I decided this layout would have a separate control panel as I wasn't sure whether I would operate from the front or rear. At home it will probably be the front but if it ever goes to an exhibition then I would expect to operate from the rear of the layout.
I've continued with DCC and used NCE components from Coastal DCC. In this case the control box consists of the standard connector panel with an EB1 short circuit protection board and a mini panel.
I wanted to simplify the control of the points away from switches or buttons for each point and make use of what would traditionally be done by a diode matrix. In this case the mini panel takes up to 30 inputs and you program it to drive whatever accessories or macros you want. In this case it took me about 10 minutes to program the 7 switches.
I've still got a couple of points that are not switching the frogs reliably. I've not had this problem before but for some reason I'm not getting enough throw on the seep point motors to allow the sliding switch to make reliable contact. I've even had a point motor collapse on me, something that has never happened before.
It's quite expensive to have this electronics, probably £100 as opposed to £10 for a diode matrix but this is re-programmable and so mistakes are easily rectified.
All in all this probably took around 4 hours of the bank holiday weekend, not a bad few hours work. However, now it's back to work, plus a holiday, plus trying to move house means blog posts are likely to be even less frequent than ususal.
For reference, all the documents for the NCE components are available as pdfs on their website so I keep copies of them in Evernote on my Nexus tablet. It's a great way to carry all your documents with you when out and about.
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