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Need tips for wiring signals.

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  • Member since
    March, 2008
  • 11 posts
Need tips for wiring signals.
Posted by mustang14 on Sunday, March 30, 2008 6:11 PM

I don't know how to wire switching signals for approaching trains.  I also don't know how to wire signals for right of way trains and level crossings.

If any one could help me that would be great.  Thanks.

  • Member since
    January, 2006
  • From: Northeast OH
  • 2,260 posts
Posted by NeO6874 on Sunday, March 30, 2008 7:13 PM

first off, Sign - Welcome [#welcome] to the forums!

 

You've just opened a can of worms for yourself with the signalling - there's probably just as many ways to do it as there are members on the forums (ok, well maybe not THAT many, but you get the idea).

Since you haven't stated whether or not you're using DC or DCC, I'll fill you in with the best I know about both systems... I will also assume that you are using 2-rail trains (as opposed to the O scale/tinplate 3-rail trains, a la Lionel)

In order for others to help you better, it is usually a good idea to specify the control system you're using (DC or DCC) as well as scale.  Although I will admit that scale is somewhat irrevelant in this situation.

Now, I'm not too familiar with the DC way of doing detection (if there is one anyway), but I think a lot of model RR's with "working" signals have one (or more) guys working a CTC board, and watching teh trains to determine block occupancy. If that's not the case, then the signals would be controlled as the blocks are switched to a certain engineer's controller number (say engineer 2 is following engineer 4 -- engineer 2 will have red signals until the blocks are switched over to his control).  IMO, DC wiring for more than two cabs (controllers) is a pain, and well beyond my understanding.  Note - I never wired for more than two cabs, so there are gaps in my knowledge here; though I have seen the insides of control panels with DC block wiring... save for the really well thought out ones, they look like a rats nest...

Turnouts are a little easier in DC - a relay connected to the switch machine that will turn on/off LEDS or lamps (standard light bulbs) as the machine flips the turnout to the straight-through or diverging route (or using the contacts on a switch machine, like the Tortoise). 

 

In DCC, things are (somewhat) easier, as there are tools that allow you to "see" where a train is on the layout, and whether or not a block is actually occupied.  This is done in a number of ways, though the one that I have most often heard of (and has been featured in Model Railroader) involves bridging the rails and completing the circuit for electricity in that particular block.  locomotives already do this, as do lighted cars;however you would have to install a pair of resistor wheels (2 wheels and an axle) into a freight car so that the system can "see" it - otherwise the system will green light a block as soon as the locomotives leave it regardless fo the fact that there are still 20 boxcars in the block.   After you have the detection hardware installed, I believe that you have two options - either connect a computer to your DCC system and have some software installed to run the signals, OR you can connect the detection hardware directly to the signal controllers themselves (although I may be confusing this with another system altogether).

 

I hope this helps out a little bit. There will be more knowledgable guys showing up pretty soon who can probably answer things better than I have.  

-Dan

Builder of Bowser steam! Railimages Site

  • Member since
    January, 2007
  • From: Eastern Shore Virginia
  • 3,290 posts
Posted by gandydancer19 on Sunday, March 30, 2008 7:32 PM

One of the things that you need to do is define what type of signal system you want.  By that I mean, do you want the signals to change aspects (colors) to protect the train that is in a block, or signals to tell you if a route is set correctly for a train, or grade crossing signals.  Or all of them.  Signaling can get expensive if you want all the bells and whistles.  A system that will do everything will need block detection, turnout direction sensing, and some form of logic control (computer and program) to take the inputs from detection and sensing and turn that into signal aspects for all of the signals.

There are systems on the market that are basic and then there are those that are more structured for large layouts.  So layout size also has a piece in the puzzel.

So, the things we need to know are:  1)The scale you are modeling; 2)The size of your layout; 3)What you want your signal system to do; and 4)how much time, effort, and cost are you willing to put into the project.

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.

  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Westchester NY
  • 1,744 posts
Posted by retsignalmtr on Monday, March 31, 2008 2:37 PM
go to www.atlasrr.com and type in signals in the search box. they have detection and signal systems that are supposed to be easy to wire. i'm using their g type signals and current type detectors from dallee electronics to build a system for my layout.
  • Member since
    March, 2008
  • 11 posts
Posted by mustang14 on Monday, March 31, 2008 3:31 PM

It's for DC Trains. I also need to know how to wire signals to keep collisions from happening.

  • Member since
    March, 2008
  • 11 posts
Posted by mustang14 on Monday, March 31, 2008 3:41 PM

I need the color aspect, grade crossing, and the train route signal.

It's and HO Layout

It's in a small corner, maybe about 4-5 ft wide and about 41/2-5 ft long.

I'm willing to pay no mare than $50. I want the signal system to do is, tell when trains are approaching other trains and stations and when it's going to cross a road. I'm willing to spend maybe a few days on the signals.

  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Westchester NY
  • 1,744 posts
Posted by retsignalmtr on Monday, March 31, 2008 5:18 PM
all that for $50? it's going to cost more than that to have something to do what you want. one atlas signal with a control board and block detector will run you more than $50. do you have a birthday coming up? the atlas signals work on dc or dcc. christmas is only nine months away too.
  • Member since
    June, 2005
  • From: Licking County, Ohio
  • 268 posts
Posted by outdoorsfellar on Monday, March 31, 2008 5:31 PM
Signaling is a very expensive venture. Let's say you want to operate 4 signals. For each signal, you need the two other componets like mentioned above. Each signal ( depending on exact type ) is in the $ 20's. The block detector is $10 , the signal control board is @ $15. Add that together & then multiply by the number of signals you actually want & soon, you too will be wondering why you even gave it a thought ! ...lol.

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