BOD4-RLY Infra-Red Train Detector with 1.5A Relay

BLOCKsignalling BOD4-RLY Block Occupancy Detector

Detects trains and operates a built-in relay.

  • Quick and easy way to detect trains anywhere on your layout, even in tunnels

  • Detects passing trains using its in-built infra-red sensor

  • Very easy to connect up to simple indications on a control panel, operate motors, electromagnets, or to add as inputs to computer systems

  • Operates from 12V DC

  • Low current output (+5V DC) to feed leds, signals or small relays

  • No programming necessary (but you can adjust all settings if you wish)

 

 

This module came about after a customer asked for a module to operate a stop solenoid on his Faller model car layout.  It is based on out BOD2-RLY train detector, but with a larger relay to handle the current for the electromagnet.

It is just at home on a model railway, to detect trains and operate led or filament signals, motorised features, or any other action you can envisage.

The relay van handle up to 1.5A current at 24V DC.

 

Operation

The following describes the basic operation.  Many settings can be changed if required to tailor the operation to a particular requirement if desired.

 

When a train crosses the infra-red sensor, the relay coil is energised and the relay common contact (labelled COM) moves from the normally-closed (NC) position to the normally-open position (NO).

After the train clears the sensor, the module de-energises the relay and the relay contact moves back to the normally-open position.

A delay can be set before this occurs to allow a train indication to remain present for a period, or the indication can immediately reset. The module can also be set to ignore the gaps between carriages. With a delay, the module can operate a two aspect signal, switching to red when a train crosses the sensor, and back to green a preset time after the sensor is cleared.

There are several programming options available (see later), including some new randomising options to make actions more realistic, and also some settings so that the module does not respond to every trigger which could be useful to stop only a proportion of passing trains for instance.

The module requires a 12V DC supply and has a low current +5V DC output, which is ideal to drive leds or signal lamps.

 

Power Supply

The module requires a power supply 12V DC and draws a maximum current of 80mA.

When connecting a DC supply, connect the negative to the GND terminal and the positive to the Vin terminal. If the connections are accidentally reversed, the module will not function, but no damage will result.

 

Connecting up

The relay outputs are available on the normally-open (NO), common (COM) and normally-closed (NC) contacts. When the power is turned off, the relay de-energises and the connection is made between the NC and COM connections.

Shown below is an example wiring diagram to connect a 2-aspect signal or control panel leds to the BOD4-RLY.

A 1k resistor is necessary to limit the current through the leds.

wiring diagram BLOCKsignalling BOD2-RLY

The relay output can be used to connect to leds, filament bulbs, relays, electromagnets or computer systems. There are no volts on the contacts (they are "volt free").

 

Terminals

The module has six terminals.

Vin Positive feed of the DC supply

GND Negative feed of the DC supply

Vout This is a regulated +5V DC output which can be used to feed leds, small relays, or bulbs (maximum 100mA).

NO The terminal is the normally-open contact of the relay.

COM The terminal common terminal of the relay.

NC The terminal is normally-closed contact of the relay.

 

Sensor Installation

Simply drill an 8mm hole through the baseboard between the sleepers and insert the sensor from below.

Train Detector

If required, the sensor can be held in place using a small amount of blutack, expanded polystyrene or similar.

The led diameter is 2.2mm, so on smaller scales the leds can still have a clear view between the sleepers.

Train Detector

LED Connection

When using leds it is important to connect them the right way around.

The negative lead (cathode) is identified by a flat on the side of the led body, and by having a shorter lead.
led anode and cathode connections

Programming

The default program is to operate in the instantaneous mode, so if you want one of the other modes, or to change timings for instance, you will need to reprogram the module.

Programming is performed holding down the Push Button when switching on the power.

Red Green 2 Aspect Signal Controller

The red led on the PCB flashes at 1 second intervals. When the required number of flashes is seen (see later for the list of possible choices) the button is released to store the first value. At this point the led comes on for five seconds to confirm the value is stored.

The led then starts flashing again, and this time the button needs to be pressed to store the second value.

Once the two values to be stored are entered, the led flashes 10 times rapidly, and the module starts operating.

To select the program function of the module, first you should see 2 flashes, then the number of flashes to select the program you want. 

To change individual settings for the programs, the number of flashes that should be see first varies from 3 to 14, and the second number of led flashes represents the new setting you want.  This is described below, and also shown int he programming diagram at the end of this text.

Most values entered can range between 1 and 255 (see below for limits). If more flashes are seen, or the programming is aborted by switching off, then the programming must be repeated.

Factory Reset

To reset the module back to factory settings, switch off the power to the module and hold down the Push Button. Apply the power and continue holding the push button until 1 flash of the led is seen. At this point, release the button. You will see a long flash of five seconds.

The led will begin flashing again. When you have seen 1 flash press the button. You will see a long flash of five seconds and then 10 rapid flashes. The reset procedure is then complete and the module will restart with factory settings, and run in instantaneous mode. If you make a mistake programming, simply repeat the process.

Sensitivity Setting

The module is supplied with the sensitivity preset to suit most installations and should not need adjustment.

The sensitivity is factory set to 5, and can be adjusted from 1 to 10 (with 1 being the most sensitive and 10 being the least sensitive).

To change the sensitivity, switch off the power to the module and hold down the Push Button. Apply the power and continue holding the Push Button until 9 flashes of the led are seen. At this point, release the button. You will see a long flash of five seconds.

The led will begin flashing again. When you have reached the desired number of flashes to set the new sensitivity, press the button. You will see a long flash of five seconds and then 10 rapid flashes. The programming is then complete and the module will restart. If you make a mistake programming, simply repeat the process.

Performing a factory reset will reset the sensitivity setting back to 5.

Built-in Programs

In order to set-up the module with minimum effort, there are several programs built-in.

Selecting one of these programs will perform a factory reset on the module (losing any previously made changes), and then make a number of setting adjustments automatically.

If you want to further refine the settings of these programs, follow the instructions in the section after selecting the required program.

 

Program 1 - Test Mode

In this mode, the relay is energised for 1 second, and then denergised for 2 seconds.

This is repeated until another mode is selected.

Program 2 - Instantaneous Mode (DEFAULT)

When the infra-red sensor is triggered by a train, the module immediately activates the relay.

The module checks to see if the train has cleared the sensor.

If the train has cleared the sensor for at least 1 second, the relay is denergised.

The module then restarts and awaits the next train.

The 1 second delay is fixed.

Program 3 - Signal Mode (Delayed Mode)

When the infra-red sensor is triggered by a train, the module immediately activates the relay.

The module checks to see if the train has cleared the sensor.

If the train has cleared the sensor for at least 4 seconds (the holdover delay), the module waits 10 seconds, and then the relay is denergised.

The module then restarts and awaits the next train.

This program could be used to control a 2-aspect led signal.

The holdover setting means that gaps between carriages are ignored, and the final delay allows the signal to remain at red for a realistic period.

It is possible to change the holdover delay by programing memory 3.

Program 4 - Short Pulse Mode

This program energises the relay briefly when the sensor is covered by a train.

The relay pulse duration is in steps of 100ms, with a default value of 2 (=200ms).

The duration is set in multiples of 100ms steps using setting 5 (the PULSE ON TIME).

The train must clear the sensor, before the train can be detected again, and so generate another pulse.

Typically this program would be used to connect to a computer control system, to notify it that a train has arrived at a certain point on the layout.

Program 5 - Long Pulse Mode

This program energises the relay for a number of seconds when the sensor is covered by a train.

The relay pulse duration is in steps of 1 second, with a default value of 2 (=2 seconds).

The duration is set in 1 second steps using setting 5 (the PULSE ON TIME).

The train must clear the sensor, before the train can be detected again, and so generate another pulse.

The pulse time can be randomised to between 25% and 100% of the set time.  To choose this function, set the relay pulse duration to 4 seconds or greater, and enable the randomise function (see later).  For example, if a time period of 40 seconds is set, each time the relay will operate for between 10 and 40 seconds.

Typically this program could be used to halt a train at a certain point on the layout for a number of seconds. When the train crosses the sensor, the relay will energise for a period, cutting the power to the track section. When the power is re-applied after the pulse delay, the train will clear the sensor without the module being retriggered.

Program 6 - Recurring Short Pulse Mode

This program energises the relay briefly when the sensor is covered by a train.

If the sensor remains covered, the relay will continue to energise and de-energise.

The pulse duration is in steps of 100ms, with a default value of 2 (=200ms).

The duration is set in 100ms steps using setting 5 (the PULSE ON TIME).

The relay is denergised for the time it takes for the module to detect the trains presence again (default is 1 second).

Typically this program could be used flash an led at a fast rate when the train is over the sensor (perhaps to convey an urgent indication).

Program 7 - Recurring Long Pulse Mode

This program energises the relay for a number of seconds when the sensor is covered by a train.

The pulse duration is in steps of 1 second, with a default value of 2 (=2 seconds).

The puse on duration is set in 1 second steps using setting 5 (the PULSE ON TIME).

The pulse off duration is set in 1 second steps using setting 6 (the PULSE OFF TIME).

Typically this program could be used flash an led at a slow rate when the train is over the sensor.

 

Adjustable Settings

There are a number of settings which can be adjusted to change the operation of the module.  The diagram at the bottom of this document summarises the settings.

 

Memory 3 - Holdover time

This is the time after the object clears the sensor, before the module decides it is absent.  As a train passes the sensor, there will be gaps between each carriage which need to be ignored.  The default value is 4, which allows 4 seconds for the gap between carriages.  Any gap of less than 4 seconds is ignored.  If single locos or vehicles are being detected, this value can be set to a minimum (1 second).

Memory 4 - Final Delay

This is the time after the sensor has been cleared of any object in front of it, and the holdover time has elapsed, before the module de-energises the relay.  This is used when signals are connected, where after the whole train has cleared the sensor, it is desired that a period elapses before the relay is de-energised to change the state of the signal.

Memory 5 - Relay On Time

This is the setting for the time which the relay is energised.  It may be in second, or 0.1 second steps (depending on the program).   The default value is 2, which represents 2 seconds, or 0.2 seconds depending on the program in use.

Memory 6 - Relay Off Time

This is the setting for the time which the relay is denergised in programs where the relay is pulsed on and off.  It may be in second, or 0.1 second steps (depending on the program).   The default value is 2, which represents 2 seconds, or 0.2 seconds depending on the program in use.

Memory 7 - Trigger Delay Type

This setting has three possible values.

When set to value 1, the Trigger Delay is not used, and so as soon as an object is detected, the relay is energised (default value).

When set to 2, the Trigger Delay is used.  When an object is detected, after a delay set (Memory 8 - Trigger Delay) the relay is energised.

When set to 3, the Trigger Delay is randomised to between 25% and 100% of the set time (Memory 8 - Trigger Delay).  To choose this function, set the Trigger Delay to 4 seconds or greater.  For example, if an Trigger Delay of 40 seconds is set, each time the module is triggered, the operation of the relay will be delayed by between 10 and 40 seconds.

Memory 8 - Trigger Delay Time

This is the duration (in seconds) from when the detector first sees an object to the relay being energised.  The time can be set to between 1 and 254 seconds.  To use this delay, it must be turned on using Memory 7 (Trigger Delay Enable).

Memory 9 - Infra-Red Sensor Sensitivity

The infra-red sensor sensitivity can be adjusted from 1 to 10 (with 1 being the most sensitive and 10 being the least sensitive).  The default is 5.

Memory 10 - Relay On Time Randomised

This setting has three possible values.

When set to value 1, the relay is energised for a fixed time set by the Pulse On Time (default).

When set to 2, the Pulse On Time is randomised to between 25% and 100% of the set time.  To choose this function, set the on Pulse On Time duration to 4 seconds or greater.  For example, if a Pulse On Time of 40 seconds is set, each time the module is triggered, the relay will operate for between 10 and 40 seconds.

Memory 11 - Triggering Proportion

This memory has three possible settings.

If this memory is set to 1, then proportional settings are not used (default).

If this memory is set to 2, then the relay will only operate then the module will keep count of the number of times it has been triggered, and will only operate the relay each time the appropriate number of triggers has taken place.  So for instance, if the proportion is set to 4, the only every fourth trigger will result in the relay operating (1 in 4 successful).

If this memory is set to 3, then each time the module is triggered, it will decide whether the relay should operate.  So for instance, if the proportion is set to 4, the only 25% of triggers will result in the relay operating.

Memory 12 - Proportion Setting

If the module is programmed for fixed proportion, then this setting determines how many triggers need to occur before the relay operates.

Set value=1, relay operates every trigger (default).
Set value=2, relay operates every other trigger.
Set value=3, relay operates every third trigger.
Set value=3, relay operates every fourth trigger.

etc (maximum value 16)

If the module is programmed for random proportion, then this setting determines the proportion of triggers that cause the relay to operate.

Set value=1, relay operates every trigger (default).
Set value=2, relay operates on 50% of triggers.
Set value=3, relay operates every 33% of triggers.
Set value=3, relay operates every 25% of triggers.

etc (maximum value 16)

Memory 13 - Invert Proportion

This setting can be used to reverse the set proportion.

A setting of 1, leaves the operation as described.

A setting of 2 inverts the function, so every time the relay would have operated, it no longer does, and every time it would not have operated, it now does.  For example, this can be used where the relay was set to operate 1 in every 4 triggers to instead operate for 3 in every 4 (ie ignore 1 in 4 triggers).

Memory 14 - Invert Relay Action

This setting can be used to reverse the operation of the relay when the module operating.

A setting of 1, leaves the operation as described.

A setting of 2 inverts the relay function, so that when a train is not detected, the relay is energised.  When a train is detected, it is de-energised.

 

Program Flow Diagram

The diagram below shows all the programming options.

Programming is performed by holding down the Push Button when switching on the power.

The red led on the PCB flashes at 1 second intervals. When the required number of flashes is seen (see later for the list of possible choices) the button is released to store the first value. At this point the led comes on for five seconds to confirm the value is stored.

The led then starts flashing again, and this time the button needs to be pressed to store the second value.

Once the two values to be stored are entered, the led flashes 10 times rapidly, and the module starts operating.

The led will now flicker whilst the module searches for trains.

Most values entered can range between 1 and 255 (see below for limits). If more flashes are seen, or the programming is aborted by switching off, then the programming must be repeated.

Following the diagram is a detailed explanation of all the settings.

Any additional components shown in diagrams and photos are only to illustrate connections and are not included with the module.  Supplied with one sensor.

Loop Controller L1-DC

BLOCKsignalling Loop Controller

  • Manages trains entering a track loop
  • Operates points to route arriving locos to vacant track
  • Holds locos until another arrives, stops them for a set delay, or the user can release them
  • Flexible design can easily be programmed to suit user requirements

Basic Operation

The module is connected to the points motors at both ends of a section of track with a loop.

Each of the two lines has a section isolated either by insulated track joiners or breaks in the track.  This section is normally not energised and so any train reaching this section will come to a stop.

Two infra-red sensors are connected to the module that detect trains entering either the loop (L), or the main section of track (M) depending on the setting of the points.  Only one sensor is active at a time.

When the module is powered, it switches the points to their last know position (from when the module was last switched off).

 

When a train arrives, it crosses the points and passes over one of the infra-red sensors and comes to rest at the isolated track section.

BLOCKsignalling Loop Controller Operation 1

The module operates the points at both ends of the section ready to depart any waiting train on the other line and after a delay, energises the isolated section allowing any waiting train on the other line to depart.

BLOCKsignalling Loop Controller Operation 2

The train which has just arrived, remains at its isolated section, until another train arrives on the opposite line, when the process is repeated.

There are many options to customise the operation which are covered in detail later.

 

Connecting Up

To power the isolated section of track, a feed is taken from the rail on the same side (red wire).  This is connected to the two relay common terminals, IN1 and IN2.

The relay output OUT1 connects to the isolated section of the loop track. The relay output OUT2 connects to the isolated section of the main track.  These relay contacts are normally closed when the power is removed from the module, so with the power off, the layout can be operated manually.

The points motors are connected to the NORM (normal), COM (common) and REV (reversed) contacts.

The recommended power input is 12V DC connected to the IN/+ and IN/- terminals.  Use a power supply with a minimum current rating of 0.5A (500mA).  Using a power supply with a rating below this may result in erratic operation.

BLOCKsignalling Loop Controller Connecting

 

Terminal Diagram

BLOCKsignalling Loop Controller Terminal Connections

Power Supply

The module operates from a 12V DC supply. Please check the wiring carefully before turning on the power to prevent damage to the module.

 

Led Connection

When using leds it is important to connect them the right way around.

The negative lead (cathode) is identified by a flat on the side of the led body, and by having a shorter lead. led anode and cathode connections

 

Connecting the Infra-Red Sensors

An Infra-Red source and Infra-Red detector are moulded into a single 5mm x 6.5mm package that can be located below the track bed to reflect light off rolling stock.

Identify the Sensor 1 leads from the diagram and connect to the terminals marked A1 and C1 on the module.  Leads E and K both connect to terminal G1.

Repeat for Sensor 2, connecting to C2, G2 and A2.

The wires can be extended using small chocolate block and extra lengths of cable if required (not supplied).

 

Sensor Installation

The Infra-Red sensor is normally installed below the track-bed.

The detection range of the unit is up to approximately 25mm from the face of the package when the default sensitivity is set (for dark surfaces with low levels of reflectivity).

Infra Red Train Detection The detector can be mounted in an 8mm hole drilled through the track baseboard. If required, the detector can be held in place using a small amount of blutack, expanded polystyrene or similar. The led diameter is 2.2mm, so on smaller scales the leds can still have a clear view between the sleepers. Infra Red Sensor Under Track

 

Sequence of Operation

When first powered on, the following sequence occurs:

1. The led on the module lights for 1 second, then the points are switched to NORM.

2. Both sensors alternately search for the presence of a train (incase a train is already present on either line from the last time the layout was used).

3. If a train is found, one of the leds is lit to signify the train is present.  A delay occurs (normally 10 seconds), then the points change to the opposite line to that train is on (if necessary).

4. Power is applied to the isolated section in front of the waiting train on the other line for a minimum of 5 seconds.

5. The power remains applied, until the end of the train has been detected (the sensor is clear for more than 5 seconds).

6. If there was an led lit, signifying there was a train present on that section of line, it is now extinguished.

7. The sensors then alternately search for the arrival of a train again.  If ther eis already one over the sensor, thei will be dispatched after the delay time.

 

Program Settings

A number of the settings which control the operation of the module can be adjusted by the user to tailor the operation of the module to suit their own requirements.

The settings are changed by powering the module with the push button on the module held down.  A sequence of led flashes and push button presses are used to select the options.  See later for the detailed procedure.

The folowing section details the settings which can be changed.

Program Mode

There are two modes that the module operate in, normal running mode and test mode.  Test mode is used to check the operation of the module and is detailed later.

Sensor Type

At present, only infra-red sensors are supported.

Sensitivity

Sensitivity Setting The module is supplied with the sensitivity pre-set to suit most installations and should not need adjustment.

In locations such as tunnels, or when the sensoris not being used under the track bed, then it may be desirable to adjust the detection threshold.

The sensitivity is factory set to 5, and can be adjusted from 1 to 10 (with 1 being the most sensitive and 10 being the least sensitive).

sensitivity of infra-red sensor

Overrun

This is the time the sensor must be clear for, to confirm the train has passed.  It is normally set to 5 seconds, which allows for the gaps between the carriages.

Departure Trigger

Normally, the departure of the second train is a fixed time after the arrival of the first train.  By setting this memory to Random, the departure delay will be between 25% and 75% of the set delay.  If it is set to Push Button, a button connected to the PB1 terminal must be pressed to dispatch the train. 

Departure Delay

This is the delay before the second train is dispatched, after the first train arrives.  The default value is 10 seconds.

Rail Energise Time

This set the minimum duration the isolated rail is energised to dispatch the train.  It should be set to allow sufficient time for the whole loco to cross the isolated section, although the power will continue to be supplied until the train has cleared the sensor for at least the Overrun time.  The default value is 5 seconds.

Points Position at Power On

When power is applied to the module, the points are switched according to this setting.  You can select Normal, Reverse, or the same position as when the power was last switched off.

Led Function

As a default, the leds connected to LED1 and LED2 terminals will light when a train is detected by Sensor 1 and Sensor 2 respectively.  The leds are extinguised after the train have moved off and the isolated rail section is de-energised.  As an alternative, the leds can be set to light only when a train is departing.  A resistor is built into the module, so any attached leds will not need their own resistor.

 

Factory Reset

To reset the module back to factory settings, switch off the power to the module and hold down the Push Button. Apply the power and continue holding the push button until 1 flash of the led is seen. At this point, release the button. You will see a long flash of five seconds.

The led will begin flashing again. When you have seen 1 flash press the button. You will see a long flash of five seconds and then 10 rapid flashes.

The reset procedure is then complete and the module will restart with factory settings.

If you make a mistake programming, simply repeat the process.

 

Test Mode

There is a built-in test mode which can be used to check the operation of each of the inputs and outputs of the module.  This can also be used to check the function of the module, and if the sensors are operating correctly.

Connect up the module with push buttons and leds as per the image below.  It is recommended to use 1k resistors in the feed to each led.  Take care with the polarity of the leds.

To select the test mode, program memory 2 to the value of 1.

 

After programming the module to run the test program, it will follow the sequence below (each step at 1 second intervals):

1. Illuminates the led on the module for 1 second.

2. Energises Relay 1 and LED1 at the same time for 1 second.  The OUT1 led will extinguish at the same time.

3. Energises Relay 2 and LED2 at the same time for 1 second.  The OUT2 led will extinguish at the same time.

4. Illuminates the LED1 for 1 second.

5. Illuminates the LED2 for 1 second.

6. The points are switched to the Normal direction.  At the same time LED1 illuminates for a second.

7. The points are switched to the Reverse direction.  At the same time LED2 illuminates for a second.

8. The points are switched to the Normal direction.  At the same time LED1 illuminates for a second.

9. The points are switched to the Reverse direction.  At the same time LED2 illuminates for a second.

10. Sensors 1 and 2 are switched on.  If an object is brought close to Sensor 1, LED1 will flash slowly.  If an object is brought close to Sensor 2, LED2 will flash slowly.

 

The test can be repeated by removing and reapplying power to the module.

To leave the test mode, reprogram the module to the mode you wish to use.

 

Program Flow Diagram

Programming is performed by holding down the Push Button when switching on the power. The red led on the PCB flashes at 1 second intervals.

When the required number of flashes is seen (see later for the list of possible choices) the button is released to store the first value. At this point the led comes on for five seconds to confirm the value is stored.

The led then starts flashing again, and this time the button needs to be pressed to store the second value.

Once the two values to be stored are entered, the led flashes 10 times rapidly, and the module starts operating. Most values entered can range between 1 and 255 (see below for limits).

If more are seen, or the programming is aborted by switching off, then the programming must be repeated.

L1 Programming Diagram

 

Linked Module M1

BLOCKsignalling M1 Module

  • Pre-programmed multi-functional module with two separate relay outputs
  • Capable for driving points motors, operating signals, switching and reversing loco direction, etc
  • Action is triggered by push-button, switch, reed-relay, or another module of the same type
  • Action is carried out until the module times out or until the train is detected by the infra-red sensor
  • When the action is completed, the module provides an output signal which can be connected to other modules of the same type
  • Programs can be easily adjusted to give great flexibility in operation

Introduction

The BLOCKsignalling module M1 has been designed to carry out a pre-programmed function when it is triggered, such as powering a section of track to move a train forward.  It then it waits until a train reaches the infra-red sensor. At this point, the module completes the action (ie stops the train) and signals on on one of its outputs that the task has been completed (the "DONE" terminal).

The DONE output would normally be connected to the trigger ("TRIG" input) of another module of the same type, which would then carry out its operation.

By linking several modules in series, successive actions can be carried out one after another.

If the modules are connected in a loop, the operation will continue indefinitely.  It the loop is not complete, the action can be started by an input (such as pressing a button) and will continue until the last module has completed its task.  The final output could be connect to an led to show the sequence has been completed.

Connections

The module has screw terminals for all its external connections.

The train sensor connects to the A, GND, and C terminals (see later for the different types of sensor which can be connected).

The DONE and TRIG terminals are for connection to adjacent modules.  The TRIG input is activated when connected to GND, by a switch, push button or other module.  Note the push-button on the module connects the TRIG terminal to GND and so can be used to trigger the module.  This terminal must not be grounded at the time the module is powered, otherwise it will enter programming mode (see later).

The power input is designed for 12V DC.  Reverse polarity will not damage the module, although it wil not function.

The relay output terminals are rated at up to 1A at 24V DC.

BLOCKsignalling M1 Module Connections

 

Program 1 - Test Program

This is the default program when the module is first supplied and is designed to test the correct operation of the module.  The timings cannot be adjusted.

Connect up the sensor (see later) and a 12V DC power supply.

Switch on the power.  The PROG led should faintly flicker indicating it is in standby.  If not, check the power supply and polarity, and verify the infra-red sensor connections are correct.

Press the push button on the module (to simulate it being triggered).  After 5 seconds, Relay 1 should energise (you will hear it click, and its red led will light).

Five seconds later, Relay 2 should energise (you will hear it click, and its red led will light).  After a further five seconds, Relay 2 will de-energise.

 

The PROG led flashing shows the module is searching for a train and the module will now wait for an object in front of the sensor. 

Place you hand close to the sensor and after 5 seconds Relay 2 will turn on for five seconds then off, followed by Relay 1 turning off five seconds later.

Finally, five seconds after Relay 1 tunrs off, a final bright flash of the led for a second shows that the task is done (this is the point at which the DONE signal is issued on the DONE output terminal).

BLOCKsignalling M1 Module Test Program

 

To test the DONE and TRIG connections, switch off the power, and link the DONE and TRIG terminals together.

Switch on the power and then press the push button.  The module will repeat the sequence above, but this time, when the sequence is complete, it will restart as if you had pressed the push button to trigger the module again.

BLOCKsignalling M1 Module Test Program

 

Program 2 - Fiddle Yard

A fiddle yard has a queue of trains.  When the one at the front of the queue departs, each of the trains behind are to move up one position in the queue.

In the drawing below, we are just showing one train, which is stationary at location A (due to the module not powering the isolated section of track).  This train has arrived from the right, and stopped once it was unable to pick-up power from the track.

If the operator presses the push button (connected to the TRIG terminal), the module will follow a built-in program.  In this case, one of the relays on the module will energise, and this will allow power to flow to the isolated rail and the loco will move towards the left, entering the powered section of track (B).

When the loco reaches the sensor at C the train is detected and the relay on the module de-energises making the isolated section dead again, preventing any other locos entering the section.

The loco carries on until it reaches the isolated section at D.  It will stop and wait here until this section is powered from from elsewhere.

At the point the train is detected at C, the module sends out a signal out on its "DONE" terminal, so the sensor should be close to the isolated track at D.  If this is not possible, a delay can be programmed so that the DONE signal is not sent until some time later.

In this case, we have not made a connection to the DONE terminal yet as we are only showing one module.

BLOCKsignalling M1 Module Fiddle Yard Wiringg

 

Now if we connect a second module upstream, when the first module completes its task of moving the loco up to the infra-red sensor, the second module will be triggered and will move its loco up also.

Obviously this can be extended to any number of modules, and if the line forms a complete loop the modules can also be connected in a loop and will move the locos around the loop one at a time.

In the diagram below, we have left out the power supply connections to the M1 modules for clarity.  We have also left out the push button, because you can press the push button on the first module and it has the same effect.

BLOCKsignalling M1 Module Example Wiring

 

Program 3 - Points Operation

This program is intended to operate sets of points (using solenoid points motors) to route trains.

Once triggered, Relay 2 is energised and selects the route direction, then Relay 1 is energised for 1 second to operate the points.

When the train reaches the sensor, Relay 2 is de-energised and then Relay 1 is energised for 1 second to operate the points.

Wire the normal and reverse wires of the points to suite the direction you want the points to operate.

Always use with a CDU.

Delays are adjustable.

BLOCKsignalling M1 Module Points Wiring

 

More than one set of points can be connected. 

Wire the normal and reverse wires of the points to suite the direction you want the points to operate.

BLOCKsignalling M1 Module Solenoid Points  Motor

 

Program 4 - Wiring Tortoise or Cobalt Points Motors

This program is designed to operate stall type points motors.

Once triggered, both relays operate to reverse the polarity of the feed to the points motor.

When the train reaches the sensor, both relays are de-energised and the feed tothe points motors is restored to the previous polarity.

The wiring of the points will determine the direction the start in when the power is applied.

BLOCKsignalling M1 Tortoise Wiring DC

 

Below is an alternative wiring arrangement, if you are powering your points motors with an AC power supply.

BLOCKsignalling M1 Tortoise Wiring AC

 

Program 5 - Change Direction

This program is designed to change the direction of the traction current.

Before triggering, both relays are de-energised and the power passes straight through.

Once triggered, the traction current direction is reversed.

When the train reaches the sensor, the traction current is restored to the original direction.

Delays are adjustable.

BLOCKsignalling M1 Module DC Direction Change

 

Program 6 - Dapol Signal

This program is designed to operate a Dapol Signals.

Once triggered, Relay 2 is operated for 1 second to change the signal.

After a delay, Relay 1 is operated for 1 second to change the signal.

When the train reaches the sensor, Relay 1 is operated for 1 second to change the signal then after a delay Relay 2 is operated for 1 second to change the second signal.

After the second signal is operated, the DONE indication is indicated on the output terminal.

Delays are adjustable.

BLOCKsignalling M1 Module Test Program

 

Program 7 - Led or Bulb Signal (3-aspect)

This program is designed to operate a Led or Filament Bulb Signals.

When the power is switched on, with the signals wired as below, the green aspect will show.

Once the module is triggered, the signal will immediately switch to red, then yellow after a delay.

When the loco passes the sensor, the signal will return to green and the DONE output will be indicated.

Delays are adjustable.

BLOCKsignalling M1 Module with led signals

 

Programs 8 - Misc

The following program allows you to design you own uses for the module.

BLOCKsignalling M1 Module

 

Each of the delays before each relay is energised can be set to between 1 and 255 seconds.

If the end time for a relay being energised is set to earlier than its start time, the relay will not be energised.

BLOCKsignalling M1 Module Bespoke Program

Shuttle with Points Control PTS1

BLOCKsignalling PTS1 Shuttle

Shuttle that Operates Points and Routes Trains Automatically

 

  • Operates one or more trains back and forth along a line
  • Changes points automatically to route trains
  • Built-in Capacitor Discharge Unit (CDU) which operates at 25V DC to minimise cable sizes
  • Compatible with different route layouts
  • Built-in programs for 11 route combinations
  • Programmable delay timer, route switching and randomised delays

 

The BLOCKsignalling PTS1 is designed to automate up to three DC model trains running backwards and forwards along a length of track.

At each end of the track, a diode is fixed across an insulated rail gap to stop the train until the track current is reversed and the train can automatically start traveling back along the track.

The module is also capable of driving up to two solenoid points motors from a built-in CDU, which are automatically operated by the module to route trains.  The CDU operates at 25V, meaning that thinner wire can be used to connect points motors.

The waiting time for trains when they reach the end of the line can be set to fixed or random.  This also allows for delays before other train movements.

Some programs allow two or three trains to alternately run back and forth on a single line and also the module can run a variety of programs to send different trains for each departure.

Each of the relays are rated at 10A for long life (traction current is typically 0.5A to 1A).

 

Power Supply

The controller is designed for use with a DC power supply of 12V with a minimum current rating of 0.5A (500mA).  Use of a power supply rated below rating this will cause erratic operation.

It is important to connect the supply with the correct polarity, although no damage will occur if the supply is connected incorrectly but the module will not operate.

The built-in CDU is automatically charged to 25V when required, and so fairly small cabling can be used to connect to the points motors.

Please check the wiring carefully before turning on the power to prevent damage to the module.

 

 

Programming

When supplied, the module runs a built-in test program, to check the operation of the relays on the module and the operation of any connected solenoid points motors.

The module requires reprogramming to suit the track configuration in use.

For each program there are two values to be stored, the first is the particular setting to be changed, and the second is the value to you want to adjust that setting to.

Switch off the power to the module and hold down the Push Button. The red led on the PCB flashes at 1 second intervals. When the required number of flashes is seen for the setting (see later for the list of possible choices) the button is released to store the first value. At this point the led comes on for five seconds to confirm the value is stored.

The led then starts flashing again, and this time the button needs to be pressed to store the value.  Once both numbers have been are entered, the led flashes 10 times rapidly, and the module starts operating.  Each value entered can be up to 255 flashes. If more are seen, or the programming is aborted by switching off, then the programming must be repeated.

 

Terminal Designation

BLOCKsignalling PTS1 Terminal Wiring

 

Connecting Up - Basic

The diagram below shows the connections from the DC Controller (Throttle) wired via the shuttle module. 

The controller is set to drive the train forward and then the two relays on the module control the switching of the polarity of the power feed to the track and hence the direction of the running.

Diodes are required at each end to isolate a section of track.  These will hold the locomotive until the track polarity is reversed.  Suitable general purpose diodes are part number 1N4004 and five are included with the module.

The points outputs are not connected on this layout.

When the power to the module is switched off (for instance, when it is not in use), the module routes the feed from the DC Controller straight to the track.

 BLOCKsignalling Points Controller

 

As supplied, the controller is set to program 1 (test program) and to use this program, setting 2 needs to be adjusted to the value 2.

This mode has a fixed waiting time of 5 seconds at the west end, a fixed waiting time of 10 seconds at the east end, and 20 seconds to completely traverse the track section.   See later for changing these timings and how to set fixed or random waiting times.

 

When the throttle is opened, the train will depart the west end within 5 seconds.  Providing 20 seconds is sufficient to reach the other end of the track, the train will cross the diode at the east end and the traction current will be blocked from reaching the loco.  After 10 seconds of waiting time, the module will reverse the track polarity and the engine will run back towards the west end (the diode will now be able to allow the current to flow). 

The time set to traverse the section must exceed the actual time required, otherwise the train will not reach the far end.  Again the train is stopped by the diode, until the west end waiting time (default 10 seconds) has expired and then the traction current is reversed and the train will move off again.

 

 

 

 

Connecting Up - 1 set of Points

The diagram below shows a layout with a single branch line at one end (labelled W1) and one set of points connected to the NORM1 and REV1 terminals.

Diodes are fitted at each end of the track, across a track break, and there are track breaks adjacent to the points.

The module expects the train to be located on the branch line at W1 when the power is switched on (or at W1 and W2 when two trains are run). 

The points should be wired so that when the module operates the NORM output, the points switch to the through route (W2 to E1).

Each time the points operate, a relay switches the power feed to match the route selection.  The power feed only becomes live when the module runs the train forwards or backwards.

BLOCKsignalling Points Controller One Set of Points

 

 

 

There are two built-in programs which use this arrangement.

The first (program mode 3) is designed for a single train.

Normal operation is the power is applied to the module, after 5 seconds the points are switched to the branch line W1 and power is applied to that branch track and the main line.  Providing the controller is set to drive the train forward, the train will depart the branch, over the points and on to the main track.  It will continue until it reaches the diode at E1 where the traction current will be blocked and the train will stop.

After a waiting period, the module will switch the points to the through route, remove power from the branch, and apply power to the through route to W2.  The polarity of the feed to the track will be automatically reversed, and the train will move in reverse towards the left, over the points and will come to a stop at W2 due to the diode blocking the current again.

This process will repeat continuously, with the train running backwards and forwards, coming to rest alternately at W1 and W2 on each run.

 

The second program to use this layout is designed to operate two trains (program mode 4).

This time, the module expects trains to be present at W1 and W2 when the power is switched on.

Normal operation is the power is applied to the module, after 5 seconds the points are switched to the branch line W1 and power is applied to that branch track and the main line.  Providing the controller is set to drive the train forward, the train will depart the branch, over the points and on to the main track.  It will continue until it reaches the diode at E1 where the traction current will be blocked and the train will stop.

After the set waiting tile at the east end, the power will be reversed, and the train will return to W1.

The process then repeats for the train located at W2.

 

Connecting Up - Points at each end

The diagram below shows a layout with a branch line at each end of the layout (labelled W1 and E1) and two set of points connected to the NORM1, REV1, NORM2 and REV2 terminals.

Diodes are fitted at each end of the track, across a track break, and there are track breaks adjacent to the points.

The points should be wired so that when the module operates the NORM output, the points switch to the through route (W2 to E2).

Each time the points operate, a relay switches the power feed to match the route selection.  The power feed only becomes live when the module runs the train forwards or backwards.

BLOCKsignalling Points Controller

 

 

Five programs use this layout (programs 5,6,7,8 and 9). 

Program 5 operates a single train from W1 to E1, then to W2, to E2, and then back to W1.

 

Program 6 runs one train from W1 to E1, then back to W1.  Then a second train runs from W2 to E2, then back to W2.

 

Program 7 runs one train from W1 to E1, then back to W1.  Then a second train runs from E2 to W2, then back to E2.

 

Program 8 sends the train at W1 to E1, then the train at W2 to E2.  The train at E1 then returns to W1, and the train at E2 returns to W2.

 

Program 9 sends the train at W1 to E1, then the train at E2 to W2.  The train at E1 then returns to W1, and the train at W2 returns to E2.

 

 

 

Connecting Up - Two sets of Points at one end

The diagram below shows a layout with three branch lines at one end of the layout (labelled W1, W2 and W3) and two set of points connected to the NORM1, REV1, NORM2 and REV2 terminals.

Diodes are fitted at each end of the track, across a track break, and there are track breaks adjacent to the points.

The points should be wired so that when the module operates the NORM output, the points switch to the through route (W3 to E1).

Each time the points operate, a relay switches the power feed to match the route selection.  The power feed only becomes live when the module runs the train forwards or backwards.

BLOCKsignalling Points Controller

 

Two programs use a layout with two points connected at one end (program 10 is for one train and program 11 is for three trains).

 

Program 10 sends one train from W1 to E1, then back to W2.  It then sends the train from W2 to E1 and back to W3.  Finally it sends it to E1 and back to W1.

 

Program 11 is designed for three trains, starting at W1, W2 and W3.  Each one is departed in turn to E1 and then back to its starting point.

 

 

 

 

Led Indications

The red led mounted on the module is used during programming, but also operates whilst the module is running to indicate what actions the module is performing:

 

1. Slowly increasing from off to bright over about 5 seconds followed by a single flash shows the CDU is charging before the points output NORM1 is operated.

2. Slowly increasing from off to bright over about 5 seconds followed by a two flashes shows the CDU is charging before the points output REV1is operated.

3. Slowly increasing from off to bright over about 5 seconds followed by a three flashes shows the CDU is charging before the points output NORM2 is operated.

4. Slowly increasing from off to bright over about 5 seconds followed by a four flashes shows the CDU is charging before the points output REV2 is operated.

5. One flash at 1 second intervals indicates that the train is moving in the forward direction.

6. Three flashes at 1 second intervals indicates that the train is moving in the reverse direction.

7. Two flashes at 1 second intervals indicates the train is stopped at the east end.

8. Four flashes at 1 second intervals indicates the train is stopped at the west end.

 

 

Setting the Transit Time and Maximum Times

Each of the times can be set from 1 second to 240 seconds.

The transit time is set using setting 3, the west end waiting time is set with setting 4 and the east end waiting time is set with setting 6.

Setting the West End waiting time sets the waiting times for W1, W2 and W3 ends simultaneously.  Setting the East End waiting time sets the waiting times for E1 and E2 ends simultaneously.  The delay for each branch can be adjusted late if required (see programming diagram below).

The transit time should be set to at least the time it takes for the train to travel the longest route on the layout. If the waiting times are selected to be randomised, then the waiting time only is randomised (the transit time remains fixed).

For instance, if you want to set the west end maximum waiting time to 20 seconds, switch off the power to the module and hold down the Push Button.  Apply the power and continue holding the push button until 4 flashes of the led are seen.  At this point, release the button.  You will see a long flash of five seconds.

The led will begin flashing again.  When you have seen 20 flashes (for 20 seconds waiting time), press the button. You will see a long flash of five seconds and then 10 rapid flashes.  The programming is then complete and the will start running the program.  If you make a mistake programming, simply repeat the process.

 

Factory Reset

To reset the module back to factory settings, switch off the power to the module and hold down the Push Button. Apply the power and continue holding the push button until 1 flash of the led is seen. At this point, release the button. You will see a long flash of five seconds.

The led will begin flashing again. When you have seen 1 flash press the button. You will see a long flash of five seconds and then 10 rapid flashes. The reset procedure is then complete and the module will restart running program 2. If you make a mistake programming, simply repeat the process.

 

Test Mode

Whenever the module is reset to factory settings, or mode 1 is selected (the default state when the module is supplied), the module runs a test mode so that layout wiring can be checked.  The led flashes between 1 and 7 times per second to indicate which test is being performed.  Press the button briefly to move on to the next test.

1. When the module is powered on, it will switch reverse power to the main line.  The led will flash one flash per second.  At this point you can check the main track to confirm that the left rail is positive with respect to the right rail using a multimeter, track tester, or a locomotive.  If you press the button on the board briefly, the module will move on to the next test.

2. The module switches forward power to the main line.  The led will flash twice per second.  At this point you can check the main track to confirm that the right rail is positive with respect to the left rail.

3. The module switches forward power to the main line and to the N1 terminal.  The led will flash 3 times per second.  At this point you can check the track connected to N1 to confirm that the right rail is positive compared to the left rail.

4. The module switches forward power to the main line and to the R1 terminal.  The led will flash 4 times per second.  At this point you can check the track connected to R1 to confirm that the right rail is positive compared to the left rail.

5. The module switches forward power to the main line and to the N2 terminal.  The led will flash 5 times per second.  At this point you can check the track connected to N2 to confirm that the right rail is positive compared to the left rail.

6. The module switches forward power to the main line and to the R2 terminal.  The led will flash 6 times per second.  At this point you can check the track connected to R2 to confirm that the right rail is positive compared to the left rail.

7. The module disconnects power from the layout.  The led will flash 7 times per second.  At this point you can check that all the trackwork is dead.

8. The module enters a cycle of testing each of the solenoid points motors.  The module led increases in brightness whilst the CDU charges.  It then flashes once and operates the NORM1 points motor output.  It continues testing the REV1, NORM2 and REV2 outputs in turn, flashing the led two, three and four times before each operation.  This process continues until the power is removed from the module.

When you have completed your testing, you can reprogram the module to suit your layout.

 

 

Program Flow Diagram

Programming is performed by holding down the Push Button when switching on the power.

The red led on the PCB flashes at 1 second intervals.  When the required number of flashes is seen (see diagram below for the list of possible choices) the button is released to store the first value. At this point the led comes on for five seconds to confirm the value is stored.

The led then starts flashing again, and this time the button needs to be pressed to store the second value.

Once the two values to be stored are entered, the led flashes 10 times rapidly, and the module starts operating.

Most values entered can range between 1 and 255 (see below for limits).  If more are seen, or the programming is aborted by switching off, then the programming must be repeated.

Following the diagram is a detailed explanation of all the settings.

 

 

Notes & Troubleshooting

1. When first connecting up the module connect only the power supply and switch on.  You should hear the module running through a relay test sequence.

2. The default program is a test sequence and you will need to reprogram the module for the type of layout that you have.  If you don't do this, the led on the module will flash 1 per second, and the module will provide power to the main track, but no switching or reversing actions will take place.

3. An appropriate transit time will need to be programmed, otherwise the train will not complete its run all the way to the blocking diode at the end of the track.

4. Setting up a test track, before installing on a layout is a good idea.

5. With the module power off, the controller power is directed straight to the track, and the feeds to the straight-through paths of the points are energised.  This way you can test run a train.

6. The straight-through and thrown routes of the points can be swapped, by switching the NORM and REV connections at the module.  You will also need to swap the N and R connections to the track.

7. Five diodes are included with the module.  Points motors are not included.

8. Make sure the 12V DC power supply is rated at least 0.5A (500mA) otherwise the operation of the module will be eratic (trains may only run in one direction, or points operation may be weak or operate in only one direction).

9. After the power is applied, it takes more than 20 seconds before the train departs.  For some programs, it is 10 seconds or so before the train moves, as both sets of points are switched before the train departs.  If it takes much longer than this, it may be that the polarity of the track feed is reversed, and so the diode is preventing the train from departing.  This can make it look like trainmovements are int he wrong order, or that the wrong program has been selected.