How to wire a cross-over on a T-Trak module

  1. SteamDonkey74
    Has anyone wired a cross-over on a T-Trak module?

    I have a triple-length module I am building with track at the alternate spacing. I have two #4 Unitrack turnouts serving as my cross-over between the lines. I am a bit confused as to why T-Trak decided that the outer rails were to be the blue-wire rails and not, say, something more conventional such as the "front rails."

    I am very tempted to "cheat" here and wire it with all the rails on the front side effectively wired as "blue" wires but I know that will make my module non-standard. I am considering trying to make the section of track leading up the switch a reversing section and then using a PSX-AR reverser. I will be using primarily DCC at home.

    I can't be the first person who has come upon this peculiarity in the T-Trak standards. What have other people done?
  2. BoxcabE50
    I did also note that of the blue wires and have never seen any explanation.


    Boxcab E50
  3. SteamDonkey74
    I suppose the blue wire to the outside thing would be handy if you put a loop on the end, but I'd rather handle a reversing loop with a reversing module, not EVERY cross-over within the layout.

    I am thinking of installing a toggle to reverse the polarity of my modules from blue-outside to effectively blue front while at home, but swapping them to the standard in case I go to a show. That still doesn't solve how I would use a cross-over at a show.
  4. SteamDonkey74
    Here's an idea. I don't know whether it is a good idea, but I am hoping someone can tell me...

    "W" stands for wires connected to the white connector, per T-Trak standards. "B" stands for wires connected to the blue connector, also per T-Trak standards. The "B*" and "W*" are so noted because they are powering the section that runs through the reverser, in this case a PSX-AR. The dashed line encircles that reversing section. The "long" gap is long enough to not be bridged electrically by metal wheels. I envision cutting out a bit of a kerf near the end of that piece of track and then replacing the removed rail, a couple millimeters' worth, with some non-conducting bit of track, probably some sort of plastic. That is followed closely by insulated track joiners.

    Anyway, my question is to whether this is a workable approach or overly-complicated or what. I look forward to your suggestions.

  5. SteamDonkey74
    Has this never been attempted? It seems that T-Trak is doomed to be rather limited for any actual operations if cross-overs cannot be resolved owing to this blue-to-the-outside business.
  6. billmtx
    I have a Kato double crossover track that I was considering to incorparate into a T-Trak Module. So, I am following your discussion here with interest. I like the idea where you can switch the inside Track from Blue on the outside to the inside with a flick of a switch. Question... if you have DCC control of both the Outside and Inside Track.... does this problem still exist??
  7. SteamDonkey74
    DCC control will still need to have the polarity respected. My illustration here shows what the normal polarity of each of those lines is.

    I am going to try what I have here in the diagram, although I may use a Digitrax AR-1 instead of a PSX-AR. No problem with the latter product at all, but the AR-1 is a little cheaper and I don't think I am going to need all the extra features that the PSX-AR offers.

    We'll see how this goes.
  8. SteamDonkey74
    Well, I wired this up as indicated in the drawing except with a Digitrax AR-1 instead of a PSX-AR and it works just fine. The PSX-AR would have worked, too, but the day I went to the LHS they just had the AR-1 units in stock so I got that one.

    To get what I call the "long gap" above I have a track saw cut about 3/4" from the insulated joint on that piece. You need a gap long enough that a wheelset cannot bridge it (if you use metal wheels) but short enough that your locomotive doesn't get lost on it. Also, if your gap is too small using Kato track the piece of rail will not stay put so your gap will come and go.

    This is working out just fine, even with a tiny little locomotive like the Bachmann 44-tonner as my test.
  9. NPRRfan
    Great news, I have been thinking about this issue since I started planning my module for my new scratch built mill. Do these reversers work for dc also? or would we need to come up with a different idea? Thanks for your t-trak pioneering!

  10. billmtx
    Congrats to SteamDonkey... for the Accomplishment and for having shared that with members of Trainboard

    Bill :thumbs_up:
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