Switch question + wire solder question

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by prodigy2k7, Jan 28, 2007.

  1. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    On the instructions that came with my Atlas under table switch machine, you wire it up to a witch mechanism, I am talking about the electric and plasytic switches, where u move the little thing left and right and it sends electricits to the under table switch machine etc..
    .I gotgot what its called...let me make a picture brb (lol)

    The thingy in the middle!!! lol... I am going to get the DCC Digitrax Zephyr or w/e its called. Does it just hook up via wires and screws? or do I need to buy something to hook it up correctly? What do I need to do, plus, I am soon going to buy wire for my track...

    How should I start wiring? waht gage for under the table...I guess as a "BUS" wire...and also what gauge/gage (lol) for the wire that goes to the track itself when i solder it...

    By the wya whats are those called? those switch things (in the middle of pic) and are there special kind? im going to have like... 10 switch tracks lol...
  2. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

  3. kf4jqd

    kf4jqd Active Member

    You want to know what that switch is called? It's called a momentary single pole sing throll or SPST switch. I also you Atlas's switch track. I decided to use regular switches. Connect that center wire to a "common" wire. That is, connect all of those same connections to the power supple. DO NOT use a switch. Then feed power pin of the switch. Connection one end of the track wire to one end of the switch pin. Then do the same thing on the other side. Make sure you use a momentary switch. If you use a regular switch. You WILL burn out the solinoid in the track!!!!! I just got done with work. If you want me draw up a diagram. I could do that tonight.

    I use digital electronic's (TTL) to "sense" when the switch is on. This turns on and keeps on the LED. The green LED's indicates when the block is on for the track. I use a 25 pin parellel computer connector and cable. They used to be used for printers before USB printers. Remember those?

    If Gauge member's want more infor about my controller. I can work on it and post ir here!


    Attached Files:

  4. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    I'd be interested in how you wired it :), my switch board looks like some one had a spray string party :).

  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Keep the current set-up the way it is. The Zephyr does not have accessory power for things like switch machines. The electrical component in the middle of your diagram is a momentary contact single pole double throw switch. A single pole single throw - SPST - is an on/off switch.

    The added bonus of the Digitrax Zephyr is its ability to use a "jump throttle". That is a conventional "smooth" DC powerpack that can be connected as an additional controller. Smooth means that the powerpack puts out smooth, not "pulsed" DC. If you have a switch for "pulse" power, make sure it is off. The variable out is connected to the Zephyr's "jump port (A or B) on the back of the unit. Your power for the switch machines can remain as is (from the AC or accessory power on the back on the DC powerpack).

    For your buss and feeder wires, try 12-16 ga for the buss and 20-22 ga for the feeders as long as they are short. Stranded wire is more forgiving of twisting, handling, and stripping because if you nick it, only one or two strands will break. If you nick solid wire with your cutters, you may end up with a break.

  6. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    Okay let me ask this then, lol
    I have 11 or 12 switch tracks. How do I control all of them with the digitrax zepther, whats the easiest, efficient, cheapest(money wise) way to do it?

    Note: I dont have the zepher yet but its on my todo list.
  7. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    You don't directly control the switches w/ your zephyr w/o a special dcc decoder.

    You are in the same boat i found myself in after building my yard and connecting my dcc controller :). I wanted to control the turnouts from my dcc cab.

    In order to do that you need what is called a "stationary decoder", now .. i'm by no means an expert, :oops: heck i don't even own one yet BUT i've been doing a bit of research into them :). Hopefully some of the more experienced gaugers can help us both out hhehah.

    I've found that there are a few on the market by all the same folks that make mobile decoders. You best bet w/ that many turnouts (if you call them "switches" it gets confusing w/ you refer to the switch that switches the switch. I got a good talking to when i went to the LHS and asked for switches and got a bag of dtdp swithces hahah ) is to setup "routes" or a group of turnouts that all get thrown at the same time. There are a few different stationary decoders that i've come across in my reading that can handle 4, 6 and 8 turnouts, cheapest being 40$usd and most expensive being 72$ usd. Do a google search for "stationary dcc decoder" or click this link:
  8. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    The answer to controlling your tracks via the Zephyr and/or other Digitrax throttle is "it's not cheap and it can be somewhat tricky".

    YmeBP is correct in that you will need stationary decoders and switch machines like Tortoises. The Tortoises can run up to about $20 each, although you can get decoders that control up to four switch machines at once.

    Tony's Trains or Loys Toys can set you up with whatever you need. I would suggest that you do a bit more reading first.

    For me, unless the turnout is out of reach, I much prefer to throw them by hand. (Same for uncoupling for me - by hand - but my era is the 1920s and 30s where everything was done by hand anyway... ;)).

  9. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    So is it impossible to use either deluxe or regular atlas under table switch machines with DCC or what?
    Why cant I use those cheap switch machines lol, they dont work with the atlas under table or what?
    What works with the atlas under table, and how do i get it to work.
  10. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    There are a number of issues/questions in this thread:

    1) No matter what switch machines you use (Tortoise, Atlas under table, or whatever), the Digitrax Zephyr will not POWER them directly, as there is no "Accessory" or AC terminals. You will need a separate power source*. (*Except, see below).

    2) In order for any DCC system to operate a switch machine, the switch machine must have a stationary decoder attached. The Digitrax DS52, DS54 or DS64 will all apparently work. *They can be powered from the track, but a separate power supply is probably a better idea.

    The DS64 can control up to 4 solenoid or slow-motion type switch machines. It is about $60 though, so that's $15 per turnout, without the cost of the turnout or switch machine itself.

    3) In your latest post above, you seem to say that cheap switch machines can't be used with the Atlas under the table [switch machines]...? The Atlas under table switch machines are the cheap switch machines...!

    A quick look at the cost, assuming 12 turnouts to control:

    3 DS64 @ $60 ea = $180
    12 Atlas switch machines @ $8.25 (reg) or $15.50 (dlx) = $99 or $186

    Total = $366 (dlx) or $279 (regular switch machines)

    So either way, it no longer falls into the "cheap" category... :( The silver lining is that the approximately $160 Zephyr needed to control the turnouts will also control your trains... ;) :D

    Hope that helps to clarify.

  11. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Not to hijack the thread, just my own perspective,

    I'm looking into DCC control for my layout when the time comes. Turnout control being a secondary consideration. To keep the initial cost down I'm looking at wiring up six switches at the back. Not hard too reach as the shelf is only 1' 9" inches, however I don't want to take the chance I may knock something over when I reach over the yard to throw a turnout.

    My research into the DCC realm has reveled it is not going to be cheap. I plan on using the Tortoise switch machines & Hare combo with a Zepher. I can get a 6 pk combo for $259 US and up. Good thing I'm not in a hurry. I also have over 20 turnouts on my planned switching layout. So I can see I'll be doing this in stages and as budget allows.

    It's my own fault. I perfer to do things right the first time so hopefully I only need to do it once.
  12. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Prodigy, it seems like this whole thread got sidetracked. Your original question was how to hook up the atlas switches for remote control, right? You don't need to hook them up to dcc right now, or ever for that matter.
    All you need is a cheap ho gauge train set controller, the kind you see in the christmas sets. You can even attach it underneath your table so it is hidden.
    Hook wires from the acc or accessory terminals on the controller to the two terminals on the slide and push button. Put three wires on the other three terminals on the button. Hook those wires to the three terminals on the machine on the track switch. You should be good to go.:thumb:
    As far as the wire itself goes I use phone cable for the track switches.
    Also, do a search for wiring here. You will find answers to 99% of your questions.
    The main reason I am suggesting this is I don't want you to get discouraged and give up. Go the easy, less expensive way for now, get some trains running, and enjoy.:D

  13. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    You are correct in that the existing DC situation will work, with the momentary contact switches and all. Prodigy2k7 did ask if that set up could simply be plugged into his Zephyr (whenever he got it).

    I agree with you - I also would recommend that he stick with this set up, even after the Zephyr arrives.

  14. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Andrew, you are corect, I missed where he said, "does it just hook up":oops: .

  15. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    Crap I lost my long post... Ill summarize it lol..
    I do have a old athearn DC with AC outlets on the side, I was just asking if the zephyr did also. I never intended to use DCC with the switches but it sounded interesting but that was never the intent. Sorry if I said that or failed to be specific.

    Can I use those cheap switches, the ones that snap really loud when you use them lol...
    The ones I was asking about earlier, in the picture of the first post.
  16. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    Oh ya, I dont think I said so but I wanted those momentary switches like in this picture the other guy displayed.
    Except without the LEDs
  17. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    Bump! Bump!
  18. Agamemnon

    Agamemnon Member

    There's nothing stopping you from using old DC point motors with a DCC system, if you have a separate power system for them. If I ever wire a DCC layout, that's what I'll do (Since I have a perfectly fine set of Fleischmann switches).
  19. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Your questions seem to keep going in circles... You have asked above about keeping the momentary (electrical) switches. If this is the case, then your original diagram is correct, regardless of which style of momentary switches you use.

    And there is still no way to power the switch machines from a Digitrax Zephyr, so you will have to use some other (DC) powerpack that has the AC/accessory terminals.

    Finally - yes, you can use "those switches that snap really loud". They are the Atlas twin coil type, which describes both the undertable kind, and the ones that attach to the Atlas "Snap Switches". They require a momentary contact STDP electrical switch to work with a DC powerpack.

    I hope that clears things up.

  20. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    Thanks, what is what im going to do. :)

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