Automatic Reversing loops possible?

ClassiCut Nov 23, 2015

  1. ClassiCut

    ClassiCut TrainBoard Member

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    I am wanting to make another layout with a focus on getting the most height and elevation as possible. I am wondering if it is possible to do this layout in N scale? I would love to do this mountain and the two reversing loops on the two different level. I have the AR-1s to do the power reversing but my question is this....... Does it require manual switch throwing every time the train is in the loop? My wife likes to let the train run and forgets to keep an eye on it so is automatic switches something that is feasible?


     
  2. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Any layout can be duplicated in another scale, so that part is easy.

    Which AR-1 do you have? The Digitrax DCC one, or the Circuitron Analog AR-1? Two different autoreversing products, one DCC the other DC, with the same name. Neither can directly control a switch, but there are ways to use a spring-loaded turnout to allow for automated running (both companies have documents which describe). For DCC operations, the PSX-AR can activate a switch, so that once the auto-reverse circuit reverses the polarity, the switch can change positions.
     
  3. ClassiCut

    ClassiCut TrainBoard Member

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    Sorry...... I didn't realize that there were two of the same named items. Yes I have the Digitrax one for DCC use.
     
  4. ClassiCut

    ClassiCut TrainBoard Member

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    So..... Is the PSX-AR more functional than the AR-1 or something that is needed to do a separate switch function? From the description it seems like just a reversing loop controller.
     
  5. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    The PSX has more functionality. But the AR1 does its job well. You could do set up a block detection within the reverse loop, to activate the switch, too.
     
  6. ClassiCut

    ClassiCut TrainBoard Member

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    Please explain....... I am still learning and don't understand what block detection is.
     
  7. Adrian Wintle

    Adrian Wintle TrainBoard Member

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    If you are using Kato Unitrack and their #4 switches you can set up the reversing loop so that the train exits over the switch set against it (i.e. you never change the switch position). The Kato switch blades have light enough springing that you can do this with no problems and you can set the frog to be dead to prevent shorts.

    I have done this sort of loop with a Digitrax AR-1.

    Adrian
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2015
    EsK and ClassiCut like this.
  8. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Start simply by following the directions that came with the DCC AR-1. Cut in your isolation gaps as per instructions, solder in the wire leads to the unit and you will be good to go. In the Big Bear Valley there are two layouts with automated reversing circuits. All the owners did was install as per instructions and they've been running trains ever since. You don't need to understand how it works, it just works.

    Now on my layout I run Analog DC and DCC. I use DPDT (Double Pole Double Throw) Center Off electrical toggle switches wired to reverse the polarity, for my reversing loops. Nothing to be afraid of and provides hours of satisfying train operations. Just not so simple to do.
     
  9. ClassiCut

    ClassiCut TrainBoard Member

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    Okay...... I have picked up a pair of #4 switches but I don't understand what is happening here. Am I going to setup electronic switching or manual? Or does the train just run back through it and push it out of the way with no issues because of the soft spring?
     
  10. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    As long as the frog is not powered, you don't have to do anything else. The train will always enter the loop however the switch is set, and exit just by pushing the points.
     
  11. ClassiCut

    ClassiCut TrainBoard Member

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    Got it....... Thanks! That was my thoughts but didn't know if it would move the points with no issue. I guess weighted cars is a must but I got this. Now just to make sure my sound loco can run the frog without issues and not be powered. I must make a test track and see how it works out.
     
  12. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    There's so much bad information out there about the frog and power routed switches. The frog gets boiled mor often then it is deserving.

    Kato Unitrack switches are wired in similarly to what Alan Gartner proposes. The frog has a built in reversing switch that automatically changes the polarity to the frog. The switch if turned against the oncoming train as in a closed switch and your isolation gaps, are cut in properly it will not allow your train to proceed through the switch. You will need to wire it in as already described here to the AR unit or use the Kato electrical switch throw, to throw the switch. No biggee, many of us have been doing this with our layouts for years.
    .
    If you want to learn more on the subject see BarstowRick.com, DCC Friendly Switches - What Are They. See signature below.
     
  13. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Rick - Hate to disagree with you, but in this specific case, the Kato #4s can be set up so that the frog is unpowered, and you can come through the switch from either leg without shorting or changing the position. I have actually set a number of these up in this way on my yard ladder - while I try to remember to set them correctly for exiting the yard, I have managed to sometimes not switch one. This prevents any shorts due to this.
     
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  14. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    RickB., It's ok to disagree especially if I misread or misunderstood. Somehow I didn't look back far enough.

    You are correct the #4's, Kato switches do have the option you mentioned. I don't use the #4's as they are to expensive for what I get and I don't like the short feature. Anyway, I stand corrected but what I said, still holds true if using the #6's in the traditional sense of the word. Besides, I happen to like hot frogs as in electro-frogs. No dead frogs on my layout. Ok, I lied there are some insulfrogs hanging around in some yards but as soon as I can afford it they are out of here.



    So we good?
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2015
  15. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Always good :)

    Yep, those #4s have a few tricks. I wouldn't normally suggest this, but for this specific need, a perfect solution.
     
  16. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Thanks for letting me off easy. Grin!
     
  17. ClassiCut

    ClassiCut TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks guys..... I appreciate your help. Yes those stinking #4s are expensive and I would not generally speaking use them. Personally I prefer hand made to perfection turnouts with live frogs (no dead frogs for me!) but this particular application of making a hands off turn around they may just be the ticket. The next question is..... Can I run it without the sound cutting out? I will need to make a test setup and see how it works
     
  18. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    It appears with some of the problems our local BVMR's have sound is the last thing that goes out in the locomotives and motors. Sound works just fine.

    I agree. #4's on any mainline is only asking for trouble and I don't care who makes the switch. Hot frogs, no dead frogs is the answer to operational problems.

    Go have some fun and when you are done post some pictures.
     
  19. EsK

    EsK TrainBoard Member

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    Hi RickB,

    Was searching the forum & came across your post related to an issue I am facing.

    Kato turnout #6 issue: Small N scale DCC layout (file attached) - I have 2 reversing loops with Kato #6’s on my layout and each time the train enters a loop I have to scramble to throw the switch before the train reaches back to the switch. That's because in a reversing loop the switch is always left thrown the "wrong" way when the train arrives back & the #6 shorts.

    I can’t replace the Kato #6 with #4 & I am not equipped to open up the #6’s to modify them from the inside. Is there any other way to get over this problem or to make the switch throwing automatic?
    I use the DCC Specialties Quad Frog-AR configured as 2 auto-reversers.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Cheers!
     

    Attached Files:

  20. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    I'm not Rick B. bur rather B Rick. However, I'm sure he would tell you the same thing.

    You are operating with DCC and I will keep that in mind. Also noting you have the ARU's.

    I'm surprised your track switch is the problem. Most guys are worried about how to put in an automated reversing system to control the polarity to the track. To come back out of the loop on to the main, either the loop needs to be reversed or the main.

    Your track switch, It won't throw automatically. And yes, without the reversing unit it will short out when thrown.

    My suggestion here is to cut in isolator gaps on both rails, on both ends of the reversing loop. Now, Install an automated revering unit. You have to change the polarity to come back out on the main. It will do that for you.

    Then once you've got that nailed down. Install Kato's hard wired switch throw, to throw the switch. Or a reversing toggle momentary on, wired to Analog DC.

    You may find an automated system that you can build in here. I haven't heard others talk about such or how they wired it in. Yet! I've read articles on how they've built their own circutiry. With O scale you can hard wire in a switch machine but I'd rather throw my switches electrically from buttons on a control panel.

    I don't know where the idea came from that a #4 is different then a #6. They both function and can be wired in the same.

    Kato, as far as I know doesn't make a manual switch. There is a manual throw on the switch but all have a built in solenoid to electrically throw the switch.

    I hope that helps.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2019
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