Layout In A Box – Demo Micro Layout Project (part 24 ) Motorising The Pointwork (For DCC & also DC)
Scale Model Scenery Demo Micro Layout Project – Motorising The Pointwork
Part Twenty Four
Following on from part twenty three of this series, in which we looked at installing LX007-OO Chain link Security Fence kit, we now move back to the trackwork. In this article we’ll fitting the pointwork with point motors to allow them to be remotely operated, rather than being switched by hand. The layout we’re operating it on DCC control & we’ll wiring the points up for operation via DCC control. However, if you are running tradtional DC analouge control, we’ll be also showing how to wire up the point motors the traditional way for our layout.
For traditional DC controlled layouts, here’s a previous article (if you missed it) from our Electrics – Back to Basics series for wiring up a single point motor the traditional way. The article shows both wiring for a insulfrog type point (the type of point work that comes with starter train sets) & also the electrofrog type point:
The point motors we’re fitting & using are the Gaugemaster SEEP PM2 point motors. These are designed for installation below the top board of the baseboard, so are hidden out of sight under the baseboard & thus not cluttering up the scenic section above the baseboard. Gaugemaster do three types of SEEP Point Motor, these are as follows:
- PM1 – Non Latching with built in switch
- PM2 – Non Latching without switch
- PM4 – Latching with switch
The PM1 use with pointwork that have a built in latch spring, ideal for use with both electrofrog & insulfrog points. The built in switch is used for changing the polarity on electrofrog points. The PM2 use on pointwork that has built in latching spring such as Hornby & peco insulfrog point work. PM4 is for point work that dosen’t have a built in latching spring (or has the built in latching spring removed from the actual point work it’s self). The PM4 has a built in switch for use with changing the polarity of electrofrog pointwork. As we are using Peco code 100 insulfrog pointwork which has a built in latching spring, then the PM2 SEEP point motor is the correct choice for us in this case.
Now if you’ve been following this series form the start, you’ll remember that we did a test fit of the point motors whilst laying the track work. To recap on positioning of the point motors & test fitting of them can be found here in part four of this Layout In a Box Series here:
Fellow club admin Kevin, shows a neat trick to fitting the point motors in the correct postion by using a piece of card & two screws. First of all move the point switch rails so that they are halfway through their travel. Temporarily hold the switch rails in position with two screws as shown & circled in the photo below. Notice also the hole that was drilled prior (arrowed) to fitting the the point trackwork down on to the baseboard. The hole is for the movement of the point motor long bar rod which we’ll be fitting shortly.
Kevin’s next trick is to use a piece of card which sits between the two solenoids on the point motor. It has a slot cut into the card to hold the bar on the point motor centrally. As Kevin has previously metioned here in the club, SEEP have changed the design of the point motor, with one now being wider than the other. In the photo below, can be seen both the newer & older designs of SEEP point motors. The size difference between the two center bits is clearly shown.
The yellow card is being used to temporarily hold the bar in the central position.
Next, carefully slide the long bar on the point motor up through the hole in the baseboard below the pointwork, insert the long bar of the point motor through the small hole on the point work tiebar. The tricky part now is making sure the point motor is in the same orientation as the pointwork above it. Once you have the point motor in the same orientation as the point motor. Mark out the screw holes for the point motor. Then remove the point motor & drill a small pilot hole for the screw. See photo below.
Refit the point motor as described above & temporarily screw the point motor into place.
Next make a mark on the point motor bar just above the pointwork tie bar. This will be our cut mark. See the photo below.
You can now either cut the bar in situ or remove the point motor & then cut the bar, we’ve opted for the second option to prevent damage & keep the cutting debris away from the layout. If cutting the bar in situ, cover up the surrounding area to protect it from the metal bits & dust. Be sure to wear safety glasses when cutting. We’ve use a Gaugemaster 12v rotary cutting tool with a cutting disk for this job, which makes it quick & easy job of cutting the bar. As shown in the photo below.
On the SEEP PM2 point motor we are using, there are 6 solder pad connections labelled A, B, C, D, E, F. The ones we’ll be using are A (+Positive), C (- Negative Common Return), B (+ Positive). As we are using DCC control for this layout, we’ll be using a DCC accessory decoder from Train-Tech. A DCC accessory decoder controls four sets of accessories such point motors, lighting, signals etc. Some DCC accessory decoders will control move than four sets of accessories, just depends on which make you go for. Like DCC chipped locomotives, an accessories decoder is allocated an address, which allows any point motors etc connected to it to be operated at the push of a button.
In the photo below you can see the simple wiring diagram which shows how the SEEP PM2 Point motor is connected to the DCC Accessory decoder.
If you are operating your layout on traditional DC control, & using the SEEP PM2 point motor, you’ll need to wire it up to a passing contact switch as shown in the diagram below. You can get these switches from the likes of Peco & Hornby as well as electronics suppliers like Rapid Electronics, RS Electronics, etc.
Next pre-tin the solder pads A, B & C with solder using a soldering iron. The photo below shows which contact pads need to be pre-tinned with solder.
Now, cut three wires to length & strip the wire ends & pre-tin the bare wire ends with solder. Solder the wires to the connetcion pads A, B & C as shown in the photo below. You can use any coloured wired. As previously discussed in our back to basics series on wiring/electrics, pick a colour scheme for your wiring, make a note of it & stick to your choosen wire colour scheme. This will help with tracing & fix any wiring issues in the future. Here we are using a yellow wire for the common – Negative return, The red & black wires being the two + Positive feeds for both the point motor solenoids.
Next we fit the DCC accessory decoder to the under side of the baseboard. To mount it, use two small screws screwed through the mounting holes as shown below.
If haven’t already done so, refit the PM2 point motor & secure into place with screws in the two holes highlighted in the photo below.
Next, connect the wires into one of the four outlets on the accessory decoder. Each outlet has three screw wire terminal blocks, as shown in the photo below. The yellow wire which is the common – Negative, goes to the center screw terminal. The remaining two wires (Black & Red + Positive) go into the other two screw terminals as shown in the photo. It dosen’t matter which way round the two + Positive wires go into the two outer screw terminals on the first outlet. However, if operating points as a pair on a crossover for example, make sure that the seccond point motor + Positive wires are fitted the same way on the next outlet. This is so that the points will throw in sync with each other.
Having connected the point motor up to accessory decoder, we now move on to connecting up the accessory decoder to the track power feed wires from the DCC controller. First cut two wires to a suitable length. Then strip the both ends on each of the two wires.
(Tip: Tin the bare wires with solder using a soldering iron to prevent the wire ends from splaying & breaking)
Connect the two wires to the wires from the track power outlet on the DCC controller. In the photo below can be seen where the wires are run from our DCC controller to a Chocbloc. From the chocbloc, the wires are then run out to feed power to the track on the layout. We’ve added more track power feeds than is needed, but this gives us better reliabilty if any should fail.
In the photo below you can see where we are going to connect the two wires from the accessory decoder to the track power feed.
Having connected the two wires to the track power feed, we now connect them as shown in the photo below to the accessory decoder power in terminal connector block. Fully insert the two wires & maike sure the grip screws are fully tighten so that the wires can’t be pulled out.
Install & connect the remaining point motors to the accessory decoder.
Connect the DCC controller to the main two track power wires & switch on.
Soon as the system is powered up, the four lights will come on on the accessory decoder, as shown in the photo below.
Next it’s the simple job of programing the accessory decoder with an address. You can program it using one of two methods which we’ll now look at.
The first method which you allocate outlet number one on the accessory decoder an address number, it then automatically gives the remaining 3 other outlets that follow on in number sequence. So if you program outlet as address say number 60 for example, then automatically outlet number two will have address 61, outlet number three will have address 62, outlet number four will have address 63.
The second method of programming the accessory decoder allows you to allocat any number to each outlet you so wish. So for example you want two points to throw together on a cross over, you can program them with the same address. Then those two points when called up on the controller will always throw together.
We’ll first use method one allocate all four outlets an address number. On the DCC controller, press either accessory or turn out button, in our case it’s an accessory button. Having pressed accessory button, call up the number address you wish to allocate the first outlet (pointmotor). We’re selecting address number one on the key pad, it now shows accessory address number one on the screen display. (You can see we’ve highlighted the two buttons we’ve pressed in the photo below).
On the Accessory decoder, press the learn button once. All four lights start to flash on the accessory decoder, this tells you it’s now in programming mode.
On the DCC controller, press the direction button as shown in the photo below. You’ll see that the black triangle has now changed direction. And that’s it, all four outlets / point motors are now program with an accessory address in number order from number one upto four.
You can repeat the process at any time if you wish to change any of the address numbers.
Now as we have a crossover on our layout, we want to operate the points on the crossover as a pair which work together. Here we employ the address program second method. We have called our first crossover pointmotor as number one. we wish to have the second pointmotor on the crossover with the same address.
Leave the accessory address on the DCC control still showing accessory address number one on the screen (Or recall up accessory address number one if you haven’t already done so).
On the learn button on the accessory decoder, press it once – all four red lights flash, press it again – the light next to outlet/pointmotor one now flashes. Press the learn button one more time – now the light next to outlet/pointmotor number two flashes.
With accessory decoder address number one call up on the DCC controller, press the direction button once (as shown in the photo below) That’s it, point motor number two is now re-programed as address number one.
So now whenever accessory address number one is called up & operated, both sets of points will operate. The remaining two outlets/pointmotors will still be operating on addresses thre & four respectively, unless reprogrammed with another accessory address.
The video clip below shows both points working together as a pair. The couple second delay beteen each point throwing is down to the CDU recharging to throw the next point.
Wiring the points up on tradtional DC control
For traditional DC controlled layouts, the points need to be motorised & wired up using point leavers & a CDU unit. A CDU unit gives the the point motors a bigger burst of momentary power, which is ideal for those awkward points that sometimes stick. So having looked at how to wire the points up on DCC, we’ll now see how to wire them up on DC control.
The PM2 point motors, like DCC have the three wires soldered to contact pads A, B & C. See the photo below. The yellow wire on contact C is the -Negative Common Return. The red & black wires (on A & B) seen in the photo below are +positive. Again as mentioned earlier, you can use any wire colours you so wish, but make sure you stick with chosen wire colour code throughout your layout & always note down how you’ve wired your layout for any future wiring issues or faults.
In the diagram below can be seen how the Seep PM2 point motor is wired for DC traditional control. Unlike DCC which we used an accessory decoder, here we are using a on-on passing contact switch, which in turn is conectted to a CDU unit & then the accessory power outlet on the DC controller. The wires from A & B on the PM2 point motor are connected to the two terminals on the lever switch. A third wire (+ Positive) is then run from the switch to the + positive outlet on the CDU unit. The wire from C on the PM2 point motor, the common return, is run directly back to the CDU unit – Negative outlet.
On the CDU unit there is a scecond pair of screw contact wire blocks. These are for the pair of wires + Pos & – Neg from the controller/transformer. Connect these two wire to the respective + Pos & – Neg screw contact blocks.
Once switched on, give the CDU unit around a few seconds or so to charge up, then operate the point via the leaver on the switch. Don’t hold the lever in the center of the switch as you’ll burn out the point motor!!
If you wish to operate two points as a pair so that they throw at the same time using just one point leaver switch, on a crossover for example, you’ll need to wire the point motors in parallel. The two diagrams below show how this is achieved. On the SEEP point motors, only one common – Negative wire is connected to each point motor (the green wire in the diagram), & not two per point motors as used with the Peco PL-10 point motors shown in the diagram below. Both point motors are connected up to the common return wire (shown in green) & this run directly back to the CDU unit.
If you find that after wiring the point motors up as shown in the diagram that they throw opposite ways, the second diagram shows which +positive wires need to be swapped around. With both +positive wires swapped around, the point motors will then work in sync.
For our layout, the diagram below shows how we’ve wire up the four points for DC using the point levers to control them. You’ll notice that we’ve wired the cross over up to one lever, as this controls both motors on the crossover. Only three point levers are needed, one for the point in the yard, one for the 2nd siding & one for the cross over.
This concludes our look at installing & wiring up point motors for the layout on both DCC & DC. In the next upcoming parts we’ll take a look at some more kits to detail the layout as well as some fiddleyard add on boards.