I have 250 - 275 of track on a shelf layout. Runs on a single z1000 with 14ga buss wire and solder joints to track every 3 ft. Have one diesel setup, one steam setup. Both PS3. To run from one to the other, have to bring down one, setup the next. One room just put in Ross switches to keep train in hobby room, while im in there. Good place to park the other for now until I add a new side track at a later time.

Run on the basic  DCS infared unit at the moment. I saw the Explorer unit. Only downfall I see is no control over switches. Would have to extend the push button controls lower, and wire to a bigger button to push with a stick. Or the next step with the TIU, AIU, Wifi. Tiu / wifi combo cant find anywhere, along with unknown restock date. But I can get a used tiu on ebay, and all the other components new at an onilne train store.

Dont plan to expand. Just these to 2 setups, run one at a time.

Thanks

Original Post

I would not buy a used TIU, except at very low price.  Reason is htat you can't tell what last owner has done with it.   A little on-line effort should be able to locate one.  For a newbie to DCS, I recommend the remote rather that the WIU, for less complexity.

The remote is much more convoluted than the app.  Also no reason not to pick up a used TIU if price is good. Just make sure Rev L version.  Only thing I miss on the physical remote is the tactile thumb wheel, but I hardly ever touch mine now.  The all is so much cleaner and more intuitive.

I would buy a new TIU as others have said. I was a hold out for a while to use the app and purchase a WIU and told myself “I should have done it before “  The WIU works perfectly with the app and is way easier to use and see than the old remote. 

@Tugboat15 posted:

...

Run on the basic  DCS infared unit at the moment. I saw the Explorer unit. Only downfall I see is no control over switches. Would have to extend the push button controls lower, and wire to a bigger button to push with a stick. Or the next step with the TIU, AIU, Wifi.

...

Dont plan to expand. Just these to 2 setups, run one at a time.

...

My interpretation is the TIU-AIU approach is quite expensive - several hundred dollars - if the primary reason for upgrading is wireless control of the Ross switches.

wireless remote relays

Each AIU Switch port is basically a pair of relays.  One or the other relay momentarily closes for 1/2 sec to emulate the manual button control for straight or diverge.  For about $5 you can get a wireless relay as shown above; these are used for DIY garage-door projects and the like.  Using a 2-button fob, and 2 wireless relays you could then control a switch. 

Obviously this control method is not integrated into the DCS handheld remote.  OTOH, that you thought of extending the switch wiring and pressing buttons with a stick caught my attention.  That is, the "stick" is also a wireless control method that is not-integrated into the train-control remote!

 

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Personally, I'd wait and buy the TIU/WIU or TIU/remote from an authorized dealer if you go that route.  Then you receive a substantial warranty, which can be reassuring and convenient when you are investing this kind of money. 

I agree with Stan. If the goal is to operate two trains simultaneously, the TIU/WIU may be overkill as the Explorer should meet that need. A couple of switches can be operated by lots of less expensive modes than a TIU/WIU/AIU. 

Then again, if the goal is to have everything on one remote control device, the cost of the TIU/WIU/AIU may be worth it to you.  Unless you are very knowledgeable and handy, the secondary market for such devices can lead to disappointment and frustration.

If you are happy with the Remote Commander for train control your only issue is controlling two Ross track switches? And those two switches could be ganged because you want to throw both to either keep the train in one room or permit it to make the larger multi-room loop? If so you just need an inexpensive wireless remote doodad like STAN2004 suggested above instead of several hundred dollars worth of DCS electronics.

Thanks for the inputs.

Yeah, im aware of buying used electronics.  Thats why I was only looking at getting just the TIU used. Cant find them new anywhere, (im still looking) used ones were going for around 80.00 on ebay.  If they were in stock, could get TIU for 200, or 315 with wifi combo from one online MTH dealer.  I dont have an LHS near me. Its like a road trip to nearest one, and they only carry Lionel.

Key fob is a cool idea. Got more info / link to that system? That kinda slipped my mind... to make my own / search for options... Your pic seems to be plug and play ready unit. Whats input voltage?

Im not looking to run both at the same time.

Explorer was on my radar, until the snag about remote switch control. They key fob sounds like a good solution. But, if I wanted to add a 2nd diesel engine at some point, cant lash up with the explorer.

Just to be clear as there seems to be some confusion....    Run one engine at a time around the house, mainline, while keeping other on a side track. Both will not be running on main line, or around the loop of one room during the same time.  Going to use the loop to idle one while operating the other.

 

 

 

Last edited by Tugboat15
@Tugboat15 posted:
..

Key fob is a cool idea. Got more info / link to that system? That kinda slipped my mind... to make my own / search for options... Your pic seems to be plug and play ready unit. Whats input voltage?

..

 

If you search anywhere (eBay, Amazon, etc.) for "wireless relay module" you will be overwhelmed with choices!   You can get all manners and styles including 1 relay, 2 relays, 4 relays, etc.  Choice of technology (e.g., radio, Infrared).  And so on.  I don't know if I'd call it plug-and-play as it does involve some wiring though you should be able to accomplish this without soldering or having to mess with tiny components.  You will need to program these modules to pair the receiver to the fob.  This only takes a minute or so and generally involves pushing a so-called "learn" button on the receiver, then pressing a button on the fob.  The receiver than "learns" the code being sent and forever remembers it.  What's kind of neat is how you can repeat the learning process and the receiver will learn and then respond to multiple fobs. 

These receiver/relay modules come in a variety of required operating input voltage, some AC, some DC, though I'd guess than 12V DC is the most common.  The relays themselves can switch 10 Amps  - and AC or DC voltages so that will not be an issue.  Most fobs use the tiny 12V 23A battery.

I can make some suggestions if you'd like to pursue this route.  Just let me know if you are willing to use eBay and wait a month or whatever for stuff to come from Asia.  Or do you prefer fullfilled-by-Amazon U.S. shipping - albeit at a (typically) higher cost.

Will the switches operate on full Z-1000 track voltage (18V AC) or will you be running the Z-1000 Accessory 14V AC up to the shelf?  So if you choose 12V DC relay modules, you would need an AC-to-DC regulator module (a few bucks) to convert 14 or 18V AC to 12V DC.  I can suggest that too.  Note that you might need a 10 cent "DCS choke" if using AC track voltage to generate the DC voltage to power the wireless receiver module(s).

 

 

Last edited by stan2004

Proof of concept:

O gauge wireless turnout for about ten bucks

Obviously not a Ross switch but concept should work in place of the standard 3-wire cable to the manual lever controller.  Above shows an AC-to-DC voltage regulator module (about $3) to convert Accessory AC to 12V DC as required by the wireless relay modules.  If powering the AC-to-DC converter module with 18V track AC under DCS-command-control, add the 10 cent DCS choke/inductor to the AC power feeding the regulator module.

Here it is in action:

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Why not use a 2-relay receiver and just toggle back and forth?  Why have two separate receivers?  For that matter, a four relay receiver with the 4-button remote would do two switches.

Agreed.  There are many economical options for wireless remote relays.  In the following ebay listing. the cost per relay goes from about $5 to less than $2; and that includes the transmitter fob and shipping!  

ebay

As an aside, the relay receivers I've worked with can be configured to momentary or latching mode.  In the present application, the momentary mode is used where the relay is ON for as long as the fob button is pressed.  This emulates the manual spring-loaded lever controller behavior. 

If the relay is configured to latching mode, the relay toggles ON and OFF on successive button presses; this is typically called "self-lock" mode.  Or one button can latch the relay ON, and a different button can turn the relay OFF; this is typically called "inter-lock" mode.  For example, a latching mode can be useful if the turnout is driven by a Tortoise or similar slow-speed switch machine.

---

Separately, it occurs to me that even if the OP chooses the TIU-AIU-WiFi route, there's still the matter of running the turnout control wiring from the AIU up to the shelf.  I'd think that in a shelf layout, minimizing wiring runs between floor and ceiling is a factor.  To that end I previously did a write-up on having an AIU SWitch port control the fob buttons for wireless relay control.  The key takeaway from that "experiment" was that the 1/2 second AIU SW port on-time was indeed enough time to activate a fob button and transmit/activate the remote receiver.

4 channel remote fob attached to AIU

So for about $10 more, this would allow total control using just the DCS handheld remote.  I suppose this smacks of going from the sublime to the ridiculous.

 

 

 

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Plug n play... meaning I wouldnt get a board and components in a bag and have to solder everything onto it. I did run across a fob with 2 relay boards like your first post on Amazon. 13.00 not bad.  Ill go amazon or ebay routes. Ill pay the extra for sooner than months later.  I will run them off the buss wire since it runs right next to the track.

The choke goes between hot side of buss and input of reg correct?  Im guessing the choke blocks the DCS signal, and causing issues? I dont have my system yet.

Well sometimes you get lucky and stumble across things, like these key fob modules... but not for me lol. Just didnt pick the right word in the search.

So, 2 - 18vac to 12vdc regulator, 2 -  22uh chokes (im sure they come as a strip for a few bucks) , then a board with 2 relays per switch. Go with 2 relays on one board per switch so I dont have to run 16ft wire from a 4 relay setup the other switch.

So send me your suggestions Stan. Im going to poke a little before bed. Ill eventually get a 2nd set of swtiches and run another side track down the road with this setup.

Thanks for yalls help.

 

Found this stuff on amazon.  

12-24vac to 12vdc 9.99

Then 2nd image is the 2ch relay for 15.00.  Watched their little ear bleeding video. Looks like after throwing switch, can push the "C" button to turn off. So relay doesn't have to stay on and hold load.

Mil grade 22uh 10% molded choke inductor 1/2 watt size - 10pc for 8.00 on ebay.

Also found some small breadboards I can use.

If this is good, or have something better, im all ears.

 

51Pd4T0+5sL._AC_SL1000_61A7kR5GS3L._AC_SL1000_

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amazon stuff

1. 12V AC-to-DC regulator.  I think I found your $9.99 regulator, but how about $8.99 for a 2-pack

2. Wireless relay. Could not find the 2-channel module you show; I wanted to confirm 12V operation (some of them operate on different voltages), and see what's up with the 3-button remote(?).  How about $10.99 ($12.99 less $2 coupon) for a 12V relay module?  Many of these listings say batteries not required (and hence not included).  But this refers to the receiver not requiring a battery.  In my experience, if the fob is included, the battery comes with.  But I suppose it's worth confirming.  The fob appears to be the same one I used in which case it's the inexpensive 12V A23-style battery.

3. DCS 22uH inductor.  You do not need a military-grade component - LOL .  How about $5.79 for 25.  It pains me to suggest this for what should be a 5 cent part but here's the math: Regulator $8.99 + Relays $10.99 w/coupon + Inductor $5.79 = $25.77.  Ta da!  Free shipping from Amazon with $25 purchase. 

If you are using 18V AC track voltage to supply 12V DC, install the inductor from the 18V AC "hot" to either one of the inputs on the regulator module.  The 18V AC common goes directly to the other regulator module input.  And, to your point, yes the regulator module "drags down" the high-frequency DCS signal; the inductor demotes this loading while allowing the low-frequency 60 Hz power to pass through.

And point well taken about getting stuff more quickly.  It might be half the cost if willing to wait for eBay Asia but would be dealing with multiple sellers, un-tracked packages, etc..  I don't know if this is nationwide but I get a message saying my Amazon package is about to be delivered with a live GPS map with a dot showing the delivery truck... it's amazing how the GPS image is real-time so I can watch the dot move and walk to the front door just in time to see the truck pulling up.  Or else a few minutes after delivery, they send a photo of the package sitting at my front door.  Full disclosure, I do NOT own Amazon stock!

 

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Last edited by stan2004
@prrjim posted:

DCC it is open source.

Not sure what you're getting at.  I get that his engines are PS3 so they support DCC.  Are you proposing a DCC controller w/ wireless remote, and then DCC Accessory Decoder modules for switch control?  If so, I'd be curious to see how it prices out vs. a TIU-AIU-WIU combo...

I did not note all the details in the original post.   So I was thinking only of loco control and what system to build.    I am 2 rail and since DCC is open source it works with anything I buy, not just one brand.    When I asked the mfg where to get engine decoders to use for DCS, I was told you have to buy a DCS equipped engine to get one.    I never looked at DCS again!    That just does not make sense.  I have quite a few very nice Brass steamers, and want to use them with what ever electronics, not buy new locos that are not even as good models.

As for switches and what not, all that is also easily controlable with stationary decoders from various DCC mfgs.    You just don't have buy everything from the same brand.    And  you can get decoders from at least 1/2 dozen different makers that are all good and do the job,    It just depends on which you like.   All the basic control functions for all the decoders, if they are DCC compliant (not alway true of compatible) will work with any throttle/command system.    You can't mix throttles from one system with another, but you can mix and match decoders.  

@prrjim posted:

...

As for switches and what not, all that is also easily controlable with stationary decoders from various DCC mfgs.   

Understood.  What kinds of DCC Stationary Decoders are out there that can handle the dual momentary high-current pulses to drive O-gauge solenoid turnouts?

Last edited by stan2004

Took me a bit, but I found everything. I swear I hunted the chokes on amazon b4 going over to ebay lol.  Again... add excell in search, then poof...

The 2ch relays I found were 15.00 , so you beat me again by a few bucks.  The "C" button is for motor use. If you want it to stop rotation.  Here is a link.      https://www.amazon.com/gp/prod...;smid=A22WK22BLHU2S6

Big thanks for taking the time and searching for the components. Got them all added to my amazon cart.  Yep, the few times ive ordered on ebay, the oh snap its from China, you forget about it, then do a victory dance when it magically shows up in mailbox.

Ill keep in touch once I get the parts in and start doing the wire up. Getting a 2nd set to have on hand when I add in the other side track. Just gotta wait for a good deal on some ross switches to pop up on ebay.

 

Aight Stan I need a pointer. Got all my goodies in. I understand how to wire from AC buss to DC on the relay board.  I was going to copy above example you posted, but from what ive read, the dz-1000 switch machine is AC powered only and your switch example is wired DC. I just dont want to screw, or release the magic smoke on anything.

Im guessing switch needs to have AC input voltage as in the wiring chart. Then I hook up the L and R throws to each of the relays. (NO terminal) Then jump the common on relays, then back up to other side of buss wire. Just let me know if Im on track, or way out in left field.

Is another choke needed for AC to switch? Or just to the regulator.

Thanks.

zmacinstruct

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@Tugboat15 posted:

...

Im guessing switch needs to have AC input voltage as in the wiring chart. Then I hook up the L and R throws to each of the relays. (NO terminal) Then jump the common on relays, then back up to other side of buss wire. Just let me know if Im on track, or way out in left field.

Is another choke needed for AC to switch? Or just to the regulator.

 

zmacinstruct

You're on track.

No additional choke required.  You'll have to find some other use for your surplus of chokes.  

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Thanks Stan. I like your colored to the point drawing lol.

Yeah I saw the email. But another guy within the company may take the reigns. So I'm sure mth will live on.

With this switch hack, I could get away with the explorer unit. Cheaper than the tiu / wifi. But I'd prolly kick myself for not getting the combo the 1st time round. 

Just a little update. Hobby shop across town had 3 TIU / remote combo sets (Rev L) and plenty of AIUs and the transformers from 500, 750, 1000. I was leaning toward the explorer, but after a few more youtube vids, and knowing I would get that "UGH" should have gotten the full version... I wanted the top setup. But everywhere I called, website, etc doesnt have the TIU separate, or with the WIFI module combo.  And im watching a used one with minutes left going for 470.00 on ebay right now. Wow... they must be really hard to find.  Glad to have a new one for much cheaper, and warranty period.

Not doing the AIU anytime soon. Not on a layout that constantly needs switch changes. Just got home from hobby shop. About to wire up with relay boards to switches and give them a try.

 

Well.. i jumped the gun. Ray sent me a message back today. Good thing I was busy this weekend. DCS system i got from LHS went back today, getting the TIU/Wifi combo unit cheaper from him.

I finished the build of the wireless switch controllers and some boxes to hide them in. Did a test on the table. Mounted under each switch. Just gotta solder power from buss wire and ill be switching happy.

Well... got the switch controllers installed in a vented box I made. Just making sure all is good before I attach the lid.  DCS / Wifi system came in as well. Got that installed and been a smooth process.

Stan... one more question. Need an indicator light down below to know which way switch is thrown. Have a simple solution? Prefer led as they have low draw and long life, but 18vAC on the relay. Found small indicator lights on Amazon, but want 110ac or 12dc.

 

20200618_113006

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An LED with a resistor and diode will run fine of 18V.  Depending on the brightness desired, you'll want to with a minimum of 500 ohms 1/2 watt to around 2.2K 1/2 watt and any common diode like the 1N4003.

Just curious John, Why 1/2 watt resistor? I've been using 1/4 ( and 1/8 when available) watt for some of my setups.

Well, never mind, I was figuring for 6 volts, not 18!! I guess a 1/4 watt would be okay in some cases but one better not be planning on pushing a lot power to that LED.

Last edited by H1000

1/4W resistors get a bit warm in the scenario I mentioned.  They're probably OK, but since the cost is the same, I like a little margin.

@Tugboat15 posted:
 
... Prefer led as they have low draw and long life, but 18vAC on the relay. Found small indicator lights on Amazon, but want 110ac or 12dc.

 

If I needed an 18V AC LED, I'd do what GRJ suggests... wire up a LED + resistor + diode  which is less than 10 cents in parts.  But if your electronic component cupboard is bare, and you need just one or two, it will be a hassle tracking down part numbers, ordering small quantities, minimum orders, etc.  This was a role that Radio Shack played but that's another story!

hodgepodge of stuff

A lot of guys simply order pre-wired 18V AC compatible LEDs from places like Evan Designs.

evan designs led

Or, while I don't think this applies to your situation, Town and Country Hobbies sells 18V AC LED bulbs to replace incandescent bulbs with standard bayonet, screw-in, and connector styles you'd find in O-gauge passenger cars, accessories, and the like.

In any case, if you want to pursue the DIY approach and don't mind solder fumes and such, it might actually be interesting to see what the all-in cost would be if all you need is one or two.

 

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Well I guess im lucky. There is an electronics store near my work that is like radio shack... you can get 1 to 1000 resistors, caps, diodes, etc. I dont mind the solder route. My switch boxes have tiny breadboards, so really wont have to solder in anything, or very minimal. Was looking at something like these. I could attach to bottom lid.  Though I could drill a tiny hole and press in a single LED and work just as well and cheaper bottom line.

The Evan designs link is cool too. I guess if they dont have what I need, which I would doubt, I could go the Evans route.

Thanks for yalls inputs.

61RRdRLE-1L._AC_SL1001_

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Those pre-wired LEDs are nice because the bezels give your project a handsome finished-look.  I'd be surprised if you can find such pre-wired LEDs for 18V AC operation.  Typically these are 12V DC common for auto DIY projects.  I see they are about $1 each on Amazon but you have to buy a handful.   In the photo below you can see how these 12V DC LEDs have an embedded resistor.  An inquiring mind might ask whether this means you just add a diode (to convert AC to DC) and off you go? 

Modifying a pre-wired LED sort of defeats the intent.  If messing at the component level anyway with the soldering iron ready to go, you can buy LED bezels and make exactly what you want.  Again you run into the minimum order quantity conundrum if you only need one or two.

led bezel

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Oops. Thought I posted earlier. Refresh and my last post is gone.

Went to electrical parts outlet store. Went here when I was a kid. They used to have a G scale train on small loop running inverted. High power magnets kept it on tracks. Now they have a larger G scale loop, but not inverted. Store is full of goodies.

Got all the parts needed. The 1N4003 diodes and some 511ohm resistors. Wanted it bright. Little bread boards I already had. All for 6.00. Got some extras for when I expand with a few other switches I plan on installing.

20200627_131513

Already got both boards built and tested. LED nice and bright.  So for the hookup, power goes in thru the circuit (res,diode,led) then out of circuit into each NO contact of relay correct? Only thing I may have to do is solder some extension wires for the LEDs for where I want to locate them.

 

20200628_000004

 

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@Tugboat15 posted:

… So for the hookup, power goes in thru the circuit (res,diode,led) then out of circuit into each NO contact of relay correct? 

Backing up a bit.  To summarize, the idea is as follows: replace the 3-wire spring-loaded lever controller with two momentary relays.  Each bulb (or LED-diode-resistor) is wired to COM and NO.  And, yes, when a relay is momentarily activated (which connects COM to NO), the bulb is indeed shorted and turns OFF.

controller

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