Tuesday, October 18, 2016

St. Clair Sub Signal Install - Part 5 (Phase 4 - Advanced Interlocking)

October is here and with it brings our next phase of the St. Clair Sub ABS signal system install. This post we will walk through Advanced Interlocking at the Grays Lake West Siding Switch (WSS). Using the concepts we have learned through our previous posts we will connect three signals with the TS2 circuit and a Blue Point Turnout DPDT switch.

Readers: The signals and signal systems that I will be reviewing and installing in my Layout How To series were provided at no cost by Azatrax LLC. However the selection, installation, operation, and opinion of these signals and systems are 100% my own. 

Eastbound signal at West Siding Switch (WSS) Grays Lake installed

Kicking off this phase like we have with all in the past, it is important to first read the directions, lay out your materials, and have all of your tools. This install requires the same tools from Part 4 - Phase 3 which has been consistent since our first block. Following Azatrax's instructions both of the sensors for the dual head signal need to be located prior to the switch. 


Courtesy Azatrax LLC.

 Marking the location where sensors will be mounted prior to drilling holes

Looking up from lower deck - holes for signal and TS2 sensors. 

 Installing IR LEDs first between the concrete ties

 Installing IR Receivers next through tracks. Note the angle of the receivers and LEDs is key

The end of the LEDs and Receivers can be gently bent a little to get the correct angle. 

IR sensors installed (location noted by fingers) ready to connect to TS2 and test 

 Wires from sensors fed through foam board. 

Until the final connections are complete I use blue painters tape to hold the wires in place keeping all the wires neat and organized. 

 Wires connected to TS2 - testing with multiple types of cars and locomotives.

Before moving beyond this step - ensure the sensors detect properly. Refer to Azatrax directions for troubleshooting, adjust sensors as necessary, test until it is right.


Once your sensors install is complete and operating properly, we can turn our attention to adding signal to the TS2. For this block we will install a dual head BLMA (right hand) signal and two BLMA block signals (one right hand and one left hand).

 Signals pre-wired and staged at Bay Yard ready to install

Wiring signals before installing on the layout helps tremendously with time savings and frustration factor. I used 22 ga. wire for the signals in this project and probably could have gone a tad smaller but this size seemed very durable.

 Threading the wires through the foam board. Use painters tape to band the different signal heads together prior to install. 

 Instead of trying to take pictures of connecting the wires I figured it was best to provide step by step guides on how to connect all three signals and make them operate as planned. 

Step 1 l is identical to how we have installed signals on all of the previous blocks with a east and west signal.

 Sensors, Eastbound, and Westbound signals connected to TS2 board.
Step 2 we dive into the advanced interlocking. By connecting signals #2 and lower head of signal #1 to the DPDT we are able to drive the signal aspect to either be red or green depending on how we have thrown the switch which drives the Blue Point turnout controller. The DPDT could easily be a Tortoise type machine. 

 View of Blue Point Turnout Controller with wires soldered to connections below.
 Step 3 uses the concepts from basic interlocking in our last post using the 1000 ohm resistor to cause the TS2 to sense a detection. This happens when the switch is thrown the DPDT routes the power from #6 to #4 where resistor causing a detection. Once these connections are complete spend some time operating the signals and running trains through them before connecting with TS2 #5 at Upper Huron. 

 Using switch knob on fascia to move throw switch and test DPDT / signal operation 

View of TS2 connections between TS2 #5 and TS2 #6. Using plastic clips to hold TS2 power cables and (LE to LW) and (C to C) wires.

Overall view of West Siding Switch at Grays Lake


The following diagram below describes signal operations at the west siding switch using the TS2 and DPDT switch. It is important to remember that this is not a CTC control point, the signals do not convey authority to enter main track. 

- Upper head of eastbound and westbound mainline signals are ABS intermediate signals
            These signals indicate block occupancy only or if switch is thrown against mainline

- Lower head of eastbound and westbound signal siding signal display switch position only
            Red - signal lined normal for mainline
            Green  - signal lined reverse for siding

Direct Traffic Control blocks issued via dispatcher provide authority to enter to operate over main track. 

Proceed indication with next two blocks clear / Switch lined normal

 Approach indication with next block at Gerhard occupied  / Switch lined normal

Stop indication due to caboose just traversing into block / Switch lined normal 

 Switch thrown against mainline within in block / Switch lined reverse to siding

Westbound signals - Left signal for siding (switch indication) / Right signal indicating block occupancy 

With the westbound siding switch and signals operating, I am now wiring up the eastbound siding switch and signals. These signals will operate via TS2 Circuit #7 prior to the mainline going into east staging. Beyond the detection circuit at the east switch one more TS2 #8 will be installed just ahead of the east staging yard throat. This final circuit will provide proper advanced block occupancy indications whether operating east or west. 

I hope you have enjoyed this install post. For me it did stretch my wiring abilities where I learned how to tackle more complex wiring. Breaking it down into smaller steps really helped bring it all together. While it is not a CTC control point, the ability for the TS2 to drive four signal heads at a siding can allow you to have an effective signal system with ABS as the basis. With our DFW Interchange session coming up next weekend, the system will add another layer or railroading for the operators. Please feel to ask questions about the install, one of my goals with this series is showing that you can add this type of setup to your railroad. 


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