Model Railway Electrics -
At some point during
construction of your model you have to make or buy a control box
for your switches etc, once you've decided what you want which
is all down to personal choice really. This is one I knocked up
in a couple of hours and thought it might give inspiration to
My layout will have two levels with the bottom level containing
the fiddle yard. I therefore need this to be running perfectly
prior to constructing the top board over it. With all the track
laid and tested I installed Peco point motors resulting in
dozens of wires hanging all over the place. So the time had came
for me to knock up a box to house the switches. If it works
okay, I'll have a similar one for my upper level positioned on
the left of my controllers. This control box is going on the
right hand side.
First thing to do is decide on and then purchase the type of
switches / buttons you require. Also decide whether you'll be
having any connectors in the box. Again buy a couple and take
them all along to wherever you buy the box and make sure you can
get them to fit inside the box, especially vertically. (see
Aluminium Box PC24
Push to make buttons
(to deliver a short burst of power to a point motor to
change the points)
SPDT switches (on-on)
or (on-off) to turn components on and off or to operate
signals (on-on) Us DPDT to operate two separate circuits
with one switch.
virgin box. (It's upside down by the way)
2. Check the switches will fit
inside the box
3. Mark out your plan on the top (I
used CD Marker pens)
4-5. I went over the lines I had
drawn with some 5mm coloured tape like this a roll insulating. A
bit like the picture below. tip:
It's easier if you drill the holes and then tape up otherwise
the drilling makes an awful mess of your nice neat taping.
6. To provide added protection and keep
grubby finger marks off, I used some 2mm thick clear
polycarbonate sheeting cut to size for the top.
Mark the position
of your switches and gently centre punch these marks.
8. Drill 1mm pilot holes through each
button/switch punch mark.
9. Tape the poly sheet over the top of
your plan to aid accurate drilling.
10. Turn the box upside down and drill back
through the poly using the pilot holes as guides.
Note: The pilot holes act as
accurate centres for you to drill out larger holes to accept the
buttons and switches.
11. Using a suitably sized drill bit to accept
your buttons and switches (mine was 7mm) drill thro all the
pilot holes in the box and the poly sheet - I found it easier
and neater to drill the box and sheet as separate items. Don't
worry about having to fix the sheeting to the box as the buttons
and switches will do that nicely for you.
12. Install your buttons and switches
through the box face and the poly sheet, tighten them up and
hey-presto you have one reasonable looking switch control box
for under £20.
You just have a bit of
soldering to do now.
The screw connectors will be installed in the base of the box
and the wiring loom will exit through a hole in the rear to
terminate at a suitable multi-pin plug and socket. This will
allow the box to be removed to the work bench for any repairs,
alterations or additions.
Hope it's of some help
[back to the top]
For an alternative Control Box please see