David Smith's instructions on burying Micro-trains switch machines

Ajayrav Nov 2, 2016

  1. Ajayrav

    Ajayrav TrainBoard Member

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    Hello folks,

    A few years back David Smith posted a how-to article on modifying Micro-trains turnouts so the switch machines could be placed under the switches on his James River Branch blog. I found an archive of the clinic but it is missing the images. Does anyone know how I can go about getting/ viewing the corresponding images? Did anyone print out a copy of the document?

    Thanks,
    Ajay
     
  2. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Member

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  3. Ajayrav

    Ajayrav TrainBoard Member

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  4. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Member

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    I am pretty sure he mounted it upside down. Drill a hole in the throw link to place a short stiff wire (piano or music wire). Make sure it is a tight fit, for mechanical leverage. Drill *slightly* larger hole in the turnout stub.
     
  5. Ajayrav

    Ajayrav TrainBoard Member

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    Yeah, Im just going to have to man up and disassemble a turnout and switch machine to figure it out… Hopefully that will happen sometime this lifetime… :)

    Ajay
     
  6. woodworker19

    woodworker19 TrainBoard Member

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    Hi Ajay,
    I don’t have a copy with pictures but, I think I can help. I was in your shoes before. I had seen Dave’s instructions as I was getting started in Z. His site was down by the time I went to use them. The group here was able to retrieve the words and I went from there with a few adjustments that have been working for me for almost 2 years. These are pictures of my "reminder" switch in my track supply.

    Bottom of switch machine notched from step 3. I don’t cut off the mounting tabs. They are not in my way.
    [​IMG]


    I also skip step 4. The 3/32” fits in the existing notch.
    [​IMG]

    Here’s the slider and pieces for step 7 and 8. I used 3/32” instead of 3/16” tubing with the screws Dave used. I usually need to file the head of the screw after it’s installed so it loses smoothly.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I also hot melt glue the motor near the ends to the bottom of the switch and skip drilling the holes through the motor bottom in steps 5 & 6. I haven’t had one fail yet.

    [​IMG]


    Hope this makes sense and helps.

    Kevin


    Sent from my 2PS64 using Tapatalk
     
    Kez likes this.
  7. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for the pix. Colleague might be able to use that on his 45 degree and yard module. Except that if one doesn't purchase the solenoids,, then it will have to be $4 servos and $30 controller for 4-8 servos.
     
  8. Ajayrav

    Ajayrav TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you, Kevin. That is very useful… As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words; it is so much clearer now. Now it is time for some turnout surgery….

    cheers,
    Ajay
     
  9. Zscaleplanet

    Zscaleplanet TrainBoard Supporter

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    I know this is a very old post that I am resurfacing, but does anyone else have any recent or past experiences with performing this "hack" on MTL switches? I am considering this for my layout, which has an extensive number of switch in the planning. Just seeking any additional pros or cons of performing this surgery.
     
  10. Chris333

    Chris333 TrainBoard Supporter

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  11. Zscaleplanet

    Zscaleplanet TrainBoard Supporter

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    SWEEEET. Thanks Chris333!!! This is great information to have and also certainly appreciate anyone’s input or thoughts regarding this modification.
     
  12. Zscaleplanet

    Zscaleplanet TrainBoard Supporter

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    bostonjim and Kurt Moose like this.
  13. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Member

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    A couple of cautions. We had several 0ut-of-the-box contact issues, mostly the later run after the China factory change some years ago. Some did not have all the parts ! Some just would not make contact on one or other routes. Test them before you install them.

    Do NOT spray paint the rails or, brush on paint, where the Rail-to-board contacts are (the little balls). We have figured out some of the Switches lost power to the rails as the paint capillaries in between the ball and contact. When the paint dries, it appears that it is strong enough to separate the ball-to rail joint. The ball is is pretty much welded so don't know why but we fixed several after applying solvent and blowing out.

    They do run well, better than the Rokuhans and look a little 'simpler'.
     
  14. Zscaleplanet

    Zscaleplanet TrainBoard Supporter

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    Well noted and I’ve been warned before about NOT detailing, weathering, or ballasting the switches to much or at all.

    On a side note, have you ever applied any electrical grease or lube to the working mechanism of the assembly’s, in order to ensure their smooth and long lasting operation? I’m always one for lubing working mechanisms for fluid operation.
     
  15. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Member

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    I would NEVER use *any* lubricant (grease to super low viscosity) as most mechanisms do not use 'direct' drive to move 1 or 2 components. The märklin Switches use a sliding tension wire to 'flip' the Switch yet let you run through the points. The Rokuhan and MTL both uses sliding contact plates with MTL using magnets to 'coerce' the throw. KEEP THE GUTS CLEAN.

    Even for track cleaning. I once helped a VERY famous and popular layout at shows that had poor locomotive running on the märklin Switches. The marklin Switches have a similar design to the Rokuhan, where the Frog has floating raise (an INGENIOUS idea from 1971). However, constant spraying (more like squirting) and then friction cleaning with the classic rubberized material, eventually left them all stuck down.

    BTW: absolutely NONE of the 'conductible' produces are . . . conductible themselves. They help the contacts stay chemically clean (minimal oxidation which would make lessor conductivity). They will NEVER be able to conduct the current of a locomotive. If you place an Ohm meter (measures 'resistance' or a Conductance meter (measure Siemens) an inverse to Ohms but better way in this sense. Neither of them will indicate (read). If the do, in the slightest (expensive models), again, it is nowhere near enough to move a loco or even an LED.
     
  16. Commodore

    Commodore TrainBoard Member

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    Great Posting!
     
  17. Zscaleplanet

    Zscaleplanet TrainBoard Supporter

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    Indeed, I will heed your advice, as I know you’ve been doing this way longer than me! Thanks!!!
     
  18. Zscaleplanet

    Zscaleplanet TrainBoard Supporter

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    OK once again bringing this old dog of a posting to the surface. Sorry

    I have looked on this forum and several others and cannot find the answer, so therefore I defer to you “the experts”.

    So by using the additional info from the above forum postings, I have successfully buried (or mounted) an MTL switch machine on the bottom side of the switch. Manually it’s operating as smooth as butter so I am ready to apply power.

    I had previously done this on another switch with some success as well and was using the good ole ATLAS switch unit. However the problem was it was throwing constant power into the MTL switch motor causing a meltdown of the plastic housing. In fact you can even see evidence of this if you scroll up and look at the pics from WOODWORKER19. Plus I was not a fan of the way that switch was designed to be pushed down and pushed forward or backward. I can see that being part of the constant power problem. Especially if you hold that switch too long. My little experimental switch was getting toasty hot.

    Therefore I decided to dump the ATLAS switch mechanism and go with a DPDT micro toggle with a center off.
    My hopes of being that it will only be momentary power to the switch motor, this causing NO overheating issues.

    So my question — There are three wires coming off of the MTL switch motor and six terminals on the DPDT toggle. Does anybody have a diagram on how to wire this or has anybody been down this path before?

    My sincerest apologies for asking such a rudimentary and probably simple question. But for the life of me I can’t find the answer anywhere else.
     
  19. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Member

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    I don’t have access to drawings right now but it is easy. You need a SPDT, Center Off (Single pole, double throw, center off)
    Also known as (On)-Off-(On). Meaning the (On) is Momentary. !!!
    With the back of the switch looking at you, 3 contacts left to right. The Left contact to one of the outer coil wires and the Right to the other outer wire. The middle wire of the coils go’s the Accessory terminal (shared with all other coil switches)
     
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  20. Zscaleplanet

    Zscaleplanet TrainBoard Supporter

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    Thanks SJ! I’ll assume the red wire is one coil and the black is the other coil, and the green is the accessory. In order to do this conversion you have to take the cover off of the switch machine to do the cutting portion. So I will take another one apart to ensure what I am thinking about the wire color.
     
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