Semaphores explained?

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Atkinson_Railroad
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Re: Semaphores explained?

Post by Atkinson_Railroad » Tue Aug 01, 2017 3:17 pm

SCBryan, there -is--- something about watching a semaphore cycle through its aspects.

Here's some just published video content of a 1-1/2" scale semaphore on You Tube: https://youtu.be/8DeL8vxbLww

Equipment will be running at the 7-1/2" gauge track in Owosso, Michigan this Saturday, August 5, 2017, so I'm looking forward to capturing further content of the device in operation at that location. I may take one of my searchlights with me as well.

Signing off for now,

John

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ccvstmr
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Re: Semaphores explained?

Post by ccvstmr » Tue Aug 01, 2017 5:18 pm

" It has to be functional, then pretty....To me, semaphores always seemed a more positive way to signal a train, using both position and lighting. I guess they went out due to improvements in electrical cab signaling and maintaining the mechanical aspect."

PRR...glad to see you've set some parameter priorities for this build project. Functionality (and reliability) need to be at or near the top of the list...as opposed to cosmetics and of course, cost. Make it work first...then worry about making it look like something that could have been.

Semaphores, 3 aspect searchlights, or 3 individual lights...all make no difference. A signal system...ANY SIGNAL SYSTEM...is only as good as the people using the RR. With RR signalling, there's going to be rules governing the meaning of the different indications. If people don't know/understand the intent of the rules...there's no need to invest the time and effort to make a working, or even a nice working model...unless you're building a table-top display.

The above statement is based on observation, a minor degree in Civil RR Engineering and several years working in the rail industry. Please don't take this the wrong way. Have seen far too many people in the model RR hobby (large and small scale) that love trains...but know little about actual railroad practices. Your efforts to develop a working semaphore signal system should be applauded. Once you have a prototype...you can move into the field for reliability testing. Hopefully, you're fellow club members see your efforts as something positive and support your work instead of nit-picking every little design/build element. If someone doesn't like what you're doing...ask if they can do as good if not better.

Hope too...you'll keep the Chaski community informed of your progress. Carl B.
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PRR5406
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Re: Semaphores explained?

Post by PRR5406 » Tue Aug 01, 2017 9:07 pm

Loved the short video. Thanks!
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Atkinson_Railroad
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Re: Semaphores explained?

Post by Atkinson_Railroad » Wed Aug 02, 2017 6:36 am

Dick (PRR5406) asked to see a view of the interior mechanical arrangement.

Here ‘Ya go.

John
Attachments
DSC940 MECHANISM.jpg
Back mechanism frame plate removed showing 3 volt motor, Delrin gear train, and cam operated limit switches. Note additional space for two-arm arrangement.

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Marty_Knox
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Re: Semaphores explained?

Post by Marty_Knox » Wed Aug 02, 2017 7:22 am

Atkinson_Railroad wrote:SCBryan, there -is--- something about watching a semaphore cycle through its aspects.

Here's some just published video content of a 1-1/2" scale semaphore on You Tube: https://youtu.be/8DeL8vxbLww

Equipment will be running at the 7-1/2" gauge track in Owosso, Michigan this Saturday, August 5, 2017, so I'm looking forward to capturing further content of the device in operation at that location. I may take one of my searchlights with me as well.

Signing off for now,

John
The 7 -1/2" gauge track he is referring to is at The Steam Railroading Institute, located at 405 South Washington Street Owosso, MI 48867.

Mike Walsh
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Re: Semaphores explained?

Post by Mike Walsh » Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:36 am

Atkinson_Railroad wrote:Dick (PRR5406) asked to see a view of the interior mechanical arrangement.

Here ‘Ya go.

John
Is that a failsafe motor? will it return to indicate stop aspect upon loss of power?

Mike

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PRR5406
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Re: Semaphores explained?

Post by PRR5406 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 10:49 am

Much more information of great value. Thank you!

Have any of you built one of your own design?
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Atkinson_Railroad
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Re: Semaphores explained?

Post by Atkinson_Railroad » Wed Aug 02, 2017 7:00 pm

Hi Mike;

The mechanism is not a “fail-safe” arrangement and does not return by force of gravity to indicate a stop aspect
when power is lost or removed. Eighteen years ago when I was designing the signal model, my objective was to at least
keep the mechanism parts required to operate 2 semaphore blades confined to the space within an upper single instrument case.
When you consider the part count of a Style “B” lower quadrant semaphore mechanism consisted of over one-hundred individual
parts (not including the motor which was made up of over 30 parts), making a fail-safe attribute for a device that many viewed
at the time as a track-side ornament or novelty, it didn’t seem worth the effort.

Does your fail-safe question imply you would be the first person to buy one, if it was offered in a 1-1/2” scale?
Would you be willing to offer, or make a suggestion as to how much you would be willing to spend for such a device?
That would be helpful to know as well.

Thanks!

John

rwheller
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Re: Semaphores explained?

Post by rwheller » Thu Aug 10, 2017 12:48 pm

Check with Pennsylvania Live Steamers. They have very good looking semaphores on their layout and they don't look too large or complex. http://www.palivesteamers.org/

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Atkinson_Railroad
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Re: Semaphores explained?

Post by Atkinson_Railroad » Thu Aug 10, 2017 3:08 pm

Thank you for that lead rwheller.

jabsteam
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Re: Semaphores explained?

Post by jabsteam » Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:55 pm

Atkinson_Railroad wrote:Hi Mike;

Does your fail-safe question imply you would be the first person to buy one, if it was offered in a 1-1/2” scale?
Would you be willing to offer, or make a suggestion as to how much you would be willing to spend for such a device?
That would be helpful to know as well.

Thanks!

John

John, I'm interested in your Semaphore signals. Sent you a PM
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DianneB
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Re: Semaphores explained?

Post by DianneB » Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:12 pm

I have been playing with the same thing for an HO railroad so I have dabbled in semaphores for awhile.

You said "stepper motor" so that's a good start but forget fail-safe - that complicates things considerably!

With a stepper motor and lead screw, you can figure out how many steps from the most restrictive indication to the other two (yellow and green). You can then drive the stepper motor with a small processor like an Arduino.

If you used a DC motor and lead screw, you need micro switches on a cam to stop the arm in each position. This makes the electronics more simple and complicates the mechanics somewhat.

Of course, for a 3 position semaphore, you need the same type of signaling electronics that is used in full size practice and that is a little beyond easy and simple! A 3 position signalling system requires monitoring the three blocks beyond the signal. If it is a bi-directional track, that doubles the complexity.

If you want fail-safe, you will have to look at the signal heads used in full size practice. There is LOTS of information out there in the Net but you will have to do some searching.

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