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As my layout progressed over the last few months, I can now have as many as four trains in motion at the same time, plus shunting in the yard.
My problem came about when something happens i.e. derailing, or more often, the signalman allowing a train to approach a station which is already occupied.
I used to 'emergency stop' by switching off power to the controller. I found the emergency stop on the handset was fine if you had the offending train on screen, but not otherwise, as the total emergency stop is done by applying pressure for 2-3 seconds. By then, it was 'BANG'.
I also wanted to move my controller out of the way, so I looked for an alternative.

After looking in my 'what have I got' box, I came across a switch I had bought from Maplins 'in case I need it'.

It is a toggle switch, but the difference is that it has a 12v LED fitted into the shaft. As I have said previously, I use a lot of these LED's and they work fine across the track power. They have built in resistors.

When I fitted this into the track power circuit, the LED lights up when the switch is on and power is supplied from the controller.

When operating, I found the following bonuses:

1. If a train caused a short circuit, the LED on the switch would go out, so it gets flipped quick. It also gives you an indication that you actually have power from the controller.

2. If I tripped the power via the controller, all trains would stop, but when power was restored, nothing happened. I had to select each train in turn, and reset its speed control and off it would go. I then had to dial up all the other trains in turn. This gave a problem of all trains being out of order.
With the new switch, all trains restart together when power is restored, and resume at their previous speed. The only reselection required is engines with lights have to be switched back on. But this can be done on the run.

3. Another point is that power is supplied to the handset at all times, so if a train derails, I can switch off power to stop all, then select the offending train on the handset, reset its power to zero, switch power back on, and all the other trains are free to go whilst I nip along and sort out the offender. This can also be applied if I see two trains in the same area about to collide.

I have drawn a circuit diagram for the switch, as it does not have one. It is a normal on/off toggle switch, but it has three connections to enable power to the LED.

The meter at the top, is a DCC volt/amps from Tonys trains in the states.



AlanB

p.s removing the power this way when using any Hornby decoder (red spot included) will cause the engine to shoot off uncontrollably when power is reapplied.
Other decoders I have are fine, I mainly use Lenz silvers.
 

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I'm not familiar with the MRC command station but it seems like a good idea if there is no other way of getting a rapid emergency stop. Lenz systems have an instant emergency stop on the handset but also an 'E' connection, which I have linked to five a push buttons round the layout. Murphy says the spectacular derailment will always happen when the handset is unplugged or out of reach!

Presume you've checked the current rating of your switch, if it is too low it may become unreliable after a while.
 

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QUOTE Presume you've checked the current rating of your switch, if it is too low it may become unreliable after a while.

The rating is 20A at 12v.

Maplin do four colours of LED's in the handle - Red, Yellow, Blue, and Green.

Handy if you wish to break the layout into different circuits.

They cost £2.29 each.

AlanB

 

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QUOTE (alanb @ 14 Jul 2008, 13:49) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>The rating is 20A at 12v.

Maplin do four colours of LED's in the handle - Red, Yellow, Blue, and Green.

Handy if you wish to break the layout into different circuits.

They cost £2.29 each.

AlanB

Looks eminently suitable. I have something similar (though not illuminated) and I found it was a good idea to feed the accessory modules off a separate pair of bus wires which come off the same command station but are not switched. Then if a train runs into a wrongly-set point, cutting the track power allows the short to be reset and the point changed.
 
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