How To Motorize A Playmobil Point?

PhilP

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Please report back to us with your results..
 

idlemarvel

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Yes I will report back but it will have to wait until at least February. I made a New Year resolution not to spend more than GBP 50 a month on this hobby, and that's already gone for January. :-( Partly this is to make me finish my outdoor layout rather than buying more locos with nowhere to run them, tempting though that is!
 

dunnyrail

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That's an option I was considering Jon. There is a another recent thread covering linear servos but the ones mentioned seem slightly too big. I'll have a google for smaller ones. When yours arrive if they are 6-7mm or less in depth perhaps you could let me know? Thanks

Well the Servos have arrived today and wow are they small. I am at this stage not even sure how to use them as the Connections are not the same as any other that I have being just 5mm Long. However once I can resolve coupling them to a RC Recieving Unit I may try to use them in a Live Steam Loco. Certainly they will not be difficult to disguise!

So as to Measurements
Length 20mm
Width 10mm
Depth 5mm, but that is excluding the shaft which is about another 5mm, but may be able to fit within your 7mm if cut down somewhat
Throw between 12 and 13mm
Pic below, on a Cutting Mat that has 10mm Grid. Oh that is a 5p Coin.

image.jpeg

Hope this helps,
JonD
 

idlemarvel

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Thanks Jon, that might do the job.
 

James Day

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Well the Servos have arrived today and wow are they small. I am at this stage not even sure how to use them as the Connections are not the same as any other that I have being just 5mm Long. However once I can resolve coupling them to a RC Recieving Unit I may try to use them in a Live Steam Loco. Certainly they will not be difficult to disguise!

So as to Measurements
Length 20mm
Width 10mm
Depth 5mm, but that is excluding the shaft which is about another 5mm, but may be able to fit within your 7mm if cut down somewhat
Throw between 12 and 13mm
Pic below, on a Cutting Mat that has 10mm Grid. Oh that is a 5p Coin.

View attachment 206809

Hope this helps,
JonD
 

James Day

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This is a fascinating project. It will be interesting to see how you connect the servo to the point mechanism.

I don't have much experience with servos so have some questions here:

What voltage do they run on? I am guessing this is something like 5v DC?

Can the supply be constant, with them self isolating when they stop, or must the supply be cut off externally when they have done the job asked of them?

Presumably you won't need all the amount of travel that they offer?

I am wondering whether the servos could be automated - Energised by an external relay, although I appreciate that it is probably complicated as the supply is likely to require a burst of several seconds and that will probably need to have the polarity switched to do the next throw.....

Just thinking aloud!

James
 
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idlemarvel

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J James , short answer is you need special circuitry to drive a servo. This circuitry controls the travel and turns off power to motor etc. Some RC receivers and DCC accessory decoders specifically support servos.
 

James Day

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J James , short answer is you need special circuitry to drive a servo. This circuitry controls the travel and turns off power to motor etc. Some RC receivers and DCC accessory decoders specifically support servos.
 

James Day

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Thanks Dave,

That is a pity, as I was hoping to put something together myself.

I am planning an Radio Control Playmobil Layout with Automated Block Signalling for the Train Collectors Society event at Biggleswade in July. The plan is for multiple drivers to follow what the signals tell them to progress around the layout.

Block Sinalling I can do easily, and I have all that prepared, even reeds mounted in Playmobil plastic track to operate them.

I saw a glimmer of a hope of adding an automated loop to liven things up. I guess there is still some hope, but servos remain something of a dark art to me with my lack of serious RC experience.....perhaps I will need to go back to the suggestion of using an EPL drive?

James
 

ntpntpntp

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I see there are "cookbooks"/tutorials out there on how to control servos with push buttons and Arduino. Think I might investigate this, I love those tiny servos and they may be just what I need to control loco-shed doors in N. I programmed stuff in Z80 assembler as a youth, so the Arduino holds no fear though I've never played with one.
 

idlemarvel

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...perhaps I will need to go back to the suggestion of using an EPL drive?
Or use the proven solution described by Walt of mounting a standard Peco solenoid point motor under the point, provided you can have cutouts in the baseboard. Otherwise yes surface mounted G scale point motors.
 

Madman

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J James , short answer is you need special circuitry to drive a servo. This circuitry controls the travel and turns off power to motor etc. Some RC receivers and DCC accessory decoders specifically support servos.



I've used servos that I modified to operate directly on DC power. I removed the circuitry and simply wired the motor directly. I know it's not the correct way and the servo can be damaged, but what the hey, it works for me so far.....:eek:
 

James Day

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Dan, Dave and Nick,

Thank you all for your replies. I have been reading up on servos and clearly knew nothing, but now just know very little. I even toyed with doing exactly what Dan suggested, but then the thought struck me - I already have points that I can automate they are made by LGB!

I will watch this thread with interest as the progress continues, but my PM RC layout in July will feature an automated Loop made up of LGB track and EPL drives which I will join to my Playmobil Plastic track using some of these:

https://www.libble.de/playmobil-7562/p/560265/

Specifically part 30 20 127 from the short lived 7562 pack.

The only problem is that I think that I only have one of these little gems and they are quite rare! So if anyone has any that they no longer need and would like to sell......or more bodging will be required!

James
 

idlemarvel

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I saw a glimmer of a hope of adding an automated loop to liven things up.
James, if all you want is an "automated" (passing) loop, could you not just use the natural ability of the Playmo points to reset themselves so that by default locos would always use the left hand side of the loop? Then you wouldn't need to motorize. Same for a return loop. You would then only need to motorize points leading off to a siding or branch line. Just a thought.
 

idlemarvel

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I've used servos that I modified to operate directly on DC power.
Thanks Dan, good to know that can be done. So you just use a timed DC pulse?
 

idlemarvel

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Madman

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Thanks Dan, good to know that can be done. So you just use a timed DC pulse?


I use a DPDT toggle switch to reverse the operation.



Or this

 
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ntpntpntp

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Perhaps some form of Capacitor Discharge Unit in the DC feed before the DPDT switch would be sensible to give a pulse and then prevent burn-out.
 

ntpntpntp

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oooh that's a thought. I too have used about a dozen Heathcote IR detector modules for my N gauge layout, to control crossing barriers and an automated shuttle unit. Will have to check the prices and capabilities, as I'd probably want to control rather a lot of loco shed doors (3-road steam shed plus a 6-road diesel shed with doors both ends!)