Block occupancy detectors, How do i set them up?

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by green_elite_cab, Aug 19, 2006.

  1. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!


    I want to add working signals to my layout in the future, and I'd like to know:

    How would i install a Block Occupancy detector?

    Does it require me to rip up sections of track and the ballast, or is damage minimall, like scooping out some ballast in between a ties?

    Which work better, Electronic (detects resistance) or Optical (light/dark)?

    Who's brand would you reccomend?

    I ask because i really want toget the scenery done, but i don't want to waste ballast pulling up tracks, nor do i want to put that ballast down if i'mg going to have to brill any large holes and things.

    thanks for your advice
  2. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    Forgot to mention that I'm running on MRC Prodigy Express DCC although i often switch back to DC. I'd like the signals and such to be automated.
  3. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    i installed a block occupancy system using photo cell"s after the scenery was done on last layout.with no tearing up anything:)
  4. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Digitrax's transponding system is compatible with your DCC system, is electronic, requires gapping the blocks you want to detect trains in. It will also link up to a computer for further logic control of signals.

    There are other systems such as CMRI that have digital logic controllers. Photo cells can be impacted by changing ambient light levels, and have to be "tuned" for normallighting conditions. IR detection is more immune to various light levels, but requires an IR source that gets blocked by a train. Electronic detection usually involves a resistance on the caboose or last car so that it can be detected as well as the engine.

    my thoughts, your choices
  5. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    I think i'll go with the electronic detection, because according to Integrated Signalling Systems, all i need to do is completely block one section of the rail, and have an extra rail feeder going through each block. I can accomplish this by installing extra feeder joiners now ( and installing the esiting ones through the cork instead of out the side like they are now on my layout), and install insulated joiners/cut the rail with a razor saw to divide everything.

    speaking of Integrated Signal Systems, are they a good brand?
  6. kf4jqd

    kf4jqd Active Member

  7. who_dat73

    who_dat73 Member

    Is this what I am thinking of doing

    I want to put lights in on my track or more properly signals to let the enginere know if it is ok to proceed I have no idea how to wire these so when I have the train going one way its red for stop and go green for the right direction.
    Is this what the discuseion is about?
    I run dc and am a idiot at wires so be carefull with me
  8. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    The idea is you get a block detector that senses a train on the block. You simply attach all the wires where they say and it should all work. I'm going with the integrated signal systems stuff.

    you have a detector (2 if you are using optical/infrared) per block. When that detectro says there is a train there, it sends a message to a signal controller mounted under the layout. It interprets the information that is sent to it and decides the appropriate signal aspect to display. In addition to that, there are also switch motor detectors, which can tell which way a switch is pointed on remote control switches, and that also goes into the signal controller in the area.

    Its easy stuff when you see it. All you need to do is competely isolate each block on your layout, and run wires from each rail. one rail will stay wired to your power pack, but the other wire (the negative) will attach to the detector.

    electronics (especially this railroad stuff) is pretty easy. I can't see how you can be an idiot about it. whats there to be confused about?

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