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I know, mark it down when you read it but I didn't.

Seems several weeks ago I read a thread that referred to a Jim Barrett video where he discussed switches he liked for turning power on and off to yard spurs.  I just went through the digital portal videos and did not see such a video (much other good stuff though).

Does anyone remember something like this or did I dream it?

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I don't remember a video - may have been a magazine article. Actually any SPST on/off switch will work. Because of the power source (mine is 180 watts at 18 VAC) I would recommend a 10 amp switch to be safe. If a single ended spur you also may want to add a lighted bumper to indicate power on/off to track.


I think the biggest issue with DCS and separately powered yard tracks is something called the watchdog signal.  Apparently, if you apply power to a single track after the rest of the layout is powered up, an engine on that track will not "see" or "hear" the DCS signal.  This means engines on that track will start to run in conventional mode at 18V when you flip the switch, kind of like the old "bat out of h***."

Gunrunnerjohn has developed at least one method to resolve this problem; just search the forum for "watchdog signal."


I have several yards with a parked motorized unit in each all running on TMCC, so I am not aware of the issue running on DCS.  To power each yard, I use a series of ganged Atlas 205 connectors. They work fine and are easy to label for each yard.  Here is one source:  Note: I am up in Canada now, and the price I see on the link may be in Canadian currency.

Yes bumpers can help to note when power is applied to the spur, and I have that feature in a yard that is some distance from the control area. All the others are wired on insulated sections of the end track directly connected to the main power source so they are always on. I like to see the bumpers on.  Seems more realistic.

Hope this helps.


@B&M Fan posted:

I try to remember to power the siding before turning up the power to 18 volts, but if I forget I just hit START-UP on the DCS remote which instantly puts the engine in DCS mode.

Some DCS locomotives will not properly initialize without first shutting them down from conventional mode then starting them up.  That's the purpose of the DCS-RC Perpetual Watchdog Generator project.

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