Block Detection

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by CN1, Dec 9, 2003.

  1. CN1

    CN1 Active Member

    I was just reading about Block Detection for [your] layout in the 70th anniversary edition of MR. Very interesting:thumb: :thumb:

    I think I understand how the system work [computer interface]kinda, not sure :confused:

    To the risk of sounding stupid, :p how does the computer come in to play? :confused: Does it detect block occupancy by itself? If it does than it gives the appropriate signal (red-yellow-green) right?

    So what happen if you "violate" the signal? Will the computer stop the locomotive?

    How about turnouts? How do you tell the computer wich one to "switch" and when??

    Just want to make sure I understand how it works...:oops:
  2. krokodil

    krokodil Member

    Hi CN1

    the computer can be a very powerful tool for us. Instead of hundreds of switches, buttons, relays and lights in the control panel you can use the interface presented in the last MR (and also many years ago - I think in 1983 etc.).
    The interface collects all the signals - electric status voltages - from your layout and the software can easily act according to them.
    Of course you cannot connect the track voltage direct to the interface card (it accepts mostly voltages between +/- 12-15V, and has also similar voltage outputs with low currents), but you have to generate those signals.
    One of those units is called block detector, which will test every block for occupancy and if the block is occupied with train - the unit changes the output, which is fed to the interface and then to the PC. The PC recognizes the occupancy, and starts to act, for eg. changes the signal from green to red (or any combination what you like or what you can get from your actual signal on the layout), activate the relay (or semiconductor device) in the block prior to occupied one and stops the next train. On the computer you can create different track layouts and modify the software according to the layout.

    It is an easy way how to control bigger layout from the computerscreen. Unfortunately the intiate investition is rather high (in comparison to switches, lamps and control panels) but for many people it solves lot of problems, you do not need to search for good relays, you do not need to wire them and modify, when something is wrong. The system even works with the new age DCC model trains inclusive the occupancy detectors.

    I can only recomend you B.Chubbs work (mentioned in the last MR with links to his layout).

  3. CN1

    CN1 Active Member

    Great! Thank you. That helps!:thumb:

    Do you used this system on your layout:confused:

    I'll like to hear from people who use a PC either to control traffic or to do "dispatching".

    Thanks again:wave:
  4. krokodil

    krokodil Member


    I just removed the dust from my Interface cards from the late 80-ies. I built about 50 block detectors for our club layout, and they worked well till the dismantling the whole layout. If I can find them somewhere I will use them again if not I have to build some new ones for my FLRR.
  5. CN1

    CN1 Active Member

    Great. Was it difficult to make? Operate?

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