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Also, what is printed on your 153IR manual for the 2021 version?  In fact, how do you know it's a 2021 version?  As of today, the Lionel site only shows 2 manuals for the 153IR:

153ir manuals as of june 2021

There has been much frustration, consternation, etc. with the 153IR wiring as the hookup instructions have changed between versions even though the Item # stays the same.  Even the manual reference number has a mis-match on their documents list for the 153IR!  

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  • 153ir manuals as of june 2021

I have it set up like that and have used it for 3 years or so.  But there are two issues

- first the overhead sensors are picky about color of the trains.

- More importantly- I have Fastrack on a roadbed with a wider than standard center so one or the other sensors does not center exactly over the rails.

So, I want to trip the signal when the train is farther away,  AND I hope the IR detecting method will be more foolproof.

Mike - before you connect the signal bridge to the IR153 please double check either on the Z-Stuff website or with Dennis Zander. I believe Z-Stuff signals are made to either work on their own or with the 1070 detector only. This is due to the low voltage requirements of the signals. Dennis sells the 1070 for his product and a 1075 to compete with the IR153 for Lionel / MTH etc. Try calling 585-377-0925.
Joe

Last edited by Joe Fauty
@Joe Fauty posted:

...please double check either on the Z-Stuff website or with Dennis Zander. I believe Z-Stuff signals are made to either work on their own or with the 1070 detector only. This is due to the low voltage requirements of the signals. Dennis sells the 1070 for his product and a 1075 to compete with the IR153 for Lionel / MTH etc. Try calling 585-377-0925.
Joe

Will do.  Thanks for the heads up.  IF that is the case, I would probably the Z-Stuff pieces, and just use the 153 IR's elsewhere.

Mike,

I'm sure that both Stan and I would like to see the terminal layout of your new 153IR that came with a 10/20 dated Manual. A clear picture showing the lettering of the terminals under that flip-up door would be appreciated.

Dave

Will do later tonight or Tuesday 6/15.

@Mike Wyatt posted:

I have it set up like that and have used it for 3 years or so.  But there are two issues

-first the overhead sensors are picky about color of the trains.

- More importantly- I have Fastrack on a roadbed with a wider than standard center so one or the other sensors does not center exactly over the rails.

So, I want to trip the signal when the train is farther away,  AND I hope the IR detecting method will be more foolproof.

FWIW, my personal experience, at least with a few years old 153IR, is that it is just as picky and will frequently fail to trip when dark colored trains/cars pass by.

My 153IR triggers an MTH Gateman, so I always include at least one light colored piece of rolling stock in any consist I want to trip the Gateman.

You might be able to test it (for color pickup) by temporarily powering up the 153IR without connecting it to anything; then run some different colored pieces of rolling stock across it one at a time by hand; and see if you can hear a "clicking" sound when each goes by.

Last edited by Richie C.

Mike, thanks for the photos!  I'll add it to my collection of photos OGR guys have posted of the 153IR variants over the years.

So after seeing Mike's 2020 version, perhaps the "best" indicator of which version one has is the color of the circuit board! LOL.   

maybe it's the color of the board

@Mike Wyatt posted:

I have it set up like that and have used it for 3 years or so.  But there are two issues

- first the overhead sensors are picky about color of the trains.

- More importantly- I have Fastrack on a roadbed with a wider than standard center so one or the other sensors does not center exactly over the rails.

So, I want to trip the signal when the train is farther away,  AND I hope the IR detecting method will be more foolproof.

There may be something to the off-centered OVERHEAD sensor.  Not so much flat cars which are, umm, flat...but it seems to me most passenger cars, box cars, caboose, and even engines have curved roofs.  So if an IR sensor sends a beam and looks for a reflection, this could cause a "miss" if hitting a curved roof.  Yes, I realize the beam is not laser-like thin and scatters but I'm talking relative to the reflections from a SIDE sensor reflecting off a typically vertical surface.  Just a thought. 

IR sensor offset

As for the color.  As I look at my collection of trains it seems that roofs are more often than not black or dark colored...even if the side panels are brightly/lightly colored! 

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  • maybe it's the color of the board
  • IR sensor offset

The curved versus flat roofs may have something to do with it.

I have the Z-Stuff dual semaphore bridge and can confirm Mike's observation about color having an effect on triggering the sensor. An IR detector uses reflected light (as in Stan's diagram), so the color of an object may change the intensity of the reflected light back to the sensor and cause the detector not to trigger. Black absorbs all light so the reflected light back from a black freight car may not be strong enough to trigger the detector.

Note in the attached video how the right side track semaphore triggers almost immediately after the silver roof of the Warbonnet engine travels under it, while the left side track semaphore does not trigger until the light grey B&M Hopper passes under it.

   

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SIGNAL BRIDGE

Issues with sensing dark colored engines/rolling stock with reflective IR sensors has been discussed previously. With reflective sensors, I have added a small white patch to the side of a dark colored engine which seems to work effectively. The other approach is a transmissive IR sensor setup with the the emitter on one side of the track and the receiver on the opposite side. Takes more real estate but works with any color.

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