Euan
Hi All,

I have a persistant issue that I have not managed to solve.

  • All of my points are operated by either DCC Concepts IP Digital or SS motors
  • the motors are operated from DCC concepts Alpha Central switches (power is Alpha Power)
  • the semaphore signals are operated by Dapol signal controllers
  • the signal controllers are also operated by Alpha Central so that when the point is operated the signal changes also

The problem I have is that sometimes the signals go out of sync with the point motor - easily corrected by reprogramming the signal controller but a bit of a pain as this happens fairly regularly but with no apparent cause i.e. no particular set of circumstances that cause the problem.

I have contacted Traintech who make the controllers for Dapol but they could offer no solution!

Hopefully one of the clever people who contribute to the forum may have a possible solution.

Thanks in advance,

Euan
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Ruffnut Thorston
I think that the basic problem lies in the actual method of operation of the basic Dapol signals.

The control is not 'positive', as the signal operation is by a momentary impulse, to change position, but with just one 'channel', so another impulse will change the position of the signal again.

The recommended controller is a push button, like a bell push!

No indication on the controller of the position of the signal!

Solenoid point motors on the other hand, have two 'channels', two separate coils.
So it is possible to use, for example, a passing contact lever, that can indicate the position of the point.

I don't know how the Train Tech controllers work, but in the end, they should be delivering a pulse to operate the signal...

How the TT controller knows the position of the signal, I again don't know! 😉😁

I hope that there is something useful in that lot? 😁🙋🏼‍♀️
Best wishes,

Ruff...
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AHJAY
The TT device has no on/off knowledge, it is as "dumb" to that information as the signal itself and simply toggles.

I am sure that the accidental offset will be caused by an accidental spiking on the bus as neither item is protected from spikes either.

Actually the easiest and most reliable interface is a switch on a cobalt motor wired with one wire to both L and R and the other to the common. ( we tested this with nearly 50,000 changes which is more than ten lifetimes of use)

These switches have a clear off position as they travel so that  = two distinct connections that cannot be influenced by anything external -  so with zero exposure to any spurious activity to create the errors. The reliable alternative is connection to the outputs of DCCconcepts REX.

regards, Ahjay
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Euan
Hi Ahjay,

I did as you suggested when I initially installed the motors and signals (i.e. connected directly to the IP motor) but every time the power was switched on the signals changed on their own (i.e. no input from the Alpha Central) putting them out of sync with the point they were protecting! Hence the Dapol signal controller route (not a cheap option as I have quite a number of signals) as this at least allowed for every signal to be altered individually should any go out of sync (which they do).

I know that the Dapol wiring is somewhat quirky and from other communication with yourselves and TrainTec this lies at the heart of the problem.

What I'm trying to achieve is pushing a single button (Alpha Central) to change both points and signals simultaneously - not a outlandish aim - but one that looks unobtainable currently.Unless there is a bit of kit that can be installed within my current set up that I am unaware of - hence the post!

Cheers,

Euan
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AHJAY
Understood.

I can't help feeling the issue is the power on-off in this circumstance. What are you using for signal power?

Ahjay
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Euan
power for the signals is from the dcc bus
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Ruffnut Thorston

Dapol signals running from the 15 volts track supply?

Dapol have changed the instructions for the original signals, and now recommend a lower voltage...

https://www.dapol.co.uk/index.php?route=blog/post&post_id=37


Quote:


Power Supply Type:
We recommend using a 12vDC stabilised power supply. The signal
will also operate from a 9vDC battery and accept AC power up to 14vAC. We strongly recommend
using a smoothed or regulated power supply. (Standard Transformers or auxiliary speed controller
power outputs can often produce spikes which may damage the signal).


Wiring your signal:
It is essential that the wiring is correctly connected. Please take
care to ensure correct connection before power is applied. Example wiring diagrams are
shown overleaf.


 
Best wishes,

Ruff...
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Euan
The power to the signal comes via the signal controller which is now sold as Dapol (previously TrainTec) - so the bus provides power to the controller which in turn then powers the signal.
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newbryford
The root of the problem is the badly designed Dapol signal control. Nothing to to with Train-Tech or wiring to Cobalt point motors.

If the contact is closed when power is applied, then the signal will move immediately.
Regardless of which position it was in when previously power was removed.

So if the the signal was in the "on" position, applying power with the control contact closed, the signal will move to the "off" position.
If the signal is in the "off" position, turning power on with the control contact closed, the signal will move to the "on" position.


Basically, there is no easy solution, apart from ripping out the internal mechanism and replacing it with something that responds to a closed contact for signal "on" and open contact for signal "off.
i.e an on-off switch......

Cheers,
Mick
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john whiteside
Agree with the above statement.
Tried and Tested in the world of Blue.

John. 
John Whiteside
DCC Concepts
Technical / Customer support 
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Euan
Thanks for the input everyone - I was fairly sure there would be no solution but thought it was worth asking anyway!
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newbryford
BTW - it looks like the new 0 gauge signal has a different control.
It uses a SPDT changeover switch - so can be wired to S2 L/C/R or S3 without any synch issues.

(Goes looking for confirmation of a wiring diagram)

Cheers,
MIck
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