Help wiring a Lionel Block Signal(#253) using a 12v AC/DC relay???

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Help wiring a Lionel Block Signal(#253) using a 12v AC/DC relay???

  •  I'm trying to wire a Lionel Block Target Signal (6-22945) by using a 12v relay instead of 153C contactor on a conventional layout.  Could anyone help with a wiring diagram or instructions?

    Thanks,

    Bob

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  • First you need to decide what supply you want for the relay coil and what supply for the signal.  One choice is of course the track supply; but then the signal won't work when the train is stopped.

    On the other hand, there is a very simple circuit that I have often touted on the forum that doesn't need a relay at all.  Are you interested in that?

    Bob Nelson

  •  Hi Bob,

    Thanks for looking in on my question.  I would prefer to provide power from an accessory board as opposed to  track power.  And yes, I would be interested in your simple circuit design. 

    Thanks for the offer.

    Bob

  • It just sank in that your title says "253".  I saw your mention of the 153C contactor and assumed we were dealing with a 153 signal.  The 253 doesn't need either a relay or a contactor.  Were you planning to rewire it to work as an ordinary color-light signal?  Or is "253" a typo for "153"?

    Bob Nelson

  •  Sorry for the confusion, Bob.  This is the "Mainline Die-Cast Block Target Signal" (6-22945) that is packaged with a 153C Contactor.  The instructions identify it as the Lionel 253 signal.  I think this was first manufactured in the 1998-1999 era. It has three terminal contacts on the surface: one green, one white and one red wire.

    Bob

  • So it's electrically equivalent to the 153.

    Here is the trick:  Connect the return of whatever supply you want to use (at a voltage appropriate for the signal) to the layout common, that is, the outside rails generally.  Connect the red wire to that supply.  Connect the white wire to the control rail (insulated outside rail).  Connect the green wire to the layout common.  Get another lamp, that draws about twice the current of your signal lamps at the same voltage, and wire it in parallel to the red signal lamp (that is, between the signal supply and the control rail).  For example, if the signal lamps are number 53 (120 milliamperes at 14.4 volts) use a number 57 (240 milliamperes at 14.4 volts).  If you can identify what lamps the signal uses, I may be able to tell you a specific lamp to use.  Alternatively, you can just use two of whatever is in the signal, in parallel.  You can cover up the third lamp or, if you want, locate it somewhere on the layout, perhaps as a lighted billboard or some other lighted accessory, which will light up when the train goes by your signal. 

    Bob Nelson

  •  Thanks Bob. The instructions indicate that the bulbs are Lionel part no. 600-0019-301. Now what if I want to install a capacitor somewhere in the circuit to retard the changing of the lights after the train leaves the control block?  Is that possible with your scheme?  And if it is how do I decide what size capacitor to use and where should it be positioned?

    Bob

  • That Lionel part number doesn't tell us much, I'm afraid.  Perhaps someone on the forum knows what it really is.  However, there is a number 19 G-3 1/2 lamp that looks just like the one illustrated with the 253 signal and is rated very similar to the number 53.  If that's the one, a number 57 or two number 53s should work just fine.  Is this what your signal's lamps look like?

    http://pictures.olsenstoy.com/cd/accs/acc253p2.pdf

    As for the capacitor, that would require using a DC supply, which is not much of a problem.  However, the capacitor would be enormous.  On top of that, the signal would slowly switch from red back to green in a very unprototypical way.  But there is an easy way out--just lengthen the control rail past the signal as far as you want.

    Bob Nelson

  •  Thanks, Bob.  Yes, that is what the lamps on my signal look like.  I'll try your plan.  Thanks for your help on this.

    Bob

  • If you can't find the number 57, this one from Radio Shack should work just as well:

    http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2102800

    And here's another that might work if you can't find the first one:

    http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2102801

    Bob Nelson

  • Hi Bob, I have had success using a plan that was in Classic Toy trains in the March 2008 edition, pages 74 and 75.  THey use components from radio shack: a #RS 275-248 relay, a RS 272-1032 capacitor and a RS 276-1152 bridge rectifier.  The relay was a DC, so they needed to add the rectifier.  I am not sure if I can just put a pdf of the article in this forum, but I have built several of these for my layout and am very happy with the operation.  Before I just had the green light always on and then when the train went over the insulated section, the red light would come on.  Not very realistic.  

    It took me a long evening to solder together the first one, then about an hour for then next one.  I recommend the article because it provides operating suggestions as well and details like the gauge of wire to use, etc.

    I hope this helps. Dave 

    .

    Dave B from Tacoma, WA
  •  Dave,

    I appreciate your taking the time to respond.  Thanks for the tip.  I'll see if I can find the article you referenced and give it a try.

    Bob

  • I have ordered the back issue of CTT you mentioned to get the article and have purchased the components. I am a bit impatient in waiting for the magazine to arrive so I went ahead and built the device to a point as I have a decent knowledge of electrical components. My question is what leads does the capacitor get soldered to or between?

  • The capacitor goes across the relay coil.  It is only 1 millifarad, which will not extend the relay's hold time enough that you would notice it.  It is intended only to reduce chattering through momentary dropouts on the control rail.

    Bob Nelson

  • Thanks! almost a year and I've built a few and they work very well. I was wondering how I could extend the light by a second or two without adding another section of insulated rail..could I accomplish this by using a bigger capacitor? if so which one? As always any help would be appreciated!