Suggested method for turnout signal lights

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by YmeBP, Feb 17, 2007.

  1. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

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    I'm trying to contruct a system that will send 12v to a grain of wheat bulb when a turnout is closed and send 12v to different bulb when the turnout is open. I was thinking mechanical but open to dcc suggesitons.

    Couple questions:
    1) Will a grain of wheat bulb melt my plastic signal stalks? Should i buy led's?
    2) is there some dcc based method of accomplishing this goal? (i have digitrax dcc)
    3) can i use the 12v dcc track power to power my bulbs or should i just wire up a seperate circuit using a toy grade xformer?

    Thanks in advance :).
  2. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

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    You can easily melt plastic with a GOW bulb.
    I don't know if there are DCC turnout position detectors. It wouldn't surprise me, though.
    I wouldn't try to power bulbs from the DCC signal. I think it might drain the power too much (if you have more than a few). I think the DCC signal is more than 12V, but I could be wrong.

    I would do my signals with extra contacts on the switch machines, or using LEDs in series with a Tortoise.
  3. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

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    1) yes
    2) probably, but if you're using switch machines it's probably easier to run it off that.
    3) no.
  4. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

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    Hmm, so maybe lower the voltage on the output of one of the toy transformers? What do you mean by "extra contacts"
  5. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

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    Once you get past the switch machines that come attached to the switches, there are usually extra electric switches provided. On the twin-coil machines they are usually little spring contacts, worked from the mechanism. On the stall machines (Tortoise) they are internal. Most have DPDT contacts, some SPDT and some have 3 poles.
  6. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

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    Is it possible to retrofit the snap switch switch machines w/ this sort of mechanism?

  7. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

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    Atlas makes a Snap Relay, which is wired in parallel with the switch machine. The relay has the contacts for lights and other uses, and throws when you throw the switch machine. The relay does not have to be mounted physically near the switch machine as long as it is wired in parallel.
  8. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

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    Perfect!! :) thank you!!

  9. viperman

    viperman Active Member

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    hey pgandw, think you could draw a schematic of this for a dc system? I use snap switches on my dc layout, and this sounds like an idea I would like to put to use
  10. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

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    Here is the thread where i learned how to wire led's for this setup:

    http://www.the-gauge.com/showthread.php?t=24663&highlight=led+resistor

    looking forward to that schematic too, i guess in series would mean that the middle lead of the snap switch goes to the relay and which of the side leads go to the relay?
  11. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

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    The Atlas Snap relays come with a very nice instruction sheet showing how to wire them for various uses, including position lights. Much better than I could draw without spending hours.

    yours in wiring
  12. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

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    I ordered 2 to play w/ them i will update when they arrive :).
  13. kf4jqd

    kf4jqd Active Member

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    LED's and Resistors

    I hope this MS Word works!

    Andy

    Attached Files:

  14. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

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    Worked like a charm thanks!!
  15. viperman

    viperman Active Member

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    Just took a look at the back of my Atlas snap switch. The only diagram on the back is just showing how to wire the machine (on the turnout) to the switch (user operated). Shows nothing about how to wire up lights for indicators
  16. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

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    The Snap Relay is a different item from the Snap Switch (turnout and/or switch machine). It is very similar to a switch machine. It has 2 coils in the familiar plastic enclosure and 2 sets of contacts. The box contains a detailed instruction sheet. The Snap Relay is powered in parallel with the switch machine so that the 2 throw at the same time. The relay need not be physically located near the turnout but is wired in parallel. The relay contacts can be used to power signals, indicator lights, or the turnout frog.

    I recommend using a Capacitive Discharge (CD) unit to power your Atlas switch machines and relays, especially if your present power supply is the slightest bit wimpy. The Snap Relay doubles the momentary load. A CD unit is easy to build (or can buy from Circuitron) and will make your Atlas machines and controls last much longer.

    I sold most of my Snap Relays on eBay a year ago. The remainder are packed in storage or I would have scanned and posted the instruction sheet. You might check the Atlas web site - they might have it available there.

    hope this helps
  17. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

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    i just got my first relay today and the instructions are huge and incredible detailed. I'll work on scanning them into a pdf and posing a link.
  18. viperman

    viperman Active Member

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    Thanks for the help!
  19. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

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