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709 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is a query on what you do /want to do/ your thoughts, on detection for RXR crossings on YOUR layout?????
I am asking as I want to detect my locomotive to turn on and off a flasher circuit board for my railroad crossing lights and I want it to work just like real crossing do.
I looked at magnets and reed switches, detecting amp draw on isolated track sections, and phototransistor circuits.
I believe I am leaning toward a phototransistor circuit do to the fact I only have to drill holes for the phototransistors.
I already have the crossing signals and a circuit board for the alternating LED's.
Hood Bumper Automotive tire Motor vehicle Automotive exterior

So I just need the on and off trigger to make it all work.
I am open to suggestions as long as you remember I am on a shoestring budget.
This has to be done on the cheap or as cost effective as possible.
I do solder and have made my own timer circuits, car alarms, etc., in the past.
I would actually make my own prototype circuit board but I really don't have specific components. I do have a relay and some resistors but most of what I have is just some junk parts from here and there.

I don't have any bread board either. So, the investment in time and money to make a board might be as much as buying something RFI (Ready For Installation).
Looking on E bay, I did find this detection circuit ....BI-DIRECTIONAL HO SCALE MODEL TRAIN DETECTOR KIT WITH RELAY

The circuit uses the ambient light on the layout to detect the presence of a train when it moves over the detection points....

So what do you think on the price of $16 for each circuit board???
Is there a way, I am not thinking of that is much cheaper to make this all work?
Thanks for all your thoughtful replys in advance.

709 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Can you..... Have a photo sensor on both sides of the crossing. Let either photo sensor tell the circuit to start flashing, and then keep flashing until both sensors are clear again?
That is the plan...
Here is how mine work. The track block extends past the crossing in both directions. I have single and two track grade crossings, just add another Dallee board in parallel if the tracks are in separate power districts. Simple to install and no adjustments needed.
Gosh, that Dallee Trak-DT - Basic Current Detector is a expensive option! I would also have to isolate a feed track to sense current on that is a option and I thank you for sharing.
Take a look at my post "Crossing Signals" on the "My Layout" forum. It's simple and inexpensive.
I was also looking at your suggestion, on you thread "Crossing Signals" and I can get "10" OSOYOO Obstacle Avoidance Sensor module
on Amazon for $10!!!!! WOW...I originally thought one cost $10!!! I am a prime member so shipping is free! That is $1 each or $2 to sense one crossing!!!!
The only problem I see is camoflaging the sensors. I like the way you camoflaged your sensors.
I just got 6 silver metal wayside signal control cabinets I could hide some of the sensors in.....
Train Building Wood freight car Rolling stock

I remember seeing your post on the signals so thanks for refreshing my memory!
Looks like this board is a very cost effective option and has just become my first choice.

.....I found Azatrax IR model railroad train detectors, infrared proximity sensors met my requirements. Yes somewhat pricey but it worked right out the box. I created a drill jig so photocell and IR LED would optimally shine on bottom of cars. Room LED lamps do not bother sensors and system works from full light to darkness.....Been on line for 5 years with no hiccups.
Here is the gates and flashers for my train approaching crossing.....
......Here is a view of circuit board....Have questions ask away.
I also looked at this unit and it was my original first choice before I found other options. It is good to know room lighting isn't a issue as that IS a consideration, for me. I run a 24 day night clock and at times my layout is dark and several buildings have LED lighting....
Window Automotive lighting Building City Entertainment

Good to know your controller is going now for 5 years...that is a plus. Your board is a option I am considering since I do not have to hide the board as the sensor are separate.
Many thanks for sharing your videos!
I am also thinking about making crossing gate and using inexpensive servos to raise and lower the gates...what are you using to control the position of your road gates?

709 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I would (also) suggest either an IR beam sensor or maybe motion sensor.
The + with good old fashioned IR beamers is they work even in night ops....
I saw a circuit board using these sensors, angled as you suggested however the circuit boards were quite pricy.
If you have any links to a cost effective option, I would be interested to see.

709 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I am seeing some really costly options for automated RXR really shouldn't be that expensive to get something that contributes so little to the running of trains on a layout. Talking with my local train store guys, I get the inside scoop of the industry that comprises our hobby and it isn't pretty. So many buyout, discontinues, monopolies, supply chain issues, parts issues and well, here we are...$40+ to have ONE piece mealed, road crossing automated signal on a layout...unbelieveable.
This thread has me comparitive shopping and seeing "the least piecemeal route" to accomplish this inexpensively.

I did believe shortwrench has come up with the best option for a cost effective solution, now, not so sure as it is more piecemeal than Conductor Kev's suggestion.
The issue of ambient light hasn't been addressed using either members solution however....
So with the LED signal poles (I already bought) $16 each X2. 2 OSOYOO module sensor boards $2, resistor and caps $4 =$38.
Very close to the price Conductor Kev is willing to pay ($36+$3s&h) for crossing signals complete set, ready to install.

Adding a $2 servo motor to control scratchbuilt crossing gates is an option.

I am loving all the ideas, so keep the comments and suggestions coming.

709 Posts
Discussion Starter · #23 ·
might be helpful to know what type of lighting: incandescent, florescent, LED
I have all LED lighting in my layout and in ALL ceiling lighting in the layout lounge.
I suppose I understand ambient lighting will not be much of an issue so it isn't a huge concern, but cost is!
Like Conductorkev, I will have at least 5 train crossings on roadways so I am looking at loosing the cost of at least one new DCC with sound locomotive to have these crossings automated!
I now have manual signed crossing with no's a comprimise for my purse's pocketbook.
The more I spend on automated crossings, the less I have for other tangibles, and the more time spent doing odd jobs to pay for my train layout addiction.
Well, that is how I think of it....
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