Using LGB Track Contacts & RR Concepts Controls

The following is based on information by Curtis Roecks of

QUESTION: Can the LGB 1701 Track Contact (reed switch) be used with the Railroad Concepts units.
  • Yes, you can use the LGB Track Contacts to operate the Railroad Concepts units with no problem as long as you are using AC current for the controls. LGB designed these to be used with AC current.
  • If you're using DC for the control current, there's an additional complication. You need to make sure you use the correct 2 terminals. LGB designed them to be used with AC; so there are diodes to rectify the AC to DC; i.e. they performed what is referred to as a "half-wave rectification" to convert AC input to DC output to drive the 1203 switch motors. If you try to run DC through the diode the wrong way, the diode will stop the current -- so you need to make sure you use the correct pair of terminals on the Track Contact.
  • Note that ANYTHING that connects the 2 sensor terminals on the Roecks unit will work. This can be a Roecks-supplied reed switch, any other reed switch, a doorbell switch, or a paperclip or wire manually touched to the 2 terminals.
Finding Magnets For Use With LGB Track Contacts

At 1:45 AM -0500 11/20/08, Ingram-James1-Private wrote:
  • SUBJECT: Using round RR Concepts magnets with LGB track contacts
    Curtis -
  • This past Sunday, we were trying to use RR Concepts magnets (the large ones), with LGB track contacts (since we cannot find LGB magnets anymore).
  • Even though the magnet you supply seems about 10 times stronger than the LGB magnet, the round RR Concepts magnet did not seem to reliably actuate the one LGB contact in our system.
  • When we used the rectangular LGB magnet instead of the round RRC magnet, that particular track contact then seemed to work reliably .
  • THUS: It appears at first glance, that the rectangular shape of the LGB magnet may better activate the the LGB track contact ???
At 6:15 AM -0800 11/20/08, Curtis Roecks wrote:
  • Another interesting fact about the LGB turnout switching system is that they use the reed switch as a direct switch to throw the turnout. This means that fast moving trains have less time to power the turnout. Slower trains would work more reliably since the reed switch would be closed for a longer time.

  • My system uses sensors which just trigger an electronic circuit. The smallest blip would work just fine for me. I'm looking for sensing distance (strong magnets and hidden sensors) while LGB needs longer sensing time. (rectangular magnets very close to the sensor)

  • For my sensors, I've noticed that I will get a better sensing when the magnet passes over the ends of the sensor instead of directly over the center. Maybe you can play with that too by offsetting your magnets. With my sensors and 2 additional diodes it is also possible to emulate the LGB 17000 if that's what you wanted to do.
At 8:35 AM +0000 11/20/08, Gary Lane wrote:
  • First test the problem switch with a magnet held in your hand. If the magnet fails to activate the switch try another magnet. If only an LGB engine type magnet works, and you do not have any, buy a thin rare earth magnet, or place two RR-Concepts magnets under the engine along the centerline. Move the metal LGB magnet holder with two RR-Concepts magnets over the LGB reed switch/track contact to see if it works now. Install the magnets in the pattern that you proved worked.

  • If no magnet activates the switch, look for loose wire connection, or incorrectly wired track contact or power supply for train operation is the same unit that supplies the power for EPL or automatic operation. It is best to use a separate power supply for all switching and semaphore motors from track power supply. If current draw from engines is high enough, switches may not properly activate.

  • LGB magnet fills the width of the track, thus assuring the track contact/reed switch is activated.
  • If the RR Concepts magnet is mounted to the side then the contact may not fully activate the reed switch. Placing a magnet on the centerline may improve activation using one magnet under the engine. I have mounted magnets with silicone adhesive, rubber cement, and double sided foam tape like is used to mount radio control plane reciever and battery pack.

  • Place the magnets on both sides of the LGB metal magnet holder/clip or try one one the centerline. Now the magnets should activate any track contact/reed switch.
  • - Gary Lane, Eugene, OR