Model Railway Short-Circuit Beeper

Posted on Feb 5, 2014

Short circuits in the tracks, points or wiring are almost inevitable when building or operating a model railway. Although transformers for model systems must be protected against short circuits by built-in bimetallic switches, the response time of such switches is so long that is not possible to immediately localise a short that occurs while the t

Model Railway Short-Circuit Beeper
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rains are running, for example. Furthermore, bimetallic protection switches do not always work properly when the voltage applied to the track circuit is relatively low. The rapid-acting acoustic short-circuit detector described here eliminates these problems. However, it requires its own power source, which is implemented here in the form of a GoldCap storage capacitor with a capacity of 0. 1 to 1 F. A commonly available reed switch (filled with an inert gas) is used for the current sensor, but in this case it is actuated by a solenoid instead of a permanent magnet. An adequate coil is provided by several turns of 0. 8 1 mm enamelled copper wire wound around a drill bit or yarn spool and then slipped over the glass tube of the reed switch. This technique generates only a negligible voltage drop. The actuation sensitivity of the switch (expressed in ampG¨re-turns or A-t) determines the number of turns required for the coil. For instance, if you select a type rated at 20 40 A-t and assume a maximum allowable operating current of 6 A, seven turns (40 G· 6 = 6. 67) will be sufficient. As a rule, the optimum number of windings must be determined empirically, due to a lack of specification data. As you can see from the circuit diagram, the short-circuit detector is equally suitable for AC and DC railways. With MG¤rklin transformers (HO and I), the track and lighting circuits can be sensed together, since both circuits are powered...

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