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The Randall Museum in San Francisco hosts a large HO-scale model train layout. Created by the Golden Gate Model Railroad Club starting in 1961, the layout was donated to the Museum in 2015. Since then I have started automatizing trains running on the layout. I am also the layout maintainer. This blog describes various updates on the Randall project and I maintain a separate blog for all my electronics not directly related to Randall.

2018-02-18 - Automation Toggles

Category Randall

Now that the barrier is up, the automation toggles are hard to reach.

The original design goal was that operators can quickly look whether the toggles are physically up or down, and being able to easily flip with up or down. So having them in a central location made a lot of sense. During the renovation, we used to work in the middle area and have direct access to the mountain panel. Now we don't.

Passenger Automation

Branchline Automation

What would make sense now is to have them in the valley panel area.

Another choice is to have both, e.g 3 state toggles (off, rest, on), repeated on both panels. Push up for on, down for off. The computer keeps the state. By then at that point, we might as well not have physical toggles and move the control to the tablet. The “downside” is that it makes the tablet indispensable for the automation, which is a big no-no.


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