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 A very simple signaling system
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Author Topic Next Topic: Loksound question  


Premium Member

Posted - 03/17/2017 :  12:21:46 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
A friend of mine has an operations oriented layout that generates a lot of mainline traffic. He is NOT into electronics, nor or any others in our group, but we recently got into a conversation about signals on the railroad.

Let me start off by emphasizing we need to apply the KISS theory (Keep It Simple Stupid) to this project! While functioning CTC machines are cool, the electronics behind it are WAY over the ability of those involved.

The conversation started by suggesting we could simply have rotary switches at the dispatcher's desk which the dispatcher would use to select the aspect (clear, approach, stop). (He will be using PRR position signals) While this approach would work, the problem is how do you know when the train has past the signal, or more importantly, when to turn the signal to the stop position.

After some discussion, we wondered if there was a simple circuit out there somewhere that would work like this; the dispatcher pushes a button which would 'clear' the signal. Then, an optical detection device located between the rails past the signal would drop the aspect back to stop, and stay at stop until the button was pushed again to clear the signal.

There are no complicated interlockings involved. We just basically was an 'on/off' circuit that would provide a clear/stop aspect.

Any help would be appreciated!

Country: USA | Posts: 13060

Engine Wiper

Posted - 03/17/2017 :  2:32:31 PM  Show Profile  Send cajon a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Do a Goog;e search for "GCOR Signals" to learn about how they are used on the real RRs.

Andy Jackson
Santa Fe Springs CA
LAJ/ATSF Modeler

Country: USA | Posts: 243 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 03/17/2017 :  5:30:23 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Andy. Good information there. Perhaps my request wasn't clear though.

What I am actually looking for is some ideas of a simple circuit. Push a button, it clears the signal. Train goes over an optical detector, the signal goes to stop.



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Engine Wiper

Posted - 03/17/2017 :  7:24:35 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by MarkF

...What I am actually looking for is some ideas of a simple circuit. Push a button, it clears the signal. Train goes over an optical detector, the signal goes to stop....

Signals confuse me thoroughly.

I was thinking you could make the problem much easier by going with a simple 2-aspect signal. Regardless of what you do, I think you will need separate circuits for interlocking/junction/siding blocks and linear blocks.

Here is a radical idea: why not just leave the linear block signals permanently set to an approach signal (or switched between stop and slow on a single track main--only one switch needed per block).

I thought you might like this article I found with a general overview. http://www.hubdiv.org/articles/signalsClinic.pdf

Can't wait to see what signal solution you chose.

Modeling Arizona Eastern Railroad, Hayden Junction (1920), in On30

Edited by - rca2 on 03/17/2017 7:25:31 PM

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Premium Member

Posted - 03/17/2017 :  7:33:28 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Are you guys DCC or DC? Is the layout already wired using blocks? A simple block detector could make the dispatcher aware of which block was being used. I had some old DC detectors that jbvb very successfully used. There are DCC block detectors from Bruce Chubb, Digitrax, etc. that will do a nice job of informing the dispatcher what's where. The logic behind the 'rotary switch usage' adds another level of complexity. Google "model train detection circuits" and look through some of the solutions out there.


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