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Here I go starting a control panel for my layout. I don’t even have all the track down and decided to do a control panel and some blocks. I’ll post updates as I get more done, but it isn’t going very fast with life in the way. Comments welcome if I’m going down the wrong track (punny, I know).

Control panel


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  • Control panel
Last edited by Rich Melvin
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I’m going to use relays for the blocks to shutoff the track behind it. I’ll have to dig up the links for what I found on the blocks using relays.  I’ll have some switches on the panel to turn off some blocks too and to operate couplers in the small yard. The turn outs I’ll keep the Lionel fastrack switches they come with. 

interesting, I was researching relays but couldn't quite figure out how to use them on single track with reverse loops at each end as the trains would be going in both directions on the same track. do you have a diagram on how it would work on your track plan? how far apart would the blocks be? and do the relays activate a switch for your green siding or just turn on/off power?

How big is the reverse loop?  Could it hold two trains?  If so, you could have the relay shutdown one section in the reverse loop.

I don't have a full diagram yet, it is a work in progress.  I am thinking of using 3 or 4 block sections on the red line.  The green would be manually shut off via a switch.  I was thinking of using automatic switching when a train is occupied in the green line, but that starts getting more complicated than I wanted for now.  I want to start with a basic automatic block configuration so I can have two trains running on the red line and two on the blue line, and they won't crash into each other.  Once I get farther along, I'll provide more updates on what I did.

I think my blocks will be 5 to 6 feet long each.

Okay, so I've been away from my control panel project for a long time.  I now have a new panel I'm working on for my yard.  I'm going to restart my main panel later, and focus on this one.  I got my first draft in wood back tonight.  It is going to be all laser cut and then I'll fill in the lettering with paint.  Check out the photo.  Once I get all the sizes for the leds, switches, and buttons correct, I'll get it cut in plexi.  


Laser cut test #1


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  • Laser cut test #1
@Mannyrock posted:

MikeWalter     Holy Cow.  THAT is a beautiful panel.  I am just getting ready to paint the face of my panel, and you have given me great ideas.

I love those toggle switches!   Would you minding listing the diodes and resister that you used for the track line lights?

Thank you!  It's been quite a work in progress and finally got the motivation to complete it.

I'm using FastTrack turnouts.  The LEDs are 3mm Green/Red depending on +5 or -5 voltage.  The resistor is a 470 Ohm 1/4 watt.  I am using momentary switches for the turnouts.  The push buttons operate decouplers.

Let me know if you have any more questions, happy to answer.  Good luck! 

Because perimeter aisle space is limited all around my L-shaped layout, I needed to hide control panels UNDERNEATH the layout platform so as to avoid aisle constriction.  I installed a pull-out panel on glider rails for the controls. Handy when in use, and the control panel disappears from view when not needed.   A second pull-out panel is for the transformers. I control my Lionel TMCC-equipped locos with a CAB-1 and others with LionChief controllers.

The switches on my routes are installed to be self-controlling by the anti-derail circuit built-in to the switches, so there's not much need for constant access to the Lionel and K-Line switch controllers on the slide in/out control panel. Photo attached for reference.

Mike Mottler     LCCA 12394


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  • Switch Controller Panel: The panel pulls out for use, pushes back under the platform otherwise.
Last edited by Mike H Mottler

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