Author Topic: Using RailPro & DCC switch controllers together.  (Read 3581 times)

Dean

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Using RailPro & DCC switch controllers together.
« on: August 16, 2016, 03:08:00 PM »
My layout is DCC. I have added RailPro to the layout. One of the things I miss when using RailPro is controlling switches. RailPro has the capability but you can't have two switch controllers connected to the same switch. I think I have found a solution using an AM-1 and some relays.
The DCC switch controllers I use have provisions to use push buttons. And the DCC controllers can be programmed to use only one push button for both switch directions. Push the button once and the switch moves to the diverging route. Push the button a second time and the switch returns to the main.
I set up the AM-1 as a two wire snap switch controller.( my layout is old and has all snap switches ) Instead of the output of the AM-1 going to a switch, it goes to a relay with a 12V DC coil. The wires that would normally go from the DCC controller to a push button now go to a set of normally open contacts on the relay. Go to switch controls on the HC-2 and press the appropriate switch and the relay cycles and the contacts close for an instant and then open again. Just like a push button. So far I have only tested if the AM-1 will cycle the relay...it does!
Now to climb under the layout and make the connections to the DCC controller.

20160816_145408-AA.jpg

Test setup. The power for the AM-1 is coming from two shorting bars at the front of the layout that supply power to the tracks in that area.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2016, 09:55:23 AM by Dean »
Dean

Alan

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Re: Using RailPro & DCC switch controllers together.
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2016, 03:22:16 PM »
Great idea. Just so you know you can save a bunch of relay money by using much smaller relays. There is no real current to speak of on the control side so tiny relays would suffice. As example: http://www.ebay.com/itm/50Pcs-SRD-12VDC-SL-C-DC-12V-5PIN-125-250VAC-28VDC-Power-Relays-/172274246855?hash=item281c5864c7:g:1lkAAOSwZVlXiNT4
Alan

LK&O Railroad website

When I was a kid... no wait, I still do that. HO, 28x32, double deck, 1969, RailPro

Dean

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Re: Using RailPro & DCC switch controllers together.
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2016, 03:27:40 PM »
Thanks for the link.
These relays were hard to pass up; they were free. But I will have to buy some more as I expand RailPro on my layout.
Dean

Alan

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Re: Using RailPro & DCC switch controllers together.
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2016, 03:31:42 PM »
Yeah, free is a hard price to beat.  ;D
Alan

LK&O Railroad website

When I was a kid... no wait, I still do that. HO, 28x32, double deck, 1969, RailPro

Dean

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Re: Using RailPro & DCC switch controllers together.
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2016, 03:45:46 PM »
One of the things that I am thinking about is the distance from the relay to the switch controller. I would think the relay could be a lot farther away from the switch controller than the AM-1 could be if was used to cycle the switch directly. You could mount the AM-1 and the relays in a central location and control switches in different locations on the layout. Hmm.
Dean

Alan

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Re: Using RailPro & DCC switch controllers together.
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2016, 04:07:29 PM »
Sure, why not? The push button DCC current I am sure is negligible so wire run shouldn't be an issue.

I did something similar with respect to centralized relay location (entirely different application than you are doing):

Alan

LK&O Railroad website

When I was a kid... no wait, I still do that. HO, 28x32, double deck, 1969, RailPro

Dean

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Re: Using RailPro & DCC switch controllers together.
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2016, 11:38:59 PM »
IT WORKS! I finally got the relay panel mounted under my layout. I wired in a relay normally open contact to an NCE Q Snap DCC switch controller on the terminals marked for push buttons. I programmed the Q Snap to work with one push button per switch rather than two. (push the button, or cycle the relay, and the switch changes position. press the same push button or cycle the relay again, and the switch moves back to the original position)
Now I can control the switch with my NCE Power Pro throttle or the RailPro HC-2.



Dean

Alan

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Re: Using RailPro & DCC switch controllers together.
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2016, 12:29:23 AM »
Love it when a plan comes together.
Alan

LK&O Railroad website

When I was a kid... no wait, I still do that. HO, 28x32, double deck, 1969, RailPro

Dean

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Re: Using RailPro & DCC switch controllers together.
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2016, 03:17:35 PM »
The AM-1 and relays were installed directly under the switch machines and Q-Snap. My next AM-1 and relay setup would be for switches that are 40' apart. I can mount the AM-1 in the center of the two switches cutting the distance in half, but where to mount the relays. I am thinking of mounting the relays close to the AM-1 and run the "push button" wires to the switch controllers that would be ~20' away. Thoughts?
( I only want to do this mounting and wiring once. it's getting harder and harder to get under the layout, and even harder to get out from under the layout. I now carry a cell phone with me in case I get stuck.   :)  )
One other note on the first AM-1 install. The AM-1 only pulses the relays for 0.2 seconds and they work fine. I'm tempted to try 0.1 second.
Dean

darryl.trains

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Re: Using RailPro & DCC switch controllers together.
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2016, 04:46:59 PM »
 SONGLE RELAY

Hey fellers, anyone in need of these little rascals. I have plenty of extra ones if wanted? All are brand new just waiting to work for you.

Darryl


http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-jJ4fPccM1RQ/UR5R3jN4i2I/AAAAAAAABlU/Rkj3ceroL3w/s1600/12v-5pin-relay-pinout.png
« Last Edit: November 21, 2016, 05:05:06 PM by darryl.trains »

Alan

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Re: Using RailPro & DCC switch controllers together.
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2016, 05:58:48 PM »
You should hang on to those. Relays are always a handy thing to have in the parts bin.
Alan

LK&O Railroad website

When I was a kid... no wait, I still do that. HO, 28x32, double deck, 1969, RailPro

darryl.trains

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Re: Using RailPro & DCC switch controllers together.
« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2016, 06:18:49 PM »
Alan

 You just might be on to something but at my age I have too many extras to last me until the last train departs.  Just thought the Dongles might come in handy for someone here? I'll have to peddle them later on as I surely do not ever need four dozen !!!

 Been listing and selling many items on eBay and I don't see the finish line yet. Maybe a few folks will be happy to get those goodies.

 Cheers, Darryl