Remote point operations...

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by slurp, Jan 13, 2006.

  1. slurp

    slurp Member

    Sorry for the repost but it wasn't getting any answers where it was:(.

    I've come to the decision that i would like mechanical rather than electric, remote point operations on my N gauge layout. This is for no other reason than i like the look of it and believe in the KISS principle of things. I've visited and had a look at his remote points, but can anyone tell me if there are any other manufacturers of these type of point operations i can look out for?. I obviously don't want to buy the first lot i come across and would be most grateful for any advice, recommendations you guys can give as it is a minefield out there just waiting for newbies like me to step on something.

    Many thanks in anticipation of your help and advice
    regards from across the pond
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I have seen a lot of homegrown systems, including some here on The Gauge by Gary S.:

    MR has showcased several over the years.

    One option we have in HO is Peco turnouts - they are spring so you can flip them with your fingertip and they hold the selected route. I cannot recall if they make Nscale turnouts the same way, but you can create a spring and retro-fit almost any turnout yourself.


    PS - Do you want the other post deleted?
  3. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    I think Peco is a source for manual switches. I'm kinda in the same boat as you are, I ran out of electric turnouts that worked, and had some Peco that I bough in a box lot somewhere so I installed them in two yards. Now I have to figure out how I'm going to switch them. I do not want to set up a bunch of wires and levers or underneith switch machines, so I'll probably go with manual switch levers. I've got a couple of those as well, but I have no idea who made them, but if I had to guess, I'd say Peco.

    BTW, where is your other thread? As Andrew says, we should delete it so we don't have duplicate threads floating around.
  4. slurp

    slurp Member

    If you could delete the other post that would be great Andrew thanks, it's under general discussion by the way.

    To give you some idea of the kind of points operation i'm looking at, www dot humpyard dot com - carries the complete kits, ie levers, wire and connectors. I'm trying to find out if there are any other manufacturers out there of this sort of Remote Point Operator though and also if any other people have actually used this type and their views on them.

    Being very much a newbie leaves me rather cautious of buying the first thing i see, especially coupled with the fact i'm over here in the UK and can't exactly march round there for a refund if they aren't suitable or have any defects.

    I suppose most people by now have moved over to electric points operators but was hopng there'd be one or two mechanical users still out there.

    Right off to have a look at the link suggested, thanks Andrew.

    PS. I have the latest Peco catalogue and by the looks of it they no longer do mechanical switches, everything seems to be electrical switch operated nowadays:(.
  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    I have seen the site you refer to, and it does look like a good product. I have not read any reviews, but have seen posts at various forums praising them. I have not used them myself.

    I think that most people either go with this, or do some sort of homemade device. I can't imagine that the market is big enough for several manufacturers of this kind of product. The closest you might come to an alternate is Caboose ground throws.

    What kind of turnouts do you have currently (if any)? If you really are after a KISS solution, then I would suggest PECO are your best bet. They operate with a flick of your finger, no extra wiring needed, no ground throws or choke cables. (The added bonus for you in the UK is that PECO is located in Beer, Devon. Mmmmm beer, but I digress... ;))

    I don't think that there are as many (electrical) remote operated switches as you might think. For example, most of the modules at the club I belong to are thrown manually (PECO-style) and very few of the home layouts I have visited in this area have remote switches of any sort (mechanical or electric).


    PS - will take care of that other thread for you.
  6. slurp

    slurp Member

    It must just be over here then that most people seem to have now moved onto electric point motors that are sent into action by the flick of a switch. Not being very electrically minded i decided that i would "throw" mine manually (with a flick of the finger as it were) until someone pointed me in the direction of the Humpyard's ones. I really like the simplicity of them and kinda like the idea of having the levers resemble the ones that would have been thrown in the junction boxes.

    Oh well, i'll give it a couple of weeks and see if i can come up with anything similar, if not i might just have to bite the bullet and go ahead and buy some, if i do i'll certainly give them a review and let you all know what they are like.
    (Thanks for taking care of the other thread by the way)
  7. zedob

    zedob Member

    The Slim Guage Guild used a pneumatic system on a small layout they had built in the early 70's. I've never seen it, but I think it was fabricated out of plastic syringes and small tubing. I have seen a recent pneumatic system at one of the hobbyshops I visitregularly, but the "working" display wasn't working and it looked rather dusty.

    If you would like to try the air meathod, I'd recommend doing a search on ebay for "Clippard Minimatic". You can probably buy a lot full of mini cylinders and trick air switches for a decent price.

    Honestly, I like the Humpyard product, but I haven't actually used them. I almost bought a set the other day, but couldn't get myself to open my wallet. I was going to purchase the base set of 2 just to see if they'd hold up and if they'd really do my layout any good. I think they will.

    I wish they were cast out of brass...HUMMM...
  8. CalFlash

    CalFlash Member

    One I've used with success (in HO) was a DPDT slide switch on it's side soldered to a plate so it could be mounted under the turnout. The handle was drilled vertically for a piece of music wire going up to the throwbar and cross drilled and tapped for a piece of threaded rod that joined a pushrod going to the fascia.
  9. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    Peco still sells manual switches (points): the electrical switch motor is an extra added to it, they don't come attached to the switch. At least from I can tell on the website, NONE of them come with a built-in electric motor to throw the switch.

    If you don't mind reaching into the scene to throw the switch (I use a wooden barbecue skewer or a small screwdriver) then the Peco switch is LITERALLY all you need, unless you really want to add a switchstand. However, if you want to have a mechanical control from the edge of the board, there are several ways to do it.

    The simplest is probably just drilling a hole under the switch, maybe 5mm wide (about the width of the distance the points have to travel) and a small hole at a matching point on the front of the layout benchwork. Take a piece of piano wire that will fit in the little hole on the turnout at the points, and bend it at a right angle--the idea is that the short end of the piano wire rises up out of the benchwork and into the hole on the switch, and the long end sticks out through the hole in the benchwork. Trim the end sticking out of the benchwork to 2-3mm and glue a knob of some sort (people have used fishing lures, old buttons, even those annoying rubber superballs) onto the end so you're not constantly poking on it. You now have a basic mechanical linkage--by pushing or pulling gently on the knob* the turnout should throw quite easily.

    * I heard that giggling. Stop it. This is a family forum!
  10. slurp

    slurp Member

    Cheers for the suggestions fella's i can see it wouldn't be too difficult to fabricate something from various objects. I could use bicycle, brake or gear change cable (ie cable within sheath) attached to the electrical switches that i *think* Gary S used in his remote switch operation to manipulate the N gauge Peco manual Points. I think i've set my heart on the humpyard's type of levers though, that is unless i come across anything better in the time it takes me to work out how many i'm eventually going to need etc. Think i'll have to drop him an email and see how much shipping will be to the good old UK.

    Suppose i could always see if anyone else this side of the pond was interested too and perhaps do a bulk buy:).
  11. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Roy: are you in Britain? They have a number of "wire in tube" systems for controlling points and signals. I'm not sure what's currently available, but you might find something in Model Railway Journal. They usually end up in a device that looks like an oversized signal box frame. Model Railroader just published an article with a half-dozen or more methods of switch control.
  12. slurp

    slurp Member

    Hi David, yes i am in Britain. I know there are manufacturers of "wire in tube" systems out there, i just seem to be drawing a blank when it comes to actual manufacturers names:) (maybe i'm not looking hard enough?). Maybe if i can source the control wires over here (if not the control levers themselves) i could save on postal charges by just ordering the control levers from Humpyard. However i shall definately look out for the article you mentioned, don't know whether Model Railroader or MRJ are available over here so i think a google session is in order.
  13. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Roy: I am probably quite out of date on this, but the names I remember are Mercontrol for the tubing and wire and GEM for the levers. I'm pretty sure GEM is long defunct. You might find some on the second hand table at a railway show, or call Mainly Trains.
    (MRJ is a British magazine; MR is American and the issue may get overseas in a couple of months.)
  14. slurp

    slurp Member

    Thanks David, there is a model engineering exhibition this coming weekend which i'm going to go have a mosey round, i don't know if there will be much train/rail stuff but i'll have a good look around you never know i might spot something there with a bit of luck.

    Funny you should mention Mercontrol, i came across them yesterday, also came across another one *i think* called "slip n slide", i say i think because when trying to look for them i came across a site undergoing construction work/down for maintenance so i'll have to check back and see if they do what i require. Am now building up a good set of leads for these point operations but have got to admit that the American humpyard ones are still looking favourite at the moment.

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