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cliff park

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    : Great Yarmouth

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  1. I rather suspect that looking at those pictures is not going to find the fault. Either the OP has the equipment and confidence to get in there and start measuring voltages, or it will have to go to somebody else.
  2. Moisture, particularly from ballasting, seeping into the joiners, sets up corrosion and this eventually leads to loss of connection. If you are using flexible track you may be able to make the gaps between the sleepers, left to enable it to flex, large enough to solder there. The other thing is to practise on scrap track, or where it won't be seen. Make sure the iron is powerful enough and hot, and don't linger too long.
  3. The best thing about screw terminals is the ability to remove (or add) individual wires. You may think that's unnecessary, but sod's law says you will, one day.
  4. It does puzzle me, considering the huge numbers of solenoids out there that there isn't a ready made (reasonably cheap) switch for this. If the switch had a simple make when pushed all the way across, but sprung back just enough to break the contact, it would be simple to move it across, and release once the point has thrown. It would then stay on that side to indicate which way the point is sitting. It could even have aux contacts for polarity switching and LED indication. The advantage over the passing kind of contact switch would be the certainty of it.
  5. Reed switches are surprisingly robust, and of course the glass tube is hermetically sealed. Use heatshrink for the connections, and a larger gauge heatshrink to enclose the glass tube, against mechanical breakage, and they should be pretty bombproof. Also remember it is possible using different positions for reeds and magnets to identify individual locomotives etc.
  6. As an alternative I've found the Draper 40 watt soldering station very good. It is thermostatically controlled, which is a huge advantage.
  7. A guy at work was probing in the back of a power unit and a large electrolytic exploded in his face. He was OK but until the day he retired he was known as Nanky Po.
  8. It is possible to make a reed relay latching, but a bit of a faff. If you (carefully) position a small magnet close to the reed, but not close enough to operate it, then when another magnet comes along it will close and stay closed when the operating magnet has gone, held there by the weak field of the bias magnet. It then needs a magnet of the opposite polarity to release it. This principle can also be used to selectively operate the reed since a magnet of the wrong polarity will not operate the reed against the bias magnet, so for instance some locos will operate it, some will not, some will release it, some will not. Note that generally speaking magnets need to be in parallel with reed and bias magnets in parallel, but at a distance. Another possibility is for the bias magnet to be an electromagnet. Either a weak coil wrapped around the reed, or a separate coil with iron core (eg a nail) alongside the reed. The advantage of this for the bias is that it can be turned off to release the reed by some other switch, a manual push button, another relay, or similar. It is also possible to make a normally closed relay this way. The bias magnet or coil holds the reed(s) closed and when a magnet of the opposite polarity is presented it will release until the operating magnet is taken away when it will operate again. Some juggling with strengths and proximity will be needed.
  9. I am using an old tablet (an old phone also works). It doesn't need a sim card, and can use Bluetooth or be hard wired to your phone, or any other tablet, or indeed multiple devices, and only needs the download of a free bit of software. If you think about it modern devices have amazing quality cameras, and we just throw them away. As a starting point look up 'Alfred video surveillance camera', or 'How to geek'. Old Androids are the easiest to convert. There are notes on there about alerts to your phone, but you don't need that software so ignore it. I have also set up my old tablet to watch birds on the bird table. I can remotely zoom in as well. Very easy to do (I am in my 70s and had no problems) By the way the assumed intention for the devices is as surveillance cameras, hence the remote alerts, but they work perfectly as just cameras, very high quality
  10. Ok, off topic, but your dislike of advancing technology reminds me of the lady who said that her mum grew up using horses for transport and was afraid of the motor car. She herself grew up with the motor car but was afraid to fly. Her daughter flew everywhere, but was afraid of horses.
  11. I would say go for a relay, 2 pole changeover contacts. One operator switches the relay for him, the other operator releases the relay for him to take charge. Either use relays that self latch or use one with additional contacts to latch it.If you used a 4 pole c/o you could use the other pole to light LEDs at each station to show who had control.
  12. It does sound as if you may have wired the switches wrong. Do you have a diagram of how you wired them, and/or a close up photo of the switches, showing which wire goes where?
  13. Like WIMorrison says, but I would go slightly further and disconnect the track wiring when you connect the bulb across the controller output just in case there is a short circuit somewhere out on the track. If the bulb lights connect the track again and test across the controller output again. If it doesn't light now you have a short circuit, not an open circuit.
  14. The current rating of a cable has nothing to do with voltage. It is determined by the size of the copper mainly. The second consideration is how hot it gets at that rated current, and how that heat is lost. This actually means wires under layouts can run hotter than those in conduit say, because the heat will easily dissipate. The voltage rating of cable is determined by its insulation. Think in terms of higher voltages require thicker insulation. But a cable rated at 10 amps will carry 10 amps at any voltage.
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