I'm building a small conventional control O-31 oval layout and have a postwar 252 crossing gate that I'd like to activate with an insulated track section. I'm using a Z-1000 transformer and would prefer to operate the 252 with the 14V accessory terminals, so that the crossing gate operates consistently regardless of train speed, and also because when I tested it with the track power terminals it was a nosier and didn't work as well (I'm guessing because this is a chopped sine wave transformer).
Since it's a very small layout the crossing gate will be active a significant fraction of the time (because a train takes up a significant fraction of a small oval), and there is always the chance that somebody parks a train on the insulated track section for a while and the gate stays down until the train moves again. Is my plan a bad idea in terms of the coil in the 252 overheating? I know it's possible for this to happen, I just have no idea how long it takes with 14V.
Here are some options I see:
1. Install a toggle switch in series with the 252 and ask the kids to turn it off if the train stops by the crossing, but I'm sure at some point it would be left on.
2. Install a momentary push button switch so the gate only operates when the train is on the insulated track section AND the button is pressed.
3. Power the gate with track power, but as I said the gate doesn't seem to like the chopped sine wave and also it could still be left activated if the loco's e-unit is in neutral and track power is on.
I don't see a lot of value in option #3. Is #1 too risky, or are this crossing gate robust enough to handle being activated for a while before anything bad happens? Or do these gates overheat easily enough that I should go with option #2? Thanks for any advice.