wiring reference book

i have learned some neat things about relays and timers that I am now using to supplement the MTH AIU. What are you recommendations for reference books on model train electronics? Does it matter if I’m using 2 or 3 rail track?

thanks!

Original Post

Well, I'd love to be corrected on this, but if there is a good wiring reference for 3-rail toy train layouts in print today, I haven't been able to find it. Your best bet is to be SPECIFIC about what you are trying to wire. Yes, 3 rail vs 2 rail makes a difference. DC vs AC makes a difference. Conventional operation vs. command control makes a BIG difference. I have the Greenbergs wiring guides. But they are ancient and of course only describe 3 rail AC conventional wiring. I also have Riddle's "Wiring Your Toy Train Layout". The book is 5 years old as of today and so there are "errors" in the text that are not really errors. They are simply stuff that Riddle could not have anticipated given the march of command control technology. Riddle's book is not bad. But it is also not the last word and unlikely to be the ONLY book you will need. 

SO I guess that is my recommendation--start with Riddle and then see where your interests lead you.

Be aware that there are some very specialized books out there like MR's "Realistic Animation, Lighting and Sound" that are kind of fun to read to broaden your perspective.

Let us know what you find!

Don Merz

 

Don M.

I’m using three rail with MTHks DCS system. So, I guess the answer is AC. I am looking for tips on installing sensors to trip signal lights and other accessories, dimming lights in cars, and best practices on wiring a medium sized outlet. Kalmbach announced a new book on wring. I will probably start with that.

The Peter Riddle book Don mentions above is pretty good for learning the basics, at least I thought it covered quite a bit. It is for 3 rail and AC as well. Might be a good starting place for you? I think it would be worth reading anyway, IMO. 

I am not familiar with the new Kalmbach wiring book, I will see if I can find it to see what it is. To me, some of their stuff seems to be quite similar to their older stuff with maybe some minor changes here and there. 

And of course, as Don also mentions above, Barry's DCS Companion books are highly recommended for using DCS. There is one for DCS with Wifi and one for the DCS with Remote.

I took a look and the only Kalmbach wiring book I could find coming out new (July 2018 I think it said) was about DCC. It's written by the guy that writes their DCC column for Model Railroader magazine. I imagine it would probably be interesting and something could be learned, but I don't know how much would pertain directly to our 3 rail AC layouts other than basic circuitry type stuff? Personally, I find DCC quite interesting, but some of the others in 3 rail do not seem to like it too much.

George Mason posted:

I’m using three rail with MTHks DCS system. So, I guess the answer is AC. I am looking for tips on installing sensors to trip signal lights and other accessories, dimming lights in cars, and best practices on wiring a medium sized outlet. Kalmbach announced a new book on wring. I will probably start with that.

Well, signal sensors and the like may not be covered in one book.  I concur with the other opinion, you should post specific questions and maybe you can get answers.

For dimming lights in cars, I doubt any layout wiring book will cover that.  I'm a bit curious as to exactly what you mean here.  Are you talking about installing LED lighting in passenger cars?

Just getting started with the electronics. I will eventually want to sense that a train is approaching and trigger crossing and signal lights. 

Passenger car lights - there should be a way to install a light sensor that would turn the lights off during daylight hours.

 

Well, there are many ways to trigger signals, two of the most popular are insulated rails and IR triggering devices along the track.  Both options are discussed often and at some length here.

I'm sure you could rig something to kill the lights during daylight, personally I like to see lighted passenger cars, so I've never looked into that kind of option.  The lights allow you to see the detail you've spent all that time to create in the interiors, even in the light you can't see much without internal lighting.

You could also get fancy and do it by remote control.

433MHz Wireless RF Remote Control controller 4 Channel Learning Code Transmitter, $2.53 (free shipping), eBay: 253507623543

Pair that with this 433MHz 1Channel Wireless Relay RF Remote Control Switch Receiver, $3.29 (free shipping), eBay: 253597746316

Add a $2 12V power module and you have remote controlled lights for less than $10.  The remote will support four receivers with independent control.

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As pointed out in previous posts, basic layout wiring and using sensors for detection of action on a layout are two different subjects. I wrote a comprehensive article on layout sensor detection and can provide it to you. I have worked with every form of sensor, including smart devices. 

Can I have a copy as well, please. I am current building my layout right now and this come in handy.

Kris

 

A proud member of the Brotherhood of Carpet Layouts.  Permanent layout scheduled for early Fall 2018. New Home of Phoenix Train Works (Name of Layout)

 

Many make a living with electrical wiring. Think about how long an electrician spends to learn the craft. Others make a living building and wiring layouts.

So, you start with the basics books that are available and then learn the specialty wiring techniques and methods. The companies like Dallee Electronics and Azatrax that make devices to do fun things on a model train layout offer schematics for their products.

Acquiring the knowledge and skills for all of it is part of the hobby. There is no spoon feeder source. Trying to do something and you are stuck? Post the question or issue here on the forum. Many possessing advanced knowledge and skills are willing to share their expertise. Explore using the forum search function. This forum is the book that you seek. Layout build threads and specialty projects abound.

Carl

Arctic Railroad

BOB WALKER posted:

As pointed out in previous posts, basic layout wiring and using sensors for detection of action on a layout are two different subjects. I wrote a comprehensive article on layout sensor detection and can provide it to you. I have worked with every form of sensor, including smart devices. 

Any chance you could post this in the reference thread here? 

ELECTRICAL REFERENCE MATERIALS & MANUALS

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