Hang’em high revisited


At one point in the past I wrote that placing radio receivers in an elevated location can improve reception with wireless throttles, and I still recommend that. With that post I included the attached photo of a mounting box used on a friends layout for his Digitrax UR91 and UR92 receivers. As a result of recent troubleshooting experiences I have a few tips for designing similar mounting boxes and installing new equipment.

First, don’t assume that you can install your receivers in the box and never have to access it again. There will eventually come the day when you need to either disconnect the network cable or the power supply as part of troubleshooting and testing. For this, having the mounting box installed so it can be easily removed from the wall or the unit can be easily removed is important.

In my friends’ case we needed to do a reset of his UR92. However to do that you need to disconnect the Loconet cable, and be able to push a small button at the rear of the board adjacent to the power supply connector. This meant we had to essentially disassemble the entire installation in order to access the cables and button. This type of operation is also required to do a firmware update since the unit must be isolated from other equipment on the network.

What this all comes down to is a warning to read ahead and plan for maintenance before you build mounting boxes, etc., and install new components. If a component may need isolating for periodic updates or troubleshooting, design its installation so you can get to it easily and take it down if necessary. This holds true no matter whether it is a wireless receiver, booster, circuit breaker, autoreverser, or any other device. As a student of human nature I can tell you that the harder it is to get access to something, the less likely you are to do the required preventive maintenance and testing required to keep your system functioning at its peak.

3 comments

  • Great post as usual Larry. I am playing around with 3D Printing in my “spare” time and making a two part clamshell style enclosure for the Digitrax UP and UR range is on my “to do” list.

  • Accessibility is the key word here. This goes back to the post last week where Terry and I mentioned about using pull out drawers for most electronic items. Of course you probably wouldn’t need a drawer for your U92, assuming you have mounted up high, as Larry suggest, but the idea is the same “easy access”. A simple enclosure with a hinged front panel, that can be pulled down would be one way to go.

    • Good points Don. I wish I had room for pullout drawers but with a multideck layout my space between decks is limited and reserved for my Tortoises. I actually did manage to install three pullout drawers but they are at yardmaster positions to be used for paperwork.

      On the Piedmont Southern I eventually plan to build a plexiglass box to hold both the UR91 and UR92 up near the ceiling attached to a lally column in the middle of the layout room. It will be basically held in place by the wires and gravity alone so I can just disconnect the Loconet and power and pull it down. The KISS principle applies.