Trains on Timer

I'm building a layout with hands-off, display-style operation. Is it possible (and safe) to operate trains on a timer? For instance, in conventional operation, could the mainline transformer(s) be set at the right speed with engines locked in forward and the transformer plugged into a timer ready-to-go? Or is there some kind of harm in starting up the trains this way?

If plugging the transformer into a timer is okay, there are a number of wifi smart timers which could cycle transformer/trains on/off, even in small intervals (5 minutes on/5 minutes off, etc.), which might be a simple means to accomplish this.

Original Post

When I was a kid, I took the timer out of the washing machine my father was getting rid of.  With some experimenting, I found which terminals closed and opened circuits.  I had two trains running on the timer as well as lighting and some home made animated items.  My father, not being mechanically inclined, was impressed.  

The timer itself ran on 110 volt house current.  The terminals were separate from the house current so I was able to run the power leads from the transformer to the timer without having to worry about the house current.  

That's history.  This is what I found on All Electronics.  I didn't delve into the details, but you may want to look closer.

https://www.allelectronics.com...ry/777/timers/1.html

Dan Padova

 

"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill

                                                                                                                                        

Dan Padova posted:

When I was a kid, I took the timer out of the washing machine my father was getting rid of.  With some experimenting, I found which terminals closed and opened circuits.  I had two trains running on the timer as well as lighting and some home made animated items.  My father, not being mechanically inclined, was impressed.  

The timer itself ran on 110 volt house current.  The terminals were separate from the house current so I was able to run the power leads from the transformer to the timer without having to worry about the house current.  

That's history.  This is what I found on All Electronics.  I didn't delve into the details, but you may want to look closer.

https://www.allelectronics.com...ry/777/timers/1.html

Would something like this work in the hook-up from the transformer to the track? When motion is sensed, it would allow the transformer power to flow to the rails, complete the circuit and start the train... Right?

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079...oding=UTF8&psc=1

 

Dan Padova posted:

When I was a kid, I took the timer out of the washing machine my father was getting rid of.  With some experimenting, I found which terminals closed and opened circuits.  I had two trains running on the timer as well as lighting and some home made animated items.  My father, not being mechanically inclined, was impressed.  

The timer itself ran on 110 volt house current.  The terminals were separate from the house current so I was able to run the power leads from the transformer to the timer without having to worry about the house current.  

That's history.  This is what I found on All Electronics.  I didn't delve into the details, but you may want to look closer.

https://www.allelectronics.com...ry/777/timers/1.html

Dan, I think that for you to do that as a kid means you are a genius, or, at the very least, a mechanical genius. And I suspect you are not alone in that regard among Forum members.

In my little world, I leave this troubled world behind.

jmcalister posted:
Dan Padova posted:

When I was a kid, I took the timer out of the washing machine my father was getting rid of.  With some experimenting, I found which terminals closed and opened circuits.  I had two trains running on the timer as well as lighting and some home made animated items.  My father, not being mechanically inclined, was impressed.  

The timer itself ran on 110 volt house current.  The terminals were separate from the house current so I was able to run the power leads from the transformer to the timer without having to worry about the house current.  

That's history.  This is what I found on All Electronics.  I didn't delve into the details, but you may want to look closer.

https://www.allelectronics.com...ry/777/timers/1.html

Would something like this work in the hook-up from the transformer to the track? When motion is sensed, it would allow the transformer power to flow to the rails, complete the circuit and start the train... Right?

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079...oding=UTF8&psc=1

 

I don't believe so since it operates on house current and the low voltage and amperage we have in our transformers would not be enough to power the sensor.  All you would be able to do would be to power up the transformer when you walked into the room and that would turn everything on.  

Another suggestion would be to visit James Ingram's site.  He has all sorts of automated layout plans.

Auto controls.org

Have a look at this video

https://youtu.be/LMnjJLROMQc

Dan Padova

 

"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill

                                                                                                                                        

I maintain two layouts that are built this way. I will get more information on the electronic commerical timers we use on the layouts. We use ZW-L’s for the power. All power from the ZW-L’s go through the timers. Timers start with a relay that is closed via a push button on the outside of the layout. The layouts are protected by tempered glass doors. 567DC313-C8CB-4F9A-835F-46719B9F25C4It’s a very reliable system. One layout (picture attached) is at the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth in Lebanon, NH and is seen by 250 kids a day. The other layout is at a local building supply company in West Lebanon, NH.

Side note: It is challenging as more sets from Lionel are LionChief, but I have developed a circuit to mimic the battery in the remote. Both the circuit board from the remote and the battery circuit ride in a lighted car. Works wonderfully!!

 

Larry

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We built a setup like Larry's above for the layout at the InfoAge Science museum. When volunteer guides from the museum bring visitors to the layout a motion sensor is activated. This is a typical sensor used for many things for house current.

This turns on the layout room lights and layout power.

We have big red buttons on the layout sides, like an emergency off button look, that activate a timer to start a train. We have it set for about 2 laps around. The timer is one that is found on eBay that operates on 12 volts. The relay on the very small board can handle up to 10 amps of AC current.

In the attached video, you can see two of the big red buttons, one the low left and one on the low right.

The layout is 10 x 19 with 4 levels and 3 levels of train track separated into 3 individual loops.

 

Carl

Arctic Railroad

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Videos (1)
20170122_134754_1
Moonman posted:

We built a setup like Larry's above for the layout at the InfoAge Science museum. When volunteer guides from the museum bring visitors to the layout a motion sensor is activated. This is a typical sensor used for many things for house current.

This turns on the layout room lights and layout power.

We have big red buttons on the layout sides, like an emergency off button look, that activate a timer to start a train. We have it set for about 2 laps around. The timer is one that is found on eBay that operates on 12 volts. The relay on the very small board can handle up to 10 amps of AC current.

In the attached video, you can see two of the big red buttons, one the low left and one on the low right.

The layout is 10 x 19 with 4 levels and 3 levels of train track separated into 3 individual loops.

 

Moonman, do you know the part number of the relay you found on Ebay?  

 

Lionel Forever

Nick Marakovits

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