OH, I am really annoyed now, I have just lost everything I wrote for my post! I clicked on a link in my email, then it redirected this page! So wen I clicked back, I had lost everything I had typed! I am not typing it out again with that much detail!
Anyway, in answer to your questions...
@ Danny: Yes, the control panel did take quite a bit of working out, but with persiverence I got there in the end. I split up what I wanted to achieve into little bits did them and tested them as I went, so if I made a mistake I wouldn't have to rip it all appart and start again! The electronics wasn't too complicated and with taking electronics at school it made it easier. It is just the sheer quantity of wires that make it look complex, sometimes I had to take a stepback, for a while, think it through and go back to it when I was making it, even though it is simple wiring!
Yes the plan is printed from XTrcCAD, it was very kindly made by Mumbles, so all credit goes to him really. He made it from a really bad drawing of mine that I had scanned in! So if you're reading this Mumbles, thank you!
@ SouthernBoy: No problems, I am glad you like it. I bought the casing for the control box from Rapid Electronics
, this is a link to the product, the one that is highlighted in yellow is the size that I used:Long Linky
(If you click on full technical spec. it will give you all of the sizes)
As for the point switches, they are standard Hornby Passing Contact Switches - R044
There are 18 of them in total, not sure exactly how long they measure in total. Yes they do seem to be very reliable. You shouldn't push the lever over quickly otherwise the point won't operate. They lock when they are in the operated posistion, if un-latched and flicked back quickly the point will not operate properly and so when moved back to first posistion it will throw the point twice. You can't operate too splowly because it could cause the point to burn out, but you do need to move it both ways and not just let it flick back. The only downside of them is that although they lock together they don't very well. I had secured them between two blcoks of wood. The connections are also a bit rubbish, so the way I got round this was to distort the connectors slightly by squeezing them with pliers, this made them fit tighter into the back on the switch and less prone to falling out. The power connection on the opposite end, (the stickey out bit) can be connected to using 3A terminal strip.
They are more fun than SPDT biased centre stable switches, and they do have the advantage of showing you if the point is opperated from its normal posistion (set as to how you plug the wires into the back of the switch). Quite rightly the latter save space and certainly money, the Passing Contact switches come at a price, and an expensive one! Â£6.35 now, so that is Â£114.30 for the switches and that is just the switches alone, no point motors! I decided that it would be worth the additional cost though.
@ lozslouis: Yes it probably is speaker cable that you can see. I wired all of the commons on the points motors back to the power supply, daisy-chaining each one, then I used low grade speaker cable to power either solenoid in the points motors. This is a better quality wire than Hornby supply with the switches and the motors. It comes in whatever length you like! Instead of about 2m (I bought 40m from the local shop, ran out, bought another 10m from Wilkinson, ran out again and then bought another 10m from the local shop! I may aswell have bought the roll off them!). And finally it has a much greater current carrying capacity. Over large distances thin wires have a significant voltage drop, to avoid this heavier grade wire can be used that has greater current carrying capacities.