• Pierre,
    You use the axle detection method in conjunction with TrainController software. At this moment, I have no intention to use PC control for my layout, just walkaround NCE PowerCab DCC. Could I apply the axle detection method in another way i.e. non-PC control? If so, how? I am interested to use some (reasonable cost) approach of detecting track occupancy esp for hidden tracks.

    • The axle detection is of course optional: for many people, detecting the locomotive will be enough. Maybe you should not worry about it (I worry about personally because I want to be 100% sure to detect “lost cars” in my hidden station).

      To answer your question: of course, any method that transforms the axles into a “resistor” consuming a little power will work as long as you are using “power usage” based detectors. There are other methods of course (magnet or Infrared-based), but these I really wouldn’t advise. In any case: detecting power from locos or resistive axles does not limit you in terms of “where” the detection signal goes.

      What you would need is a simple “power consumption detector”, that does not deliver its result to a “feedback bus” (such as S88 or Loconet), but rather visually (integrated LEDs) or to simple “on/off” connectors (to which you can connect LEDs, or even later an actual S88/Loconet module). An example I know is http://www.conrad.com/ce/en/product/217326/21-01-026-Electronic-track-busy-reporting-GBM-1-4-x-component/?ref=detview1&rt=detview1&rb=1 but this is a kit you need to solder yourself. You need to look around, especially if you’re not in Europe. There are probably many similar and even cheaper devices out there.

      • As I plan to run long trains, I thought of the idea of having axle detection. Half of my trackage is by design hidden; hence, some form of detection would help me note their position. I am not planning to use any PC-based control, thus, a visual indicator – either at side panel of each module or at a CTC panel would be needed.

        Initially I thought of the photodetector but I read it does not work well.

        Thanks for the Conrad link. I will evaluate the kit.

        P/S: I am now living in Frankfurt, Germany.

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