Date   
Re: Controlling HO DCC system MTH ?

PennsyNut
 

Back in the dark ages, our USGovt chose to force the auto mfgrs to standadise the shift quadrant on auto trans to put neutral between drive and reverse. Do you remember that? Well, the NMRA made a feeble attempt to standardize DCC. But the mfgrs apparently think they have better ways of doing things. IMHO I don't see why they do! What is wrong with setting reasonable standards so that we, the poor people (and I refer to the majority of modellers) can purchase a command station and a decoder and expect them to work together. It's bad enough that the decoders are different, but now we have DCS from MTH and it is sole proprietary. Heck even the 3-railers have Lionel and MTH also. And all we have to do is: Refuse to buy MTH. And they will get the message. If their sales drop, who know what they might do? Maybe go away! This business of forcing us to purchase additional equipment to change CV's? Need a booster to change some. Sorry for my rant.
Morgan Bilbo, new to DCC

Re: Controlling HO DCC system MTH ?

Lee Phillips
 

I agree 100%  
Shame the computer people don't get it either 
Lee

On Thu, May 30, 2019 at 11:25 AM PennsyNut <pennsynut@...> wrote:
Back in the dark ages, our USGovt chose to force the auto mfgrs to standadise the shift quadrant on auto trans to put neutral between drive and reverse. Do you remember that? Well, the NMRA made a feeble attempt to standardize DCC. But the mfgrs apparently think they have better ways of doing things. IMHO I don't see why they do! What is wrong with setting reasonable standards so that we, the poor people (and I refer to the majority of modellers) can purchase a command station and a decoder and expect them to work together. It's bad enough that the decoders are different, but now we have DCS from MTH and it is sole proprietary. Heck even the 3-railers have Lionel and MTH also. And all we have to do is: Refuse to buy MTH. And they will get the message. If their sales drop, who know what they might do? Maybe go away! This business of forcing us to purchase additional equipment to change CV's? Need a booster to change some. Sorry for my rant.
Morgan Bilbo, new to DCC

Re: Controlling HO DCC system MTH ?

whmvd
 

THing is, development doesn't happen in a way that helps your view of it. There isn't a standards body that sets standards, after which everyone starts building the same stuff. What happens is that stuff gets developed, and the standards body comes in afterwards looking at raising the best and most consistent practices to a standard, but: the non-standard stuff already exists, ie being sold, and can be very good. Just not compatible.

You are very right in manufacturers getting the message whenb people vote with their wallet. Problem is, a lot of those votes come in before the customers are well enough informed to buy what's best for them.

Ah, economics. You can't beat economics, but sometimes you might want to.
Wouter


On Thu, 30 May 2019 at 16:25, PennsyNut <pennsynut@...> wrote:
Back in the dark ages, our USGovt chose to force the auto mfgrs to standadise the shift quadrant on auto trans to put neutral between drive and reverse. Do you remember that? Well, the NMRA made a feeble attempt to standardize DCC. But the mfgrs apparently think they have better ways of doing things. IMHO I don't see why they do! What is wrong with setting reasonable standards so that we, the poor people (and I refer to the majority of modellers) can purchase a command station and a decoder and expect them to work together. It's bad enough that the decoders are different, but now we have DCS from MTH and it is sole proprietary. Heck even the 3-railers have Lionel and MTH also. And all we have to do is: Refuse to buy MTH. And they will get the message. If their sales drop, who know what they might do? Maybe go away! This business of forcing us to purchase additional equipment to change CV's? Need a booster to change some. Sorry for my rant.
Morgan Bilbo, new to DCC

Re: Controlling HO DCC system MTH ?

Mark Cartwright
 

Morgan and all....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udyy2gQyNso
Listen to this carefully about people going off in many directions.
and NOT being Focused.
====
Apple was like this circa 1997 with Open Doc...a program which was NEEDED for a Macintosh 9500 computer to get onto the internet... but it didn't work. I know > I stupidly took a On Line History Class which I could not complete....Cause of Open Doc not being compatible with JAVA.
But I digress...
What the NMRA essentially did with DCC is Non Sequitur.
Yes, a Volunteer Organization which did set BASE Standards of Handshaking Code.
Then by allowing the many manufacturers to develop their own proprietary codes...put the DCC (American) Market in disarray...

They created Committees which don't actually talk to one another.
This is NOT the first time the NMRA has done this.
Read down to Question #5 .....
http://www.railwayeng.com/rrhints.htm

and Yes the answer.
Two Committees which for political reasons were allowed bad management.
Here's the video...Trying to speed match a train while being shackled to two other guys.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okl8ESz01SY
======
If you follow NMRA specifications at 100%....Your layout will fail.
Which has been good for me ...Cause I buy defunct/failed layouts often at 10 cents to the MSRP+ Dollar.
Instead use for example BNSF or UP specifications and give a look see to the European World of DCC.
My apologies, if this seems like a Discussion...but I felt an answer to all these woes should be spoken.
:)) Mark

================================
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_R5fK73Eaw
I created a NOMAD Headquarters Building for my N Scale Layout....Based on this Model 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6214TMDJf4
The National Organization of Modelers and Ardained Designers. (NOMAD)
Cause...The way you guys write about some of these guys, you would think they are ordained by God.
Are you Ordained (Ardained)?
But I know for a fact some John Armstrong designs maybe good at O Scale but they don't work in the confines of N Scale.,
There are some decoders in this world...Which simply do not work on any DCC System even their own to the praises their Advertising Department bestowed upon them.
But i no longer care...I standardized with ESU.

Betwixt and Between Layout - I have seen the Elephant

Mark Cartwright
 

Hello all...
I uploaded my Combination Layouts which together I have named the Betwixt And Between for I am also in an attempt to join them, using two Lionel Bascule Bridges, re-detailed to N Scale.
The Twin Bridges I have named the 23 Skidoo Street Bridge, as each one is approximately 23 inches long (and as it is an exit to two layouts which join together)
23 skidoo (sometimes 23 skiddoo) is an American slang phrase popularized during the early 20th century. It generally refers to leaving quickly, being forced to leave quickly by someone else, or taking advantage of a propitious opportunity to leave, that is, "getting [out] while the getting's good."
====
No, I am not sure how to wire them for DCC...???

Probably two simple Districts, joined at the operating twin Bridges which do lower and raise.

Getting them to line up however...?
Well, I m working on it by adding a second motor/drive gear assembly to each bridge.
====
The wire for now is 12 Gauge Copper Stranded, twisted by me of two separate wires to match Kato Color Coding.
White with a Blue Spiral / Blue with a White Spiral. 
The Stockton N Articulated Freight and Urban (SNAFU aka SNAP-Fooey) is being constructed with Soldered Kato Unitrack to 30" Long Sections, each section has a soldered in drop down lead to the main buss line.
====
The Freight Urban Basic Articulated Railway (FUBAR) is beyond the recognition of most N Scalers as for how it only has in it's design two #9 or larger turnouts (Maybe as large as #15's) as its not based on any recognizable layout design... Except in Feet rather than Inches. Instead of a N Scale Layout of 25 x 35 inches, this one is to fit in a space of 25 x 35 feet; where many an O Scaler would set a layout
> . I spent 10 years in an attempt to create a 30/40+ x 50/60+ inch Coffee Table Layout, based on a John Armstrong Design #209
He may have been a hell of an O Scaler but as for N Scale ?
Those things equal to themselves and to each other.... Euclid.
His Layout did NOT work for Passenger Service, even the venerable Con Cor Kato PA-1's.
His Design ? with a lot of tweaking And Re-Design could I get it to work for two axle switchers.
Then I began again and yet again...
Two years ago....I bought yet again another Failed Layout for $300 which had receipts totally over $3000. And in the box....The old N Scale Layout Design book from 1971 with Design #209 clearly dog eared and marked.
=======
Then nearly to that same time....
My last layout would NOT work for Long (Articulated) Steam Locomotives.
=======
So..excuse the Rebellion but these new to me layouts are not based on ....
Recognizable Attributes or Specifications of the many or any Model Railroad Groups, Societies, Associations or Clubs.
They are beyond the recognition and mindset of most model railroaders of today. 
=====
1959?
My first successful layout was at the age of 6 years old...Cause I had the help of a Western Pacific Brakeman. My parents, my Father a Longshoreman, also had many friends who were employed by the Southern Pacific or Santa Fe. They would make their Martini's and come down to the basement to watch my Trains Run. This was an HO Scale Layout on a 5x9 Table. After Drinks...they together would lift my Layout to expose the Ping Pong Table below. That layout was moved in 1963, (to a dusty bat ridden garage) and I can't rightfully say I have had a 100% Successful Layout since.
===========
Voltage?
I am no sure...The ESU ECoS is adjustable upwards of 21 volts.
The Distance of the overall track? > Hundreds of feet.
Amperage ?
Again I do not know.
The ESU ECoS as I have come to believe begins at 5 amps but is highly adjustable with boosters and even augmented Other DCC Systems. So a District can be individually powered and Controlled? Again I am not 100% sure
====
With each Bridge Raised...
Can I control each District (FUBAR/SNAFU) Separately with two separate ESU ECoS Main Controllers or two lesser controllers such as a Dynamis and Navigator and leave overall command to the Color ECoS ?
Though I have Two Digitrax Systems and Two MRC DCC Controllers, I do not plan on using either one. I am also standardizing all my DCC Decoders with a Zero Tolerance Play Well Together (with ECoS) or Get Expelled from School addendum to my layout.
(Yes, I have been a Teacher in these modern days.)
So.....
> I no longer care to invite anyone who may have their own MRC or Digitrax Hand Held to my layout.
Instead I will be writing in the controls from he ESU Navigator and Bachmann Dynamis eventually via the ESU Sniffer
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Psq_klf0kBo
I also own two ESU ECoS..one Color and One Black and White.
Using them for now as separate controllers as I construct each layout towards the 23 Skidoo Street Bridge.
When the Twin Bridges are lowered....?
I may not need for them to connect; but rather have the bridge shunted. as a Betwixt and Between in an Active Y circuit.
I may need to refer to my Electrical Engineering friends in Aeronautics for this one.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Topology_(electrical_circuits)
===========
There are many more ...
Basically articulated but beyond the recognition of most model railroaders concepts/issues withe this combined layout.
However...I have been wanting to run a Cab Forwards on My Layout since 1955, when I was 2 years old.
Yes, I have seen the Elephant.
I am going to recreate that memory in N Scale.
I plan on detailing one of my Nakamura's with not only DCC and Sound but also with smoke and steam; yet successfully run it upon my layout without a 
Glitch, Bitch,  or Ditch...
(I nearly went HO when I bought such a model in BLI - but I don't have the room for an HO Scale Twin Bascule Bridge.)
====================
No Decoder Resets, No stalling or having to crawl upon the table to push my trains along and NEVER have it Derail.
:)) Mark

You are never given a wish without the power to also make it true...You may have to work for it however.
== Book of Illusions/Messiah's Handbook - Richard Bach

PS....Lighted Fire Box too with a light which flickers. I have a reworked Bachmann which has one now.
I am bona fide... I got hit by a train
http://explore.museumca.org/goldrush/fever11.html
I don't care for I have seen a Cab Forwards in operation.

Re: Betwixt and Between Layout - I have seen the Elephant

Don Vollrath
 

Mark,
Are the two bascule bridges joined together when closed at a center pier?  If so that would be an ideal place to use a centering pin on one side and a V shaped mating part on the other to ensure mechanical rail alignment as the bridges close. Make the V shape mechanism alignment adjustable as a precision and tight fitting is required, particularly for N scale.

Either way... If a train is wanted to traverse the boundaries between two supposedly separate layouts without any DCC electrical interference or interruption, both layouts and the bridge tracks themselves between layouts must be running in DCC sync. This means that somehow the DCC control signaling on both layout halves must be the same whenever the bridge(s) are closed. You could use ONE central DCC controller to operate both layout halves. Each layout then simply becomes a separate 'booster district'. No electrical issues at all. You can use relays or switches to temporarily turn DCC power boosters to one layout side or the other OFF when wanted for servicing. Take your pick of controller brands and models.

As discussed earlier if you insist on using two separate DCC controllers, with separate boosters,  it may be possible to use a relay to flip the DCC layout power source to the bridge tracks from one DCC layout side to the other as a loco travels over the bridge. [Requires which-way direction logic info] But remember to coordinate the loco address and speed setting between to the two DCC controllers to prevent loss of loco control. However, all instantaneous settings must be the same on each layout for a smooth transition. A central computer (or a single DCC controller operating both layout sides) can be used to do that. Re-read the simple solution above.

One alternative is to jump to direct radio controls with DCC power on the rails. See RailPro by RingEngineering. https://www.ringengineering.com/RailProVideosPage.htm These units steal loco operating power from the rails and can be used simultaneously with DCC. However each RailPro loco moving over and between separate DCC layouts is essentially radio controlled by 'their' operating box. Somewhat impressive but of course works with only their equipment. An interesting way to swap cars between layouts. Not sure how to power bridge tracks and not cause interference with DCC power boosters on each end. Re-read the self imposed complications above. Not sure how RailPro receiver/decoders will fit into N scale.

Another alternative would be to skip DCC altogether and use DC. But again the adjustable DC voltage on each side as well as that on the bridge tracks must be the same voltage and polarity for a smooth transition. All of the older DC layout track district/section and controller/throttle issues will still be there. 

DonV

Re: Betwixt and Between Layout - I have seen the Elephant

Mark Cartwright
 

On Sat, Jun 1, 2019 at 01:21 PM, Don Vollrath wrote:
Don, 
Thank you for responding....

Are the two bascule bridges joined together when closed at a center pier?

No not yet > But I have considered it; as I believe it may have once been a possibility in Northern California due to the way current were on our many inland rivers prior to 1932, when they began in earnest to dig them deeper for Sea Going International Shipping. As I understand mud would swing from one side of a river to the other side...So having a Pier in the middle with two Bascule Bridges to either side...Depending on how the mud moved?
Yes a possibility.
===
To wit a Swing Bridge was installed by the Central Pacific in Sacramento, as they built up their peer there. The location is very near the California Railroad Museum of Today.
====
So...
Another possibility and actual probability is to also have a Lionel Swing Bridge on a interchangeable plank which is to swing out of the cabinetry. A variation on the 23 Skidoo Street Bridge.
A railway line is to come off a tall Helix, cross under a stairway and then meet at 23 Skidoo.
======================
Not sure you noticed but the trackage for each layout is basically a simple single oval which with no turnouts. Then the Tracks simply meet over The Bridge with double track and continues to the next single oval.
 The whole array is simply one large circular track.
I am basically in a State of Rebellion over our whole hobby as Toy Like, Blithe and Un-Operational...
Plus, there are moments when I feel either guilty or saddened even anxious that I have purchased so many defunct/Failed layouts. I am determined that this one functions at 100% even without a single Double Crossover.

:)) Mark

Eventually I will do a Bunker/Hitler Parody/Rant about  Specifications and toy trains with plastic wheels.  Everybody who still crawls over the top of their layouts to push their toy trains along...Please leave the Room !
http://www.secretcitytravel.com/berlin-march-2014/albert-speer-nazi-architect-berlin.shtml
Their model of Germania has always seemed to me to be N or perhaps Z Scale.'
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germania_(city)

Re: Betwixt and Between Layout - I have seen the Elephant

Don Vollrath
 

Mark,
If "the trackage for each layout is basically a simple single oval which with no turnouts. Then the Tracks simply meet over The Bridge with double track and continues to the next single oval.  The whole array is simply one large circular track" as you say... It makes more sense than ever to take the simple route of using ONE command station and two separate booster districts, or even a single booster and several circuit breaker power districts. Use twisted pair feeder bus wiring and RC filter/snubbers along the way (every 30 ft or so) to minimize long run issues.

Please keep your not DCC related topic rants to a minimum.

DonV, co-moderator. 

Re: Betwixt and Between Layout - I have seen the Elephant

Mark Cartwright
 

On Mon, Jun 3, 2019 at 02:20 PM, Don Vollrath wrote:
RC filter/snubbers?

Thanks Don...

I have never yet used a RC Filter/snubber
https://sites.google.com/site/markgurries/home/dcc-general-best-practices/wiring-planing/snubbers-rc-filter
and with a single ECoS eventually taking all over command....?
I am not sure even two districts are necessary but Yes, that is how they will be wired as they meet.
===
Eventually, I do plan on adding an ESU Booster directly to the primary ECoS Controller.
One to each district ?
I don't know yet.
===
For now...each ECoS is only controlling the trackage as I move towards the middle or 23 Skidoo Street Bridge. 
However...and let me see if I can explain this without going off the rails...
but I am actually enjoying the use of two ECoS at the same time for a total of 4 Locomotives ON SCREEN at the same time.
When the track is joined....?
I may wish to continue such an array; with the ESU Sniffer.
:)) Mark

==========
But there is something else...
And ah...?
I am not so sure I should even mention it today....but I have been slowing moving at the Gallop of a horse in a Cavalry Charge towards a Clean, Well Lighted and Very Operational Layout.
That is the nice way to put it...
Before I seemingly go off on another rant...this time even against myself....I better shut up for now; but I am also considieing simply eliminating the 23 Skidoo Street Bridge, till I complete the entire loop and have it working 100% BEFORE I begin to allow myself to add any possible trouble spots.

Re: K.I.S.S.

PennsyNut
 

I sincerely want to thank each and everyone that responds. Just so we all enjoy this wonderful hobby. As for CV's, I always advise to stick with the basics. Why bother with CV29 until you actually need it. I program 4 digit loco numbers all the time with the simple method. And I firmly believe that newbies need only CV 3,4,5,6 to get a loco running the way they want. CV 2 is optional. As are most of the other CV's. IMHO. And this may not be the last word. LOL
Morgan Bilbo, new to DCC

Divide or not

andymsa2
 

hi all,

last night i installed my dcs240 after some initial issues it's working ok now. The issues was it was shutting down imeadiatly with 4 beeps indicating a short. There was no short the shutdown was caused by inrush current. I was surprised at this considering its able to provide at 8 amps, and the current demand is at half of the 8 amps available, I increased the short circuit shutdown time which resolved this, the supply power is the ps2012 so this is up to the job and the current draw is around 4.5 amps which will increase. I should add the dcs240 only powers my signals which are digital and als provides power for the electronics of the accessory decoders. A DC supply provides power for attached accessories.

now I have given an explanation of how I got to this question, I am wondering should I drive the dcs240 to near to at least 3/4 of its full power output, I have wondered if to divided this power with my old dcs100 in booster mode of course.

i look forward to your thoughts

andy

Re: Divide or not

Mark Gurries
 

Inrush current has no numerical value because there are a lot of variables..  But in all cases, it will exceed the current draw of just about any booster made.  The question is how long does it draw this current.  If it exceeds the rating of the booster longer than it shutdown timer will allow, the booster will shutdown.

This problem is no new.  This same EXACT problem happened when sound decoders made their appearance.  The more sound decoder were added to the layout, the worse the inrush current go until the booster could not support it and shutdown.

Today most DCC circuit breakers are design to deal with the high inrush current problem when there is a short circuit.  Recovery problem solved.

To your question, should you drive the DC240 harder.   I understand that changing shutdown increased the inrush capability, but Digitrax has no specification.  This is the same question as “ How many more sound locomotive can I add to my layout".   Every time you add another signal controller, the inrush will go up some amount as you need to charge the capacitors on each additional signal board.  As you keep adding more, at some point your problem that you just solved will reappear.  So it is not how much steady state current draw you can you push, it how much inrush current can the booster support.  There is no valid answer because there is no specification nor DCC standard for inrush in which one can use figure the answer out.


On Jun 9, 2019, at 11:51 AM, andymsa2 via Groups.Io <Andymsa2@...> wrote:

hi all,

last night i installed my dcs240 after some initial issues it's working ok now. The issues was it was shutting down imeadiatly with 4 beeps indicating a short. There was no short the shutdown was caused by inrush current. I was surprised at this considering its able to provide at 8 amps, and the current demand is at half of the 8 amps available, I increased the short circuit shutdown time which resolved this, the supply power is the ps2012 so this is up to the job and the current draw is around 4.5 amps which will increase. I should add the dcs240 only powers my signals which are digital and als provides power for the electronics of the accessory decoders. A DC supply provides power for attached accessories.

now I have given an explanation of how I got to this question, I am wondering should I drive the dcs240 to near to at least 3/4 of its full power output, I have wondered if to divided this power with my old dcs100 in booster mode of course.

i look forward to your thoughts

andy

Best Regards,

Mark Gurries
Electrical Engineer
DCC Website & NMRA DCC Clinics: www.markgurries.com



Re: Divide or not

andymsa2
 

Hi mark,

thankyou for for the reply and understand your explanation. Leaving aside the inrush issue, the part that f my question relegating to having two command/ boosters was to not have the dcs240 running at near to capacity but to share the load more than evenly.

andy

Current through the soldering iron tip

Greg Smith
 

Larry Puckett had a item in the DCC Corner of the newest Model Railroader magazine about current being passed through the soldering iron tip which caused problems with some of his decoder installations.  Is there an easy way to check this?  
Greg
ps - be kind - my electronics knowledge is limited:)

Re: Current through the soldering iron tip

Don Vollrath
 

With the soldering iron heating up measure for any AC or DC voltage from the iron tip to the grounding prong at a grounded outlet. If any voltage is detected there is a current leakage problem. Replace the iron.
DonV

Re: Current through the soldering iron tip

 

Put your AC Voltmeter between the tip and ground and see if you measure anything.  It is really the voltage that could cause your decoders to blow.

You should check for DC voltage as well but this is less likely.

Ken Harstine

Re: Current through the soldering iron tip

Denny Anspach
 

I am the person who alerted Larry to this issue, an issue notably prevalent in non-grounded irons, especially those with ceramic insulation.  It becomes a potential lethal problem when soldering fine electronics (read: DCC decoders). An authoritative standard industry text book on electronic soldering strongly warns against using ungrounded irons on such circuitry.

This came to my attention when I sequentially fried the audio circuitry of three new sound decoders, and neither I nor the manufacturer had a clue as to what was happening (although -in frustration- not without some mutual polite finger pointing in the process).  A model railroad  EE engineer colleague (whose day job is industrial trouble shooting chip problems) -by elimination- discovered the problem:  my faithful super-reliable non-grounded  red Weller WLC100 soldering station was leaking a measured 28V through the hot iron (the cold iron had no leakage).  I banished this iron, and a bunch of other ungrounded irons immediately from all electronic work, switched to a better grounded Weller station specifically qualified for electronic work  ("ESD SAFE")  and all problems disappeared like the snow in the midday sun.

I have been installing decoders for almost 20 years, so this internal breakdown occurred somewhere along the way, or the decoder circuitry became more vulnerable.   

The WLC100  is a very popular work horse model, still very much on the market, and notably has  not been sold by Weller as safe for electronics.

Denny

 
  

Denny S. Anspach MD
Okoboji, IA



Re: Current through the soldering iron tip

Richard Gagnon
 

That came a a surprise to me as my station has the tree prong plug. Must be the internal wiring. I never did see any voltage issue though.

Rich

Re: Current through the soldering iron tip

Greg Smith
 

Thank you for the heads up.  I will test my Weller ( a 51 if memory serves – or fails) tomorrow.  If it fails, I will continue to use for general soldering – ie working on turnouts and general wiring, but will have to find a substitute for decoder work.
Greg
 

From: Denny Anspach
Sent: Tuesday, June 11, 2019 11:09 AM
To: w4dccqa@groups.io
Subject: Re: [w4dccqa] Current through the soldering iron tip
 
I am the person who alerted Larry to this issue, an issue notably prevalent in non-grounded irons, especially those with ceramic insulation.  It becomes a potential lethal problem when soldering fine electronics (read: DCC decoders). An authoritative standard industry text book on electronic soldering strongly warns against using ungrounded irons on such circuitry.
 
This came to my attention when I sequentially fried the audio circuitry of three new sound decoders, and neither I nor the manufacturer had a clue as to what was happening (although -in frustration- not without some mutual polite finger pointing in the process).  A model railroad  EE engineer colleague (whose day job is industrial trouble shooting chip problems) -by elimination- discovered the problem:  my faithful super-reliable non-grounded  red Weller WLC100 soldering station was leaking a measured 28V through the hot iron (the cold iron had no leakage).  I banished this iron, and a bunch of other ungrounded irons immediately from all electronic work, switched to a better grounded Weller station specifically qualified for electronic work  ("ESD SAFE") and all problems disappeared like the snow in the midday sun.
 
I have been installing decoders for almost 20 years, so this internal breakdown occurred somewhere along the way, or the decoder circuitry became more vulnerable.  
 
The WLC100  is a very popular work horse model, still very much on the market, and notably has not been sold by Weller as safe for electronics.
 
Denny
 
 
 
Denny S. Anspach MD
Okoboji, IA
 
 
 

Re: Current through the soldering iron tip

Greg Smith
 

Denny
I checked and I have a WES 51.  It is marked ESD Safe on the front of the case.  Do you know what “ESD Safe” means?
Greg
 

From: Denny Anspach
Sent: Tuesday, June 11, 2019 11:09 AM
To: w4dccqa@groups.io
Subject: Re: [w4dccqa] Current through the soldering iron tip
 
I am the person who alerted Larry to this issue, an issue notably prevalent in non-grounded irons, especially those with ceramic insulation.  It becomes a potential lethal problem when soldering fine electronics (read: DCC decoders). An authoritative standard industry text book on electronic soldering strongly warns against using ungrounded irons on such circuitry.
 
This came to my attention when I sequentially fried the audio circuitry of three new sound decoders, and neither I nor the manufacturer had a clue as to what was happening (although -in frustration- not without some mutual polite finger pointing in the process).  A model railroad  EE engineer colleague (whose day job is industrial trouble shooting chip problems) -by elimination- discovered the problem:  my faithful super-reliable non-grounded  red Weller WLC100 soldering station was leaking a measured 28V through the hot iron (the cold iron had no leakage).  I banished this iron, and a bunch of other ungrounded irons immediately from all electronic work, switched to a better grounded Weller station specifically qualified for electronic work  ("ESD SAFE") and all problems disappeared like the snow in the midday sun.
 
I have been installing decoders for almost 20 years, so this internal breakdown occurred somewhere along the way, or the decoder circuitry became more vulnerable.  
 
The WLC100  is a very popular work horse model, still very much on the market, and notably has not been sold by Weller as safe for electronics.
 
Denny
 
 
 
Denny S. Anspach MD
Okoboji, IA