However, having recently adopted the BCD Switch system by George Stilwell to replace my Kato 'big blue' switches and to create a control panel with LED indications of switch positions, I took advantage of this wiring opportunity to also add in 'signals' at the turnouts themselves.
Creating these signals had some restrictions. The BCD circuit requires 2-pole LED's, which means that adding off-the-shelf signals (with one common and at least several leads for other signal indications) was not an option. As with many things in this hobby, sometimes you have to figure out a way to do things yourself.
I was able to easily find red/green bi-color LED's with 2 poles (rather than the much more common 3 poles) on eBay and while these would easily serve my needs at the control panel, I had to figure out how they were going to look on the layout. Here's the 3mm red/green LED with wire leads soldered on:
HAL 9000 look), but this thing looks like something from Mars! Fortunately, the dwarf signal looks a little better (well, tolerable anyway)...
Greenmax makes a plastic kit containing 4 signals that would fit the bill perfectly. Here's what the pieces look like on the spru:
Total cost for each signal?
- LED's: 10 pack for $1.75 or $0.18 each.
- Greenmax Signals: 4 for about $5.00or $1.25 each.
- Wires? Solder? Paint? Total...maybe a $1.00 for each signal?
The Greenmax signals are a pretty acceptable looking 'generic' style and I think they'd look pretty good on a US themed layout, as well as Japanese obvuiously, and possible British! But I don't think anything in continental Europe looks close to these (albeit this is not an area of specialty for me, so I'm likely wrong and ignorant). Unforunately, cheap plastic kit signals don't seem to be available outside these Greenmax versions (and I believe some Model Power or Bachman stuff for the US).
And compared to my first attempt, which are so bizarre looking, I'm quite happy with how these turned out - I know have a control panel with LED indication of switch positions, signals on the layout (partially) for layout indication, and all for a relatively decent sum! Of course, I'm quite happy my signals don't creep me out with their uncanny resemblance to HAL 9000!
Finally, a quick comparison between the two: