QUAKER VALLEY Railroad - Stand Alone Loconet

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.

Stand Alone Loconet Wiring 

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
6P6C-5 splitter
12 volt 1 amp wall wart power supply
LNCP Loconet Control Point
CT Coil Set 6

I don't have any financial interest in the company, but am just a satisfied customer.  More info at http://www.rr-cirkits.com/description/index.html

PRR Signal at CP Laurel Run 

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

Bob Bucklew
Quaker Valley Software

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