Set-up of Switch between multiple command stations


Track Power Switch Set-up

All special parts for the track power switch are packed in a box for two units each. To let the parts find their way back into the box they are accordingly labelled. The parts belonging to one switch should stay together. In each box there is a packing list. Even though there are corresponding lists at the end of this page.

Needed Gaps

The location of the gaps should be defined when planning the layout. Otherwise they are placed according to the same rules. The main gaps between the sections permanently supplied by one booster and the switched section are at the transitions B-C and E-F. Therefore both rails have to be separated at these transitions. At the transitions A-B, C-D, D-E and F-G only one track needs to be separated to include the sensors. Apart from that the modules are connected as usual.

Track power sections (3K)
Figure 1: Track power sections for the command station switch.

The sensor cable will be plugged into to the Cinch connector.


The sensors are of the inductive type with the wire for the track power being fed through a coil. At the sensors for the switch the track power cable and the 4mm banana plugs and sockets are yellow. The electronic needed at the coil hides on a small board in the blue shrinking tube.

The sensors are inserted at the transitions A-B, C-D, D-E und F-G. For that the thick yellow wire is inserted in the connecting wire. It doesn't matter on which side and in which orientation the sensor is inserted. But at that side the rails shall not touch each other.

At the Cinch connector the sensor cable is attached.


The switch box is supported by two clamps as used for the LocoNet boxes and other stuff within FREMO. But these clamps have a small tread with a bolt. The clamps are attached directly to the module and the box is hooked on the bolts using the holes on the back. The easiest way is to first mount one clamp, inserting the bolt of the second clamp in the corresponding hole of the box, the box hooked on the first clamp and then the second clamp is fixed. This sounds more complex then it actually is.

With very thin module sides the clamps may not be firmly attached. In that case the supplied small pieces of wood should be placed under the clamp on the inside of the module. Due to lack of such a small piece of wood pliers had to be used for this in figure 2.

Box with cables from the rear (39K)
Figure 2: Mounting of the box and connection of supply and power cables.


There are three types of cables, the thick ones for the track power, also referred to as supply and connecting cable, the thinner sensor cables to connect the four sensors, as well as the also thinner 12V~ cables for supply of the box itself.

The 12V~ cables allow to place the plug power pack further apart from the switch and to supply more then one box from one plug power pack. These cables have low voltage power plugs (Hohlstecker) with 5,5mm outside and 2,5mm inside diameter and corresponding sockets. As there are not cables for all switches, they are not on the packing list. But in most boxes there should be two Y cables, to supply two units next to each other from one power pack. If one of these units is a LocoNet Gateway, it is mandatory to use its stronger power pack. Furthermore there should be a 7 m long cable, to allow the remote placement of the plug power pack. In contrast to the 230V line this cable may be hooked under the modules, which is useful at duck unders.

The sensor cables have all Cinch connectors, with the sockets towards the sensor and the pins to wards the switch box. Otherwise you will have to reverse the cable.

The supply cables are equipped with stacking connectors at one end, to be easily inserted in the module wiring – without leaving open pins as you would have when using connectors with extra hole from the side. To prevent the twin cable to separate further then needed there is a nod in the cable. In case the sockets are to far apart the nod may be removed and placed further down the cable. But please all ways leave a nod to prevent ending up with two separate cables!

Attention: When connecting the supply cables to the modules care must be taken that the current from the booster to the switch is not flowing through the sensor.

At the other end there are two simple banana plugs. Therefore the orientation of the cable should be checked when routing it through the modules. The extensions for the supply cables have simple plugs and sockets and are inserted towards the switch. Therefore you should start the wiring at end furthest away from the switch. Then the cables will be always in the right orientation.

The connecting cable to supply the switched section is 80 cm long and like the supply cables equipped with stacking connectors at one end.

If all cables are connected the same way, e.g. yellow on the side where the box is located, and you check for matching colours at the switch, all gaps should have correct polarity. Between the boosters supplying from the outside there is no fixed polarity, as the signal is different anyhow. That's why we need the switch. All cables for track power have yellow and green plugs and sockets corresponding to the sockets in the switch. Yellow and green as not to match the mostly used blue and red sockets in the modules. At the modules colours will never match. Unfortunately the selected stacking connectors are not available in green, there grey and some blue ones have been used instead.

For sure each set-up is different, needing different cable length, but something had to be assumed to prepare the cables. For the cables supplied I assumed a 5 m long section "D" and 1 m long Modules for "B", "C", "E" and "F". This results in a cable length for the inside sensors of 3 m (5 m / 2 + 0.5 m extra) and of 5 m for the outside sensors. As the supply cables have to be connected at the outside sensors they are also 5 m long.

To have enough cable for longer switched sections and sensor modules or switches not placed in the middle there is an extension cable for the supply cables on each side of 2 m. For the sensors there one 4 m cable for each side to get to 5 m and 7 m: 3 m + 4 m = 7 m for the outside sensor, leaving the 5 m cable for the inside sensor. Actually with theses there different length any length starting at 3 m is steps of 1 m may be constructed. This should allow to cover all applications without the need of additional cables or to use oversized cables.


The supply cables and the power cable of the switched section are connected at the 4mm jacks at the rear. The supply cables in the outside pairs and the power cable in the inside pair.

The plug power pack is connected – optionally with extra 12 V~ power cables – at the low voltage power jack next to the 4mm jacks. Another power supply may be used. It should provide 9 to 14 V DC of any polarity or 7 to 12 V AC.

The sensor cables are connected as shown in the drawing at the small ends of the box, with the inside sensors from the sections "C" and "E" at the top and the outside sensors from the sections "B" und "F" at the bottom. Obviously those coming from the right on the right side and those coming from the left on the left side.

The RJ12 jacks remain unused! Instead the LocoNet-Gateway is used.

LocoNet-Gateway Set-up

Mounting and Power

The mounting of the LocoNet-Gateway is the same as for the track power switch using two clamps with extra bolt. The supply of the LocoNet-Gateway uses also a plug power pack with low voltage power plug. The corresponding jack is below one of the RJ12 jacks on the side. As the LocoNet-Gateway has to supply the throttles at the inner net, the voltage at the plug power pack should be always set to 12 V. Also a 500 mA plug power pack or other power supply with the same rating shall be used.


LocoNet-Connections (3K)
Figure 3: Connecting the LocoNets to the LocoNet-Gateway.

The LocoNet supplied by the LocoNet-Gateway is available at RJ-12 jacks on the small ends of the box. The two jacks are wired in parallel to allow easy connection to the LN boxes covering the switched section(s) with some extra length of at least 5 m. The engineers have to be plugged into this inner net, before the head of the train reaches the end of section "D". But it doesn't matter, if they are plugged in earlier or plug into the inner net without using the switched section.

The LocoNets of the neighbouring command stations are connected to the jacks on the bottom (long narrow side) of the box. There three jacks are available for up to tree command stations. In the drawing numbered 1 to 3 near the bottom edge of the LocoNet-Gateway. Basically it doesn't matter which command station is connected to which jack. But due to the galvanic insulation of net number 3 there a slight differences. Therefore there are two rules for the set-up:

  1. Always one command station should be connected in middle.
    (A missing net will not be detected at this port and leads to delays and wrong error messages.)
  2. The command station of the larges part of the layout should not be connected in the middle.
    (The galvanic insulation results in a minor delay leading to a slightly increased probability of collisions.)

Or with different wording: The command station of the largest part of the layout is connected on the outside at "1" or "2", the other command station in the middle at "3".


After the meeting all parts have to find their way into the box. As many cables are hanging under other peoples modules, which for sure have to be taken down first, as either the owner in a hurry or a passage has to be created, parts need to be collected fast. A free collapsible box has shown to be useful. There anyone can put parts of the switches in case you don't pull out the cables yourself. The rolling-up of the cables and the sorting and counting can then be done quietly at a table.

Foto (74K)
Figure 1: Parts of two track power switches – after the meeting before packing.

A word about rolling up the cables after the meeting. I grab the two ends of a cable and pull it once through the hand to find the middle. Then I wrap it around the hand. This bundle is pressed together in the middle and gets a big cable tie here. The result is a compactly wrapped cable without any twist. Also you wrap only half the length. Difficult to do it faster. All connectors are at the outside and you may unwrap it partially if you don't need the full length. In contrast to the LocoNet cables these cables don't develop the strong bents, making it more difficult to pull the cable through the modules.

The packing list for one track power switch is shown in table 1. Each part is labelled with three line note, covered by Kapton tape. The first line is the owner and the number plate code for his town. The second line reads "Chief-Umschaltung #n" with 'n' = the number of the switch. The third line contains the text from the table column "Label". The exception are the little pieces of wood marked with a felt pen.

Label Description Connections
Umschaltbox Track Power Switch many ;-)
Netzteil plug power pack 300 mA "Schukostecker" und "Hohlstecker" 2,5/5,5 mm
Zwinge 1 Clamp with bolt none
Zwinge 2
Sensor 1 Current sensors wit
yellow cable
for track power
Socket/plug 4 mm
and Cinch plug
Sensor 2
Sensor 3
Sensor 4
Sensorkabel 1        3m Sensor cable Cinch socket / plug
Sensorkabel 2        3m
Sensorkabel 3        5m
Sensorkabel 4        5m
Sensorkabel 5        4m Sensor cable extension
Sensorkabel 6        4m
Kabel 7  1,5mm˛ 0,8m Connecting cable Plug/stacking plug 4 mm
Kabel 8    1,5mm˛  5m Supply cables Stacking plug / plug 4 mm
Kabel 9    1,5mm˛  5m
Kabel 10   1,5mm˛ 2m Supply cable extension Socket / plug 4 mm
Kabel 11   1,5mm˛ 2m
#n.1 Small piece of wood as
spacer with thin module sides
Table 1: Parts for one Track Power Switch.

The packing list for one LocoNet Gateway is shown in table 2. Labelling follows the same scheme as for the track power switch with the second line reading "LocoNet-Gateway #n" with 'n' = the number of the Gateway.

Label Description Connections
Umschaltbox LocoNet Gateway 5 x RJ12 for LocoNet and
D-SUB9 RS232 for logging
Netzteil plug power pack 500 mA "Schukostecker" und "Hohlstecker" 2,5/5,5 mm
Zwinge 1 Clamp with bolt none
Zwinge 2
LNGn.1 Small piece of wood as
spacer with thin module sides
Table 2: Parts for one LocoNet Gateways.

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