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  • Topic: Signals on the NVRY

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    • January 15, 2012 10:30 AM EST
      • Your Host in Littleton, MA
         
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      I figured I'd start a thread to document my construction techniques for the signals I'm building for my RR. I've always liked signals, but want to integrate them into my operations, both being able to run with and without a dispatcher (since, mostly, Ill be running without). First, a bit of information. Signals, in their basic form, control entry and exit into a block of track. For purposes of my railroad, these blocks will be the sections between sidings on the line. Prototype railroads have blocks about the length of a train, to allow a much higher density of traffic than simple entry/exit control between sidings. Anyway, each switch to a siding has to have control both eastbound and westbound. Here's a drawing from the wiki to help explain:

      Trains traveling eastbound are controlled by signal R174. Notice that the signal has two heads on it. The upper head controls entry into the straight route, and the lower controls the diverging route. For my RR, I am only using two color signals, so the upper will be R/G, and the lower will be R/Y. Trains traveling westbound are controlled by signals L174 and LB174. L174 is the signal for when you are on the main, and LB174 is when you are on the siding. There is various logic to set these signals to their respective aspects (colors) which I will describe later on when I start working on the logic. But, as we can see, each switch that is on the mainline of my RR will need three signals, one two-head, and two single-head.
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    • January 15, 2012 10:32 AM EST
      • Your Host in Littleton, MA
         
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      After much experimentation over the last couple of years using acrylic, fiberglass, etc. I settled on using metal. Thin walled steel tubing, fender washers, some thin AN washers, and other assorted hardware make up the signal itself. The parts are laid out and assembled using JB Weld.

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    • January 15, 2012 10:35 AM EST
      • Your Host in Littleton, MA
         
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      I use two color LEDs for the signals. Brightness of different colors of LEDs require fooling around with resistor values to get the light output for the aspects the same. I think I have them pretty close.

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    • January 15, 2012 10:39 AM EST
      • Your Host in Littleton, MA
         
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      Here's how I wire up the signals. I mount a clothespin into my soldering jig. I mark which wire of the LED is red, so I get the wire colors straight. I then trim the leads short.

      Some flux, tin the wires and leads, and start assembling.

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    • January 15, 2012 10:40 AM EST
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      Cut the wires to length (about 24 inches). Cut some tiny heat shrink tubing to about 3/8, slip it over the wires, and slide up to the LED.

      Ten seconds with the heat gun snugs them down nicely

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    • January 15, 2012 10:42 AM EST
      • Shut up Rooster
         
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      Those look great Bob. Great idea with materials you are using.
    • January 15, 2012 10:43 AM EST
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      Slip the ends of the wires into the hole next to the signal head, and start sliding them down. I don't pull them when they start poking out the bottom, since this could strip the wire and cause a short.

      Stick the LED into its mounting, and snug the wires down.

      The LED, and the holes where the wires go into the post will get some silicone caulking to hold them in place.
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    • January 15, 2012 10:43 AM EST
      • Your Host in Littleton, MA
         
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      Test them again to make sure they still work, and you're done except for paint. I plan on aluminum for everything but the target face, which will be satin black.

      One down, 29 to go...
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    • January 15, 2012 11:22 AM EST

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      Very nice Bob!

      Alec
    • January 15, 2012 11:22 AM EST

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      Nice :)
      How do you plan on powering them ?
      Batteries for each group of three ?
      Ralph
    • January 15, 2012 11:27 AM EST
      • Your Host in Littleton, MA
         
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      The signals will be powered through a harness, probably plenum CAT5 cable in conduit, to a central location, where they will get power and correct color aspect assignment.
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    • January 15, 2012 12:29 PM EST
      • North Coastal, CA
         
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      Wow Bob! Very nicely done from simple materials. I expect they will be really rugged.

      A suggestion: Put another short piece of (larger) shrink tubing over the three wires starting where they are already wrapped and continuing into the the hole in the tube. Shrink it after assembly and test. You don't even need to worry about getting all of the shrink hot, just the parts that you can see. That would both strengthen the wiring and eliminate possible future shorting where the wires go through the hole in the mast.

      Thanks for sharing this. It is something that will really enhance your railroad and its operation without breaking the budget or having a bunch of commercial plastic to fail!

      Happy RRing,

      Jerry
    • January 15, 2012 2:33 PM EST
      • West Grove, Pennsylvania
         
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      Oh crap, more stuff to remember when we're up there runnin...................;)
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      "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --Martin Luther King Jr

    • January 15, 2012 4:20 PM EST
      • Burke, Virginia
         
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      Ken Brunt said:
      Oh crap, more stuff to remember when we're up there runnin...................;)
      You'll just ignore what you don't like, Ken. :D Looking good, Bob. Only 29 more, eh?
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      Bruce

      http://jbrr.com/

       

    • January 15, 2012 4:52 PM EST
      • West Grove, Pennsylvania
         
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      Bruce Chandler said:
      Ken Brunt said:
      Oh crap, more stuff to remember when we're up there runnin...................;)
      You'll just ignore what you don't like, Ken. :D Looking good, Bob. Only 29 more, eh?
      SSSSSShhhhhhhhhhhh, don't let Fred and Jane hear that..............;)
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    • January 15, 2012 5:05 PM EST
      • Settle Down Boomer ,
         
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      Bruce Chandler said:
      You'll just ignore what you don't like, Ken. :D
      No Not Ken!! I don't believe that for 1 minute! Signals look good Bob!
    • January 15, 2012 5:40 PM EST
      • Candlewood Valley, Connecticut
         
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      Looking good Bob. Are you going to paint before installing the LEDs ?

      I agree with the suggestion to add one more piece of shrink over all three wires. It will dress up the back side and help protect the wires too.
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    • January 15, 2012 6:18 PM EST
      • Your Host in Littleton, MA
         
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      Yes, I wont assemble completely until I can paint them. And, considering its 9f outside, that'll be a while.

      And yea, an extra piece of shrink over the three wires looks much better. I did one as a test, and it looks nice and clean.
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    • January 15, 2012 7:03 PM EST
      • Tiburon, California
         
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      Looks great.

      What diameter thinwall is that? Looks smaller than half inch, which I thought was the smallest.

      I'll be very interested to see what you will be using for signal logic.
    • January 15, 2012 8:24 PM EST
      • Candlewood Valley, Connecticut
         
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      Bob McCown said:
      The signals will be powered through a harness, probably plenum CAT5 cable in conduit, to a central location, where they will get power and correct color aspect assignment.
      That sounds like you will be doing train detection as well. Care to reveal your plan for that ?
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