Front Panel, realising what you visualise.

Front Panel, realising what you visualise.

Thinking about an engraved front panel? Well I thought I would write a series of blog entries of considerations, ideas and concepts  about realising what you visualise. This series will cover the impact of different types of components through to the style and representation of graphics on the panel itself.

Part 1.

So you have a great layout or a fantastic layout idea. You’re on your way to realising what you visualise! Next you want to have a mimic and control panel to impress your relatives, friends or club mates; maybe just to make the running of your layout smarter and more interactive.

There can’t be much to think about can there……………………….?

After all it’s just a case of copying the layout plan, a few holes and installing the switches and indicators?

Well, yes and no, with a healthy dose of ‘it depends’. The key element involved in deciding the size of panel is the type and size of switches LED housings. Why so? I hear you ask, well let’s have a look at some examples………..
In this first article we will look at designs for through panel components such as the DCC Concepts alpha mimic LEDs.

Here is a basic two turn out.

What the design calls for is a switch to drive the solenoid and two LEDs to give an indication of direction set by the switch.



The client wishes to use 3mm LEDs fitted in a chrome bezel and a sub miniature toggle switch. As these components are through hole components it will be a straight forward case of cutting the necessary holes and then fixing the switches and indicators to the 3mm Acrylic sheet using the nuts and washers supplied with the components.

Whilst the holes for the LED bezels are 6mm the face is at least 7- 9mm diameter.  The switches also take a 6mm hole. however the washer and securing nut require 9.5mm diameter of space. Consideration also needs to given to the size of the switch body commonly 12mm x 6mm, particulalry where switches butt up against each other vertically

So when we come to placing these components in our simple turnout design our LEDs have to be 10-11mm apart so that they are not butting up together as in the design below.

Now let’s add another turnout to make a crossover between parallel tracks.

 Often what is desirable is to place the turnout indicator LEDs in a vertical line of three as in the diagram on the left.  As indicated the pitch between parallel tracks is now 21mm.

If the layout design calls for several vertically spaced tracks, with 21 mm between centres this can quickly consume a large amount of space on the front panel.

Below is an example of a 6 road terminus station with two additional stabling sidings. The design can be accommodated on one of our 150mm x 400mm control panel enclosures.

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