Hey guys,

I just purchased the railking ITAD and operating crossing gate. I went to wire it and with the length of wire provided, it can barely span one track let alone two as I intended to put it across. I spent about an hour trying to set it up and it still didn't even work correctly. Does anyone else have this problem and if so what did you do to fix it? I don't think super tight wires are ever a good thing. I am running on track power as this system is designed to be able to do, but it isn't very setup friendly.


Original Post

What exactly is the behavior?  I understand the length-of-wire issue is annoying but I think the objective is to first get it running and deal with extending wires later.  It seems the wiring instructions are straightforward.  Is the ITAD power switch set to the track power position (not the AUX position)?  Can you tell if you can trip the ITAD itself...such as maybe hearing a faint internal relay click?



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I finally removed my ITADs from my first layout.  They were absolutely inconsistent in their sensitivity to any and all lights.  I built shields, I built screens, I moved around the track lighting, and I relocated them, and when I thought I had it right, they would either not work or not stop if they did work.  I would suggest using the insulated outer rail method to operate your signals and put those ITADs back in the box.  That's a frustration you don't need.

I operate all of my signals and crossing gates with bridge rectifiers and relays. the wheels on the engines and cars activate the signals using a insulated outside rail.....................rogerw.

I use ITAD's on my layout. They work well but I am using 2 ITADs per crossing signal and the crossing gates do not work correctly when set up with 2 ITAD's. The issue being that when one ITAD is activated it sends the signal for the crossing gates to go down while the other ITAD (which has not been activated yet) is still sending the signal for the crossing gates to stay up. so the crossing gate will not lower until both ITADs have been activated. It took me a bit to figure out what was going on. I built a small relay board to connect in line with the activation wires that eliminated this issue


Would you please give some detail on your use of bridge rectifiers and relays (circuit diagram)? Assuming the circuit is a momentary (wheels turn it on/ no wheels turn it off) then the length of the insulated track needs to be at least one car length long??



I gave up on ITADs, and went with track detection using an isolated outside rail. More complicated to install, but works reliably.  

Model Structures posted:

Would you please give some detail on your use of bridge rectifiers and relays (circuit diagram)? Assuming the circuit is a momentary (wheels turn it on/ no wheels turn it off) then the length of the insulated track needs to be at least one car length long??


See above post and surrounding discussion which shows both off-the-shelf modules and a DIY circuit diagram of using a relay with the insulated rail method.

And yes, at least one axle must be straddling the insulated track section so at minimum the length must be the maximum distance between axles or practically speaking one car length as you say.  In practice you will get intermittent axle-to-rail contact from dirty track/wheels or perhaps a lightweight caboose that doesn't make solid contact.  To that a capacitor is added to hold the relay closed for brief (say, less than 1 second) loss of axle contact.  With additional circuitry, a time delay can hold the relay closed for longer - ITADs have such longer time delays to keep the relay closed for many seconds to mask intermittent triggers.

Hello Joe, I don't have a diagram that can show you how I wired up my crossing gates. I have some instructions that I wrote. I don't think that you will be able to understand what I wrote because I don't have all of the instructions outlined on my instruction sheet...............................rogerw.


Thanks for the replies. I read through the post Stan cited and had a duh moment. One posting talked about a Z-Stuff 1008 SPDT relay. I have a bunch of these so will try and use in place of ITADS.


I had the MTH premier IATD's and was frustrated for weeks trying to get them to work right.  The lighting was the problem.  They would work great when it was dark.

For my crossing gates, I just use the simple method of the isolated 3rd rail.  It's simple and it works every time.

For my overhead signal bridge I went with the Z-stuff sensors.  They have been working fine for me.  Skip ahead to :48 if you don't want to watch the whole video.


Have Fun



Last edited by Ron045

ITADS are sensitive to lighting conditions.

I have great success in my subway tunnels for signal operation.

When I tried them on my regular layout for crossings many years ago, they never worked due to overhead lighting. I finally threw them in the junk box where they belong. I don’t believe many use that old technology these days.



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OK... since all of a sudden I have plenty of time...

The Erie Shore & Ironton will likely be my "final" O scale layout.  The plan is to retire here with my 60 X 30 basement devoid of anything non train save for a small heat pump and water heater.  The layout takes up about 30 X 50 and is a double decked affair with only one duck under and that's  about five feet high.  I plan on painting all of my backdrops.  Here are a few photos so far...



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Crossing  gates. can be done with an insulated/isolated outside rail section.   Done with a normally open/closed relay, triggered from the rail section mentioned.   Blue, Yellow, and White correspond to Blue, Yellow and White, MTH crossing  gate.   Green is the insulated/isolated rail input  Brown and Red are AC power to the board   12 to 18 volts AC . 


Last edited by Mike CT

There are five different train detection setups in my layout and all work OK. However, there is no question that the reflective IR detector scheme is the most subject to external issues and is not the best choice in many cases. Even with a careful choice of location, there may not be enough signal reflected back from the engine or car you want to detect. Adding reflective tape is an approach that I have found can be the answer in some cases. 

  I just got around to installing my crossing signals. I purchased everything I needed at the Springfield MA. show from Azatrax. Excellent product and really good instructions. I placed the sensors at about a 45 degree angle on either side of the center rail. 


 They really aren’t noticeable viewing the layout and they work very well. I used 5 of them. What I like. It’s a single track and can be entered from either direction. You want it to start the lights well before the train gets there and stop flashing just after the train crosses the roadway. Somehow it seems to figure out when the roadway is clear and the train has passed.  Even though the train is still covering up one of the sensors. 
 The insulated rail works very reliably.  But on a single track that you run in both directions. If you start the sequence from 4 feet away. You need to travel the same distance away to get them to shut down.


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Dave C... Heck of a nice looking shot of your layout.  Get yourself an tripod or monopod to eliminate the shake and I would never know that was a model scene.

Nice Work!



 Ron, I’m shooting from an I pad. It’s a real juggling act trying to run a train and photo. I’m new at this video thing. At least  I figured out how to shorten the footage to post on the Forum. I found an adaptor to mount it to a tripod. Then I remembered I threw it out about a year ago as my digital camera days were over.  A tree sort of got in the way of the shoot. Shooting from the other direction the lighting wasn’t co operating. 
  The signals do work great though.  Visitors may not realize they are on. Unless I shut the lights off. Future plans are to incorporate an ITT Products bell sound. The Azatrax is really a great product.

  Thanks for the compliment.

Dave_C posted:

 The Azatrax is really a great product.


Agreed! I used the Azatrax D2t-dx and the across the track method. 2 pairs of sensors across 2 tracks will activate my Mth crossing signal with sound with 2 trains from either direction.

For half the cost of 1 Lionel /Mth itad. (It would take 4 of these plus a relay to do the same thing.)

John Parsons customer service is first rate as well.

I learned of Azatrax from the 2 rail guys. They are a hidden gem more 3 railers should take advantage of.


Last edited by RickO

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