I need it). tvdcontrollers

I am unsure of what form the final control panel will take so I am not investing a lot in a panel right now. I therefore bodged up a quickie panel out of hardboard using basic drafting tools and the paper template supplied with the controllers. Ten minutes with a center punch and the drill press gave me all the holes required. A bit of sophistamicated graphic artistry with a straight edge and the big marker and the temporary stand-in was done.bodgepanel

This will work for me as a start and allow me to experiment with panel locations. This is my current best choice but I am not thrilled with the proximity to the creek bed to the right.

6 thoughts on “Electric Sunday”

  1. Hello Mark,

    Why not build the panel into a small plastic box, connected to the layout via an umbilical cord, and fitted with a couple of pegs to drop into mirror brackets along the front of the layout?

    Or why have a panel at all? Why not simply mount the switch control on the layout front, in line with the switch it operates?


    1. Separate box would require separate handling, mounting/de-mounting. In the interest of portability, I am trying to minimize the separate bits that can be forgotten, dropped or knocked about.
      There are only four switches, three of which are in close proximity. All controls get routed through a single board between controller and switch, too. It seemed unnecessary extra effort to distribute the controls when the total distance would only be about five feet. The operator will only be one or two steps away from the panel.
      An additional benefit is that if at a show, the operator (me) can, by default, interpose themselves between the public and the controls. Cheeky little buggers will try out the buttons if they get a chance!


      1. At a show: a separate box could be put at the back of the layout, but yes, minimising the number of separate units is a big plus. Ian Futers has a small tin stored in his portable layouts, contains two or three essential tools. Small screwdriver, tweezers and a small pair of pliers. Other than a soldering iron, he reckons if you can’t fix a problem with those during a show, then it needs fixing at another time. I think I would add a half-round needle file and a back to back gauge, but he has a point.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. There won’t just be a toolbox, there will be a checklist! And a verification of said checklist with a test setup in the living room upstairs. I am exactly the sort of person who will leave something vital behind due to distraction.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A friend once turned up a show, set everything up, only to find that he had left the “train table” deck of his fiddle yard at home! Luckily, he managed (but only just) to get his wife to pop it into her car, and meet him half-way between venue and home. Got back 5 minutes before the show opened.
      Another friend, who I was helping, decided to create a check list after we forgot some of the layout’s legs. I say we, probably me. But we were in a school, so borrowed some tables and set up on those. Lower height than usual, but we sat on some chairs and rather enjoyed the weekend!


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