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Old 10-24-2015, 07:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Tinkering with automation/remote control

Hello everyone,

I've finally arrived at a manageable layout for my train. It's a simple circle with a passing lane. I'm using two turnouts which gives the train a place to pull out of the main circle.

I've been fiddling with a computer controlled set of relays and I'm able to remotely control the turnouts manually from a "soft" button on my computer. I've also purchased some track isolation connectors which I can also control the power (on/off) in the turn out section.

I'm running DC track power but I would like to have the train automatically slow down while in the turn out section. If I can make this work I could potentially run both trains at the same time. One train in the main loop while the other is parked in the turn out. I am doing this now with decent results but when the train enters the turn out it comes to an abrupt stop and then when I want to start it up again it lurches out. Not very realistic and I have to think not good for the train either.

Has anyone devised a circuit that I could engage that can slowly attenuate the track power in my isolated track section?

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Old 10-24-2015, 08:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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When I run my "leap frog," I engage a set of diodes and in-rush suppressors to slow the trains in those specific sections. It's basically a "1-step" slow down, but quite effective.

If not engaged, the trains may run too far such that they may rub as they pass when the other train is released.

The caveat is that if you run lighted coaches, your train may speed up and slow down as each coach bridges the span to the main line letting the full voltage through.

You an see it in operation here:

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Old 10-24-2015, 08:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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There are several ways to do this. There are solutions that use a capsitor that I don't understand. My solution was to put a gap track, like an LGB 1015U, which has a gap one side, at each end of the siding. Inside are terminal blocks. I put a 10 ohm resistor across each gap. This cuts the voltage in about half. It slows the train down and when it crosses the gap at the other end of the siding, it speeds up. This will not work if you have lighted cars from track power.


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Old 10-24-2015, 08:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks guys, I had considered diodes and/or resistive devices to drop voltage at each section but there may be time where I don't want to slow things down. I had imagined a variable device like a rheostat that when triggered would slowly reduce voltage feeding the entire section. I was thinking this would be a bit smoother acting as well.

Again, thanks very much, not bad ideas and I may end up going this route if I can't find or develop what I was hoping for.

Have a great weekend!
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Old 10-25-2015, 06:42 AM   #5 (permalink)
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In large scale a rheostat is not practical due to the power ratings needed.
dropping 5 volts at 1 amp is 5 watts but one must remember the rheostat wattage is for the full resistance, not for a small resistance setting. Therefore a 50 watt or more unit would be needed. Large scale transformers use a wiper across the windings to make it adjustable and then convert the A/C power to DC. This also eliminates heat as there is no resistor.
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Old 02-02-2020, 12:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Location: Kansas City
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If the cars lights are only connected to one axle per car, will that cause problems with this setup?
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