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Is it really easy to add indicator lights to Kato turnouts? Or am I crazy?

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Webskipper

Well the money has been spent purposely to get the Kato switches with the 8 passing sets.

 

Setting up the layout as idiot proof as possible.

 

Ill checkout the BCD.

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cteno4

George has some interesting things in the BCD for switching to specific ladders, doing power on resets etc. you can even wire the standard bcd circuit with indicator leds onto a terminal strip w/ no soldering (other than leads to your led and switch for extensions) if you want. or get some little proto pc boards and you could easily wire them up as modules you could just plug in using pc terminal strips.

 

cheers

 

jeff

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Webskipper

Is there a BCD link?

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cteno4

No, email George Stilwell for info: "George R. Stilwell, Jr." <GRSJr@att.net>

 

he is going to publish this so does not want it on the web yet as that can block you publishing in some pubs. very good chap. he will send you a pdf and ask you not distribute it, fair enough.

 

cheers

 

jeff

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Webskipper

Got the PDF from George yesterday thanks.

 

He says he can help but, not with Kato Switch controllers in the mix.

 

If stationary decoders will work in DCC and DC to correctly light up signals then that's the route I'm going with. Ill just have to keep them alive 24/7.

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Webskipper

I have Kato double tracks that will be running DCC only. Now I want to add signals before finishing the earth.

 

Without using a computer and block detection there must be a simpler way by using a stationary decoder like a TCS fl4 to power a signal.

 

Program the fl4 for direction lighting. Red and green led. Wire from track power to the 2 LEDs.

 

When using a stationary decoder such as a DS64 to throw turnouts, it can be the same address as the signal decoder.

 

Therefore, each position change of the points will trigger the signal light to change led color. Correct?

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KenS

Well, I'm not sure I understand your idea, but I don't think it can work as you describe, although I can think of a couple of other useful ways to run a signal from a decoder.

 

Are you talking about connecting the green LED to (for example) the green function wire and the red LED to the purple function wire (both with appropriate resistors of course) and using either manual commands or F0F/F0R functions to them?  Or are you trying to make the signal react to the "throw turnout" command sent to the DS64?

 

I don't think the latter can be done, since throwing a turnout is an accessory decoder command (Turnout Number plus "throw" or "clear") and the FL4 function outputs are mobile decoder "function" outputs (controlled by mobile address with "F3 on/off"/"F4 off/on" or direction of the throttle).

 

I think what would work would be to control the two lights with a throttle direction button, provided CV51 (green control) was set to 0, and CV52 (purple control) was set to 16.  You could also create signals that have a second aspect that flashes by using values 3 and 16 or 0 and 19.  If you assign the signal decoder address 21, select that on a throttle and hit the direction key to change the signal color.

 

And note that the signal at the other end of the block could have it's CVs (or wires) reversed, so "set address 21 to Forward" would make one green and the other red if both had address 21.

 

But I don't see any way to link the FL4 to the functions of the DS64 since accessory decoder commands aren't the same as mobile decoder function commands.

 

Now you could use a second accessory decoder set to run "stall motor" turnouts set to the same accessory address as the first DS64 to control the signal. You can't use the same DS64, since a DS64 has to be configured for either "stall motor" or "solenoid" operation on all outputs.

 

You could do that with two LEDs as above by wiring both to the same output of the "stall motor" accessory decoder in reversed orientation (one would light depending on polarity).

 

Or you could use a bi-color LED that changes color on polarity change.

 

Then a "throw 21" command would both throw the turnout (using the first DS64) and change the signal (using the second).

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Webskipper

Ken:

 

At this point I want working signals to match point position without running a computer.

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Webskipper

Ok, I'm going to try using 2 LEDs (green and red) this weekend and figure this out.

 

What resistor is required?

 

I'm sure a Kato FR11 could be used for each color. Ill start with individual LEDs.

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inobu

Phil,

 

I would take that article with a grain of salt. The author is paraphrasing an article from 1977 (pre-DCC knowledge) and applying it to his understanding of it.

 

He stated that the voltage is constant on the track which is true but the polarity is changing as well. The polarity change can damage the LED.

 

 

If you are going to use the power routing method you must convert  the tracks DCC power back into straight DC.

 

Now remember a volt meter needs the same DC voltage as a LED so here is that circuit

 

DCCmeters.GIF

 

 

Instead of having the volt meter there you replace it with the resistor and LED. Problem 1 resolved. (Note the resistor needs to drop the track voltage to a level safe for the LED)

 

 

Here is the solution to your second problem. Flipping the color based on the track.

 

bi-color_LED_two-resistors.gifRailroad_switch_animation.gif

 

Now stare at this drawing and envision the switch tracks switching back and forth. SW with the dotted lines are the point to the rail switch.

 

 

This is the power routing. Picture this image as a Right handed switch that the point is straight through. Throw the switch and the point swings down to the "turnout".

 

You can see how the LED will get its power from the points.

 

 

 

Next  You need a Bi color LED that lights on applied voltage.

 

Item Name:
Bi Color Red/Green 5mm LED 3 Legs
Item #:
LED-105BC
Price/ea:
$1.00

Product Image Gallery:
LED-63.jpg

Bi Color LEDs have three leads, a negative or Grd and two positive leads. Applying voltage to one lead makes it shine Red and applyng voltage to the other makes it shine Green. Great for signals or areas where you want one light to change from red to green. Comes with resistors for 12-14 volts DC.

Hook Up Instructions

 

LED-Bi-Color.jpg

 

 

So you will have 2 of these LED's.

 

One on the Straight and the other on the Turnout side.

 

You will wire them so the Green is in series with the red on the other LED. and vice versa.

 

 

 

Remember you need to do three things.

 

1. Convert the DCC voltage to straight DC to power the LED's,

 

2. You need to control the DC power either direction straight or to the turnout.

 

3. You need the wire the LED's so one side is Green and the adjacent side is red at the same time. 

 

 

If you get a bi color led that is polarity driven it will not work. You need a Bi color LED that will illuminate based on applied voltage from the points. 

 

 

Circuitry is hard and it is mostly trial and error.

 

I have to clarify my comment.

 

When you are starting off in electronics "building circuitry is hard and it is mostly trial and error until the principles become clearer."

 

 

Inobu

Edited by inobu
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KenS
Ok, I'm going to try using 2 LEDs (green and red) this weekend and figure this out.

 

What resistor is required?

 

I'm sure a Kato FR11 could be used for each color. Ill start with individual LEDs.

 

If you drive a LED with a decoder output, what the LED gets is rectified track voltage minus a bit.  Track voltage is probably 14-15 V for most DCC systems, 18 V for some, and 22 V for exceptional ones.  The other things you need to know are mA used by the LED, and voltage dropped by the LED (the LEDs "forward voltage" or Vf on spec sheets).

 

The basic idea is that you size the resistor to drop the supply voltage down to the LEDs voltage at the largest current you want the LED to use.  A typical colored LED will use 20-30mA, so use 20mA to be safe.  A typical Red LED will have a voltage of 1.6 to 2.0 volts.  A typical green LED of 1.9 to 4 V (numbers from wikipedia, if you have a data sheet or specs for yours, use that).  There are LED calculators that make this easy.  Google for them, or use this one.

 

Assume we'll have a 16V maximum on the DCC supply (a bit risky, but guessing high will make the LED dim; guessing too low will blow the LED though, but I'm being conservative on other numbers). At 20mA and 1.6V, the Red LED needs a 820 ohm 10% resistor rated for 1/2 Watt, although a second calculator is a bit more conservative and recommends 820 ohms @ 1 W. The green LED, at 1.9V, actually needs the same (because resistors come in standard sizes, so both calculators round up to the next standard size).

 

There's a fair amount of safety margin in the above: I'm assuming 20 mA instead of 30, and 1.6/1.9Vf instead of 2.0/4.0. A smaller resistor would likely work, although it would probably need to be rated for 1W if it was handling 30mA, because we're right below the 1/2W line at 20mA.

 

Rerunning the calculation for 18V requires the same size resistor, but power needs are just over the 1/2W mark, so a 1W resistor is needed.

 

If you wanted to be safe on any DCC system, a 1 kOhm, 1W resistor would do the trick, but it might make the LED rather dim on a normal-voltage DCC system.

 

Remember that each LED needs its own resistor (don't put one on the blue wire and have two LEDs share it if you use a decoder with a blue common wire, that's a good way to fry LEDs).

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inobu

Phil,

 

You are pretty aggressive in getting things done I don't remember seeing you talk about having one but you need a breadboard

 

3090072509_eb83a07289.jpg

 

 

That way you can build, test and understand the nuances of the circuit you are building. Instead of applying DC voltage you appy track power, wire the decoder onto the board and have at it or use straight DC. You can arrange the LED how ever you want and test the results.

 

I figured out the BCD circuitry using the board with a little "trial and error". The board help you move the circuitry from paper to reality.

 

Inobu

 

Note (Using a Bi Color LED that responds to polarity with a DCC signal will give you an Amber light).

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cteno4

Breadboards are your friends! Tou can pick small ones up cheap on ebay also bundles of jumper wires with nice pins on the end.

 

Jeff

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inobu

You don't play around lol

 

Here is the bread boards

They have the power terminals that makes it easier to power up also a little weight keeps the board from flopping around.  $12 frys.com 

4611868.big.jpg

These help you to clip onto other devices a lot easier. I was able to clip onto decoder boards no problem and decoder wires too.

I also clip onto the volt meter to take readings.

 

 

PH-500.jpg

What you ordered is good just for the test components itself.

 

 

The board at the top is good for the basics but the larger boards are better because you can set up a few variations of your circuit to find the one that works with out tearing it down every time.

 

I learned the hard way it was better to buy the large board in the beginning.

 

4612378.big.jpg

 

Inobu

Edited by inobu

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KenS

I use breadboards myself, but I tend to get the simple ones that aren't attached to a metal back with posts (I do have one of those, but I find the posts generally unsuitable for what I want to wire up anyway and often don't use them).  Several small boards allow you to have different projects in mid-completion while working on or testing other things.

 

If you are developing really complex circuitry, then use of one of the multiple-boards types on a back will help keep the circuit organized and allow it to be moved intact. For my part, I mostly test simple circuits with a dozen or so components and a small board (like one of the ones that's only two inches long) works fine for that.

 

One note of caution: The ones from Radio Shack, and probably others, are simple styrene plastic with a low melting point.  Keep them away from heat.  I have the outline of a 10W power resistor melted into the top of one of mine...

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inobu

I just like to make it look like I'm building something big and important.

 

 

lol

 

Inobu.

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Webskipper

Holy schnikies that's a big board.

 

I can always get more small boards. Mine is free shipping from CN.

 

I had a gazillion in one breadboard kit from radio hut as a kid. Build everything except things that required 2 keys to turn on.

 

Now I just make alligator jumpers and play with electricity and track pieces.

 

I really appreciate the solutions I find on this forward thinking forum.

 

 

It would be great to meet you guys, maybe at the airport someday.

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inobu

OK Skip

 

I think you might already know this but here something to get others started if they want to try. Any time you want to develop something you should map your project out. Break it down into small

segments, build them and then put the components/segments together. 

 

Project Scope 

 

We want to create an independent directional signal for a DCC layout with Kato switches.

 

Components

 

We need power, control device and indicator

 

POWER

 

Instead of using an external power adapter we will tap power from the track as it is readily available. Using an adapter would require more pieces as we would need a switching device and some form of logic to decide (something that would differentiate turnout position) which light to illuminate. The switch has the capability to do both by way of power routing. In power routing power will be applied to the track segment in front of the point.  

With this we have addressed both Power and Control. 

 

SIGNAL INDICATOR

 

For our signal indicator we have 4 requirements, 2 direction indicators and 2 conditions to displays.

 

To further break the requirements down we need 1 direction and 2 conditions red and green. A Bi color led is the most convenient as it reduces the number of LED's and drivers. There are two types of Bi color LED's. One switched color based on polarity the other is based on applied power. Because we are just applying power via the switch and we need 2 different color led to illuminate at the same time we will go with the applied power type.  

 

INSTALLATION

 

will be left up to you as the layout and tastes varies.

 

 

I will get you started in the first step and using the same process you map out your process from the led.

 

Breadboard

 

The breadboard allows you to make temporary connection of electronic components in a manner where it can be removed, relocated and tested.

 

The layout is based on a grid system consisting of number and letters and power polarity. 

 

The Columns of numbers are blocked together and electrical connected. The letters are line indicators the identify locations.

 

The + and - power line are common to each other but may have segmented blocks for multiple or different type of inputs 

 

The components are connected together by either sharing a common column number or by a jumper wire bridging the two together.  

 

Always want to apply power last and it is the on off switch for your test circuit.

 

 

  

Establish useable power by Converting DCC to DC. 

 

4 way bridge rectifier converts alternating current to direct current.

 

Step 1  

 

(The voltmeter diagram on the other post used 1N4148 as the Diodes)

 

 

Transfer a schematic from paper to breadboard.

 

Identify and label the connection on the schematic.

 

In this case the first diode leg is placed at 15-C and the other leg is placed on 5-C. Most components have polarity 

constraints meaning the legs have to match its polarity. In the case of diodes the Cathode and Anodes are marked with a band or

leg length (one being longer than the other) Cathode -     Anode + .

 

Here the line on the arrow tip is the Cathode and the band (circled in the image) indicates the cathode as well.

 

 

med_gallery_153_24_32874.jpg

 

 

Looking at the schematic on the left and correlating it with the breadboard image you can see the track power/DCC signal would be connected to the + and - 

row on the Top. Your point location on the middle schematic shows that one connection point for the DCC signal is column 5 so you can use 5-A

the other point is 45 so you can use row J.

 

The DC output is Column 15 (+) and 55 (-) depending on your board IF the two power row are isolated you can us the bottom row as the power output position. 

 

 

In this original image you can see where the author has placed a volt meter to read the output voltage. This is how you will test and verify the output voltage.

 

With that value you can calculate the resistor value needed to support the LED. 

 

 

Now, I'm going to let you do the next Step yourself, its a bit harder you just have to think about it. Build the single LED then add the second. 

 

The schematic is for polarity switching which you don't need.

 

 

gallery_153_24_412.jpg

 

Good luck

 

Inobu

Edited by inobu

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Vato
We're planning on using the NCE "switch kats" on our new layout for DCC control of the turnouts, and they kindly have provided 3 solder points to add signals.  I've been trying to decide if I was going to build a central control panel or have signals on th layout.  I like what you are doing so may put the signals on the layout.

check the link http://www.ncedcc.com/pdf/Switch-Kat.pdf

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Webskipper

That's correct Inobu

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BanditOne1

Hello Quinn

 

Im working on installing led’s on Kato turnouts, one thing I’ve learned. I need to use resisters or burn out led’s

 

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