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Operating Points Outdoors

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Wow! Could be just what we've been looking for. Excellent work Ian and a great find. What's the betting they run out of them before too long? Better get some ordered pronto.

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I'm guessing it throws to the opposite state whenever it receives a bolt of power.

It throws in the opposite direction by reversing polarity, that's why you need a DPDT momentary contact switch. I'll post full details in due course.

You're welcome at my place anytime, you just need your visit to coincide with a decent day if you want to see something running! :)

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mick said:

Wow! Could be just what we've been looking for. Excellent work Ian and a great find. What's the betting they run out of them before too long? Better get some ordered pronto.

Well they're cheap enough to experiment with Mick. Just bear in mind that they operate from 12v DC.

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All connected and working now except for a permanent switch in my control panel, I'll update on that when I've done it.

The points are connected to the servo using brass wire in PTFE tubing. I have used 0.6mm and 0.8mm wire. The 0.8mm is a snug fit in the tube that I used. The tube needs clipping down every couple of inches as it is quite flexible. More rigid tube would be better but I couldn't find any that was suitable. The tube that they use to make cotton buds would be ideal, anyone know where I can get a two metre long cotton bud? :)

The points and the semaphore signal work by way of bell cranks. I have used plastic ones that are intended for radio control vehicles/aircraft and also Gem Mercontrol angle cranks.

You need to experiment with the cranks by attaching the wire in differing hole to reduce the throw of the servo.

I'm delighted with this system as the usual solenoids have been far from reliable even though I use a heavy duty CDU... and that's another thing you don't need with this system.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/sis.html?_nkw=4+meters+of+PTFE+Teflon+Tubing+18awg+1+01mm+I+D+x+1+67mmO+D&_itemId=140960607251&_trksid=p2047675.m4099

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SMALL-90-BELL-CRANK-x-4pcs-/160740584680?pt=UK_ToysGames_RadioControlled_JN&hash=item256ce2ace8

DPDT Momentary switches can be obtained from Maplins and online.

Gem Mercontrol Angle Cranks can be obtained from various model railway retailers.

ianr9.jpg

Hope you can make sense of this sketch!

ianr10.jpg

ianr11.jpg

The signal is an MSE brass kit and has been in place over two years.

ianr12.jpg

 

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Great work Ian and a very helpful schematic drawing. These solenoids might just revolutionise outdoor point operation in OO gauge. Looking forward to giving them a try.

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mick said:

Wow! Could be just what we've been looking for. Excellent work Ian and a great find. What's the betting they run out of them before too long? Better get some ordered pronto.

I don't think they'll run out Mick, there's dozens of them on eBay. Just search 'central locking solenoid'.

Do you use eBay now?

Ian.

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Presumably the momentary switch is held over for long enough for you to be confident that the switch blade is fully thrown. If you let go of it too soon I suppose there would be a danger that the switch rail is not tight against the stock rail. Conversely, if you hold it in place too long, I suppose the motor could burn out, or am I missing something?

Ideally, I would like to be able to operate the motor by DCC to save a long length of wiring to a switch, which could be in the wrong place anyway. I envisage controlling "wire-free" by ECoS radio or iPhone Touchcab. Can anyone recommend a DCC decoder which just reverses DC polarity for a short length of time, and then cuts off? I am pretty sure that such a thing must exist. I think I may have overlapped into the DCC Control and Digital Sound section of the forum, but I don't think that can be avoided!

Interesting stuff.

Dave

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Dave, I need to get my head around how to do what Ian has done but with a dcc Accy decoder. Most decoders are quite flexible in the they can control tortoise point motors and Peco/Seep type, so it shouldn't be too hard to get them to work on a two wire system.

Ian, very well done. This is a very impressive innovation for garden railways.

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On the tube front, isn't cycle brake tubbing the standard for this kind of thing?

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Riddles said:

Presumably the momentary switch is held over for long enough for you to be confident that the switch blade is fully thrown. If you let go of it too soon I suppose there would be a danger that the switch rail is not tight against the stock rail. Conversely, if you hold it in place too long, I suppose the motor could burn out, or am I missing something?

Ideally, I would like to be able to operate the motor by DCC to save a long length of wiring to a switch, which could be in the wrong place anyway. I envisage controlling "wire-free" by ECoS radio or iPhone Touchcab. Can anyone recommend a DCC decoder which just reverses DC polarity for a short length of time, and then cuts off? I am pretty sure that such a thing must exist. I think I may have overlapped into the DCC Control and Digital Sound section of the forum, but I don't think that can be avoided!

Interesting stuff.

I think you'd get used to knowing how long to keep the contact and the over centre spring on Peco points helps too. On the one I have just done I can tell they have thrown by the signal which I can see from my operating position.

I'd recommend buying a solenoid and experimenting, it's fun!

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chris said:

On the tube front, isn't cycle brake tubing the standard for this kind of thing?

You can use any suitable tube and wire although I think cycle cable is rather heavy and you have to connect it to thin wire at the cranks. I have used cycle cable on a hand operated crossover elsewhere on the layout and it works fine.

Sorry guys but I can't help with the DCC but I'm sure you'll come up with something.. have fun! :)

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I've just ordered some nickel silver wire. This should be harder than the brass wire that I've used and therefore more suited to the job.

I'll post the results when I get it.

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I bought one of these from Maplins. It's a Velleman 1a power supply and comes in kit form. You just solder the components to the supplied circuit board.

It converts 16v AC to variable DC output. I've tested it with a central locking solenoid and it appears to work fine set at 4 volts although it may need more with a load.

Ideal for installation in my control box and not bad at £9.99.

ianr13.jpg

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The DCC control is not a problem.

I've just checked the manual for one of my Decoders, the Digitraxs DC52, and it is designed to work 2 wire solenoids. An Accy Decoder output has three terminals: Left, Centre and Right; these would normally correspond to Thrown, Common and Closed on a three wire point motor. To control a two wire solenoid you connect it to the Left and Right terminals and ignore the centre one. Simple.

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chris said:

The DCC control is not a problem.

I've just checked the manual for one of my Decoders, the Digitraxs DC52, and it is designed to work 2 wire solenoids. An Accy Decoder output has three terminals: Left, Centre and Right; these would normally correspond to Thrown, Common and Closed on a three wire point motor. To control a two wire solenoid you connect it to the Left and Right terminals and ignore the centre one. Simple.

So would that reverse the polarity Chris?

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Yes, this set up does reverse the polarity. (according to the manual)

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chris said:

Yes, this set up does reverse the polarity. (according to the manual)

Great, seems that's sorted then, are you going to try it?

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I suppose I should really. I've got a point I need to put in, and it's going to be driven from the Accy decorder I mentioned, so that could be a good test bed.

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IanR said:

...I don't think they'll run out Mick, there's dozens of them on eBay. Just search 'central locking solenoid'.

Do you use eBay now?

I've not used my eBay account since I had the problems with Paypal some time ago but on the odd occasion where there's been something I need then I have asked someone else to order for me. I know that's almost the same as using my own account but a couple of purchases over the past 18 months or so is a far cry from the hundreds of transactions I had made previously. I don't even look at eBay nowadays unless something is specifically pointed out to me and I don't use Paypal either. I would sooner pay that little bit extra if necessary and purchase elsewhere.

I have managed to get hold of some of the solenoids you've used and I'll give them a try on my outdoor points when I'm at that stage.

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IanR said:

I've just ordered some nickel silver wire. This should be harder than the brass wire that I've used and therefore more suited to the job.

I'll post the results when I get it.

The nickel silver wire has arrived but it doesn't seem much harder than the brass wire. It's ok for the job though, especially as I've found that B&Q sell 2mm brass tube in meter lengths.

The nickel wire fits nicely into this and the advantage is that it doesn't need clipping down so much... perfect in fact. It's a good idea to smear the wire with silicone grease too.

So with the solenoid, DPDT switch, power supply, angle cranks, nickel silver wire and brass tube the project is sorted. Just a quick touch of the switch and the two points and signal operate every time. I think I will be changing more of my points over to this system. Very happy with it!

ianr14.jpg

ianr15.jpg

 

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