Kato switches and digitrax DS 64's

denm31 May 26, 2016

  1. denm31

    denm31 TrainBoard Member

    Hello i just hooked two Digitrax DS 64's to my NCE Power Cab also jmri and they work perfectly. as i understand it you can also add switches so it can use both the dcc signal and the push button. my question is is there a way to add led lights to so i can just look at the panel to check the direction of the switch. i contacted digitrax and they were not very helpful at all, the reply was to add an atlas relay. (last digitrax product i buy) . Can anyone help me to understand this. has anyone out there using kato turnouts been able to do this .
  2. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    There are a number of ways to accomplish adding lights, but it gets complicated if you want both DCC - throttle and push button control. That is because you need a way to keep things in sync (and to unambiguously know what the position of the physical switch (closed or thrown). What type of track, which turnouts and what is switch engine used? If you are using a Tortoise or similar, you can basically do "physical" switching of the LED wiring. Gets more complicated if one needs to use electronic logic

    You also mentioned JMRI. Do you always have JMRI active, or only "as needed"? If always active, you can use it to drive the signals (with proper hardware), too.

    The way I did it was to use the Team Digital SRC16, which you can set to monitor the same addresses as you have set the outputs of the DS 64. Then, use the SRC16 to drive the LEDs. (But, I also use the physical inputs to the SRC16 as my panel pushbutton inputs, since they are "remote" from the DS64s.
  3. denm31

    denm31 TrainBoard Member

    All track is Kato and all turnouts are Kato #6 turnouts also several Double Crossovers. Kato switches are a bi polar solenoid type switch which only takes a burst of power to switch back and forth. that is where trouble is. In the future i plan on using jmri mostly as i learn it, i need to complete track first so for the near future it will be mostly it is my NCE Power Cab throttle.
  4. Carl Sowell

    Carl Sowell TrainBoard Supporter


    I appreciate your comment regarding help from Digitrax, we have found they know nothing about their own product and issues that crop up, at least the staff that is supposed to be helpful. Slap my face, that is enough flaming.

    We, the Southern New Mexico N Scalers, found on Ebay some little LED sets that are pre- wired with appropriate resistors and are small enough to look good on N scale layout. They come from China and are quite reasonable. Each LED has its own two wire leads. We did not want on a control panel but rather we wanted to be able to know the orientation of the turnout by looking at it from one end or another of the layout, because we walk around the layout, especially during shows, and can not see a control panel. This layout is 15'x48'. These LED's are bright enough to do that. We wired the green LED to the closed or straight thru rails on the turnout itself and the red, thrown wires to the diverging route tracks. When the turnout is thrown, the LED's change accordingly. We use insulating rail joiners between each leg of the turnout and the adjacent rails so there is no power coming to the turnout from the adjacent rails. We always feed a turnout from the rails entering the turnout or in other words through the frog. Many rivet counters would say these are not prototypical, but they can disguised as a ground mounted light unit, switch heater, remote controlled actuator, many possibilities here..

    If you are interested, I will try to find them on Ebay and attach a link.

    Always have fun,

  5. papahnash

    papahnash TrainBoard Member

  6. VernonNV

    VernonNV TrainBoard Member

  7. CSX Robert

    CSX Robert TrainBoard Member

    Why do you find this not helpful? The DS-64 does not have a separate output to drive a light or LED and an Atlas relay is the most straight forward way to do it using off-the-shelf components. If you had a Digitrax system, or were at least using Loconet for your stationary decoders, you would have more options - for example, you could simply have another stationary decoder set to the same addresses to drive the lights. As it is, you could still do this if you weren't using the button inputs on the DS-64, but since you are using them the other decoder would have no way of knowing when you pressed a button (with Loconet, the DS-64 would communicate that information to the other decoders). Since you're not using Loconet and you want to be able to use the button inputs on the DS-64, you're going to have to drive the lights either from the DS-64's outputs or from the movement of the turnout itself. There are many ways to do this, but the Atlas relay is a perfectly acceptable one and I wouldn't expect Digitrax to walk you through all the different possibilities.

    Since he doesn't have Loconet (he's using these on an NCE system), JMRI will not follow the button inputs to the DS64's. He could, however, setup Loconet to run along side his NCE cab bus.

    It's actually pretty easy to wire LED's up to the #6 turnout to show turnout direction. I have two versions of a circuit to do it - DCC only version:
    DC or DCC version:
    Here's a picture of the inside of the turnout showing where you can pickup the frog connection(white wire):
    You can also pickup rail A and B inside the turnout (red and black wires) and have the entire circuit contained within the roadbed.

    Here's a closeup of the frog connection with the pivot removed so you can better see it:

    Turnout closed back up:

    LED's operational (in these pictures just hanging by the magnet wire used to wire them up):

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