Do any track power boosters have a phase control input?


Don Weigt
 

I've connected up new EasyDCC boosters with auto reversing to my layout. Previously, I used a toggle switch on the panel to control the phasing of the power in the reversing loop.

Auto reversing works reliably, but I've notice some of the metal wheels on old Athearn passenger cars can cause arc after arc as they roll across the gaps. It seems likely only shorts to one side of the booster output triggers auto reversing. I don't like the idea of having this arcing occur over and over. I don't want to use a power relay to switch the phase of the power for the reversing sections. I'd really like a way to control the output phase of the auto reverse boosters.

Does anyone make a booster with a low level, such as 5V logic level, input that controls it's output track power phase?
--
Don Weigt
Connecticut


Blair
 

Don

In the early days of DCC, I had problems with phasing on my Digitrax layout because I was sloppy with Telco vs Data cables.  Since the only way to 'rephase' a Digitrax booster is to swap the two Railsync signals in the Loconet cable, I'd suggest that an easy solution for you would be to use a 5V DPDT relay to swap the wires that 'inform' the booster as to phase.  Not quite a 'logic level' solution, but certainly 5V compatible.   The relay could be driven by whatever is powering the turnout, though that might argue for a 12V relay if you're using a Tortoise, for example.

Unfortunately, using a relay may introduce enough of a power dropout that sound locos will reset, but it's a start.

Blair

On 2021-09-27 9:20, Don Weigt wrote:
I've connected up new EasyDCC boosters with auto reversing to my layout. Previously, I used a toggle switch on the panel to control the phasing of the power in the reversing loop.

Auto reversing works reliably, but I've notice some of the metal wheels on old Athearn passenger cars can cause arc after arc as they roll across the gaps. It seems likely only shorts to one side of the booster output triggers auto reversing. I don't like the idea of having this arcing occur over and over. I don't want to use a power relay to switch the phase of the power for the reversing sections. I'd really like a way to control the output phase of the auto reverse boosters.

Does anyone make a booster with a low level, such as 5V logic level, input that controls it's output track power phase?
--
Don Weigt
Connecticut


Blair
 

Don,

And yes, I realize you're not working with a Digitrax system, but the concept is the same.  However the booster 'learns' what phase of signal to generate, you'll have  to swap the signals.

Blair

On 2021-09-27 10:22, Blair wrote:

Don

In the early days of DCC, I had problems with phasing on my Digitrax layout because I was sloppy with Telco vs Data cables.  Since the only way to 'rephase' a Digitrax booster is to swap the two Railsync signals in the Loconet cable, I'd suggest that an easy solution for you would be to use a 5V DPDT relay to swap the wires that 'inform' the booster as to phase.  Not quite a 'logic level' solution, but certainly 5V compatible.   The relay could be driven by whatever is powering the turnout, though that might argue for a 12V relay if you're using a Tortoise, for example.

Unfortunately, using a relay may introduce enough of a power dropout that sound locos will reset, but it's a start.

Blair

On 2021-09-27 9:20, Don Weigt wrote:
I've connected up new EasyDCC boosters with auto reversing to my layout. Previously, I used a toggle switch on the panel to control the phasing of the power in the reversing loop.

Auto reversing works reliably, but I've notice some of the metal wheels on old Athearn passenger cars can cause arc after arc as they roll across the gaps. It seems likely only shorts to one side of the booster output triggers auto reversing. I don't like the idea of having this arcing occur over and over. I don't want to use a power relay to switch the phase of the power for the reversing sections. I'd really like a way to control the output phase of the auto reverse boosters.

Does anyone make a booster with a low level, such as 5V logic level, input that controls it's output track power phase?
--
Don Weigt
Connecticut
__._,_._,_


Jerry Michels
 

Lighted rolling stock, passenger cars and other cars that need track power are a scourge to smooth operations. I am a curmudgeon, but when I weigh the need for lighted equipment on a layout that operates 99.9% of the time in daylight, I choose operations over the small gain given by lighted equipment. I can also do without stockcars that moo. Jerry Michels


Don Weigt
 

Thanks, Blair. That seems like a solution. I'll have to reread the EasyDCC booster instructions. I think it says not to swap the two DCC signal pins to the booster. I don't know why that would be, if they are truly alike except 180 degrees out of phase!


--
Don Weigt
Connecticut


Don Weigt
 

Jerry, I agree lighting isn't that important, although I'd like to have it.
Two other concerns:
*  My old Athearn passenger cars all came with wheelsets having one metal wheel and axle, and one plastic wheel. I'd rather not change them, even if the cars aren't lighted.
*  If cars and cabooses need resistor wheelsets to be detected for proper signalling, then they need metal wheels. So, that part of operations (not pertaining to realistic train movements) requires the metal wheels.

It annoys me that the new and improved DCC with autoreverse has faults that my manually operated layout does not. I suspect part of the problem is that the short detection that trips autoreversing is only sensing the short on one of the booster's two rail driver outputs. And, I'd rather use a logic level signal to tell the booster to change phanse than have to switch the drive signals or track power externally to minimize the frequency of arcing events.

Don

--
Don Weigt
Connecticut


Blair
 

Don

This goes back to my question midsummer, "does anyone know of a solid state DPDT reverser that can be controlled externally?", because I have a large section(but not large enough to be served by a dedicated AR booster) that needs to reverse, or not, based on the state of a double crossover at it's entrance.  The only solution that I've arrived at so far, is the statement from a DCC Specialties person (Larry), who indicated that a track command can be used to tell a PSX-AR to reverse, via JMRI.  Not quite what I wanted to hear, but it's nice to know.  As a result, I still am planning on doing my section reversal using a DPDT relay wired in parallel with one of the tortoises controlling the turnouts in that crossover. 

I'm watching your thread with interest to see if anyone has any other viable alternatives, as I don't intend to purchase a separate AR booster for each of my staging yards, and the idea of a software solution commanding the PSX-AR via the track signal leaves me less than impressed, as one missed DCC packet leaves my section out of sync with the turnouts.

For what it's worth, as I understand it, not all autoreversers are dependent on the performance of only one rail, but you may have to ask around alot to see who's products are single-short-based, and who's products monitor both rails.

Blair

On 2021-09-28 12:38, Don Weigt wrote:
Jerry, I agree lighting isn't that important, although I'd like to have it.
Two other concerns:
*  My old Athearn passenger cars all came with wheelsets having one metal wheel and axle, and one plastic wheel. I'd rather not change them, even if the cars aren't lighted.
*  If cars and cabooses need resistor wheelsets to be detected for proper signalling, then they need metal wheels. So, that part of operations (not pertaining to realistic train movements) requires the metal wheels.

It annoys me that the new and improved DCC with autoreverse has faults that my manually operated layout does not. I suspect part of the problem is that the short detection that trips autoreversing is only sensing the short on one of the booster's two rail driver outputs. And, I'd rather use a logic level signal to tell the booster to change phanse than have to switch the drive signals or track power externally to minimize the frequency of arcing events.

Don

--
Don Weigt
Connecticut