Lionel Accessory Activation – 153IR

In addition to the outside insulated rail track block, Lionel offers options to have your accessories turned on and off by a train as it passes the accessory directly. There are three variations of the number “153” switch. The 153IR switch uses an infrared light spread to detect a passing train and activate the accessory.

153IR Front

The 153IR can be used with or without the track connection.

The 153IR (or Infrared) switch works with any track system to operate dual animation as well as single animation accessories. For FasTrack users, this is a more reliable approach than the 153C switch designed for use with traditional track.

To install the 153IR, you can either use or remove the track connection on the front of the device. All of the wiring connections are found on the back of the 153IR under a hinged cover. There is a switch under this hatch which will set the connection from track or auxiliary power. If you are using the track connection, set this switch to “Track.” Otherwise, simply move the switch to “Auxiliary” to connect to your 14 Volt AC accessory power supply.

153IR rear

All wire connections and controls are concealed on the back of the unit.

The 153IR is different from the 153C and 153E in that the switch works on the AC Hot side of the wiring instead of the AC Ground. Connect the “A” terminal to the AC Hot accessory bus or transformer terminal. And attach the “U” terminal to the AC Ground bus.

From the accessory itself, attach the AC Ground wire to the AC Ground terminal. Attach the hot wire for the normally “closed” animation to the normally closed connection. This is the animation / light that will be on when the train is not present. And attach the hot wire for the normally “open” animation to the open connection. This is the animation that is activated when the train is present. These positions correspond to the traditional clips on the 153C.

You can adjust the sensitivity of the IR detection and a delay timing so that the switch will remain “open” for a period after the train has departed. These controls are found inside the small silver box. It is best to set the sensitivity HIGH and the timer LOW when testing and starting and then adjust once you have everything installed.

To see all of this in more detail, watch the following video as we install a signal bridge:

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