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Meeting 1st November 2017

Posted 20/11/2017

Dave Fenton talks about Megapoint controllers

    It was a great pleasure to welcome David Fenton and his wife Sheila from Megapoints to our November meeting.  Those of us who have met Dave before at exhibitions already knew of his enthusiasm and expertise, and we were looking forward to a lively evening.  Word had spread, and it was good to be able to welcome several new guests and also visitors from the Craven Arms club.  A very full room of members and guests were certainly not disappointed by what followed.

     Dave brought a great many exciting pieces of electronic control equipment with him, many of them newly developed, and expounded on their use, simplicity and advantages with total and infectious commitment.  He explained how his career had been in main frame computers and big systems, but that he had also had an interest in model aircraft.  When he decided he had had enough of the corporate world he realised that railway modellers were, through the inertia of the market and ignorance of what was available, paying way over the odds for control equipment that was definitely not state of the art.  Since then he has set about providing control systems based on two things; the use of servo motors, which are reliable, cheap and come in many varieties; and on control units for them designed specifically for the need of railway modellers using his electronic knowledge and experience. 

     Dave is nothing if not practical, and he demonstrated the ease with which servos can be mounted to drive points from both below and above the baseboard.  He then showed his Servo Control board and the ease with which it can be wired up and programmed to control the servos, including a random bounce option for powering signal arms.  Next followed the Multipanel Processor board, which is designed to link control of points (or signals, or sections, etc.) simply to a control panel of your own design.  He showed the switches and LEDs that he has developed in such a way that they can all be plugged simply together in one’s own panel, but also some beautifully professionally produced laser-cut panels made to your own design, which are now available through him.

     Dave is a hard person to keep up with, and every time you see him he has something new to show, or something on the stocks.  He demonstrated how his boards can now be used to drive relays, solenoid switch machines, Tortoises, and for block occupation detection, as well as for servos.  The most striking part of the equipment is that any, or indeed all, his boards can be ‘chained’ together in series by using just one piece of standard three strand servo cable linking each board.  His aim, as he stated, is to provide modellers with the control tools that we need at a good price while enabling us to enjoy the latest advances in electronic know-how without having to become electronics specialists ourselves.  Some modellers will of course be fascinated by, and spend much time on learning all the techniques necessary, but I think Dave convinced many of us that he can give us the control we want with minimum extra effort.  (Disclaimer - I am a very satisfied customer - it does exactly what it says on the tin!)

     So much interest was shown in his products after the formal end of the talk, with Dave inundated with questions, that the organisers almost had to force the meeting to a close before we were ejected from the room.  For those with further interest - or who just want to keep up with developments - there is a very comprehensive website, , where details of his products and many interesting and helpful videos can be found.  It is rare to meet someone with quite so much drive and energy, and it all made for an instructive and fascinating evening.

Peter Cox (Chairman).