Shiloh Signals Update

    Two of my Shiloh two-light signals are installed on my layout and
wired.  I bought the Shiloh Detection System (GQ12)  for each signal,
and had the modules installed in their optional Relay Cabinet.  I used
the relay cabinet, because where these signals are installed, there was
no way to protect the control modules from the weather.  The cabinet is
painted silver, and looks just like the ones found along the protoype
main line.  The Shiloh cabinet is made from brass, but one could be
fabricated from styrene, and weatherproofed with clear silicone.
    The detection module has 11 wires of different gauges coming form
the circuit board.   Three of the finest wires are soldered to the leads
coming from the signal (red, green, blue).  The two black wires go to
your power source which can be either A/C or D/C with a maximum of 18
Volts.  I hooked mine up to me buss leads (wires) that I have running
around my layout  from a large Malibu transformer, which I use for
building lighting.  Now comes the tricky part of the installation.  This
system is directional and polarity sensitive, so you must decide on the
direction your train is going to travel.  If you try to run a locomotive
backwards through the block, it will not make the signal change.  Once
this is determined, the blue wire with the track clip is hooked to the
left hand rail, and the white wire with the track clip is hooked to the
right hand rail.  I used conductive grease when I slid these clips under
the rails to insure a better connection, and eliminate possible
corrosion problems.  They could also be soldered to the rails if you are
so inclined.   There is a red wire with a brass track contact, and a
green wire with a brass track contact that must be hooked up.  The
contact is designed to work with Aristo track, but it can be adjusted
for other manufacturer's rail height with a pair of long-nose pliers.
The red wire contact should be placed near the signal location.  This
piece is screwed to the tie and is installed so that a small gap remains
between it and the left hand rail.   The green track contact has about
12 feet of wire, and is installed in a similar manner with a gap between
it and the left hand rail.  There are also two gray wires for track
control which I have not used yet, but will discuss at the end of this
    You are now ready to test run your system.  The signal system will
not work without track power, so bridging the gap between the rail and
contact with no power, will have no effect on the signal aspect.  The
principle is that the metal wheel of the locomotive bridges the gap
between the contact and the rail to change the signal using track
power.  I had to run my loco through the track contact section twice to
get the electronics to set properly.   Once everything is set, turning
on the power sets all the signals to green.  Running through the first
track section at any speed, changes the aspect from green to red.  About
12 feet down the track, the second contact is made, and the signal

changes back to green.    The wire for this second contact can be
lengthened, if 12 feet is not long enough for your block.
I have discovered that once you shut off track power, all signal aspects
return to green.  This system works with any track power system,
including Aristo PWC.
    The two gray control wires which I haven't used, allow you to
control multiple trains on the same track. A red signal will stop a
following train, and a green will allow it to proceed.  If you want this
feature, you must decide how long your trains will be, and how long a
section of track is required to stop your locomotives.  You must cut and
insulate gaps in both rails at both ends of this control section of
track.  The gray wires are then soldered to each rail of the track to
control the starting and stopping of your train.  Many people who use
this feature, set length limits for all trains on their layout, so the
system will function properly.  There is one railroader that I know of,
that limits all trains to six cars because of the automatic control
    The Shiloh system is not inexpensive.  The Signal cost was $23.50,
the Detection System was $25.50, and the Relay Cabinet was $14.00.
Because of this, I only have a few signals on my layout.  The signals
themselves are extremely well made out of soldered brass pieces, as I
described in a previous article.  There are people up north that have
this system installed where it gets covered with snow, and have had no
operating problems.  It is recommended that the signals be covered with
empty tennis ball cans to protect them from falling debris when the
trains are not running.   The contact system is weatherproof, and the
only maintenance required is to keep ballast and debris from collecting
under it, and clean it when you are cleaning your track.  In all this is
an excellent signal system for the outdoor railroad, and I highly
recommend it.  A very thorough set of illustrated instructions comes
with the Detection system, which make installation foolproof.  My next
venture in  the area of Shiloh products will be to test their crossing
flashers.  I will write a product review report on this.  Shiloh
advertises in Garden Railways Magazine.
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