Complicated HO wiring schematic - HELP!

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by dklein11, Feb 26, 2007.

  1. dklein11

    dklein11 New Member

    Hi. I'm a beginner but I'm not learning from scratch. I'm using my dad's fleet of HO scale engines and rolling stock, but i've built my own open grid system. We're at the point where we're doing the wiring and I use powerpoint to build the wiring schematic. Want to use all radioshack-style SPST/DPDT type switches, not atlas connectors/selectors. More fun to do it all from scratch. Is someone willing to help me by looking over my schematic? Will be more than willing to talk over the phone or email.

    These are the schematics on flickr. After you click the link, click on "All Sizes" above the picture to see the bigger sized picture.







  2. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    I didn't go into great detail in my review. But I do have a couple of suggestions:

    - the number of blocks on the main section is probably too small. If you ever at any point have 2 trains/locomotives on the same loop, then you need at least 4 blocks/loop to keep the trains moving. Each train needs the block it is in, plus a free block ahead to move into. Otherwise, it must stop and wait for the block ahead to be freed up.

    - each passing siding should be a separate block. This allows you to park a train while another passes it.

    - you only have one reversing section shown - the turntable. If you use split-ring wiring for the turntable, you don't need any auxiliary reversing toggles.

    - I strongly suggest getting a wiring book from Kalmbach or Atlas. The Atlas wiring book does show only Atlas components, but you can easily subsitute (and I think it's a great idea to do so) your own toggle switches for the Atlas wiring components. The advantage of your own toggles is mounting them into a layout diagram on the control panel so you can see which toggle controls what directly.

    - For a layout of this size (fairly small) but fairly complex track arrangement, the blocks are small and numerous. Two operators running trains simulaneously are going to be busy flipping block toggles. If you often have two operators, going with a DCC system from the start is going to save you the aggravation and cost of the block wiring. Total cost for a starter DCC system plus a second throttle would be less than $250, depending on system and features chosen. With DCC, each operator would focus on just running his/her train and making sure turnouts are thrown correctly. No worrying about selecting blocks.

    just my thoughts, your choices
  3. dklein11

    dklein11 New Member

    Turntable wiring

    Thank you so much for your reply. I'm interested in your section about turntable wiring not needing a reversing switch to change from clockwise to counterclockwise.

    What action does the operator take to turn the turntable and reverse the direction if there's DPDT?
  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    If you don't have a split ring wiring for the turntable, it's like having a phone plug rotating in a socket. You then have to reverse the turntable bridge rails when the table rotates. This takes an extra DPDT switch in the circuit after the direction switch for the block or cab. You then need some way to tell which end of the table is which -- building a control cab or putting a bit of paint or detail at one end.
    Split ring wiring does this automatically. I think most newer turntables have it built in, but some older ones (Wilson I know) don't.
  5. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I've just taken a brief look at your wiring. Do you just plan to have one block that can be controlled by either cab? I wire my layout so that any cab can control any block.
    I have a sneaky wiring for the turntable -- there is a DPDT switch that connects either to the tracks around the table (and on the table) or to the motor that turns it. That way you can't drive a loco while the table is turning.
  6. dklein11

    dklein11 New Member

    Wiring overview

    Thank you for your reply. In summary, I would like to be able to control 3 sections of my board with 1 operator:

    1. Main line outer loop which can be controlled by Cab A or Cab B
    2. Inner loops controlled by Cab A only with multiple blocks that can hold engines in holding tracks operated by SPST swtiches
    3. The yard which includes many holding tracks and a turntable/roundhouse controlled by Cab B only

    Use cases:
    1. I can use Cab A to run 1 engine on inner loops while pulling an engine out of the yard with Cab B
    2. I can run 2 engines at different speeds/directions on inner loops and outer loop

    I'm sure there are many more complicated use cases that can be performed but this is going to be complicated enough. There are 30 holding tracks for 30 engines and 28 switch tracks.

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