dual operation of turnouts

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by eric halpin, Feb 16, 2009.

  1. eric halpin

    eric halpin Eric Halpin

    I use Lemanco turnout motors (old but reliable) with DPDT toggles on the layout. I have a situation where it would be handy to have a turnout operate from two separate toggles each on opposite sides of the layout. Can this be done without shorting or burning out the motors? How is the wiring accomplished? Many thanks for your advice.

  2. Ronson2k3

    Ronson2k3 Member

    Probably with a push button and relay. Push button to set the relay and then the relay powers the motor for the switch. You could have two (well four) buttons at opposite ends of the layout and activate from there. An SPDT would burn out the relay. The relay in essence takes the place of the SPDT switch. It can be thrown from any location and assuming two people don't try to through it at the same time everything should be fine.

    Atlas sells relays and push buttons can be had at any electronic supply store (radio shack)

    You would need some feedback from the relay and or turnout to know it's position. Unless you want to walk to make sure. This could be done with a another switch from the turnout sending a connection back to your panel indicating the turnouts position. There would be a delay from the time you through the relay till it throws the turnout till the switch indicates the through gets back to you saying it's been thrown.
  3. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Hi...If you're using a DPDT switch now, you could use a DPDT-Momentary contact-Center Off switch at both locations to throw the turnout. I use these to power my turntables, and you need to hold the switch in the desired position for as long as the machine takes to throw the turnout. The center off position ensures that the switch machine is not activated at the same time from both locations.
    You don't say, but do you operate alone or is there a crew that runs the layout..??
  4. eric halpin

    eric halpin Eric Halpin

    Thanks fellas for the info. Gus I am starting to have a crew come over more regularly but I think control can be managed from both locations. Thanks for both your comments.

  5. acsoosub

    acsoosub Member


    You said you're using motor type machines. Are they stall-motors that stay on continuously with power, like a Tortoise?
    How is the DPDT wired, like a track reversing section?

    If the answer to both is yes, the switches could very easily be chained together in that case (you wouldn't be able to use centre-off though) - but the position of the toggle on either control panel wouldn't necessarily correspond to the actual turnout position. Pushbutton throws would start to be a better idea and you'd have to use LED/light indicators on the panel to indicate position.

    Either way it should be doable, but I don't know how the switch is wired to control the motor in your particular case.

    Also, last year MR had an article about dual-controls for tortoise switch motors which might be handy for you. I'm not sure exactly which issue it was though.
  6. eric halpin

    eric halpin Eric Halpin



    I shall look up the MR article. No my switch motors are not stall but I think I have it all figured out now. The real issue now is as you indicate, the switch bats can no longer be relied on for turnout position. So leds have to be installed with the DPDT to enable that determination.
  7. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    If the motors aren't "stall"...They wouldn't be solenoids, would they..?
  8. eric halpin

    eric halpin Eric Halpin

    Opps. My mistake I guess as I wasn't sure what a stall motor really meant. I do have solenoid switches but did not use them as I was worried about burnt out coils, etc. So my switch motors must be stall type I guess. Regardless, I ultimately decided I only really needed control of the turnouts from one side of the layout and just moved the dpdt to where required. Thanks for your query and interest. Photos of the Algoma and Rideau can be seen on both the OVAR (Ottawa Valley Associated Railroaders) and MVAR (Mississippi Valley Associated Railroaders) web sites. Yes we also have a Mississippi River here in Canada also.


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