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Monday, December 16, 2013

Operating System

Just a quick shot of the temporary control panel for the layout.

This simple set up is what I used while building the layout. I didn't want to invest any more money into the layout until I knew if it was going to work or not. So I used basic DC and a control panel built the old fashioned way:

Masonite cut to size.
Spray paint line color (cream).
Use tape to mask off route.
Spray paint main color (green).
Peel off tape revealing line color.
Drill for and install push buttons and indicator lights.
Dry transfers for street names.

These days its so much easier to build a control panel by designing one on a computer and simply printing it out and gluing it onto Masonite or Acrylic. Or, with the capabilities of DCC, a lot of folks are foregoing with control panels all together.

Electrical blocks are indicated (along with the direction of travel) by the gaps in the lines. So as you can see, this layout will eventually be able to accommodate a lot of cars!

These buttons control the NJ International switch machines. The switch machines have a bank of electrical tabs that power the indicator lights in the control panel. This has proven to be most troublesome and are the cause of almost all electrical shorts. Since the layout has proven itself and actually works, The NJ International switch machines are going to be replaced with servos which require a different type of switch. So like I said, this control panel is temporary. Yes sir. Its only temporary.


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