Tapiola Parish Model Railway Club

Projects: Signals ...

Photos on this page are courtesy Opa, Antti, Olli and Pekka


    Olli has made some semaphores. In the upper image is a four-light home signal and a two-light distant signal in the same mast. The home signal is displaying a "Stop"-signal.

    In the lower image is the same signal mast, but displaying a "Proceed 35 km/h"-signal. The distant signal should be displaying a "Except Proceed 35 km/h" or "Except Stop"-signal, but anybody knows why it isn't...

    Signalling logic, slow motion light signals

    The Stations have colour light starter signals operating in slow motion. The small station and the other end of large station (there are no names yet!) have all analogue slow motion setup.

    The small staton has limited CMOS logic "interlocking": one can get only one starter at each end green at the same time and only one home signal may be green at one time. The light change slowly and like the real thing the red light dimms out and only after it has goen out completely will the green light brighten up. The home signals are not yet fitted as we have not yet resolved the best way to fit them to modules (the home signal could be at any module).

    Signal mastheads (for DIY-signals):

    The other end of the big station has the same features, but they are microcontroller driven. A PIC16F84 processor operates three starters, home signal and distant home according to points settings. All the signal's LEDs will go on and off slowly. This is done with PWM incorporated within the PIC. The signals are operated with three position toggle: in mid-position all are red, if turned outward the correct starter will show green and if turned inward the home signal will show green. the correct starter is picked from turnout position feedback. There is a provision for a single train detector to sense the area between starters and home (the pointwork and part of the line) and in case a train is found there it will automatically put all signals to red. the control switch must be reset in order to get next green.

    The assembler code was coded using finnish variable names and all comments are in finnish. I'm trying to get the code "translated" into english, but this may take some time. The beginnings are found below:

    Orignal code, comments and variable names in finnish
    partly translated to english to aid following the code

    Signal masts are to be fitted to modules close to stations or at locations where block signalling is needed. The layout is provided with "sockets" or "foundations" for signals:

    Due to modular design the signal mast foundations are needed at every module. Hence the foundations have been designed to be simple to make and install (just a 5 cm length of 10mm outer dia. 8 mm inner dia. water pipe.

    Serial transmission of data between control panel and layout

    We have also played with the idea of getting less wires between control panel and layout. We have looked into serial transmission. Below is a link to our proto module schematic.

    A time base module is to be connected between layout modules and control panel modules. It will generate the timing pulses and cross connect the data in and data out lines and count the clock pulses needed between strobe pulses:

    The 8 bit module. The unused pins of RJ-connector are used for power transmission (filtered 5 volts). The pins are chosen so that each signal becomes twisted with one of the power feeders and as the power consumpton of modules is low this is hoped to reduce transmission errors.

    This setup has not been tested in "real life" and still a project under development! [Actually project cancelled]

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