About Signals

Signals are an important part of LEGO train layouts. The bring light and action to your layout and improves the fun factor and experience on the layout significantly.

Form signals showing Hp2/Vr2
Form signals showing Hp2/Vr2

Signals can be separated into two groups:

  • Form signals (semaphores),
  • light signals.

Additionally, signals can be grouped into:

  • main signals and
  • distant signals.
Sempahore main and distant signal
Sempahore main and distant signal

Main signals must be obeyed in regards to their present aspect. A distant signal indicates the status of the next main signal.

Design examples

Designing fully functional, lighted and realistic form signals for the LEGO train system is a very challenging task.

Here is an example of a German semaphore main signal (design by MattzoBricks, building instructions):

German semaphore with 3 aspects
German semaphore with 3 aspects

The next picture shows an example of a German semaphore distant signal, probably one of the most iconic form signals in the world (design by MattzoBricks, building instructions):

German semaphore pre-signal with 3 aspects
German semaphore pre-signal with 3 aspects

This is a combination of a German light main signal and a distant signal (H/V system; design by MattzoBricks ):

Light Signal
Light Signal

Signals in MattzoBricks Train Automation System

The following diagram show the integration of signals into the overall MattzoBricks Train Automation System:

MattzoBricks Train Automation System: Signals
MattzoBricks Train Automation System: Signals

In the Mattzobricks Train Automation System 2.0, all signals are operated automatically. How this is being done is shown in this video:

Our signals are controlled with a component called MattzoLayoutController. Check out this page to find out how to build such a controller yourself.

Enjoy these beautiful German main and distant semaphores in the video about the firmware update 0.5:

If you are a purist and you find MattzoControllers are not for you, you may of course also build manually controlled form signals with pure LEGO Power Functions components, as in the example below.

4 thoughts on “Signals

  1. Hi Mattzo,

    I’m new to automation and I am wondering if you can automate the signals and occupation of the rails when the trains are driven manually. In your videos the trains are also automated, but I would like the same system but where I can manually drive the trains. Are there any ideas or instructions on how to do this?

    Thank you in advance for your reply.

    Best regards,
    Koen Schreurs
    The Netherlands

  2. Ist es irgendwie auch möglich die alten LEGO Signale 7860, welche durch änderung der Polarität rot/grün leuchten, in dieses Automatisierungssystem zu integrieren?

    1. Klar, das wäre grundsätzlich möglich. Du brauchst allerdings 12V Eingangsspannung und einen Logic Level Converter dafür, sonst wird das mit dem ESP-12 / ESP-8266 nichts.

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