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Model Railroad Infrared Train Detection

If something can be activated with a button, it can be automated with a train detector!

Train Detectors

  • Coded pulsed infrared proximity sensors for detecting model trains on the track.
    • Pulsing (modulation) allows the detector to ignore ambient lighting.
    • Coded pulsing allows each detector to ignore the IR signals of other nearby detectors.
  • May be used as a reflective detector (sensors in the roadbed) or as an interrupt detector (detector looks across the track).
  • On-board LEDs to aid with installation.
  • Relay contact triggers crossing signals, trackside signals, panel lights or action accessories.
  • Automatically switch track power, see the how to automatically stop trains and the collision avoidance at track crossings pages.
  • Sensors can be used with the room lights on or off, they do not require overhead light sources.
  • No rail gaps required, no modifications to rolling stock.
  • Infrared detectors also available with USB computer interface
proximity detector MRD1 - Single & Simple
  • Single position detector, senses a train at one point on the track.
  • Includes optical sensors with 2-ft. wire leads.
  • SPST relay contact output, isolated from detector electronics.
  • Output contact rated for 3 amps.
  • To control higher currents, use with an auxiliary power relay
  • Compact size: 1.7 x 1.5 x 0.7 in.
  • Power required: 8 to 15 volts AC or DC, 40 milliamps.
Detector turns on as soon as a train is detected. The drop-out time, that is, how long the detector remains on after the train has passed the sensor, can be set to 1/2 second or 3 seconds by moving a jumper. Longer drop-out delays can be special ordered below.
MRD1 Installation instructions [pdf]
More installation tips and examples
About relay contact ratings
 
Connect to a 2-aspect signal
Connect to LocoNet™ decoder
Connect to Märklin s88 decoder
drop out delay
Drop-out delay: how long the detector
remains 'on' after the train clears the sensor.
MRD1  $18.50
with 1/2 and 3 second drop-out delay

MRD1-X  $20.50
with custom programmed drop-out delay
Please specify the drop-out delay time (seconds):
solenoid accessory
application example
 
MRD1-T installation instructions [pdf]
MRD1-T with timed output

Same specifications as the MRD1 above, except that the detector turns on for a fixed amount of time then turns off, no matter how long the train remains on the sensor.
 
A jumper on the circuit board allows you to choose a short or long 'on' time. Standard 'on' times are 1 second and 7 seconds.
The train must clear the sensor for at least two seconds before the MRD1-T can be triggered again.
 
This is well suited for solenoid actuated accessories, because continuous activation of the accessory may burn out the solenoid.
MRD1-T  $18.50
with 1- and 7-second timed output

MRD1-TX  $20.50
with custom-programmed timed output
Please specify the output 'on' time, short & long, in seconds (up to 600 sec):
 

MRD1-TXNC normally closed timed output

Same specifications as the MRD1-T above, except that the relay contact is normally closed ('on'). The relay contact opens (turns 'off') when a train arrives. The detector waits for a fixed amount of time, then closes the relay again, no matter how long the train remains on the sensor.
 
The MRD1-TXNC is typically used to temporarily stop a train when it arrives at a particular location.
MRD1-TXNC  $20.50
custom-programmed normally closed timed output
Please specify the output 'off' time, short & long, in seconds:

 
dual IR proximity sensor

More setup and user information
About relay contact ratings

MRD2 - Dual Detector, Multifunction
MRD2-Turnout  $36.50
MRD2-Exhibit  $36.50

 
six channel proximity sensor MRD6 HexDetex™, Six Channel Detector
  • Senses model trains at six places on the track.
  • Electronic 5-volt logic outputs.
  • On-board LEDs for easy setup.
  • Size: 2.5 x 2.35 in. (64 x 60 mm)
  • Power required: 8 to 15 volts AC or DC, 40 milliamps.

The MRD6 has an auxiliary output that can switch a DC circuit, such as a signal or relay, up to 0.25 amp.

There are two versions of the MRD6. The difference is the function of the auxiliary output:
RR xing MRD6X intelligently switches a grade crossing signal on & off based on the location and movement of the detected trains. Crossing signals and flasher circuit sold separately. Click here for the user's guide.
MRD6X HexDetex™ with crossing signal trigger output.
Select the number of pre-wired IR sensors and their wire length.
No IR sensors included.
For users who will use their own IR sensors.
 
'Barefoot'
$41.50
  All six sensor sets with 2-ft (60cm) wire length.
Use when all detection zones are close together.
6 x 2 ft.
$53.50
Two sensor sets with 2-ft (60cm) wire length, plus
Two sensor sets with 6-ft (180cm) wire length.
Four sensor sets for crossing signal control where only four sensors are needed.
2x 2ft, 2x 6ft.
$53.50
  Two sensor sets with 2-ft (60cm) wire length, plus
Four sensor sets with 6-ft (180cm) wire length.
Use when detection zones are widely separated, or for crossing signal control where six sensors per track are needed.
2x 2ft, 4x 6ft.
$59.50
tunnel
MRD6T controls a signal to indicate occupancy of a tunnel or other hidden track. Click here for the user's guide.
Is that a light at the end of the tunnel, or... ?
MRD6T HexDetex™ with tunnel occupancy signal output.
Select the number of pre-wired IR sensors and their wire length.
No IR sensors included.
For users who will use their own IR sensors.
 
'Barefoot'
$41.50
  All six sensor sets with 2-ft (60cm) wire length. 6 x 2 ft.
$53.50
Two sensor sets with 2-ft (60cm) wire length, plus
Two sensor sets with 6-ft (180cm) wire length.
For tunnel signal control where only four sensors are needed.
2x 2ft, 2x 6ft.
$53.50
  Two sensor sets with 2-ft (60cm) wire length, plus
Four sensor sets with 6-ft (180cm) wire length.
2x 2ft, 4x 6ft.
$59.50

 
octal IR proximity sensor

Installation instructions [pdf]
More installation tips and examples
 
Connect to 2-aspect signals
Connect to LocoNet™ decoder
Connect to Märklin s88 decoder

MRD8, Eight Channel Detector
  • Senses model trains at eight places on the track.
  • Solid state relay outputs for electrical isolation and maximum system compatibility.
  • Eight on-board LEDs for easy setup.
  • Quick-connect terminal blocks.
  • 10-pin ribbon cable connector compatible with RR-CirKits LocoNet Control Point (LNCP)™, Tower Controller (TC-64)™ and similar interface boards.
  • Power required: 8 to 15 volts AC or DC, 40 milliamps.
LocoNet Control Point and Tower Controller are trademarks of RR-CirKits, Waxhaw, NC
MRD8 with eight pre-wired infrared sensor sets
Choose wire length... or use your own sensors
All 8 sensor sets with 2-ft (60cm) wire length.
Use when all detection zones are close together.
8 x 2 ft.
$89.95
  4 sensor sets with 2-ft (60cm) wire length.
4 sensor sets with 6-ft (180cm) wire length.
4x 2ft, 4x 6ft.
$98.95
All 8 sensor sets with 6-ft (180cm) wire length.
Use when detection zones are widely separated.
8x 6ft.
$107.95
  'Barefoot' option -- circuit board only, no IR sensors included. For those who wish to use their own IR LEDs and IR photo receivers. without sensors
$67.50

• Extra sensor sets for use with MRD1, MRD2, MRD6 or MRD8 detector circuits above

two sensor placement
Two sensor sets can be wired to one detector when used in across-the-track configuration. For details [ click here ]
Order extra sensor sets. One set includes one IR LED and one IR phototransistor. Does not include a detector circuit.
Choose lead length

 

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