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  • Drivers' Stations

    I've gotten to the point in building my new 1/32nd scale track where I'm designing the drivers' stations.

    In the past I have included the classic three terminal posts, color-coded red, black and white. Also a lane reverse switch and a brake on/off switch. The lane reverse switch has been useful on occasion. The brake on/off switch pretty much never.

    For my new drivers' stations I am planning on installing the three terminal posts, an XLR female jack and a lane reverse switch. But I'm definitely not including a brake on/off switch. I am also planning on adding a fuse holder at each station, rather than installing a cluster of fuses under the track as I have done in the past.

    I have used those plastic electrical boxes designed for household wiring -- the size commonly used for wall outlets -- to enclose all the electrics at the drivers' stations. But the addition of the XLR jack and the fuse holder would make things more crowded than I'd like. So I am looking into so-called junction boxes to give me a bit more room. Lots of 'em on eBay. I just need to spec out the right size. Some of them have clear plastic lids which could be painted on the inside with the appropriate lane colors. But I may just go with conventional lids that I paint on the outside. Or maybe just paint the wooden support for same.

    I did look at the drivers' stations sold by Slot Car Corner. They are color-coded and you can buy stations that include terminal posts, XLR jacks and lane reverse switches. For US$32.99 each, a bit pricey, but fair for what you get. But they don't offer stations with fuse holders, and they are only panels -- not boxes. So for my project they're not quite what I want.

    I don't know if there are other ready-made options out there.

    Here is a photo of a drivers' station from one of my existing tracks. The plastic tub holding the controller was found on Amazon, part of a set of four in red, green, yellow and blue. They measure 8 x 12 x 5 inches deep.

    Ed Bianchi

    IMG_3113.JPG

  • #2
    Don't you have a 3D printer?
    CAD for a box with holes is about as easy as it gets. ;-)

    Comment


    • #3
      Here's what I'm doing.

      I'm working on drivers stations for my track as well. See the picture. Yes, using XLR connectors and three "lamp tube" posts for alligator clips. The toggle is for the brakes on/off and the black button is a track call button. The track call buttons on the driver stations will have a switch at the race controller's position to allow them to be used or not depending on who's racing (grand kids or grown ups or actual racers.)



      Pretty much all the components were bought on eBay. The colored vinyl designates the lane color and the white/black/red for the alligator clip posts. I use the lamp tube as I think the alligator clips are more secure and won't pivot and short out on each other like they might on long thin bolts.

      Karl

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      • #4
        Mini Mojo,

        Your track call buttons are a logical add. I've decided not to use them though. Some of the IHSR tracks have them and mostly don't get used. On occasion they've caused confusion.

        I do like your boxes. Where did you get them?

        Ed Bianchi

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        • #5
          What boxes are those? And what's a "lamp tube"?

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          • #6
            Mr. Flippant,

            Yes, I thought about printing my own boxes. The last time I tried that it did not go well. Mostly due to bed adhesion issues. Large, flat objects tend to break loose due to thermal shrinkage or expansion. I lost a number of prints that way. It got frustrating. When I finally did get a print to work it still had some warp in it.

            I suspect the bed temperature is the issue. Finding the right temperature is a hit-or-miss process that is mostly miss. A lot of time and material wasted in the process. For now I'll pony up the money and buy my boxes. Someday I'll get back to the issue and try to find a solution.

            Ed Bianchi

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            • #7
              Lamp tube or lamp pipe nipples are threaded hollow tubes the lamp wires go through on many table lamps.

              They are secured with the brass nuts made for lamps as well.

              The threaded outside helps the alligator clips not slide off while 1/2 of the alligator clip goes inside the tube.

              The boxes came from eBay. Search for "158x90x60mm Waterproof Plastic Electronic Project Box Enclosure" and were sent from China. Several different prices so shop carefully but some with free shipping.

              Karl

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              • #8
                Thanks for the box info Karl.

                I have been using 10-24 UNC screws and they've worked quite well. They're just the right size to fit in the divot at the base of standard alligator clips. They're plenty rugged enough -- never had one bend or break.

                You do need to space the terminal posts so there is no chance of the alligator clips contacting and shorting out. I space them on 1-1/8 inch (29mm) centerlines.

                FYI, the metal washer under the machine nut is a #10 finishing washer, turned upside down. Spreads the load over the plastic washer, and acts like a lock washer besides.

                The plastic washers are painted nylon fender washers.

                Ed Bianchi

                IMG_3114.JPG
                Attached Files
                Last edited by HO RacePro; 06-06-2021, 10:47 AM.

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                • #9
                  I just ordered 4 junction boxes from Amazon -- US$5.99 each. Price and delivery beat anything on eBay. They are waterproof rated IP65.

                  LeMotech ABS Plastic Electrical Project Case Power Junction Box, Project Box Black 7.87 x 4.72 x 2.95 inch (200 x 120 x 75 mm)

                  Free shipping and returns. Much faster delivery than similar boxes shipped from China. Projected delivery is Saturday this week -- less than six days. Boxes shipped from China might not arrive until September!

                  They're a bit bigger than ideal, but I can't beat the price. The smaller boxes are actually more expensive. I guess they want to clear some inventory.

                  Ed Bianchi



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                  • #10
                    My favorite drivers stations ever, were the most simple. Just bolts sticking up. My next build, I will do something similar.

                    Most folks wind up laying their controllers on the table anyways...

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                    • #11
                      Well, sure, when there's space for them, and no where else to hang/put them. ;-)

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                      • #12
                        We have tracks with front shelves, controller holders, you name it. For some reason, someone will still lay there controller on the track, on "accident". LOL

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                        • #13
                          Yeah, people still do that, I concede. But you pictured a track with no other option. ;-)
                          I think it's most likely people who have their own track, and are used to doing that because there's (almost) never anyone else racing on their track. ;-)
                          But that's just a guess.

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                          • #14
                            Just curious. Why a brake on/off switch rather than a potentiometer/rheostat?

                            Randy

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                            • #15
                              We race HO scale AFX non-mag, Magnatraction, T-jets, T-Dash, and the like, hard bodies, pretty much stock arms and mags. With the XLR jacks you can't just not hook up the brake wire. Works for us and keeps it simple. Since I supply the cars and controllers and I'm the only one with a track it's the same for all.

                              If everyone brought their own cars and controllers, they could put a potentiometer on their own controller.

                              For a race, everyone else picks their car to race before I do just to keep the "home field advantage" for me as low as possible.

                              Karl

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