Throttle panels for location testing and trouble shooting

Throttle plug in panels - temporary installation

Chris Abbott visited this week and he helped me install seven Lenz XpressNet throttle panels (part LA152) around the layout.

As the lead photo shows, we did a temporary installation – for two reasons:

– First, we are not yet ready to install the fascia, but having the panels in place allows me to move about the layout – important as I troubleshoot the recently spiked and wired track work.

– Second, I can now run some trains and decide whether we have the panels in the right locations, before committing to their positions (by cutting holes in the fascia).

Seven panels may seem excessive for such a simple layout. But I had them anyway, used on more elaborate layouts I’ve built in the past, so I may as well use them all here.

Why panels? Why not wireless? Personal preference. I have a wireless system and I will likely install it for those who want to run untethered. But I’ve come to prefer the wired throttles – especially the Lenz throttles, which are elegant and functional. I’ve never had issues with cables getting tangled – and it certainly shouldn’t be a problem on this layout!

2 thoughts on “Throttle panels for location testing and trouble shooting

  1. Never having used a Lenz controller, the lack of a plethora of labels looks a bit mystifying to me. Do you need to keep the manual handy for reference? Do you use Lenz decoders as well?

    • Hi Ed:
      DCC choice is often a matter of personal preference for the throttles, or what others in the neighbourhood/operating group are using.
      I’ve been using Lenz since the mid-1990s, when a friend was the local dealer for Lenz and used it on his layout. It was natural that I’d acquire Lenz when I went to DCC since I had a local group of experts to help trouble shoot. We could also bring our own throttles to operating sessions if needed.
      With a decade and a half of Lenz experience, I’m pretty comfortable with the controls. I standardize the function commands for my locomotives (e.g.: make sure the long whistle is always on button 2, and the short whistle on button 3), so that helps. One learns the location of each function fairly quickly. What I like most about the Lenz throttles is the large display and the location, size and shape of the throttle and direction buttons directly below the display. They’re easy to find by finger-feel so one can run a locomotive without having to constantly look at the controller.

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