Skip to main content

Hello Folks,   electronics idiot Mannyrock here.

I please need suggestions as to two electric modules (or are they components?) that I would like to have.

First, I have an old Lionel 54 Stop on Light signal, which has two big red bulbs.   It works fine when I connect it to the fixed-  voltage  AC output of my main transformer.   I plan to use an insulated rail as the on-off switch for the signal.

However, I would like for the signal lights to flash on/off when they get the power.  (Just for effect, and they don't need to flash in an alternating fashion.)

Can anybody suggest a stupid simple component I can install in the hot wire that will run from my transformer to the signal, so that the lights will flash on/off?    In something like 1 or 2 second intervals?  Has to be able to handle 16 volts AC.  (On the other hand, are there standard Lionel bulbs that will flash just by themselves?  I like using the smaller turnout lantern bulbs, if possible.)

Second, I will have 3 or 4 other AC powered accessories that I will put on my layout, that I want to power from a separate transformer so that they don't draw on the main transformer.    I would like these to turn on and off, randomly, at different times.    Can anyone suggest a simple component, that has one a line hot line input, and 3 or 4 hot line outputs, which is programmable to turn the accessories on at different intervals, and for different time periods.  (Such as the first accessory turns on every 30 seconds, and then just runs for 10 seconds.   The second accessory turns on every 2 minutes,  and runs for just 15 seconds.  At times, the operations may overlap.)   I think that I saw something like this online about a year ago, but I have never been able to find it again by searching.

Thanks for any and all advice and suggestions.


Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

P.S.- I have read the very thorough set of posts back in 2016, where Stan, John, and others joined in to explain how to design an alternating flasher system for a 154 Signal.    Yet, that is way over the top for me.   (And, I'm not sure why it was necessary for the components to convert AC power to DC power.)

I'm just looking for an in-line circuit flasher that will work.  :-)



Thanks for all of the great info.  I will have to digest it.

Moran, my P.S. post was not meant to be a reply to your suggestion.   I was typing it shortly after my initial post, as follow-up clarification, and before I could press send, I guess your rapid reply hit the board, so without me having read yours, my P.S. followed.   My apologies if this created the impression that it was a rejection or critique or your suggestion.

Leo, the timing module you posted takes 5 V to operate, but what is the max voltage it can handle?  Can it handle a 16 V AC output from the transformer?

Thanks very much,


Mannyrock: I think I would want to use some programmable timer relays. They should be able to handle both the flashing lights and the random timing for accessories.

These from Amazon take 5 volts to power the relays. Your AC would go through the Common and NO/NC connections. You would want to use program mode 4.

Those require a DC buss which, despite how simple it may be to some, has been requested to be avoided. Additionally, they can't be used readily with track activation as requested for the flashing scenario.

Now to be absolutely clear, I'm not saying these can't be made to work, but when compared with the specific purpose nature of installing the Dallee components, it seems like a no brainer.

Mannyrock: Yes. The relays (as can be seen in the picture) are rated up to 10 amps at 120 volts AC, 30 volts DC, etc. I haven't tried these but have seen them mentioned elsewhere. Apparently, some people have said that they had trouble setting them up in the proper program mode.

It is a bit confusing. P4 starts with the relay off until time T1 passes, then turns on until time T2 passes and then goes off again. This repeats over and over.


Images (1)
  • mceclip0
@bmoran4 posted:

As such, @Mannyrock cannot directly use the stated isolated rail with 18VAC input....

Yes. That would require a bit more. But there should be no problem getting the relay timer to cycle on and off for the desired duration. And I don't see how any of the trigger modes could start and stop it. You could just run the 18VAC into an AC to DC buck converter to power up the relay timer which would then supply the required blinking action. But that's the long way around for a blinker. I would look for a different solution in that case.

Image [16)@Mannyrock, I think I have a couple relays that may be what you want. They are from a former company called 3-Rail Innovations. Each module has 2 programmable relays. One has a programmable flashing mode, and the other will activate accessories at different time intervals. I have manuals and more info describing their use if you are interested. They are AC powered, and can be activated by isolated rail or switch. Feel free to ask for more information; I can scan specific mode instructions, such as flashing options.3 rail 1


Images (2)
  • 3 rail 1
  • Image (16)
Last edited by John H

Thanks for all of the great info!

To clarify the second request I posted, I will have several trackside AC accessories, such as the Atlas Oil Pump,  etc., that I want to operate automatically at different intervals, with the power coming straight from an independent 1033 Transformer supplying maximum AC throttle voltage.  (Not from an insulated rail or the track.)      I see now that I was mistaken by saying it would be 18 V input, as the transformer only has a max of 16 V input.      (I guess that if this is just too much for a relay circuit, I could use the 14 V constant voltage posts.)

John H, the first relay you show, the Two-Lighting Relay, sounds like the type of programmable timer relay that I am looking for.  But, will it be able to handle 14 or 16 V AC input and output?   The reason I ask is that its description is geared totally to operating lights and lighting accessories?



I know that I'm wading in over my head here, but would something like this work as the flasher relay for the signal light?  I know it only says it handles up to 1 Amp AC, and that the track may have more amps than that running through it, but if the bulbs in the stop signal draw less than 1 Amp, would this matter?

AC Light Flasher

  Fixed 60 (fpm) flash per minute flasher for loads up to 1 A @120VAC
  • Simple, 2 wire hookup
  • Totally encapsulated & Solid State
  • High In-rush capability
  • Mounting No. 8 or 10 Screw (not included)

A19AA888-F057-4A44-B429-D0BD62A3070E@Mannyrock, These boards are powered by 12 to 14 VAC, not to exceed 14VAC. The relays are rated at 16 amps at 250 volts. They will certainly handle train accessories. The 2RC board has many flashing options, ranging from 37.5 to 300 flashes per minute. Each board has 2 relays. I was looking for $25 each, or $45 for both boards. They have lots of instructions and pictured examples and diagrams.


Images (1)
  • A19AA888-F057-4A44-B429-D0BD62A3070E
Last edited by John H

Add Reply

OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
Link copied to your clipboard.