While I had the bench test setup going I decided to hook up the dwarf signals I bought from a Hong Kong outfit called WeHonest (they are all over Ebay). What I found out is (DZ1000 switch machine middle wire connected to power and switch control unit middle wire connected to ground) is that in order to make the lights work I had to connect its green wire to ground, red wire to the DZ1000 yellow and the black wire with the resistor to the DZ1000 green. No other combination would work.

Chinese Dwarf Signals [1)

Chinese Dwarf Signals [2)

Chinese Dwarf Signals [3)

When get one of my Atlas O switch motors up and running I will test again but I expect the same results since I am connecting the motor's middle wire to power also instead of the normal connection to ground - contacted Atlas O and they said this was ok. I did this so that all toggle switches are connected to ground whether they are for Ross or Atlas O.

I finished testing the DZ1008 relays. Ended up with three bad all my fault.

First impression on the Chinese dwarf signals - they are small but the bulbs are bigger than normal as you can see in the photos. Big take away is that no relay is needed to make these signals switch. Only question now is how long do they last?????????



Images (3)


Almost 3 years ago, forum member jhainer was making infrared sensors and signals with wehonest stuff. Some other folks have used their products. jhainer had no issues so far with the signals, although he's torn down and rebuilt his layout twice. Generally, good products.

Check the voltage feeding the lights. LEDs will last a long time without over voltage. It's kind of standard what voltage colors need. I believe red is 3.3 and green around 2.5 volts dc. I cannot recall if they tied the cathodes (- ) or anodes (+)  together on the resistor feed.



Thanks for the info on the quality. At 5 pcs for $12 it is a hell of a deal

I am running the dwarf lights on the same circuit as my turnout switch motors which is ~13-14VAC. The web site ad says the resistor that comes with the signals is good for 12-16VAC so I seem to be ok.

Back in action again. All the Ross turnouts in the yard are wired along with DZ1008 (the proper way) and DZ1011R's for turnout indication. Everything seems to work. Only minor issue is the 4-way. I have the lead turnout wired into the two outside turnouts but only on one side of each turnout. It works fine this way. I can not connect the lead turnout to all 4 positions of the two outside turnouts otherwise feed back makes the outside turnouts flutter. So I live with this.

Next up are the Atlas O and Gargraves uncouplers then I move on the the yard lead where I have my first two Atlas turnouts - one for a siding where I plan to store a switcher and one connected to the yard lead. I am going to try the Chinese dwarf signal on the siding since it does not require a relay to work. I have a bunch of trackside mast style signals. I may hook up one down down further on the yard lead and try the Atlas snap relay here.

Stay tuned - more wiring drama to come.


I decided to 'bench test' connecting the dwarf signals I have to the Atlas O switch machine / 200 snap relay. Below is what I came up with.

1. the 'China Dwarf' has a built in electronic relay so is not compatible with the Atlas O switch machine. It did work with the Ross DZ-1000 switch machine.

china dwarf

2. Connecting the 200 snap relay to the switch machine is straight forward. Yellow wires go together and to the toggle switch, Green wires go together and to the toggle switch and in my case the middle wires go to power. Ground is connected through the toggle switch.

3. I tested the Atlas switch machine / snap relay with the DZ-1011R dwarf. The circuit diagram below worked.

snap relay to 1011

4. I tested the Atlas switch machine / snap relay with the MTH dwarf signal. The circuit diagram below worked.

snap relay to MTH

You can see the 1011R and MTH dwarf are way different from each other. I don't have any
Atlas O dwarf or Lionel dwarf signals so can't test those. I forgot to test the MTH dwarf with the DZ-1000/1008 cicuit when I had that circuit set up but will do so down the line. Z-stuff has supplied a circuit diagram on their web site. They have the 1008 blue wire connected to power. I assume it is implied the 1000/1008 yellow, green and red are connected in the usual manner but nothing is said about the 1008 black wire. I am assuming for now it goes to ground.

I have had the MTH dwarf signal operating for about two hours now and so far the house has not burned down.


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After performing the bench testing I decided to turn on the power to the existing turnouts and dwarf signals. Should not have done that. The two new DZ-1008 relay I wired in to replace the two previous ones for the cross overs stopped working. This is after I wired according to D. Zanders instruction sheet below

DZ-1008 and DZ-1011 indicator

That's 4 in a row now. Not sure what is going on. It seems they blow on power turn on. I am using a CW-80 accessory tap set at 13.6VAC. The 1008 is rated for 24VAC.
I am going to wire in another one for one crossover but also an Atlas snap relay for the other crossover and see what happens.



Images (1)

I wired in an Atlas O 200 snap relay for one cross over and replaced the DZ-1008 for the other. Right now both are functioning.
Forgot to post a picture showing the MTH dwarf with the Atlas switch machine and snap relay.

HO Scale UPS Building 001


Images (1)
Moonman posted:


Almost 3 years ago, forum member jhainer was making infrared sensors and signals with wehonest stuff. Some other folks have used their products. jhainer had no issues so far with the signals, although he's torn down and rebuilt his layout twice. Generally, good products.

Check the voltage feeding the lights. LEDs will last a long time without over voltage. It's kind of standard what voltage colors need. I believe red is 3.3 and green around 2.5 volts dc. I cannot recall if they tied the cathodes (- ) or anodes (+)  together on the resistor feed.


I've used both the switch signals and 3 aspect signals from WeHonest. All are still going today.  I utilize arduinos to control the signals now, so I'm running them at 5v. They are common anode with a resistor.  So the black wire with the resistor goes to positive, and each led wire would go to ground to activate. Before using the arduinos, I simply added one diode to the red wire, two to yellow, and 3 to green.  Then connect the red wire to the red block signal rail, and yellow to the yellow block.  Green goes directly to ground.  And you have a working 3 aspect signal for about $3. 

Using the arduino, I can cleanup the ground sensing on the signal rail (software debounce) and have the lights fade in and out, which looks cool. The arduino nano is less than $3, the breakout board is $1.50, and it can control two signals.

If you primer and spray paint the tower mast and ladder with silver metallic paint, you have a pretty decent looking signal for about $3.25 each.  I didnt do anything to the switch signals.  I thought they were fine the way they were. 


A friend (old school Navy tech electronics guru) came over to look at the DZ-1008 relays and the wire circuit I am using. Assuming I wired correctly (which D. Zander confirmed) Dan's first thought was a voltage surge from the CW-80. I am using the 14V accessory tap so when power turns on the full 14 volts turns on at once. Dan thinks there is a surge before the power supply settles down to 14V. Dan took one relay home and it looks like the two diodes and transistor in line from power (red wire) to the relay blew. Dan has an oscilloscope he is going to bring over after I get back from vacation to confirm the voltage spike (my voltmeter is not fast enough to see it). if this is the reason then Dan is going to check a second CW-80 I own to see if this is just one anomaly or is common to 'all' CW-80's.

Dan has parts on order and is going to repair the other relays.

Meanwhile I connected the wire circuit to the variable post of the CW-80. It has been four days of turning the power on and off (moving the handle from zero to 14 volts) and so far everything is working.

I also wired in my first Atlas O 200 snap relay. It is under the board so I can't hear any noise from the switching which I understand is a complaint of some. I bench tested on top of the train board and yea there is noise. So if the relay is wired in on top of the board say next to the switch motor one will hear it. I plan on inserted a rectifying diode in line with the power to help keep the relay and for that matter the turnout motors from overheating. I also use 10 amp heavy duty momentary toggle switches so the diodes are probably just a feel good measure.



I'm Back..........

Two W/E's vacation plus one week dropping a kidney stone (My first ever! Hopefully my last ever....)

My friend Dan confirmed the 1008 failure was a blown transistor leading to the micro relay inside the 1008. He is replacing parts. So far using the tap on the CW80 to bring the voltage up from zero is working great.

I felt somewhat human today so wired three Atlas O turnouts. I wired one snap relay and one Z-Stuff 1011R for position indication. For a change no surprises. The wiring diagram is shown below. I was not a fan of the 200 snap relay because of my experience with the switch machines but after the first one I am now a fan.

Snap Relay

I have to wire in two more snap relays plus the 1011R's then the uncouplers. After this the yard is done and I can start moving down the yard lead track.

In the photos below the caboose marks the extent of the wiring so far. Please excuse the mess.

Layout 7_18 [1)Layout 7_18 [2)



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The yard is officially done. I can now start on track power / ground for the yard lead out to the inner main line. I wired the last two Atlas turnouts. I used the DZ-1011R along with the Atlas 200 snap relay - see wire schematic in last post.
I then wired in the two Atlas O and Gargraves uncoupling tracks. A photo is shown below.

Layout July 2018 001

The wiring for both are very different. The Atlas O uncoupling tack is connected to track ground through the track itself. The one wire screwed into the side of the track goes to a controller then to track power.
The Gargraves uncoupling track is a three wire affair. The white wire you see in the photo goes to track power. The black wire goes to the control box where another black wire is connected. This wire goes to track ground. Both tracks were tested and work just fine. Even though the Gargraves uncoupling track is more expensive than the Atlas O I like the looks better than Atlas O plus the magnetic bar is long so precise placement of the car uncoupler does not have to be as precise as for the Atlas O.

Below are more photos of the finished yard

Layout July 2018 002

Layout July 2018 004


Images (3)

Congratulations on the yard wiring, Joe!  It all looks really nice and will be great to operate!! 

If you all remember a few posts back I was having problems with DZ-1008 relays blowing up on me and could not figure out what was happening. I had the turnouts and relays powered by the accessory taps on a Lionel CW-80 set to 16 volts. A friend took a look at the circuit board inside the 1008 and said it appeared the transistor had blown from over voltage. Once I switch over to the throttle lever the problem went away. Dan came over today and tested two CW-80's I have with an oscilloscope and sure enough on start up the voltage spike on one was 28 volts and on the one I was using a whopping 32 volts. No wonder I was blowing relays like crazy.....................


Last edited by Joe Fauty

It has been a few weeks since I last posted. Power has been wired to all the track in the yard plus a small module which is half of the famous John Allen Timesaver game. I figure when friends come over they will have something to do other than watch trains go in circles.

Prescott layout Aug 2018 002

Front end of yard

Prescott layout Aug 2018 003

back end of yard


Prescott layout Aug 2018 004

Prescott layout Aug 2018 005

Yard lead plus the Timesaver module

Prescott layout Aug 2018 001

I bought a Gargraves gantry track from a friend. I needed to cut it down a little to fit. I had built the gantry crane in the photo but it was too wide for the Gargraves track so I just purchased a Lionel TMCC gantry crane that will fit the track. My plan is to used both together - hopefully......... if there is enough room
I will probably move my crane up forward and use the Lionel crane in the back.

Next week end I plan on wiring power to the first main line. There are a few turnouts that need wiring but I figure finish the track power first so I can at least run some trains!




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Joe, that sure is some nice work there! I have to get some gantry track, but I am using MTH Scale Trak! I don't know if it will mate up or not. Maybe I will just scratch build some! LOL

Once again, its looking really nice Joe!


I'm not sure if the two tracks can be physically connected but you could butt them up to each other (may have to cut off the pins on the Scaletrax) and power on both sides. With a gantry crane you will be backing in flat cars and gondolas for the most part.

I should have the gantry crane by the end of this week. if so I post a picture.


Just received the Lionel Gantry crane last night. I think it is going to work out well with the custom built crane.

Prescott Layout 002

Prescott Layout 003


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I purchased a cinder hoist a while back from Crescent Locomotive Works. Since it involves cutting a hole on the layout base plus modifying track I am going to tackle this project next on the entrance to the Allen Yard (the Timesaver module).

Crescent Locomotive makes an awesome looking hoist in which the spout moves up and down along with a bucket that starts at the bottom and can be raised to the top of the hoist.

The cinder hoist is in and looks pretty good if I do say so myself. It wasn't too hard to install.

Cinder Hoist 001

A template comes with the hoist. The instruction sheet says how to place it.


Cinder Hoist 002

I drew an outline with a black magic marker.

Cinder Hoist 003


Cinder Hoist 004

I cut the the sand mat out

Cinder Hoist 006

Then drilled four holes in the corners big enough for my jig saw. Then I made a mess.

Cinder Hoist 007

Next up was removing ties form the track that will go over the hoist pit. This is needed to make the track fit into the slot on the hoist.

Cinder Hoist 005

The hoist is inserted into the hole

Cinder Hoist 008

The track is placed into position

Cinder Hoist 009

I use cork roadbed so I needed to place some under the hoist to make everything look good.
This is one beautiful cinder hoist.



Images (9)
Last edited by Joe Fauty

Was thinking on how to identify turnouts other than placing stickers on the machine or the lights and came up with a modification of a sign post I made for a customer a few years ago. Those were rectangular and identified mainlines and sidings (N, E, S, W) for the customer.
I just bought a disc punch from Ebay which can make discs from 1/8 to 1/2 inch ( I have one that will go from 1/2 to 1 inch that is in transit). I punched 1/2 inch discs, printed the decal using Avery Clear mailing labels and mounted them on a U-Post I bought from Innovative Hobbies (Ultra Sign Posts).
I really like these U-posts. I have a line of sign posts on my web site. I have been using 100 mil sq styrene but am going to switch over to these posts.


Turnout ID 002

Turnout ID 003

Turnout ID 004


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Nothing exotic - I use Open Office Presentation (free clone of MicroSoft Presentation) to make the drawing. Simple circle / bar and text. I can post a PDF if you want later today. Just copy and paste into your presentation or drawing software and I think you can resize to what you want.


Thanks Joe! I was able to open the ppt. file and the pdf file. The odp only opened it MS Office!

Can you tell me where to get the free Office Presentation?

mike g. posted:

Thanks Joe! I was able to open the ppt. file and the pdf file. The odp only opened it MS Office!

Can you tell me where to get the free Office Presentation?

Mike, if you have Microsoft PowerPoint, you don't need Open Office. PowerPoint is also useful in making graphics for printing images to mount on thin board for buildings, walls and such. Former forum member Lee Willis introduced some nice uses of the graphics tools in PowerPoint.


You are really making headway after solving the 4-way switch wiring issue. I appreciate the effort in switch ID and position awareness.

Hi Carl, I just checked and I do have Power point, I guess I will have to spend some time and play with it!

Thanks for the link Joe! I guess I don't need it as I just found out I have Power Point already! LOL

Did a little more work today.

I connected power and ground to the gantry crane. I soldered wire to two Ross pins then ran one outside rail to ground and the other to a toggle switch on the control board. I programmed the crane as accessory 1. To rotate the crane one selects ACC 1 and uses the red throttle knob on the Legacy remote. To move the crane along the track select '2' on ACC and use the red knob. To move the  'hook' up or down use the boost button. To turn the magnet on and off use the brake button. It takes some getting use to but this accessory is going to be a lot of fun.

Prescott Layout Sept 2018 006


Prescott Layout Sept 2018 005

I also changed around the position of my gantry crane. Last post I had the crane straddling the Gargraves track. I changed it so the crane now rides on one Gargraves rail and on its own track on the opposite side. The reult is a lot more room on the one side for crates.

Prescott Layout Sept 2018 011

I wired track out to the main line - finally - (where the UP caboose is)

Prescott Layout Sept 2018 007

Prescott Layout Sept 2018 008

I also tried a new approach for power for my custom built bumpers on Ross track. I have been soldering the lamp wire to Atlas O rail joiners and using them upside down on the Ross / Gargraves track but the rail joiners interfered with proper seating of the bumper plus the joiners were very loose. So I soldered the wire to Ross track pins. The fit of the track pins is a lot tighter but they do stick out a little.

Prescott Layout Sept 2018 001

Prescott Layout Sept 2018 003

Prescott Layout Sept 2018 004

Next week it is the approach track to the double crossover then the real fun begins.............



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I just purchased a little Lionel yard shack that has crane sounds. It is supposed to act in concert with the movements of the crane. Lionel also has a small shed that has steel mill sounds. I am not sure if both are the same sounds or not.

Did some more work on the layout. I have one main line section that goes up to 1 inch then back down again on a 2% grade. I first laid down the track then using a magic marker traced out the edges.

Foam Risers

I then removed the track and installed Woodland Scenics foam risers using hot glue.

Prescott Layout 001

Prescott Layout 003

Prescott Layout 005

I used pink foam for the straight sections since it is less expensive then the Woodland Scenics foam.
Next W/E I am going to cut since foam walls I bought from Scenic Express a few years back and glue them to the pink foam. Woodland Scenics plaster cloth will go every where else.
I am thinking about using foam to raise the area behind the track and the wall with the window to 2 inches, install some industrial flats and track. The track won't get any power but I can park box cars there.


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Last edited by Joe Fauty

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