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Minories are made of this


Harlequin
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29 minutes ago, Pacific231G said:

Indeed 

From memory I think the relationship between bending resistance and depth of a simple beam is roughly a square cube function  so doubling its depth would make it eight times as resistant while doubling its width would only double its strength. That would make a 4 x 0.5 beam four times as resistant to bending as a 2x1.*  The actual calculation requires  a lot of integral calculus I forgot how to do decades ago. 

 

In a beam, most of the bending forces are also acting towards the top and bottom hence the shape of I girders  (including rails) and the ability to use lightening holes without  significant weakening . 

 

I've also seen suggestions of using  a monocoque baseboars with a bottom as well as a top surface to resist twisting forces. That certainly works for wooden aircraft wings which are  long cantilevers that deal with rather high forces, need to be very strong but also very light.  

 

*This also suggests that code  100 rail is over twice as strong vertically as code  75 rail 

 

A very clever chap I know once demonstrated a baseboard he made entirely from 3mm ply apart from some 1" square timber round the edge. It was made a bit like a modern door with two skins top and bottom and a middle made up of rings of the same 3mm material, made from 1" strips curved round, stapled and glued in. It was 6ft long, could be lifted with one finger and would support the weight of a hefty bloke without flexing. His engineering knowledge and his interest in gliders had given him the idea, knowing that a ring of material on edge and glued to two surfaces is a very strong structure.

 

I was very impressed.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, t-b-g said:

 

A very clever chap I know once demonstrated a baseboard he made entirely from 3mm ply apart from some 1" square timber round the edge. It was made a bit like a modern door with two skins top and bottom and a middle made up of rings of the same 3mm material, made from 1" strips curved round, stapled and glued in. It was 6ft long, could be lifted with one finger and would support the weight of a hefty bloke without flexing. His engineering knowledge and his interest in gliders had given him the idea, knowing that a ring of material on edge and glued to two surfaces is a very strong structure.

 

I was very impressed.

For several years from 1960  there were often adverts in the magazines for something called Beatiboard (from the Southgate Hobby Shop later Beaties not surprisingly) This was a similarly thin monocoque with a honeycomb structure of I think card between two sheets of  what was described as semi-hardboard with timber edges that may well have been 1x1 timber . It was available in  various sizes including 6ft x 4ft and 4ft x 2ft and claimed to require no other bracing.  I assume it was a commercial material Beaties' had cottoned on to. ISTR the catch being that you couldn't cut it without destroying its strength and rigidity . I've also always understood hardboard to be the one timber product that one should never ever use for baseboards (I do use it for backscenes and layout covers) 

 

I've also seen a baseboard design that used 3x 1  inch obechi - described as tough but light - but I've only ever seen this wood in thin strip form for sleepers etc. (I've used it for model buildings) 

I did use planed hardwood framing for my last layout and I'm wondering whether this does have advantages over PSE. It certainly seemed less knotty. 

Edited by Pacific231G
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Posted (edited)

6mm quality ply, emphasis on quality will be fine for baseboards. Tim Horn and Model Railway Solutions use it. An easy option would be to use one of their kits to get going with a well constructed and stable ‘chassis’.

This link shows a Tim Horn board, I’ve used his and MRS boards and can recommend them for quality, structural integrity, and ease of assembly 
https://albionyard.net/2020/11/25/warley-virtual-2020/

 

18F150F6-E9C1-4F76-89F0-43300FF93C09.jpeg.48ae3a94f5a2376ef4d60f82fbbaae7e.jpeg
 

6mm MDF is also viable, but the weight is greater than the 6mm ply. If you choose ply don’t skimp on the quality, it’ll bite you if you do.

Edited by PMP
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1 minute ago, PMP said:

6mm quality ply, emphasis on quality will be fine for baseboards. Tim Horn and Model Railway Solutions use it. An easy option would be to use one of their kits to get going with a well constructed and stable ‘chassis’.

This link shows a Tim Horn board, I’ve used his and MRS boards and can recommend them for quality, structural integrity, and ease of assembly 
https://albionyard.net/2020/11/25/warley-virtual-2020/

 

18F150F6-E9C1-4F76-89F0-43300FF93C09.jpeg.48ae3a94f5a2376ef4d60f82fbbaae7e.jpeg


I absolutely agree about using Tim Horn’s baseboards and I use them all the time.  If I was building my version of Minories, I’d certainly be using his boards as I know they’ll fit together perfectly.

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Does he have a website other than Facebook? I was quite interested in the possibility of a portable layout for the next project, but the link expects you to join Facebook to connect with the site and that isn't going to happen!

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1 hour ago, MrWolf said:

Does he have a website other than Facebook? I was quite interested in the possibility of a portable layout for the next project, but the link expects you to join Facebook to connect with the site and that isn't going to happen!


His website has been temporarily switched off during pandemic because he was getting swamped with orders.  Contact Tim via Facebook, he’s very helpful.

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@Pacific231G The Rotonde 52 club here uses 10mm ply for the surface, edges and cross members of their 1200 x 600 x 100mm modules that are glued and screwed, giving a very rigid structure. However, I wouldn't want to carry two of them as one unit!

 

BTW @Harlequin - great carpentry! Now, when you've finished that, I've got a little project .....................

 

Cheers,

 

Philip

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10 hours ago, Pacific231G said:

I have a question for Phil and others. 

I'm getting quite serious about building my version of Minories (see General Theory of Minories for the track plan) but I don't have Phil's carpentry skills.  I can probably get ply cut to rectangular sizes by a local supplier  but  all my past and existing layouts have been based on traditional timber frames and I've not had particular problems with bending. I actually suspect that 3x 0.5  inch (75x15mm)  section PSE would be more resistant to bending than 2x1 (and my current layout uses hardwood rather than PSE) but if I do finally go down the plywood route I'm wondering what depth of framing would be desirable for metre long boards to get good stability. I 've long assumed that ply construction is more stable than PSE framing but I discussed his layout with the builder of a portable folding Minories (sadly no longer with us)  and he had built it from ply but had suffered from bending of his three metre long baseboards. I also want to keep the weight down.

Any thoughts? 

 

  

 

Hi David,

I think you are right that ply is inherently more stable than PSE.

"Bending of three metre long baseboards" - do you mean 3 baseboards, each a metre long? If so, the design or construction must have been flawed for them to bend.

 

My Minories boxes have about 75mm of 9mm ply framing below a 9mm ply deck. They are certainly stiff enough to resist bending and I used diagonal bracing underneath, which is crucial to resist twisting. They are rigid, heavy and over-engineered, to be honest.

 

(I've also made some open frame ply baseboards that are 720*1440mm in surface area and again about 75mm in depth. They don't bend but they do twist slightly because they don't have any diagonal bracing. In practice that's not a problem.)

 

If I was to start again with Minories I think I would be tempted to try a 6mm deck and glue on pads locally to get the extra depth where I need to fix things like point motors to the deck. Then I would definitely try 6mm ply for the frame and bracing under the deck - all 75mm wide. (50mm just doesn't feel enough.) Diagonal bracing again and probably adding a rim around the bottom edges to strengthen them. You couldn't sensibly screw or pin into the edges of 6mm ply so it would all be glued only, probably with a few sections of PSE in key places to help make the joints.

 

You need to make good clean, square cuts when using glue alone to join ply edges to surfaces and so a mitre saw is essential - and lots of cramps to hold the parts together while the glue sets.

 

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Harlequin said:

 

Hi David,

I think you are right that ply is inherently more stable than PSE.

"Bending of three metre long baseboards" - do you mean 3 baseboards, each a metre long? If so, the design or construction must have been flawed for them to bend.

 

My Minories boxes have about 75mm of 9mm ply framing below a 9mm ply deck. They are certainly stiff enough to resist bending and I used diagonal bracing underneath, which is crucial to resist twisting. They are rigid, heavy and over-engineered, to be honest.

 

(I've also made some open frame ply baseboards that are 720*1440mm in surface area and again about 75mm in depth. They don't bend but they do twist slightly because they don't have any diagonal bracing. In practice that's not a problem.)

 

If I was to start again with Minories I think I would be tempted to try a 6mm deck and glue on pads locally to get the extra depth where I need to fix things like point motors to the deck. Then I would definitely try 6mm ply for the frame and bracing under the deck - all 75mm wide. (50mm just doesn't feel enough.) Diagonal bracing again and probably adding a rim around the bottom edges to strengthen them. You couldn't sensibly screw or pin into the edges of 6mm ply so it would all be glued only, probably with a few sections of PSE in key places to help make the joints.

 

You need to make good clean, square cuts when using glue alone to join ply edges to surfaces and so a mitre saw is essential - and lots of cramps to hold the parts together while the glue sets.

 

Thanks Phil 

It was  a double fold pre-grouping version of Minories with three one metre long baseboards. He was a very experienced layout buider but, looking at photos of it, I think the ply framing was 50 rather than 75 mm deep so that may have been an issue.  The trifold arrangement also meant that the board carrying all the pointwork was the one that was inverted so, though that's the most critical board, it would have had the highest stresses. The builder also told me that that the combined unit was far too heavy for one person to carry. 

The need for very clean square cuts with ply does concern me most . My saw cuts are about as square as my filing (i.e not very) so with planed timber, both soft or hardwood, I tend to glue and screw to softwood reinforcing blocks. A bit crude, but the folding main board of my current folding H0 layout has been in use for twenty years and has never shown any sign of distortion.

 

Edited by Pacific231G
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Posted (edited)

MTB point motors installed!

 

IMG_20210728_120156r.jpg.824e1ac6df2062f95f33a92cfb9412f2.jpg

 

I had drilled 6mm holes (1mm wire + 3mm travel + 2mm leeway) for the needles to operate the tie bars based on the positions from the plans but they weren't quite accurate enough and some of the holes needed to be opened up. My first attempt to do this resulted in me drilling through the tie bar and ripping the turnout off the layout...

 

After waiting ages for a replacement turnout from Peco to replace the damaged one, I went back to the job of opening up the holes but this time with a reaming bit in a Dremel. This gave more control to selectively cut away the plywood.

 

The MTB motors are all set up with 3mm throws, which is all that's needed when they are so close to the turnouts.

 

In one place, the MTB motor wouldn't sit directly over the hole and so I had to form a crank in the operating needle. No problem, this seems to work very well.

IMG_20210727_183059r.jpg.dc1106a79cb310799c12acdefbdeae5e.jpg

 

Here they are working:

 

There are seven turnouts on the layout but the Megapoints controller only has 6 motor drivers so I have connected two of the crossover turnouts to the same output. This also seem to work fine and is what you see in the last part of the video. I dropped two lengths of heatshrink onto the needles so you can see them move together.

 

As you might be able to hear, I haven't removed the over-centre springs in the turnouts yet. That's a scary step because once removed there's no realistic chance of ever getting them back in again!

 

Interesting point to note about the MTBs: They have internal switches to turn the motor off at the end of the travel and enable the reverse movement. So if they don't reach the end of the travel for whatever reason (e.g. the needle has hit an obstruction like the side of a hole that's too small...) then they will not move back the other way. They are essentially stuck until you do something to allow the needle to move in the direction it was going.

 

Edited by Harlequin
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18 minutes ago, Harlequin said:

MTB point motors installed!

 

IMG_20210728_120156r.jpg.824e1ac6df2062f95f33a92cfb9412f2.jpg

 

I had drilled 6mm holes (1mm wire + 3mm travel + 2mm leeway) for the needles to operate the tie bars based on the positions from the plans but they weren't quite accurate enough and some of the holes needed to be opened up. My first attempt to do this resulted in me drilling through the tie bar and ripping the turnout off the layout...

 

After waiting ages for a replacement turnout from Peco and replacing the damaged one, I went back to the job of opening up the holes but this time with a reaming bit in a Dremel. This gave more control to selectively cut away the plywood.

 

The MTB motors are all set up with 3mm throws, which is all that's needed when they are so close to the turnouts.

 

In one place, the MTB motor wouldn't sit directly over (or below) the hole and so I had to form a crank in the operating needle. No problem, this seems to work very well.

IMG_20210727_183059r.jpg.dc1106a79cb310799c12acdefbdeae5e.jpg

 

Here they are working:

 

There are seven turnouts on the layout but the Megapoints controller only has 6 motor drivers so I have connected two of the crossover turnouts to the same output. This also seem to work fine and is what you see in the last part of the video. I dropped two lengths of heatshrink onto the needles so you can see them move together.

 

As you might be able to hear, I haven't removed the over-centre springs in the turnouts yet. That's a scary step because once removed there's no realistic chance of ever getting them back in again!

 

Interesting point to note about the MTBs: They have internal switches to turn the motor off at the end of the travel and reverse the polarity for the inverse movement. So if they don't reach the end of the travel for whatever reason (e.g. the needle has hit an obstruction like the side of a hole that's too small...) then they will not move back the other way. They are essentially stuck until you do something to allow the needle to move in the direction it was going.

 

Those bits of heat-shrink have quite an eerie look to them...

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2 hours ago, Harlequin said:

I had drilled 6mm holes

What I do is to mark the two end positions of travel of the hole in the point tiebar using a 1mm drill from above through the tiebar, with the points in place. Then remove the points and drill 2 3mm holes right through the baseboard at those positions. Then I use a 3mm router bit to clean away the remaining material between the holes.

 

This results in an oval hole about 6mm across the track and 3mm wide along the length of the track right under the tiebar. Doing the drilling with the point removed is a wise precaution to avoid damage.

 

I then fix the points back in place and fix the point motor in place using screws from below, making sure that the operating needle is free to move between both end positions of the tiebar. Generally, there is a reasonable amount of "play" that enables the positioning to be perfect for the two end positions - the adjustment screws on the MP1 can be used to move the needle sideways if necessary.

 

I have found that this approach enables a perfect fit first time out every time.

 

2 hours ago, Harlequin said:

if they don't reach the end of the travel for whatever reason ... then they will not move back the other way

Hmm, that's not my experience. In my experience, the MP1s will hum if they are prevented from reaching an end position (useful - a good warning that there is a problem), but if the current is reversed, they will move back to the other end position.

 

2 hours ago, Harlequin said:

I have connected two of the crossover turnouts to the same output.

Yup, I drive my MP1s using Digikeijs DR4018 units and I have a number of pairs of motors connected to a single output from the DR4018, for crossovers and other cases where pairs of turnouts need to switch at the same time. The low current draw of the MP1s makes this very practical. This also ensures that both points are always correctly set for each other.

 

Yours, Mike.

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What I do is to mark the two end positions of travel of the hole in the point tiebar using a 1mm drill from above through the tiebar, with the points in place. Then remove the points and drill 2 3mm holes right through the baseboard at those positions. Then I use a 3mm router bit to clean away the remaining material between the holes.

 

This results in an oval hole about 6mm across the track and 3mm wide along the length of the track right under the tiebar. Doing the drilling with the point removed is a wise precaution to avoid damage.

 

I then fix the points back in place and fix the point motor in place using screws from below, making sure that the operating needle is free to move between both end positions of the tiebar. Generally, there is a reasonable amount of "play" that enables the positioning to be perfect for the two end positions - the adjustment screws on the MP1 can be used to move the needle sideways if necessary.

 

I have found that this approach enables a perfect fit first time out every time.

 

Hmm, that's not my experience. In my experience, the MP1s will hum if they are prevented from reaching an end position (useful - a good warning that there is a problem), but if the current is reversed, they will move back to the other end position.

 

Yup, I drive my MP1s using Digikeijs DR4018 units and I have a number of pairs of motors connected to a single output from the DR4018, for crossovers and other cases where pairs of turnouts need to switch at the same time. The low current draw of the MP1s makes this very practical. This also ensures that both points are always correctly set for each other.

 

Yours, Mike.

More or less exactly what i am doing. I cut the material between the holes with a knife but I have only 6mm ply to cut through, and I use a 5mm bit as Im not accurate enough to use anything smaller.

 

As far as that offset point motor pin is concerned, I would worry that the mounting in the point motor might allow the pin to swivel. Not all the adjustment available within the motor itself appears to have been utilised but thats just the photo I expect.

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Posted (edited)
 

As far as that offset point motor pin is concerned, I would worry that the mounting in the point motor might allow the pin to swivel. Not all the adjustment available within the motor itself appears to have been utilised but thats just the photo I expect.

 

There wasn't enough offset the cover the hole in the motor adjustment so I elected to leave it central and make a cranked pin. Easier to form a very definite crank than to try something more subtle. Both ends of the crank are constrained to move along parallel axes so there is no significant rotation at the fixed end.

 

Edited by Harlequin
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4 hours ago, RobinofLoxley said:

I have only 6mm ply to cut through

My baseboards are all 12mm ply, so that I have more to cut through, although I like that depth when it comes to fixing the screws for the point motors.

 

Yours, Mike.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, KingEdwardII said:

My baseboards are all 12mm ply, so that I have more to cut through, although I like that depth when it comes to fixing the screws for the point motors.

 

Yours, Mike.

Yes I had to source some special 10mm M2.5 screws to fix the motors to my 9mm board. The first lot I bought through Amazon were of Chinese origin and they were so soft as to be useless. So then I went to a British company and bought some stainless steel screws which are much better.

 

Since driving two motors from the same output on the Megapoints board worked so well, I've just reconfigured the system to have just 4 turnout controls:

1. Entry-Exit crossover (trailing)

2. P2-P1 crossover  (facing)

3. P2-P3 crossover (facing)

4. Pilot Spur turnout.

 

This is more realistic than individual point control and means that it's less likely to run into the back of a set of points set against you (and thus short the system out). There are still some routes where this is possible and I’ll have to think about some sort of interlocking if I want to completely prevent it.

 

So, the next jobs are to take all the springs out and to change the turnouts over to the "modified" state: permanently powered blades and frogs switched by the MP1s. (Thanks to Suzie's method.)

 

Edited by Harlequin
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16 hours ago, Harlequin said:

then I went to a British company and bought some stainless steel screws which are much better.

Always worth looking "sideways" at other hobby areas for good stuff - in this case, electronics, which uses small screws of many kinds by the bucketload.

 

So I buy my small screws from RS Components - mainly their own brand, which are far more trustworthy than random Chinese imports. There are other electronics suppliers online, but I prefer the ability to pick up my orders from the local RS Components store. Their catalog is huge - the main problem is finding the exact size & type that you need.

 

For my MP1 motors, I use pan head screws which work well with the oval slots on the motor bodies. Regular countersunk screws don't work so well in this situation.

 

Yours,  Mike.

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Posted (edited)

I have removed all the over-centre springs and altered the electrics. All working so far!

 

I still need to close up or cut off the metal clips that held the spring housings in place. The exposed baseplates looks a bit ugly but maybe I can partially lose them under the ballast. Some can be disguised by FPL mechanisms - if I can find out what an Edwardian SE&CR FPL looked like...!

 

There's one further electrical job to do before I move on to the scenics: The 7805 that converts 15V down 5V is too hot, wasting too much power. I'm going to have to replace it with an electronic switching version and that means making up a small circuit using a 7805 replacement IC, some caps, diodes and an inductor.

 

Edited by Harlequin
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10 minutes ago, Harlequin said:

I have removed all the over-centre springs and altered the electrics. All working so far!

 

I still need to close up or cut off the metal clips that held the spring housings in place. The exposed baseplates looks a bit ugly but maybe I can partially lose them under the ballast. Some can be disguised by FPL mechanisms - if I can find out what an Edwardian SE&CR FPL looked like...!

 

There's one further electrical job to do before I move on to the scenics: The 7805 that converts 15V down 5V is too hot, wasting too much power. I'm going to have to replace it with an electronic switching version and that means making up a small circuit using a 7805 replacement IC, some caps, diodes and an inductor.

 

Phil, at @Barry O's suggestion I use these to get constant voltage outputs. They will deliver up to 3A if you add a heat sink:

 

https://core-electronics.com.au/adjustable-switching-power-supply-module-in-4v-35v-out-1-5v-30v-lm2596s.html

 

Usual disclaimer.

 

I know they're available in the UK too.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, St Enodoc said:

Phil, at @Barry O's suggestion I use these to get constant voltage outputs. They will deliver up to 3A if you add a heat sink:

 

https://core-electronics.com.au/adjustable-switching-power-supply-module-in-4v-35v-out-1-5v-30v-lm2596s.html

 

Usual disclaimer.

 

I know they're available in the UK too.

 

 

Ah, thanks! That looks like the thing I was about to build.

I think I've got all the parts but a ready-made one would save a lot of hassle!

 

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12 minutes ago, Harlequin said:

There's one further electrical job to do before I move on to the scenics: The 7805 that converts 15V down 5V is too hot, wasting too much power. I'm going to have to replace it with an electronic switching version and that means making up a small circuit using a 7805 replacement IC, some caps, diodes and an inductor.

 

 

Hi Phil,

 

I was a little confused with that statement, I thought the 7805 is a regulator, purpose made to reduce the voltage but then it dawned on me, perhaps not so efficient at it's job. Perhaps the following wil be an adequate replacement;

https://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/switching-regulators/7962138/?cm_mmc=UK-PLA-DS3A-_-google-_-PLA_UK_EN_Power_Supplies_%26_Transformers_Whoop-_-Switching+Regulators_Whoop-_-7962138&matchtype=&pla-341403531999&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI-ouP0aaK8gIVAbbtCh1KHQJKEAQYBCABEgKjd_D_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

 

Ian

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36 minutes ago, Harlequin said:

7805 that converts 15V down 5V is too hot

For 5V DC, I typically use wall warts designed to supply mini/micro USB connectors. There is a huge range of wall warts and that enables you to get whatever current rating you need. They are normally regulated, which means you get a nice stable voltage out of them. Most are switched mode and take virtually no current when not in use.

 

I drive my servos using a spare wall wart from an older mobile phone.

 

Yours, Mike.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, KingEdwardII said:

For 5V DC, I typically use wall warts designed to supply mini/micro USB connectors. There is a huge range of wall warts and that enables you to get whatever current rating you need. They are normally regulated, which means you get a nice stable voltage out of them. Most are switched mode and take virtually no current when not in use.

 

I drive my servos using a spare wall wart from an older mobile phone.

 

Yours, Mike.

Sure, I've got a box full of the things but for Minories I want to just have one PSU to cart around with it.

 

So a 15V 5A PSU plugs in the back and that is used for the DCC power, the point motors and I step it down to 5V to power the Pi-Sprog.

 

That should be the only wired connection in the end. Wifi-connected devices will be used to operate the layout.

 

Edited by Harlequin
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2 hours ago, Harlequin said:

I want to just have one PSU to cart around with it.

Fair enough. If you want a portable layout, that is an important consideration.

 

My approach is to have a single mains supply to the layout, but run into a mains strip attached to the underside of the baseboard, with a number of sockets used by units like the DR5000 and the 5V supply, which are all also permanently attached under the baseboard. But then my layout ain't designed for carting around and I have a Pi400 and a 22" touch screen to drive it all, although I do have WiFi handhelds as well. The touch screen is much easier to use for control of turnouts & signals.

 

Yours,  Mike.

 

 

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On 28/07/2021 at 23:13, Harlequin said:

 

This is more realistic than individual point control and means that it's less likely to run into the back of a set of points set against you (and thus short the system out). There are still some routes where this is possible and I’ll have to think about some sort of interlocking if I want to completely prevent it.

 


It’s a shame there are no spare contact sets with the MP1’s as these could then be used to cut off power to other ones when thrown in a particular direction. I’ve just done this with my current 2mm layout which also now has all the points worked as pairs and for a simple/limited type of interlocking it works well. I guess fitting micro switches triggered by the MP’s movement would work the same. Or does the mega points board have any capabilities to do this ?

 

I’ve never liked having mains power anywhere near a layout so have always used a modular home brew DC system with only low level voltage being plugged into them. Now I’m DCC the system sits in a really useful box on the floor with just the output being fed in. As it’s a 3.5amp job with plenty of overhead for my simple needs I fit Vellemann K1823’s and take their feed off the bus to work the points and signals at 5v using hacked servos.

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