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Thread: Looking for some Advice on DCC Current Block Detectors

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    Default Looking for some Advice on DCC Current Block Detectors

    Hi,
    I'm at the stage in my layout building where I'd like to add block detection. I've decided to go with the current transformer type, similar to the NCE BD20. However, being the cheapskate that I am, and that I like to build things, I'd like to go with something cheaper or homemade. I'm a member of MERG and have read over the DTC2-T Dual Train Detector which would meet my needs but I've also seen a ton of cheap Arduino sensors, generally called HW-670, with adjustment resistors. What I am asking for is any advice on using these Arduino sensors with DCC and N-scale. I will be using a variety of decoders(both sound and not) in my locos and will eventually have a lighted caboose to end the train so detection should work for the full length. Not worried about individual freight cars. Passenger coaches will ultimately be lighted as well. Has anyone used these and if so, what are the pros and cons?

    Thanks in advance for your reply,

    Rob
    Hampton, New Brunswick
    Canada



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    You might want to look at the BOD8 from RR-Cirkits. See http://www.rr-cirkits.com/description/index.html

    You'll also need remote CT coils, but the coils can be located where your wires are, rather than at the detector. Made for use with their other things, but can be used separately. Needs 5V DC power and has open collector outputs.

    About $6.50 per block, provided you need 8 blocks detected.

    I use these with my LCC signal system.
    Tim Rumph
    Modeling the Southern Railway in N-Scale

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim R View Post
    You might want to look at the BOD8 from RR-Cirkits. See http://www.rr-cirkits.com/description/index.html

    You'll also need remote CT coils, but the coils can be located where your wires are, rather than at the detector. Made for use with their other things, but can be used separately. Needs 5V DC power and has open collector outputs.

    About $6.50 per block, provided you need 8 blocks detected.

    I use these with my LCC signal system.
    I'll second this. I'm using Arduinos all over my layout, most with custom circuitry I designed myself surrounding them. When it came to current-based detectors, I did a bunch of work and experimentation, and came to the conclusion that for the cost, it wasn't worth reinventing the wheel. I'm quite happy with my BOD-8s and associated CT coils.

    I did, however, bake my own Arduino-based LocoNet interface for the BOD-8.
    Never mistake a guy who talks a lot for a guy who has something to say...

    CH&FR Site and Blog: http://www.chfrrailroad.net and http://blog.chfrrailroad.net
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    Thanks to you both for replying. I did look at the RR-CIRKITS but once you calculate the exchange rate and shipping to Canada, they are simply too expensive. I can purchase kits from MERG in England cheaper. What I really wanted to know is if anyone had any experience/thoughts on using the type readily available on EBay like these ones? Would they work with the low currents that one sees with N-scale locos and lighted cars?
    7b2713b09a222335.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by newt749 View Post
    Thanks to you both for replying. I did look at the RR-CIRKITS but once you calculate the exchange rate and shipping to Canada, they are simply too expensive. I can purchase kits from MERG in England cheaper. What I really wanted to know is if anyone had any experience/thoughts on using the type readily available on EBay like these ones? Would they work with the low currents that one sees with N-scale locos and lighted cars?
    7b2713b09a222335.jpg
    Can you share a link to the actual product?
    Never mistake a guy who talks a lot for a guy who has something to say...

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    Quote Originally Posted by TwinDad View Post
    Can you share a link to the actual product?
    Here is a similar one.

    https://www.ebay.ca/itm/1PC-AC-Curre....c100005.m1851

    Sorry for the long string.

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    Quote Originally Posted by newt749 View Post
    Here is a similar one.

    https://www.ebay.ca/itm/1PC-AC-Curre....c100005.m1851

    Sorry for the long string.
    it's not really designed for really low currents, but at the price it can't hurt to order one and try it out.
    Never mistake a guy who talks a lot for a guy who has something to say...

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    Yes, I was just wondering if anyone else had already tried them first. I'll have to try one and see what happens. Thanks for your help.

    Rob

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    I believe the DCC++ crowd was trying something similar a while back. Don't know what the results were, but might be worth looking to see if you can find any info from them.

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