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SSize of Control Panel


5 posts

I need to establish the size of a control panel for my DC layout With insulated frogs. It will be a probe and stud set up without indicator lights on the mimic board. My layout has the following:

1 double slip,

1 three way point

24 points with 5 crossovers 

Can anyone advise on how to work out the size required. I'm not an expert at soldering so I don't want components too close so that I can complete the soldering to a reasonable standard. Thank you.




14205 posts

Community Moderator

Post a picture of the track plan then maybe folk can see how complex the track arrangements are, hence how cluttered the CP will be.

Halton Brat - Running Win 10, 64-bit - RM (Pro-Pack) with Elite as Controller-A, Select as Walkabout and E-Link as Controller-B - Locos are mostly TTS. http://www.halton96th.org.uk/robs_rails.html


12399 posts

Community Moderator

'How to post an image' is TIP 8 in my TIPs page ... see below:


From your soldering statement, it sounds like you are using a soldering iron that is physically far too big. Soldering is all about having the right 'tools' for the job in hand. Some guidance on 'How to Solder for Model Railways' is given in this existing thread.




TIP: As a newbie poster on the forum, just be aware that the 'Blue Button with the White Arrow' is not a 'Reply to this post' button. If you want to reply to any of the posts, scroll down and write your reply in the reply text box at the bottom of the page and click the Green 'Reply' button.


See also – further TIPs on how to get the best user experience from this forum.



Chris........ Making the wood in the trees visible.


1247 posts


I usually use standard paper sizes - A3 or smaller A4 depending on what is to be fitted onto the panel.


To draw the plan I use a drawing software package many of which are free to download and use.  You can then easily see what will fit and what won't.  


Worth remembering is you do not have to show a complete loop assuming your railway has continuous loops.  An assumption is on the panel that track A meets the other end of Track A elsewhere on plain line. Of course any points would mean you would need to show them!  


These are A3 sized panels I've made for my clubs N gauge layouts and rear storage yard for the OO layout.. 



Broken? It wasn't me. I never touched it!


1560 posts

Hi Gundog53

There is no standard size for a control panel and that is also true on the real railways even though there is standardization of components.

A control panel is as big or as small as it needs to be to control the area it controls.

In model terms it can be as small as 75mm square and only control one set of points or a monster panel controlling a major terminus and carriage sheds.

Also it depends on how you want to control the layout do you want just one panel or more than one panel.

Many people mark out the panel with auto pin stripe for the track others do a paper print out and put perspex or other clear cover on it some just draw one.

Some use an aluminum plate with pinstripe (me) not done one for my current layout it just a bit of aluminum angle with switches and levers on it.

It was only supposed to be a temporary prevent insanity layout but has lasted longer than expected so it may yet get a proper aluminum panel.

The best way to work out how big you need it to be is to draw it.

It doesn't have to be anything special for this sketch but you can then lay out the switches showing how big the base is and is there enough room if not time for a bigger sketch until you hit a size that works for you.

Don't forget the extra bit around the edges for mounting the panel that can't be intruded on with switches or wiring.

regards John


3675 posts

Mine is an A4 (ish) piece of 3mm plasticard screwed over a slightly smaller hole cut in my control desk. Track is marked using a roll of Halfords Car Pin Striping tape - mine's red and about 3mm wide. Toggle switches are mounted at the appropriate points (excuse the pun) where points are located. Other switches for lighting etc., are also mounted on the board. Not a good looking as some but it works.



Tomorrow will be a good day - Capt. Tom Moore


774 posts

My control panel is housed in a 215mmx130mm box. Home produced on computer, diagram which is inside a laminating pouch. The switches are mom-off-mom and the LEDs, which are bi-colour, illuminate to show point setting. The circuit board inside houses the relays that operate the points and the signals on the layout. Box comes from RS Components.

The second box is for the other section of the layout.

Don't confuse me with facts my mind's made up


1560 posts

Hi bulleidboy

It works and is easily followed that's what matters.

My only criticism is it appears to have more than one control zone and yet the track plan is mono tone.

My personal opinion which is not that important, is that it should perhaps be a little bigger to space and more clearly define the individual switches.

But at the same time I know pictures can at times be deceptive on space and size

regards John


14205 posts

Community Moderator

I used to have a bi-clour LED indicator panel at the far end of the loft layout, purely to show me which way the points were actually set.


This was rather large at 3’ x 2’. Wiring twixt panel and points mounted LED switches was by way of internet cables.


The actual points switching control panel was on a PC screen - early Rail-master.


Halton Brat - Running Win 10, 64-bit - RM (Pro-Pack) with Elite as Controller-A, Select as Walkabout and E-Link as Controller-B - Locos are mostly TTS. http://www.halton96th.org.uk/robs_rails.html


5 posts

Hi All

Thank you for your responses, pictures, illustrations and advice. I have attached a sketch layout of the track plan as suggested by RAF96. I am currently fitting the point motors with wire tails and will need to then extend the wires over to where the control panel will be located. Please note that signals will be manually changed and exclude lighting.

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