Track 'accuator' for signal

First a picture then a question afterwards:

PICT0068

I know how to wire the components (not the way shown in the picture though - I was experimenting) and I understand the use of the sensitivity knob on the accuator (SP???).  My question is on the accuator placement and usage.  I'm guessing that it has to be placed under a track tie - as shown in the picture - or else if the device is placed off to one side or the other of the tie a dead short would result since the device would be touching all 3 rails.  But when I put the device under a tie, the track sits higher than I would like.

Not having directions, I turn to the experts!!!!!  How is it intended to be placed?

I am considering one other option after reading your replies.  I'm thinking I could put it NOT under a tie but rather under just the rails as long as I isolate the center rail from touching it.  I am thinking a piece of electrical tape on the bottom of the middle rail would work.

As always, thanks - walt

Attachments

Photos (1)
Original Post

There is a whole nice section in the 1954 Lionel Trains and Accessories Guide linked here starting on PDF page 16 (printed page 14):

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...83860657/Booklet.pdf

 

Many of us have abandoned the pressure type activators such as the 153C and opted for the isolated rail trigger which can be found on PDF page 39 (printed page 37) of the same document.

Agreed. I have a PW-style layout where I've tried to be true to the period (1950s) but I ditched those pressure contactors years ago. Really sort of a pain.

I use insulated track sections and in the case of the block signal a relay which really ensures smooth operation. 

TCA, LCCA

johnstrains posted:

Agreed. I have a PW-style layout where I've tried to be true to the period (1950s) but I ditched those pressure contactors years ago. Really sort of a pain.

I use insulated track sections and in the case of the block signal a relay which really ensures smooth operation. 

Don't feel bad - you are not deviating from the time period - Lionel has patents for the insulated rail going back to the early 20's.

I use insulated rail track sections for a variety of reasons, so I'm very familiar with that concept.  Since I only have a temporary CHristmas layout I'm not looking to buy relays, extra components, etc for this application.  As a matter of fact I already own an AC relay.  But to me I don't want to get that complicated for this signal.

bottom line: I'm looking to make THIS arrangement work not some other solution, not to be rude or unappreciative of people trying to offer alternatives.

BMORAN4 - thanks I'll take a look at that later.

- walt

Walt, the craft stores like Hobby Lobby and Michaels sells foam sheets in various colors and thicknesses. I have a door layout and use the brown foam for ties for my 027 track, which add a visual improvement, and also work wonders to help reduce the rumble amplified by the hollow core door.

Anyways I was thinking, rather than put the actuator under a tie, maybe you could put it under the rails (as you though) and use a thin piece of foam to help improve the operation of the actuator without having the added height of placing it under one of the track ties. The foam would also act as an insulator. Take a piece of track and the actuator to the store and see which thickness would work best for you.

I also use this foam to make much longer trip devices for the ducking giraffe/elephant cars and can bend the foam to also have them along side curved sections. I use double stick foam tape to hold them in place. Matter of fact, these foam sheets have all sorts of applications on a layout. They're affordable and easily cut with a razor blade and straight edge.

Maybe it's just me, but in these days of perpetual change, there's a beauty in practical simplicity.

brianel027

 

Walt,

Unfortunately I think those all raise the track somewhat so they can make or break the electrical contacts. Your idea of moving it away from the tie is good, I would use a thin piece of cardboard that is the width and length of your device and use any type of tacky stuff, (two-sided tape, etc.) to hold it in place. Make it wider and then bend the long edges down to work as a locator. The thin cardboard should hold up better than tape under the rails for your seasonal display.

Oops, walked away without posting and just saw Brian's post. Great solution.

thanks Brian and BobbyD.  I believe the 3 of us are thinking alike.  I appreciate Brian's comment: "there's a beauty in practical simplicity."  That defines me!!!

I hope JohnsTrains checks back in to this thread.  I would love to learn how insulated tracks can replace this accuator because the accuator simulates a relay really.  There's a NO which keeps the green light on and there's a NC which turns the red light on.  I have tried to picture using insulated rails to duplicate those functions but just can't picture a solution.

JohnsTrains, or ANYONE, can you explain how to do it with insulated track sections?  I'd appreciate it.

thanks - walt

BMORAN4: i looked at that PDF and saw on page 37 how to use an insulated track to trigger a double throw relay.  Here's the picture:

A question for anyone: I'm not smart about electrical diagrams such as is shown but probably can experiment enough to figure it out.  BUT.... Here's something that I can't figure out.  Looking at the diagram, the upper left corner shows an "INSULATED BLOCK".  I notice that the center rail is isolated in the diagram.  How does the track get power????  WOn't the train just stop right there because the center rail is not powered?

OR:  since the diagram doesn't show a power source anywhere, can I assume that the "insulated block" has a lockon connected to it, just like the entire trackage to the right of it does not show a lockon either?

as always, thanks - walt

Attachments

Photos (1)

Aren't you making this more complicated than it needs to be?  You will need a relay as you always want one lamp to be lit.  Here's a diagram using my board, however if you don't mind a little contact bounce and some flicker, you can use a simple relay for the job.  When the train is on the insulated rail section, the red light is on, when it leaves, it switches back to green.

Attachments

Photos (1)
walt rapp posted:

thanks Brian and BobbyD.  I believe the 3 of us are thinking alike.  I appreciate Brian's comment: "there's a beauty in practical simplicity."  That defines me!!!

I hope JohnsTrains checks back in to this thread.  I would love to learn how insulated tracks can replace this accuator because the accuator simulates a relay really.  There's a NO which keeps the green light on and there's a NC which turns the red light on.  I have tried to picture using insulated rails to duplicate those functions but just can't picture a solution.

JohnsTrains, or ANYONE, can you explain how to do it with insulated track sections?  I'd appreciate it.

thanks - walt

Hi Walt,

Sure, this is what I did on my PW-style layout for triggering the 153 block signal with an insulated track section. And you are correct. In lieu of the pressure plate contactor I use a DPDT relay. It’s not the one pictured above by GRJ but is one I bought from Azatrax. Very easy to use, no soldering required.

Basically, I use a regular insulated track section to send power to the relay. The relay has out several outputs (NC and NO) that connect to the block signal. Really works well and eliminates what I always considered the “balkiness” of one of those pressure plate devices. Smoothest operation I’ve ever had for the 153.

So, bottom line you’ll need a relay. They are easy to wire up and I can even post a pic of the wiring if that would help.

Edit: I see that while I was typing you have gotten some other good responses.

TCA, LCCA

I've completed the diagram so that it will work for the SPDT relay case.  Note that the insulated rail is just that, totally insulated from the outside rail.  The coil and the relay arm both connect to track power to light the lights and power the relay.

Attachments

Photos (1)

nothing's ever easy (to me!) it seems when it comes to electrical discussions.  My AC relay is a DPDT one - I've only used it once about 15  years ago and haven't found a need for it since.

I'm like the bum in Polar Express: So many questions!   Like a very basic one: every scenario that my non-electrical brain can think of has part of the train on the insulated rail making the light red but AT THE SAME TIME the rest of the train is not.  So isn't that a conflict?  The relay would be told to be normally open and closed at the same time, right?

I actually have other questions but am somewhat embarrassed to ask questions all of the time.  Not to mention wasting people's time with MY issue.

I'm just going to try the accuator and if it doesn't work I'll come back and examine the edited diagrams to see how they translate to actual physical pieces. 

I appreciate all of the contributors, and as always, thanks - walt

walt rapp posted:

 Like a very basic one: every scenario that my non-electrical brain can think of has part of the train on the insulated rail making the light red but AT THE SAME TIME the rest of the train is not.  So isn't that a conflict?  The relay would be told to be normally open and closed at the same time, right?

I appreciate all of the contributors, and as always, thanks - walt

You are exactly right.  But here's the answer: Think about how the 153 block signal works with the relay. It's not a simple light on/light off event. The block signal glows, say, green -- train hits the insulated track section and energizes the coil in the relay -- and turns OFF the green light but turns ON the red light.  So one circuit is closed and one is open. At the same time. Once the train clears the rail, back to green only.

Hope that didn't muddy the waters further. 

TCA, LCCA

thanks JohnsTrains - explaining that when it "energizes" one pole (red) it turns of the other (green) helps.  But still, isn't the "other" part of the train "energizing" green and trying to turn off red?

That's what I'm really struggling with the most.

as always, thanks - walt

Walt Rapp let me try explaining this hopefully it answers your question?

okay train is on tracks that allow the green signal light to shine bright as day. now locomotive enters the track/s that has one common rail isolated using a relay now the wheels complete a circuit allowing the relays contacts to break the green lights circuit. now the red light shines bright as day so long as any wheels are completing that red lights circuit it and only it will be lighted.

now yes the front and rear of train on the tracks not on any isolated rails is making what should be the circuit to energize the green light but remember that relays contact that moved when train entered that isolated rail section it has in fact broken the circuit allowing the green light to be lighted so yes a circuit of both is actually happening but that small contact will only allow one circuit to be energized thus only the green light or red light has a completed circuit thus rendering the other as inoperative.

I hope I helped you understand this I too am electrically challenged but have learned a few simple things others I learned to write the how to wire it up as a reference when needed another time.

and in closing I anxiously await this years Christmas layout you seem to always capture the essence of a postwar layout style thank you for sharing that.

StPaul

gunrunnerjohn posted:

I've completed the diagram so that it will work for the SPDT relay case.  Note that the insulated rail is just that, totally insulated from the outside rail.  The coil and the relay arm both connect to track power to light the lights and power the relay.

John, took your advice and studied your diagram in detail and I believe I have it now, so a big thanks.

As was explained, the green light is lit, the engine hits the insulated rail and the red light goes on and the green light turns off.

In the Lionel diagram, why do they show an insulated section to the left of the track with the insulated rail?????  Also, why not on both sides of it then?

QUESTION: what triggers the green light to come back on or is it simply that when the red "connection" is de-energized by default the green 'connection' gets re-energized?

I think my list of questions is done with this post - I hope!  Assuming these 2 are answered that is.

Again, as always, thanks - walt

See embedded answers.

walt rapp posted:
gunrunnerjohn posted:

I've completed the diagram so that it will work for the SPDT relay case.  Note that the insulated rail is just that, totally insulated from the outside rail.  The coil and the relay arm both connect to track power to light the lights and power the relay.

John, took your advice and studied your diagram in detail and I believe I have it now, so a big thanks.

As was explained, the green light is lit, the engine hits the insulated rail and the red light goes on and the green light turns off.

In the Lionel diagram, why do they show an insulated section to the left of the track with the insulated rail?????  Also, why not on both sides of it then?

The red light goes on as you go by the signal, I'm assuming the direction of travel is from right to left in this sample. 

The insulated rail is only on ONE side of the track, if both were insulated, the locomotive would have no power!  The idea of the insulated track is to make a contact from the insulated section to the other outside track thus completing the connection and powering the relay coil to close the relay.

QUESTION: what triggers the green light to come back on or is it simply that when the red "connection" is de-energized by default the green 'connection' gets re-energized?

The relay has a normally open and normally closed contact, when at rest (not energized), the normally closed contact is closed, that powers the green lamp.

I think my list of questions is done with this post - I hope!  Assuming these 2 are answered that is.

Again, as always, thanks - walt

 

Walt,

Since a picture's worth a thousand words...I forgot I had these on my phone.

Can see my block signal when it's green and track is clear. Also note the wire going fron my insulated track section that sends power to the relay coil. Train passes over rail, green off, red on. The color is a bit washed out in these pics.

IMG_20180918_182703607

IMG_20180918_182818465

TCA, LCCA

Attachments

Photos (2)

Add Reply

Likes (0)


OGR Publishing, Inc. PO Box 218, Hilliard, OH 43026 330-757-3020
www.ogaugerr.com
×
×
×
×
×