Although the Quaker Valley uses a NCE PowerHouse Pro to run trains,
we have added a stand alone LocoNet system using RR-Cirkits hardware to
provide additional block detection and signaling. I was quite
pleased when I learned in 2009 that no Digitrax command station is
needed to utilize the variety of Loconet devices produced by several
manufacturers. A Locobuffer USB from RR-Cirkits is the key
connection between JMRI and the Loconet. In the stand alone
situation, a termination jumper need to be installed. The
Locobuffer USB includes a built in 15 ma. terminator for the LocoNetŪ
bus. This can be used to provide the “Master” termination for a
LocoNetŪ segment. If the LocoNetŪ Rail_Sync power is at least 12V DC,
it will supply the required termination power. To enable the
terminator, carefully snap open the Locobuffer USB case and install a
jumper at position 6 of the option connector JP1 labeled "Term".
A power supply for the Loconet is required, but it can simply be a
12 volt DC one amp wall wart with positive voltage on the Railsync
Loconet lines 1 or 6 and negative on the ground lines 2 or 5.
Mine is connected to a RR-Cirkits 6P6C-5 splitter. This drawing
from the RR-Cirkits web site shows the power connections and the
termination jumper in the Locobuffer USB.
Some device like the Digitrax BDL require a command station and
will not work on the stand alone Loconet. But the RR-Cirkits
TC-64 and LNCP and Team Digital SIC24AD products are all fine. I use the
TC-64 as I already had my turnouts on accessory decoders powered from
the NCE track bus. But if I were to start over, I would use the LNCP
(Loco Net Control Point) from RR-Cirkits. This one board provides
detection for six blocks, powers 4 slow motion Tortoise or Hankscraft
turnout motors, drives 8 signal masts, and has 8 extra inputs for panel
buttons or turnout feedback. Each board can be installed close to
the area on the layout reducing the need for long wiring runs.
The LNCP are connected to the Locobuffer and daisy chained to each
other using the 6 wire Loconet cable that is similar to phone wiring.
I have helped a friend set his railroad up this way and it reminded
me that in
a stand alone Loconet installations, all TC-64 and/or LNCP must be set
for "Master" operation using JMRI. You must also be sure to set a
preference for JMRI to use programming on the Loconet when configuring
the TC-64 or LNCP. This may require two sets of preferences to be
created for JMRI. So you can get started with an experiment in
JMRI signaling for less than $200. Of course if you are
going to add some signals from Oregon Rail Supply or Tomar, you can
spend quite a bit more.
You need the following from rr-cirkits.com:Locobuffer USB
This PRR position light signal at CP Laurel on the Quaker Valley is driven by a RR-Cirkits 4ASD4 signal driver. JMRI controls the aspect displayed depending on the block detectors and aisle gate sensor. It is all under control of the Dispatcher using a touch monitor CTC panel display.
Page updated September 5, 2012
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