GCA94 8 Input power efficient current detector.


By Richard Andrews, Helmut Schäfer and Peter Giling


The current detector GCA93 is a reliable way to creatie feed-back in your layout.
But many railroaders experience the 1,2 Volt loss of power as not appreciable.
Richard Andrews had this same thought and has been experimenting with different options by using a current tranformer more or less directly connected to A/D converter.
In that way, without any form of amplification, it is hard to reach the minimal 2,6 Volt, you need to activate an input suitable to be used straight to digital systems.
It was fearly easy to add an amplificator to it, but that also increased the sensitivity to distorsions.
In Germany, Helmut Schäfer created a different approach, using two transistors of which the first one is in normal conducting state.
This eliminates the sensitivity to distorsion, as always produced by running trains.
http://www.digitalzentrale.de sells this board in two or four ports.
This superb design of Helmut Schäfer is permitted to be used for the GCA94.
GCA94 is made to accept 8 inputs, and can be used like GCA93, straight to GCA50, CAN-GC2 or GCA_PI02
No measureable power loss is the result, and there is no need to protect each input with a PTC Fuse, like on GCA93.
The unit is functional compatible with GCA93, also each input has its own indicator led.
One of the two wires to the rails is feeded through any of the coils, which will mostly be sufficient for any locomotive or illuminated waggons
For more sensitivity, a second or third loop through the coil is possible, which could be necessary when you like to detect also
10K resistors, mounted between the two wheels of a waggon.
One other way to increase the sensitifity is to feed both rail wires through the coil, but in opposite directions.

The board, professionally made.

though parts are reasonably small,
it is still a rather simpel unit for do it yourself

The hardware

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