Staging the Platte Canyon Subdivision

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grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
We've been waiting on this day to come for a while. Today orders were placed for track, turnouts, roadbed, stationary decoders, and magnetic reed switches.

What we're planning is for three small yards, each with four tracks. Obviously, that's a total of 12 staged trains per operating session. The yards will represent points North, South and West of Sedalia, Colo. Turnout control/routing will be via Lenz 150 six channel stationary decoders. Track/turnouts will be Atlas code 83.

Train detection was the hard part of the decision making process. There are several choices commercially available. All have benefits and drawbacks. I decided on the Miniatronics magnetic reed switches for two reasons, they're reasonably priced and with a switch at each end of a staging track and two LED colors, we'll be able to tell if the track is occupied and which direction the train is headed if it is occupied. As a train enters an empty track, the first LED (green) should flash as each loco passes by. Then, when the second (red) LED lights, the train is stopped by the operator. If a green LED is lit, the track is occupied by a departing train. If the red LED is lit, the track is occupied by an arriving train.

Is there anything being overlooked? I'm a little uneasy about the reed switches. Has anyone got any experience with them?
 

grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
SpaceMouse said:
Bout frickin time.

Congrats. Welcome to the team sport of trains.


Hey now. I've been "busy". You know, spending $$$ on DCC, trains, etc... :D I don't even want to know the total...
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
grande man said:
You know, spending $$$ on DCC, trains, etc... :D I don't even want to know the total...
BT/DT! In my situation, ignorance isn't merely "blissful" - it is necessary to maintain my sanity! (Gotta love that overdraft protection...) :D
 
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SpaceMouse

Fun Lover
There is an modeling trains over competing in Cowboy Action shooting. In Cowboy Action shooting my wife doesn't know a Winchester 97 from a Sharps rifle, but she can count the empty spots in the gun cabinet.

In model railroading, There are tons of boxes on the shelves, some full some empty and too many to count especially if you move them around. :D
 

CBCNSfan

Registered Member
Staff member
Has anyone got any experience with them?
Well not in Model rail, but in industry yes. They were used to limit the travel of the X-Y axis of a flatbed chart recorder. The only failures I seen were from physical abuse breakage (through carelessness). These Recorders were used 24 hrs a day except Sunday which was 16 Hrs. ( also stick to the operating parameters specs) they are not high current devices.

Willis
 

grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
CBCNSfan said:
Well not in Model rail, but in industry yes. They were used to limit the travel of the X-Y axis of a flatbed chart recorder. The only failures I seen were from physical abuse breakage (through carelessness). These Recorders were used 24 hrs a day except Sunday which was 16 Hrs. ( also stick to the operating parameters specs) they are not high current devices.

Willis
Thanks for the info, Willis. They'll only be powering small LEDs so hopefully the mag reed switches will work well.
 

grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
Well, all the parts have arrived. Unfortunately, I'm pretty much booked at work this week, so we won't make much progress on the staging until the weekend. :( I also need to remember to check on what's in the lumber stack...
 

SpaceMouse

Fun Lover
grande man said:
Well, all the parts have arrived. Unfortunately, I'm pretty much booked at work this week, so we won't make much progress on the staging until the weekend. :( I also need to remember to check on what's in the lumber stack...
I'm at the stage where I'm about to add on staging. I was about to challenge you to a race, then I remember that I've got this stack of to do's and I'm not sure where the staging fits in.

What the heck, I double dog dare you to get your staging in and working before I get mine in.
 

dgwinup

Member
I know you actuate these reed switches with magnets, but where are your magnets going to be located? They need to come fairly close to the reed switch to trip it and they need to stay over the reed switch to keep it activated. Just wondering how you were going to do this. I tried it years ago with N scale and didn't have much luck. Not enough room under the engines and couldn't figure out the best mounting under the rolling stock (which would have had to be 'head end' cars).

I'd like to know what works for you. Reed switches are a lot cheaper that light detection circuits!

Darrell, reedily quiet...for now
 

grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
dgwinup said:
I know you actuate these reed switches with magnets, but where are your magnets going to be located? They need to come fairly close to the reed switch to trip it and they need to stay over the reed switch to keep it activated. Just wondering how you were going to do this. I tried it years ago with N scale and didn't have much luck. Not enough room under the engines and couldn't figure out the best mounting under the rolling stock (which would have had to be 'head end' cars).

I'd like to know what works for you. Reed switches are a lot cheaper that light detection circuits!

Darrell, reedily quiet...for now
It looks like the magnets will have to be located under loco fuel tanks and painted. The reed switches will probably be at rail height. These are some SERIOUS magnets. I'm not sure how close to the switches they'll have to be. I'll do some reading on that soon.

Staged outbound trains will be parked over a reed switch for a constant green LED. Inbound train indication will be a flash of the green LED for each loco to let the engineer he's entered a staging spur and needs to slow down and watch for a red stop LED.

Each staging yard will be represented on a facia board yard map. I'm thinking pinstriped tracks with LED's at the beginning and end of each.

That's the theory, we'll see how it works... ;)
 

SpaceMouse

Fun Lover
I'm interested in how this works for you. My best guess was going to be one of those curved mirrors you stick on passenger side pick-up truck mirrors.
 

grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
SpaceMouse said:
I'm interested in how this works for you. My best guess was going to be one of those curved mirrors you stick on passenger side pick-up truck mirrors.

It'll be a little while before we find out how it works. If it performs satisfactorily, I'll have saved a bundle over opto or current draw type detection systems. I'm booked at work all week, so it'll be the weekend before we can even play with the new toys. :(
 

grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
Here's a quick update on the "project". I wish there had been more time to work on it last week.

Here's the indication panel. Since I'm not nearly the perfectionist I used to be, it was put together free hand. It's not perfect, but should do the job nicely. The LED's obviously still need to be put in as do the terminal strips and resistor board on the back side. The white area at the right labeled Track/Loco is made of dry erase board so the cab number of each lead loco can be listed after trains are staged.
116487906.jpg


Here's a shot of a detection magnet installed on a P2K Geep. These are some SERIOUS magnets!
116490098.jpg


Reed switches, LEDs, resistors...
116490099.jpg


Here's a simple wiring print (please forgive my "paint" inadequacies). Each LED will draw power from Rail A, go thru a resistor installed on a PC board behind the indication panel, power the LED and return to a common Rail B connection that will be wired back to the DCS 100 command station. Since each track will have two LEDs, there will be two 4 conductor phone cables run to each 4 track yard. If neccessary, a second reed switch could easily be added in parallel with the first red "stop" LED to provide a longer indication so the engineer can stop and still have a lit LED for the spur. A holding relay would do the same if the reed switch could handle the load. They're rated at 100 ma.
116490101.gif


Ya'll have anything to add or see anything I'm missing???
 

grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
Here's an quick update on the train detection project. Due to some concerns over the original wiring schematic, we're going to use a separate power supply. It'll be a 12v unit rated for 1 amp (since that's what I found in my "junk" box :D) . The wiring will be a common power lead bussed thru board mounted resistors to the LEDs. The reed switches will complete the ground side of the circuit for each staging track. Here's a pic of tonight's progress. The terminal strips on the sides will be connections from the 4 conductor phone wires (6 total) going out to the reed switches (each yard will have a separate ground line from the power supply). The black wire in the center of the pic (verticle) is the Positive lead that will be connected directly to the power supply. The other is a buss wire between the resistors banks. The resistors are soldered on the power side to buss them together. The LEDs are installed, minus one. In a momentary lapse, I applied full voltage to it. :eek: Those babies will pop like a firecracker when you do that... :rolleyes: Oh well, Miniatronics will be glad to sell us a new pack of 12. :)

116662348.jpg
 

RexHea

RAIL BENDER
Eric, you are doing some fine work with this detection system. I am following your progress with heighten interest. Very good decision to use a seperate power supply. Question: If you had chosen to use a holding relay, were you going to break the hold manually after your train pulled out or were you planning on additional auto controls? FYI: Radio Shack has what looks to be a good micro SPDT relay for this #275-241 @ $4.29. Its coil is 12VDC, 37.5mA.
 

dgwinup

Member
Now that you have put all this work into it, I had a thought. Had you considered one of those tiny wireless video cameras? Mounted so you can see the staging tracks, you could watch on a monitor to see where the trains are at.

Nice of me to think of it now, eh? Sorry.

Looks like you aredoing some neat work. I'm anxious to see how it all works out for you.

Darrell, slow, but quiet...for now
 




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