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Author Topic: Starter Signals  (Read 1832 times)

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Offline redturk

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Starter Signals
« on: May 08, 2017, 12:22:41 pm »
Hi all.    :helpneededsign:

I would appreciate if anyone could give help/advice.  I am relatively new n gauge modelling but have reached the stage where I want to add working signals to my layout.  I am aiming to start by installing some starter signals on the exit from my terminus station.  The era is BR blue (mid seventies) and I want to be able to program and hence operate the signals via my Prodigy Advance dcc controller.  It doesn't really matter whether they are light controlled or semaphore provided they look good, are efficient, and fit in with the era. I have spare ports from my dcc concepts decoders which can be used if required and the decoders also have available LED connections.

The problem is - ideally I need two double head starters which would be installed at the platform end exit points and I can't seem to find any.  The layout of the station is basically two platforms with two main central lines running between them with single lines running outside each platform.  I tried attaching a jpg but it is not an acceptable file.  If anyone can tell me how to do this I will attach a photo.  Even my local model shop (Rails of Sheffield) say they don't know of any manufacturer that does them.  Does any one know where I can get some from - or - I would welcome any suggestions for an alternative set up which would be suitable.

Thanks in anticipation.

Kev



Online njee20

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Re: Starter Signals
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2017, 12:39:06 pm »
Berko spring to mind, but imo their signals are a little crude. CR Signals are far better, and do something appropriate, albeit more expensive. They do 3 aspect too. They'll do custom stuff, you may want to state you want platform mounted (if you do).

Offline redturk

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Re: Starter Signals
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2017, 12:48:24 pm »
Thanks for the quick reply njee20

I will follow the links.  Handy to know that they do the bespoke stuff.

Offline Only Me

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Re: Starter Signals
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2017, 12:50:40 pm »
The guys at CR signals will make them exactly to your specifications.... drop them an email definitely!.



Offline redturk

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Re: Starter Signals
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2017, 01:00:20 pm »
Just checked the link and noticed that they are based in Rotherham (a 20 minute ride for me).  Looks like a might have to pay a visit some time this week.

Unfortunately I'm not an electrical/electronics expert.  The one in the link(which looks appropriate for what I need) states LED and 12V with resistors.  Will I be able to operate them dcc??

Online njee20

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Re: Starter Signals
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2017, 01:41:10 pm »
You'll need appropriate accessory decoders for any signal you buy. Train-Tech OO gauge ones come in DCC, but I'm not aware of any (decent) N gauge ones that do.

I'd consider whether you actually want DCC though, or do you want to use something like the Heathcote modules (which CR Signals sell) which can automate the signals entirely, either independently or by joining a few signals together. I'd suggest that's a far better solution.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2017, 05:01:47 pm by njee20 »

Offline Steven B

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Re: Starter Signals
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2017, 04:16:59 pm »
Any accessory decoder that's capable of a stead-state output (compared to a pulsed output needed to throw a Peco type solenoid point motor) will be able to power LEDs for use in signals. Most are configurable and can do either. I suspect your DCC Concepts decoders will work but can't confirm without knowing what type they are.

It's normal for each signal aspect (colour) to be assigned a different accessory address. E.g. platform 1, red = 101; Platform 2, green = 102; platform 2, red = 201; Platform 2, green = 202.

This does however involve sending two commands - one to turn the red off, the other to turn the green on for example. The other alternative is a bit of electronics such that you get alternate green/red depending on the state of a single accessory output.

Working out which method works best depends on how you want to use the signals.

There's no such thing as a scale specific decoder - just ones in different sizes and ratings.

Heathcote units will work well but run automatically based on train movements. If the track ahead is clear then they'll show green for example. This may not be what you want, i.e. set a signal to green when you're ready for your train to leave the station.

Happy modelling.

Steven B.

Online edwin_m

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Re: Starter Signals
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2017, 05:48:43 pm »
DCC for signals is probably only worth doing if you want to drive them off a computer, or possibly if you have one of the sophisticated command stations with a touch screen and lots of built in functionality.  The modules to drive them are quite expensive unless you kit-build (which as you appear to be a relative novice with electronics you probably won't want to) and setting them from a normal throttle involves multiple button presses and remembering a function number for each one.  Consider a traditional system with wires and switches! 

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Re: Starter Signals
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2017, 07:11:33 pm »
Particularly for 2 aspect signals where you can use DPST (?) switches to control them. I agree that DCC is overkill.

Offline redturk

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Re: Starter Signals
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2017, 04:08:13 pm »
 :thankyousign:
Thanks to all for the help and advice.  Just to give an update:-

I went to see Paul at CR signals and he was very helpful.  After having a chat with him I decided to go down the DCC route.  It may be a long way down the line (no pun intended), but I may decide to go computer driven in the future.

He made me two 2 aspect double headed signals to the specification I required and they were ready within 24 hours.  I have installed them with a decoder which I also purchased from Paul and they are working well and look really good.  Each signal has its own accessory address i.e. 101,102,103,104.  All I need to do is enter the accessory code and I can alternate between red and green by toggling between  1 or 2 on my controller(one command changes the colour).  The only issue is that the signals don't come on at all when I initially power up.  Obviously they should be on permanently so I have to input each code and then press 2 to set them on red.  This is not much of a problem while I only have the four signals but could become an issue as I expand.

All things taken into account I am really happy with them and I would certainly recommend CR.  They were easy to fit and programming for dcc was simple.  As  someone alluded to in one of the replies they are not cheap (109 in total, 38 each for the signals and 33 for the decoder which will operate four 2 aspect signals) but it is worth it if you want quality.


Offline BR Signalman

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Re: Starter Signals
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2018, 07:27:52 pm »
Agree with you totally about CR Signals. I needed some one-offs (Limit of Shunt boards) and Paul could not have been more helpful.

 

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