Making your turnouts work cheap and easy, in those nasty corners or out of reach

justme igor

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If i would like to have a couple of turnouts that are easy to reach, then I wouldn't have thought about this.

There are some simple and very good solutions for a turnout to direct your train to a other track, the most genius and simplest of them all: a simple spring on two sleepers.
I think one of the forum members here, come up with that idea.

For turnouts in nasty corners or out of reach, i thought of motorising them with those simple Arduino motors with a reverse polarity switch and add some "one click switch"(?pulse switch?)incl with some battery's( i dont like wires that are way to long).
I even made a setup experiment with some 18650 li ions, a 2 s bms and a small solar panel, it did the job very good, except the motor is a bit to strong.
The arbore resistance of the dc motor is strong enough to hold the points into place without any power.
But when it must be set on a other track, the kick of the dc motor is just to strong, it will do a ~10 to 25 times its job before you will need to repair the mechanics or a sleeper, motor will be fine.

I even experimented with a home made solenoid, wind copper wire around a nail---> surprise the battery's are dead in no time because it needs power all the time.

Or drool to expensive solutions, no problem if you have a couple of scissors crossovers.
But not for what I want to achieve..

I had an idea at work this afternoon.
With just 2 syringes and a water filled tube.
No compressed air, you will need to much equipment and or other stuff, water and oil are liquids that you can not compress.
I think this is workable?
The experiment did work, again and again and again, spend 5 minutes with it, back and forward, back and forward, ect.
I only need to secure the turnout mechanism and the "cylinder switch"

20220105_154752.jpg
Take out the plunger and take of the rubber.
Fill the hose with water or oil.


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Make your throw bar from 6mm dia alu pipe.
I did not glue it together for this quick experiment, but i will for the real experiment.

20220105_153811.jpg
The points are still "relaxed" becous i needed to fix the syringe and adjust the bar to its starting point.

20220105_153853.jpg



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Syringe pressed in to build up pressure to press the points against one rail.

20220105_154229.jpg

Syringe poled back to create a vacuum.

Now those points look out of shape and bend but the box of nails is holding the syringe down to the bench so it lifts up the throw-bar.
And it is abs 3d printed, looks nice but you dont want to have this in your track as i stated in my track making topic, a scissors crossover is really at the limit due to temp differences.

What i can think of the down sides:
It can freeze up, or going to be to hot in the full sun - thin motor oil or silicone oil will be the solution.
Without properly connecting the hoses you get a leak, glue or something like a hose clamp.

Some oils will eat the rubber, some not

What i can think of the positive side:
Very cheap and very easy, 10 euro for 25 meters of hose and not even 1 euro incl shipment for 10! syringes, or ask your vet


What are your ideas to let a turnout work?
And your ideas/thoughts/comments about my idea?

With best regards Igor

Ps it toke me longer to make this post than to make the experiment
 
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Greg Elmassian

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You asked for opinions.

Quote
"With just 2 syringes and a water filled tube.
No compressed air, you will need to much equipment and or other stuff, water and oil are liquids that you can not compress.
I think this is workable?"


(just a hint, in English, your sentence is a statement, but the question mark indicates it should be a question, better to say: "Is this workable?" - asking the question, or "I think this is workable" - making the statement you believe it is indeed workable) Sorry, not criticism, but REALLY trying to understand fully, and get your meaning correctly as you know.

So, you don't need any more "stuff" for air vs a liquid, although sealing air requires better seals than a liquid.

But the very fact that liquids are not compressible is why it is not a good idea. Since it is not compressible, you have to be careful of actually over-throwing the system and damaging things. This is why hydraulics need pretty precise pressure regulation and strong "limit stops", because if you move one syringe 1 inch, the other will move 1 inch whether there is 1 inch to be had or not.

So, for manual switch control, very clever, especially if not too far away and if not in a straight line.

In the USA, many people use a "choke" cable: which can push and pull... various types with stranded or solid wire inside.
331-490_1.jpg


But for remote control operation, with air pressure, when the switch is thrown, when it hits mechanical resistance, all you have is an "air spring" with pressure, since the air can compress.

So you want a compressible gas to actuate. You may have used hydraulics to pull the switch back. In industry where this kind of thing is very prevalent on assembly lines, you either have a piston that can have pressure on both sides of the piston (like a steam engine), or more commonly the piston has a return spring.... actuate with pressure, release with spring.


Greg
 
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Paul M

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Another good idea from the inventive mind of Igor! Obviously a lot cheaper than electric or air power
 
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Martino

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A good idea Igor. It will be interesting to see how it all works.
 

PhilP

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I think most liquids will expand with temperature?

This will either bend something, or something will burst. - Even if just the syringe popping out..

PhilP
 

Paul M

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I think most liquids will expand with temperature?

This will either bend something, or something will burst. - Even if just the syringe popping out..

PhilP
Would brake fluid be an option?
 

PhilP

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Would brake fluid be an option?
I don't think you want brake fluid, around a decent paint-job, or many plastics?

I am sure there will be a suitable liquid.. Just think it will take some research to find something suitable..
 

Paul M

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Are modern brake fluids as unpleasant as the old ones? But any hydraulic fluid would be worth looking at
 

GAP

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I have these on my layout, powered by a 12V SLA charged by a small solar panel, 5V obtained from a waterproof buck converter.


Described here.
 

dunnyrail

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I think this may be ok for perhaps the odd point as you say Igor. But certainly not suitable for a station where there may be a fair few points, here either electric or air operation or servos are the best solution particularly if you want to operate 2 points on a crossing or have some form of route selection using say more than 1 point for multiple routes. Something you will certainly need on your Amsterdam Station when built..
 

JimmyB

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As mentioned heat/cold expansion/contraction will be an issue and the longer the line the bigger the issue. Then there is the fluid to use, how it is affected by the environment, and if it will affect the environment. Good idea, but I think a liquid medium is a none starter.
 

Greg Elmassian

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The syringes are normally designed to be disposable, so won't last real long in any case. The plastic is not designed to withstand UV, so that will be another issue that they won't last long term.

Solvents and brake fluid will normally destroy the plunger, I know, since I use them often for applying fluids and lubricants.

So, as a cheap solution, and not long term they can work, clearly.

Greg
 

mike

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a great idea , with possibility
 

trammayo

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On my trailer layout (using LGB or Aristocraft R1 points/switches) I use fishing line. The point/s are set (spring loaded) for the main routes and all I have to do is pull the nylon fishing line and hold it whilst the train takes the intended route. To go round curves or corners, I just ran the line through plastic tube (held to the desired curve by electric cable clips nailed into the base boards).
 

dunnyrail

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On my trailer layout (using LGB or Aristocraft R1 points/switches) I use fishing line. The point/s are set (spring loaded) for the main routes and all I have to do is pull the nylon fishing line and hold it whilst the train takes the intended route. To go round curves or corners, I just ran the line through plastic tube (held to the desired curve by electric cable clips nailed into the base boards).
A slightly better bet is wire Pike fishing line, this stuff is really good and does not get affected by UV. Joints are by squeeze thingamy bobs. I have also use it to secure wood and pipe loads that are loaded and unloaded during my running sessions.
 

trammayo

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A slightly better bet is wire Pike fishing line, this stuff is really good and does not get affected by UV. Joints are by squeeze thingamy bobs. I have also use it to secure wood and pipe loads that are loaded and unloaded during my running sessions.

Never seen that type of line. With mine being in the confines of the trailer it has to flexible and strong - my line would be OK for hooking a salmon!
 

stevedenver

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Man….to this luddite, traditional solenoid machine and wire looks great, as the mechanics are simple in an outdoor application.
 

Rhinochugger

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OK, for my two pennyworth, there are a couple of ideas from the smaller scales which might be worth considering but probably only either / or.

An over-centre spring - this means that you only have to apply the hydraulic pressure to the extent that the point blades pass the centre point of their travel - the over-centre spring then takes them the rest of the way and holds them against the stock rail.

Or

Linking the hydraulics to the point tie bar by means of an omega wire - literally a piece of wire bent into the shape of the Greek Omega symbol 1641833237768.png
This has the same effect as an expansion bend in large pipework, and would prevent the hydraulics from over-stressing the point construction.

You could actually put the omega wire at the operating end rather than at the point end, in order to aid maintenance / replacement.
 

Greg Elmassian

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Whenever the suggestions start running a wider and wider range, I go back the the OP's posts and try to follow them literally, as best as I can interpret.

Igor wants cheap, easy, and access to turnouts that are in an inconvenient location.

So, no solenoids, not cheap and an inconvenient location means maintenance is hard.

The pneumatic stuff is cheap if you use manual toggle switches (looks like an electrical toggle but switches air)

You can use a 2 liter pop bottle to be the air reservoir, and ZERO maintenance. But the air motor is not cheap, inexpensive, but not cheap.

The choke cable is the cheapest I have seen and they come in fairly long lengths.

But you could go cheaper, with fishing line and pulleys and springs, but not easy and not easy to maintain.

The hydraulic syringe is cheap, easy, but I wonder how long it will last in the sun, but definitely cheap and easy.

Greg
 
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JimmyB

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Whenever the suggestions start running a wider and wider range, I go back the the OP's posts and try to follow them literally, as best as I can interpret.

Igor wants cheap, easy, and access to turnouts that are in an inconvenient location.

So, no solenoids, not cheap and an inconvenient location means maintenance is hard.

The pneumatic stuff is cheap if you use manual toggle switches (looks like an electrical toggle but switches air)

You can use a 2 liter pop bottle to be the air reservoir, and ZERO maintenance. But the air motor is not cheap, inexpensive, but not cheap.

The choke cable is the cheapest I have seen and they come in fairly long lengths.

But you could go cheaper, with fishing line and pulleys and springs, but not easy and not easy to maintain.

The hydraulic syringe is cheap, easy, but I wonder how long it will last in the sun, but definitely cheap and easy.

Greg
Greg well summed up, I would think to meet the OPs requirement the choke cable is probably the way to go, inexpensive, readily available, very little technical know-how, minimal maintenance :)