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Auto Reverser PSX-AR

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, December 19, 2016 8:26 PM

Denver

Rich:

Larry has responded as follows:

"We generally recommend that the gaps for the reverse loop be at least your longest engine away from any switch such that the engine cannot touch both the switch and the reverse loop at the same time. I am assuming that the extra added track accomplishes this separation."

and again:

"Most turnouts today are insulfrog, but I am with you, I like the electrofrog versions. They do, however, need a little more attention when installing, but once they are working, the layout runs better."

I think that means he agrees with the extra track sections as a solution. Congratulations.

Dennis

Well, there you have it. So, those two track sections between the loop and the turnout need to stay.  It is interesting that he indicates that most turnouts today are Insulfrogs.  That would be fine if you could power the frog, but it is plastic on the Insulfrog so it cannot be powered.
 
Rich

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Posted by Denver on Monday, December 19, 2016 7:04 PM

richhotrain

 Mind you, I'm not saying that it will work without those two additional track sections, but I think that it is at least worth a try.  I sure would be interested in what Larry Meier would have to say about this.  Without those two additional track sections, the reverse loop and the turnout are still fully isolated from each other, so it is all a matter of timing.

Rich

 

Rich:

Larry has responded as follows:

"We generally recommend that the gaps for the reverse loop be at least your longest engine away from any switch such that the engine cannot touch both the switch and the reverse loop at the same time. I am assuming that the extra added track accomplishes this separation."

and again:

"Most turnouts today are insulfrog, but I am with you, I like the electrofrog versions. They do, however, need a little more attention when installing, but once they are working, the layout runs better."

I think that means he agrees with the extra track sections as a solution. Congratulations.

Dennis

 
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Posted by rrinker on Monday, December 19, 2016 11:09 AM

 Maybe it's difficult to modify the N scale for some people - a friend of mine builds scratbuilt N scale steam locos and handlaid all his track with code 40 - to N scale finescale standards. I suspect he would have no problem modifying an N scale peco Electrofrog. The soldering he does, fitting a DCC decoder in a tiny slopeback tender which ALSO hold the motor... not something I would attempt.

 I did see the note from Tam Valley that if you use a Frog Juicer you don't have to make the modifications, which is nice. Usual tradeoff, cost of the Juicer vs time to make the mods. And then you still need to power the frog.

 Insulfrogs should be way better than Atlas, the dead insulated section is VERY tiny compared to Atlas. However, that has its own problems, in that the insulated area is SO tiny that a slightly over-width wheel can easily bridge the two rails, causing a short. That's where the clear nail polish comes in, extending the dead area slightly.

 I'm going all Peco on my new layout. Their Code 83 track looks slightly better than Atlas, the flex track handles almost the same as Atlas, and the turnout line has more variety than Atlas. I've triend Fast Tracks handlaid turnouts and I just can't get the hang of it enough to get mass production to get the number of turnouts I'd need. Ironically, the first one I made came out the best, attempts since always have poor frogs or I have trouble shaping the points, even with the jigs.

 It all ties together witht he Frog Juicer because the inspiration for the Juicer was Tim Warris's Brooklyn Terminal layout - there were some insane frog combinations on that layout that trying to switch frog polarity with switch machine contacts was next to impossible. Enter Duncan and his Frog Juicer - 1 wire to the frog and let IT figure out the frog polarity. originally they were only sold through Fast Tracks, now you cna get them direct from Tam Valley as well, and there are various options, for 6, 2, or 1 frog.

                           --Randy


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Posted by Denver on Monday, December 19, 2016 6:27 AM
Rich my frog juicer comments had nothing to do with the PSX-ARSC drama. Thats done and dusted. I never did test it with a frog juicer as I did not think it would work.

The use of the frog juicer is to fix the problem of shorting when a Loco enters any turnout (from the frog end) and the polarity has not been changed by the Peco turnout power-routing. Until you switch to Electrofrogs you will not experience the problem. When you do you will probably modify EVERY turnout you buy to make them DCC friendly as per the method developed by Allan Gartner. See his "Wiring Turnouts" web page at http://www.wiringfordcc.com/switches.htm#a23

However it is too hard to make the changes to N Scale turnouts so the frog juicer is the answer. It is also the answer in HO if you do not want to make the modifcation, which is why the MR Video Plus guys are now using them.

But for N scalers we have no choice but to buy a frog juicer. Once a Peco turnout stops correctly power-routing the layout grinds to a halt. If I want to avoid the extra cost I need to switch to insulfrog turnouts. But I have about 75 brand new Electrofrog turnouts awaiting installation so I have no choice but to install frog juicers once the power routing problem occurs.  

Tam Valley's page at http://www.tamvalleydepot.com/support/whichfrogjuicer.html explains the problem with Electrofrog turnouts better than I can.

 Dennis

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, December 19, 2016 5:06 AM

Denver

 

 
rrinker

 I've always used Atlas, but I am going to use Peco Electrofrogs on my next layout. Electrofrogs are more reliable (once you wire then per the information on Wiring for DCC). The Code 83 Peco turnouts even have conveniently located jumpers to cut and space to solder on the repalcement wire. They are still power routing after this, but in a far more reliable fashion - out of the box they depend on the point contacting the stock rail for power to the frog. The modification also makes them perfectly DCC friendly by isolating the points so that each point rail matches the polarity of the adjacent stock rail, preventing any back to back shorts.With the whole thing powered and no dead spots, you should not have any issues with sound drop outs or need to add keep alives to sound decoders.

                           --Randy

 

 

 

 

Noted Randy, but a rider regarding N scale electrofrog turnouts . . . they are too small for most of us to make the modifications to make them "DCC friendly." And it would be very easy to destroy the turnout while trying to make the mod. However we do not need to as the Tam Valley frog juicer makes the mod unnecessary.
 
According to the Tam Valley web site:
“Peco Electrofrog Update- All Frog Juicers work with Peco electrofrog turnouts without any modification to the Peco turnout. The same applies to other power-routing turnouts (e.g. older Shinoharas). You still need to insulate the Peco electrofrog turnouts as in the instructions that come with the turnout.  For a normal turnout, that means using insulated rail joiners on the 2 rails leaving the frog.”
 

 

They do cost $11.96 (for 10) each but they are worth every penny. Also I only install one when a turnout starts playing up. According to Tam Valley the Peco power-routing, that is where the points touch the stock rails, will work for about a year and then “then no amount of cleaning seems to be able to restore good contact.” My experience would support that statement, although many work ok for a lot longer than a year.
Dennis
 

I suppose that this could be the subject of a separate thread. I have no experience with the Frog Juicer, but is it really necessary in this instance?  And, would it work in the absence of the added track sections?  As I say, I have no experience with this device, and I have no need for it on my layout. But, it sure seems to add to the complexity of your setup, Dennis.  

And, even if it works, it only adds to the expense of setting up this particular reverse loop.  I can only imagine the total expense when you add up the cost of the Peco Electrofrog, the Peco switch motor, the PSX-ARSC, and the Frog Juicer.

Now, I am not about to talk you, or anyone else, into operating the reverse loop manually.  I use four PSX-AR units on my layout, and automation of these reversing sections is essential, in my opinion. However, it is interesting to note that the operation of the reverse loop could be accomplished with a DPDT toggle switch and your finger for the spring loaded point rails - - - no need for a PSX-ARSC, Frog Juicer, or Peco switch motor.

Rich

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, December 19, 2016 4:49 AM

Denver

Changing the subject slightly - I have always used Peco electofrogs as the model railway press has always indicated that they are the proper turnout method. MR Video plus frequently shows videos of them installing electofrogs and lately frog juicers.

Peco Insulfrog turnouts are said not to look as good and to cause stalling for short wheelbased Locos. However you guys seem to prefer them. Is it because they are more DCC friendly?? 

Comments?

It is an interesting question. I always used Atlas Custom Line turnouts on my layout, but a few years back I started using the Peco Insulfrog. I like the smaller footprint and the opportunity to throw the spring loaded points with my finger, an especially useful feature in yards.

However, the Peco Electrofrog does appeal to me with its powered frog. I don't have any problem with the unpowered frog on the Peco Insulfrog because I do not run any extremely short wheelbase locos. Even my switchers make it over the unpowered frogs.

Peco Electrofrogs do require more work and more thought to work efficiently on the layout, so I opt for the simplicity of the Insulfrog. But, if I started a new layout from scratch, I might choose the Electrofrog over the Insulfrog.

Rich

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, December 19, 2016 4:26 AM

Denver

  

richhotrain

LOL

Hey, at least you tried.   Yes

I still want to hear from Larry Meier who has the answer.

Rich

 

Dennis

 

Good to hear that he is working on it, but surprising that he is "working to figure out the problem". I would have expected him to immediately respond with an answer. Maybe this is an unresolved problem. We will just have to wait to hear further from Larry.

Rich

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, December 19, 2016 4:24 AM

Denver

Rich: As promised I have posted a summary of the snap coil/electrofrog issue on my web site and have included your diagram and two quotes. Can you please review the page and let me know if you are unhappy about any of it or want any changes made.

The page is at http://denversrailroads.com/PSX-ARSC.htm

The web site is under construction and as yet i have made no effort to prompt Google to find it. In time that will change.

 

Dennis

 

Dennis, that looks good to me.

Rich

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Posted by Denver on Sunday, December 18, 2016 9:11 PM

richhotrain

LOL

Hey, at least you tried.   Yes

I still want to hear from Larry Meier who has the answer.

Rich

 

Larry has responded to say he is "working to figure out the problem."

Dennis

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Posted by Denver on Sunday, December 18, 2016 9:02 PM

Rich: As promised I have posted a summary of the snap coil/electrofrog issue on my web site and have included your diagram and two quotes. Can you please review the page and let me know if you are unhappy about any of it or want any changes made.

The page is at http://denversrailroads.com/PSX-ARSC.htm

The web site is under construction and as yet i have made no effort to prompt Google to find it. In time that will change.

 

Dennis

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Posted by Denver on Sunday, December 18, 2016 7:21 PM

rrinker

 I've always used Atlas, but I am going to use Peco Electrofrogs on my next layout. Electrofrogs are more reliable (once you wire then per the information on Wiring for DCC). The Code 83 Peco turnouts even have conveniently located jumpers to cut and space to solder on the repalcement wire. They are still power routing after this, but in a far more reliable fashion - out of the box they depend on the point contacting the stock rail for power to the frog. The modification also makes them perfectly DCC friendly by isolating the points so that each point rail matches the polarity of the adjacent stock rail, preventing any back to back shorts.With the whole thing powered and no dead spots, you should not have any issues with sound drop outs or need to add keep alives to sound decoders.

                           --Randy

 

 

Noted Randy, but a rider regarding N scale electrofrog turnouts . . . they are too small for most of us to make the modifications to make them "DCC friendly." And it would be very easy to destroy the turnout while trying to make the mod. However we do not need to as the Tam Valley frog juicer makes the mod unnecessary.
 
According to the Tam Valley web site:
“Peco Electrofrog Update- All Frog Juicers work with Peco electrofrog turnouts without any modification to the Peco turnout. The same applies to other power-routing turnouts (e.g. older Shinoharas). You still need to insulate the Peco electrofrog turnouts as in the instructions that come with the turnout.  For a normal turnout, that means using insulated rail joiners on the 2 rails leaving the frog.”
 

 

They do cost $11.96 (for 10) each but they are worth every penny. Also I only install one when a turnout starts playing up. According to Tam Valley the Peco power-routing, that is where the points touch the stock rails, will work for about a year and then “then no amount of cleaning seems to be able to restore good contact.” My experience would support that statement, although many work ok for a lot longer than a year.
Dennis
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Posted by rrinker on Sunday, December 18, 2016 7:03 PM

richhotrain
 
rrinker

 Yes, i think we do agree. Power routing AND auto-throw = need extra sections

All others = no extra sections.

                     --Randy

 

 

While you were typing your reply, I was editing mine.

 

It crossed my mind that the PSX-ARSC may throw the point rails first, not second, so that the polarities of the selected route will match the flipped polarities inside the reverse loop without a short occurring.

Rich

 

 Possible, but I doubt it - if the PSX-AR waited to throw the switch and THEN reversed the rail polarity there would likely be noticeable hesitation of the loco in the loop. If it did power the switch motoor first, then there wouldn;t be the problem needing the extra section.

                 --Randy


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Posted by rrinker on Sunday, December 18, 2016 7:01 PM

 I've always used Atlas, but I am going to use Peco Electrofrogs on my next layout. Electrofrogs are more reliable (once you wire then per the information on Wiring for DCC). The Code 83 Peco turnouts even have conveniently located jumpers to cut and space to solder on the repalcement wire. They are still power routing after this, but in a far more reliable fashion - out of the box they depend on the point contacting the stock rail for power to the frog. The modification also makes them perfectly DCC friendly by isolating the points so that each point rail matches the polarity of the adjacent stock rail, preventing any back to back shorts.With the whole thing powered and no dead spots, you should not have any issues with sound drop outs or need to add keep alives to sound decoders.

                           --Randy

 


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Posted by Denver on Sunday, December 18, 2016 5:43 PM

Changing the subject slightly - I have always used Peco electofrogs as the model railway press has always indicated that they are the proper turnout method. MR Video plus frequently shows videos of them installing electofrogs and lately frog juicers.

Peco Insulfrog turnouts are said not to look as good and to cause stalling for short wheelbased Locos. However you guys seem to prefer them. Is it because they are more DCC friendly?? They certainly don't have problems with PSX-ARSC's!

However Peco do not make an Insulfrog option for every turnout so it would be hard to get away from electofrogs. I have two scissors crossings (and a couple of double slips) to install in time and they are only availed as electofrogs. Hopefully hanging a frog juicer on every connection will make them work but I am not looking forward to the exercise.

Comments?

Dennis

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, December 18, 2016 5:23 PM

rrinker

 Yes, i think we do agree. Power routing AND auto-throw = need extra sections

All others = no extra sections.

                     --Randy

While you were typing your reply, I was editing mine.

It crossed my mind that the PSX-ARSC may throw the point rails first, not second, so that the polarities of the selected route will match the flipped polarities inside the reverse loop without a short occurring.

Rich

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Posted by rrinker on Sunday, December 18, 2016 5:18 PM

 Yes, i think we do agree. Power routing AND auto-throw = need extra sections

All others = no extra sections.

                     --Randy

 


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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, December 18, 2016 5:14 PM

Randy, I believe that we are in agreement but may be misunderstanding each other. 

With regard to the Peco Electrofrog, the issue is attributable to both the powered frog and the power routing feature of the turnout. As a result, the inner frog rail on the non-selected route has the same polarity as the corresponding stock rail. Gapping the ends of those rails is apparently not enough to prevent a short when the locomotive exits the loop and the point rails are simultaneously thrown, as a matter of timing, so the extra section of track is needed.  That does not mean that the automatic throw is at fault.

If the turnout were a Peco Insulfrog, this problem would not occur because the polarities of the adjacent track, even if the adjacent track is the turnout, would match. So, no additional track section would be needed so long as the point rails on the turnout are completely thrown before the front wheels of the locomotive reach the point rails.

I would agree that there would be no problem with the Electrofrog if you manually threw the points before the PSX-ARSC flipped the polarities, but that would defeat the whole purpose of the PSX-ARSC which performs both functions automatically.  

In fact, that may be the answer to the perceived problem. It may well be that the automatic throw feature precedes the flipping of the polarities on the PSX-ARSC

Rich

 

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Posted by rrinker on Sunday, December 18, 2016 5:05 PM

 It is the automatic throw. Trace it out on your diagram, but switch the turnout BEFORE the gaps are crossed - the PSX will match the loop polarityt to the turnout and all is fine. You just need the one set of gaps, not the extra sections.

 The polarity matches across the bottom - train enters loop. It runs around towards the top - once the train is completely in the loop, but before it reaches the exit gaps, you throw the switch. Now the polarity across the upper gaps is exactly opposite - red to blue, blue to red. Train hits gaps, PSX reverses loop polarity, now red to red, blue to blue, and the train exits the loop.

 You are correct there is no problem with auto throw if an Atlas turnout or other non-power routing turnout is used - again, just the one set of gaps isolating the loop would be required.

                                   --Randy

 


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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, December 18, 2016 4:44 PM

rrinker
As I said, it's not an issue with any sort of turnout if not using the PSX to actually operate the switch motor.........

Again, it's really the automatic part that causes the issue, otherwise it's not a problem.  

No, it is not the automatic part that causes the issue, it is the Electrofrog turnout where the two rails have the same polarity.  If the turnout were a Peco Insulfrog or an Atlas Custom Line, for example, there would be no problem since the locomotive could cross the gaps after the PSX-AR flips the polarities inside the loop and the polarities would match on the adjacent track.

The only issue in that case would be the amount of time that it takes to move the point rails on the turnout.

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Posted by rrinker on Sunday, December 18, 2016 4:06 PM

N scale and HO scale Electrofrogs work the same.

I suspect only OONE extra section is needed, not both, because all polarities will already match on the entrance to the loop (left over from the previous passage).

Wait - I take that back - think it through - if the second train now goes int he loop via the diverging leg of the turnout (since the last one came out there), everything will match - frog rails, the short section, and the loop. Now as it comes around the bottom - it will have the exact same problem as when it ran the other way, if the extra section is not there.

I don't know why this is not mentioned in the PSX-ARSC documentation. As I said, it's not an issue with any sort of turnout if not using the PSX to actually operate the switch motor - either you wiull have manually made the change proper to the gaps being bridged, or you will get an uncorrectable short and the PSX-AR will cut all power and the train will stop instead of derailing by running through a turnout set against it. It's ONLY a problem withint the auto-throw AND power routing turnouts. It MAY be ok with an unmodified turnout, since as soon as closed point rail moves away from the stock rail, the entire frog assembly becomes unpowered. But this makes for a rather unreliable turnout. I guess they don't expect anyone to make a trivial reverse loop where you enter one side of the turnout and the track immediately loops back on the other leg of the turnout without any other intervening trackage.

 Again, it's really the automatic part that cuases the issue, otherwise it's not a problem. Or if automates through other means, say an IR detector that trips when the train hits a certain point - if the switch is thrown BEFORE the gap is bridged to trip the autoreverser, it would work just fine. That mimics the action of manually operating the turnout while using the autoreverser to just handle the track polarity.

                                    --Randy

 


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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, December 18, 2016 8:06 AM

Denver

Larry Meier has not replied to my last two emails. I am not expecting to hear from him. Go back and read his initial response on 14th December 2016 that I posted, it was full of technical confusion. He told me to “align the switch clear (using the PSX-AR switch address 2044),” which really threw me in a pointless direction. His conclusion was that “I suspect that you have a wiring error.” Tell me something I did not know but also tell me where in the PSX-AR manual it tells you how to wire a snap coil turnout motor and what to do if it does not work.

As yet no one has joined our thread to say that they use Peco switch motors with N scale electrofrog turnouts and that they have had no problems. I find it hard to believe but maybe no one else has.
 
What I would like to hear from Larry Meier is that he has tested such a combination and proved that the PSX-ARSC works straight out of the box as it supposed to. 

 

Dennis
 

Dennis, I agree with you that the use of a Peco Electrofrog turnout to control the entry/exit to a reverse loop, combined with the automatic reversing of the point rails, is not addressed in the PSX-ARSC manual. I don't see where N scale is part of the problem though. I would bet that HO scale will act the same way as N scale.

Not to defend Larry Meier, but the reason that he mentioned the 2044 accessory address was merely to point out that there is the capability to set the position of the point rails at power up. He also mentioned that the preferred wiring protocol is to match the polarity of the reverse loop with the straight through route of the turnout. Of course, it could be done the opposite way to match the divergent route of the turnout, but Larry was merely trying to simplify and standardize the entire process.

To your credit, you not only stuck with it instead of giving up as some guys do, and your detailed description of the problem was immensely helpful in solving the problem. In a lot of threads, we can feel like we are pulling teeth to get a full statement of the facts and circumstances.

If you don't hear from Larry, I will contact him because we deserve a fuller explanation from the guy who designed the various PSX units.

Rich

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, December 18, 2016 7:53 AM

LOL

Hey, at least you tried.   Yes

I still want to hear from Larry Meier who has the answer.

Rich

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Posted by Denver on Sunday, December 18, 2016 7:44 AM

I have just realised that the reason I had no power was because the polarity of the two extra sections was not the same as the reversing loop. In which case I will not be testing the wiring without the two new sections. I could be back where I started from a week ago! I will also not publish the videos. 

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Posted by Denver on Sunday, December 18, 2016 6:47 AM

richhotrain

 

 
rrinker

 See, i was right after all, you need 2 sets of gaps or else it all just keeps shorting out. The diagram Rich made is exactly what I said on the first page. Without power routing turnoyts, like Atlas, it would work the usual way, just one set of gaps at the entrance of the loop and one set at the exist, the PSX-AR would handle the track polarity and throw the switch to the proper route. When there is a power routing turnout, that extra section and a second set of gaps at the turnout solve the problem of the PSX-AR reversing the loop polarity only to have the new point position short it again, making the PSX-AR reverse the track and again throw the switch, causing a short again.. over and over. Assuming the polarity reversal and switch throw happen exactly at the same time, it would appear as just a short and the breaker function of the PSX-AR would just cut power and give up. Given that there is some circuitry involved and it's not exactly the same on the part feeding the turnout control and the part feeding the polarity control, it's nearly impossible for each to happen perfectly simulataneously (it's the slight delays - an extra transistor switching, or a logic gate, that leads to race conditions in electronic circuits if you aren't careful with the design), it would probably just oscillate back and forth before finally shorting for good and killing power to the loop.

 If you look at Rich's diagram and follow the power around, assuming the train enters the loop straight across the bottom (because that's the way the power at the turnout is drawn), when the gap between the loop and the upper short section is bridged, the PSx-AR will flip the loop, making the inner track blue and the outher track red, matching the short section. It will also throw the switch, making the diverging frog rails blue - matching the short section and the loop. Perfect.

Now try it without that short section. Train enters loop at bottom. frog rails are red, as is the inside rail of the loop. So far so good. Now it crosses the gap. The iside rail actually already matches due to the power routing of the Peco turnout, but the outer rail it blue on the loop and red on the turnout, so the PSX-AR flips the loop, now the inner loop rail is blue and the outer is red. And signals the switch machine to operate. Now, which is faster, the PSX-AR's electronic sensor, or the solenoid switch motor? Because until the switch motor operates, there is NOW a short between the inner loop track and the diverging frog rails.

Since there are issues using slower relay-based autoreversers downstream of a PSX circuit breaker, I can asusme the PSX-AR uses the same ultra fast dectection circuit. And a solenoid switch motor is, let's face it, a relay. My money is on the PSX-AR activating again, but now we're back to the original condition of a short between the outer loop rail and the turnout. Or, if the turnout still completes its throw, still a polarity mismatch on the inner rail (which has flipped back to red) and the diverging frog rails (which are now blue).

This is not an issue for a manually thrown turnout ("manually" meaning push buttons and a powered switch machine or a true manual linkage like a Blue Point), only if using the auto-throw feature AND with power routing turnouts. The extra sections would be unnecessary with an Atlas turnout because the polarity of the exit rails is always the same regardless of the position of the points.

                      --Randy

 

 

 

 

Dunno. Randy, I remain conflicted. 

 

I understand what you are saying, but as I read what you wrote, I keep asking myself, then why doesn't DCC Specialties say so in their literature. There is no mention of a second set of gaps and an additional short track section in the manual. Although the PSX-AR manual does not include any drawings of the PSX-ARSC being used to throw the points, it does include as a feature "Automates Reverse Loop Turnouts". So, you would think that they would at least mention the issue that we are dealing with here. 

Now, you might ask yourself, then why, Rich, did you draw up the diagram with additional track sections on either end of the loop?  My answer would be that I drew the diagram as a testing technique to solve Dennis' problem. It did not surprise me that it worked because it should work. But, I still cannot help wondering if those two additional track sections are really necessary.

I can understand Dennis' reluctance to now remove the two sections, or at least remove the plastic rail gaps between the two track sections and the turnout, but my investigative mind would not be able to resist such a further test.  I do not use Electrofrogs or the Peco switch motors (I use Insulfrogs and Tortoises) or else I might try it on the workbench.

Mind you, I'm not saying that it will work without those two additional track sections, but I think that it is at least worth a try.  I sure would be interested in what Larry Meier would have to say about this.  Without those two additional track sections, the reverse loop and the turnout are still fully isolated from each other, so it is all a matter of timing.

Rich

 

Ok, given the amount of time you guys have put into this matter I have done the test. Furthermore I have made 3 videos which I may upload to YouTube tomorrow after I have reviewed them. The first video is of the PSX working ok. I then soldered the gaps and disconnected the track power from the two new sections, which should have resulted in one single reverse loop, which could then be tested. However on powering back up I discovered that the reverse loop had NO POWER at all and the Loco just stopped after the first gap and that was that. So that video was a bit of an anticlimax. At that point I was not prepared to try and work out why there was no power. I have spent hours and hours and hours this week looking for such wiring problems/errors. So I then cut new gaps much closer to the turnouts (as I said I would), powered back up and ran a 3rd video of the Loco performing 100% ok.
Larry Meier has not replied to my last two emails. I am not expecting to hear from him. Go back and read his initial response on 14th December 2016 that I posted, it was full of technical confusion. He told me to “align the switch clear (using the PSX-AR switch address 2044),” which really threw me in a pointless direction. His conclusion was that “I suspect that you have a wiring error.” Tell me something I did not know but also tell me where in the PSX-AR manual it tells you how to wire a snap coil turnout motor and what to do if it does not work.
As yet no one has joined our thread to say that they use Peco switch motors with N scale electrofrog turnouts and that they have had no problems. I find it hard to believe but maybe no one else has.
What I would like to hear from Larry Meier is that he has tested such a combination and proved that the PSX-ARSC works straight out of the box as it supposed to. 

 

Dennis
  • Member since
    September 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 24,210 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, December 18, 2016 5:02 AM

rrinker

 See, i was right after all, you need 2 sets of gaps or else it all just keeps shorting out. The diagram Rich made is exactly what I said on the first page. Without power routing turnoyts, like Atlas, it would work the usual way, just one set of gaps at the entrance of the loop and one set at the exist, the PSX-AR would handle the track polarity and throw the switch to the proper route. When there is a power routing turnout, that extra section and a second set of gaps at the turnout solve the problem of the PSX-AR reversing the loop polarity only to have the new point position short it again, making the PSX-AR reverse the track and again throw the switch, causing a short again.. over and over. Assuming the polarity reversal and switch throw happen exactly at the same time, it would appear as just a short and the breaker function of the PSX-AR would just cut power and give up. Given that there is some circuitry involved and it's not exactly the same on the part feeding the turnout control and the part feeding the polarity control, it's nearly impossible for each to happen perfectly simulataneously (it's the slight delays - an extra transistor switching, or a logic gate, that leads to race conditions in electronic circuits if you aren't careful with the design), it would probably just oscillate back and forth before finally shorting for good and killing power to the loop.

 If you look at Rich's diagram and follow the power around, assuming the train enters the loop straight across the bottom (because that's the way the power at the turnout is drawn), when the gap between the loop and the upper short section is bridged, the PSx-AR will flip the loop, making the inner track blue and the outher track red, matching the short section. It will also throw the switch, making the diverging frog rails blue - matching the short section and the loop. Perfect.

Now try it without that short section. Train enters loop at bottom. frog rails are red, as is the inside rail of the loop. So far so good. Now it crosses the gap. The iside rail actually already matches due to the power routing of the Peco turnout, but the outer rail it blue on the loop and red on the turnout, so the PSX-AR flips the loop, now the inner loop rail is blue and the outer is red. And signals the switch machine to operate. Now, which is faster, the PSX-AR's electronic sensor, or the solenoid switch motor? Because until the switch motor operates, there is NOW a short between the inner loop track and the diverging frog rails.

Since there are issues using slower relay-based autoreversers downstream of a PSX circuit breaker, I can asusme the PSX-AR uses the same ultra fast dectection circuit. And a solenoid switch motor is, let's face it, a relay. My money is on the PSX-AR activating again, but now we're back to the original condition of a short between the outer loop rail and the turnout. Or, if the turnout still completes its throw, still a polarity mismatch on the inner rail (which has flipped back to red) and the diverging frog rails (which are now blue).

This is not an issue for a manually thrown turnout ("manually" meaning push buttons and a powered switch machine or a true manual linkage like a Blue Point), only if using the auto-throw feature AND with power routing turnouts. The extra sections would be unnecessary with an Atlas turnout because the polarity of the exit rails is always the same regardless of the position of the points.

                      --Randy

 

 

Dunno. Randy, I remain conflicted. 

I understand what you are saying, but as I read what you wrote, I keep asking myself, then why doesn't DCC Specialties say so in their literature. There is no mention of a second set of gaps and an additional short track section in the manual. Although the PSX-AR manual does not include any drawings of the PSX-ARSC being used to throw the points, it does include as a feature "Automates Reverse Loop Turnouts". So, you would think that they would at least mention the issue that we are dealing with here. 

Now, you might ask yourself, then why, Rich, did you draw up the diagram with additional track sections on either end of the loop?  My answer would be that I drew the diagram as a testing technique to solve Dennis' problem. It did not surprise me that it worked because it should work. But, I still cannot help wondering if those two additional track sections are really necessary.

I can understand Dennis' reluctance to now remove the two sections, or at least remove the plastic rail gaps between the two track sections and the turnout, but my investigative mind would not be able to resist such a further test.  I do not use Electrofrogs or the Peco switch motors (I use Insulfrogs and Tortoises) or else I might try it on the workbench.

Mind you, I'm not saying that it will work without those two additional track sections, but I think that it is at least worth a try.  I sure would be interested in what Larry Meier would have to say about this.  Without those two additional track sections, the reverse loop and the turnout are still fully isolated from each other, so it is all a matter of timing.

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    May 2015
  • 37 posts
Posted by Denver on Saturday, December 17, 2016 9:27 PM
Well I think Randy has about summed it up. And bavrail is using insulfrog turnouts, which I think explains why he does not need the extra track sections. Anyway it now all works so I am not going to test fate by any further experimentation. Once again thank you all. It’s been an interesting, if time consuming, exercise.

 

Dennis
 
  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 30,002 posts
Posted by rrinker on Saturday, December 17, 2016 9:00 PM

 See, i was right after all, you need 2 sets of gaps or else it all just keeps shorting out. The diagram Rich made is exactly what I said on the first page. Without power routing turnoyts, like Atlas, it would work the usual way, just one set of gaps at the entrance of the loop and one set at the exist, the PSX-AR would handle the track polarity and throw the switch to the proper route. When there is a power routing turnout, that extra section and a second set of gaps at the turnout solve the problem of the PSX-AR reversing the loop polarity only to have the new point position short it again, making the PSX-AR reverse the track and again throw the switch, causing a short again.. over and over. Assuming the polarity reversal and switch throw happen exactly at the same time, it would appear as just a short and the breaker function of the PSX-AR would just cut power and give up. Given that there is some circuitry involved and it's not exactly the same on the part feeding the turnout control and the part feeding the polarity control, it's nearly impossible for each to happen perfectly simulataneously (it's the slight delays - an extra transistor switching, or a logic gate, that leads to race conditions in electronic circuits if you aren't careful with the design), it would probably just oscillate back and forth before finally shorting for good and killing power to the loop.

 If you look at Rich's diagram and follow the power around, assuming the train enters the loop straight across the bottom (because that's the way the power at the turnout is drawn), when the gap between the loop and the upper short section is bridged, the PSx-AR will flip the loop, making the inner track blue and the outher track red, matching the short section. It will also throw the switch, making the diverging frog rails blue - matching the short section and the loop. Perfect.

Now try it without that short section. Train enters loop at bottom. frog rails are red, as is the inside rail of the loop. So far so good. Now it crosses the gap. The iside rail actually already matches due to the power routing of the Peco turnout, but the outer rail it blue on the loop and red on the turnout, so the PSX-AR flips the loop, now the inner loop rail is blue and the outer is red. And signals the switch machine to operate. Now, which is faster, the PSX-AR's electronic sensor, or the solenoid switch motor? Because until the switch motor operates, there is NOW a short between the inner loop track and the diverging frog rails.

Since there are issues using slower relay-based autoreversers downstream of a PSX circuit breaker, I can asusme the PSX-AR uses the same ultra fast dectection circuit. And a solenoid switch motor is, let's face it, a relay. My money is on the PSX-AR activating again, but now we're back to the original condition of a short between the outer loop rail and the turnout. Or, if the turnout still completes its throw, still a polarity mismatch on the inner rail (which has flipped back to red) and the diverging frog rails (which are now blue).

This is not an issue for a manually thrown turnout ("manually" meaning push buttons and a powered switch machine or a true manual linkage like a Blue Point), only if using the auto-throw feature AND with power routing turnouts. The extra sections would be unnecessary with an Atlas turnout because the polarity of the exit rails is always the same regardless of the position of the points.

                      --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: The Villages, Fl
  • 59 posts
Posted by bavrail on Saturday, December 17, 2016 5:58 PM

Denver

 It looks to me as if these DCC Specialists boards (PSX, Jack Wabbit, etc) are designed for the slow moving Tortoises that you are using and have been modified to work with Snap Coil machines and in the case of the PSX need time to react to a change instruction.

 
Dennis
 
I don't think the above statement applies. We use two PSX-ARSC's. One has gaps about 2 inches and 7 inches from the turnout. The other has gaps 3 inches and 6 inches from the turnout. 
They both reverse polarity and throw a peco turnout before the engine gets there.
 
Cheers

WS

  • Member since
    September 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 24,210 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, December 17, 2016 7:01 AM

Let us know how Larry Meier responds to your email. I've got a feeling that he will say that the additional track sections are not needed. I wonder if he will suggest a timing change on the PSX-ARSC?

Rich

Alton Junction

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