DCC Detectors Construction For Model Railroad Signals

Posted on Feb 5, 2014

This article is in the `you can do it too` category. It`s not as difficult as you can imagine for the average model railroader, especially with the information available on the Internet and with articles like this to guide you. I have been looking for a way to construct my own detectors and signal circuits to keep the cost down. Also, there`s a lo

DCC Detectors Construction For Model Railroad Signals
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t of satisfaction that comes from proving to yourself that you can do it. I don`t know a lot about electronics, but I can follow a schematic, I can read a meter, and I know how to solder. The rest falls into the category of "take it one step at a time and doublecheck what you`re doing". Sometimes this is referred to as a "smoke test". You don`t want to see smoke! Bill Payne, fellow member at our Nottawasaga Model Railroad Club (NMRC) knows more about electronics than I do so he is taking the lead on this project. The NMRC layout has just been upgraded to DCC and we would also like to install signals on the layout. There`s nothing like changing signals to keep people fascinated at train shows, even if the indications of the signals aren`t quite right! Before Christmas, 2009, Bill and I had already built and tested some signal circuits we had found on the Internet. The next step was to build some detector circuits that would work for DCC. The ones we are working with were designed by R. Paisley. One of the block occupancy detectors is designed around a 555 timer and the other is based on a 339 comparator. Both take power directly from one rail. The wire with the power passes through the hole in a small transformer. The transformer detects a change in voltage when a train occupies a block and passes this information to the signal controllers. That`s sort of a non-electronic way of describing what`s going on. Here are the...

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