newbryford
Hi Guys,
I'll try and show a step by step of my control panel for Deadmans Lane, using DCC Concepts Alpha Switch-D, Encoder and Sniffer/DCC driver.

When I built/wired DL, it was always the intention to have separate control of the pointwork and loco, so I didn't need handsets to control the points.

I have a Lenz system - and like many "normal" handsets, they can be a bit cumbersome in accessory operation having to press a number of buttons, as well as remembering point numbers.

As it's an exhibition layout, I wanted to have a mimic style panel for ease of operator use and had considered touch screens and MERG encoders etc, but not looked at them properly, then the Alpha system came along.

I could have piggybacked it onto the Lenz DCC with the use of an Alpha Box, but I discovered that the Sniffer was capable of driving a standalone accessory system.

My mate Chris did the honours with the diagram using powerpoint (I think). Any suitable drawing package will do.
This is A3 sized. (Click to enlarge)

alpha1.jpg 


More later.

Cheers,
Mick
Deadmans Lane - Yellow stuff

Deadmans Lane Panel project - DCC Concepts Alpha
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newbryford
These are the basic building blocks of the Alpha Switch-D system
alpha2.jpg 

This is the Alpha Encoder - it takes signals in via the connectors at the bottom - these can be simple pushbuttons wired for left and right
alpha3.jpg 

But I decided to use the Alpha Switch-D illuminated pushbuttons - these are connected to a control board
alpha4.jpg 

And then the encoder is connected into Alpha Sniffer.
This was originally designed to create a DCC accessory signal into the likes of ESU Ecos and Roco Z21 with DCC sniffer inputs, but it can also be used as a low power stand alone DCC accessory driver - entirely suitable for Digital Cobalts - or in my case, 4 x ESU Switchpilots with Tortoise motors and a few Digital IPs
alpha5.jpg 

More later.
Cheers,
Mick
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newbryford
I laid out the Alpha Switches on the diagram - note - this is the "already altered a couple of times" version - to make sure the buttons had clear space around them to fit the plugs.
They don't have to be at right angles - you can put them "face to face" and angled to make them fit.
There is a template/sticker that lets you do this, but it wasn't available at the time I made my panel

alpha7.jpg 

In the meantime, an A3 sized box was made with softwood frame and 3mm MDF top.
alpha6.jpg 

Once I was happy with the layout of the diagram, I laminated and printed it, punched out the holes for the switches with a 7mm hole punch (from ebay).
Drilled matching holes in the MDF top and assembled the switches.
alpha8.jpg 

alpha9.jpg 

More later
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David Todd
Thanks for laying that out Mick, gives me some ideas for re wiring D.P.
            dt.
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newbryford
Next "problem" was where to put the associated control boards.
They were laid out above the switches
.alpha9a.jpg  

Then a "shelf" was built to screw them onto.
alpha10.jpg 

And then fixed in place.

My panel has three Alpha Switch-D boards, two encoders and one Sniffer.
alpha11.jpg 
Cheers,
Mick
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Jack DC/DCC
I'm at the wiring design stage of my new layout.  12 circuits.  I want to be able to run either DC or DCC on any track.  Got plenty of hardware (Viessman for DCC).  I'm figuring I will have to do two wirings with a multi wired killswitch to move between the two modes.  Anyone done this / have suggestions?  BTW have about 100 engines so all DCC is not realistic.
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Railcoach
I run both DC and DCC but obviously not at the same time.  Well not strictly true. I can run DCC on the Up and DC on the Down and vis-versa because the four X overs are isolated but obviously you can not cross over unless on only one or the other system.  I have a master kill switch but each system has it's own power supply.  On the switching panel I built, the switches are linked so that when DC is off DCC is on and vis-versa. If running both as above, the x over point motors are electrically isolated. It does work very well. 
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newbryford
    All connected up: It is literally two wires in for power and two wires out to control 18 points at present.

alpha15.jpg

 It still needs the bezels around the buttons to be fitted
  alpha16.jpg 
A couple of lessons learnt along the way:

As I was already connecting it to a layout that had accessory decoders that were already addressed (mostly ESU Switchpilots), I had to be careful in my connections between Alpha Switch-D boards and the Alpha encoder inputs.

At the time, there weren't any extension cables available for the switches, so they were plugged in as pairs to the nearest convenient sockets on the D boards, then the three output wires from that channel on the D board were then routed into the correct one on the encoder. (If you look carefully at the wood frame above the upper switch-D panel in the upper photo, it's marked something like 2/9/6/1/7/3 to indicate which channel the D board is connected to the encoder.

I could have re-addressed the Switchpilots, but they are a pain to do individual channel addresses!

For the next panel - the layout already has Cobalt Digital IP motors - I will connect the Switch-D to encoder in sequence and simply "pair" the two buttons to each motor by using the SET/RUN on the motor. At the end of the day, I'm not particularly interested in the exact address off the motor, as long as the button(s) work that motor.

When I connected the panel up to the layout, I had a few points that went the "wrong way" to the buttons on the diagram. Sorted in a couple of ticks by swapping over the plugs into the Switch-D boards.

It's now done two exhibitions and my operators love it.

Next outing for Deadmans Lane will be at the Blackburn Exhibition 10/11 November

Cheers,
Mick

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Ian
Hi.  I’m new to model railways, I am running Dcc locos but I want to control the points separated from the Dcc hand set. 
After a hit and miss attempt to use solenoid point motors and a visit to The showroom in Settle I went for the alpha switch option with a sniffer run separately.
i have made a mimic panel controlling 8 points, but I have run into a problem that only 4 sets of push buttons work the other 4 illuminate on one side and not on the other side. 
I have checked the wiring and the push fit connection, I have also tried replacing the switch and push fit cables with a spare that I have that I know work with out solving the problem.
i am not sure what the problem is or what else I can do to solve the issue
any ideas ?

ian 
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m.bryan
Ian wrote:
Hi.  I’m new to model railways, I am running Dcc locos but I want to control the points separated from the Dcc hand set. 
After a hit and miss attempt to use solenoid point motors and a visit to The showroom in Settle I went for the alpha switch option with a sniffer run separately.
i have made a mimic panel controlling 8 points, but I have run into a problem that only 4 sets of push buttons work the other 4 illuminate on one side and not on the other side. 
I have checked the wiring and the push fit connection, I have also tried replacing the switch and push fit cables with a spare that I have that I know work with out solving the problem.
i am not sure what the problem is or what else I can do to solve the issue
any ideas ?

ian 


I was going to suggest giving us a ring here at Settle, but I presume that was the phonecall I took a few minutes ago........?!
Let me know how you get on with swapping over the left and right channels to try and determine if the issue is related to the Switch-D board, cable or button. 
Are the non-working buttons/lights in a group on one board, or are they spaced at random along the boards?
Just a process of elimination.
We'll do our best to help you out.

M
Mick
DCCConcepts Tech/Customer support
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Ian
Mick. 
I posted the alpha switch panel on Monday morning. Has it arrived ?
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Ian
The other panel I have is all wired in and all the buttons are illuminated when each is set.

however I am having a problem with programming the connected crossover pair of points. I had the working fine using my Lenz hand set and I wondered if I need to reprogram them now it’s connected to the sniff port.  
Ian
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AHJAY
Ian, Mick is away for a couple of days - he will be back Monday

regards, Ahjay
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