DPDT switches as turnout actuators installed

Yup, that was the most gripping blog post title I could think of. Anyway, I took the plunge and installed (hacked?) three DPDT slide switches on foam core plates into becoming a means to move the point blades on my turnouts and then also hold them tight against the stock rails. Connecting the point blade to the switch is a short length of steel music wire. The wire has enough spring in it to compensate for the difference in the throw of the switch compared to the short throw of the turnout.

I’m really pleased about this bit of progress. I fretted about how to actuate these turnouts for an eternity and this single detail has been something I’ve never really had much consistent luck with. I’ve put off some layouts in the past for the sake of this simple step and now that I have some experience with it I would definitely do this again. The switches were easy to install and even having bought them here in Charlottetown, they weren’t too expensive ($5 a pair). Like any proud maker, here are some photos showing the switches, how they are mounted and the rod to the turnout. Also as a backdrop is the foam core I’m using as the base and frame for the whole layout.

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While the big excitement here is the means to move the point blades the other excitement borne out of this approach is the ability to switch electrical polarity too. My turnouts are all rail with live frogs. One set of tabs on the back of these switches will determine polarity in the turnout based on route selection and I may use the other set of prongs for power routing for each of the sidings.

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