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M-track Turnout LIGHTS

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f3red View Drop Down

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    Posted: 07 Mar 2015 at 9:41am
It just occurred to me while reading another post, that the lights in the M-Track turnouts might be an issue. On an analog set, they are powered off the common accessory circuit (12VAC, or some such).When planning to control them digitally with an m83 decoder, do I have to do anything special about the light? Remove it? Replace it?

Inquiring minds want to know.

P.S. For now, this is theoretical - the layout is a pile of boards and boxes of track, but I am looking far into the future when I might (repeat: MIGHT) want to control the turnouts via digital means.
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Bundesbahn View Drop Down
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bundesbahn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Mar 2015 at 5:57am
Controlling M-track turnouts digitally has caused some problems. I am not aware of all the details. The general consensus seems to be: Don't do it. Stick to analog control. More research on this is needed.

As far as the lights go, removing the bulbs is the simplest solution. Otherwise, with some surgery, it should be possible to establish a circuit separate from track power.

Edited by Choo Choo - 09 Mar 2015 at 6:06am
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BR42 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BR42 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Mar 2015 at 11:17pm

I ran into the same issue controlling Fleischmann semaphore signals through DCC controlers.  The lights bulbs of the signals are connected by two wires, one going directly from the 14V transformer to the bulb, the other going from the bulb to the common return of the coils, and this return goes to the transformer.  In the analogue world this works well even if one uses different transformers for bulbs and coils. Both transformers just use one common return. 

Things become more tricky in the DCC world.  Running the bulbs as before off a 14V power supply would work as in the analogue world.  However, all the common returns of the coils would also be connected together.  But the connections between common return of the coils would also go to all the accessory decoders.  Thus, they would effectively connect one pole of all the outputs of all the accessory decoders together, something that does not sound like a good idea.  (Smells like burnt electronics come to mind) My two solutions are:

a) Separate the bulbs from the coils completely.  This requires interior surgery of the semaphores.  It can be done, but is no fun.  I only do this in an emergency if the signal does not function properly.  It might be easier with M-switches.

b) Run the signals (or in your case the switches) without light.  This is really not a problem as long as one operates a day light scenario.  The lights came only on at night on the real railroad.  Since I do not run night time operations, leaving the signals dark was not a problem for me.

Night time operations are fun, but flickering car lights and accidents in the dark had eventually convinced me that dawn and dusk operations are as close to running trains in the dark as I want to get.  I have a dimmer on the ceiling lights to simulate twilight.

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