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I have been working on my new layout for several weeks - doing benchwork, running bus wires, working on track layout, etc.  I decided to tackle the power center before actually laying track and went with, what I think, is a creative way to mount and operate the ZW-L.  The "reveal-a-shelf" brackets are used in kitchens, generally for mixers (up to 60 pounds) to be stored out of sight in a cupboard.  I figured it would work for my transformer and Legacy command base.  When ready to use, simply pull the shelf up and out until it locks.  When finished, pull the levers and lower it out of the way.

The sides of the cabinet house the Power Bricks for the outer 3 tracks, which will be Legacy only.  The ZW-L will handle the inner 2 loops and allow for the option of command or conventional control, and control 2 accessory bus lines.

Dennis

Command Center 1Command Center 2Command Center 4Command Center 5Command Center 6Command Center 7Command Center 8

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Last edited by dennish
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Mark,

I was watching your progress, with interest, as you built your lift bridge.  I have a 32" span that I am going to attempt to put lift in.  It will contain 5 curved portions of track, so it should be interesting to design.  I would like to put it on a linear actuator with a joystick, but we shall see as things progress.

Lift Bridge Opening 1Lift Bridge Opening 2

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John,

What does the hinge mechanism look like for that lift "panel"?  As you may not know, I used "dennis" benchwork for mine !  But, I bet the lifting aspect could be tailored to fit my lift panel.  I figured on laying the track out on the hinged section, securing it down, and then cutting the track in strategic places.  It all sounds good!

The layout (13' by 32') is split into two halves right above the control panel and on the other end where the lift section will be.  On the outer 3 loops, there is a separate 180 watt power brick for each half of each loop - which are mounted on each side of the power center.  I wanted conventional control on the inner two loops and the ZW-L gives that option, as well as command control if I choose.

Dennis

Chuck, it may indeed bite me in the future, but I have it working well right now.   In trying to fit the track plan in, that's where it ended up.  I originally was using four switches there for a double cross-over, but as you can see, adding the inside loop and the siding on the other side made it necessary to come up with another solution.  This is what I started with...

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  • mceclip0
@dennish posted:

John,

What does the hinge mechanism look like for that lift "panel"?  As you may not know, I used "dennis" benchwork for mine !  But, I bet the lifting aspect could be tailored to fit my lift panel.  I figured on laying the track out on the hinged section, securing it down, and then cutting the track in strategic places.  It all sounds good!

The layout (13' by 32') is split into two halves right above the control panel and on the other end where the lift section will be.  On the outer 3 loops, there is a separate 180 watt power brick for each half of each loop - which are mounted on each side of the power center.  I wanted conventional control on the inner two loops and the ZW-L gives that option, as well as command control if I choose.

Dennis

There's no "hinge", the lift-bridge comes straight up.  Here it is up, down, and just before the tracks mate.  It actually moves on what appears to be heavy-duty drawer slides.  Once you get everything leveled, the bridge is quite precise in it's mating, and I've had no problem with the tracks lining up properly when it's down.  I actually have the tracks on the bridge slightly overhanging the edge to insure I don't catch the stationary sections of track with the moving bridge.  There is a cable system and winch motor that raises and lowers the span.  The cable loop you see along the sides bring the power and switch controls to the stuff on the bridge.

Lift-Bridge Raised (Open)

Lift-Bridge N1



Lift-Bridge Lowered (Closed)

Lift-Bridge N2



Lift-Bridge Just Before Mating On Closing

Lift-Bridge N3

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Speaking of power centers, here's my control center with power and command/WiFi systems.

I run 98% command, so I have the PH180 bricks.  For conventional, I have the two variable channels on the MTH TIU, one on the mainline and one on sidings. Along the top row are the DCS Perpetual Watchdog generators for everything but the mainline.

All my DZ-2500 switch machines come to the punch-down blocks near the bottom.  Right now the wiring is in flux, I'm working on a fix for the serial data issues for the CSM2 LCS boxes so I can clean up the wiring and lose the DZ-1002 Data Driver.  The relay boards at the top are for switching power to sidings remotely.  Most of my control wiring is CAT5 Ethernet cable.

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John,

I like the lift, but I don't think I would be able to create something of that nature from scratch!  It sure does look nice and it is functional.  There were several threads on the forum about using hinged sections and linear actuators to lift the section.  That was my plan.  I can still crawl on my hands and knees (for now) but you never know what the future holds.  This should be the last layout I build for myself !

I decided to stay away from the TIU (cost, availability, ignorance, etc.) and actually prefer to use just the Legacy remote for controlling trains.  For my MTH locomotives, I have no problems running them conventionally.

I can barely make a phone call on my phone, let alone use it to run trains !!!!!  So the Wi-Fi option was a no brainer for me - literally !

But, I do like your control center - out of the way, but accessible !

I have no issue crawling under today, but the lift bridge was for tomorrow.  As you say, you never know what tomorrow brings!

For the space you have for your lift gate, I don't know that you could use the Mianne lift bridge, it assumes you have a foot on either side of the actual lift section for the fixed portion of the structure.  This is what the whole kit looks like, the lift section can be anything from around 24" wide to what I have 48" wide.  The depth is also variable, mine is as wide as they allow as well.

The good part of my power and control panels is they don't have to be accessible for everyday running.  Everything runs from the Legacy/TMCC and DCS remotes, and I also have the WiFi capability for both MTH and Lionel.  I'll be using the LCS on the iPad for controlling the switches and having a visual indication of all the route settings is nice. One cool feature of the LCS WiFi is my computer has direct access to the Legacy base via the Legacy System Utility (LSU) application.  I can do base backups, add and delete engines and their descriptions, accessories, switches, routes, etc., all from a full keyboard.  Doing this on the CAB2 is a PITA, so I really appreciate how easy it is to do it with the computer.

My transformer power control and any required circuit breaker resets all happen from my little power controller.  I can reset any of the four PH180 from this remote and also kill power to the entire layout.  I have four of these, usually when operating I keep one in my pocket.

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Yes, I put the bridge down, laid all the track, and then used the Dremel with a 90 degree cutting adapter to cut the rails.

I haven't done anything to protect against the bridge being up, it's a fairly complicated issue.  There are three power districts represented by the bridge tracks, each would have to be individually switched.  Given this is a fairly small space, I'm just counting on not having stupid people running trains and manipulating the bridge.  I can always kill the power to the lift bridge for any operating session if I feel the need to protect against inadvertent bridge openings.  So far, there's only been a handful of people over, and they've all been smart enough not to raise the bridge when a train is trying to cross.

@dennish posted:

Mark,

I was watching your progress, with interest, as you built your lift bridge.  I have a 32" span that I am going to attempt to put lift in.  It will contain 5 curved portions of track, so it should be interesting to design.  I would like to put it on a linear actuator with a joystick, but we shall see as things progress.

Lift Bridge Opening 1Lift Bridge Opening 2

Dennis, a curved lift up bridge would look great!  I’ll look forward to seeing your progress!

@mike g. posted:

I would show you my lift, but I am sure you already seen it. LOL

Yes, Dennis has seen mine and it is an adaptation of Mike’s.

Dennis I do want to say you are smart in planning ahead for a time when you may not be as able as you are now.  When I started planning my current layout, I specified it had to be either walk-in or have a lift up entrance, with arm reach access to everything.  I was 61 and could still crawl around and wiggle into tight spots.  When I was 63, I had to have a knee replacement, and I can’t put my weight on it ever again.  Two weeks ago I had a double back fusion, and I am not quite 65 yet.  I didn’t have any accidents; all of it was described by the surgeons as wear and tear.  What a difference in less than 4 years.  I’m glad I planned for the future!!!!!

@Mark Boyce posted:

I was 61 and could still crawl around and wiggle into tight spots.  When I was 63, I had to have a knee replacement, and I can’t put my weight on it ever again.  Two weeks ago I had a double back fusion, and I am not quite 65 yet.  I didn’t have any accidents; all of it was described by the surgeons as wear and tear.  What a difference in less than 4 years.  I’m glad I planned for the future!!!!!

I guess at close to 78 and still able to crawl under the layout I don't have any complaints to lodge!   However, planning for the future was what the lift bridge was all about, I'm suspect my "flexible" days are living on borrowed time.

I guess at close to 78 and still able to crawl under the layout I don't have any complaints to lodge!   However, planning for the future was what the lift bridge was all about, I'm suspect my "flexible" days are living on borrowed time.

John, you have done well.  I took my dad to the doctor with a sore knee when he was in his late 80s, and one steroid shot fixed him right up.  I have not fared as well as he has because arthritis is getting me everywhere.  He would get sore muscles from working on things, but after a day resting, he was back at it.  I have to plan for the future differently than he did.

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