Thursday, February 11, 2016

APA Micro Layout (Part 6) Trackwork and Turnout controls

OK, well here is some progress on my micro layout. After fiddling around with different turnouts and track pieces I still had in my surplus, I finally ended up with two PECO Setrack turnouts and some curves and straight pieces. The restricted space on the micro layout called for sharp radius turnouts and curves to fit properly.


To ease some curves I also used bits of flex track.
On the fiddle yard box I used a standard double slip crossing and pieces of flex track. For the contest, the fiddle box will not be scenicked. But instead of two straight tracks where I could swap cars and engines using a cassette or in my case a PECO Loco Lift, I installed the crossing. I'm not quite set on the scenery for now. This prbably distills out during construction.



My preferred method of fixing the track to the cork roadbed is white carpenters glue. I usually use the strong, waterproof-when-dry, type. All containers heavy enough to hold the track down into the glue are appropriate. Also visible in the picture below are my basic tools and liquids for track work. Xuron rail cutter, Xacto knife with #11 blade for cutting and removing the plastic ties, a jewelers file for smoothing the cut edges of the rails and finally Matte Medium to bond the ballast in place.


After the glue has dried completely I drilled small holes to either sides of the tracks to accept the feeder wires. I don't rely on the conductivity of railjoiners, so I feed every piece of rail that's connected with a rail joiner. This insures that I have current on every bit of track. This is especially important when using short locomotives or where slow moves are required like on a switching layout like this one.


Then I solder the feeder wires to the outside of the rails and pull the wires tight from the underside of the baseboard.
On the underside I shorten the feeder wires and staple them to the board so they don't dangle down. To connect the feeders to the bus wire I use terminal blocks by WAGO. They are standard lighting connector for 2, 3 and 5 conducts. (WAGO SOSElectronic. This link is only for reference. I'm in no way connected to this company) A similar product should be available in your country also. I attach the terminal blocks to the wood surface of the baseboard with hot glue. The advantage here is that I may add wires or rearrange very easily by opening the clip of the respective conduct.


The power supply is fed in from the rear of the box. For reference, the brown and yellow feeders are the trackpower and the red and blue wires are 12-14 VAC current for the lights.

Turnout Control

In an attempt to keep everthing simple, I installed Rix Products PTL (Pivoting Turnout Linkage). They are actuated by choke rods.


Before glueing the turnouts in place I drilled a 10 mm hole into the baseboard for the pivot of the linkage. Positioning of the PTL was made easy by using double sided tape to hold to the underside of the mounting pad.






























These turnout controls consist of only four pieces, the mounting pad, the pivot which is clipped to the pad, a piece of piano wire and a small screw to hold the wire to the pivot. Two mounting screws for the pad are also included.




The only thing to take care of is to stick the pivot with the piano wire through the hole in the switch tie correctly from underneath. The PECO turnouts have a spring installed so that the closure rails always close firmly to the stock rails. The double sided tape holds the linkage in place and may be adjusted before drilling the holes for the mounting screws.


I fabricated the choke rods from 2 mm brass tube, 1 mm brass rod and push pins. A piece of brass rod is soldered to one end of the tube, bent 45° and inserted in one of the three holes of the pivot. The tube is then pushed through the fascia and cut to size. The push pin is inserted into the tube and soldered. This is the handle for actuating the pivot and throwing the turnout.


The photo above shows the finished wiring and the turnout controls.

Stay tuned for more progress on the layout.


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