Air powered turnout control.

Greg Elmassian

At the Queen Mary show, I visited the California & ORegon Coast
Railway booth.

I was interested in switch machines that can take outdoor weather.
The test loop outside my house has shown that all kinds of bugs like
to live in the electric "motor" of my switch machines, and corrosion
is a problem.

They have a line of "air motors" in the E-Z Motion Control line.
Basically a little plunger that easily screws on to the 2 ties either
side of the throwbar. I played with them, they have a little toggle
switch that applies air for one direction, and the air motor
apparently has a return spring inside for the other direction (no air
pressure)... worked very nicely, and looks more prototypical.

There is a small plastic housing that covers the motor so you are not
looking at a shiny brass cylinder. The deal is that it is way smaller
than an electric switch machine. You use small diameter tubing to run
the air, just one line to the motor. They even have the tubing in
multiple colors.

So what does a guy like me do who has DCC? Well, they also make
electric solenoid valves that work from 9-14 or 15-24 vdc. I'll be
trying this stuff out real soon, and will publish the circuit that I
use for the DCC accessory controller. They will even "manifold" the
valves together, so that keeps everything neat and tidy. You can run
the tubing hundreds of feet.

Oh, if you buy the air motors 12 at a time, they are around $10 each.
The electric solenoids are about $38 each.


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