Switch Panels on the Sante Fe Model Railroad

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Duration: 6:05

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Gary Hoover is using a DCC system for his Santa Fe model railroad layout. He controls the turnouts by stationary decoders which then run through the DCC system. When he wants to make a position change on a turnout, he issues a command through his handheld controller and then the turnout throws. With all the turnouts on stationary decoders, he can set up routes.

This means that if there is a complicated area, like in Summit where he has to turn all the helpers, he doesn’t have to go throw twelve different switches. If he had to go around and put in the addresses for each of them, it would take a long time. Instead, a route allows him to only have to put in one switch address to make all the switches throw for a particular route.

Gary also has a panel with LED lights to control his switches. He goes on to demonstrate its creation. To build the turnout indicator panels, he uses LEDs of different colors, a pointed grinding tool that inserts into the motor tool, and some common washers and wood screws to mount the finished panel onto the fascia board. He uses a plastic picture material instead of glass because holes are easier to drill.

Finally, he uses a black construction paper as a backing between the plastic and the map. For the map, he uses a personal computer and PowerPoint. Once the map is made, he takes the plastic picture material and uses the motor tool with the pointed grinder to make holes for the LEDs through the back. To see the final result, watch the full video. For more Allen Keller videos, or control panel ideas on the emporia subdivision of the Santa Fe, visit the Model Railroad Academy archives.