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

Rhinochugger

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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 :)
Yes, in the days of my youth :oops::oops: we started to get motorbike front brake cables where the outer was nylon lined, to reduce friction. Thy probably wouldn't be any shorter in length than a choke cable and might work better around a curve :mm:.

On the other hand, Igor is using self-build points that may not have a latching mechanism, so the friction may be an advantage.
 

PhilP

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Find the right Chandlers, and you can can still buy Bowden Cable, off the reel.. - That is what (old skhool) we called choke/brake cable in the UK..

Throttle controls for boats, quite often need a lot longer run, than your average choke cable.

Though choke cables, could be very cheap, from vehicle dismantles, I reckon?

PhilP
 

justme igor

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Would brake fluid be an option?
More like coolant for your car, it can withstand great heat and it will not freeze over.
However you will need a liquid proof system, and that means gluing and secure with a sort of clamps.
As Greg mentioned those are also not uv resistant, but if they fail after two? years it will cost you 15 euro cents to replace one set
I think it will be the rubber in the syringe that will give up first.(coolant is also very friendly for rubber)
Those hoses will last for 15 years plus in my country, just cheap pond air hose.

But why buy a cheap air compressor if you can buy a cheaper air pump for the pond, i did not think about that one, sorry my mistake.
I just have to make a extra connection with a valve from my pond air pump to the syringes. he is strong enough even a bid to strong?
However i think air is to expensive and to much work/parts for me.

Reading all the comments and do some more digging on those comments i think i will order some switches:
But then "closed circuit ---> press---> break circuit for in between the points and the stock rail and some:
OR:
But then with a longer travel to attach them on the trow bar
The odds are that i dont even need those.

To let the turnout shift. (reverse the polarity)

My throw bar will be a m3 threaded rod that i can attach to my points with some nuts, instead of the alu tube.
The m3 rod will be long enough to stick thru a dc motor:
13.32£ 35% OFF|20 Pieces 3V 12V DC 70mA (3V) Robot Intelligent Car DIY Dual Shaft Gear TT Motor for Robot Car MCU 7x2.2x1.8cm|DC Motor| - AliExpress
With some nuts i can make a linear actuator.

This vid resembles a bit of my idea:
But instead glue a rod on the motor i will stick it thru the axle like i did/do with my loco's.

EDIT: vid not available?
go for: How to make an Electric Linear actuator DC Motor.

It's half the money in relation to a servo with tester per turnout.

The "head" of the motor will be just sticking above the ground plate and will be covered against rain.
Since it is all plastic i am not so worried as long as the motor itself stays dry.

For the "switch panel" i think it will be clever to make a 32 pin old fashion pc connector to it, to store it inside, incl red and green LED's in the lines, so i will know witch switch leads to where.
Yes for a odd point or two you can get away with some simpler ideas, but for what i would like....yikes

With that (pike) fishing wire, very good thinking, i almost run off to a welding shop(mig welding or mag welding wire?)
trammayo trammayo : or buy a "brick layers wire"
Greg Elmassian Greg Elmassian : For the choke cable: the nearest bicycle dealer? .

Thank you very much for all the input and great ideas, it is very helpful

With best regards Igor
 
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Greg Elmassian

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There is a difference between choke cable and the bicycle cable used for derailleurs.

Choke cable is a solid rod inside, so you can pull AND push...

Bicycle cables are stranded, you can pull, but it requires a spring at the far end to pull the cable back.

This is why you specifically want a choke cable, eliminates the spring and also your reliance on low friction in the bike cable. Normally you do not need the extra flexibility of the bike cable, i.e very small radius bends.

Greg
 
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GAP

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There is a difference between choke cable and the bicycle cable used for derailleurs.

Choke cable is a solid rod inside, so you can pull AND push...

Bicycle cables are stranded, you can pull, but it requires a spring at the far end to pull the cable back.

This is why you specifically want a choke cable, eliminates the spring and also your reliance on low friction in the bike cable. Normally you do not need the extra flexibility of the bike cable, i.e very small radius bends.

Greg
Is there a limit on length for choke cable that can reduce its operation?
After a quick look I found most are generally about 5Ft 60" in length (one at 10Ft 12"), if the length is greater than that then some sort of linkage may have to be used to extend the length in that case the hydraulic option may be a more viable option.

I like the idea of using choke cable and may incorporate it in my layout, the biggest issue I can see in my location is the cable rusting in the sheath bit I can work around that with some water repellent lubrication.

If I was going Hydraulic I would use 4mm flexible poly irrigation micro-sprinkler riser tubing.

As an aside; I think this thread has drifted a bit because of a ? mark, I think Igor was showing us an idea he has come up with and may not have been asking a question.
 

Greg Elmassian

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There are choke cables from stainless steel, but usually pulling the rod all the way out, and filling the sheath with grease and re-inserting the rod is enough for years of operation.

Greg

p.s. yes Igor showed us what he tried, but, again, back to the OP: (in Igor's first post):

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


Again, all we can do is take things literally....
 

justme igor

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How odd it may seem:
A bicycle cable is per meter 5x more expensive than signal cable.
A choke cable is even more expensive.

Those cylinders are the cheapest ones i could find, for this price i will not even bother to make them myself:
But compared with the cost with plastic cylinders/syringes, you can get a whole life supplies of them.

I think i will give the air and the syringes a other go, with the pond air pump and a experiment with one of my compressors.
Greg Elmassian Greg Elmassian .
Why would you suggest a pet bottle? it is to hard to work with that is to thin material, your pvc solution is way easier and far more better to work with.
But i agree every air tight container can work, but pet is to thin for me to work with.

Sigh... i went to my library and toke one of my old study books from the shelf that is normally covert with dust...back to school that is.
Lets see what i can come up with:
20220112_185634.jpg
20220112_185714.jpg

As an aside; I think this thread has drifted
No on the contrary, this is a gold mine.

I think Igor was showing us an idea he has come up with
How stupid a ball can roll!!!: a 10 second thought on the scaffolding at work comes to all this.

p.s. yes Igor showed us what he tried
Yes that 10 second thought for a problem that i will encounter in the future....

p.s. yes Igor showed us what he tried, but, again, back to the OP: (in Igor's first post):

What are your ideas to let a turnout work?
And your ideas/thoughts/comments about my idea?
I was just digging for ideas, and struck gold.

But i think i will end up with analogue simple electronics and not dcc.
I rather will program something in gwbasic in dosbox and convert a rs232 portal into a rs234 portal, then go to dcc?
Greg Elmassian Greg Elmassian this is your home field, you are on the plate, the pitcher is making a throw, one man at first base and one man at third base... :rofl:.....
(i made and programmed some robotics back in the late 80's)

So the experiments will be:
One with air and possibly with a spring, and one with a simple analogue electronic control with dc motors
And(/or) a third experiment, (this depends on Greg's answer).

Just a random question: how can a gaming laptop get a rs232 portal, if this is still possible?, or do i must go to that Ardiono stuff?

Again thank you very much for all the info, ideas, thoughts and comments provided.
The test subject will be my abs printed scissors crossover, to prototypical anyway to drive a decent loco over it (to play/just drive)

With best regards Igor.

 
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Greg Elmassian

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Air with return spring:
The most used in automation, the return spring provides positive return of mechanism, "vacuum" return for some reason is not equally strong (force) as pressure. Also advantage pressure with return spring means single acting piston and single air line to turnout. Small complication, the control valve must be "3 way", either applies pressure, or vents the air line (to allow piston to return)

Analog control with DC motors:
You want this to work like the electric window in a car, you have the ability to "train" the system, where it senses greater current draw at extremes of motion. Not tricky technically, PIC controllers can sense current and output PWM to help with torque. Should be cheapest electrical method.

Servos:
A little more tricky, since you still have issue of where to stop, and you really do not need positioning or control between extremes. Not typically set up to sense end of travel and stop, and will draw current all the time pressing against rails. I have some servo controllers from Tam Valley on my Z scale turnouts, and they have pretty tricky setup and programming to sense limits. I don't think this design is the best, if you do it, you need pretty smart programming, and limits seem to need to be reset, a more complex problem than DC motor and just 2 limits.

What control you put "on top" of this is pretty much whatever you want, serial communications with addressing has been used for years in factory automation, reliable.

Not sure I answered all you asked, but this is a start. (USB to serial "dongles" are readily available, you may have to do some level shifting if not using standard RS-232 levels, and finding RS-234 as bit harder, but they exist:


Greg
 
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GAP

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Servos:
A little more tricky, since you still have issue of where to stop, and you really do not need positioning or control between extremes. Not typically set up to sense end of travel and stop, and will draw current all the time pressing against rails. I have some servo controllers from Tam Valley on my Z scale turnouts, and they have pretty tricky setup and programming to sense limits. I don't think this design is the best, if you do it, you need pretty smart programming, and limits seem to need to be reset, a more complex problem than DC motor and just 2 limits.



Greg
Greg I overcame the where to stop issue by using modified simple servo testers, a couple of components and good use of the Mk1 eyeball and Mk1 hearing instrument, no fancy programming because if I went down that path I would still typing "hello world".

 

Greg Elmassian

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GAP, I understand, and as I mentioned, I actually used some very sophisticated units, that not only could have the endpoints set, in flash memory in the CPU, but also they would sense the current draw, so they could also "stall out" and stop.

Even then, a level quite above what you used (no offense, just fact), I did not find them long term reliable and had to be re-set every so often. This was with digital control, which is more repeatable than a pot setting in your modified tester (I have a handful of those exact units also).

Now my experience was using on Z scale turnouts, which of course were more sensitive, and needed tighter tolerances, and overtravel could actually bend and break things.

Even so, I'm a bit wary of them on G scale turnouts.

There's more details that support my position.

Have you found your setup to be long term reliable, i.e. set once and no adjustments for months?

Greg
 

GAP

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GAP, I understand, and as I mentioned, I actually used some very sophisticated units, that not only could have the endpoints set, in flash memory in the CPU, but also they would sense the current draw, so they could also "stall out" and stop.

Even then, a level quite above what you used (no offense, just fact), I did not find them long term reliable and had to be re-set every so often. This was with digital control, which is more repeatable than a pot setting in your modified tester (I have a handful of those exact units also).

Now my experience was using on Z scale turnouts, which of course were more sensitive, and needed tighter tolerances, and overtravel could actually bend and break things.

Even so, I'm a bit wary of them on G scale turnouts.

There's more details that support my position.

Have you found your setup to be long term reliable, i.e. set once and no adjustments for months?

Greg
Have not adjusted them since they were installed.
The pot could be replaced with a fixed resistor if I had an obscure value (not measured the value but knowing my luck it would be something silly like 1.23564 Kohms,) plus the trim pot allows fine adjust.
Only failure was from a 6YO who tried to move them by hand and broke a horn.
The horns are deteriorating in the UV but I have found an .stl file to 3D print them in PLA which seems to be standing up to the temp/UV/rain quite well.

And no offence taken I am analogue trained ie valves and transistors.
 

justme igor

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The horns are deteriorating in the UV but I have found an .stl file to 3D print them in PLA which seems to be standing up to the temp/UV/rain quite well.
Skip PLA please, it will shrink when it is getting warmer, try printing with abs.
ABS will not shrink and not deteriorate in the sun.
PLA will shrink 5 to 8% within one year(basically the first week of full! sun)
You can counter this to print(PLA) them 5% bigger and cure them in your oven at 60C(after the heater is done, the radiation heat is way over 200C) for 30 minutes.

Best Igor
 

GAP

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Skip PLA please, it will shrink when it is getting warmer, try printing with abs.
ABS will not shrink and not deteriorate in the sun.
PLA will shrink 5 to 8% within one year(basically the first week of full! sun)
You can counter this to print(PLA) them 5% bigger and cure them in your oven at 60C(after the heater is done, the radiation heat is way over 200C) for 30 minutes.

Best Igor

Igor,

My PLA prints have been out in the Australian sun (temps of 30C+) for over 3 months and have shown no sign of shrinkage. I am watching them to see how they go outside.
 

Greg Elmassian

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Igor: I think we would have to agree GAP has quite the torture test available to him!

GAP: good to hear your "end points" are holding stable. Are you able to have the points thrown to your satisfaction and have very low current draw? I'm asking because on a large layout, if you power from the rails (which I like to do), the extra current drain could be significant. I'd like to try this out on some club members' layouts here.

Sorry to derail your topic Igor, and maybe GAP has another thread where I could get some more of his experiences.

Greg
 

GAP

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Igor: I think we would have to agree GAP has quite the torture test available to him!

GAP: good to hear your "end points" are holding stable. Are you able to have the points thrown to your satisfaction and have very low current draw? I'm asking because on a large layout, if you power from the rails (which I like to do), the extra current drain could be significant. I'd like to try this out on some club members' layouts here.

Sorry to derail your topic Igor, and maybe GAP has another thread where I could get some more of his experiences.

Greg
I have not measured the current draw mainly because the servos are powered by a 5AHr Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) battery so have heaps of headroom capacity to power a few servos. As I run battery powered locos the servos are a stand alone setup.

The way I set up the end throws was to listen to the servos for chatter and back off the pots till it stopped so the servo was not trying to drive.
I also noticed that if one servo was trying to drive the other servos twitched so I adjusted the corresponding pot till they stopped.
Bit of an old fashioned way to do it similar to setting the tappet gap on car engines adjusting till the rattle stopped (dad was a motor mechanic)

This is a thread I posted about the setup

My post on my Blog
 
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collectors

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If nothing else there are some interesting ideas on the fluid drive. But would like to see some levers, pulleys & steel wire controlling the points.
Personally, I am going down the servo route controlled via wifi. It comes out to about £10-£15 a point for control from anywhere in the world. " if you want". :)
 

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I have not measured the current draw mainly because the servos are powered by a 5AHr Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) battery so have heaps of headroom capacity to power a few servos. As I run battery powered locos the servos are a stand alone setup.

The way I set up the end throws was to listen to the servos for chatter and back off the pots till it stopped so the servo was not trying to drive.
I also noticed that if one servo was trying to drive the other servos twitched so I adjusted the corresponding pot till they stopped.
Bit of an old fashioned way to do it similar to setting the tappet gap on car engines adjusting till the rattle stopped (dad was a motor mechanic)

This is a thread I posted about the setup

My post on my Blog
Thanks for the post. Just what I was looking for.
 

JimmyB

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If nothing else there are some interesting ideas on the fluid drive. But would like to see some levers, pulleys & steel wire controlling the points.
Personally, I am going down the servo route controlled via wifi. It comes out to about £10-£15 a point for control from anywhere in the world. " if you want". :)
Just remember that for Wi-Fi or any other remote controlled sysyem for points, you still need to get power to the Wi-Fi, and the servo (if that is your choice) so some cabling is inevitable.
 

collectors

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ery trueJust remember that for Wi-Fi or any other remote controlled sysyem for points, you still need to get power to the Wi-Fi, and the servo (if that is your choice) so some cabling is inevitable.
Véry true, but with air & fluid you will still need a pipe. I am just starting on my layout & if I put 18v around the track, I can do most things very cheaply.