Railroad switch

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by robismod, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. robismod

    Thread Starter Member

    Sep 22, 2015
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    (Typically projects like this are almost never “in the budget” but when they are, they’re usually overdone and WAY expensive...I’m curious if I could achieve the objective more simply and cheaply...)

    In a railroad yard, we have several switches (turnouts) along a “lead” track (or ladder) that rout cars/trains off the common lead/ladder into other tracks. We have yellow and green reflector panels mounted on a rotating shaft that turn in relation to which direction the switch is lined for (green for straight Lead movements, and yellow to signify turning into another track.)
    I’d like to use a small solar panel and either two small bulbs or a two-color bulb to indicate the alignment. The switch has two rails that end in “points” that move from one side or the other to line the train/cars so I guess it would trigger off that.
    Ideas?
     
  2. eetech00

    Active Member

    Jun 8, 2013
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    Hi

    Is this a model railroad or the real thing?

    eT
     
  3. robismod

    Thread Starter Member

    Sep 22, 2015
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    It’s the real deal...
     
  4. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
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    Just need some "switch" (microswitch/limit switch,etc...) that toggles between the 2 lights..

    I would think this is very common already in railyards.
    This should be off the shelf items in whatever railroad equipment catalog there is..
     
  5. eetech00

    Active Member

    Jun 8, 2013
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    Whenever designing circuits for railroads,consider failure modes.

    How does the current system protect against unsafe failures?
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
  6. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
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    In most cases nothing can be done without the blessing of the respective R.R. jurisdiction of the country you are operating in.
    Here in N.A. it is the AAR regulations.
    https://www.aar.org/
    Max.
     
  7. Bernard

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 7, 2008
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    Here is my straw man: Operates only at night ?, Magnet attached to turning shaft, 2 reed switches mounted in 1/2 sleeve referenced to ground which also holds solar panel, battery,
    charge control, day-night switch, & maybe the 1 W LED's. Might try different LEDs viewed from expected distance to see which is most effective. Then select proper battery, then solar panel.
     
    robismod likes this.
  8. kubeek

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 20, 2005
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    The first thing to consider are the risks - mainly what happens when the light shows the opposite color. Do people die or get injured?
    From that you decide how reliable that functionality has to be and design accordingly.
     
  9. BobTPH

    Active Member

    Jun 5, 2013
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    The current system that you describe has mechanical linkage between the track setting and the indicator. This is most likely required for reliability. An electronic one would have so many more possuble failure modes, and likely be unsafe.
     
  10. robismod

    Thread Starter Member

    Sep 22, 2015
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    THIS is more of what I was seeking...thanks
     
  11. robismod

    Thread Starter Member

    Sep 22, 2015
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    Yes. This is a very small remote location and no where near the level of most others...and this little project would benefit ME during my work periods...affects no one else. IF a suitable, small setup could be feasible, I’d be able to remove it when finished with my shift...
     
  12. robismod

    Thread Starter Member

    Sep 22, 2015
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    NO, no one dies or gets injured. The present “targets” are a visual indication to help determine the routing, and by rule, not to be used as whole answer in determining one’s route. Instead, eyes have to see the “points” of the switch and how they are lined in deciding whether lined for not for the intended route.
    This is a very small, remote location, only used by one train crew. Only freight cars, short tracks, no public near...
     
  13. robismod

    Thread Starter Member

    Sep 22, 2015
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    Yes, there are already systems out there that do this. Let me say again—very expensive and in this case, very much overkill. There are no in between systems. And the company rarely spends money on these kinds of things unless it becomes a big deal of sorts. (And that’s a whole other story)
    I was just curious on how just a simple indicator could be fabbed to benefit the one crew that works there. This location is small, only freight cars, no public of any sorts, and in a remote location in the boonies.
    C1988DEC-9BD6-4DA6-8EA7-58A47790F454.jpeg Here is an example
     
  14. robismod

    Thread Starter Member

    Sep 22, 2015
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    FA689E06-5D6B-4418-801D-05CEC0D078DE.jpeg 13BB0954-2345-417A-AEB3-0108FEE83168.jpeg A little more
     
  15. eetech00

    Active Member

    Jun 8, 2013
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    if you have to visually verify the position of the points, why have an indicator at all?

    Also, it only take one freight car to kill someone..:(
     
  16. Alec_t

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 17, 2013
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    Since you already have the coloured targets to indicate the turnout setting, and have to verify the setting by eye, what advantage would the lights offer?
     
  17. spinnaker

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 29, 2009
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    You better check with your local DOT or whoever governs railroads in your state. Something tells me they would not sit to kindly with homemade systems involving signaling. And you are opening yourself up for a lawsuit in the event your homemade system is even remotely related to the cause of an accident.
     
  18. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
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    Post #6!
    Max.
     
  19. Bernard

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 7, 2008
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    What country ?
    Are lights needed 24 hrs. ?
    Might mount an extension above the flags, slip-fit collar to hold every thing except for magnet; a drag link positions collar. LEDs mounted on either extension or collar.
     
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  20. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    Lots of things are allowed in private switchyards and manufacturing sites that are not allowed on tracks that interact with roadways or tracks that are accessible to the general public. If no tanker cars or hazardous materials, even less regulation.
     
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