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Wiring Signals based on track power or direction

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  • Member since
    April 2003
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Wiring Signals based on track power or direction
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, December 11, 2003 2:56 PM

I've looked through a few HO wiring books and they talk about wiring track power and turnouts and even operating accessory signal lights by turnout switches via relays.

But what if I want to control a signal light by either turning a section of track on/off or reversing its direction.

How do I do this? (This is a non-DCC layout).
  • Member since
    September 2002
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Posted by ndbprr on Thursday, December 11, 2003 3:13 PM
I think what you need in the case of reversing its direction is a diode in the red and green lead so that the power will only flow when the power is in the correct direction. You would probably need a quadruple pole double throw switch (yes they make them) so that your signal circuit power would be independent of your track power and piggyback on the switch.
I'm not sure what you want the signal to do in regard to track power being on or off as that isn't the purpose of signals. You are defintely going to need something like a transistor in the power loop to turn on the light or LED. You might be better off in this case having a power on LED in your control panel. You could also use some TTL logic integrated circuit chips but that is beyond what I could describe here I think.
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Please suggest signaling strategies for layout
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, December 11, 2003 7:15 PM
Maybe I should rephrase the question, because I'm not exactly sure what I want the signals to do, other than 1) I'm not sure I need the prototypical use on my layout and 2) I'd like the signals to be of assistance in telling me what parts of the track are active, where switches are pointed and what direction the reverse loop is going.

Perhaps I should take suggestions on the use of signals and indicator lamps on my layout. The layout is posted at:

http://www.isleofglass.com/ho/KDline.html

The little black bars on the layout indicate where I have put plastic separators to electrically isolate the track sections for the purpose of a reverse loop and being able to have more than one train on the track (with only one in operation at any given time.
  • Member since
    September 2002
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Posted by ndbprr on Friday, December 12, 2003 8:29 AM
I think what you want can be easily done on your control panel using LEDs to indicate switch direction and power routings. I don't think you can do it if you are using Atlas controllers on you panel so you will need some more sophisticated controls. Most under layout turnout movement devices have extra contacts for this purpose built in so you should be able to light say a red and green LED to indicate direction. Then you will need an additional color LED for each cab to indicate who has control or if it is off. That is where I would use the double pole quadruple throw mechanical switch. You may wi***o check Atlas web site to see if the make something that would do also. The reason I suggest LEDs is that they are very low current draw and never burn out if properly installed initially.
  • Member since
    April 2003
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, December 12, 2003 8:37 AM
I do have some unused LEDs and Atlas controllers, but I can definately go to Radio Shaft and get individual switches. So how to I wire the LEDs into this system for control panel lighting? Also, I do have a kit for two 3 light signal lights. What should I use them for on the layout and where?

Thanks for your reply, btw

QUOTE: Originally posted by ndbprr

I think what you want can be easily done on your control panel using LEDs to indicate switch direction and power routings. I don't think you can do it if you are using Atlas controllers on you panel so you will need some more sophisticated controls. Most under layout turnout movement devices have extra contacts for this purpose built in so you should be able to light say a red and green LED to indicate direction. Then you will need an additional color LED for each cab to indicate who has control or if it is off. That is where I would use the double pole quadruple throw mechanical switch. You may wi***o check Atlas web site to see if the make something that would do also. The reason I suggest LEDs is that they are very low current draw and never burn out if properly installed initially.
  • Member since
    September 2002
  • 7,482 posts
Posted by ndbprr on Friday, December 12, 2003 1:12 PM
Well what you are going to need is a switch that has two completely unrelated sets of contacts so you can route the track power through one set and the LED power through the other set. That way when you throw the switch to one side it also sends power to the LED for that side and lights it. If I remember correctly you would normaly use a DPDT center off switch and you need a Quadruple pole double throw center off switch. It sounds like your kit is for a block signal that as the train passes the signal turns red. When it enters the next block that signal turns red and the first one turns yellow. When it enters the third block the second one turns yellow and the first one turns green. I don't think from your plan you will be able to use it in the manner intended as your railroad blocks are too short.

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