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June 4, 2014 Logic Rail GCP

Many years ago I purchased a Logic Rail Grade Crossing Pro Controller but as with many other projects it sat on the shelf.  I decided that the reason for this neglect was because I didn't have an operating double crossover, at least that sounds good.

The real reason is with converting from DC to DCC operation I was constantly changing the wiring under my layout  and I dinged the mechanical path to operate the crossing gate arms.  After many mistakes and rewiring my layout several times I finally got it together.

To get started I removed and remounted two NJ International road crossings.  Over the years of non operation they needed some TLC.

My Highway Overhead Signal lights were incandescent bulbs and didn't appear to scale.  The Station Crossing Gates are standard pedestal signals with LEDs and looked much closer to scale so I replaced the bulbs with 2mm LEDs.

Next is the crossing controller, the GCP I purchased came as photocell operation.  As in every new project I put everything into my head to kick around before I dig in.  After a lot of thought I decided to switch over to infrared detectors so that I could operate with the garage lights off, no over head lights no detection no signals using photocells.

I ordered a IR upgrade kit from Logic Rail.  Next thing that stumbled through my head was the crossings are for a dual track mainline.  That meant double detection.  So the next change is to use over the rail type detection so one set of detectors will get both tacks.  I needed to come up with a plan to hide the detectors.

There are four detectors to operate the controller, two West and two East.   One West and both East detectors were easy, plenty of Plaster of Paris rock castings to drill holes in.

As infrared can harm the eyes I positioned all the emitters out of little peoples eyesight, my great grandchildren love my trains.

Now I had a problem, the PWN detector needs to be next to the crossing.  This location is out in the open so I decided to hide the IR detectors in some scenery.

This is the emitter mounted in the trunk of what will become an Oak tree with flocking.

This is the rear view showing the leads from the emitter.

As you can see in the picture above I was originally going to hide the emitter on a bush.  I really like trees and didn't have any near the road sooo . . . .  .

I used a 1/16" x 12" drill bit sitting on wood screws fot the original alignment.  The IR beam is angled across the tracks at coupler height both horizontally and vertically so it won't false through the gaps between cars.

The picture below is the PEN detector location.
In this picture I used a 3/16" x 36" dowel for path alignment.  It was rather easy do install the detectors in the plaster rocks.  I used a ¼" x 25" long Harbor Freight drill bit to drill the holes for the detectors.
Close up of the LED detector above the Lincoln.

This picture shows the wiring harness I built up using #28AWG flat cable.  I used micro connectors for all the connections.  I color coded all the connectors to match the Logic Rail wire for easy installation and future maintenance.

The controller is in and operating correctly.  The IR beam alignment was super easy, with the path setup by using my long ¼" drill they worked first try with no alignment needed.  For some unknown reason the detector interface chip failed and Chuck at Logic Rail sent me a new one that worked perfect.  Logic Rail product support is the very best!

Updated June 6th

The video above is my West Crossing of the road going to Susanville Station.  The Signals are NJ International #1164 Pedestal Type Crossing Gates automated with the Logic Rail Grade Crossing Pro Controller and a Tortoise Slow Motion Switch Machine.

This video my East or Susanville Highway crossing.  The signals are NJ International #1194 Single Overoad  Crossing with #1162 Crossing Gates.  Both crossings use the same controller because the West and East crossings are only 325 feet apart in HO scale.

Since I added the videos above I moved the West IR detector further away from the crossing to improve the gate response time.  The proper distance appears to be 60 inches for a scale speed of 30MPH.

The slow off or gate up position after the train passes is because the train has to clear both crossings.