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Control Panels - show us yours

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Hi Guys,

I wonder if you would all like to share your control panels with the rest of us on RMweb. I have never built one, but intend to at some point. But, its not something that gets seen at exbns in any detail, as it is normally the other side of the fence so as to speak......so I could do with some inspiration from you.

 

Just a picture of your control panel would do, or some explanation of how you built and wired it etc.,

 

Now c'mon dont be shy....take some pics of them and lets see them.

Bob

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Some pics (inside & out ) of the control panel for my latest layout I'm building, I built the box, the panel was engraved by a friend, with a pantograph engraver, from laminated plastic, he also built the controllers, better than any on the market rtb, his name - Kevin Trim of Dorset Kits.Ok, so I'm no electrician, which shows anyone can do it (?) but I can trace all the wiring - just.

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It makes you realise why folk convert to DCC ...

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Just ignore them Paul.....I'm DCC, but want a control panel just like yours. I actually think the control panel looks fantastic, and adds to the enjoyment of operating a layout...just like being in the signalbox.

Bob

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I'd rather switch switches than keep pressing buttons to work something, it's far quicker. But that's going a bit off topice and was subject of another thread!!

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Just ignore them Paul.....I'm DCC, but want a control panel just like yours. I actually think the control panel looks fantastic, and adds to the enjoyment of operating a layout...just like being in the signalbox.

Bob

 

No problem, it gave me a good laugh,I just can't justify dcc but wiring always looks worse than it actually is, it includes a full semaphore signalling system (LNWR- LQ), and since the pic I've also added a full electro-magnetic uncoupling system, adding more switches.

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Here's my control panel.

I had two attempts before success, so photos are not exactly from one sequential build, but help paint a picture.

 

I started off with 3mm plywood. It's mounted on drawer runners so it can slide out and flip up to work on.

In the picture below you can see holes cut for two controllers.

 

P1000873.jpg

 

 

I drew the track-plan and masked it off with tape, then drilled holes for the switches.

 

Panels-02.jpg

 

 

Next I gave it a number of coats of grey paint.

 

P1000888.jpg

 

I peeled off the masking tape which left 'channels' in the surface, into which I laid sections of black tape to make the track-plan. Next a couple of coats of varnish, and finally the switches were fitted.

 

Control-panel.jpg

 

 

Here's underneath, with wiring for the rotary switches, but before the points were done. All wires and switches are numbered.

 

Panels-04.jpg

 

So that's roughly how I built and wired mine.

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I'm just building one of two control panels for my layout, which I've never done before, so I thought I'd share my progress. My layout is operated via DCC, but I wanted a physical control panel as, to my mind, switching the points and signals is all part of the fun :D

 

This first panel actually combines two different parts of the layout and I've started off with the track plans, which look like this:

 

post-7013-0-96633300-1307214401_thumb.jpg

 

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The station plan hasn't had its' signals marked on yet, which are being put together with the help of Mike The Stationmaster in THIS thread.

 

Those two diagrams, which were created using a CAD programme, will be stuck on the face of a timber carcass, which I completed today and looks like this:

 

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The top is 3.6mm ply on a 25 x 10mm frame. It's hinged at the rear and opens up like this:

 

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The idea is that all of the wiring gubbbins will be laid out in the base for ease of construction and maintenance.

 

On the right of the panel is a simple bracket for my Prodigy Advance controller:

 

post-7013-0-80232100-1307214404_thumb.jpg

 

The whole lot is fixed to the framework of my layout at a convenient operating angle:

 

post-7013-0-54996500-1307214405_thumb.jpg

 

The next job is turn this lot into something that lights up!

 

post-7013-0-32342200-1307214401_thumb.jpg

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No pics but a generic way of designing and building a control board for switched, motorised points.

 

Design a layout mimic diagram on paper and measure it for minimum dimensions and layout space. Visit your local signs workshop and purchase transparent Perspex to that same size and about 5mm thick. Acquire some Nobo board tape ( expensive! ). Trace your layout mimic diagram onto greaseproof kitchen paper. Find a way of transferring a mirror image onto the perspex. Use the Nobo tape to mark out the mirror image on the perspex. Spray over the tape and perspex with any spray white paint. Turn over and with a very sharp drill drill any holes very slowly for the switches and any LED's. Mount same and wire up.

 

Mount same on a box or screw to bottom edge of baseboard.

 

Because you are using on-on switches you can mount them so the toggle points towards the track that is selected. Saves the LED's

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Bob, as an experiment, I built a very simple one for the reverse loop on Eastwood Town. I had never built one before, so it may give you some ideas.

 

Use the link to my layout thread below and it is from post 22 on....

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I'm in the process of designin g the first control panel for my new layout, Lancaster Green Ayre (in layout threads) there will be four panels, a) the main line station panel, B) the fiddle yard panel, c) the loco shed panel and d) the Castle Branch Fiddle Yard panel. All the panels will feed trains to and from each other. This is my first drawing for the loco shed panel.

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My intention is that I will print this out on Label stock paper and stick that on a piece of 3mm ply which will form the hinged lid of the panel. The bottons and LED's at the top right are for the main line controller to communicate with the loco shed to say that a train or loco is on the way and vice versa. The push button operates a relay switching circuit to a section of track on the shed exit. This section is also used by controller d) who will shunt the goods yard which accounts for the two LED's at the top left which show who ahs control of the common section.

 

Jamie

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Hello.

 

I like these 'show and tell' type of threads. Below is the control panel I made for Highclere. The intention is to operate the layout at night hence the engraved clear plastic and LEDs mounted along the edges which is quite effective.

 

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Missy :yes:

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Here are some pictures of panels made some time ago for the Nottingham Club layout 'Carstairs'.

The first panel shown, with the complete track diagram, is used to generate serial messages to send out to the local area panels.

 

CarstairsPanel.jpg

 

The internals of one local panel are shown in the second picture.

 

fyspan1.jpg

 

The third picture shows a small area on the large panel, indicating the general appearance. The diagram was drawn using AutoSketch, and printed onto self-adhesive polyester sheet material, then covered with self-adhesive laminate film. All from the Rapid Electronics 'Quick-Laser' labelling range of materials.

 

panel3.jpg

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Mine has a polycarbonate face to it, the controllers are separate, the ammeter is for the Yard controller, the 2 knobs select uncouplers.

Looking at the track plan and the spare levers, it has changed a bit since this photo was taken 4 years ago.

 

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Bob,

 

Thanks for starting this subject. A bit like you, I'm in the process of building my first layout (Delph in blog forum) and although I've fully wired up two of the base-boards, I've yet to face up to the control panel, so the ideas here are really useful.

I suppose the panel arrangement is dependant on the style of layout and method of operation (fixed/portable, DC/DCC, in front/behind the layout, single man operation or separate signallers/drivers, etc.) In my view, whichever arrangement is used - and the posts already cover some very good aisdea/solutions) one pre-requisite is neatness, so I am particullarly impressed by Missy and Gordon H's panels. Besides just "being right", I'm sure it makes fault finding/mainttenance that much easier than wires going everywhere.

 

I've had some thoughts on my panel, generally as follows:

My model is intended to be an exhibition layout, consisting of a single track branch terminus operated by push-pull trains, normal passenger and pick-up freights. It will be operated by a signaller-driver from one end (near the station buffer stops) at the front of the layout, with a casette type fiddle yard at the other end, hidden from the operators view. The layout can be operated by either DCC (normal), for traction current only, or cab control DC (for testing new locos, visitors, etc.). Points and signals which would be controlled from the signal box will be operated from the panel, whilst yard points operated by ground levers and the AJ uncoupling magnets are operated from swithes/buttons mounted in the front edge of the layout, local to the item they operate. Thus the shunting driver will walk up and down the length of the layout with his loco.

 

There will be a separate, floor mounted power supply box feeding the required inputs to the control panel. The panel itself will have the signal box diagram at the top, below which is the lever frame (actually just electrical swithes with the correct colour handle covers). These are in the correct sequence and normal and reversed positions, per prototype practice. Below these, there will be rotary swithes to select DCC (all control plug in points) of one of 2 DC sections (platform road and everything else) and DIN plug sockets fro DCC or DC controllers. (There are also controller sockets in the facial board for the yard operator.). There will be the box bell code equipment to communicate with the fiddle yard (rest of the world!). Im also intending to include a CC-TV screen to allow the operator to see the fiddle yard and some sort of DCC loco address describer so the operator knows which loco and which way it is facing for DCC operation.

 

All very well in theory, I just hope I can realise it and it works!

 

Good luck with your project (and the bike racing?).

 

Dave.

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One aspect I missed out on with Penlan's detachable control panel

is it's a couple of inches wider than the fold-up crates I use to cart everything to/from exhibitions in....angry.gif , PS not the layout itself, all the other bits,

thus I have to carry it as a seperate item outwith a storage container - there's a possibility the switches may get damaged..

The control panel is clipped to the layout with ... ( I will put a photo up later)

 

My mobile controllers are centered on a couple of tray's with ammeters etc., mounted on them and room for a coffee/tea cup,

I had to trim them back a little to fit the storage boxes.

 

So if your doing exhibitions, the size of the panel and/or the transit storage boxes may have to be considered as well.

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... and some of us use real buttons on our NX panelsbiggrin.gif (This panel was for use with a portable layout hence the 'incorporated' carrying handle)

 

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All very well in theory, I just hope I can realise it and it works!

 

Good luck with your project (and the bike racing?).

 

Dave.

 

Hi Dave......pleased you like the idea of the thread, some of the panels are complete works of art, I'm so envious. Yours sounds exciting too.

Off to Silverstone for the weekend on Thursday this week....MotoGP and Mr Rossi are in town.

Thanks for your comments..............Bob.

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Our panel ...

 

 

I wondered when this one might turn up............you know I'm so envious of you guys and the computer control level you have taken the hobby to, very commendable. The control panel subject totally fascinates me.........and to have it all on a computer screen is the absolute b.....x for me..

Thanks for your input Dave.

Bob

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Sumatra Road panel:

 

post-6737-128381742676.jpg

Edited by Baby Deltic
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