Our Model railroad train detection products provide the model railroader a variety of means to detect trains. We have optical type detectors that work excellent for detecting trains at specific locations as well as the more prototypically correct current-based detection used on most North American railroads and elsewhere in the world.
Photocell technology is the most economical option for detecting trains. However, trains can only be detected at the location of the photocell sensors, discrete points. This is unreliable for some applications. Photocells are further limited by their inability to function in the dark because they use ambient light to detect trains.
Infrared (IR) detectors are similar in function to photocell detectors. They are limited to discrete detection points are generally more costly to implement but do operate in the dark since these sensors provide their own IR range light.
Current-based detection uses the current-drawn from a train to detect it’s presence. Current detectors operate similar to prototypical track circuits which detect the presence of a train at any point in a detection circuit. Current flow between the rails is used to detect trains like actual track circuits. Being a continuous mode of detection provides the most reliable detection and is the most prototypical. Current-detection is limited by the fact that rolling stock axles are typically insulated and inherently undetectable resulting in the need to add special axles that draw a small current for detection purposes.
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