I am not sure if this would be the best place to ask this.

I keep thinking if would be interesting to be able to open doors on a Roundhouse/Engine Shed remotely. I did see the post someone put out a while ago that Stan replied to about a way to have roundhouse doors open. I am not sure if that way mentioned there would work for what I would like to do.

Ideally I would like to be able to open or close the door on a roundhouse, and an engine shed using the DCS System and using the LCS System(using the appropriate component for each), if there would be any way to do it.

Has Anybody figured out a way to do it, or would the post that I have seen be able to do that.


Original Post

What about try using a Tortoise switch machine ?   I don't know anything about DCS or LCS, but, can't a Tortoise switch machine be controlled by a DCS system ? 

If you have a roundhouse with more than 2 doors that might be work to cram in the switch machines under the layout.

I typed in a search for Servos and found this.  Servos used to open roundhouse doors.


How bout that !

Or go old school and try using an automotive choke cable.


I would think it likely Electric Railroad, Dalee, or others could supply a board to use as an interface with near any servo control board. They might even offer something that would control servos themselves. Servos are pretty standardized, only a few options really. Their servos may only be 170° but others can be continuous (360°). I only scanned the text,but it also seems that controller might only offer one door at a time movement too. (which would be even cooler in a way, except for explaining the "ghost". Synchronized operation, you might glue a figure to each door? Oh they also appear to be ac/dc ready. (not a biggie, but that much less work.

The price and shipping? Note that sites ph# was not North America.

Wikipedia used to have a good servo page also.

Finally, to get Stan's, GGG, GRJ's attention, electrical may be a better spot to post. (ask to be moved if they don't catch this. I don't know if you can edit it yourself to move it or not?)

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"


"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.


I just thought it would be kind of cool to implement, I mean some engines have swinging bells and the New Vision line engine coming out has apparently more realistic cylinder steam effect in theory. Though I do have a proof of concept almost ready, I just haven't been able to test it out on my engine house yet since that is the first thing I want to test it on. 

I was able to simulate it on tinker cad for a least a single stall engine house. Of course I decided to implement it using a toggle switch, an arduino type board and two servos, and lots of programming being involved.

Been chewing on this one for a while. My Korber roundhouse is just about finished and I'm getting close to start applying the scenic features around it and the whisker tracks so I put this idea on the back burner for the time being.

My stepson works for a company that engineers and programs machine automation for CNC, robotics and other manufacturing equipment. After looking at what I have in mind he said it would be easy peasy with an Arduino and servos motors. I found this video on YouTube that looks promising. I don't care for the location of the servo but I like the concept.


Both videos suggested above use a standard, off-the-shelf, servo and one of the "arms" that comes with the servo.  The difficult part is designing, fabricating, and installing the linkage between the servo arm and the doors.  That's what I believe is the stumbling block and why these projects remain on a perpetual back-burner.

servo door opener

I have no experience mechanizing roundhouse doors so speak only as an interested observer.  The simplicity of the design on the left is a big selling point and something I'd consider.  I do have some experience with servo mechanisms applied to customized animations rather than a traditional r/c plane, boat, whatever.  What I have found a useful prototyping process is a servo exerciser which is about $1 (on eBay, free shipping from Asia) paired with an entry-level servo which is also about $1.

messing with servos for just a few bucks

Servos come with several different "arms" which snap on to the output shaft of the servo box.  A servo exerciser (you will need to provide 5V DC) allows you to set the servo arm's angle across its range which is about 1/2 turn.  This is shown in the video below starting at about 10-seconds into the video.  There is a lot of stuff in the latter part of the video which you can ignore as I made this for a different OGR topic.

My point is the final electronics which makes the doors open slowly, and stops the doors exactly at the right positions without ripping the door off the hinge, and "knows" how to reverse the motor for opening vs. closing, etc. should be put aside as tomorrow's problem.  Defer the choice of "electronics" whether it be an Arduino with custom programming, an off-the-shelf programmable servo controller as from the U.K. company, or some 555 timer IC chip homebrew concoction.

Instead of fretting about the electronics, focus like a laser on a reliable mechanical linkage.  Use the servo exerciser to "manually" turn the knob slowly back and forth to simulate the door opening/closing at prototypical speeds.  


Photos (2)

You can do it without motors or push buttons, Hook up the doors to a string, a spring and some straight wire. The spring pulls the door open a bent wire on the ceiling gets pushed to the back of engine house closing the doors behind you. when you back out the spring pulls the door open. I saw this on a G gage engine shed. I think Delton trains or Kalamazoo trains.

Ron045 posted:
Paulee posted:


I saw in York once, Altoona Model Works  operating roundhouse doors. Below is a link to the video showing them working.


That looks pretty complex...and delicate.  Did you see the video YouTube recommended after yours?  This looks much easier.



Yes, looks like a great idea. If I were to design one I think I would mount the servos or motors under the layout and mount the doors to hinge on rods with a hidden drive. 

Similar to double-acting French doors, I know at Thomas Jefferson's house in Monticello, he had a device installed under the floor. It was "a figure-8 bar-and-chain arrangement" that would activate both doors at the same time.

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