YardMaster

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Read the product review of an older generation YardMaster in the June 2010 Garden Railways Magazine HERE!

What It Is

The YardMaster is the Swiss Army Knife of model train electronics. It can easily be wired and programmed for many different operations that make your railroad more fun and realistic.

It contains the following on-board components:

  • Power relays for routing track power for sidings and reversing operations.
  • Driver circuitry to directly throw turnouts (track switches). Pulsed pure DC gives maximum drive power and reliablity.
  • Driver circuitry to directly control external signal lights. (Outputs for both incandescent and LED lamps)
  • Programmable Time Delay feature for station stops.
  • Software to allow multiple YardMaster hookups in parallel for multiple train sidings.
  • Programmable lap counter for Station Stops
  • Sensor inputs for forced switching (Go left, Go Right), and alternating switching.
  • Micro-computer control for reliability, flexibility, and upgrade options.
  • Current sensing for train detection and no-sensor operations.
  • Data port for direct StationMaster connections.
  • External relay ports for advanced hookups and additional switching.

The Brains for All of These Operations:

See the hookup manual below for hookup details
  • Turnout (Track switch) control
  • Alternating Paths so trains go a different direction each time.
  • Block Control for multiple trains on the same track.
  • Station Stops with time delays.
  • Back and forth Automatic-reversing with stops along the way.
  • Crossing Signal Light Control
  • Red / Green Signal Light Control
  • Track switching and turnout control for alternating trains at a siding.
  • Reversing Loops the easy way.

The manual and Hookup Diagrams page show detailed wiring instructions for these and additional StationMaster hookups. All hookups use standard trains and transformers without the complexity and cost of DCC.

Additional Info

The YardMaster puts out a fractional second "burst" to the electric turnout (track switch). This means that it is impossible to overheat or damage electric turnouts. For switching reliablity pure DC voltage drives the switch instead of a half-wave rectified AC voltage which other systems use. This gives MUCH more power to the turnout and eliminates the need for "boosters" or amplifiers to drive the switch. The YardMaster is also able to control 3 wire and slow-motion switch machines.

The YardMaster can run out of the box as-is, or be programmed to provide a time delay feature, lap counting, or "node" controller operation. The "Node Controller" operation allows programming an ID into each YardMaster and wiring them all in parallel using a "Y" data cables. When multiple YardMasters are hooked up this way they will fire sequentially when attached to a StationMaster. This makes wiring up multi-train sidings very easy.

The YardMaster will work for all trains scales: G, O, On30, HO, N. Even battery powered trains can use the "SmartSwitch" hookup as described in the manual. Since relays are used for station stops, DC and AC trains can both be controlled.

The built in Signal Light operation operates very prototypically for added fun. In addition to switching between lamps in synchronization with the relay and turnouts, the "turned on lamp" will enter a slow blinking state every few minutes to give your railroad that extra added realism.

Short circuit protection is also provided on all output lines. If a turnout or signal lamp wire is short-circuited the YardMaster will flash blue to indicate a short has occurred.

The YardMaster contains a current sensor which allows easy automatic back-and-forth reversing operations, and station stops using any train out of the box without any modifications at all.

Advanced hookups shown in the user manual can also be done by adding external relays. The YardMaster has ports which allow plugging in additional relays as required.

The YardMaster is perfect for Christmas displays and adds to the excitement when the train starts "all by itself" using the Station Stop hookup. (With or without sensors) Commercial displays will benefit by reducing the wear on engines thereby increasing their life. Theoretically, if it takes a minute to go around the layout, and there is a minute stop at the station, then the life of the engine has been doubled! (The frequency of track cleaning is reduced also!!!)

Click Here to download the current user manual with hookup details and instructions.