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Hi Everyone,

I am using DZ-1008s for train automation in conventional mode. I figured out how to make it work, I just have one issue. When my train arrives in the siding this train hits a block on the arriving switch that activates the departing train. The arriving train makes it partially in because the departing train leaving hits another block on the isolated rail on the switch triggering the arriving switch to align itself to the lane of departing train. To paint the picture when the train arrives only the engine and a couple passenger cars make it in and the remaining cars derails on the switch because its trying to go to the other siding.

 

I have tried many solutions to this and I figured two things will work. 

1. A device between the relay and isolated rail block on the switch so when the wheel activates the block it is delayed like 5 seconds or more then the device forwards the signal to the relay so the train can fully arrive and the next train on the other siding can depart without any issue.

2. Delayed Relay? So everything can be in one box?

I'm not too sure which is a better solution for the long run. I'm also not sure what I need currently and where to buy them. There seems to be a billions parts on electronic websites and its confusing for me.  I have everything wired and soldered already and I'd appreciate any help or insight with my volunteering.

Thanks

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I have attached pictures of the layout below. The pink markings are isolated blocks. The blocks on the switch will activate the opposite side of if its entering or exiting. Black and red are the normal power for the track.

What I need is when the train hits the isolated block on the arriving switch to delay that signal from going to the relay for a few seconds. Currently it works fine with a single train and a couple cars, but we want to run 5 car passenger trains.

Thanks

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 1.24.16 PMIMG_0077
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  • Compact View of Layout: Compact View of Layout
  • Isolated Block on the Switch: Isolated Block on the Switch
  • Real Picture: Real Picture

I'm still not sure exactly what you want to do.... How many trains ? one for each siding? How do you select which train and line the switches?    What do you want the trains to do.

PS.. I   spent 6 months on one of my single track and sidings  layout hooking up blocks with relays and insulated track sections.  You lock your engine in forward and sit back and watch 'em go.. Worked pretty well too but soon became very boring. I suppose the challenge was hooking it up.    Never could get it to work in both directions .  

It sounds like your turnout and power triggers are in the wrong places. The trigger that activates the waiting train, changes the inbound/outbound turnouts, and deactivates the arriving train should be activated by the arriving train once it's far enough into the siding  to have cleared the entrance turnout. The waiting (now outbound) train should be clear of the outbound siding before it hits the trigger to reset the inbound/outbound turnouts. When it returns to its siding, it should hit a trigger that activates the original train, sending it through the properly-aligned outbound turnout. When it returns, the cycle repeats.

I'm assuming from your description that this is conventional operation with locked direction on the locomotives.

Also keep in mind that high speed can screw this up if the train coasts for a longer distance when the power is interrupted.

Is the problem that the switches are throwing when you are trying to alternate power to the other track?  Could you use a small block at the end of the siding just large enough for the engine to activate the relay? This way you could be sure your whole train made it into the siding before the switch was thrown and the power was alternated to the other track.

gunrunnerjohn posted:

If I understand it correctly, I can't understand how a delay is going to help you.  It would be speed dependent, if things are running slower than you expect, wouldn't you have the same problem?

On this layout there are two loops only one direction of trains, but each loop are opposite of each other. They are all conventional and only move one direction. They also have multiple power districts to control speed especially through the switches and each lane.

I have a demo video at the very bottom of my post of when I was figuring out this entire thing before I took it to the main layout.

Some facts about the alternate train control at the main layout.

It's...

  • Conventional
  • Two loops and each loop runs one direction only and never intersect.
    • Multiple trains in one loop, but only one at a time
  • GarGrave Track, Ross Custom Switches, Z-Stuff switch machines and relays are used
  • Steam engines of medium and large size old to newer and is locked to forward position
  • 5 car passenger cars attached to it
  • Power districts of 10, 12, 14, 16 V are used throughout the layout
    • Inside the sidings we have put appropriate power districts to slow the train down correctly to their block where it stops
    • When arriving the train is moving at a moderate speed through the switch
  • My work has been soldered already (I only realized it instantly deployed when the first derail at the layout occurred.)
  • Its automated because its a large room for families and kids to enjoy.

 

A little more facts..

  • The blocks to trigger the relays for the next train to depart are at the arriving switches
    • In the video there are 3 blocks that will trigger the two relays to deploy a train
  • Moving these blocks further down the line are kinda an option except
    • On the main layout I don't have enough track in the yard to do this. I would need double the length of the passenger car to properly deploy it this way
  • I tried to make the triggering blocks right before the block where it parks and stops at. This made the relays fight and couldn't negotiate which siding was going to be active. That method didn't work
  • We don't want to shorten the passenger cars because it looks a little odd
  • We also don't want to make it go faster through the switches from what its at already, but it'll work if I make it go max speed with all the cars attached

 

Here is a video of it in action on my sample when I was given the task to figure this out. It works, but I need the setup to delay the deploying train a few seconds to allow the full train with cars to arrive then the other train can depart whenever.

I concluded to get this to work with a 5 passenger car train I need to delay the signal from the triggering block to the relay some how either with a device or a device that can delay the block that deploys the train (maybe this is the time delay relay).  I'm just not sure how timed relays work exactly and if its applicable to my situation.

Thanks for taking your time to read this!

Last edited by elementdude195

I can see how you came up 1 straight short for the passenger train. The timer should do it for you. Azatrax  uses a five second delay for their exhibit controller.

Forum member Dale H. does a lot of this type of control. email him if you get stuck. Automating a passing siding.

I have trouble determining if those timers are set up for always on and timed off or always off and timed on.

They don't do a good job of explaining that stuff in the listings.

NelsonW posted:

If you want an adjustable timer this will do what you are looking for. You will just have to supply the 12v dc.

 

DC 12V Delay relay shield NE555 Timer Switch Adjustable Module 0 to 10 Second

Link here

$2.58 free shipping

 

 

 

 

 

That seems exactly like the solution I'm looking for. They don't ship to Hawaii, but I found someone else that does thanks! I'll report back here on the results.

To use the timed relay successfully you are counting on the trains always running at the same speed.  Though you said you are using fixed voltage power districts, there are plenty of situations that could cause the trains to run at a different speed than you initially set the system up at.  Dirty track, dirty wheels and rollers, you haven't lubed the engine lately, someone in the family touches something...  

Optical sensors will work regardless of the speed of the train (within reason).  Azatrax has a nice product that I've used to successfully prevent collisions on crossings and turnouts with my 3 year old at the transformer.

elementdude195 posted:
NelsonW posted:

If you want an adjustable timer this will do what you are looking for. You will just have to supply the 12v dc.

 

DC 12V Delay relay shield NE555 Timer Switch Adjustable Module 0 to 10 Second

Link here

$2.58 free shipping

 

 

 

 

 

That seems exactly like the solution I'm looking for. They don't ship to Hawaii, but I found someone else that does thanks! I'll report back here on the results.

Question now since I bought 4 of these delay timers. How exactly do I do 12v DC? Do I need a battery or can like a AC adapter be used or some converter to go form AC to 12v DC? I was hoping I could just use the ACC power the guys setup for everyone to use from an old ZW.

Also I thought about how I wanted to delay the automation on the layout from earlier. Now I want to only delay the power going into the blocks where the locomotives are deploying from when those specific sections are activated on the relay. I found a problem with my solution earlier and thought of a way to correct it because if I delay it from the switch where its arriving from the arriving train will just run away with the departing train because the block it arrives on is being delayed from turning off too. I want to narrow my windows of error for the arriving locomotives since they are all so different in age, size, and technology.

If everything is activates properly just like the video and I only delay the block where the locomotives departs from I'll be all good. Hopefully there is an item for it. I think guys are getting excited to run all the trains to start breaking them in since they're starting to oil some of them. 

Thanks!

Hi Lou,

Yes, I did get it all of it working. I learned lots during this entire process.

The summary of this project was the Z-stuff documentation had errors, which I did let them know about and for the individual block on each siding has a time delay relay that receivers power only when the Z-stuff relays throws power to it.

The time delay relay was another project in itself. I got DC powered time delay relays that are powered with AC accessory power that is converted to dc with a bridge rectifier. Once the time delay relay receives power from the Z-stuff relays it starts counting down to 0 then proceeds to turn it's own relay on to give that block power.

I hope that makes sense? If not I can upload a video of it in action at the museum I volunteer at.

Thanks for the reply!

I think I understand what you did. The documentation being off I’m sure didn’t help. I have been bench playing with relays, so I’ll see if I can replicate what you did.

As for making the train slow down, did you create isolated center rails and each block is powered by its own transformer?  

Thanks again,

Lou

Ya, momentarily it'll be bridged together when 2 rollers touch different blocks as it's arriving. We've found that it's okay for any engine to briefly move across the different blocks that are using different voltages. In our case we have a ZWL for the 2 main loops, and we use a separate transformer for the accessory power for the switch machines and relays, but they all share the same common wire.

Since the start/stop block is always off with the way the time delay relay and z-stuff relay is setup, the engine will fully stop when all the rollers of the engine are in the start/stop block. In reality we created the start/stop block to be 30 inches in length to comfortably hold a large engine including the Big Boy and to account for rolling stops from conventional engines that do not have cruise control technology such as Odyssey.

Another method we used to combat the bridging of the two blocks together for a period of time is to put a car behind the engine that do not have rollers on it. For our passenger car trains they have either a baggage car or box car that'll trail the engine. The reason for all of this precaution and is the ONLY situation bridging does something odd. When the time delay relay board is powered off and the train is arriving to stop the engine bridges the two different voltage blocks together (stop(0v) and 10v) and the time delay relay board freaks out because it is receiving power through the relay in the reverse direction it's built for. When the voltage bridge is happening anywhere else on the layout or the time delay relay board is on, like when the engine+passenger cars depart there is never an issue of the time delay relay board freaking out.

We've been running this for almost 3 years like that and haven't seen anything break or have ill effects. But your question actually made me think of an idea that didn't cross my mind. I should add a diode that can only allow power one direction to the start/stop block. Thanks for that.

Also I can search for a video example if you're interested and I hope my explanation answered your question. This whole thing has been a learning opportunity for me since 2015.

and from a technical point of view, I would add that bridging two different transformers adds the amperage available of both which can be a problem.

Use conventional equipment with the least amount of electronics. The spacer car will help keep lamps in cars from being blown or wires melted, but not necessarily provide 100% protection.

Ya, momentarily it'll be bridged together when 2 rollers touch different blocks as it's arriving. We've found that it's okay for any engine to briefly move across the different blocks that are using different voltages. In our case we have a ZWL for the 2 main loops, and we use a separate transformer for the accessory power for the switch machines and relays, but they all share the same common wire.

...

If the prospect of shorting different transformer outputs is a concern, you might look at the diode-dropping or rheostat method to create different track voltages.  That is, these methods use a single transformer from which multiple voltages are derived.  So when center-rail pickup rollers straddle adjacent blocks, there is no transformer shorting since there is only 1 transformer!

Of course many guys have multi-output transformers or multiple transformers so no problem coming up with multiple voltages.  But if you don't have a spare transformer output to dedicate to the slowdown zone, the diode-dropping or rheostat method can also save some money and real-estate.  This method is typically discussed in the context of downhill speed control (in conventional) where the downhill voltage is dropped a few Volts as a kind-of-sort-of speed control... such as this OGR thread.

From what I understand of the present application, I'd think maybe $5-10 in parts could do the trick.

This method should not "interfere" with whatever time-delay relay method(s) you use.

Last edited by stan2004

99961458-ACDD-49C9-B7A1-29B9D52D3F56

The idea is to use low-cost components to drop the starting voltage thereby creating multiple voltages to choose from.  Then your relays can pick and choose which one to apply to a particular track block.  I show the "diode-dropping" method above using bridge rectifiers.  But it's the same idea using a string of resistors or variable resistors (rheostats).  There are OGR threads that get into the nitty-gritty about pros/cons of various voltage dropping methods.

So in the example above, I arbitrarily show a starting voltage of 12V AC from the transformer.  A $1 bridge rectifier "generates" 2 new voltages...one is about 0.7V lower, the other is about 1.4V lower.  But these can be cascaded; so a 2nd bridge rectifier can create 2 more voltages as shown.  And so on.

Using your relays, you can select which voltage to apply to your various blocks.  You do not need to apply "adjacent" voltages to adjacent blocks.  That is, you can apply 12V AC to one block and, say, 9.9V to the adjacent block (skipping the intermediate voltages).

The point about shorting is this.  When an engine or passenger car straddles two blocks with different voltages, this only "shorts" the bridge rectifier which is a "harmless" event as opposed to shorting two transformers that each provide power.  That is, a bridge rectifier is a passive component that in itself does not provide energy.  Of course a transformer is an active component that does provide energy (and lots of it!).

The momentary straddling/shorting of two transformer powered blocks by an engine should be a momentary event.  The electrical analysis of what exactly happens gets technically involved depending on various factors; in my opinion this is one of those tolerated but frowned-upon situations...a YMMV scenario.  As discussed in earlier posts, there could be a situation where a stopped consist might position a passenger car straddling/shorting two adjacent blocks.  This would present a long-term short which should be avoided with alacrity.  But if using the diode-dropping method, a long-term short by a passenger car straddling adjacent blocks is a no-harm, no-foul event; the passenger lights would receive the higher of the two voltages.

If this is something you'd like to try, or would just like to explore further in the spirit of OGR being a discussion forum, provide us a little more about what exactly you're trying to do.  I'm particularly interested in how you see delay relays fitting in (or not) to the mix.

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Last edited by stan2004

I am trying to do several different things with different trains.

Most all my trains are pre and post war. Of those I have 6 sets of prewar passenger cars/engines. Some cars have lights, some don’t.

With these 6 sets, I am creating two separate loops, three sets will run on each loop. I want a situation where they run on their own. I would like as one train makes a loop and returns to the station, it slows down and stops and at that time sends another train on its way to make a loop. That train returns to the station and does the same. When the third train finishes the loop it starts the process over with the first train.

It’s just as Elementdude shows in the beginning of this thread. Each train would have it’s own siding.

The most I have ever done in the past with more than basic wiring, was to have one train trigger switches using isolated rails to have it make a predetermined route through a little town. I want to try to up my game a little.

Thanks for all you do here. I see your name in most of the threads I read. It’s been very helpful for me to start understating how these systems work in easy to understand terms.

Lou

Last edited by Lbro
@Lbro posted:


...

It’s just as Elementdude shows in the beginning of this thread.



That makes things a lot easier!  I figure he can provide specifics for wiring, components used, etc..

I foresee some additional discussion about relay voltages.  Many/most delay timer relay modules operate on DC voltage - such as 12V DC.  To operate these DC relay modules in an O-gauge AC voltage environment requires some forethought. 

As mentioned earlier, if you end up trying the voltage-dropping method such as using bridge-rectifiers it can substitute directly into the multiple-transformer method.  Even if for DIY curiosity, it doesn't cost much to cobble together a few 50-cent or $1 bridge rectifiers to experiment.

Likewise, from what I can tell the DZ-1008 relay (no time delay) is about $15.  Yet the time-delay relay proposed earlier in this thread was less than $3.  If you have time and a dash of DIY persistence, you can typically save some coin applying low-cost general purpose electronic modules (often from high-volume automotive applications) rather than purpose-built train modules.  Matters like this is where the OGR Electronic forum shines!

@stan2004 posted:

As mentioned earlier, if you end up trying the voltage-dropping method such as using bridge-rectifiers it can substitute directly into the multiple-transformer method.  Even if for DIY curiosity, it doesn't cost much to cobble together a few 50-cent or $1 bridge rectifiers to experiment.

This is what I am going to try. I’ll order everything and give it a shot.

in the picture, the Blue wire on the right, is that still rated as 12VAC and can be used for the remaining portion of the loop?

99961458-ACDD-49C9-B7A1-29B9D52D3F56

If you're using 12V AC as the "main line" power, just take it from the transformer terminal itself (assuming the transformer throttle is set to 12V).

That blue wire connection on the right will have the lowest voltage on the totem-pole so to speak.  It does not have to be connected to anything.  I re-drew as shown above.  I figure you won't need any voltage lower than about 9V AC based on the discussion above (where 10V was the lowest voltage discussed).

Note that the voltages shown are approximate...and if you have a voltmeter measure the various voltage "taps" you will not get the exact voltages indicated.

 

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