Reverse loop module

Discussion in 'Product Review Forum' started by J. Steffen, Feb 20, 2007.

  1. J. Steffen

    J. Steffen Member

    This is the review section so heres a review.

    If your're thinking of reversing your consist, I highly advise the Digital Plus Lenz module. No muss no fuse; two sets of wires and your're good to go. It's found in the Walthers catalog as part number 428-LK100. Lenz puts it out as an LK100. It's a must have!
  2. EngineerKyle

    EngineerKyle Member

    The MRC one isn't bad either!
  3. John P

    John P Member

    Digitrax AR1 works seemlessly:thumb: :wave: :D
  4. J. Steffen

    J. Steffen Member

    What are the costs of those two?
  5. EngineerKyle

    EngineerKyle Member

    MRC = about 30 bucks retail and 20 bucks online. I really like mine, simple to install and reliable.
  6. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

  7. J. Steffen

    J. Steffen Member

    I've had absolutley no problems with it or their decoders. it is a bit price but since I was familiar with it already; I bought a second one.
  8. BigJim

    BigJim Member

    The best reversing loop module is ..... none. Here is how I am doing my reversing loop. First a VERY simplified drawing of a dogbone reversing loop using a double crossover.
    If you move all four points of the double crossover at the same time (I am using a single tortoise and some linkage) then the track change looks exactly like an electrical reversing switch. ( straight through = or crossover x). I have a DPDT relay wired to reverse the power to one one of the loops when the crossover is "crossed".

    Now the only problem is the outside rails of the double crossover are solid and connect straight through. This is fixed by cutting a gap in the center of each outside rail as shown by the red marks below. You never change the position of the crossover when a train is in the turnout so there is no possibility of the power being reversed when a wheel is at the gap since you don't use this part of the crossover when the loops are reversed. Thanks to the magic of DCC there is no problem reversing the power while a train is completely in the loop.

    Double crossover costs less than four turnouts and they look great. One tortoise rather than four saves some more money. I am using one of the "discharge" connections on the LM556 used to control the tortoise for the relay coil but you can use the tortoise switch contacts to power the relay coil or even use the full DPDT function of these contacts to reverse the loop power without a relay. I recommend a relay as I hear the tortoise contacts are slow and might cause a hesitation or even recycle the startup sounds.

    Other than the two gaps I didn't have to do any other changes to the Walthers double crossover to make it work. The other advantage, as long as you don't try and switch while a train is in the crossover, is you never never never run into an open turnout.

    I was going to use a double slip-switch for the same function in another location but found out that it only has two control slides and can't be set to allow both sides to diverge at the same time so the layout has been changed to use a double crossover in both reversing locations.

    I know it sounds simple but it works.
  9. BigJim

    BigJim Member

    The best module is........ No module.

    Consider using a double crossover like this:

    A double crossover looks just like a cross-wired DPDT switch we all use to reverse voltages.
    So if we reverse the connections for the left hand loop at the same time we "cross" the crossover the As & Bs always match. All that is needed is a gap in the middle of the outside straight through rails to avoid shorting A to B. The voltage reverse is easily done with a DPDT relay controlled by the same circuit as the tortoise. If you don't have the extra contacts or drivers for the coil you can use one set of the tortoise contacts to turn on the relay when the crosover is "crossed". I use the "discharge" connection of the LM556 I am using to control the tortoise. Since the tortoise contacts are slow acting and have a dead spot I would not recommend using them to directly switch the track power.
    Cut two gaps as shown in red. No other changes or connections or additional jumpers were required for the Walthers double crossover to work properly.


    The same function requires four turnouts that cost 50% more than a double crossover.

    With some simple linkage all four sets of points can be thrown with a single tortoise.

    You never approach "open" points.

    The gap portion of the straight rails is not used in the crossed position so there is never a chance of a "wheel" short.

    Caution - the Walthers double slip switch combines the control bars into two pairs so you can't set it in the "straight through" position for both directions at the same time. I had one of these in my original layout and had to change it to a double crossover.

    I know it looks to simple to work- but it does.

    The same idea will work with a single track into a loop with a single turnout. Just gap both sides of both tracks between the turnout and the loop and have the loop direction match the turnout direction. Thanks to the magic of DCC you can "flip" the loop while the train is inside without any concern.
  10. EngineerKyle

    EngineerKyle Member

    Doesn't a new double slip turnout cost big bucks? I saw one for 79.95 i think.
  11. BigJim

    BigJim Member

    Double Crossover is about $42.00 at my LHS (20% off). This is a lot less than the four turnouts it replaces. Plus, unless you add a crossover (more $) the reversing control becomes a lot more complex.

    The linkage to move all four sets of points is working fine. This saves another $40>50 for three Tortoise. The very close coupling of the left/right seems to help the "S" Curve problem you get with a parallel track crossover. According to Armstrong, if you can't separate them by 10>12 inches they should be as close as possible.

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