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Discussion Starter #1
I got hold of a few LGB 12360 3-way switches and am trying to find a way to control them correctly.

First I must appologize if I do not use the normal switch terms... /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/sad.gif  I still can't keep them arranged in my head.  So please bear with me and my layman descriptions. :)

A bit of info on the arrangement of the switch (if you haven't played with one of these...) There are 2 sets of points, with the right-side switch positioned just ahead of the left-side points.   When entering the switch, the right-side switch machine controls points that allow travel either to the right or to continue thru the switch.  The left side position does not matter for positioning this set of points.  The left-side switch is positioned such that any time it is used, the right-side switch must be in the "straight-thru" position to access it regardless of which output you want.  So, if the left "output" is desired, the right-side points have to be moved to the straight-thru position.

LGB supplies a diode so that when the left-side points are switched to the left "output", the right-side points can be positioned correctly (activated) if they are in the right "output" position.  This might work if you are using a momentary switch that only connects one side of the switch, like with a 51750.  But I'm using the LGB MTS system and a 55025 Switch Decoder.  
I tried to use the diode as described, but the outputs on a 55025 both appear to be switched, without the one common side like with a 51750. So nothing happens.  I tried using 2 diodes, and it  "~sorta" works, sometimes. But it has not been reliable.   Even tried "commoning" the white terminals with the diode on the orange terminals as shown in the literature for the 51750, but you can hear the switch pulsing rather than moving consistently.
I also tried using a 12070 EPL Supplementary Switch, but just get both switches working at the same time. The idea was to move the 2nd switch only when the 1st switch was in the correct position, but after it works once, both switches always act together since they are still connected after they are activated (it appears to be a "lagging connection, made before broken).  I guess rectifed AC is throwing me for a loop.

Anyone have any suggestions for getting these switches to work without error?  Short version is: need the right-side switch to activate as straight-thru only when the left-side switch is selecting left output.  

Any and all suggestions accepted!  Please! 

Thanks, Greg
 

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Greg, I have but one LGB 12360 but I'm not using the LGB MTS system nor am I familiar with it. The 51750 has all the white dot connections internally wired together; definitely a common and I use them as such.

If the two white dot connections on the 3-way are connected together and the diode properly connected between the orange dot connections, it should function properly with either system. But if the MTS cannot operate two switch motors simultaneously, as in a crossover, that could cause faulty operation. Have you tried hooking two motors, preferably on two separate switches (to isolate whether the 3-way switch motors are hanging up or perhaps faulty) to the MTS to check whether the MTS can power two at a time?

I had trouble using the old 12030 supplementary switches. They took a lot of oomph; the newer 12070 take far less effort to throw. I learned from wiring old IBM plug boards that you couldn't pass a pulse that picked up a relay through it's normally open operating points to pick up a second relay. Half the pulse gets lost and there's not enough power left to pick up a second relay.

Good luck!

Art
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Art,

Thanks for the info! I'm glad to see that the arrangement really does work for somebody!

When your switch operates the 2 motors together thru the diode, do the motors still provide that positive "thunk" throw with no extra movement or hesitation, or do they get little pulses as they throw? I can actually hear 2-3 pulses when I activate the switches in that arrangement with thr 55025. I'm wondering if the 55025 unit doesn't pass as much rectified current thru its contacts as the 51750 does since the 55025 is controlled electronically. I can power 2 switches at the same time with the 55025, but with the diode in the mix, it just seems to wonk up the whole thing. I just don't understand why, since the switch would be seeing rectified AC anyway, all the diode would be doing would be dropping a little bit of voltage. It works MOST of the time, but when it doesn't, the switch is sitting with the points in limbo, basically insuring a derailment.

I guess the best solution for the MTS way of things is to just set up a route that addresses each switch in turn. I'm just an old hardware guy and would rather find a hardware solution than a software one. :)

Thanks again Art!

Greg
 

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Greg, I still have a temporary layout up from Xmas. I don't have the 3-way in the layout but I have two switches controlled by one toggle on the 51750. Both switch motor go clunck just as a single switch motor would.

In this temporary setup, the switch motors are controlled by a 51750 but are also hooked up to track contacts, LGB 17100; these have diodes, like the 12360, attached to move the switch motors one way or the other so the motors have diodes in the circuit. The switches are at the ends of a stretch of single track with return loops. The engines pass over a contact while traversing the loop and that causes the switch to throw the other way and the supplementary contacts (LGB 17070) to reverse the DC feed to the stretch of single track. If the magnets under the locos are not strong enough, the switches fail to complete the throw, but there is no stuttering or humming noises associated with the failures. If a car or engine is sitting on the switch, then you can hear the 60 cycle pulses trying to move the points over.

If time permits, I'll get out the 12360 and give it a try; I just bought it not too long ago.

You might want to post your question in the Beginners or Public forum. This forum got started because of the argument over which is better, battery or track power, a topic almost as bad as religion or politics!

Art
 

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Greg, I got out the 3-way and hooked it up to two (2) toggles on a 51750.

I ran a wire from the white contact on one of the switch motors to the white contact on the other motor to a white contact on the controller.

Ran two wires from the orange contacts on the motors to two orange contacts on the controller.

The left hand motor worked okay no matter whether the right hand motor was straight ahead or to the right; it would shove the right hand switch point to the straight ahead portion when the points moved to the right to steer trains to the left.

But the right hand motor could not push the left hand points over (to the left, the straight ahead postion) plus its own points when trying to go right. Lots of humming and little action. Connecting a diode, banded end to the left hand motor hot lead and the plain end to the right hand motor hot lead allowed the right hand motor to move it's points to the left by sending current to the left hand motor via the diode. If you tie the commons together, it should not matter if both leads to the motors are switched. And should it matter, an additional diode with its banded end on the right motor white contact and the plain end on the left motor contact could perhaps be another 'work around'. I really don't see why it would be needed.

Note that when the orange contact on a motor is plus compared to the white, the tie bar will move left. If the orange contact is minus compared to the white, the tie bar moves to the right regardless of whether its a left hand switch or a right hand switch . This is slightly different from the way the prototype panels worked. 'Normal' was always straight ahead and when a lever was in 'Reverse' the slow or curved route was taken. LGB Right Hand switches are opposite to Left Hand switches when considering 'normal' and 'reversed'.

Hope this helps.

Art
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Art,

Thanks for going through all that setup! I do really appreciate your giving it a try and reporting back. I think what all this is telling me is that the 55025 MTS switch decoder acts similar to the 51750, but must take a little bit away from the simplicity of the mechanical nature of the 51750 in going electronic.

I do have a few of the newer Massoth Switch decoders, so maybe I'll try it out with one of those to see if my 55025 is typical of MTS/DCC control in this particular instance or is just on its last legs.

Again Art, THANKS for the setup and help you've provided on this!

Greg
 

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Greg, you're welcome. I have about a 2 year old catalog of LGB and looked at the 55025. I doubt that all the white contacts are bonded together as on the 51750 and LGBoA online is of no help. So a second diode might work better than jumpering the white contacts together. Isolation is always a good thing once you get into fancy electronics. Any 1 amp diode in the 50 volt range would work; don't know how or what you're trying to accomplish but setting one motor and then the second might be you're only option.

Good luck.

Art
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Art,

Just trying to accomplish the same functionality as needed if I didn't have MTS. If I was to select the left output and not have all the "diode magic", I end up with points in limbo and a derailment. I just thought it would be easier than this. :) I've tried it with the second diode on the white contacts and it gets even more unreliable. At least with your help I think I've got it narrowed down to the 55025 as the ROOT OF ALL EVIL, er, ah, the cause of the problem. Oh, don't worry about me... the group therapy is REALLY helping! Wooo-shaaa... Wooo-shaaa... :-0
 

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Before I switched...no pun intended, to battery power I used 2 Mag 15's on my layout.

I had 2 3 way LGB switches, in the area of my station to conserve space. I had them hooked up to the momentary switch box that LGB sells, I do not remember what # the orange box was only that is was the momentary switch box.

First I connected the wires to the switches on the opposite ends.

Then I connected the wires leading from the 2 switches, at the opposite ends....together...orange to orange..white to white before connecting them to the approperate toggle on the orange switch box...(if they did not switch BOTH in the same direction I wanted I just reversed the wires at the switch)

I did NOT use any diodes or anything else to control the switching function and they worked flawlessly untill I went to battery power 3-4 years later.

Electricity was provided by the approperiate accessory connections on the Bridge Werks Mag 15 amp.

And they never hung up and always functioned properly, never stopping mid way....the ONLY time I ever had a problem is when ther was a piece of chicken grit caught in the movable parts.

Bubba
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Madstang,

I think you're talking about controlling the 2 3-way switches in parallel, right? one track into 3 tracks at the station (call them track1, track2, and track3) then back into one track afterwards and making sure if you select track1 on one side of the station, you've got it selected on the other side of the station? Did I read your post right? If so, that's not quite what I was trying to accomplish with the diodes. It was the 2 switch machines on a single 3-way unit that I wanted to position correctly. Since there are 2 machines and 3 possible positions, for at least one of those positions, both machines will need to be moved. I was trying to make that happen sending one signal and not have it happen when moving the machines the opposite way (which would result in only being able to select 2 positions rather than 3).
For what (I think) you are describing, I am currently accomplishing that using routes that I can set up in my controller (55015). For each track selection, track1, track2, or track3, I set up a route that addresses each of the 4 machines in turn. Works really well. But if I address an individual machine, I end up in the situation described above.

It's also possible that for your setup that you might have been pushing through enough power to move the other set of points without having to activate the machine for them. Kinda the "Tim Taylor" solution to my issue! MORE POWER!!!! Cool! I wish I could try that but I think the 55025 (MTS Switch Decoder) is what is limiting me here. It might even be flaky and not providing full (although wimpy when put next to your scenario!) output.

Thanks for your input though! I have a similar 3-track station layout for these switches (again, if I read your post correctly) and I haven't thought of wiring each of the switches together for the track-switch pairing.

Greg
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Art,

Just got finished changing out the LGB 55025 Switch decoder and replacing it with the Massoth units I have. With the diode installed on the orange terminals, solid "clunk" and changing of both points when asked. Whew! So it was the 55025 unit after all. It just acts wierd when a bit extra is asked of it.

For future reference:
PITA (Pain In The A**) #1: Massoth Switch Decoders only control 3 switches per decoder vs. LGB's 4switches controlled. Not a big deal unless...
PITA #2: Programming the Massoth Decoders with the LGB MTS-PC software is spotty at best. I'm sure it's mostly the fault of the LGB software, but Massoth has been bragging that "We are what's insideLGB; The soul of LGB for the last 35 years". And they consider the 8156001 DiMAX Motor Switch Decoder to be a direct (or in their words "Smart") replacement for the LGB 55025 unit. This would have probably been the one instance where using the 55015 handheld remote/programmer would have been a better choice than the PC Programming Module and software.
PITA #3: The terminal strip in the Massoth Switch decoder has very small holes for inserting wire. It can hold one 18 gauge wire (just barely), but getting two 22 gauge wires in there tried my patience. And I could not insert one 22 gauge wire and the solid wire from the LGB supplied diode into it. I had to wire in the diodes at the switch machines.

OK... off my soap-box! I found out what the issue was and deep down (where I can hide it well) I'm happy!

I can't thank you enough for working with me and trying things out!

Greg
 

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I guess I still do not understand as only the switch I was trying to control moved...never did anyone of the other switch positions move.

So I guess your statement of 2 positons moving , is a little confusing, as I never had that happen..I watched everytime when I switched and I don't remember seing more then one point move....so I you are right I don't understand what you are saying.

The Mag 15 I used on the layout was set up for, if memory serves me correct 12 volt DC, 12 Volt AC..if memory serves me correct...but I am old and things get a little hazy;).

Anyway I never had a problem with my 3 ways...only at the beginning of every season , I had to brush out the chicken grit that always collected in the moving parts...and I never used the switch controllers.

Bubba 
 

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Greg; happy to hear you have everything working.  Have no experience with MTS but in my world of trouble shooting, checking little things one at a time, adding things and rechecking, and finally with the step by step approach everything is working; works for me.

Was going to suggest trying one switch motor with 2 diodes, one on each terminal, with the MTS 55025.  Of course with the diodes in, it can flip that motor ONLY one way so it would have to be manually moved back before trying a second time.  My newer LGB catalog says the 55025 is capable of powering two switch motors simultaneouly, so it SHOULD have enough oomph to handle a 3-way. 

But since you have it working with the Massoth, further work along that line is not need.  By the way, noticed that you are also in Austin.  Have you checked with the G Gauge club in town?

Art
 

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Discussion Starter #14
G-gauge club? Here in Austin? I did not know that! Any info on contact, website, meeting place, etc? I'd know I'm not alone in my G-gauge habit (there's at least one more person around here buying LGB stuff. I can never find any anymore!)

Greg
 

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Try this link.  One of the members lived or lives 2 blocks from me, and the club shows up at model events in the area here, and had displays at shows held at the Palmer Auditorium before it got remodeled.  The 'ho' in the link does refer to the 3.5mm guys.

http://www.hotgg.org/

But I'm more of a lone wolf, not a joiner.

Art
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for the info Art!

Their club layout is right down the road from me. Looks like an organization I'd like to join. I'll look into it!

Greg
 

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Greg, you're welcome.  Clubs can provide opportunities that would not exist otherwise.  At my age, I'm just lucky to be here; I'm happy sort of arm chairing and window shopping.  I hope you've been to Kings Hobbies.  That and Hobby Town (closer  for me but supplies only, no G) are about the only game in town.

Have fun.

Art
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Art,

Yup, been to King's many times. If you go to some of their "clinics" on various hobby-related skills, I've probably seen you before! There is one more place local (more or less) that has G-gauge stuff. Collectible Caboose up in Cedar Park. 601 E Whitestone Blvd Cedar Park, TX 78613. Appropriately in the Railyard Shopping Center, between 183 and 183A. 1/2 the shop is collectibles and the other 1/2 is trains.

The club was having one of their Fun Runs (running the trains at the club layout) last Saturday, so I showed up and talked with some of the members. Pretty decent group, from what I heard so far. Joined up on the spot! :) Then I had to go home and tear down the Christmas layout that was still up in the family room. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/sad.gif Well... it IS April now...

Enjoy! and hope to meet up with you one day.

Greg
 

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Greg, sorry to hear about the tear down. Must be April's fault; I started Sunday evening with mine (up since Xmas) but since my wife is on a business trip, it's going slowly.

Hope you enjoy the club and their activities. Think I've seen the Cedar Park place mentioned somewhere. Rode the Austin Steam Train from there wa-a-a-y back when they actually still had a steam engine pulling the train.

73

Art
 
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