Turntable Progress

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 added rail joiners above the split line in the two sections to keep things smooth.

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.

Template with hole locations, also cut out for the LCD screen.
Graphic with holes cut for the buttons and LCD, also the Lexan cover with switch mounting holes.
Assembled unit, needs more pushbuttons, but so far, so good. I managed to run my drill a bit slow and used too much pressure on that upper right button (chipped out below).

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.

Underside of the turntable (during construction). Stepper motor below, the slip ring is the black hat looking thing in the center. The wires coming out of it are for track power. The red board is the connection for the IR sensor for homing the turntable at start up.

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