A tiny switch boosts enjoyment

#622 and I have been working bugs out of the layout. After correcting a gauge issue with one of the engine truck axles, all the faults have been with the layout, and have been easily identified with a track gauge — a track gauge that Ed McCamey had EDM-cut from highly-conductive 18-gauge steel because he liked to be able to use gauges as scrapers.

The point is not the over-engineered steel, but the conductivity, which required me to unplug the track power from the DCC system over and over. Sure the whole layout is on a single wall switch, but then the lights go out as well, and I need them to see more and more every year.

I wasn’t thinking about how annoying the plugging and unplugging was until I was in Rona looking for feet for my resistance soldering unit. I didn’t find feet, but I did find a nice heavy-duty switch, and gathered it into my small accumulation of unplanned items that stick to me like cat hairs on a sweater as soon as I go in that store.

Surprisingly, that very afternoon I found a little piece of aluminum angle, and it didn’t take long to drill some holes in it, and even print up a nameplate. “A job worth doing is worth doing well,” I heard my 43-year-deceased grandfather say, so I even countersunk the screw holes and sealed the paper nameplate. Maybe I didn’t listen closely enough because I left the wires loose and used a marrette, rather than capturing them with cable ties and connecting to a terminal strip.

The switch itself has a satisfying “thunk” feeling when I throw it, and turning off and on the power has gone from a minor nuisance to a minor delight. When you’re chasing gremlins out of a layout, you need every delight you can get!

2 thoughts on “A tiny switch boosts enjoyment

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