I'm hoping someone can help me because I'm against a wall and out of
I bought a real life-sized set of crossing signals at this garage
sale. I've hooked the signals up to a light switch and both lights
illuminate, so I know the signals work.
I want to make them flash, just like a real crossing. I assume they
work on AC power, since they lit up when hooked to the light switch.
The blub inside is 10v. Does this mean the entire signal will work on
10v? If so, I need to get a 120v converter......
What I am really concerned about is where I find a module to make the
lights alternate and flash like at a real crossing.
Can someone please help me? I've been at this for 2 months already
with no luck.....
If you can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org, I'd really appreciate it.
Thanks for your time.
Crossing signals operate on direct current supplied by batteries. The batteries
in turn kept constantly charged by a battery charger inside the bungalow. The
GPS3000 module that operates the gates and lights costs about US$5000 per
Your lights will operate on 10 volts AC or DC. Incandescent light bulbs do not
which they get. The prototype usually runs at a slightly lower voltage than ten
volts, usually around 8.5. You can build a cheap flasher from an automotive turn
signal flasher and an inexpensive relay that has both NC and NO outputs.
Connect one set of bulbs to the NO (normally open) pole of the relay.
Connect the other set to the NC (normally closed) pole.
Connect the hot wire to the relay input of the heel, or moveable part, of the
Connect a ground wire to the ground side of the bulbs
Connect the relay coil to the power source via the turn signal flasher.
Connect the other side of the coil to a ground
When you turn the main power on the relay will energize and the A bulbs will
When the turn signal flasher opens, the relay will de-energize.
The B bulbs will then light and the A bulbs will go out.
This will repeat as long as you have the main power energized.
You cannot do this using two turn signal flashers because they will cycle at
different rates and there will be merely random flashing of the lights. You may
to experiment with flashers to find one that cycles at the rate you want.
Such is the nature of "cheapo" projects
You will need a transformer to convert the house current into a suitable output
voltage. You may need to get a 12 volt output and build a voltage regulator or a
voltage divider to reduce to 8.5 - 10 volts. You will need a relay with a 12
coil and contactors rated for 100 watts or more. Figure 8 amperes@12 Volts and
"fudge factor" Better safe than incinerated.
If you need any more on this, post back here.
You might try using some of the many modules available for model
flashers and then buffer them. The buffer being some kind of module than
can handle the high current requirements of the lamps. Might be as simple
as a darlington pair (transistor pair) on a large heatsink
You can get these from the school bus dealers around the country. There is
one not too far from here.
But with those you have a lot of extra STUFF involved inside the box and
most of those use relays to run the lights on the bus. Relays will fail
eventually and then you have to replace the relays or get a new module.
Find an electronics friend and ask them to make a circuit for you that will
run the lights the way you want them to. It could be as simple as a 555
timer driving some buffer circuitry to run the lights.
What voltage did you hook the lights to in order to test the unit?
If it is 120 volts then someone has changed the bulbs. This will have to be
taken into consideration to make the buffer circuit. If they are still 10
volt bulbs, then a DC power supply capable of the current output would
be required to power the lamps and it could also be used to power the
flasher circuit. If it uses 120 volt bulbs then either TRIACS or SCRs could
be used to turn AC power on and off to the lamps. But you would still need
a relatively small power supply to run the circuitry.
There are a good number of circuits published for turning on and off lamps
and then the data sheet for the 555 timer will show how to hook that up,
The hardest part will be setting up between the 555 timer and the power
switches. But not impossible.