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Wiring Diagrams...

Updated: July 1, 2011

My Modified Circuits for 3-Rail Train Systems:
  • There are several devices that can be used so a train, when it passes over or by a device, will activate the device, thereby activating the accessory attached to the device. Spring loaded devices sit beneath the track and are activated when the train passes over them. Examples of this type of device are the Lionel® "#145c and 153c Contactor" and the MTH "O Gauge Track Activation Device", #10-1037, $9.99. These devices do not work well on a permanent layout and with engines and rolling stock of different weight. MTH also makes the "Infrared Track Activation Device" (I.T.A.D.), #40-1028, $19.95. This device can be powered from the track or from the transformer. It works much better then a spring loaded device but can be affected by room light.

  • A better way to have a train control a device is by the use of an isolated "control rail". The control rail is an outside rail that does not have power from the transformer attached to it. This method will not work with standard tubular track that have metal rail ties*, but works well with track that have plastic or wood ties. The best way to isolate a section of rail is to use plastic rail joiners or cut through the rail. When a train passes into the isolated track section power is applied to that section, from the powered outside rail, by the metal wheels and axles.

    • *If using tubular track purchase ready made isolated rail sections, or modify a standard tubular track by putting insulators on one of the outside rails and using fibre track pins at each end of this rail.

  • Additional information can be obtained from "Wiring Your Lionel® Layout", Greenberg's Books Volume 1, 2, and 3, $15.95 each volume.

    • Railroad Crossing Signal (Single Track) (Double Track) diagram
      • This type of signal is normally off. When the train enters the isolated rail section power is applied to the signal. When it leaves the isolated rail section the signal goes off. Since there are only 2 wires, connecting this type of signal is fairly easy . The red wire connects to the red 14 volt AC post. The black wire connects to the isolated rail. For a 2 track crossing connect a wire between the isolated rail section of both tracks.

    • Railroad Crossing Gates with Signal (Single Track) (Double Track) diagram
      • With this type of signal the gates are up and the signals are off. When a train enters the isolated rail section the gates lower and the signals flash. When the train leaves the isolated rail section the gates raise and the signals go off. Since this type of signal has 5 wires it is more complicated to wire and also requires a 12v DC Relay (Radio Shack 275-206c or equivalent), $6.49; and a Full Wave Bridge Rectifier (Radio Shack 276-1173), $1.99. The polarity of the full wave bridge rectifier is not important. For a 2 track crossing connect a wire between the isolated rail section of both tracks. Follow the diagrams to wire this type of signal.

    • Block Signal (Single Track) (Double Track) diagram
      • This type of signal is normally green green signal. When a train enters the isolated rail section the signal turns red red signal. When the train leaves the isolated rail section the signal turns yellowyellow signal, and then after a short time, returns to green green signal. Since this type of signal has 3 wires it is more complicated to wire and also requires a 12v DC Relay (Radio Shack 275-206c or equivalent), $9.49; and a Full Wave Bridge Rectifier (Radio Shack 276-1173), $2.59. The polarity of the full wave bridge rectifier is not important. Follow the diagrams to wire this type of signal.
      • If your relay is labeled COM, NO, NC then COM=P, NC=A, NO=B. See here for additional information.
12V DC Regulated Power Supply for Rail-Cam Car:
  • This type of circuit can be used to provide 12V DC output from AC track voltage. A good use for this would be to power an X-10 camera that would be mounted on a flat car. Circuit and parts list courtesy of "pa" from O Gauge Railroading Forum.

    • The camera and circuit board can be mounted on/in any piece of rolling stock that has pickup rollers. I used a searchlight car when I built my first rail-cam car. I placed the circuit board in a small project box. There must be a minimum of 12 volts to the track for the camera to work.
    • The complete cost of this project including the camera ($73), searchlight car ($30), and parts ($10) was $113.

  • Here is a modified circuit that supplies the camera with battery backup power when track voltage goes below 12 volts. The rechargable battery pack and components cost approximately $37.00 from DigiKey.

    • The camera, circuit board, and battery pack can be mounted on/in any piece of rolling stock that has pickup rollers. I used a crane tender car for this project due to the size of the battery pack.
    • The complete cost of this project including the camera ($73), crane tender car ($35), parts ($7) and battery pack and parts ($37) was $152.

MTH DCS TIU (50-1003) to Lionel TMCC Command Base (6-12911) Serial Cable:
  • Refer to the DB9 Pinout View for building your cable.

  • You will need the following parts which are available at Radio Shack
    • 2   9-position male d-subminiature connectors: Part #276-1537C ($1.95 each)
    • 2   d-subminiature connector hoods: Part #276-1539D ($1.95 each)
    • Wire (I used 2' of 4-conductor telephone wire, only red & black wire)
      • Use a 2-conductor wire.

  • Connections
    • Connect one wire from TIU connector PIN 5 to TMCC connector PIN 5
    • Connect one wire from TIU connector PIN 9 to TMCC connector PIN 3

  • Note: If your TMCC engine lights flicker, or you have erratic operation using the DCS Remote with them, place a 50V,1A microminiature silicon diode (Part #276-1101A, $0.57 for 2) in line with Pin 5 of the TMCC connector.
    • The cathode (band) goes towards the TMCC Command Base pin: Diagram

  • Update: Instead of making the cable yourself you can purchase a ready-made cable from MTH for approximately $20. Reference MTH Part #50-1018 (TIU/TMCC 6' Connection Cable).

TrainAmerica Studios:
MTH Electric Trains:
  • Premier Freight Truck w/operating ETD 20-89010

NOTE: I assume no responsibility in your construction of any of the above listed devices.