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Dog bone & auto reverser

Started by Vintage64, May 14, 2008, 11:52:17 PM

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This is a schematic of my layout. The sub level contains two yards (East & West) for staging trains while the main level contains alll the action. I am planning on running the main level with an ECoS and the sub levels with a dedicated ESU booster each.

How would I go about wiring the three power districts to avoid the sparks from flying? I have a couple of auto reverse units that I am not quite sure how to use. How do I avoid problems when one train leaves a yard and another one enters the yard. Do I need more power districts or have I placed them in the wrong place?

All ideas are appreciated.


I assume that you're going to run your complete layout with the ECoS, so you need a digital solution.
Of course, you can't just connect the track, as it will cause a short.

The solution is to create a separate section for the loop (fully isolated), and switch polarity when your train is completely in that section. Switching polarity does not influence the direction the train is running in, but it is needed to avoid a short when your engine moves from one section into the other. Simply said: as long as all the wheels of your train are on track with the same polarity, you're safe, even with trains having interior lighting and such.

As far as I know, there are two solutions:
- A circuit that detects the short when the train goes from one section into the other and swaps polarity within a few milliseconds. This is by far the easiest solution and also works for more complicated track plans (like mine), where trains run around in both directions. For this, you can use the Lenz LK100 or Uhlenbrock Power 3 (I've used the latter for years, and it works perfectly. Don't know if it's compatible with the ECoS).

- Creating sections and train detection, and switch the polarities upon detection of the train. There is a perfect solution for this that you can build yourself and costs around 40 euros (60 dollars). Problem is that the description is in Dutch :( :

Hope this helps!

David Hoogvorst. Founder and Owner of DRail Software. Creator of AnyRail.


Hi David & Vintage64,
I followed the link to funkyrail & it has a translation just click the flag, has I can read basic Dutch I will certainly will be going back to it.



True Tony, that some parts of the funkyrail site are translated into English, but not the reverse loop unfortunately!

David Hoogvorst. Founder and Owner of DRail Software. Creator of AnyRail.


David, thanks for the instructions. I'll post a schematic of the working layout with power districts and all when I get it to work.

When I posted the question I wasn't sure if this topic was within the scope of the "General Discussion" category. I thought that as long we can all learn from the solution, it would be OK. Let me know what you think.


Yeah, of course it's allright to place it here!

We're considering to add functionality to the software to help in these sort of issues anyway.

Anything about AnyRail or model railroading in general goes.

David Hoogvorst. Founder and Owner of DRail Software. Creator of AnyRail.


The lines are hard to see but I think this is how it should work.

Edit: Updated image for readability.


Vintage64, your schema is slightly too simple. This is the whole story :

Suppose you drive the track A-B-C-D-E.
A-B-D-E are rather short, they are needed for electronic detection. Track C is at least as long as your longest train. Each section is electrical isolated on both railbars.

  • As you enter section A, the electronics detect the powerconsumption (current detection). The reverser switches to positions B1-C1-D1, the polarity is the same as A.
  • Now you can drive track B and C.
  • As soon as you enter section D, the reverser switches to B2-C2-D2. The polarity is now the same as E.
  • The train can now continue to E.

Thus A is used for detecting you entered and D is used to dectect your train is leaving C.

In the same way as you drive E-D-C-B-A. In that case E is used to detect you entered and B is detecting you are about to leave C.

I hope this helped.

Greetings, Sander


Yes, you're right Sander that that's the schema for the funkyrail loop.
However, for the short detection solution, the drawing is probably OK. I only do not understand the use of two boosters.

David Hoogvorst. Founder and Owner of DRail Software. Creator of AnyRail.


Hi all. I am a complete newbie to this forum. I have just started to design a layout and what do you know, but half the layout is a dog-bone type, so I'm very interested in your answers. I will be using DCC,  my control gear is Uhlenbrok(?) and I'm using 'N' scale with mainly Fleischmann track and engines/rolling stock.


The schematic is based on the handbook that came with the auto reverser - Power Shield X by: I haven't build that part of the layout yet but I am confident that my schematic is correct. The boosters are not necessary for smaller layouts.


I have one half of the dog bone working now. The AR seems to work flawless.

Here is another schematic that shows how the layout is partitioned in 3 power districts and where the AR sections are.