Illuminated Controls for Rokuhan Turnouts?

strut Aug 6, 2021

  1. strut

    strut TrainBoard Member

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    I'm starting phase one of what will eventually be a fairly complex Rokuhan Z-scale non-DCC (for now) layout that will feature 26 or so turnouts. Obviously, that's a lot of their controllers to line up next to the throttle (even if there's enough juice coming out of the throttle to power them all) so my plan is to use a separate power supply and build a control panel using DPDT Momentary On Toggle or Rocker Switches. However, I'd really like to include some sort of LED indicator that will stay on to show if the turnout is open or closed, but with the switches being only on momentarily, they're not going to do the job by themselves. Does anyone have a solution? Can someone share a link to a product, a circuit I could build or a bit of magic? I'd even consider a simple-to-use computer based system if someone could recommend one that's compatible with Rokuhan.
     
  2. DB_Z

    DB_Z TrainBoard Member

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  3. strut

    strut TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks so much! This looks promising although the Rokuhan turnouts only use one coil and it appears that this is designed for points that use two. However, they seem to have many similar products and it appears that they have a latching switch that may fit the bill. I'll contact them and post the results here.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2021
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  4. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    So I don't know Rokuhan switches, but you say they are single coil. If that is the case, then the switch has to reverse coil polarity. Are you going to use a latching relay and momentary contact switch to toggle them? If you show me a schematic of the circuit you will use to toggle the switches, I can modify it, adding in a red/green or any two colors you want LED to change color and stay illuminated showing the status of the turnout. That's easy and cheap to do.
     
  5. strut

    strut TrainBoard Member

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    That's precisely what needs to be done. A DPDT momentary on switch is used to change the polarity of the coil which is then drawn to one of two rare-earth magnets which moves the slider bar. Although I'm vaguely familiar with the purpose of latching relays, I don't have the expertise needed to show you a circuit incorporate them with the DPDT switch to achieve the goal of getting an indicator LED to stay lit. That's what I'm looking for. Anything you can do to help would be appreciated. Here's an article to further explain the operation of Rokuhan switches: The James River Branch: Working with Rokuhan Switches (davidksmith.com)
     
  6. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    OK, that's going to take some work for a continuously lit LED, as the power is only momentary. David's momentary switches with diodes is the most economical. Researching...
     
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  7. strut

    strut TrainBoard Member

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  8. z.scale.hobo

    z.scale.hobo TrainBoard Member

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    rray and strut like this.
  9. strut

    strut TrainBoard Member

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    This was most helpful. I've contacted the designer to confirm that it is compatible with Rokuhan turnouts and arranged to have the first four-point module sent for testing. For a little extra, he's going to wire the LEDs and Switches with 200mm extensions so they can be mounted directly in a panel. Fingers crossed that this fits the bill. Thanks!!!
     
  10. CSX Robert

    CSX Robert TrainBoard Member

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    FYI - since they use a momentary pulse to throw the turnout and only draw power during that time, one controller could actually power hundreds of turnouts.

    Download the PDF at this link: https://www.trainboard.com/highball/index.php?resources/g-ray-stilwell-bcd-circuit.153/

    Figure 2 on page 11 is what you want. This circuit was actually designed for Kato turnouts, but they operate on the same principle.
     
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  11. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Member

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    The Ray Stillwell 'Capacitor Discharge' circuit is commonly used and posted by many people all over as it is a simple electronic fundamental circuit,

    For the indicator, whether using that circuit or the output of your Rokuhan control (essentially same Capacitive Discharge principle) needs a 'Flip-Flop' circuit that self-latches with each polarity change. (search: transistor flip flop)

    The eBay Kato board is just a same Capacitor Discharge circuit with local LEDs. Build it yourself.
     
  12. CSX Robert

    CSX Robert TrainBoard Member

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    The version of Ray's circuit that I referenced above does not need a flip-flop circuit. Since it uses the charging and discharging of the capacitor to create the momentary pulse, the controlling switch is not momentary and can directly drive the LED(s).
     
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  13. strut

    strut TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks, but I've confirmed with the source for the boards available on Ebay that's not the case. I'm sure I could build them myself using Ray's circuit, but sometimes the DIY thing isn't worth it when considering the time involved in acquiring and assembling the components and that the end result wouldn't be on a spiffy, purpose-built PC board. Besides, the cost is still less than using the standard Rokuhan switches. Its a win-win that allows me to get back to laying track and working on the scenery which is my primary interest!
     
  14. husafreak

    husafreak TrainBoard Member

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    I am looking forward to hearing how well the switches work with this circuit. Rokuhan switches are bulky and cost adds up, and the don’t have position indicator lights, but they are very reliable.
     
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  15. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    I'm curious as to how well they work too. At $10 for 4 indicated turnouts, you cannot build them that cheap, the switches alone are worth the price. I wonder if it would be wise to start at a lower than recommended voltage, increasing it by a volt till the optimum is determined?

    Still... the price is amazing for what's on that board...and the board itself.
     
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  16. CSX Robert

    CSX Robert TrainBoard Member

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    The $10 price is populated with components for one turnout, to get it for four is $25(+ shipping). I could build them for significantly less than that, but that's still not a bad price to have them pre-assembled on a printed circuit board.
     
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  17. strut

    strut TrainBoard Member

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    I do plan to test starting with the lowest setting and will report the results when the item arrives in a few weeks. However, please note that when you read the fine print you'll see the $ 10.00 is for the board with the components for just one controller circuit installed. Its an additional $ 25.00 to get components for the other three soldered in and I opted to pay another $ 15.00 to have the physical switches and LEDs soldered to 200mm leads so I can mount them on a panel. With shipping it came to $ 55.00 which compares favorably to what four of the standard Rokuhan switches would go for considering the flexibility it offers... if it works. We shall see!
     
  18. strut

    strut TrainBoard Member

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    I agree and since I hope to be able to control over 25 turnouts remotely the PC board is a big consideration. In talking to the designer I learned that he also makes a 10-banger! If someone like yourself wanted to I'm sure you could order the boards with one channel installed and then add components for the rest.
     
  19. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    I use DCC, Atlas turnouts, Tortoise switch machines, and Hare decoders with a remote mounted manual toggle switch and yellow/green bi-color indicator LED's for my turnouts. I have plenty on hand:

    Turnouts Control.JPG

    I have my manual buttons in case i don't have time to address a turnout through DCC, I can just slip my finger under the module and toggle a turnout:
    Remote Buttons.JPG

    And I can see the turnout route indicators with bi-color yellow green LED's mounted in the facia panel:
    Turnout Indicator LEDs.JPG
     
  20. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Member

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    The Australia eBay boards have a high shipping cost now. Colin said Australia Post no longer delivers small packets overseas so he has to get a Courier @ $24

    To be clear on board cost (shown with ALL populated @ $25) is: $10 for 1 populated and $5 for each additional population, up to 4 per board. Kinda ‘pointless’ to not get all 4 as it does not look like a break-apart PC board. The Switches are not mounted, so you can place remotely.

    The MR322 control is for 3-wire solenoids (MTL & Märklin only) and if using a relay, it likely is only using it wired for ‘latch’ mode, just to keep the one LED on.
     

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