Layout controls on the CFRR are divided up into several nodes distributed throughout the layout. These nodes are what route the turnouts and sense user inputs from the control panels. These nodes also provide feedback to the dispatcher's panel. These nodes are connected via LocoNet (serial network) which is backbone of layout. Each Node is composed of three basic components and can control four separate turnouts. There are currently 4 sensor ports which are not being used but will not go to waste. The three basic components of each node are the Digitrax DS-64, the daughter card, and the mounting plate.
A daugther card was needed for each node to ease wiring and reduce the amount of wire under the layout. The daughter card was designed to accept wires from the feedback LED's on the control panels and wires from the tortoise switch machines. Each Daughter card is capable of handling 4 sets of feedback LED's (2 LED's per set) and 4 tortoise inputs. The node above has two jumpers in place at the top of the daughter card. These jumpers are in place because the control panel with the feedback LED's has not been completed and installed yet.
Above is a double node. There are two panels currently that require double nodes. Each node will only handle four sets of turnouts. Two nodes are required if there are more than 4 inputs on a single panel.
Panel wiring is minimal, and fairly easy to troubleshoot. Each push button has two wires and each set of LED's has two wires. This amounts to a total of 16 wires (for a standard four button panel) that head back to the Node. The white wires attached to all of the push buttons is a common and are all wired together at the node. They are wired together at the node because it simplifies troubleshooting if a push button does go bad (one failed during installation on the workbench due to user error). CAT 5E network cable is used to connect the control panels to the nodes. Each cable contains 4 sets of twisted pairs. The pairs are color coded: blue and white, orange and white, greeen and white, brown and white. This color coding method is used to match up the turnout with their corresponding push button and Feedback LED set. Each Turnout on a node is assigned one of those four color sets.