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

GCC Product Review

    The Grade Crossing Controller (GCC) is the latest in the series of state of the art signaling products for model railroads. It is THE ANSWER for someone who wants a fully functioning, prototypical grade crossing scene on their layout.

    First, the GCC detects trains in the Grade Crossing Scene by monitoring track current. There are a total of three blocks detected, an east approach, a west approach, and an 88 scale foot block across the road. The built in train detection will work with DC, DCC, AC and other forms of command control. Because it works just like a prototype controller, I recommend that all of your rolling stock be detectable. You can do this by adding a detectable wheel set to each car (also available from the Signaling Solution). Cars that already draw current, such as lit passenger cars or cabooses, don't need this. Without full detection, you will probably see the gates raise while the middle, undetected portion of the train is across the road!

    Along with the detection, the board has an audio output of a crossing bell, output drivers for flashing crossbucks, and motor drive outputs for a motor which raises and lowers crossing gates. The bell is a wave table synthesis of an actual grade crossing bell, which operates at a rate of just over 4 bongs per second. The crossbucks flash at the standard prototype rate of 40 per minute. Just add the speaker of your choice and crossbucks or crossing gates for your scale, and you're ready to go.
    When a train enters the scene, from either side, the crossing action begins. First, the bell begins and the crossbucks start flashing. After a warning delay of 2 seconds, the motor drive is activated to lower the gates. Using Tomar HO gates, also available from the Signaling Solution, eight more seconds are required for the gates to lower after the train arrives.
    As soon as the rear end of the train crosses the road, the motor drive is activated to raise the gates. This takes about 8 seconds, and then the bell and crossbucks stop as well.

     I recommend that your approach blocks be about 10-12 seconds long for the fastest train you run through. In this way, the gates will be down a couple of seconds before the train reaches the road.

     The board can be configured for four different types of action. First, if you don't have gates, the time delays required for gate operation can be eliminated. This mode would be used for a crossing with only crossbucks and a bell. The remaining modes are used with crossbucks, bell and gates. The second mode has the bell ring only as a warning while the gates are coming down. The bell then stops ringing. The third mode has the bell ring until the front of the train reaches the road. The fourth mode has the bell ring during the entire action.

     There is a volume control on the board, so you can adjust the bell to a comfortable level. Modes 2 and 3 above allow you to limit the time the bell is ringing, if that would be more appropriate for your operating sessions.

    You may have your grade crossing positioned so that trains making a station stop will be able to stop clear of the road and raise the gates. Just connect "raise" and "lower" pushbuttons to the GCC board, and you can do that as well.

   You may also have a signaling system installed, now or later. In this case, the signaling block boundaries will probably have no convenient relationship to the GCC detection boundaries. So, we have built in circuitry which will allow you to combine the GCC with signaling blocks in 5 different configurations, based on where the signaling block boundaries are located. Simply take the "occupied" outputs from your signaling train detectors and connect them to the GCC. The GCC will then combine its own detection with the signaling detectors and provide "occupied" and "vacant" (red and green) outputs for either 1 or 2 signaling blocks.
The GCC User's Manual is now available for free download from the website. A printed manual is available for seperate purchase.
The Signaling Solution, Inc. PO Box 25, West Terre Haute, IN 47885