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Old 07-24-2010, 04:04 AM   #1
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How to make an invisible DPDT switch using track and train Car (wire diagram & more)

DISCLAIMER: remember wherever you use this switch don't have another power source connected as well or you will cause a short 99% of the time.

I decided for my DC layout to make my own invisible DPDT Toggle Switch using a box car and a spare pieces of track. I will post more pictures when I get to complete the project.

What you need:
1. a section of track two times the length of the train car you want to use or more. (this section will be seperate from your layout that you could put on your layout almost anywhere to look like old unused siding or a forgotten line.)

2. wire for making the power leads. (I'm using Category 5 wire)
3. solder iron with solder
4. insulating joiners or just cut gaps in track itself
5. a sacrificial Train Car of your choice with metal wheels

how to prepare the train car:

Method 1. (soldering to wheels)
First take shell off Box Car drill 1/32" holes to feed wire leads through to the wheels to make the solder joints.
Next solder the front right wheels to the back right wheels with a wire lead.
Then solder the front left wheels to the back left wheels with a wire lead.
(if you want to you could put a 12-16 volt scenery light in the car for more effect)
Now reassemble your car and set it aside.

Method 2. (no soldering to wheels required)
First take shell of Box Car off.
Drill 1/32" holes for to feed wire leads through in both the frame and the trucks centered between the wheels.
expose about 1/2" of the wire.
Next remove the axels from the truck wrap one wire tightly around the center of the axel and replace in the truck.
Doing the same step to the second axel but this time when putting it back in make sure the isolated wheel is on the opposite side. (if you look close you can see a black ring where the axel meets the back of the wheel.)
Doing this makes one truck pickup both positive and negative power and allows the car to roll.

Just repeat the same process for the other truck and make sure that the power leads are same polarity on the front and back of the Box Car I simply reversed which side of the truck the wire leads feed into. (see pictures below)

As you can see above I installed a light to indicate power is on and soldered leads together as needed.

Now for the switch portion of track.

First find the middle of the car and put it in the middle of the track section measuring from the front of the car go about 1" and cut the track.
Now 1" from the back of the car cut the track again.

Your car should fit on the cut section with 1" on each end.
using insulated joiners or just having cut a gap in the track you now have the the basic components of a DPDT Toggle made using track and the car in place as the switch handle.
To go left move the car to the left to go right move the car to the right and to stop place the car in the middle section between the gaps you've made.

Now simply follow the wiring diagram I've provided and you've got yourself a nearly invisible switch to control the direction of your trains movement on any section of track you choose to connect it to.

It was suggested to me by goodstuff3 that I could use a hobo fire or anything that would have light to make an idicator of which side of the switch is powered. Thank you Phil for your valuable addition to my invention.
I installed a 12-16Volt scenery light to ilustrate the idea it does require you install two diodes to prevent both indicators from lighting at the same time depending on which way the box car switch is switched to. (see diagram for placement of diodes)

If you've got any questions feel free to ask!

Wiring Diagram

The car wired and ready to go with light to indicate power is on.

Box Car Switched to RIGHT with indicator light lit showing power to propell locomotive to the right.


DISCLAIMER: remember wherever you use this switch don't have another power source connected as well or you will cause a short 99% of the time.

Last edited by AndyD5 : 07-24-2010 at 04:11 PM.
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