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Thread: Quick switch machine for Peco?

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    Default Quick switch machine for Peco?

    I have a kickback track with a spring switch that is too unreliable. I'd like to automate this, preferably controlled by optical sensors. But the throw has to be quick - less than a second to complete, so a Tortoise isn't going to do it. Does anyone know the best way to accomplish this? It either has to be powerful enough to overcome Peco's spring or I can remove the spring and it has to hold the rails in position after throwing.

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    What about the Peco switch machine with a CDU?

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    Thanks @Ender. In the past I tried the Peco switch machine. I followed instructions http://www.cucamongatrains.com/sites...structions.pdf and hooked it up to the aux (16vac) on my MRC Tech II transformer. It was not powerful enough to overcome Peco's "self locking tie bar". And removing the spring on the tie bar didn't do any good either; the points bounced back.

    If I use a capacitor then it can't be AC, right? Have you succeeded in getting it to work?

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    I see Peco offers the PL35 CDU and it says to hook it up to 16vac, so apparently I don't understand how they work.

    Looking at this combo:
    Peco PL-10E standard turnout motor, long pin. $10
    Peco PL-35 CDU $27
    Azatrax D2T-3W dual IR detector for double coil snap switches such as Peco. $39

    $76 total.

    Am I on the right track on this? Seems like a lot of $$ to auto-throw a switch. The setup is logically the same as one where you put sensors on both legs of a turnout to make sure the turnout is thrown correctly no matter which leg a train approaches from.

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    I'll second the Peco solenoids - they're fast, especially when combined with Ken Stapleton's 751 circuits. You'll have to find a way to automate though.
    http://www3.sympatico.ca/kstapleton3/751D.HTM


    At the club, we've also use a 9G servo driven by an Arduino on our reverse loop n-trak module. Using Opto sensors to detect that a train has entered the loop, it will sense again just before turnout and trigger the servo. Darn near as quick at the Peco solenoids.

    If you have Facebook, here's a short video of the servo'd switch in action: https://www.facebook.com/groups/wind...6822591034564/
    Peter

    Layout Depot (share your designs with others): www.LayoutDepot.com
    My Build Thread: www.nscale.net/forums/showthread.php?28081-Green-Valley-Railway

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    Quote Originally Posted by NtheBasement View Post
    I see Peco offers the PL35 CDU and it says to hook it up to 16vac, so apparently I don't understand how they work.

    Looking at this combo:
    Peco PL-10E standard turnout motor, long pin. $10
    Peco PL-35 CDU $27
    Azatrax D2T-3W dual IR detector for double coil snap switches such as Peco. $39

    $76 total.

    Am I on the right track on this? Seems like a lot of $$ to auto-throw a switch. The setup is logically the same as one where you put sensors on both legs of a turnout to make sure the turnout is thrown correctly no matter which leg a train approaches from.
    I'm not sure what to use as a detection circuit. I would guess there are several options. The CDU doesn't have to be Peco's. You can use another brand, build your own, or you might find one that's integrated with the detection circuit. And detection doesn't necessarily have to be optical. There are ways to detect based on resistance, like when a loco enters a section. But this probably gets a little more expensive as I think it would require a separate power section.

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    No locos. The turnout is on a kickback track which deserves a description. It's kind of a roller coaster for coal hoppers.

    A barney pushes individual coal hoppers up a ramp to a dumper (out of focus in foreground of photo), which tips the hopper over and dumps the coal. When the next hopper is pushed, it shoves the previous one off the dumper and onto a downramp. Gravity rolls it thru the turnout in question (center of photo), and up again on a kickback ramp. From there gravity rolls it back thru the turnout which routes it to a yard on the left.
    IMG_6815.jpg

    Currently the turnout is a Peco short lefty with the tie bar spring removed. Piano wire springs the tie bar to route the hoppers to the yard. The weight of the hoppers push the spring aside as they come down from the dumper. In theory. In practice pushing the point harder causes some of the cars to derail as they come down from the dumper. Pushing the point less fails to close the point all the way all the time, causing cars to derail as they roll back to the yard. Best I can do is 25% derails. The cars are Atlas 90 ton hoppers. I did not add weight (which should solve the issue) because it will reduce the number of cars that the engine can pull when they are loaded with coal.
    IMG_6811_cr.jpg

    I'm giving up on finagling the spring switch and going with automation. The spring switch is actually round 2 - previous the operator (me) had to manually throw the turnout. I had to fire the operator... too many derails.

    The Azatrax has two pairs of emitters and sensors. I will put one on the kickback ramp just past the points to throw the turnout to the yard. I will put the other past the frog toward the yard to throw the turnout back to the dumper for the next car.

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    Sounds neato!

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