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I wanted the train track that ran around the inside of my home.
I've thought about that and it's just not do-able. However....... what about this idea?

A long straight away section of wall. Obviously a little shelf jutting out from the wall to hold the track. But, the train would need to run in both directions......

So....is there some kind of computer, program, dcc thing that would change the polarity of the track to reverse the engine? If I had to put loco's on both ends that would be ok........ would it be possible then? Program the tail end loco to just be "dead" and along for the ride......when the train reaches the end of the track, the head loco could switch to being "dead" and the rear loco could switch to be active and then the rear loco takes the train all the way back down the track. More or less like a trolly?? Just back and forth.

Surely I can make that work, right? Also, I know this is HO and I LOVE HO but for the purposes of the above project I'm thinking N or even Z scale. How can I make that work?
 

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Um... just put the locomotive in reverse.
Ok.....yes, I understand what you're saying and you are correct. It would be that simple. But keep in mind please I am a complete novice AND.....I would like it if ran back and forth automatically. Preferably on a timer. (Say..every hour it runs the length of the track. Like a coo coo train.) Hands off operation.
 

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Are you talking about a loop program? So when you turn it on you just watch it go back & forth??
Or do you mean when you are controlling it .. you can shut one off & have one rolling??
I think dc & dcc can do this. With dc you would have to gear match your locos & throw you switch to the other direction.
Dcc I think you would be able to control the locos speeds easier. Still would have to switch it in direction....

A automatic program I am not aware of?? Don’t know if any.


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Ok.....yes, I understand what you're saying and you are correct. It would be that simple. But keep in mind please I am a complete novice AND.....I would like it if ran back and forth automatically. Preferably on a timer. (Say..every hour it runs the length of the track. Like a coo coo train.) Hands off operation.
Maybe look into the programs they use for Christmas lights??


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There is a company called Bazooka Electronics in Canada that makes an Auto-Reverse unit that will automatically reverse the locomotive. You can set it for different time intervals. That one only works for DC locomotives.
There are similar products made for DCC equipment. Someone will probably know a brand.
On DC, you have to keep that auto reverse track separate from your other tracks, like if you had a switching layout. Not sure about DCC.
Tge Auto Rev unit comes with a schematic and is very easy to set up.
 

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You cannot have a 'dead' locomotive dragged along by another 'live' locomotive.
Most 'dead' locos, the wheels will not turn/rotate.

But, you CAN have one loco on each end, both live, running the train back and forth.
Bullet trains come to mind, and intercity Multiple Unit trains.

FYI, the train running from Philadelphia PA to Atlantic CIty NJ is a 'push-pull' setup.
The GP40 pushes passenger cars to Atlantic city, and then pulls them back to Philadelphia.
It can do this because the end passenger car has an engineers control station (seat and litle room) which is connected by control wire to the locomotive.
 

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You cannot have a 'dead' locomotive dragged along by another 'live' locomotive.
Most 'dead' locos, the wheels will not turn/rotate.

But, you CAN have one loco on each end, both live, running the train back and forth.
Bullet trains come to mind, and intercity Multiple Unit trains.

FYI, the train running from Philadelphia PA to Atlantic CIty NJ is a 'push-pull' setup.
The GP40 pushes passenger cars to Atlantic city, and then pulls them back to Philadelphia.
It can do this because the end passenger car has an engineers control station (seat and litle room) which is connected by control wire to the locomotive.
The only way to run a loco on each end on a DC reverse line is to have one loco be a dummy. And the gapped track section on the side the dummy was running to would need to be a little longer than the train.
 

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If you have say a single track, a single DCC locomotive that you want to go back and forth -- you could do this with DCC++ and a little easy programming. The DCC++ commands are just in a text form... since the base of the DCC++ is an arduino you could just modify it code directly to send these "forward/reverse" commands as is desired -- you'd have to experiment on timing and just build that in. a little better would be something to detect the engine at either end and generate an interrupt in the arduino -- and it would send the "reverse" command each time in the interrupt handler.

another less getting into the muck of the arduino might be to combine it with an rapsberry pi "host" -- a simple script would send the commands on the serial line to the DCC++ unit. (for example i connect a PC to my DCC++ and then run JRMI. so the PI is just a variation on the theme.)

The sensor detection is a big ? for me though.

If any above sounds like "hmm wow, that's way out of anything i've ever done..." then you might stick to one of the other off the shelf approaches.

Still with DCC++ and a bit either hand timing or some kind of sensors -- and some programming, you could do all sort of crazy things. [like say 2 engines, or...]
 

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So that model may only be for reverse loops. Not sure if it works on a reverse line. That’s why I’m hoping folks familiar with DCC can clarify.
 

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Bachmann Auto Reverser
So, Zodiac, if you are serious about this ... There are at least 50 different ways to accomplish this. The layout selection, design, installation are much more critical than the eventual control method. Personally I would try DC and an Arduino. (y)
 

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The Swiss, Germans, and Austrians all use control cars at the end of a train for just this purpose. The auto reverser sounds like a good idea though I don't know how it works with DCC.

There are also European trains called railcars that are semi-permanently coupled together that run back and forth point to point. There is always a control cab at either end.

 

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And Zodiac, ( to reference the thread title), no need to be sorry for changing your mind on your layout. Yes, around the room layouts are doable but always difficult. Shelf layouts are more common and much easier to build.
We all go through this process in designing our layouts. Better to not even go down that road rather than starting something then ripping it out later.
 

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I like the idea of the automatic point-to-point. These trolley systems, if I understand correctly, typically include a dead zone (stop zone) and diode slowdown zones at either end. With the longer double-headed train, this is a difficulty. That's the reason I recommend a control system with more logic capability. But yes! it's doable, and a very interesting control problem. :D :D :D So, I say, get the train up and running, then decide how to reverse it!
Maybe don't nail everything down just yet 🤣
 

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"Auto reverser" in DCC terms usually means that as the Loco crosses to an isolated section, if the track phase is wrong (causing a short circuit) the device detects this short and automatically swaps the phase of the track under the loco. The Locomotive continues on in the same direction as the detection and swap occurs very fast. These are used in reverse loops to correct the phase miss-match, not reverse the locomotive. These devices send no DCC commands to the locomotive.
 
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