Author Topic: Best N Scale Crossing Protection?  (Read 2405 times)

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OldEastRR

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Re: Best N Scale Crossing Protection?
« Reply #30 on: May 05, 2017, 05:27:47 AM »
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If all you need of to make the lights flash you can build your own flasher circuit for probably less than $5.

With the fading-effect of incandescents? And where would I find this info? You gotta wonder what you'd Google it as .... "Flashing-fading LED circuit plans"?

peteski

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Re: Best N Scale Crossing Protection?
« Reply #31 on: May 05, 2017, 10:25:24 AM »
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With the fading-effect of incandescents? And where would I find this info? You gotta wonder what you'd Google it as .... "Flashing-fading LED circuit plans"?

No, just a simple on-off flasher.  If you want fading, you need to pay the big bucks.
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basementcalling

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Re: Best N Scale Crossing Protection?
« Reply #32 on: May 05, 2017, 10:33:10 AM »
+1
Just install a crossing condom from Trojan brand and everything is protected.  :D

That Uni Trak crossing is ok for TTRAK I guess, but would be hard to hide and needs skillful camoflauge to blend in.  For the price of $200 it's a pretty expensive source of parts and circuits.
Peter Pfotenhauer

davefoxx

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Re: Best N Scale Crossing Protection?
« Reply #33 on: May 05, 2017, 11:07:38 AM »
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No, just a simple on-off flasher.  If you want fading, you need to pay the big bucks.

Fact.  But, to me, it was worth it.  I used the "Grade Crossing Pro" by Logic Rail Technologies and NJ International signals.


However, @Ed Kapuscinski, next time, I won't be lazy and will add gates.  I'd definitely use these brands' products again.

Hope this helps,
DFF

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C855B

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Re: Best N Scale Crossing Protection?
« Reply #34 on: May 05, 2017, 11:26:44 AM »
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... next time, I won't be lazy and will add gates.  I'd definitely use these brands' products again. ...

I wouldn't feel pressured to mess with gates given your approximate era target. Peter mentioned this up-thread:

... There are a lot of applications out there without any gates even on higher volume two-lane roadways. In the 70's (or earlier) it was more common to find no gates unless the roadway was of significant status (major city arterial or state highway) based on my observations. ...

Gates and their inherent maintenance issues really didn't catch-on until the FRA started feeling their oats in the '70s. Somewhere in that decade a rule was promulgated requiring "improvement" to warning systems if there was any significant work done at a grade crossing, even if it was nothing more than moving a crossbuck a couple of feet for pavement widening. This was the rule that spelled the end of the wig-wag. Flashers alone in many cases where road work was performed had to be upgraded to gates if the traffic - train or vehicular - met certain now-lower thresholds.

Bottom line - if you're modeling '70s-'80s, it's mostly your call whether gates would be the more correct scene depiction. I know in my case (1970 and rural) most crossings are going to be bare crossbucks only, not even flashers.
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randgust

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Re: Best N Scale Crossing Protection?
« Reply #35 on: May 05, 2017, 02:52:57 PM »
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Mine have evolved over time from the bulb-style NJI flashers with home-brew gates, a Walthers flasher circuit, and a pair of Tortoise machines, to an LED-NJI flasher with gates, same pair of tortoises, and a Dalee flasher circuit.  https://www.dallee.com/Grade-Crossing-Flasher-Controller-367 

I tinkered with adding resistors to slow the Tortoise down, also mounted the actuation wire in front of the gates instead of behind it.

One real glitch I hit was knowing that the LED's had a common and the flasher circuit had a common, and if they didn't agree it was a mess.   I fried my old Walthers circuit, and it was a honey, actually, preferred over the Dalee.

With two bidirectional mains, a power crossover between them in the circuit, a passing siding, and a spur (4 tracks) this was a mess to automate.  I still have the DPDT and prefer it.   It also has a microswitch to turn on the sound system for the digital recorder for the horns and bells.

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Now, I have the Dalee circuit running as 'slow' as it will go.  I think it should be even slower, the Walthers was and it also had the 'fade' feature.  But it still looks a lot better than the old monster bulb unit.

« Last Edit: May 05, 2017, 03:10:44 PM by randgust »

pdx1955

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Re: Best N Scale Crossing Protection?
« Reply #36 on: May 05, 2017, 04:29:07 PM »
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No, just a simple on-off flasher.  If you want fading, you need to pay the big bucks.

Ngineering ( http://www.ngineering.com/makes fading type alternating flasher circuits in addition to modern style and a lot of other neat lighting effects. I bought a pair of these plus one of their digital sound modules for a simple toggle controlled crossing. The cost is quite inexpensive ($14-15) and they have DC and DCC compatible versions that can drive up to 2-pairs of LED's.

I have a second double-track crossing where I need to have automatic operation. It is more complicated with a crossover immediately to one side within the detection zone , so I plan to use Azatrak's crossing infrared detection board along with turnout aux contacts so the appropriate sensors get triggered.
Peter

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coosvalley

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Re: Best N Scale Crossing Protection?
« Reply #37 on: May 05, 2017, 04:31:18 PM »
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Fact.  But, to me, it was worth it.  I used the "Grade Crossing Pro" by Logic Rail Technologies and NJ International signals.


However, @Ed Kapuscinski, next time, I won't be lazy and will add gates.  I'd definitely use these brands' products again.

Hope this helps,
DFF

The video is great, are they operated by a detector or by a switch?
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davefoxx

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Re: Best N Scale Crossing Protection?
« Reply #38 on: May 05, 2017, 06:22:49 PM »
+1
The video is great, are they operated by a detector or by a switch?

Photocell sensors, which worked well for me.  However, you can't have night ops sessions with these, because the signals activate in the dark!  You have to use IR sensors, if you want night ops.

DFF

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Point353

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Re: Best N Scale Crossing Protection?
« Reply #39 on: May 05, 2017, 07:53:31 PM »
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No, just a simple on-off flasher.  If you want fading, you need to pay the big bucks.
Wouldn't it be possible to add the fade-out effect rather economically by adding a rectifier diode between the output of the driving circuit and the LED, followed by a low value of capacitor to ground? It's effectively a peak detector with a very short hold time.
The value of the current limiting resistor for the LED might need to be adjusted to compensate for the additional voltage drop from the extra diode.

peteski

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Re: Best N Scale Crossing Protection?
« Reply #40 on: May 05, 2017, 08:01:36 PM »
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Wouldn't it be possible to add the fade-out effect rather economically by adding a rectifier diode between the output of the driving circuit and the LED, followed by a low value of capacitor to ground? It's effectively a peak detector with a very short hold time.
The value of the current limiting resistor for the LED might need to be adjusted to compensate for the additional voltage drop from the extra diode.

Of course there are ways to add analog circuitry to a simple square-wave oscillator to fade the LED in and out, but with OldEastRR's electronic phobia I didn't want to to get any more complicated than a simple flasher.

Actually the N-gineering flasher recommended recently is probably an ideal solution for OldeastRR. The price is right and the hook up couldn't be easier.  :)
--- Peteski de Snarkski

John

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Re: Best N Scale Crossing Protection?
« Reply #41 on: May 06, 2017, 07:47:30 AM »
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Don't forget Rob Paisley ..  everything you are talking about

http://home.cogeco.ca/~rpaisley4/Flashers.html

He also has circuit boards available ...

« Last Edit: May 06, 2017, 07:49:48 AM by John »

conrail98

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Re: Best N Scale Crossing Protection?
« Reply #42 on: May 06, 2017, 08:47:18 AM »
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You know you could do this all through photocells and an Arduino to control servos to move the gates and the LED lights,

Phil

Nato

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Re: Best N Scale Crossing Protection?
« Reply #43 on: May 12, 2017, 02:55:58 PM »
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               :|Three photos of the detailed grade crossing at Belefonte on my N layout. The gates and flashers are not functional at the present time. Details include sensors and electronic boxes. The details are by Tomix. The railroad station is a modified NMRA Headquarters Building. Photos by Robert 3985 (Bob Gilmore). Nate Goodman (Nato). Salt Lake, Utah.  :|







« Last Edit: May 12, 2017, 02:59:59 PM by Nato »

mmagliaro

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Re: Best N Scale Crossing Protection?
« Reply #44 on: May 12, 2017, 03:48:48 PM »
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Depending on the LED circuit, yes, it's pretty easy to make them fade on and off.
I have a Berkshire Junction flasher/detector thing  (why didn't you make your own circuit, Max???)
I did it purely brute force.   I just slapped a big electrolytic across the LED leads.  Works like a charm.  When an LED comes on, the cap has to charge with it, so it induces a "ramp up".  Then an LED goes off, the cap discharges into the LED so it "ramps down" instead of going off instantly.