Date   

Re: Unknown Programming Mode

JoAnn Donaldson
 

I have a digitrax PR4 and use it with JRMI and DecorderPro running on an LINUX laptop. I have had No problems and it is super fast.

JoAnn Donaldson


On Tuesday, March 2, 2021, 9:55:21 PM CST, Eric Osborne <erico20430@...> wrote:


Jim,

I joined the JRMIusers group.  Those are DEEP waters! :  )  Reading the steady stream of e-mail made me think real hard about springing for a serious base unit ($$$) without the need to be an expert in programming.  But I got sticker shock.  Arduino cards are really cheap ($10-20), and I started to think that I had smoked one of them.

I started researching how to assembly an Arduino controller assuming I would have to swap in a new board.  I watched a video on how to do it, and the author was using DCC++Ex software rather than Decoder Pro.  I figured I had nothing to lose by trying to set up the controller with the current suspect board using DCC++Ex.  The controller came back to life!  A few days later I tried Decoder Pro again, and it now recognizes the controller.  Woohoo!

Maybe someone else can benefit from this solution.

Thanks for your help!

Eric



On Mon, Feb 15, 2021 at 7:49 PM Jim Betz <jimbetz@...> wrote:
Eric,
  I suggest you might find better help for this kind of stuff on either the
JMRIusers or the LCC groups.io groups.  I think you are going to need
someone who understands DCC, Arduino, and USB at the hardware
level - and software as well.
                                                                                      - Jim


Re: Unknown Programming Mode

Eric Osborne
 

Jim,

I joined the JRMIusers group.  Those are DEEP waters! :  )  Reading the steady stream of e-mail made me think real hard about springing for a serious base unit ($$$) without the need to be an expert in programming.  But I got sticker shock.  Arduino cards are really cheap ($10-20), and I started to think that I had smoked one of them.

I started researching how to assembly an Arduino controller assuming I would have to swap in a new board.  I watched a video on how to do it, and the author was using DCC++Ex software rather than Decoder Pro.  I figured I had nothing to lose by trying to set up the controller with the current suspect board using DCC++Ex.  The controller came back to life!  A few days later I tried Decoder Pro again, and it now recognizes the controller.  Woohoo!

Maybe someone else can benefit from this solution.

Thanks for your help!

Eric



On Mon, Feb 15, 2021 at 7:49 PM Jim Betz <jimbetz@...> wrote:
Eric,
  I suggest you might find better help for this kind of stuff on either the
JMRIusers or the LCC groups.io groups.  I think you are going to need
someone who understands DCC, Arduino, and USB at the hardware
level - and software as well.
                                                                                      - Jim
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Re: Where to isolate on large loops and wye

Don Vollrath
 

This has certainly got away from the original topic question. Are we done yet ?

DonV


Re: Where to isolate on large loops and wye

Blair
 

This actually makes sense.  The length of static rail needs to be long enough to give the AR response time.  Simple enough at reasonable velocities.

Correction noted.

Blair

On 2021-02-26 13:11, whmvd wrote:
Hi Allan,

The length of one powered truck... I don't see how that could work. Take a loco with one motor, two trucks, both with power pick-up. The trucks would be electrically connected, turning them both into one electrical unit that would then bridge both gaps.

However.

This got me thinking further (always dangerous, I know). And I'm getting to the point of view that even 1 cm should suffice. Because the two gaps will not be straddled *simultaneously* - or if they are, that's only after the first one has done its switching, so it's harmless. Meaning there will be no fight between the AR-units, as one will switch first.

Wouter

On Fri, 26 Feb 2021 at 17:47, wirefordcc <bigboy@...> wrote:
Hi Art,

I had never thought about how long the fixed polarity section needs to be until this week.  I proposed that the length of the longest locomotive or lighted car should be enough.  If you were really strapped for track distance, the  length of a powered truck should also be fine.  I just propose as long as your longest locomotive so that you don't have to worry about which wheels are power pick up wheels. 

Allan Gartner
Wiring for DCC
DCC Currents


Re: Where to isolate on large loops and wye

whmvd
 

Hi Allan,

The length of one powered truck... I don't see how that could work. Take a loco with one motor, two trucks, both with power pick-up. The trucks would be electrically connected, turning them both into one electrical unit that would then bridge both gaps.

However.

This got me thinking further (always dangerous, I know). And I'm getting to the point of view that even 1 cm should suffice. Because the two gaps will not be straddled *simultaneously* - or if they are, that's only after the first one has done its switching, so it's harmless. Meaning there will be no fight between the AR-units, as one will switch first.

Wouter


On Fri, 26 Feb 2021 at 17:47, wirefordcc <bigboy@...> wrote:
Hi Art,

I had never thought about how long the fixed polarity section needs to be until this week.  I proposed that the length of the longest locomotive or lighted car should be enough.  If you were really strapped for track distance, the  length of a powered truck should also be fine.  I just propose as long as your longest locomotive so that you don't have to worry about which wheels are power pick up wheels. 

Allan Gartner
Wiring for DCC
DCC Currents


Re: Where to isolate on large loops and wye

Don Vollrath
 

The short fixed polarity track between two separately controlled AR sections...

When the first offending two axles and wheels bridge the gap between AR section 1 and fixed polarity track, AR 1 flips the polarity to agree with the fixed polarity track. This happens so quickly that a booster does not trip.

As those same two axles and wheels continue to roll to bridge the next gaps and bridge between fixed polarity and the second AR section, that AR controller also adjusts to the fixed polarity.

So now even though a longer passenger car spans over the short section of fixed polarity track and connects AR 1 directly with AR 2 they are already at the same polarity causing no conflicts.

The only reasons this may not work are that the axles/ wheels are dirty and keep the AR controllers from detecting a short and trip to correct it OR the train is traveling so fast that the short is not detected and the AR re-adjusted before the offending truck or loco passes completely passed the isolating gaps. Note that if the leading offending truck is a loco, it is likely connected to more than one other axle or truck making either of those scenarios almost impossible. But if racing trains is your game...

DonV


Re: Where to isolate on large loops and wye

wirefordcc
 

Hi Art,

I had never thought about how long the fixed polarity section needs to be until this week.  I proposed that the length of the longest locomotive or lighted car should be enough.  If you were really strapped for track distance, the  length of a powered truck should also be fine.  I just propose as long as your longest locomotive so that you don't have to worry about which wheels are power pick up wheels. 

Allan Gartner
Wiring for DCC
DCC Currents


Re: Where to isolate on large loops and wye

whmvd
 

Bill,

That's not something I'd ever be comfortable with (even if you could conceivably claim validity of the method by using one electronic AR-unit and one classic one with a relay in it). But however you twist it: you'd always be artificially prolonging the length of time a short persists, which is a bad thing. And to be perfectly honest: I think an alternative solution to two neighbouring AR sections should always be possible. I don't buy the premise!

Wouter


On Fri, 26 Feb 2021 at 16:40, D B <1932mgj2@...> wrote:
Another take on the terrific discussion of the question of the minimum length between AR-switched segments.  Hopefully thought-provoking if not illuminative.

Alan, another thought for you (and Wouter):

What if (for some reason) you need to have two AR-segments connected;  say, for example that you need an AR segment to enter a turntable (for reasons unknown — this is a hypothetical).  Of course the turntable would be normally AR-wired to accommodate the multiple tracks to which it may be connected.  Now, the train will be short, just the loco (and possibly a tender).  

Would it be possible to avoid the death spiral of the AR segments fighting with each other by varying the timing of the AR switches so one, e.g., the one connected to the turntable, is “faster” (quicker response time) than the other, e.g., the one connected to the lead-in track.  That way, the turntable AR would match the polarity of the lead-in track before the AR for the lead-in track was triggered.  

We have something like that in the timing between our AR switches and any in-line circuit-breaker, the reaction time for which is typically longer than that of the in-line AR switch.  

Could that work?  Don’t know why one would want/need to do this, but the potential variability of AR timing suggests some interesting possibilities for other applications as well.  

If it is indeed theoretically possible, would this work only in situations (such as this hypothetical) where the AR segment is very short — the length of a loco.  Not sure I understand why that would be the case, however.  

Bill D
N&W Steam Only

On Feb 26, 2021, at 10:57 AM, whmvd <vandoornw@...> wrote:

Don,

One multi-axle pick-up truck isn't always enough. Not if a loco with two trucks is involved, because then the two trucks are electrically connected. A one-truck length will then leave both gaps bridged by one unit leading to the problematic outcome.

Wouter

On Fri, 26 Feb 2021 at 14:52, Don Vollrath <donevol43@...> wrote:
Gents, any good AR control unit will detect a short circuit that occurs on either (or both) rail as metal wheels connected together on multiple axles roll across and span the isolating gaps while exiting an AR section and enter into a fixed polarity section of track. So that causes the exiting AR section to align its polarity to be the same as the fixed polarity track. That part is done. 

As that same multi-axle pickup rolls onto and spans the next isolating gaps (either rail or both) to enter a different AR controlled section of track there will be another connection to cause the next AR unit to align itself to the fixed polarity track. 

So the minimum length of fixed polarity track separating two separately controlled  AR sections of track needs to be only as long as a milt-axle pickup truck. Think loco, or passenger car, or tender. It doesn’t even need to be used for that purpose as long as there is an electrical connection between axles and wheels on at least one side of the truck to be connected together. This is what will cause the entering AR controller to also align itself to the fixed polarity track.

A convenient choice may be a turnout located between the AR sections  with insulating joiners on all 6 rails and wired for fixed polarity. (Or As someone else has pointed out... am entire double crossover with all 8 rails isolated )

DonV 






Re: Where to isolate on large loops and wye

wirefordcc
 



Hi Bill,

 

There are definitely cases when you need adjacent reversing sections.  I have one on my railroad.  Go to my website at:

 

http://www.wiringfordcc.com/track_2.htm#a43

 

and scroll down a bit to “Adjacent Reversing Sections.” I have provided examples with a balloon track and a turntable.


If you want to use automatic reversing units in adjacent reversing sections, there is at least one on the market that has adjustable timing.  This would theoretically make it possible to use two of them adjacent to one another.  I contacted that manufacturer and asked them about that.  They said while possible, getting them set up to work reliably could be difficult.  So they don't recommend that people try it.  Since they are not promoting that ability, I am leaving their name out here.

My next column in Model Railroading is on reversing.  It should be out any day now.  So when you hear your mail truck, rush out to your mail box!

Allan Gartner
Wiring for DCC
DCC Currents


Re: Where to isolate on large loops and wye

 

Thanks, Allan. That's one of the graphics I've been studying, and it's been helpful. Do you agree that the center, fixed polarity section needs to be as long as my longest train to avoid problems? 

Art


From: w4dccqa@groups.io <w4dccqa@groups.io> on behalf of wirefordcc <bigboy@...>
Sent: Friday, February 26, 2021 10:59 AM
To: w4dccqa@groups.io <w4dccqa@groups.io>
Subject: Re: [w4dccqa] Where to isolate on large loops and wye
 
Hi Art,

See my website at:

http://www.wiringfordcc.com/track_2.htm#a43

for reversing involving balloon tracks and crossovers.

Allan Gartner
Wiring for DCC


Re: Where to isolate on large loops and wye

wirefordcc
 

Hi Art,

See my website at:

http://www.wiringfordcc.com/track_2.htm#a43

for reversing involving balloon tracks and crossovers.

Allan Gartner
Wiring for DCC


Re: Where to isolate on large loops and wye

whmvd
 

Hi Art,

It looks like you go for stricter than necessary. We seem to have converged on the opinion that the fixed polarity stretch between two different auto-reversing sections need not be longer than the longest individual item of rolling stock (with pick-ups) that you own.

As to your last remark ("Short freight trains I've run as tests have the same problem of stalling out as they enter the fixed polarity, so I'm still confused") that, I fear, will have to do with incorrect wiring, or another train at the other end of one of the reversing sections bridging that gap simultaneously.

Wouter


On Fri, 26 Feb 2021 at 16:07, Art Maines <a_maines@...> wrote:
I've been reading all of your comments and trying to digest them and apply them to my situation, so thank you all. 
The problem I'm still having, I believe, is that I have 2 reversing loops both separated by and created by 2 crossovers in a fixed polarity section. I've been running test trains across the layout to see if I can figure this out (electricity and wiring is not my first language, LOL). I've been running Kato N scale Metra locos and 3 bilevel coach/cab car combinations. The cab car isn't technically a lighted car, but it does pick up electricity for the running lights/headlights since it runs in push-pull operations. I also have the new Kato NYC 20th Century Limited train I've been trying to run, this time with an observation car that is lighted with marker lights. It seems to me that I have to make the center, fixed polarity section long enough to have the longest train I run all in the fixed section and one other AR section. Is that correct? Short freight trains I've run as tests have the same problem of stalling out as they enter the fixed polarity, so I'm still confused. Any clarification would be great!


Re: Where to isolate on large loops and wye

D B
 

Another take on the terrific discussion of the question of the minimum length between AR-switched segments.  Hopefully thought-provoking if not illuminative.

Alan, another thought for you (and Wouter):

What if (for some reason) you need to have two AR-segments connected;  say, for example that you need an AR segment to enter a turntable (for reasons unknown — this is a hypothetical).  Of course the turntable would be normally AR-wired to accommodate the multiple tracks to which it may be connected.  Now, the train will be short, just the loco (and possibly a tender).  

Would it be possible to avoid the death spiral of the AR segments fighting with each other by varying the timing of the AR switches so one, e.g., the one connected to the turntable, is “faster” (quicker response time) than the other, e.g., the one connected to the lead-in track.  That way, the turntable AR would match the polarity of the lead-in track before the AR for the lead-in track was triggered.  

We have something like that in the timing between our AR switches and any in-line circuit-breaker, the reaction time for which is typically longer than that of the in-line AR switch.  

Could that work?  Don’t know why one would want/need to do this, but the potential variability of AR timing suggests some interesting possibilities for other applications as well.  

If it is indeed theoretically possible, would this work only in situations (such as this hypothetical) where the AR segment is very short — the length of a loco.  Not sure I understand why that would be the case, however.  

Bill D
N&W Steam Only

On Feb 26, 2021, at 10:57 AM, whmvd <vandoornw@...> wrote:

Don,

One multi-axle pick-up truck isn't always enough. Not if a loco with two trucks is involved, because then the two trucks are electrically connected. A one-truck length will then leave both gaps bridged by one unit leading to the problematic outcome.

Wouter

On Fri, 26 Feb 2021 at 14:52, Don Vollrath <donevol43@...> wrote:
Gents, any good AR control unit will detect a short circuit that occurs on either (or both) rail as metal wheels connected together on multiple axles roll across and span the isolating gaps while exiting an AR section and enter into a fixed polarity section of track. So that causes the exiting AR section to align its polarity to be the same as the fixed polarity track. That part is done. 

As that same multi-axle pickup rolls onto and spans the next isolating gaps (either rail or both) to enter a different AR controlled section of track there will be another connection to cause the next AR unit to align itself to the fixed polarity track. 

So the minimum length of fixed polarity track separating two separately controlled  AR sections of track needs to be only as long as a milt-axle pickup truck. Think loco, or passenger car, or tender. It doesn’t even need to be used for that purpose as long as there is an electrical connection between axles and wheels on at least one side of the truck to be connected together. This is what will cause the entering AR controller to also align itself to the fixed polarity track.

A convenient choice may be a turnout located between the AR sections  with insulating joiners on all 6 rails and wired for fixed polarity. (Or As someone else has pointed out... am entire double crossover with all 8 rails isolated )

DonV 






Re: Where to isolate on large loops and wye

 

I've been reading all of your comments and trying to digest them and apply them to my situation, so thank you all. 
The problem I'm still having, I believe, is that I have 2 reversing loops both separated by and created by 2 crossovers in a fixed polarity section. I've been running test trains across the layout to see if I can figure this out (electricity and wiring is not my first language, LOL). I've been running Kato N scale Metra locos and 3 bilevel coach/cab car combinations. The cab car isn't technically a lighted car, but it does pick up electricity for the running lights/headlights since it runs in push-pull operations. I also have the new Kato NYC 20th Century Limited train I've been trying to run, this time with an observation car that is lighted with marker lights. It seems to me that I have to make the center, fixed polarity section long enough to have the longest train I run all in the fixed section and one other AR section. Is that correct? Short freight trains I've run as tests have the same problem of stalling out as they enter the fixed polarity, so I'm still confused. Any clarification would be great!


Re: Where to isolate on large loops and wye

whmvd
 

Don,

One multi-axle pick-up truck isn't always enough. Not if a loco with two trucks is involved, because then the two trucks are electrically connected. A one-truck length will then leave both gaps bridged by one unit leading to the problematic outcome.

Wouter


On Fri, 26 Feb 2021 at 14:52, Don Vollrath <donevol43@...> wrote:
Gents, any good AR control unit will detect a short circuit that occurs on either (or both) rail as metal wheels connected together on multiple axles roll across and span the isolating gaps while exiting an AR section and enter into a fixed polarity section of track. So that causes the exiting AR section to align its polarity to be the same as the fixed polarity track. That part is done.

As that same multi-axle pickup rolls onto and spans the next isolating gaps (either rail or both) to enter a different AR controlled section of track there will be another connection to cause the next AR unit to align itself to the fixed polarity track.

So the minimum length of fixed polarity track separating two separately controlled  AR sections of track needs to be only as long as a milt-axle pickup truck. Think loco, or passenger car, or tender. It doesn’t even need to be used for that purpose as long as there is an electrical connection between axles and wheels on at least one side of the truck to be connected together. This is what will cause the entering AR controller to also align itself to the fixed polarity track.

A convenient choice may be a turnout located between the AR sections  with insulating joiners on all 6 rails and wired for fixed polarity. (Or As someone else has pointed out... am entire double crossover with all 8 rails isolated )

DonV





Re: Where to isolate on large loops and wye

Don Vollrath
 

Gents, any good AR control unit will detect a short circuit that occurs on either (or both) rail as metal wheels connected together on multiple axles roll across and span the isolating gaps while exiting an AR section and enter into a fixed polarity section of track. So that causes the exiting AR section to align its polarity to be the same as the fixed polarity track. That part is done.

As that same multi-axle pickup rolls onto and spans the next isolating gaps (either rail or both) to enter a different AR controlled section of track there will be another connection to cause the next AR unit to align itself to the fixed polarity track.

So the minimum length of fixed polarity track separating two separately controlled AR sections of track needs to be only as long as a milt-axle pickup truck. Think loco, or passenger car, or tender. It doesn’t even need to be used for that purpose as long as there is an electrical connection between axles and wheels on at least one side of the truck to be connected together. This is what will cause the entering AR controller to also align itself to the fixed polarity track.

A convenient choice may be a turnout located between the AR sections with insulating joiners on all 6 rails and wired for fixed polarity. (Or As someone else has pointed out... am entire double crossover with all 8 rails isolated )

DonV


Re: Where to isolate on large loops and wye

Blair
 

I concur with Allen.  As long as

- the normal section is truly longer than the longest single electrical entity crossing it (i.e. if you wired all pickups on two locos together to lengthen their electrical footprint for some reason, that would become your longest single entity), AND

- as long as both reversing sections are long enough to not have anything happening at their far boundaries simultaneously on the same train, and short enough that no other train is going to add confusion to the situation,

then a single separating section of track need not be train length, just longer than the longest single 'footprint'.  The reason is, either AR can align itself with the 'fixed' short zone without 'the sands shifting in the meantime', so they won't start that annoying flip-flop-flip that never ends, and all will be stable.  Neither case 1, nor case 2, below, suffices to begin the flip-flop behaviour.

A good example is the "hoary dogbone with middle crossover", where both loops are fed from separate reversers, and the crossover is wired 'straight'.  No problem.  Whether the crossover is aligned straight, or as an X, both reversers will behave.

Blair

On 2/25/2021 3:41 PM, emrldsky wrote:
On 2/25/2021 1:02 PM, wirefordcc wrote:
Does anyone have a scenario you think I need to think about that might be a problem?
Hi Allen,
Two instances come to mind, although I do not know how common they might be.
1. A long passenger train with all lighted cars, and
2 A freight train with helpers in the middle and at the end.
In these situations I would imagine the fixed polarity track to be shorter than the train length, possibly a lot shorter, so the front end would be in one reversing section, the middle in the fixed polarity section, and the end of the train in the other reversing section.
I can see some home layouts, especially those in small spaces, where the fixed polarity track would be small for space reasons because the reversing sections need most of the space for the loop radius to be big enough to make the turns with the longer cars.

Peace,
Mike G.






Re: Where to isolate on large loops and wye

wirefordcc
 

Hi Mike,

I thought about the usual scenarios.  The usual problem is the train exiting a reversing section while another portion of the same train enters it at the far end.  This causes one of the train to want to flip the auto reversing one way while the other end is trying to get it to go the other way.  Both ends of the reversing section are competing with itself and causes a short.

Now let's think about 2 separate auto reversing sections separated by a fixed polarity section, say 18" long.  A train with lighted passenger cars, leaving reversing section #1, enters the fixed polarity section of track.  If need be, the auto reverser #1 switches and all is well.  It travels through the fixed polarity section, that let's assume is the length of a Big Boy.  The train then enters reversing section #2.  If need be the #2 auto reverser switches.  #1 is still fine and stays put.  In this situation, #1 and #2 are not competing with each other.

Any other thoughts anyone?

Allan 


Re: Where to isolate on large loops and wye

emrldsky
 

On 2/25/2021 1:02 PM, wirefordcc wrote:
Does anyone have a scenario you think I need to think about that might be a problem?
Hi Allen,
Two instances come to mind, although I do not know how common they might be.
1. A long passenger train with all lighted cars, and
2 A freight train with helpers in the middle and at the end.
In these situations I would imagine the fixed polarity track to be shorter than the train length, possibly a lot shorter, so the front end would be in one reversing section, the middle in the fixed polarity section, and the end of the train in the other reversing section.
I can see some home layouts, especially those in small spaces, where the fixed polarity track would be small for space reasons because the reversing sections need most of the space for the loop radius to be big enough to make the turns with the longer cars.

Peace,
Mike G.


Re: Where to isolate on large loops and wye

wirefordcc
 

Hi Bill,

I thought about situations where modelers might have two reversing sections controlled by automatic reversing circuits with a fixed polarity section between them.  I couldn't think of a problem if the fixed polarity section was only as long as a single locomotive (your longest locomotive or powered passenger car).

Does anyone have a scenario you think I need to think about that might be a problem?

Allan Gartner
Wiring for DCC

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