Tips when using Mercontrol

Work with the wire in the tube at all times.
Only bend theh tube with the wire inside, applying a drop of oil to the tube before sliding in the wire.
Avoid even short runs where the wire is not restrained by the tube.
Connections between the components of the system, i.e. wire and crank, should have the minimum of clearance or loss of throw will occur. The wire will fit a 0.5mm. hole with minimum clearance 
Work from the piont or signal to the lever.
Ensure that the wire approaches the point or lever in line with the required movement. Bends down to 2 inch (50mm) radius can be made, below this use an angle crank.

Fixing the tube.

Fix the tube to the baseboard, using brass pins, staplers or even tape. taking care not to damage the tubing and that it lays as flat as possible. When the feature is operating the tube may be glued to the pins if desired. Fix at 8 inch (200mm.) to 12 inch (300mm.) intervals or where needed (at bends) to stop the tube moving.

Joining the tube.

Lengths of tube can be joined by butting them together and holding them in place with pins or tape . Make sure there is no gap between lengths. Do not try to glue two lengths together, the glue will run into the hole and block it.

Hiding the tube.

The tube can be run either above the baseboard or beneath the baseboard.
Above the baseboard.
Mercontrol can be laid on the baseboard surface and covered with scenic powders or it can be fitted into a groove cut into the baseboard surface. The second option works particularly well where the baseboard surface is soft i.e. Sundela or where the surface has been covered with cork sheet before laying the track.
It is best if the tube is laid to the furthest pointwork first so that subsequent track is laid over the tube. This saves having to lift trackwork to put the tube in place later. Where trackwork is laid over the tube always make the bottom of the rail is insulated from the tube to avoid short circuits. This can be done with thick paper, thin card or insulating tape. 
Beneath the baseboard.
When running the tube beneath the baseboard it is necessary to link the Mercontrol below the board to the point, signal or feature above the board. Several methods are possible.
i) Position the levers on a shelf below the baseboard surface with the attachment point set at the same level as the tube beneath the baseboard. 
ii)Drill an angled hole through the baseboard and bend the the tube to fit through the angled hole in s shallow swan neck shape. Always ensure the wire is in a straight line (vertically & horizontally ) with the attachment point.
iii) Use vertical angle cranks to transmit the motion through the baseboard.

Connecting Mercontrol

When connecting to a lever or angle crank, bend the end 3mm. of wire at right angles. insert this bent end through the connecting hole. Slip a short length if tightly fitting insulation (stripped from a length of electrical wire) onto the wire. An alternative is to slip a short length of mercontrol tube over the end of the control wire and crimp in place with pliars. Where the wire or lever have not yet been fixed in place a shallow 'Z' can be bent in the wire. The free component can then be manipulated to slide the control wire into the hole so that te bottom of the 'Z' is on one side of the arm it is connecting to, the arm pushes agained the middle bar of the 'Z' and the top of the 'Z' is on the other side of the arm.


The most common application is connection to a point or signal

Connecting to a Peco point

Before you commence decide how you will hide the tube, if it is to be run above or below the surface of the baseboard and where the UPL or Leverframe is to be sited.
Fix the point and the operating lever in place. Ensure the point is frimly pinned near the tiebar so that it can be lifted slightly but does not move when the tiebar is pulled.
For 'OO' points drill a 0.5mm. hole either just inside the 'pip' on the end of the tiebar or slightly reduce the height of the 'pip' and drill the hole in its centre. (see below)
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For an 'N' gauge point the hole in the tiebar (just inside of the 'pip') is too large. Reduce the height of the 'pip' slightly and drill a hole though its centre. For all points with a plastic tiebar leave plenty of material around the attachment hole so that the wire does not break the tiebar.

Other Manufacturers Points.

Where possible drill a hole in the end of the tiebar leaving sufficient material around the hole.
Some manufacturers (e.g. early Hornby and Fleichmann) require connection to an arm that is then linked to the tiebar, and this connection requires a movement parallel rather than at right angles to the track. Where the wire in tube cannot be brought parallel to the track bring the wire at right angles then use an Angle Crank to turn the motion though 90 degrees.

Connecting the Mercontrol

Slide the wire into the tube with a drop of thin oil. Bend the end 3mm. of the wire at right angles and hook into hole in the tiebar (from the bottom is best). Pull the wire and move the point blades over to that side which is connected to the wire. Keep the initial length of wire in the tube aligned with the motion of the tiebar before introducing any bend. The end of the tube should be within 3mm. of the tiebar.
For other manufacturers points align the wire in tube with the required motion of the operating arm.
Lay the wire and tube where it is to be run, standing Angle Cranks, if required, where they will be used, and bending the wire in tube where needed. Remember that the line of the 'wire in tube' where it attaches to the point or lever should coincide with the line of movement of that point or lever.Push the lever over so that the top of the lever is at its closest position to the point it is to control. Lay the 'wire in tube' alongside the tiebar of the UPL or the lever in the Leverframe and mark the position of the attachment hole. Cut the tube 3mm. plus the lever throw, back from this mark. Make a right angle bend in the wire where the mark was. Slip the end of the wire into the attachment hole.
Test that the throw of the lever closes the point blades in both directions. If the blades close in one direction before the lever is fully over, but do not close in the opposite direction although the lever is fully over, adjust the position of the tube

Fine adjustment.

With points in particular it is important that the movement of the lever pulls or pushes the blades firmly into position. Once the tiebar has been connected to the lever then small positional adjustments of the blades can be achieved by altering the run of the 'wire in tube' slightly.
Introducing a slight bend in a straight run of the 'wire in tube' has the effect of shortening the run. Straightening a bend has the effect of lengthening the run i.e. if you push a lever forward and this does not pull the blades firmly into the stock rail, introduce a slight bend into the run. (Slight does mean slight - a movement of half a millimetre to one side is often sufficent).
The throw of the lever should be slightly more (about 0.5mm.) than the movement required to operate the point. Less will risk pulling the control wire through the end of a plastic tiebar, more may cause unreliable operation with the device not throwing over fully.
Working back from the point begin to fix the tube in place. Once it is fixed for half its length chack the operation. Finish fixing the tube to the baseboard, checking frequently that the movement is effective, adjusting the path of the tube to get the movement required.
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Diagram showing different methods of connection.
One point connected directly with wire in tube, the other connected using Angle Cranks.

Connection to a signal.

First thoughts might be that a signal requires a lot of movement to operate it, however this is not the case.
While the end of the signal arm moves a significant distance, the movement needed to operate it is small as the operating wire is attached close to the pivot of the balance arm.
Run the wire and tube as for a point. At the signal fix an Angle Crank 40mm. (1.5 inches) from the balance weight. Drill the balance weight 3mm. (1/8 inch) from its pivot, bend a length of control wire into a 'C' shape and use this to link the Angle Crank to the balance weight.

One Lever operation of two or more points / signals.

It is often helpful to operate two or more features from the same lever. Instances that come to mind are two points arranged as a crossover or a point and the signal protecting it. This can be achieved by connecting the lever to an Angle Crank which is then connected to each of the features. Connection can be by plain wire and the tube or by wire and tube with further Angle Cranks.
Begin by fixing the Leverframe / UPL in position. Connect the lever to an Angle Crank located a short distance away. As described previously, lay out the wire and tube from each individual feature to the Angle Crank in front of the lever. One by one attach the features to the angle Crank. as each feature is attached, ensure the required movement is achievedand fix the tube to the baseboard.
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Diagram showing a crossover operated from one lever.
In order to keep the movement of each tiebar equal connect the angle cranks as shown in the diagram
Taking Care.
When operating several features from one lever, care needs to be taken in the orientation of the Angle Cranks.
Before making the final connections make sure that all the features pull in the same way. Any features which pulls the wrong way can be connected by turning the Angle Crank through 180 degrees, thus converting the final motion from a push to a pull or from a pull to a push.

Operating other features.

Mercontrol is capable of operating many other features besides point and signals. Examples are level crossing gates, doors on engine sheds water cranes swinging out to fill a tender to name a few.

The diagrams below show how Mercontrol can be used to operate crossing gates.
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A side view of the gate mechanism.
A plan view of the gate mechanism
The gate is above the baseboard, the pivot goes though the baseboard and the Angle Crank is below.
The view shows a Large Angle Crank attached to the pivot below the baseboard. The throw of the lever needs to be extended using Angle Cranks (part #1002). Where the wire is attached to the Crank a length of wire will be needed which is not contrained by the tube. This will allow the end of the wire , where it attaches to the Crank, to transcribe an arc between its satar and finish position. The length of unconstrained wire will be needed to be found by experiment.

Notes when using Mercontrol to operate other features.

Often it is required to convert the strainght line motion of the lever to a rotary motion. This can be achieved for 90 degrees of rotation by attaching a Large Angle Cranks, as in the diagram for the crossing gates, to the pivot of the feature. The crank needs to be attached to the feature in a way that the start and finish point of the movement is on the line which the motion extends through, is on a line extended from the line of the linking wire and tube, and the end of the wire where it attaches to the crank is free to transcribe an arc.