Infra-Red Triggered Automatic Shuttle SAS2-IR

BLOCKsignalling SAS2-IR Model Railway Shuttle Infra-Red

Shuttle Model Train Controller with Infra-Red Detection

  • Automatically operates a train backwards and forwards along a single line.
  • Detects trains reaching the end of the line using Infra-red sensors (no track cutting required).
  • Waiting time at either end is adjustable or can be set to random.
  • Optional Route Indication leds can be connected to show train waiting at either end, or in transit up or down the line.
  • Optional 2-aspect signals can be connected, and will switch to green three seconds before train departs, and back to red two seconds later.

The BLOCKsignalling Simple Automatic Shuttle SAS2-IR is designed to automate a DC model train running backwards and forwards along a single length of track.

At each end of the track, an Infra-Red sensor is fixed below the track to detect the train which stops when the module switches off the track power.   

The train waits until the track current is switched back on in reverse and the train then automatically starts travelling in the reverse direction.

This action is repeated at each end of the line.

The module is fully programmable, and can be to selected to fixed or random waiting time at one or both ends of the line, and can also be programmed for the maximum waiting time.

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 between 8V and 25V, or an AC power supply of between 8V and 16V.

Where there is a choice, the recommended power supply is 12V DC.

 

Programming

Programming for the particular application can be completed before or after finishing the wiring.  A wire link needs to be inserted between A1 and K1.

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

Simple Shuttle Programming


For each program there are two values to be stored.

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 both values 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.

 

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

 

Wiring the Infra-red Detection

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 leads from the diagram and connect to the terminals marked A, K, C and E on the PCB.

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

 

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 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).

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.

 

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 normal sensitivity is set (for dark surfaces with low levels of reflectivity).

Infra Red Sensor

 

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.

Train Detector

 

Wiring - Basic

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

Infra-Red sensors are located where it is required to stop the front of the train.

Model Train Shuttle Relay Wiring

As supplied, the controller is set program 3 with a fixed waiting time of 5 seconds at the west end, a fixed waiting time of 10 seconds at the east end.   These times can easily be changed.

When power is first switched on and the throttle is opened, the train will travel from west to east until it is detected by sensor 2, when it will be halted.

After 10 seconds of waiting time, the module will reverse the track polarity and the engine will run back towards the west end until it is detected by sensor 1, when it will be stopped.

At the west end, it will wait 5 seconds and then the process will repeat.

 

Setting the Waiting Times

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

The  west end waiting time is set with setting 4 and the east end waiting time is set with setting 6.

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.

 

Random Waiting Times

If instead of fixed waiting times, random waiting times are preferred, then settings 5 and 7 can be changed.  For instance, setting 5 selects the west end waiting time to either fixed or random.   Setting 7 changes the waiting time at the east end.

If random waiting time is selected, the minimum waiting time will be approximately 1/4 of the maximum waiting time set.  The maximum waiting time that  can be programmed is 240 seconds.

To select random timing, switch off the power to the module and hold down the Push Button.  Apply the power and continue holding the push button until 5 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 2 flashes (setting random timing as the selected option), 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.

 

Wiring - Control Panel Route Leds

Optional additional leds may be connected to show the operation of the module. 

These will be lit when there is a train waiting at the west end of the line, when a train is travelling from the west end of the line to the east, when there is a train waiting at the east end of the line, and when there is a train travelling from east to west.

Connecting Leds to Shuttle Controller

 

Alternatively two-aspect signals can be connected to these outputs.  These will remain at red when a train is stationed at the end of the track and will switch to green five seconds before a train departs.

After the train has set off, the signal will return to red five seconds later.

2-Aspect Signal Controler

To select control panel leds or route signals, setting 8 can be changed.  Setting it to 1 selects route led indications, and setting it to 2 selects the signal mode.

For instance, to select signal mode, switch off the power to the module and hold down the Push Button.  Apply the power and continue holding the push button until 8 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 2 flashes, 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.

 

Connecting Leds

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.

 

 

Program Flow Diagram

The diagram below shows all the programming options.

Programming Flow Diagram for DC Shuttle

 

Other Ideas

Trains can be operated at different speeds by inserting one or more diodes in the feed to the track.  Each diode has an approximate 0.7V voltage drop.

Use a different number of diodes in each direction to create different speeds in each direction.  You need at least one diode for each direction.

Model Railway Shuttle SS1

 

Creating additional track gaps, with associated diodes, allows differing voltages along a length of track, and so different operating speeds in each section.

Use one diode in each direction to drop the speed in the following section by equal amounts.

Use a different number of diodes in each direction to create different speeds in each direction.  You need at least one diode for each direction.

Speed reductions can be removed by shorting across the diodes with a switch.

Different stop points can be created by inserting additional single diodes, and shorting across them when they are not required.

Model Railway Shuttle SS1