Pneumatics and switchstand in action!
Application of a solenoid with a switch stand. The actuator throws the switch and turns the switchstand so you can see from a distance that the switch actually changed. (Courtesy Ken MacKenzie)
To install the actuator.
Firstly determine which side of the switch you should mount the actuator so that the switch is set to the main when not energized. Offer the actuator up to the headblocks (the two long ties) of the switch so that the throw pin is under the switch throwbar. Note the position and drill a .086” (#44 drill) hole in the throwbar, see photo below left. It’s desirable to have the hole a little bigger than the pin, to allow for some lateral movement. Sunset Valley switches already have a suitable hole molded in the throwbar. Insert the throw pin into the hole and let the actuator plate rest on the headblocks. Now pull the plate back about 1/8” to apply some spring tension to the point rails, and mark the position of the mounting holes in the headblocks. Drill .079”dia holes (#49 drill) in the headblocks and attach the plate with #2-56x3/8” screws. Check for free movement of the throwbar. The actuator has ½” of movement, and will give a 20oz force to close the point rails in both directions.
The actuator can be mounted under the switch so that it is invisible, see photo below right . You can also attach a switchstand (with the handle removed) to be mounted on the headblock, operated by a wire or paper clip on the throwbar, as seen in the photo . When the pneumatic actuator is activated it will throw the switch and turn the switchstand 90 degrees so you can see from a distance that the switch actually changed. (You can't keep the handle on the switchstand to operate it manually as well as pneumatically). When mounted this way, to protect the moving parts from stones and dirt, cut an 8” long piece of 1” landscape pipe lengthwise to make a trough under the headblocks.
An advanced application of 24 solenoids and indicators integrated with an AirWire 900 control (Courtesy Jim Cary)
Screw the barb into a fitting and push a hose onto the barb for a permanent connection. Screw the plug into a fitting to seal up the opening
BARB $1.20 PLUG $0.95
A nice installation of three actuators with some added weathering. The nearest switch has the actuator underneath it and is almost invisible (Courtesy Paul Burch)
Use a Quick Disconnect when you need to frequently break a line, for example across a lift bridge etc. Press the end cap to release the tube
QUICK DISCONNECT $2.80
Adaptor set to connect the system to an air compressor. Has a 1/8”NPT and a ¼” NPT male fitting
Use a Tee to operate two turnouts simultaneously from one toggle switch. Use a Union to join two pieces of hose.
Solenoid valve to pneumatically control switches using an electrical signal, for example an AirWire 900 system. Solenoid is 12VDC (option 24VDC), and uses 1Watt of power. Must be mounted on a manifold, which can take up to 4 solenoids
SOLENOID MANIFOLD $25.95
The actuator is screwed to the headblocks of the switch and the throw pin is inserted into a hole drilled in the throwbar. Up to ½” movement is possible, most turnouts need about ¼”. It comes with a straight barb connector. You can order an elbow (ELL) to make a right angle turn out of the actuator. Please see installation instructions below.
The toggle switch is best mounted on a panel for convenience. Connect the back port to the supply, the side port to the turnout.
The Sunset Valley pneumatic switch operating system is a simple and robust way to remotely operate your G gauge switches, using industrially rated components for reliability and long life. The system will work with all popular makes of G gauge switches. Installation is very simple. All you need is an actuator, a toggle switch and some hose, as can be seen in the photo, together with a compressed air supply (the hoses can be up to 200 ft long). Our system fits to Del-Aire and EZ Aire components
The toggle either applies or releases air pressure to the actuator, which throws the switch. An internal spring in the actuator resets the switch when pressure is released. The user needs to provide a small compressor to supply air at 30psi to the system. (The components of our system are rated for 90psi, but 30psi is all you need). An alternative, used by Michael Ragg of Argyle Locomotive, Australia, is a regular 2 gallon garden sprayer, pumped up to 40psi. This should last a whole operating session without re-pumping.
Use when you want to control one switch with two toggles. There are two ways to do this.
1) Shuttle valve. A small ball in the shuttle blocks one port when the other is pressurized, allowing either toggle to activate an actuator without exhausting through the other toggle. Both toggles must be in the closed position before one can be opened. Special order.
2) Diverter/selector valves. Set of two valves. These operate in the same way as a 2 way electrical switch, i.e. switching either will reverse the operation of the actuator. These replace the regular toggles.
DIVERTER / SELECTOR SET $59.80
The toggle switch has a nickel plated lever, however this can still rust a little in very humid outdoor environments. This white plastic cover will hide and reduce rusting.
Manifolds are used for controlling multiple switches. Four sizes are available, with 4,6,8 or 12 outlets. By removing the rear plug and buying a barb you can add another outlet, eg the 4 outlet becomes a 5 outlet, etc.
MANIFOLD 12 $24.95
MANIFOLD 8 $18.95
MANIFOLD 6 $16.95
MANIFOLD 4 $15.25
Indicator, to tell if the line to each switch is activated. No electrical power required. Just tee off the line to the switch. The bezel color turns from black to red
INDICATOR RED $15.95
Hose is UV resistant brown colored polyurethane. Simply push onto the barbed fittings of components for a permanent join. Hose and fittings will take 90psi without damage.
HOSE, per 10 ft $3.90
HOSE, 500ft reel $150.00
Hooking up the solenoids to a Java Model Railroad Interface (JMRI)
(Courtesy Eric Reuter)
Hooking up the solenoids to an Airwire 900 system
Strongly recommended if your compressor does not have a filter on the outlet port. Comes with a 5 micron element to completely clean the air and keep your pneumatic system running smoothly.
See links below to hook up the solenoids to your DCC system