Block wiring

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by trainoob, Jul 8, 2004.

  1. trainoob

    trainoob New Member

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    Block wiring (updated)

    I was wondering if you thought it would be benificial using block wiring on this layout. I am not using DCC. I am at the point where it is still easy to make a control panel, and change the wiring to block wiring. What do you think?
    The layout is 8'x4'.
    [​IMG]
  2. cpNscale

    cpNscale Member

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    I think it depends on the amount of money you have to spend on electrical.I have a small door layout and I am using 2 Tech 2 power packs and mini toggle switchs for my power routeing and turnout controls.Wired and installed with 2 used power packs was under $90 dollers cdn.

    Here is my thread that has a few pictures http://www.the-gauge.com/showthread.php?t=9839
  3. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

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    If you are likely to run more than one train at a time, some form of block wiring is required. Some people just divide the layout up and use a separate controller for each part e.g. Montreal yard, Winnipeg yard, eastbound main, wesbound main; but then there are glitches changing from one to another.
    The other way is to run each block to a selector switch which picks out whuch cab to connect it to. This is more flexible.
    When you're starting, divide it into blocks anyway. You can join them all together and run it as one block, but later divide it up again. (I ran this way for years before building the control panel.)
    I think I see a reverse lopp there -- that has to be a separate block.
    You may want to have sidings that you can turn off to store locomotives or trains.
  4. trainoob

    trainoob New Member

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    All my switches are insulfrog, so I don't need to have them separted. There is no reverse loop, the layout is basically a folded over dogbone. I have figured out where I want my blocks, now I just have to make the control panel, and make the layout diagram for it. Any tips for making the diagram?
    -Trainoob
  5. cpNscale

    cpNscale Member

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    I dont mean your track switchs,i mean your switch controls.As in my picture.

    Attached Files:

  6. trainoob

    trainoob New Member

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    All of my turnouts are insulfrog, and are manual. All sidings can have the power taken away from them by throwing the switch, so there is no need for power switches. I have switches and everything else figured out, except how to do the track diagram. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks
    -Trainoob
  7. GRSJr

    GRSJr Member

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    Art stores have self stick tapes in various colors that make for
    neat track diagrams on a panel. I've used 1/4 inch white on a
    masonite panel sprayed gray. Then sprayed clear flat to seal the tape.

    Finally the holes are drilled and the switches mounted at
    the appropreate spots on the tapes. Decals or dry transfers canbe used to letter the board.

    I use "european style" terminal boards from Radio Shack
    ( the smaller size) to connect wires leaving the board. I find them to be quite compact and easy to use although some might prefer a connector for this purpose.
  8. trainoob

    trainoob New Member

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    Here is the diagram I made in Photoshop. Each colour represents a different block of power. What do you think?
    -Trainoob

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  9. screwysquirrel

    screwysquirrel Member

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    Looks OK to me

    One change I'd make is to make the yards a block, possibly each line in the yard, if you want to store 'ready to run' trains on them
  10. trainoob

    trainoob New Member

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    That would be unecessary because I have insulfrogs for my switches.
  11. cpNscale

    cpNscale Member

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    I agree with srrewysquirell if your yard tracks do not have insulaters in them any power on the layout with power thru the switchs to the yard dead end tracks.To my understanding a isulated frog will keep the wheels from shorting out as a car passes from one track to the other track.
    Power is not stopped by the insulated portion of the track but but travels with in the plactic track to complete a complete curcuit.
  12. trainoob

    trainoob New Member

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    Basicallly, when I have a locomotive in the yard, and the switch is thrown the opposite way of the yard, the locomotive does not move, therefore, I don't need to have the yard be seperate blocks.
    -Trainoob
  13. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

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    I think _scott_ is talking Peco Insulfrogs which have power routing through the points. This is OK for isolating, but some people have problems with the points not making contact.
  14. trainoob

    trainoob New Member

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    I have gotten all the plexiglass for the control panel, and it is well on its way. I needed to buy some more toggle switches for the control panel, and I wanted a little LED to turn on when one of the blocks was turned on. I went to Radioshak to get these, but they coulnd't help me with the LED. I have a Tech4 MRC260 transformer with a 23VDC, 18.5VAC output. Total output is 20VA. I want to have the LED connected to the accessories output, but not have the LED explode when I turn it on. Do I need to use a resistor? What kind? Please share your knowledge. Thank You.
    -Trainoob
  15. GRSJr

    GRSJr Member

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    ALWAYS use a resistor with an LED!!!!!!! They will not limit the current and need a resistor to do so reliably.

    In your case, assume about a 2 volt drop on the LED so
    using the 23 volt output, 23 - 8 = 15 volts must drop across the resistor. Assume 20 ma. will make the LED plenty bright with a reasonable life. So, 15 volts / 20 ma = 750 ohms.
    and 15 x .02 = 0.3 watts. Thus a 750 ohm, 0.5 watt resistor is needed.

    But, I'd try a 1.5K ohm resistor to see if the LED is bright enough. If it satisfies you, this will reduce the heat in the
    resistor and lengthen the life of the LED. It will be a
    1.5K ohm, 0.25 watt resistor.

    On the other hand, you might prefer to use the AC output.
    It must be rectified to prevent the reverse voltage cycle from blowing out the LED. Simply put a 1N4001 diode in series with the wire that goes to all LEDs, cathode to the wire, anode to the AC source. Then, 18.5 - 2 - 0.8 = about 15.7 volts across the resistor so the same 750 ohms will work. But, the current will only flow half the time so the LED brightness and the heat
    in the resistor will be less. It can be a 750 ohm, 0.25 watt
    resistor.

    Remember, a separate resistor is needed for each LED.

    Ray
  16. trainoob

    trainoob New Member

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    I really don't know very much about electrical stuff. I am going to be using the AC output, so that if I have it so the train is not moving, the light will still be on. Are you saying that for the AC output, I just need a 750ohm .25 watt resistor? Attached is a diagram of the wiring, where would the resistor go?
    Thanks again

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  17. trainoob

    trainoob New Member

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    Quick update. I wired all the toggle switches (minus the LEDs) and tested them all. I had one little slip up, the orange section on the diagram did not have insulated railjoiners on it because I didn't think it would need it, but because I have one side of the track always powered, and the other is on the switch, three different switches could power one section. Adding the insulated railjoiners fixed it. Now I am not sure if I should have a LED on the diagram, what do you think? Do you think it would add to it? Thanks again!
    -Trainoob
  18. GRSJr

    GRSJr Member

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    First, LADs won't run on AC. They'll blow out. You must
    convert the AC to DC with either a Bridge Rectifier or
    a 1N4001 as I suggested,

    Second, the resistor is inserted in the lead from the LED to
    the power terminal. Or in the lead from the switch to the LED.
    Either one will work so pick the most convenient place.

    Ray
  19. trainoob

    trainoob New Member

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    I finished the control panel tonight (I decided not to use LED's). I got all the switches installed, and they are working properly. I will try to get a picture tomorrow. I have a rats nest of wires coming out the bottom of the control panel, but that can be cleaned up. Thank you everyone who helped.
    -Trainoob
  20. trainoob

    trainoob New Member

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    Here is a picture of the control panel. Thanks everyone who helped.
    -Trainoob

    Attached Files: