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Route Control

Ray H

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I am pondering over options for simplified control of a double track fed terminus.


At present the DC layout is wired for cab control with DPDT centre off toggle switches for each section - one pole of the switch powers the track, the second pole powers an LED to indicate which controller is feeding the track. Separately, the (SEEP fitted Peco) points are operated from momentary contact, centre off toggle switches.


LEDs, and both types of switches are mounted on (which can also be read as crammed into) a schematic diagram on the control panel. There are some other small complications which make the control panel a little less than user friendly but I don't wish to complicate things here too much!


Some operators are having difficulty mastering the panel so I'm trying to devise a scheme that will make their lives easier.


I was contemplating fitting coloured sleeves to the "levers" of the toggle switches to make the differences between points and section switches easier to spot. Then someone suggested changing to either push buttons or using an electric pencil for the points. In the meantime I read up on diode matrixes and decided that this might form the basis of the simplified user interface for the control panel. However, I am mystified in one respect.


All the diode matrix schematics that I've seen relate to a single track connection to a fan of tracks. I haven't seen a plan where the fan is fed from two tracks, as would happen with a multi-platformed terminus at the end of a double track line (where crossovers are required between the running lines to allow between each platform and either running line). I have considered using a kind of entry/exit arrangement whereby a push button (or similar) is located on each running line and one on each platform track. Both buttons would need to be operated simultaneously before a route could be set.


What I can't get to grips with is the possibility that having set one route and assigned it to one of the (cab) controllers and started to execute the relevant train movement, it would then be possible to affect that route by setting up a second move with the intention that it is assigned to the other (cab) controller. Mechanically this could be prevented by interlocking. I presume that it can't be prevented electrically and we'd need to understand/accept that it was possible (and would need to be avoided).


In an attempt to simplify operation further I was contemplating incorporating automatic section switching within the (diode matrix based) route setting. The layout design is such that it is (almost) possible to link a latching relay to each point such that the relevant adjacent section(s) are switched by latching relays which are driven in parallel with the relevant coil of the point's motor (or in parallel with the operation of the route setting push buttons). The track power feed for all the sections on the route would come from the (cab) controller currently switched on to the running line section where the "Entry" (or "Exit", as appropriate) push button is selected.


I recognise that this would be a bit of a pig to wire up, but I can live with that. What I'm struggling with is to understand how to (automatically) turn track power off to sections once a move is completed without resetting the complete route to something that won't be affected if the controller is operated again i.e. setting the route to an empty platform. I see the main problem area arising with subsequent short (shunt) moves that only require part of an earlier set route, leaving the rest of that earlier route set (and, thus, powered).


I have a feeling that I might be attempting to bite off more than I can chew or am I missing the blindingly obvious?


Observations/suggestions would be appreciated.


Many thanks.

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