Dean’s been in touch and shows us how he installed his HO scale switch machine:
“Al, cheers from Dean in New Mexico!
Today I want to show how I installed and wired the Atlas HO scale /N Under-Table Switch Machine, which is available from Amazon and others.
This is a very versatile machine which is easy to install and wire.
Since it is an under the table mount, it is not visible and gives a more realistic looking layout.
I used #6 switches throughout this layout and the ones I used didn’t come with machines.
I used the Atlas switch machines in two places on my N-Scale Conejos Valley Railroad, in a usual under-table installation and in a hidden above-table installation with a linkage.
The linkage and switch machine will be hidden with scenery later.
In the photo below I show a mockup showing how you wire this machine to its controller (on the right). You use three wires.
The center one is the common connector and I usually use a green wire for this.
For the other two wires, I use whatever colors I have at hand.
There are two solenoids inside the machine and the controller makes a momentary connection to one or the other to drive the mechanism in one direction or the other.
If the switch operates in the wrong direction, reverse these two leads.
I’ll talk about the power supply, which connects to the screw terminals on either side of the switch controller, below.
The photo below shows how I twist the three wires together using a drill machine. This gives a neat, sturdy, bundle.
First, I’ll show how I mounted the below table switch machine to the upper track. This was a normal type mounting.
Before I mounted the switch to the track, I had cut a short slot in the baseboard directly under the throw bar of the switch.
I screwed the machine on a 3/8” thick board using the screws that came with it. To make the mechanism accessible, I cut a hole in the two layers of Styrofoam that supports this section of track.
After the assembly was centered in the correct position, I held the machine and its board to the upper baseboard with a C-clamp.
Then I drilled two screw holes through everything and put in two counter-sunk screws to hold the machine in place. These two screws will be covered with ballast so they won’t be seen. If I ever have to service the machine, I can find these screws and remove them.
I don’t like scrabbling around under the train table installing switch machines, so whenever possible I put the machine in an accessible spot.
You can see the second machine on the left of the photo below. It is mounted on two 3/8” boards that are then glued to the table.
When I put in scenery, I will cover the machine and the linkage with scenery. The throw bar of the switch is connected to the tongue of the machine with a thin, rigid wire which has a hook on one end (going to the throw bar) and a circle on the other.
The circle fits over the tongue and is held with a small nut which happens to just fit the tongue. The wire slides inside a styrene cylinder. I glued the end of the cylinder near the switch with hot glue after everything was adjusted.
Below is a photo of the two controllers. These are connected to their respective machines with the three wire bundles and to the power leads to the power supply with the two wires off to the right.
More information on the installation of these two switch machines:
Hope that this has been instructive and that you give this machine a try in the future.
A big thanks to Dean for sharing his HO scale switch machine install.
That’s all for today folks.
Please do keep ’em coming.
And if today is the day you get started on your layout, with or without switches, the Beginner’s Guide is here.
PPS HO scale train layouts here if that’s your thing.