Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sector Plate

What is a Sector Plate? The following is from "Layouts Using Sector Plates" -

"A popular space-saving device is the sector plate -- a track or tracks mounted on a board that is pivoted at one end so it can match up with several approaching tracks."

A Sector Plate is in the same 'family' as a turntable. A turntable is a length of track pivoted in the middle. A Sector Plate is pivoted at one end - so think of it as a turntable with the bit beyond the pivot whacked off on one side.

There are several uses for using a Sector Plate on your layout. A layout of any size can use them for a fiddle yard where the Sector Plate replaces a yard ladder. For micro-layouts they provide a way for you to have operation in a very small area. Sometimes they are hidden in a building. You see two tracks entering the structure but what you don't see is the Sector Plate hidden within. This provides the ability to switch a loco from one track to another and all you need is a length of track long enough for that loco.

Pretty sweet.

Here's some links to look at:

Layouts Using Sector Plates
Layouts Using Sector Plates Pt 2

Indexing sector plates - the second article down titled "and still more fiddle yard tips!" talks about two ways to index sector plates

Turntable & Sector Plate Fittings - This is a commercial site selling fittings but worth looking at for ideas

Video of a Z scale sector plate - this YouTube video shows a Sector Plate in operation. The relationship to a turntable is obvious. It might be argued that this example IS a turntable I suppose .. not that it matters in the least.

I know that Tom shows a Sector Plate on his plan and I would hazard a guess that Ian has some knowledge of these. Since my On30 layout is seriously lacking in operation with the current design I am planning to add Sector Plates in the future. What I am going to look at is a fiddle yard that folds up out of the way when not in use at the end of the "L-shape" foot .. and possibly another hidden in a building.

1 comment:

  1. Yes. I've built a few layouts with sector plates. They are pretty easy things to construct. They must be, otherwise a totally unskilled woodworker like myself to make.
    A sector plate can be pivoted at any point on its length not just the middle or its end. It all depends on the angles that the tracks diverge at.
    You certainly don't need any complicated pivoting systems to enable the sector plate to rotate. I used to get away with a screw as a simple pivot. I know some people have used a 3.5mm jack plug and socket to help with simplifying the wiring as well as acting as a pivot. It can be as simple or as complicated (like the IR Z scale version)