HO UK model rail
In preparation to run my rail layout under automatic and ultimately computer control I’ve been toying with a number of contact models.
The reality is that, until I get a Central Station, I’ve been putting off adding contact tracks to my layout, but now (January 2016) the new Märklin Central Station 3 has been announced, it seems like its time to make a start.
The prospect of cutting into trackwork has been off putting, and adding soldered connections in the quantity needed to some 30+ contact points could be messy. I’ve played with reed switches, which would be visible, and would not be aesthetically attractive to my eye and I’ve experimented with IR components and they work, but might need 3 wire or at the very least, 2 per sensor. The one solution which attracts me is the use of a contact track based upon using the middle track studs. This will detect a locomotive as it moves over the studs but it won’t detect its trailing carriages or trucks.
As I prefer the sensor to be out of sight, and not to cost me too much, I’ve erred away from the Märklin products, mainly because of the quantity of contacts I need. This has given me the inclination to make this a DIY project (Do It Yourself). The cost savings have however continued to grow as I need a Dremel cutter is before I can proof the process.