I’ve taken a break from tracklaying and have started some more work on the turntable and roundhouse area. I’ve got the roundhouse tracks in place and looking pretty good.
I decided to use rail joiners in the track joints which allow the turntable section to be removed. I don’t like the look, but we’ll just have to disguise this best we can. There is a short YouTube Video showing the completion of the first track HERE.
I also started building a control panel for this. I was concerned about the final size of such a thing, so I designed one up to see how it could be minimized in size. The result was a 4″ x 8.5″ panel. I plan to mount this on the facia above the turntable.
I started with a template drawn with Corel Draw, then created a matching panel graphic and printed it on presentation paper. Using the template, I marked the hole locations in a 4″ x 8 1/2″ piece of 1/8″ lexan and 1/4″ plywood. There is an LCD screen mounted into the plywood and there are small pushbuttons for operation.
Next I’ll need to build a box to hold this and mount it to the facia. Wiring up all those pushbuttons will be a treat! I plan to install a circuit board which will accept two RJ45 jacks. The buttons will be wired to this, then two Cat 5 cables will run back to the controller board which I am re-using from a previous layout. There are two RJ45 jacks on this board as well (bottom).
This board includes an Arduino, diode matrix card, stepper controller, Loconet decoder, and on the right an auto reverser board. I’m using a slip ring to transmit power to the turntable which gives continuous power rather than the typical split ring method which results in dead spots during rotation. This requires the auto-reverser board, but I don’t like my engines sound boards re-booting on the turntable.