Crossing signal and reed switches

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by patgin, Nov 9, 2007.

  1. patgin

    patgin Member

    Hi Everyone,

    I would like to install some led crossing signal (probably NJ International) at a grade crossing. They will be connected to a Circuitron FL-2 flasher unit. I would like to add a train detection system to powered the fl-2 . My problem is that I have 4 tracks a this crossing . So I thought about Reed switches. I would like to know what I should put between the FL-2 and the reed switches? How do I connect the reed switches to give power or cut power to the FL-2 unit?

    Thanks a lot
  2. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Patgin, I don't have your answers, sorry. But I will be watching this thread with interest, as I may do the same thing eventually. Not sure about the reed switches. I do know that commercially available detectors are fairly expensive.

    One thing I have been investigating is making my own train detectors out of photo-resistors, a potentiometer, and a transistor circuit. Basically the photo-resistor would be installed looking straight up through the ties. As long as the photo-resistor was receiving ambient light, the transistor circuit would be off. Whenever the p-r was in the shadow of the train, the circuit would be turned on. The potentiometer would be used to set the sensitivity of the circuit. (Now that I think of it, if you wanted to run your trains "at night" with dimmed lighting, this is going to be a problem.)

    In conjunction with the detectors, there would need to be some logic circuitry to make it all work properly. This could be some simple hard-wired logic with time delays and relays.

    Good luck on finding your answers.
  3. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    Is this DC or DCC? I think there are probably better detection methods than reed switches. I don't really know how reliable detecting the loco motor. If someone has used them with good success, I'll retract this fear completely. I'll need to try to look up the FL-2 to see what makes it happy.
  4. patgin

    patgin Member

    It's DC in my case. I first thought about photocell but the problem was in evening light, photocells will not detect light so the crossing signal will always be on. ANyway, I will try to find the best way but any comment will be appreciate.
  5. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    How about an IR emitter/detector pair. Hide them in the bushes or sheds:
    Infrared Detection
  6. patgin

    patgin Member

    Yes, it's a good idea, but I'm not an electronics I prefer to buy a ready kit.
  7. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    The infrared emitter/detector system looks good. When I get to that point, I may do that. The good thing about it is you can cover multiple tracks with just one detector unit.
  8. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    If you want a ready kit look at the block detector that Atlas uses in their new signalling system. There may be others as well. The problem with it is that it detect something drawing current through the tracks, so a reverse movement might not be seen in time.
  9. patgin

    patgin Member

    It seems that the LogicRail Grade crossing Pro could be modify by adding more photocell in series to cover more than 1 track. The proble is when 2 train cross the road at the same time, it could make some strange signal effect but if only 1 train cross the road at a time the GCP will work fine.
    I thing that I will choose this way.
  10. ClarkW

    ClarkW New Member



    Try a google search on "South Bend Signal Company". I have seen their stuff at a local train show and it really looks good. They might have what you are looking for.


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