Friday, June 29, 2007

I had a few extra minutes before my meeting last night, so I was able to test the IRDOTs. They all work fine. All I need to do now is install the bi-color LEDs in the panel and wire them. But that brings up another problem...

When I first built the panel, I didn't plan on having much in the way of indicator lights, except for occupancy indicators for the hidden yards. But it turns out that it's easy to get confused about which track is selected for Minneapolis staging! Since the ladders for that yard are not mirror images, making sure the same track is selected for both ladders is not completely straight forward. In fact, even though I built both the yard and the panel, I have to look twice and think for a second or two to make sure I have the right track selected at both ends! So I want to put in an indicator for which track is selected for each ladder, with the simple premise that only the indicator for the selected track will light (for each ladder), with other indicators dark. An easy, at-a-glance way to be sure that the right tracks are selected at each end of the yards.

Note that I'm not looking for an indication of how the turnouts are actually aligned, only of which way the panel switches indicate the turnouts should be aligned. Simple to do, except...

The tortioses are thrown using DPDT switches. For my "selected track" indication, I need 3PDT switches - two sets of poles for the Tortoises, and one for the indicators. So I need to disassemble the panel, remove the DPDT switches, and install the 3PDT switches in their place. OY!

Meanwhile, I'm just a bit leery of installing the bi-color (red/green) LEDs for the IRDOTs, just in case I need a bit more room for the track selection (blue) LEDs. But maybe I'll just bite the bullet and put in the occupancy LEDs anyway.

Here's how the panel looks now:

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