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Sections of intentional dead track

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Sections of intentional dead track
Posted by Gazoo on Thursday, April 10, 2008 9:19 AM

I saw a website recently that suggested you can intentionally wire a dead section of track into the area leading up to a turnout, but it's only dead if you have your points in the wrong position.  The idea is that if you accidentally drive a train into closed points, instead of causing a short and derailment the train would just stop--no power.  If the points are placed correctly the track receives power.  The dead track would, of course, have to be as long as your longest engine.

I thought the idea was brilliant, but I haven't started wiring my layout yet (oh for a week of vacation).  I'm interested in hearing more opinions on this. 

Can anyone help?  Have you tried it, is it worth the effort?

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Posted by pcarrell on Thursday, April 10, 2008 9:21 AM
This works real well for hidden staging areas.
Philip
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Posted by cwclark on Thursday, April 10, 2008 9:44 AM

You can achieve this by using a select control turnout. Unlike an insulated frog turnout that has a jumper wire that crosses at the frog molded into the turnout, the select contol turnout makes a short if the turnouts aren't correctly aligned. They are easy to wire, but will require an extra set of contacts like those found on the Atlas relay or the Tortoise machine or a manual SP/DT toggle switch.  

    To wire a select control turnout, a gap must be cut in the closure rails just before the frog but past the point rails. One wire is soldered to the outside rail and another wire soldered to the inside rail. Solder these wires right before the point rails of the turnout. The two wires are then soldered to the relay or SP/ DP toggle switch and then a third wire from the relay is soldered to either inside rails that meet just past the frog. Insulators are also need to be installed on both straight and diverging rails at the ends of the turnout.

     The only drawback with using a select control turnout is if you are using DCC. If the engine shorts because the turnout points are against it, it can short out all other trains running in the same power district.

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Posted by cacole on Thursday, April 10, 2008 9:45 AM

It was easily done with Peco power routing turnouts, too, even if they were manually thrown. by having an insulated gap the desired distance from the turnout frog.

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Posted by tomikawaTT on Thursday, April 10, 2008 12:23 PM

Been there, do that.

In analog DC, the sly and cunning trick is to wire a diode into the power feed to the stop section (one rail only - the other side is common rail)  That way you can back a loco away from the turnout (for switching of spurs off a passing siding or similar.)  When the points are thrown to allow passage, wiring through the switch machine contacts (or through the contacts of the toggle switches with mechanical links that I use for manual control) shorts the diode and permits two-directional operation.  At the same time, the contacts open the diode bypass on the other leg of the turnout and provide auto-stop on that track.

Don't know how the same thing would be accomplished with DCC, which is why I'm not interested in changing over.

And, before Ivanhen jumps in, this should really be in the Electronic and DCC forum - you might consider re-posting there.

Chuck (modeling Central Japan in September, 1964)

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Posted by Gazoo on Thursday, April 10, 2008 12:53 PM
My bad--I couldn't find it anywhere until I thought to look on other forums.  I plan on wiring for DCC, FWIW.
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Posted by wedudler on Thursday, April 10, 2008 1:15 PM

Do you mean  Allan Gartner's Wiring for DCC?

Wolfgang 

Pueblo & Salt Lake RR

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Posted by Gazoo on Thursday, April 10, 2008 2:02 PM
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Posted by Texas Zepher on Thursday, April 10, 2008 5:05 PM
 Gazoo wrote:
I thought the idea was brilliant, but I haven't started wiring my layout yet. I'm interested in hearing more opinions on this. 
I wouldn't call it brilliant.  It seems to be a lot of work to make up for poor locomotive engineering.   If the person driving the train is paying attention to their train, then neither the collision nor the short circuit will ever happened.  Nothing substitutes for an alert engineer. 

is it worth the effort?
See above comment.  I can see how it might be worth it to people who have operating sessions where they never know what quality of engineer will show up to run trains.    A better investment might be to spend a few minutes reviewing the rules of the road with the operators.

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Posted by gandydancer19 on Thursday, April 10, 2008 7:44 PM
 Gazoo wrote:

Have you tried it, is it worth the effort?

No I haven't tried it, and I won't.  Too much trouble for something that is easy to prevent.

No, I don't think it is worth it.

Attention to detail and watching where you are going when running your train is the key.  I know mistakes happen, but should you plan for common ones?  I don't think so.

Elmer.

The above is my opinion, from an active and experienced Model Railroader in N scale and HO since 1961.

(Modeling Freelance, Eastern US, HO scale, in 1962, with NCE DCC for locomotive control and a stand alone LocoNet for block detection and signals.) http://waynes-trains.com/ at home, and N scale at the Club.

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Posted by jim22 on Thursday, April 10, 2008 7:48 PM

It would be helpful for me when I go to an operating session at a layout I'm not super-familiar with.  There are some turnouts which are far enough away, high enough, or hidden behind structures that I can't see the points on very well.  Nothing worse than derailing a train where I can hardly see, never mind reach...

Jim 

nof
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Posted by nof on Friday, April 11, 2008 4:21 AM

Hello!

I'm not sure if you are running DCC or not, but if you are there is two different ways to accomplish what you (maybe) want.

1 - When the turnout is not switched to the track the train is on, have a section that is fed with DC. The train will brake and stop when it comes to the DC section. When the DC is replaced with DCC when the turnout switches position the train will continue to run at its earlier speed. See page 33 in the Digitrax Mobile decoder manual for more information.

2 - Use a Hare to a Tortoise you can have a sensor part in each rail after? the turnout. The turnout will automaticly switch to the track where there is a locomotive. 

I think that alternative 1 is a feature that more than Digitrax decoders have. And the second alternative can probably be accomplished with other turnout controllers than Hare. 

Nils-Olov Modelling the tomorrow in N-scale.
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Posted by cliffsrr on Sunday, April 13, 2008 9:44 AM

I use dead tracks in several spots, holding tracks for instance. My question is; Will DCC charge a condensor to slow the train to a stop rather than an abrupt stop. I have done this with DC with some success but not having much luck with DCC. I am assuming there will need to be some more electronics involved. I agree with some here, a Tortoise is the best way to control a stop at a turnout.

 

What a wonderful world we live in now that we have this forum!

 

Cliff, Chief rail cleaner of the Port Doom RR

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Posted by selector on Sunday, April 13, 2008 11:39 AM

You probably mean a capacitor?  Several decoders have these to allow the decoders to cross slight gaps in power successfully without allowing the sound function to cut out.  You'd need quite the capacitor, and really that would tend to defeat the whole purpose of wanting the engine to stop.

I have several steamers with various makes of sound decoders.  They all come to an abrupt halt when track power is cut for any reason.  I would think it is best that way...it doesn't seem to affect either the engines or their trailing vehicles in my experience.

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