Turnout Control

Turnouts on the WVR can be controlled with three methods: throttles, JMRI panels, and when the turnout is in open country, there are facia controls as shown above. The Digitrax throttles used on the WVR have a switch control function, you just need to know the turnout’s number in the JMRI turnout table. This can be a little un-handy unless you have a really good memory, or the numbers are marked on the facia. Instead, I prefer to use facia panels in less congested areas of the layout, or iPad control panels in high density areas.

The facia panels are 3D printed in two colors of resin, black and white. There is a red and green LED indicator showing the turnout state. The decoder located nearby controls the LEDs. The pushbutton is wired to an input on the RR-Cirkits Tower Controller. The tower controller sends a turnout message through the Loconet buss which tells JMRI the turnout state. The command station receives the message as well and relays it through the DCC bus to the Accessory controller which sets the turnout accordingly. At the same time, JMRI updates any control panels that the turnout might be represented on.

The iPad control panels are placed locally to the more congested areas of the layout. I currently have three older models which were purchased for less than $25 each on Ebay. The JMRI computer runs a web server which can be accessed via WiFi to display panels created with JMRI. It is quite a bit easier to make a change on one of these virtual panels than to modify a physical panel with switches, LEDs, and some kind of printed track diagram.

The panel below is for one of my yards. The main is red, indicating that it is occupied. The turnout symbols are touch activated and change to reflect the turnout state. The round buttons on the yard ladder set the turnouts required to reach that track from the yard lead. This is done using JMRI. The pairs of red or green dots are touch activated to control magnetic uncouplers.

The diagram below shows how the accessory decoder is wired to the DCC buss and the turnout servo which operates the switch. Turnouts on the WVR are Peco brand and have powered frogs. A relay on the accessory decoder is used to change the frog polarity as the turnout state changes. You can also see the facia panel wiring.

Below is an accessory decoder. There is a standard three pin male servo plug abd below that is the terminal for 5V power. The RJ45 connector is a throw-back to a previous design. the only function it provides is a panel LED power, if used. There is a track connection which is for DCC. The connection marked “pnt” is the switch point power and the one below that is the DCC to the accessory controller circuit. In a detected block, this lead must not be part of the detection circuit or there will be a false occupancy detection due to the small amount of power the decoder circuit draws continuously.

The Arduino Pro Mini is programmed to detect and decipher DCC messages and controls the LEDs and servo. It also controls the yellow 5V relay which switches the point polarity. A hobby servo is glued into a 3D printed bracket and mounted below the sub roadbed. A .039 length of music wire is used to move the turnout.