Mimic Layout Panel

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by hooknlad, Apr 18, 2005.

  1. hooknlad

    hooknlad Member

    Hello again all, The Foam board is in the process of being layed as I type this post [​IMG] . The question I have for this thread is, Do any fellow model railroaders have a mimic board of their layout setup , so they can tell where the trains are the layout? I had wanted to bury glass reed switches into the foam, under the track, at relative locations and have a magnet attached to the bottom of the loco. Once the reed switch is activated, a LED will light on the mimic board. Does anyone have any ideas regarding this question? It's all part of the master plan before i get too carried away. I love alot of bells and whistles and lights.[​IMG]
  2. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    I'm not to that point on my layout yet, but I do plan on building one. We made graphic display boards for security monitor and control for a over 25 years, and I'd be remiss if I didn't.:D:D We kept track of who was moving around a building, but... I have no plans on it keeping track of where my trains are. That would require a whole lot of wiring and a lot of sensitive switches and I just don't think the results are worth the time or expense of doing that. I do plan on putting switches and lights for turnout and block control though. All my turnouts and blocks are brought to connectors and terminal blocks that will eventually get wired to my control board. That's enough wiring for my layout.;)

    Plus, what affect is the magnet going to have on your engine motors? If it's strong enough to trip a reed switch, it may be strong enought to screw up you motors too.:eek::eek:
  3. hooknlad

    hooknlad Member

    Thanx for the prompt reply Don, hadn't thought of the effects of the magnet with the motor. Perhaps having the magnet located on the second car ( tender ). I am now thinking on how to discriminate the difference between train 1 and train 2. Maybe reed switches on the left and right of the tracks with the magnets on the left for train 1. and right for train 2.
    Has anyone ever used LEDS to detect trains ( an infrared reciever and transmitter ) some type of beam breaking thingamajig . If so what item numbers would they be at Radio Shack. The magnet idea may get iffy, and it would attract any type of metal shavings of loose staped or small parts :(
  4. capt_turk

    capt_turk Member

    The magnets won't affect your motors at all unless you would actually mount them on the motor cases. The strenght of the magnetic field drops off very quickly as you move away from the magnet.
    I use reed switches and magnets to control the indicator lights for my turnouts. I don't see where using magnets on the locos to trip reed switches would be any problem. A suggestion for mounting the magnets would be under the cowcatcher or front pilot.
    Check Radio Shack or similar for window and door security sensors. The ones I use are a 3/8" diameter and about 5/8" long cylinder with the wires coming out one end. The end opposite the wires has a small flange around it. Just drill a 3/8" hole and shove them in. I use Radio Shacks ceramic magnets. The are only about 3/16" diameter and much stronger than most other magnets I've run into.
    To do what you are attempting to do, I would remove a tie, drill a hole through the road bed, and shove them in the hole. You will probably have to keep the top of the reed switch even with the top of the track to get the magnet to trip it. The magnet has to pass pretty close. Hook them up to some latching relays, one reed to latch, another to release.
  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    If you are going DCC, I believe that some decoders now have transpondng capability, or their location can be tracked on a suitbale blocked (wired) layout. You have now exhausted my knowledge of this subject... :D

  6. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I've seen a detector with a photocell connected to an LED. This was to check on the end of a siding at the far end of a layout. Has to be out in the open with a fair bit of illumination. Indication is when the light goes OUT.
  7. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    True, but the relationship between the magnet and the motor has to be considered since some of these ceramic magnets are very strong. It's just something else to think about when doing this.

    Repacing a tie with a reed switch is a good idea, burying it below the roadbed would probably be iffy because of the distance.

    Some questions to think about, like what kind of resolution do you want? Put a switch every inch? every foot? Obviously, the tighter the resolution, the more switches and the more LEDs. Having done this on a professional level, I can tell you that hand wiring a couple of hundred LEDs and current limiting resistors isn't a task to take lightly. It can be done, and it sounds really cool, but is it going to take a lot time and money to do.

    Hmm, I wonder if they'll ever get GPS to work at that resolution, maybe someday a GPS transponder will be part of every DCC equipped loco.:D:D
  8. capt_turk

    capt_turk Member

    Best normal accuracy of a GPS right now is about 15'. From what I'm reading, the next step is down to 1'. They are talking 6" or better acurracy before too long. One of the reasons for the increased accuracy is automating the docking of ships. That typically requires 1' or better.
    The military's GPS's are quite acurrate. Don't know the specs., but it is much better than what is available for civilian use. Increasing the normal accuracy to 6" will open up alot of interesting possiblities.
    GPS chips are available now that are small enough to be put on a decoder chip.
  9. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Yep, my statement was kinda tounge-in-cheek, but that sounds about right. I'd figure in about ten years, give or take a few, they'll have it down to a fraction of an inch and be able to keep track just about everyone and everything on this earth. By that time though, we'll have the option of a holigraphic, virtual railroad.:rolleyes: Carry it around in a suitcase and plug it in anywhere. Turn a dial and you have whatever scale you need to fit the space. :eek::eek: boy. won't that take the fun out of modeling:confused::confused:
  10. capt_turk

    capt_turk Member

    The metal case of the motor, and the field magnets, shield the armature from all but the VERY strongest of magnets. Electric motors are used all the time in high intensity magnetic fields with little or no problem. Field intensity drops off very quickly as you move away from the magnet. Move a piece of steel slowly closer to a magnet and you will see what I mean. You will only feel pull when you are very close. In fact, one of the problems when using reed switches is getting the magnet close enough to reliably trigger the switch. On my layout I've had to get the magnets within 1/8" to get the switches to trigger and I'm using the strongest magnets I can find.

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