Re: Walthers switch 942-101 and NCE PowerPro


Jim Betz
 

Ryan,
  It is not your switch (brand) nor your system (NCE) - all DCC layouts
(pretty much) operate the same basic way.  The part you are missing
is the "turnout status feedback" to JMRI/whoever cares.
  If you throw turnouts using the fascia - there are ways to get the
current status of the turnout ... but they aren't as simple as just
using DCC.
  The best of those methods - in my opinion - is to use LCC to
"control the layout" and DCC to control the trains.  If you do that
most guys would not use a stationary decoder to control the
turnout ... simply because decoders are DCC and DCC is a
"send and pray" system (you don't actually know that the
turnout has gotten the command and acted on it - you just
know that the command has been sent.
  Another method for doing this that some guys are using is
to use Arduinos.  

  ===> It is not important, and some would say not even desirable,
           to have your layout control use DCC.

  Implementing any kind of computer control of your layout is
not easy and can (usually? often?) involves a whole new layer of
"technology".  
  The choice to use DCC, LCC, Arduinos, ... whatever ... to control
your layout is often driven by the choice to implement some sort of
signaling system.

  I will tell you what my choice is/was.  My layout will be TT&TO which
means that it will not have signals.  It is based upon an actual 
prototype RR - in the late 40's/early 50's - and there weren't any
signals in use in that era.  BUT - I have considerable hidden track
in my staging.  So I have chosen to use LCC for staging and hand
thrown turnouts for the visible layout - with a few tortoise driven
turnouts where the turnout is hard to reach.  My layout room is
30 x 15 with a 10 x 10 bump out on one end.  There is one visible
layer and staging is under 2/3rds of the entire visible layout.  The
layout is "Ops oriented" and will have a crew of 6 or 7.
  Some of what I'm doing is based upon my preference to not use
DCC controlled turnouts.  I - this is me - do not like using DCC to
throw turnouts.  My other preference is that I don't want to use a
general purpose computer (JMRI, RR & Co., whatever) in order to
control the layout ... so to do my staging I had to choose between
"manual" and either LCC or arduino controls.

  Your methods may vary - model railroading is a series of choices
(some call them "compromises") and the above reflects what I
decided.
                                                                             - Jim

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