Plenty of different types of electrical switches will be utilized in wiring your model railroad. It will possibly often be quite confusing trying to decide what kind of switch to use when. For instance, what is the difference among the many SPST, DPST, SPDT or DPDT varieties? What do all those letters mean?
Many modelers like to use the Atlas switches for their control panels to try to simplify the process, but even these are confusing sometimes. How are you aware when to make use of the Atlas Selector, Connector, Twin and Relay Switches? Hopefully, this page will help clear things up.
Single Pole (SP) vs. Double Pole (DP)
The difference between single pole and double pole electrical switches is the variety of items that the switch can control.
If you employ a single pole switch, it’s going to control one accessory. A double pole switch can control 2 accessories.
Single Throw (ST) vs. Double Throw (DT)
-The only throw electrical switch is an “on-off” type switch. One flip of the switch turns the sunshine on, Flip the switch the other way and it turns off.
-A double throw switch is an “either-or” type switch. You may have either one light on or another but not both. Or you’ve got either one section of track powered on or another but not both at the same time. In other words, when you flip the switch a technique, Light A comes on and Light B goes off. Flip it the opposite way, Light B comes on and A goes off.
Putting Them Together
SPST – Turns one light (or track) on or off.
DPST – Turns two separate things on or off using one switch.
SPDT – One way turns A on and B off. Flip the switch to turn B on and A off.
DPDT – One way turns 2 things on and 2 other things off. The other way reverses this. This can be utilized to manage track polarity of an isolated section of track. A technique turns Rail A positive and Rail B negative. The opposite way turns B positive and A negative.
Atlas Electrical Switches
-Each Atlas Connector switch is a collection of 3 simple SPST switches.
-Each Atlas Twin switch has 2 DPDT switches. These are used primarily for wiring reversing loops and wye tracks. For example, you may hook the primary line tracks to 1 switch and the reverse loop section of track to the opposite switch. Each switch changes the polarity of the track one way or the opposite. When the train approaches the reverse loop and the turnout is pointed toward the right, the DPDT switch for the reverse loop polarity is about so that the polarity is lined up for that route. Then, as the train comes across the loop and approaches the other end of the reverse loop, the main line polarity has to be reversed by the second DPDT switch to just accept the train coming back in a reverse direction. That is used mostly for block wiring, not DCC.
-An Atlas Selector switch basically can control the ability to blocked sections of tracks coming from one source (transformer A) or another source (Transformer B). This again is generally for block wiring, not DCC.
-To manage lights in buildings, I just use the Atlas Connector switches (SPST) with each switch controlling a separate light. You can hook up a couple of lamp to one switch (better to do it in-parallel than in-series) if you want. This would be easy to do with a terminal strip. This is likely to be a good suggestion in case you have lots of street lamps you want to manage with one switch.
-An Atlas Snap Relay Switch can be utilized to to activate a secondary event once the switch to the primary event is thrown. For example, if you throw a switch to activate a particular isolated section of track, wires from that circuit to the relay switch may cause lights to come back on or an animation to be activated at the identical time.
Other Varieties of Electrical Switches
Momentary Switches could be push-button or toggle-type switches that are spring-loaded in order that if you push the button, power goes to the device only as long because the button is being pushed. As soon because the button is released, power goes off again. The Atlas version of this is the Switch Control Box (momentary slide switches), but there are a lot of others as well. These are used mostly for turnout switches since, if the facility stays on to the switch machine too long, it should burn out. They are often used for uncoupling devices also.
Magnetic Reed Switches are long thin wire-like switches which might be activated by the presence of a magnet. You possibly can place one of these under the track rails between the ties and place a small magnet on the bottom of a railcar, so that when the railcar with the magnet travels over the switch, the device that the switch is connected to might be activated (e.g, a light in a building, a section of track or an animated device).
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