I recently received some disappointing news which has led to a major shift in plans. No, I’m not changing the layout.
After waiting about a year I finally got the official word from Atlas (atlasrr.com) about the fate of their signal system. I don’t know if you are aware or not but a little over a year ago they had sudden problems with their Chinese suppliers. They aren’t the only ones, as I have heard from various industries of manufacturing plants suddenly closing up in China. The companies then scramble to retrieve plans, patterns, molds, whatever from the plants. The problem is they are usually just gone.
You may or may not recall that my plan was to use their signal system on my layout. It was a simple system to hook up. Not as in depth as others, but would give me basic block occupancy and a little animation. One could “see” around the corners as to the status of the track.
As well as having their circuit boards for detection and signal control which were made in China, Custom Signals (customsignals.com) were supplying them with the type G signal masts. Custom Signals is closing up shop. Not sure where Atlas is getting their signal masts from now.
The word from Atlas is that they will be selling the signal masts (type G) as well as a block detector. Great, except I can get type G masts from other suppliers cheaper and the detection units only work with standard DC. No offense to those staying the course with standard DC, God bless your heart, but really! Plus they are not offering the signal controller, which is the heart of the system.
So, after looking around at what is available, I’m going to have to buck up and go with the Digitrax (digitrax.com) system. The basic layout wiring that I have in place will easily work with their (Digitrax) system, it’s just more complicated. It has far more features than I need, although in the future when things are nearing completion, as in scenery and such, I can look at using more of the features. You know, the layout is never done. As to cost, it’s more or less a wash.
That’s it, that’s the major change. Not really a big one as signaling is still in the future and I have time to plan for it. But it’s kind of annoying, as I have a bunch (not enough to finish the layout) of the Atlas masts/detectors/controllers on hand and now they are worthless. who knows, maybe Ebay.
Thanks for listening, till later…