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Help Needed in Wiring a Simple HO Crossing Lights

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Help Needed in Wiring a Simple HO Crossing Lights
Posted by Alez on Thursday, October 26, 2017 10:10 AM

 

Wiring Simple HO Scale Train Crossing Lights

 

This is my first attempt to wire lights to my HO scale EZ track layout. I purchased some nice simple crossing lights to operate when the power is turn on to the spur line in my layout. The lights also included a resistor. The first thing I did was soldered the resistor to the black wire of the crossing lights then I cut two extension (20 gauge) wires. Soldered one end to the red wire and the other to the end of the resistor. Next, to test the light, I got a 9V battery and attached the black wire the negative end the battery and the red wire to the positive. Success, the crossing light started to blink red, exactly what I wanted.

 

But when I attached the light to my spur line rails and turned on the power switch the train moved but the crossing light did not go on. I also reversed the light wires with the same result.

 

All I want is the crossing lights to blink red when the power is switch on to the spur line or passing track to remind me that the switch is on and for effect.

 

Any help would be appreciated.

 

Thanks Alez

 

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Posted by Water Level Route on Friday, October 27, 2017 4:25 PM

What are you powering your trains with? DC or DCC?

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Posted by zstripe on Friday, October 27, 2017 5:07 PM

Alez,

Welcome To The Forums.

I'm assuming You are using DC to control Your trains.....If so the arrangement You have with the LED crossing lights will not work the way You want...until You turn the throttle up which may be too fast for the train. You don't say.....but I'm assuming You have LED's that work for fixed 12vdc with resistor to limit current to a lower working voltage which is probably around 3.8volts for a RED blinking LED.

You can get a lower rated resistor, (ohms)) like about 1/2 of what they gave You and put that in series with LED and see if they will flash when throttle hits around 1,4 volts...but that is iffy. What You need is a completely different circuit, like is used in DC lighted constant brightness passengers cars used with Variable DC output.

Hook-up the LED's again to Your siding, but without an engine on the track and turn up the throttle, watching how far You have to turn it up before LED's work. If You go too far...they will burn out.

More info would be necessary on Your system and the Led's to help You any further.

Take Care! Big Smile

Frank 

 

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Posted by gregc on Saturday, October 28, 2017 6:55 AM

Alez
But when I attached the light to my spur line rails and turned on the power switch the train moved but the crossing light did not go on. I also reversed the light wires with the same result.

as Frank said, using track voltage, the crossing will only come on if the throttle is set high enough and if the track voltage polarity (forward/reverse) is correct if you're using DC.    As you said, you want positive voltage on the red lead.

if you using DCC, there is typically 14V AC on the rails.   This may be too high for the crossing. (you may want to test it again using the 9V battery).   An extra diode may be needed.

but it's not clear what you mean by "power is switch on to the spur line".   Is the spur a separately powered DC block?

sounds  like what you're really asking to do is power the crossing when the turnout is switched to the spur.   This requires a power source within the limits of the crossing and spdt switch tied to the turnout somehow.   How do you control the turnout?

but a more typical use for a crossing is to indicate that a train is approaching.   Power to the track wouldn't be used to power the crossing.   LED occupancy detectors could be used on either side of the crossing to control a circuit that provides power to the crossing.

ask questions

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by RR_Mel on Saturday, October 28, 2017 9:56 AM

Alez

 

Wiring Simple HO Scale Train Crossing Lights

 

All I want is the crossing lights to blink red when the power is switch on to the spur line or passing track to remind me that the switch is on and for effect.

 

Any help would be appreciated.

 

Thanks Alez

 

 

Welcome

In reading your post over several times I have several questions.  Most of the questions are the same as the above replies.
 
Maybe we aren’t on the same page Confused, when you say crossing light do you mean this type of crossing
 
 
or do you just want a flashing indicator to indicate power on.
 
If you just want a power indicator and you are using DC or DCC and switching both rails with a double pole switch a full wave diode bridge would give you the proper polarity to drive your lights. 
 
 
AC in would go too the rails, DC out would go too your indicator.
 
However; with a DC operation the voltage will be to low to power the lights with a slow moving locomotive.
 
If your aren’t switching both rails and using a single pole switch by replacing the switch with a double pole switch one pole can switch the single rail and the other your indicator.
 
If you are switching both rails with a double pole switch by replacing it with a three pole switch using the third pole to switch your indicator.
 
With an isolated pole you can use any type of power source to power your indicator.
 
LED-Switch has one, two, three and four pole switches.
 
 
 
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by Alez on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 9:18 PM

Hello 

i am running DC on EZ track 

Alez

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, November 01, 2017 3:37 PM

 The problem is, if you wire the indicator across the track, you could have the siding switch turned on, but if you have the speed at stop, the light will not be in. The only way you can indicate that the switch is turned on is to use a switch with more sets of contacts and an independent power supply (not the one that controls train speed). The, no matter if the train is stopped or runnign full speed, if the switch is on, the light will be on. You can even get toggle switches with lights built in to them. Not sure why you would use a grade crossing flasher for this application.

                                      --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by Alez on Wednesday, November 01, 2017 3:44 PM

 

Hello

 

Sorry it took so long to reply. I will try to answer all your question but without pictures of my layout its tuff.4

 

Answers:

 

1. The first thing that I checked when the crossing/light did not light up was to see if the throttle was at 100%, then I checked to see if the power supply was plugged in. No problem

 

2 Running a DC layout using EZ track

 

3.Using a Spectrum Magnum power supply, the power supply it tested at 15.31v

 

4. I have isolated the spur line, in fact all 4 of my spur lines, and turn the power on/off using an Atlas Connector. The spur lines are all connected to one power supply. Only run one train at a time.

 

5. Voltage at the spur line when the power is turned on is 15.31v

 

6. The train crossing/light is attached to the rails using Atlas feeder jointers

 

7. Picture of the cross and where I bought it. All this crossing or light does is blink, just what i wanted.  https://www.ebay.com/itm/2-x-HO-Scale-Railroad-crossing-signal-light-one-target-flashing-red-led-/152218105741?hash=item2370e7f78d

 

8. Picture of resistors that come with the crossing/light https://www.ebay.com/itm/10-x-1K-ohm-Resistors-HO-N-scale-led-street-Lights-Lamp-Posts-12V-16V-use-/152013048083?hash=item2364af0913

 

9. Wiring Instructions that I was referred to. But I am not running the crossing/lights parallel, all individual crossing/lights.
http://stores.ebay.com/WEHONEST/Instructions-of-my-model-lampposts.html

 

10. I realize that the crossing/lights voltage will go down when the throttle is turned down

 

I thought this crossing/light was the easiest one to wire plus it was exactly what I was looking for.

 

 All I wanted is the crossing lights to blink red when the power is switch on to the spur line or passing track to remind me that the switch is on and for effect.”

 

Hopefully I have answered all your questions but if you have any more just let me know

 

Thanks for your help

 

Alez

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Posted by richg1998 on Wednesday, November 01, 2017 4:35 PM

EZ track turnouts are twin coil if I see this correctly. Use an Atlas Snap relay with separate power pack ONLY for the lights. The contacts in the relay do the work. The snap relay coil is powered by the same power for the turnout coil. I did this many years ago with a DC layout.

When the loco power pack is at zero, the crossing will still be flashing. No LED's when I did this. I used 12 volt mini lamps.

For many years, snap switches and snap relays were used.

Edit.

I just looked up the power pack As someone said, a full wave bridge rectifier across the 16 vac terminals will work. The light will dim some when firing the turnout coil. Not sure if the resistor will be high enough resistance. Probably will not need a separate supply for the lights.

Rich

N

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, November 01, 2017 6:07 PM

 I would say they do not light now because the polarity is backwards. Throw the reverse switch on the power pack and they should light if wired across the rails, one rail to the resistor, the free leg of the resistor to the signal, and the free wire of the signal to the other rail. LEDs are polarity sensitive, they only work one way. As long as the resistor was used, no damage will occure from wiring it backwards - - at least for ordinary LEDs. Since they don't show how the built in flasher circuit is designed, it's possible it could be damaged by wiring it up backwards. The picture shows red and black wires - the red should be + and the black -. Resistor goes on either side, it makes no differnce but it's best to be consistent. If you use your meter on the rails, and touch the red probe to the rail that the red signal wire connects to and the black to the rail the black wire is connected to, you should see a +15 volt reading. If you see a -15 volt reading - the signal wires are backwards, or just flip the direction switch on the power pack. Of course, this means the light will only flash when trains are going one way on the branch.

 Rich's solution of using the Atlas Snap Relay along with using the bridge rectifier on the AC terminals of your power pack will mean the signal will flash any time the switch is thrown for the branch line, regardless of the state of track power. Since you are using the Atlas Connector to power the branch track, there's no easy way to make it so that the switch must be lined AND the track power turned on for the flasher to work. You COULD hook the AC side of a bridge rectifier to the rails, and hook the flasher and resistor to the + and - terminals of the bridge, and it will work no matter what the direction switch is set for (the bridge rectifier fixes the polarity issue) but you would need to have the power pack up to somewhere around 5V or more before it will start to flash. 

Those are pretty much your options. There are some rather complex ways that could make it work any time the track power is turned on, but that's a rather involved electronic circuit.

                                      --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by Alez on Friday, November 03, 2017 3:14 PM

 

 

Hello

 

One step closer. We have light but …

 

Went through my entire layout with a voltage meter and got any polarity issues resolved. Now the crossing/light will stay a solid red when the power is turned on and the power pack direction is forward to the spur line. As soon as I change the direction to reverse on the power pack the crossing/light turns off, this is the same result on the main line if the cross/light was attacked there.

 

Note: This is without using a resistor wired to the crossing/light. 

 

Tried attaching the resistor to either wire of the crossing/light and got nothing. But the crossing/light still blinks with a 9v battery hooked up.

 

I could live with a crossing/light that is always a solid red and works only when the power pack was in forward. Mostly because my spur lines are so short, restricted because of space.  I was nice when the crossing light that as blinking.

 

It might be a resistor problem and what type would I need to get the crossing/light blinking?

 

Thanks for your help.

 

Alez

 

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Posted by gregc on Friday, November 03, 2017 4:58 PM

earlier you said

Alez
Next, to test the light, I got a 9V battery and attached the black wire the negative end the battery and the red wire to the positive.

Alez
As soon as I change the direction to reverse on the power pack the crossing/light turns off

the reverse switch changes the polarity on the track.   You've now got the red wire connected to negative.

earlier Mel suggested using a full-wave rectifier so that the red wire is always connected to positive

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by zstripe on Friday, November 03, 2017 6:07 PM

gregc

earlier you said

 

 
Alez
Next, to test the light, I got a 9V battery and attached the black wire the negative end the battery and the red wire to the positive.

 

 

 
Alez
As soon as I change the direction to reverse on the power pack the crossing/light turns off

 

the reverse switch changes the polarity on the track.   You've now got the red wire connected to negative.

earlier Mel suggested using a full-wave rectifier so that the red wire is always connected to positive

 

About the only way I see that the OP can get what He wants to do and keep it simple without any other circuitry..is to change the Red Led To an 1.7/2.4 mm 12v Red incandesant bulb, which won't flash, but will be on without regards to polarity. It will change brightness with change of voltage, but will be on. I also believe He is using common rail wiring and that will work for that also. Without any need for resistors.

His call........

Take Care! Big Smile

Frank 

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Posted by RR_Mel on Friday, November 03, 2017 6:28 PM

It’s a bunch easier and probably cheaper to use a DB107 rectifier as I mentioned in my earlier post, follow the wiring in my earlier post and use the bridge rectifiers.
 
 
EDIT:
 
The DB107 is smaller than a dime.
 
 
Here is a US seller on eBay that sells the DB107.
 
 
Super simple and a cheap fix.
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by Alez on Friday, November 03, 2017 7:59 PM

Hello

If I use this DB107 rectifier do I still use the resistor?

Will the light on the crossing/light stay solid or blink?

Thanks for the help

Alez

 

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Posted by RR_Mel on Friday, November 03, 2017 8:10 PM

The DB107 will correct the voltage polarity problem.  Your light will operate the same as it did using the battery, it will operate in both directions of your track power.  The DB 107 will not make it blink.  There will be about a 1¼ to 1½ volt drop through the DB107.  If your using LEDs it will require a resistor.
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by rrinker on Friday, November 03, 2017 8:13 PM

 This is the conundrum. It's not blinkign because there's not enough voltage to operate the flasher part of the circuit, but without the resistor, if you turn the throttle up too far, then it will get too much voltage (and current for the LED) and it will burn out. If you add the bridge rectifier, it will work regardless of the direction switch, but the power pack will need to be turned up even more to get it to flash, but still full throttle will exceed the rated voltage without the resistor. If you can remember to never run full throttle on the branch track, you can install it without the resistor. It's just the nature of DC control being a variable voltage.

                         --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by Alez on Friday, November 03, 2017 8:56 PM

Will the DB107 prolong the life of the crossing light?

Thanks

Alez

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Posted by RR_Mel on Friday, November 03, 2017 9:33 PM

Alez

Will the DB107 prolong the life of the crossing light?

Thanks

Alez

 

The DB107 only corrects the voltage polarity problem.  It will not prolong the life of your signal other than lowering the voltage about 1¼ to 1½ volts. Your light will operate the same as it would using a battery.  If you operate LEDs with higher than 20ma they will burn out.  A 1000 Ω resistor would be safe for a LED operating from 12 volts.  The maximum current using a 1000Ω resistor from 12 volts would be less than 12ma.
 
Figuring the voltage drop through the DB107 from a 12 volt source the resistor should be 560Ω to remain in the safe zone for a LED.
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
  • Member since
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Posted by Alez on Saturday, November 04, 2017 7:49 AM

Hello

Does anyone have pictures of the DB107 installed on their train layout so I can see how to position it with my other wiring. 

Thanks

Alez

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Posted by RR_Mel on Saturday, November 04, 2017 11:00 AM

Its smaller than a dime, ” square with four ¼" legs.  Positive is labeled with a + and negative with -, AC or track has a ~ on each leg.
 
  
 
I bend the legs straight out and glue them to something.  
Leave the text side up so you can see the symbols to solder to.  Remember it’s a solid state device, excessive heat on the lugs will take it out.
 
EDIT:
 
Use long nose pliers as a heat sink to prevent over heating the DB107.
 
 
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
  • Member since
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Posted by Alez on Saturday, November 04, 2017 3:33 PM

Hello

Nice pictures.

How did you attach it to your layout. Is Hot Glue ok, or is there a special board it needs to go on..

Alez

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Posted by RR_Mel on Saturday, November 04, 2017 4:38 PM

I’m not into using Hot Glue.  Heat and electronic componets don't mix!
 
My main go to for this type of project is either Amazing Goop or 527, with a little bit of careful work anything glued with either of the glues can be removed without damage.
 
As for mounting I use the BD107s in all kinds of things from Locomotives to any type of rolling stock to structures and in my control panel.  Basically anywhere a low current bridge rectifier is needed.  I haven't kept count but I'm on my second batch of 50 DB107s.
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
  • Member since
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Posted by Alez on Monday, November 06, 2017 7:12 AM

Hello 

I have order a dozen or so of these DB107 refractors. They look easy enough to us. But I am concerned about over heating. Is there another way to attach wire to the ends of the DB107 other than soldering.

Thanks for all your help 

Alez 

 

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Posted by RR_Mel on Monday, November 06, 2017 7:23 AM

The DB107 will plug into a 6 pin dip socket.  If you happen to have an open Radio Shack check with them.
 
eBay search to a US seller:
 
 
 
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
  • Member since
    July, 2009
  • From: somerset, nj
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Posted by gregc on Monday, November 06, 2017 6:18 PM

Alez,

how are you controlling power to your spur?

are you switching power to both rails?   could you use a double pole switch and switch power to just one rail and use the other pole of the switch to control your signal?

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, November 06, 2017 7:08 PM

Previous post, he's using an Atlas Selector, so no spare contacts.

                       --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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  • From: somerset, nj
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Posted by gregc on Monday, November 06, 2017 8:23 PM

would it be too complicated to have a separate double-pole switch for that spur that can be wired to the Atlas selector power supplies to control the track volage, avoid the need for a rectifier and provides the proper voltage to the signal regardless of the track voltage?

the plastic mount in the image is expensive, i think an adequate mount can be made with some bent metal with holes for the switch and screws, or just an angled bracket.

   

 

it's a learning experience

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by Alez on Tuesday, November 07, 2017 8:27 AM

Hello Mel

I have ordered some of these 6 pin dip sockets, about the same price as the DB 107. Look forward to trying the out.

Thanks

Alez

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Posted by RR_Mel on Tuesday, November 07, 2017 9:25 AM

Alez
 
If you have any problems send me a email and I’ll walk you through it.
  
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 

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