The Signaling Solution, Inc.
PO Box 25
West Terre Haute,
IN 47885
Phone:(812) 533-1345
Fax:(708) 570-6140

Installation Procedure

You have probably heard the adage “Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance,” and model railroading is no exception. Before doing anything on your layout, we recommend you plan your complete signaling installation, even if you have only purchased some of the detectors and signals you will eventually need.

  • First, make drawings of your layout showing all of the tracks: main line, sidings, spurs, hidden, visible, built, or planned but not built.
  • Then, identify each separate detection block and give it a number from 0 to 15. If your layout needs more than one BD16, assign a letter to each BD16 (BD16-A for the first, BD16-B for the second, and so on), and label the blocks with the BD16 letter and block number. For example, if you have two BD16s, the first will have blocks labeled A0 through A15, and the second will have blocks labeled B0 through B15. Assign the labels any way you want. The purpose is simply to know how and where to connect the wires. This drawing will be the master signaling system drawing for your layout.
  • Before continuing here, if your layout is not already wired for common rail power distribution, follow the instructions in Section 4, CONVERTING TO COMMON RAIL WIRING. The steps have been planned out so that you can continue to operate your layout even if the conversion takes weeks or even months. There is no need to shut down your layout completely while installing signaling.

The next step is to connect your BD16 boards to your layout. There are two types of connections to make

  • The first group of connections will merge the BD16 into your common rail circuit so that the BD16 can detect your trains.
  • The second group will connect your BD16 The second group of wires will connect your BD16 to your signals, display LED’s or any other logic circuitry you may have. Since the connections to LED’s, logic and relays are all slightly different, separate paragraphs below will describe the differences. These connections are not shown in the two figures below.
  • When you have finished connecting your BD16 into the common rail feeds to your detected blocks, your wiring will look something like the figures shown below:
DC Control with BD16 Detector Board

if you are using command control with BD16 Detector Board, the layout will look like the figure shown below:
Command Control with BD16 Detector board
The steps in the remainder of this section will help you to complete the installation.
  • Connect only one end of one wire at a time. Just repeat that one simple step for each connection to be made and you can’t lose.
    The figure below shows how your BD16 and related items will look when ready for installation. For your reference, the major items are identified individually. Other than the mode plug and its jumpers (item 2), the voltage regulator and heat sink (item 12), and the DC power input jack (item 11), and the output resistor packs (items R12, R13, R16 and R17), none of the parts are of interest to you. There are no adjustable components on the board.
Board Assembly Diagram

Board Assembly Diagram

The items shown are:

Item 1: BD16 Printed Circuit board, with the top view shown.
Item 2: Mode plug with positions for four mode jumpers (none shown).
Item 3: Card edge connector. Your BD16 plugs into this connector.
Item 4: Contact 1 of the 80 contact fingers on the card edge connector. Contact 1 is labeled on the connector itself, and corresponds to the top left contact on the PC board. Contact A is immediately below contact 1. The top row of contacts are numbered from 1 to 40; the bottom row is lettered A-Z, a-v. Letters “G”, “I”, “O”, “Q”, “g”, “i”, “o”, and “q” are not used.
Item 5: Pan head #4-40 stainless steel machine screw (2 places) used to fasten the card edge connector to the right angle mounting brackets.
Item 6: Flat #4 stainless steel washer (4 places) used to protect surfaces from the screws and lock washers.
Item 7: Internal tooth #4 lock washer (2 places) used to secure the mounting screws and brackets.
Item 8: Stainless steel #4-40 hex nut (2 places).
Item 9: Round head #4 wood screw (2 places) used to attach mounting brackets to the mounting panel.
Item 10: Right angle mounting bracket (2 places).
Item 11: Socket for external AC power adapter.Item 12: Voltage regulator and heat sink. In operation, this will get warm and maybe even hot to the touch, depending on the load current from the internal power supply. The on-board circuitry draws very little current itself. Your LED’s will draw most of the current.

Physical installation of the BD16 board

BD16 and Panel Layout Ready below shows the BD16 mounted to a flat wood panel ready for installation on your layout.

  • A piece of 1 x 8 thirteen or fourteen inches long, or a similar size piece of plywood, is just fine. You will also need diagonal cutters, needle nose pliers, screw drivers and soldering iron with a maximum of 25 watt rating.
  • Then attach the panel in an easily accessible location on a table leg or from the bottom of an L-girder. You will find it much easier to prepare the panel as shown at your workbench. Doing this under your layout will probably be more difficult. Remember that you will be running wires from the board to the blocks and your signals or control panels.
  • Plan how the wires will be routed from the board and to the layout.
    Suggestion: Use cable clamps to keep the various cables from placing any strain on the card edge connector pins and out of the way.
  • Use a strain relief to protect contacts on the card edge connector
BD16 and Panel Layout Ready
BD16 and Panel layout ready
Suggestion: For the larger gauge wires to your tracks and layout common, we suggest you use a Cinch Barrier Block part number 9-140. The current Digikey catalog (1-800-344-4539) lists this with their part number CBB109-ND. You can make the short connections from the terminal strips to the connector using 22-gauge wire. From the terminal blocks to the layout blocks, us large enough wires that the voltage drop is less that ½ volt or so.

For more details please check the BD16 User's manual
The Signaling Solution, Inc. PO Box 25, West Terre Haute, IN 47885