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DC wiring Block control or conventional isolating sections





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#1 Junctionmad

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 13:02

HI , I was wondering if many people used the concept of " block switching" for DC wiring, which seem more common in the US.  This where the layout is divided into electrical blocks and each block ( and its corresponding trackwork ) and then switch to an appropriate controller.

 

The advantages are the removal of the issues of synchronising controllers when running trains from one track controlled by a controller to another, as is common with the more conventional " isolating sections" , form of wiring we then to do on this side of the pond 



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#2 Pete the Elaner

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 13:20

Yes, definitely, for the reason you have stated. I believe many others do too. I would hesitate to suggest that most do it this way, but probably most DC layouts which you may find at an exhibition are likely to be connected like this.

It is also known as cab control.


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#3 DavidCBroad

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 21:10

HI , I was wondering if many people used the concept of " block switching" for DC wiring, which seem more common in the US.  This where the layout is divided into electrical blocks and each block ( and its corresponding trackwork ) and then switch to an appropriate controller.

 

The advantages are the removal of the issues of synchronising controllers when running trains from one track controlled by a controller to another, as is common with the more conventional " isolating sections" , form of wiring we then to do on this side of the pond 

I have used blocks for permanent layouts for years, effectively "Cab Control" so you can drive a train anywhere on the layout from one controller, Using rotary 2 pole 6 way or 3 pole 4 way switches from Maplin any section can be fed from any  one of 4 controllers and as soon as the loco is clear the section can be switched to another controller.  

 

You can also switch everything off one bit at a time when faults arise, which is a very good reason for using sections  even if you use DCC.  Without this facility fault finding can literally take hours and involve snipping wires to disconnect bus bars etc, Nightmare,

 

One controller permanently feeding one section of tracks and further controllers feeding other tracks is rather inflexible, works ok for starter layouts with set track but getting locos from one controller to another can cause issues. 


Edited by DavidCBroad, 09 September 2017 - 00:30 .

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#4 BR60103

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Posted 09 September 2017 - 03:50

I think that cab control would be necessary for any layout running more than one loco at a time that is more complicated than 2 loops with no connections.


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#5 Chris M

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Posted 09 September 2017 - 06:56

It's about horses for courses. Work out how you want to run your layout and build an appropriate control system / panel. Cab control has been pretty much normal in the uk since the 1960s. In recent years there has been much discussion about dcc but maybe there needs to be more discussion regarding good old analogue control for those who haven't been around as long as me.

My simplest control panel is shown here

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#6 Chris M

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Posted 09 September 2017 - 07:01

For my Little Aller Junction layout I wanted simple control of nine tracks. The push buttons select the route through the Junction and the lever switches select the controller.

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#7 Junctionmad

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Posted 09 September 2017 - 08:38

Thanks, the reason I ask is that well known web pages
Ike Brian lamberts, seem to ignore cab control, so I was wondering about its popularity.

Edited by Junctionmad, 09 September 2017 - 08:39 .

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#8 ejstubbs

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Posted 09 September 2017 - 22:08

The first layout I ever built, back in the 1970s, used cab control.  (It used an automotive battery charger to provide the DC supply, and two Triang P.42 controllers to drive the trains.)  IIRC I had six power sections including the fiddle yard.  I can't remember where I read about it but I know it made immediate sense to me.  To my mind, anything that requires you to 'synchronise' controllers as a train moves around the layout is a pretty ropey old bodge.

 

There's nothing wrong with an isolating section (ie a section powered via an on-off switch from the power section leading in to it) to allow a loco to be 'parked' eg at the end of a terminus platform road when another loco needs to enter the same section.  A classic example would be the isolating sections on the ends of the platform roads in the original Minories.

 

I believe that cab control is much more widely used for DC than the OP seems to imagine.


Edited by ejstubbs, 11 September 2017 - 06:32 .

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#9 Junctionmad

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 22:00

The reason I ask , is Im doing a " electrics and model railway " series of practical  talks at my club.  I was wondering whether to include cab control for DC as to date none of the club layouts have used it , they have always been the isolating sections and controller fixed to a particular track section , usually up and down lines for example , with all the issues of controlling locos making crossovers, i.e. synchronising each controller etc 


Edited by Junctionmad, 10 September 2017 - 22:01 .


#10 Pete the Elaner

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 22:20

The reason I ask , is Im doing a " electrics and model railway " series of practical  talks at my club.  I was wondering whether to include cab control for DC as to date none of the club layouts have used it , they have always been the isolating sections and controller fixed to a particular track section , usually up and down lines for example , with all the issues of controlling locos making crossovers, i.e. synchronising each controller etc 

Surely being in a club is about learning from each other & sharing knowledge? maybe none of the layouts have used it because nobody has introduced the idea there so the other modellers are just using tried & trusted methods?

I am sure that if you can describe this in a practical talk well enough for people to understand, you will have 1 or more thank you for passing on the knowledge.

 

So yes, it is definitely worth including.


Edited by Pete the Elaner, 10 September 2017 - 22:20 .

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#11 Pete the Elaner

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 22:25

The first layout I ever built, back in the 1970s, used cab control.  (It used an automotive battery charger to provide the DC supply, and two Triang P.42 controllers to drive the trains.)  IIRC I had six power sections including the fiddle yard.  I can't remember where I read about it but I know it made immediate sense to me.  To my mind, anything that requires you to 'synchronise' controllers as a train moves around the layout is a pretty ropey old bodge.

"Ropey old bodge". I like that description.

I can't remember if I learned this from a club (probably did actually) but you only need a reasonable knowledge of electrics to work it out anyway.



#12 Junctionmad

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 22:35

Surely being in a club is about learning from each other & sharing knowledge? maybe none of the layouts have used it because nobody has introduced the idea there so the other modellers are just using tried & trusted methods?

I am sure that if you can describe this in a practical talk well enough for people to understand, you will have 1 or more thank you for passing on the knowledge.

 

So yes, it is definitely worth including.

 

thanks, Ill include it as I thinks its an interesting step forward for those in the club that remain DC 



#13 kevinlms

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 00:04

The reason I ask , is Im doing a " electrics and model railway " series of practical  talks at my club.  I was wondering whether to include cab control for DC as to date none of the club layouts have used it , they have always been the isolating sections and controller fixed to a particular track section , usually up and down lines for example , with all the issues of controlling locos making crossovers, i.e. synchronising each controller etc 

I have seen extreme examples where a club, went to the trouble of building a layout for exhibition use only. It was constructed in such a way, that there were 3 main circuits. Each circuit was self contained, in that there were no crossovers whatsoever. There were 3 passing loops in each circuit, so would be run and wired, exactly as you described.

So they avoided the crossover issue & IMO, made a very boring layout.



#14 BR60103

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 02:09

Way back when I was a little lad who hadn't seen a soldering iron (the 50s) Model Railroader produced a series on Route Cab Control.  This was a major consumer of war surplus relays.

I think the idea was to turn a rotary switch to follow (or precede) the train around the layout, connecting to successive sections and following the points settings.

(I never had the whole series and my copies were stored for ages in a damp basement.)



#15 Chris M

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 06:39

Our new club layout will be using "cab control". There will be three control panels, one for each of the main tracks and one for the branch. Rotary switches will be built in to allow crossovers between tracks. The plan for the control panels is shown here. In reality I don't expect there will be much shunting during exhibitions as most folk want to see trains moving. It will make for interesting operation on club running nights.

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Edited by Chris M, 11 September 2017 - 06:54 .


#16 AndyID

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 15:31

IIRC there was a good explanation of Cab Control in the original Peco Publication "Wiring The Layout". Unfortunately I gave my copy away about fifty years ago.

I think it also covered Common Return quite well which is complementary to Cab Control.

#17 Junctionmad

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 16:37

IIRC there was a good explanation of Cab Control in the original Peco Publication "Wiring The Layout". Unfortunately I gave my copy away about fifty years ago.

I think it also covered Common Return quite well which is complementary to Cab Control.


I'm not at all a fan of common return

#18 Junctionmad

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 16:40

I have seen extreme examples where a club, went to the trouble of building a layout for exhibition use only. It was constructed in such a way, that there were 3 main circuits. Each circuit was self contained, in that there were no crossovers whatsoever. There were 3 passing loops in each circuit, so would be run and wired, exactly as you described.
So they avoided the crossover issue & IMO, made a very boring layout.


Agreed and the majority of my club are such " exhibition " layouts that are essentially concentric circles , allows for easy exhibition running but very boring and unprotypicsl

The ones in build now are more complex and in all likehood will be dcc.

#19 AndyID

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 17:32

I'm not at all a fan of common return


Why not? The electrons don't seem to mind at all.
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#20 kevinlms

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 23:19

IIRC there was a good explanation of Cab Control in the original Peco Publication "Wiring The Layout". Unfortunately I gave my copy away about fifty years ago.

I think it also covered Common Return quite well which is complementary to Cab Control.

It keeps coming around again, it must have been issued free with Railway Modeller, many times in 50 years!

 

It used to be the 'Shows You How series No. 4  Now it seems to be No 5. "Wiring the Layout Part 2 - for the more advanced'.

 

Available as a digital download, it seems.

 

https://www.track-sh...Peco-SYH-5.html


Edited by kevinlms, 11 September 2017 - 23:21 .

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#21 kevinlms

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 23:21

I'm not at all a fan of common return

Definitely not a good idea IF a layout might be changed to DCC sometime in the future.



#22 Ron Solly

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 01:21

Definitely not a good idea IF a layout might be changed to DCC sometime in the future.

Interesting... I use common return on my DCC layout with many other power supplies without any problems.   I use separate power supplies for each different voltage  requirements - currently DCC power plus 7 others.



#23 Junctionmad

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 08:34

Interesting... I use common return on my DCC layout with many other power supplies without any problems.   I use separate power supplies for each different voltage  requirements - currently DCC power plus 7 others.

 

In reality , with a single booster, all DCC layouts are common return ( and of course common feed ) 


Edited by Junctionmad, 12 September 2017 - 08:34 .

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#24 Silver Sidelines

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 10:55

DC Control and 'Blocks' is one of the simplest and more flexible ways of operating a model railway. I use a hybrid version, described here in my Blog, where one Controller can supply the whole layout (about 50 ft end to end) but in reality I use different controllers to take over at specific geographic locations.  I have also standardised on single pole double throw centre off switches on control panels to select Cabs.

 

Reading the thread so far reveals a certain amount of misinformation, DC control has lots to offer - even sound.

 

Regards

 

Ray



#25 DavidCBroad

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 00:13

IIRC there was a good explanation of Cab Control in the original Peco Publication "Wiring The Layout". Unfortunately I gave my copy away about fifty years ago.

I think it also covered Common Return quite well which is complementary to Cab Control.

Common return can be complimentary to Cab Control but is not a necessity.  I did use  common return but have since abandoned it in favour of feeding both sides of sections from two pole switches as this means my individual isolators to allow moves such as attaching a pilot loco can go in either rail which simplifies wiring in some situations.  Sectioning the layout is just as important with DCC unless you want to cut and resolder lots of dropper wires every time you have a fault.









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