Topics

Anyone remember a basic overview of the D G Line Blocks?


Randy Lee Decker
 

I was so close to taking the plunge and going DCC... but the $$ costs and time of redoing the engines I have already redone years ago with can motors and some with new gearing.  Also with little knowledge of, nor monetary fortitude to take the plunge into this interesting new system... I am going to break out the DC units I have (they do have walk around controllers and etc.) and stay old school and also keep more original.   

I am curious to know;  does anyone still visit this site who remembers the operations fairly well and can possibly give me some kind of a "Block" Map.    I can do what I think would work easy enough.... but it would be fun to see if I can't replicate the main line somewhat the same as Johns at the controls. 

Randy

    


Warner Swarner
 

Randy,
I can’t be of much help on the actual wiring but I can sure send you encouragement.  Old school block wiring makes so much sense for a tribute layout AND in my book it’s more fun To assign electrical blocks the way a dispatcher would issue permissive orders.  Since with DCC you still have to wire reverse blocks and plenty of power feeders, and you still have to depend on clean track to deliver control signals, I agree with your decision to stay with DC block control.  I am aware of all the other “features” DCC can offer but John had a world of fun with two (I believe) road cabs and two (I think) local yard switching cabs (Port, and Divide).    I hope someone will correct me, as I love to hear the old recollections, especially electrical, explained in detail.   Combinations of DPDTs or two-ganged rotary switches are delightfully straight-forward interlocking controls.  Functioning control panels make operations more enjoyable.  The quantum leap for me was in going to totally dead rail in large scale.  Until that becomes practical with self contained power-on-board and radio (blue tooth) control of locos in small scale, I remain happy to just watch all my HO friends clean track and juice frogs.  
Stay well, my friend and keep DC alive. 
Warner



On Aug 18, 2020, at 1:11 PM, Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...> wrote:

I was so close to taking the plunge and going DCC... but the $$ costs and time of redoing the engines I have already redone years ago with can motors and some with new gearing.  Also with little knowledge of, nor monetary fortitude to take the plunge into this interesting new system... I am going to break out the DC units I have (they do have walk around controllers and etc.) and stay old school and also keep more original.   

I am curious to know;  does anyone still visit this site who remembers the operations fairly well and can possibly give me some kind of a "Block" Map.    I can do what I think would work easy enough.... but it would be fun to see if I can't replicate the main line somewhat the same as Johns at the controls. 

Randy

    


Randy Lee Decker
 

LOL I know I am truly old school at heart because it was like a weight was lifted when I opened the boxes of power units I have here and made my choice to stay with DC.     I am not sure how many guys from the old days still visit the site..    But if none of the operators respond I will try and get a hold of the two operators I know who I always have fun talking with.   It is worth the effort to do this part the same as John if I can. 

Good to hear from you Warner. 


Jeffrey L Witt
 

I use basic TCS T1 decoders (no sound). They are quiet (no motor hum even at the lowest speeds), have superb low-speed performance, and cost $20 - $24. I do power all my frogs via the Tortoise contacts, but I would do that for DC too. With the Kadee couplers, though, I am old school and do NOT use picks - use hidden and electro ramps, so you better plan your switching moves carefully! No hands reaching into the layout space!


Drew M.
 

Isn't there a good photo in The Book which shows the control panel at Gorre pretty well?

Drew

Modeling the pre-Depression years.

Sent from TypeApp

On Aug 18, 2020, at 17:25, Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...> wrote:
LOL I know I am truly old school at heart because it was like a weight was lifted when I opened the boxes of power units I have here and made my choice to stay with DC.     I am not sure how many guys from the old days still visit the site..    But if none of the operators respond I will try and get a hold of the two operators I know who I always have fun talking with.   It is worth the effort to do this part the same as John if I can. 

Good to hear from you Warner. 


David
 

Randy-

You can wire the layout for conventional DC. If you ever make the jump to DCC it would be very easy since all you would need to do is to set all the DPDT block switches so that they are switched the same. The only issue will be the reverse blocks, since they would not be automated you would need to switch them manually after the locomotive enters the reverse loop. One thing is that you would need to have the locomotives have decoders in them. Standard (non-sound) decoders run around $17 each. Sound decoders run around $120 each. Yes, the control system is somewhat costly at $300-500 for the system. Throttles run around $100-250 each depending on the type and manufacturer. I hope you try DCC it makes train operation much easier and much more realistic.

David (Dry Gulch & Western)

On Tuesday, August 18, 2020, 01:11:13 PM PDT, Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...> wrote:


I was so close to taking the plunge and going DCC... but the $$ costs and time of redoing the engines I have already redone years ago with can motors and some with new gearing.  Also with little knowledge of, nor monetary fortitude to take the plunge into this interesting new system... I am going to break out the DC units I have (they do have walk around controllers and etc.) and stay old school and also keep more original.   

I am curious to know;  does anyone still visit this site who remembers the operations fairly well and can possibly give me some kind of a "Block" Map.    I can do what I think would work easy enough.... but it would be fun to see if I can't replicate the main line somewhat the same as Johns at the controls. 

Randy

    


Randy Lee Decker
 

Drew, yes there are some great shots of the board, even some as it exists yet today.  And I could easily just place my own block sections at logical locations along the routes and probably come close.  It is not a super important answer for me to find.    I just thought that since I am getting into more track and making choices on systems I might just as well do this as accurately as possible since it might just be a simple memory that some of the original operators may still have and have never been asked before.      I thought it might be fun to discuss.    Some of the breaks in the track might even be visible in photographs if I search enough. 

I am sure I will simply figure it out thought my own sources but am also curious to know if there are any operators who still visit here. 

Randy   


Victor Bitleris
 

Hi folks, for DCC, you can get an auto reverser from MRC or Digitrax for about $25 to $35.  Super easy to wire up and no need to worry about polarity changing switches.

Vic Bitleris Raleigh, NC


From: GandD@groups.io <GandD@groups.io> on behalf of David via groups.io <hi61izq@...>
Sent: Wednesday, August 19, 2020 12:49 AM
To: GandD@groups.io <GandD@groups.io>
Subject: Re: [GandD] Anyone remember a basic overview of the D G Line Blocks?
 
Randy-

You can wire the layout for conventional DC. If you ever make the jump to DCC it would be very easy since all you would need to do is to set all the DPDT block switches so that they are switched the same. The only issue will be the reverse blocks, since they would not be automated you would need to switch them manually after the locomotive enters the reverse loop. One thing is that you would need to have the locomotives have decoders in them. Standard (non-sound) decoders run around $17 each. Sound decoders run around $120 each. Yes, the control system is somewhat costly at $300-500 for the system. Throttles run around $100-250 each depending on the type and manufacturer. I hope you try DCC it makes train operation much easier and much more realistic.

David (Dry Gulch & Western)
On Tuesday, August 18, 2020, 01:11:13 PM PDT, Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...> wrote:


I was so close to taking the plunge and going DCC... but the $$ costs and time of redoing the engines I have already redone years ago with can motors and some with new gearing.  Also with little knowledge of, nor monetary fortitude to take the plunge into this interesting new system... I am going to break out the DC units I have (they do have walk around controllers and etc.) and stay old school and also keep more original.   

I am curious to know;  does anyone still visit this site who remembers the operations fairly well and can possibly give me some kind of a "Block" Map.    I can do what I think would work easy enough.... but it would be fun to see if I can't replicate the main line somewhat the same as Johns at the controls. 

Randy

    


Randy Lee Decker
 

Hey Dave, Jeff....  I will have to call you guys about this, just to be more sure of the things I have been looking at.  I do want the very best system that I can afford to do here.   

I am figuring for 3 zones and the numbers I am adding up are about $1000 for the main power and two boosters, connections and gizmo's to operate switches and accessories  .... and with just two "good" throttles  $1400 is the low end.     And then if I go with tortoise machines (around 50 of them) we are talking $2000. 

 Now I could just put a sound unit in three or four engines and leave the rest with basic decoders..  (had not thought of that till now) That would reduce the $2500 -$3000 price tag down to about  $1000.  So that It is a thought to reconsider.   But the new total is still around $4000 for a (NCE system)  ...    Back when I was working this would not be a second thought.  Today it's honestly not in the cards.  I have had to learn to live cheaply (like John).   
    

I have engines ready for DC and all the power untis and toggles and  I am just digging in and wiring this old school.  It is a tribute so it does have some extra historic value in going this way.  


Randy Lee Decker
 

Total is $3000.     


Ken Moordigian
 

Randy, 

I seem to recall the yard limit sign was the end of the block, but I could be mis-remembering as it was over 2 weeks ago or more.

Ken



Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.


-------- Original message --------
From: Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...>
Date: 8/19/20 6:18 AM (GMT-08:00)
To: GandD@groups.io
Subject: Re: [GandD] Anyone remember a basic overview of the D G Line Blocks?

Drew, yes there are some great shots of the board, even some as it exists yet today.  And I could easily just place my own block sections at logical locations along the routes and probably come close.  It is not a super important answer for me to find.    I just thought that since I am getting into more track and making choices on systems I might just as well do this as accurately as possible since it might just be a simple memory that some of the original operators may still have and have never been asked before.      I thought it might be fun to discuss.    Some of the breaks in the track might even be visible in photographs if I search enough. 

I am sure I will simply figure it out thought my own sources but am also curious to know if there are any operators who still visit here. 

Randy   


Charles Kinzer
 

With DCC it is dangerous to NOT use an auto reverser.  You can get situations where out of phase track ends can effectively result in double the track voltage to an engine bridging the gaps.  (Lost three decoders in a short time due to this problem at a local museum layout).  Auto reversers apparently work fast enough that any situation of this doubled voltage is short enough to be safe for decoders.

 

By the way, the museum uses Digitrax (I forget who for reversers and “frog juicers”).  I think the majority of our crew recommends NCE.  I recommend NCE.

 

Charles E. “Chuck” Kinzer

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: Randy Lee Decker
Sent: Wednesday, August 19, 2020 7:19 AM
To: GandD@groups.io
Subject: Re: [GandD] Anyone remember a basic overview of the D G Line Blocks?

 

Total is $3000.     

 


Russell Courtenay
 

Something to remember if you are staying with DC: DCC dual mode decoders also work in DC and vastly improve the operating qualities. Here is a video of my only On30 DCC loco running in DC, the last few seconds is a demonstration of crawling from tie to tie. 

It runs flawlessly slow and smoothly like I have only seen in HO DC locos with precision motors and carefully built drive trains. Difficult operating qualities is why I didn’t stay with HO and HOn3 in my experiments in the ‘80’s 

https://youtu.be/OY5ekGoBVvE

Since this time a good friend gave me an entire Digitrax DCC system, just have to figure out what to do with it, I don’t really like its panel of 100 buttons...

Russell Courtenay
Solemnity and profundity are sublime in inequity. 


On Aug 19, 2020, at 8:30 AM, Charles Kinzer <ckinzer@...> wrote:

With DCC it is dangerous to NOT use an auto reverser.  You can get situations where out of phase track ends can effectively result in double the track voltage to an engine bridging the gaps.  (Lost three decoders in a short time due to this problem at a local museum layout).  Auto reversers apparently work fast enough that any situation of this doubled voltage is short enough to be safe for decoders.

 

By the way, the museum uses Digitrax (I forget who for reversers and “frog juicers”).  I think the majority of our crew recommends NCE.  I recommend NCE.

 

Charles E. “Chuck” Kinzer

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: Randy Lee Decker
Sent: Wednesday, August 19, 2020 7:19 AM
To: GandD@groups.io
Subject: Re: [GandD] Anyone remember a basic overview of the D G Line Blocks?

 

Total is $3000.     

 


Eugen Takacs
 

Hi Randy, 
do not forget the this does not ends when you invest few thousand bugs into DCC. It is a new system, it will always ask for some upgrades or changes, and the troubleshooting is not a job for an average modeller. (I am running a digital layout over 20 years, and less and less members of the club bring their digitalized locomotives, so I had to switch back one part of the layout to pure analoge. :-) ). 
On my workbench I have always a few broken machines for repair......
Best regards from Austria

Gesendet von Yahoo Mail für iPad

Am Mittwoch, August 19, 2020, 15:52 schrieb Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...>:

Hey Dave, Jeff....  I will have to call you guys about this, just to be more sure of the things I have been looking at.  I do want the very best system that I can afford to do here.   

I am figuring for 3 zones and the numbers I am adding up are about $1000 for the main power and two boosters, connections and gizmo's to operate switches and accessories  .... and with just two "good" throttles  $1400 is the low end.     And then if I go with tortoise machines (around 50 of them) we are talking $2000. 

 Now I could just put a sound unit in three or four engines and leave the rest with basic decoders..  (had not thought of that till now) That would reduce the $2500 -$3000 price tag down to about  $1000.  So that It is a thought to reconsider.   But the new total is still around $4000 for a (NCE system)  ...    Back when I was working this would not be a second thought.  Today it's honestly not in the cards.  I have had to learn to live cheaply (like John).   
    

I have engines ready for DC and all the power untis and toggles and  I am just digging in and wiring this old school.  It is a tribute so it does have some extra historic value in going this way.  


David
 

Hi Randy,

This might be a process of teaching an old dog new tricks! Just kidding... Besides when I started my layout I was going to do DC but made the jump to DCC and never looked back. My layout still has some block wiring for DC but it will never be used again.

Cost, it all depends on the system. I use Digitrax for my layout. The prices I quoted you in the previous email are current prices. The system is very simple and can be set up where you do not have to make the major purchase all at once. I think that would be the best approach to any large layout.

I agree NCE is a really nice system and has some great features but it is probably the most expensive system out there. Digitrax is a "good" system and it does have its limitations but it works very well for my purposes. The way I would approach installation of a DCC system (any system) is to go step by step. To operate a Digitrax system you only need one programmable throttle ($250) which can "run" two trains. Slave throttles can be purchased for around $100. Since are just starting out you can get a system (8 amp) for around $500 that will have the base unit and a programmable throttle. Yes, you will need to purchase a "power supply" that costs around $100, you may be able to find one on Ebay for less. As you build and enlarge your layout you can add additional slave base units and power supplies to create power districts. Those run around $200-250 each for the slave base unit (5 amp). The good thing is that you do not need them up front, they can be added at a later time when the layout gets larger or you run a lot more trains at once. That is what I did on my layout. The only thing you need to do for power districts is the make sure both rails are gapped to create an independent section of the layout. If we talk I can explain what can be done so that you can run the layout while keeping the rails gapped.

Auto-reversers (for changing polarity) are not that expensive and are really neat items. They take care of reverse loops without the hassle of throwing switches. I have 3 PM-42s on my layout to handle all the reverse loops and turntables. They run about $80 each and can handle 4 reverse loops each. So, realistically each reverse loop costs about $20 each. That is a very small price to pay for the amount of hassle that system saves.

I admit the decision is yours, you can go with the historical approach and I understand your reasons. I think the wiring of a historical system is much more complex and does have its own issues. Feeder wires need to be placed no matter what system you use, conventional DC or DCC, so that is a moot point. Any DCC system is not cheap but it can be done gradually so that the cost is spread out over time.

Installation of DCC decoders is a hassle (sometimes) but once you get the hang of it the process does get much easier. Now that decoders are getting smaller and smaller it makes installation much easier. The other thing is that you can buy some sound locomotives at very reasonable prices! Yes, a sound decoder is around $100-120 not including the speaker. Some sound locomotives are in the $180 price range. You can get BLI locomotives with great sound systems for under $300. Speakers run about $20 but are much cheaper on Ebay. I have found sugar cube speakers for around $15 including the housing on Ebay.

Again, the system you may need depends on how many locomotives you will be running at one time on your layout. If your locomotives do not use much power (less than 1 amp each) then technically you could safely run 5-8 locomotives at a single time. My operating sessions had only 6 locomotives running at a single time and that was with 6 operators. That is also something you will need to consider if you choose DCC.

With either DC or DCC certain wiring will be the same but the DC system will require an operator to "throw blocks" appropriately and that can be a major hassle if that same operator needs to "follow a train" in the mountain scenery or do switching chores. That will depend on how big the control blocks are.

Yes, Tortoise switch machines have become very expensive. I am not sure how to avoid those costs You could use a throw rod system to cut costs. Arduino controlled motor systems can cut the costs for turnouts. I hope this information helps. Take care.

David (Dry Gulch & Western)

On Wednesday, August 19, 2020, 06:52:32 AM PDT, Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...> wrote:


Hey Dave, Jeff....  I will have to call you guys about this, just to be more sure of the things I have been looking at.  I do want the very best system that I can afford to do here.   

I am figuring for 3 zones and the numbers I am adding up are about $1000 for the main power and two boosters, connections and gizmo's to operate switches and accessories  .... and with just two "good" throttles  $1400 is the low end.     And then if I go with tortoise machines (around 50 of them) we are talking $2000. 

 Now I could just put a sound unit in three or four engines and leave the rest with basic decoders..  (had not thought of that till now) That would reduce the $2500 -$3000 price tag down to about  $1000.  So that It is a thought to reconsider.   But the new total is still around $4000 for a (NCE system)  ...    Back when I was working this would not be a second thought.  Today it's honestly not in the cards.  I have had to learn to live cheaply (like John).   
    

I have engines ready for DC and all the power untis and toggles and  I am just digging in and wiring this old school.  It is a tribute so it does have some extra historic value in going this way.  


David
 

Russell,

The many buttons on the Digitrax throttles are used for programming purposes. Most of the buttons are never used for normal operation of a locomotive. Besides, I use DecoderPro for programming my locomotives. It is freeware so there is no cost and it does a good job of basic programming of a locomotive. Yes, complex lighting such as ditch lights. step lights, wheel lights, or multiple color cab lights needs more complex programming but I don't need that type of set up.

David (Dry Gulch & Western)

On Wednesday, August 19, 2020, 07:54:14 AM PDT, Russell Courtenay via groups.io <walruswebtech@...> wrote:


Something to remember if you are staying with DC: DCC dual mode decoders also work in DC and vastly improve the operating qualities. Here is a video of my only On30 DCC loco running in DC, the last few seconds is a demonstration of crawling from tie to tie. 

It runs flawlessly slow and smoothly like I have only seen in HO DC locos with precision motors and carefully built drive trains. Difficult operating qualities is why I didn’t stay with HO and HOn3 in my experiments in the ‘80’s 

https://youtu.be/OY5ekGoBVvE

Since this time a good friend gave me an entire Digitrax DCC system, just have to figure out what to do with it, I don’t really like its panel of 100 buttons...

Russell Courtenay
Solemnity and profundity are sublime in inequity. 


On Aug 19, 2020, at 8:30 AM, Charles Kinzer <ckinzer@...> wrote:

With DCC it is dangerous to NOT use an auto reverser.  You can get situations where out of phase track ends can effectively result in double the track voltage to an engine bridging the gaps.  (Lost three decoders in a short time due to this problem at a local museum layout).  Auto reversers apparently work fast enough that any situation of this doubled voltage is short enough to be safe for decoders.

 

By the way, the museum uses Digitrax (I forget who for reversers and “frog juicers”).  I think the majority of our crew recommends NCE.  I recommend NCE.

 

Charles E. “Chuck” Kinzer

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: Randy Lee Decker
Sent: Wednesday, August 19, 2020 7:19 AM
To: GandD@groups.io
Subject: Re: [GandD] Anyone remember a basic overview of the D G Line Blocks?

 

Total is $3000.     

 


Charles Kinzer
 

Regarding Tortoise switch machines:  I’m not sure they are all that expensive.  They can be had for $10 to $15 each.  They are used in large numbers on our museum layout.  Their huge plus is probably their near perfect reliability.

 

But there is a new switch machine offered by Walthers that we may be using in the future.  It is very well designed.

 

It uses a servo motor controlled and can be set to a “center” position.  This is VERY handy for adjusting the throw of the turnout and they even provide a little plastic jig that acts as spacers for the points to make the job even easier.  It’s electronics is extremely feature rich allowing local and remote control, lights in many fashions, and so forth.  Has plenty of dry contacts, too.  They offer it in vertical and horizontal mounting formats.  Priced at $24.98 and currently on sale at Walthers for $20.98.

 

Vertical:

 

https://www.walthers.com/walthers-control-system-switch-machine

 

Horizontal:

 

https://www.walthers.com/walthers-layout-control-system-horizontal-switch-machine

 

One of our members evaluated these things pretty close and these may be the best switch machines ever made.

 

Here are their instructions (something wrong with their page numbering, but about 25 pages).  There are so many pages because of all the things this CAN do (far beyond the Tortoise capability), not necessarily what any one person WILL do. 

 

https://s3.amazonaws.com/aws.walthers.com/942-101+Switch+Machine+Instruction+Sheet+and+Advance+Control+Manual.pdf

 

Regarding Digitrax, one of the things I don’t like is that it is annoyingly buggy.  And (as someone who managed a software development department for many years) I very much dislike how they break a cardinal rule of good user interface design.  And that is “never lie to the user”.  If you select engines on their DT402 type dual throttles and then power everything down, when you power back up, your selected engine numbers still show – but they are NOT actually selected any more.  You try to run, and you get nothing.  You have to re-select engine numbers that are already showing.  How they stack up engine numbers and never purge them can lead to a mess that I don’t think occurs with any other DCC system (as far as I know).  That said, people can get accustomed to even a poorly designed system once they get to know “where the bodies are buried” and may begin to forget how obtuse the system really is.  To use it for programming is rather more cryptic than the far more user friendly NCE, but it’s best to use a computer and JMRI for programming anyway no matter what DCC system you use, especially for a large setup.

 

Charles E. “Chuck” Kinzer

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: David via groups.io
Sent: Wednesday, August 19, 2020 8:32 AM
To: gandd@groups.io; GandD@groups.io
Subject: Re: [GandD] Anyone remember a basic overview of the D G Line Blocks?

 

Hi Randy,

This might be a process of teaching an old dog new tricks! Just kidding... Besides when I started my layout I was going to do DC but made the jump to DCC and never looked back. My layout still has some block wiring for DC but it will never be used again.

Cost, it all depends on the system. I use Digitrax for my layout. The prices I quoted you in the previous email are current prices. The system is very simple and can be set up where you do not have to make the major purchase all at once. I think that would be the best approach to any large layout.

I agree NCE is a really nice system and has some great features but it is probably the most expensive system out there. Digitrax is a "good" system and it does have its limitations but it works very well for my purposes. The way I would approach installation of a DCC system (any system) is to go step by step. To operate a Digitrax system you only need one programmable throttle ($250) which can "run" two trains. Slave throttles can be purchased for around $100. Since are just starting out you can get a system (8 amp) for around $500 that will have the base unit and a programmable throttle. Yes, you will need to purchase a "power supply" that costs around $100, you may be able to find one on Ebay for less. As you build and enlarge your layout you can add additional slave base units and power supplies to create power districts. Those run around $200-250 each for the slave base unit (5 amp). The good thing is that you do not need them up front, they can be added at a later time when the layout gets larger or you run a lot more trains at once. That is what I did on my layout. The only thing you need to do for power districts is the make sure both rails are gapped to create an independent section of the layout. If we talk I can explain what can be done so that you can run the layout while keeping the rails gapped.

Auto-reversers (for changing polarity) are not that expensive and are really neat items. They take care of reverse loops without the hassle of throwing switches. I have 3 PM-42s on my layout to handle all the reverse loops and turntables. They run about $80 each and can handle 4 reverse loops each. So, realistically each reverse loop costs about $20 each. That is a very small price to pay for the amount of hassle that system saves.

I admit the decision is yours, you can go with the historical approach and I understand your reasons. I think the wiring of a historical system is much more complex and does have its own issues. Feeder wires need to be placed no matter what system you use, conventional DC or DCC, so that is a moot point. Any DCC system is not cheap but it can be done gradually so that the cost is spread out over time.

Installation of DCC decoders is a hassle (sometimes) but once you get the hang of it the process does get much easier. Now that decoders are getting smaller and smaller it makes installation much easier. The other thing is that you can buy some sound locomotives at very reasonable prices! Yes, a sound decoder is around $100-120 not including the speaker. Some sound locomotives are in the $180 price range. You can get BLI locomotives with great sound systems for under $300. Speakers run about $20 but are much cheaper on Ebay. I have found sugar cube speakers for around $15 including the housing on Ebay.

Again, the system you may need depends on how many locomotives you will be running at one time on your layout. If your locomotives do not use much power (less than 1 amp each) then technically you could safely run 5-8 locomotives at a single time. My operating sessions had only 6 locomotives running at a single time and that was with 6 operators. That is also something you will need to consider if you choose DCC.

With either DC or DCC certain wiring will be the same but the DC system will require an operator to "throw blocks" appropriately and that can be a major hassle if that same operator needs to "follow a train" in the mountain scenery or do switching chores. That will depend on how big the control blocks are.

Yes, Tortoise switch machines have become very expensive. I am not sure how to avoid those costs You could use a throw rod system to cut costs. Arduino controlled motor systems can cut the costs for turnouts. I hope this information helps. Take care.

David (Dry Gulch & Western)

On Wednesday, August 19, 2020, 06:52:32 AM PDT, Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...> wrote:

 

 

Hey Dave, Jeff....  I will have to call you guys about this, just to be more sure of the things I have been looking at.  I do want the very best system that I can afford to do here.   

I am figuring for 3 zones and the numbers I am adding up are about $1000 for the main power and two boosters, connections and gizmo's to operate switches and accessories  .... and with just two "good" throttles  $1400 is the low end.     And then if I go with tortoise machines (around 50 of them) we are talking $2000. 

 Now I could just put a sound unit in three or four engines and leave the rest with basic decoders..  (had not thought of that till now) That would reduce the $2500 -$3000 price tag down to about  $1000.  So that It is a thought to reconsider.   But the new total is still around $4000 for a (NCE system)  ...    Back when I was working this would not be a second thought.  Today it's honestly not in the cards.  I have had to learn to live cheaply (like John).   
    

I have engines ready for DC and all the power untis and toggles and  I am just digging in and wiring this old school.  It is a tribute so it does have some extra historic value in going this way.  

 


Michael Rozeboom
 

On 2020-08-19 10:30 a.m., Charles Kinzer wrote:

With DCC it is dangerous to NOT use an auto reverser.  You can get situations where out of phase track ends can effectively result in double the track voltage to an engine bridging the gaps.  (Lost three decoders in a short time due to this problem at a local museum layout).  Auto reversers apparently work fast enough that any situation of this doubled voltage is short enough to be safe for decoders.

Not possible. One phase is on and the other is off.  Should they meet in those conditions, a short occurs and the booster (should) disconnects.

This is not multi-phase AC where 69V magically becomes 120V.




--




Michael Rozeboom


Team Amiga



David
 

Hi Chuck,

I don't have that problem with Digitrax. I power down my system regularly and when I power up the locomotives stay addressed and ready to run. Now if you want a buggy system let's talk about Office 365! Two words, it sucks!

David (Dry Gulch & Western)

On Wednesday, August 19, 2020, 09:03:32 AM PDT, Charles Kinzer <ckinzer@...> wrote:


Regarding Tortoise switch machines:  I’m not sure they are all that expensive.  They can be had for $10 to $15 each.  They are used in large numbers on our museum layout.  Their huge plus is probably their near perfect reliability.

 

But there is a new switch machine offered by Walthers that we may be using in the future.  It is very well designed.

 

It uses a servo motor controlled and can be set to a “center” position.  This is VERY handy for adjusting the throw of the turnout and they even provide a little plastic jig that acts as spacers for the points to make the job even easier.  It’s electronics is extremely feature rich allowing local and remote control, lights in many fashions, and so forth.  Has plenty of dry contacts, too.  They offer it in vertical and horizontal mounting formats.  Priced at $24.98 and currently on sale at Walthers for $20.98.

 

Vertical:

 

https://www.walthers.com/walthers-control-system-switch-machine

 

Horizontal:

 

https://www.walthers.com/walthers-layout-control-system-horizontal-switch-machine

 

One of our members evaluated these things pretty close and these may be the best switch machines ever made.

 

Here are their instructions (something wrong with their page numbering, but about 25 pages).  There are so many pages because of all the things this CAN do (far beyond the Tortoise capability), not necessarily what any one person WILL do. 

 

https://s3.amazonaws.com/aws.walthers.com/942-101+Switch+Machine+Instruction+Sheet+and+Advance+Control+Manual.pdf

 

Regarding Digitrax, one of the things I don’t like is that it is annoyingly buggy.  And (as someone who managed a software development department for many years) I very much dislike how they break a cardinal rule of good user interface design.  And that is “never lie to the user”.  If you select engines on their DT402 type dual throttles and then power everything down, when you power back up, your selected engine numbers still show – but they are NOT actually selected any more.  You try to run, and you get nothing.  You have to re-select engine numbers that are already showing.  How they stack up engine numbers and never purge them can lead to a mess that I don’t think occurs with any other DCC system (as far as I know).  That said, people can get accustomed to even a poorly designed system once they get to know “where the bodies are buried” and may begin to forget how obtuse the system really is.  To use it for programming is rather more cryptic than the far more user friendly NCE, but it’s best to use a computer and JMRI for programming anyway no matter what DCC system you use, especially for a large setup.

 

Charles E. “Chuck” Kinzer

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: David via groups.io
Sent: Wednesday, August 19, 2020 8:32 AM
To: gandd@groups.io; GandD@groups.io
Subject: Re: [GandD] Anyone remember a basic overview of the D G Line Blocks?

 

Hi Randy,

This might be a process of teaching an old dog new tricks! Just kidding... Besides when I started my layout I was going to do DC but made the jump to DCC and never looked back. My layout still has some block wiring for DC but it will never be used again.

Cost, it all depends on the system. I use Digitrax for my layout. The prices I quoted you in the previous email are current prices. The system is very simple and can be set up where you do not have to make the major purchase all at once. I think that would be the best approach to any large layout.

I agree NCE is a really nice system and has some great features but it is probably the most expensive system out there. Digitrax is a "good" system and it does have its limitations but it works very well for my purposes. The way I would approach installation of a DCC system (any system) is to go step by step. To operate a Digitrax system you only need one programmable throttle ($250) which can "run" two trains. Slave throttles can be purchased for around $100. Since are just starting out you can get a system (8 amp) for around $500 that will have the base unit and a programmable throttle. Yes, you will need to purchase a "power supply" that costs around $100, you may be able to find one on Ebay for less. As you build and enlarge your layout you can add additional slave base units and power supplies to create power districts. Those run around $200-250 each for the slave base unit (5 amp). The good thing is that you do not need them up front, they can be added at a later time when the layout gets larger or you run a lot more trains at once. That is what I did on my layout. The only thing you need to do for power districts is the make sure both rails are gapped to create an independent section of the layout. If we talk I can explain what can be done so that you can run the layout while keeping the rails gapped.

Auto-reversers (for changing polarity) are not that expensive and are really neat items. They take care of reverse loops without the hassle of throwing switches. I have 3 PM-42s on my layout to handle all the reverse loops and turntables. They run about $80 each and can handle 4 reverse loops each. So, realistically each reverse loop costs about $20 each. That is a very small price to pay for the amount of hassle that system saves.

I admit the decision is yours, you can go with the historical approach and I understand your reasons. I think the wiring of a historical system is much more complex and does have its own issues. Feeder wires need to be placed no matter what system you use, conventional DC or DCC, so that is a moot point. Any DCC system is not cheap but it can be done gradually so that the cost is spread out over time.

Installation of DCC decoders is a hassle (sometimes) but once you get the hang of it the process does get much easier. Now that decoders are getting smaller and smaller it makes installation much easier. The other thing is that you can buy some sound locomotives at very reasonable prices! Yes, a sound decoder is around $100-120 not including the speaker. Some sound locomotives are in the $180 price range. You can get BLI locomotives with great sound systems for under $300. Speakers run about $20 but are much cheaper on Ebay. I have found sugar cube speakers for around $15 including the housing on Ebay.

Again, the system you may need depends on how many locomotives you will be running at one time on your layout. If your locomotives do not use much power (less than 1 amp each) then technically you could safely run 5-8 locomotives at a single time. My operating sessions had only 6 locomotives running at a single time and that was with 6 operators. That is also something you will need to consider if you choose DCC.

With either DC or DCC certain wiring will be the same but the DC system will require an operator to "throw blocks" appropriately and that can be a major hassle if that same operator needs to "follow a train" in the mountain scenery or do switching chores. That will depend on how big the control blocks are.

Yes, Tortoise switch machines have become very expensive. I am not sure how to avoid those costs You could use a throw rod system to cut costs. Arduino controlled motor systems can cut the costs for turnouts. I hope this information helps. Take care.

David (Dry Gulch & Western)

On Wednesday, August 19, 2020, 06:52:32 AM PDT, Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...> wrote:

 

 

Hey Dave, Jeff....  I will have to call you guys about this, just to be more sure of the things I have been looking at.  I do want the very best system that I can afford to do here.   

I am figuring for 3 zones and the numbers I am adding up are about $1000 for the main power and two boosters, connections and gizmo's to operate switches and accessories  .... and with just two "good" throttles  $1400 is the low end.     And then if I go with tortoise machines (around 50 of them) we are talking $2000. 

 Now I could just put a sound unit in three or four engines and leave the rest with basic decoders..  (had not thought of that till now) That would reduce the $2500 -$3000 price tag down to about  $1000.  So that It is a thought to reconsider.   But the new total is still around $4000 for a (NCE system)  ...    Back when I was working this would not be a second thought.  Today it's honestly not in the cards.  I have had to learn to live cheaply (like John).   
    

I have engines ready for DC and all the power untis and toggles and  I am just digging in and wiring this old school.  It is a tribute so it does have some extra historic value in going this way.  

 


Charles Kinzer
 

Sorry, but it is absolutely possible.  One truck can be have the DCC of one phase and the other with the reversed phase (such as miswiring the phase for power blocks).  Depending on the engine wiring, this can have precisely the same effect as if you put two batteries in series.  We were absolutely able to confirm this using both a scope and an RRampMeter.  Plus, we had three decoders fail at the exact point between power blocks where this phase problem was occurring.  The fix was, I believe, traced to a reverser being miswired.

 

Whether or not a booster goes into protection (or any add-on current protection board such as we use at the museum) triggers depends on the amount of current.  The situation is NOT a protracted short, but rather a doubling of voltage to the DCC decoder’s power supply.  This did not exceed what the system was set to deliver to a potential many engines under power, but was provided enough current to fry a decoder.  The situation of the decoder was not a “short”, but rather a load that became a fairly high current load as it’s power supply rectifiers were burning out. 

 

Charles E. “Chuck” Kinzer

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: Michael Rozeboom
Sent: Wednesday, August 19, 2020 10:17 AM
To: GandD@groups.io
Subject: Re: [GandD] Anyone remember a basic overview of the D G Line Blocks?

 

On 2020-08-19 10:30 a.m., Charles Kinzer wrote:

With DCC it is dangerous to NOT use an auto reverser.  You can get situations where out of phase track ends can effectively result in double the track voltage to an engine bridging the gaps.  (Lost three decoders in a short time due to this problem at a local museum layout).  Auto reversers apparently work fast enough that any situation of this doubled voltage is short enough to be safe for decoders.

Not possible. One phase is on and the other is off.  Should they meet in those conditions, a short occurs and the booster (should) disconnects.

This is not multi-phase AC where 69V magically becomes 120V.

 

 

 

--

 

 

 

Michael Rozeboom

 

Team Amiga