This tip comes from Gary Nichols, who is a member of the Tampa Bay Chapter.
Both Gary and I have experimented with aftermarket switch stands and ground throws. All come with basic instructions on how to make the throw-bar work, and what materials to make them out of. Sunset Valley makes an excellent switch stand, but the attachment of the throw-bar to the switch stand linkage causes a great deal of trouble because the loop formed to attach to the switch stand crank pin does not stay on the pin. I have over 14 of these switch stands, and it is a real problem when running an operating session, to have to re-attach these links.
Gary has come up with a method of attachment that has been tested over time and found to be extremely reliable. All materials are purchased in the R/C section of a local hobby shop. He uses four SS machine screws to hold his switch stands to the extended ties. Below the ties he puts a rectangular piece of ABS plastic held on by the same four screws. Nylon locking nuts are used to hold the whole thing together. He uses threaded rod 4- 40 (only the ends are threaded), and gets two throws per rod. The connector below the switch stand is a molded plastic airplane link which looks like a mini tie rod end. This piece fits perfectly on the crank pin on the bottom of the switch stand arm. It helps if all switches are set up on the work bench before installing them on the layout.
The down side is that the bottom ABS plate and adjusting end links can only be installed after you have adjusted the throw, because the end link must be moved make your adjustment.
To make things easier, it is best to install your switches with rail clamps so that they can be removed for maintenance. The ABS plate helps hold the plastic end link on the pin, and while it may accumulate ballast, cleanup is not that difficult with canned air and a small paint brush.
With this installation, the throw rods never fall out and Gary has perfect throws pre-set before installation with many years of reliable operation.
I am going to use this method on my own switch stands to eliminate the constant re-linking that is required when I go and clean out my switches before a run. I have tried one on my work bench, and it definitely improves switch performance. If you have any questions or need help, contact Gary who is our “Subject Matter Expert” or SME for this project. Thanks for all your help Gary!!
Note: The connector used is a 1/16" Threaded Ball Link. These are sold on any radio control airplane site. I used the ones from Great Planes Model Parts and Accessories. Their stock number is GPMQ3843 and there are six to a package. I bought mine through www.Wholesaletrains.com which also has a site for model airplane parts.
Ball Link and Throwrod ready to install.
Ball Link and Throwrod installed with Sunset Valley