Date   

Re: Wiring a NCE Switch 8 to Mini Panel

Brent Johnson
 

Yahtzee! There was nothing mentioned about a jumper in the instructions or on the diagram in the manual. After removing the tiny jumper, everything works. Thanks Joe!

Brent 


On Dec 31, 2021, at 9:57 AM, Joe Skorch <jskorch@...> wrote:

Brent,
When testing the Mini Panel are you removing the jumper? 

Joe


Re: Parallel track power busses

JimD - G&J--BKRR
 

Great conversation and similar to one I had on the NCE group recently. I'm not an expert nor engineer (though an RPI graduate!)but am in the process of addressing this identical issue by doing the following:
1. 5amp NCE Power-Pro system on a perfectly U- shaped 24" wide 60ft long shelf layout. The command center is dead center 30' ft from each end of this point to point RR.
2. This "main" track bus comes directly out of the booster where it immediately divides into two with one "leg" running down the back of the "right and left" shelves. This "back bone" is 10 AWG twisted wire pair. 
3. The layout is divided into 5 districts, A terminal yard (part visible part staging) at each end with 3  towns in the middle.
4. At each district I have two (2-wire) drops  (4 suitcase connectors). One is 12 awg and goes to a PSX circuit breaker then out to the track feeders. One is 14awg and acts as an "auxiliary track bus" that feeds my NCE switch-8's. (BTW I provide the Switch-8's with 12 v DC to take the load off the track bus)
5. So far, as I build out the layout my tests show this works well. I have not tested the voltage yet (I have Tony's rrmeter) but the loco response seems superb.
6. My plan seems to combine the best of many ideas (I'm biased and will shortly be proven wrong by the smart folks here!).
a. I have every district's track, circuit breaker protected for safety,  and no other district is affected by a local short. 
b. I have a strong "backbone" track bus using the LEAST amount of wiring (I'm aware 2*60'=120' of 10 awg wiring isnt free but...and running a stable 12 v DC bus isn't free either but it is very easy to do .
c. I have auxillary "track" buses in each district that WILL NOT crash with a short circuit, so a turnout can be thrown and more importantly, programming will less likely be corrupted/lost.
d. As mentioned above, I see no reason to centralize Circuit breakers. I went ahead and soldered little buzzers (soft sound NOT annoying!) into the PSX exactly as the manual suggests. I will hear where the short occurred! Perhaps humorously, if there are 5 operators, one at each district, everyone will know who has the short and adds an incentive to my guests and I to "pay attention" going through that turnout!
Happy New Year to my friends in a wonderful hobby!
Jim


Re: Parallel track power busses

Dale Gloer
 

You didn't say which circuit breakers you are using so maybe this suggestion isn't practical, but here's what I have done on my personal
layout and our club layout.  Both use multiple Digitrax PM42s.  I have added remote indicators to the PM42s (Digitrax Knowledge Base has an article on how to do it easily).  In the club case there is a specific display panel with all the remote indicator LEDs suitably labelled.  On my personal layout the PM42s are widely separate so I mount the remote indicators in the Facia near each PM42 location.

Dale Gloer

PS.  I use JMRI on both layouts so have set up a routine that sounds a siren when one of the sections is shorted.  Makes the operator look at the display instead of throwing up their hands and saying "why is my train stopped?" :-)


Re: Parallel track power busses

Steve Hubbard
 

The AR's have a buzzer option that you can solder n the board.  This would let you know it tripped.  I used #12 to 2 of my AR's and then branched off with #14 after the breakers.   I dought the #12 was necessary however I had it in stock.  I found the cheapest wire to buy is your standard Romex.  I strip it and then twist the conductors together with a drill.  Also gave me bare copper wire to ground the 3 NCE Power pros (2 in Booster Mode) together.  Works quite well for me.


Re: Parallel track power busses

 

Thanks to each of you for your help.
As the layout host (during ops sessions), having a centralized, easily visible control panel will help direct me to where the "problem" is. (Each breaker has a light that flashes when tripped.) An added benefit (as Don points out) is the decrease in voltage drop. For the three track buss runs to the right, using 14 AWG will keep the voltage drop acceptable. If I use a single run that splits the first stretch of the run will need to be at least 12 AWG.

 

As always, be in good health and do good work.

-Michael

 

          The miracle is this: The more we share the more we have.
                      Leonard Nimoy

 


Re: Wiring a NCE Switch 8 to Mini Panel

Joe Skorch
 

Brent,
When testing the Mini Panel are you removing the jumper? 

Joe


Re: Wiring a NCE Switch 8 to Mini Panel

Brent Johnson
 

Tom,
The Switch 8 appears to be wired correctly as it does what it is supposed to do when a command is sent from the Pro Cab. I wired the push buttons to the panel like you said, only difference is I daisy chained the ground wire between the push buttons so I end up with one wire going to the ground port. I am not using Leds. 

I just tried changing the address from default 3 on the mini panel and reprogrammed it. Still not responding. Everything looks like it’s wired correctly. 

Brent


On Dec 31, 2021, at 8:20 AM, Tom Grassi via groups.io <trgrassijr@...> wrote:

Brent

Output 1 and 8 from the tortoise goes to the Switch 8 

Not sure what type of push buttons you have but two wires from the push button goes to the mini panel   1 wire to one of the 1 -32 ports the other wire goes to the ground port on the mini panel I setup a terminal block for the ground wires  the mini panel only has three spots for ground.  

Do you have LED's on you push button panel?   If so then the two wires go to the output 1 on the tortoise  you splice the output one wire and put the LED wires one on each end you may need to flip flop them use clips to test first.
HTH


--
Tom Grassi
trgrassijr@...


Re: Parallel track power busses

Don Weigt
 

There are some advantages to having things centrally located. And, what works best for you will depend somewhat on your hardware choices. I prefer having most of my electronics in a few easy to reach locations, and minimal wiring distributed under my layout.

Three parallel buses use more wire, but the loads are less and the voltage drops for the same gauge wire will be reduced. The current in the nearest section of a single bus would on average be three times what's in each of three parallel ones, and the voltage drop for the same wire size also tripled. Larger layouts benefit more from saving multiple buses, but the longer runs mean the wires need to be heavier gauge, and then multiple summed currents mean it needs to be even heavier. What is the maximum voltage drop you will accept in your track power? What's the maximum current your system would have in that single bus, and how long will it be? Look up the wire resistance, work out the total resistance out and back and the resulting voltage drop at the maximum design operating current. You may be shocked at the wire gauge you should use.

If there's anything that needs to be sensed and reported, it's easier to do that in a central location than bringing back signal wires from all over the layout. And, "signal" type lower currents and voltages are more easily corrupted by higher power nearby circuits, so it's a very good idea to separate signal wiring from track power wiring, not route them in the same cable or even two parallel cables a few inches apart.

My track wiring was begun 40 years ago, for DC power and a computer interface. My layout measured 10 x 20 at the time. It has since grown a foot or two in each direction. But, it's still "medium size", although a central aisle means wires run about 30 feet in two opposite directions to the farthest points. The bulk of my railroad's electronics are centralized near the main control panel. I didn't want to have a bunch of complex electronics scattered all over under the layout.

All my blocks have current detection, on cards that also have relays for switching track power. This is still needed for detection with DCC, and the relays are handy for for locating and isolating short circuits. My cards have the relays and detectors for four blocks on each card, and the cards are mounted side by side in a rack. The railroad control computer is right below them, all connected through a 50 conductor ribbon cable that acts as the backplane for the cards.

It works for me. If the layout were much larger, I'd probably have multiple nodes like this one, and have them communicating wirelessly now, or over ethernet cabling. In summary, I'd say it's a system design decision. Not many of us probably think about our railroads' wiring and electronics that way, but it's a good analysis tool..

Don Weigt
Connecticut

--
Don Weigt
Connecticut


Re: Parallel track power busses

Steve Hubbard
 

CBs are not a device that needs to have easy access to if ever.  Whay add additional wiring and work when it's not necessary. 


Re: Wiring a NCE Switch 8 to Mini Panel

Tom Grassi
 

Brent

Output 1 and 8 from the tortoise goes to the Switch 8 

Not sure what type of push buttons you have but two wires from the push button goes to the mini panel   1 wire to one of the 1 -32 ports the other wire goes to the ground port on the mini panel I setup a terminal block for the ground wires  the mini panel only has three spots for ground.  

Do you have LED's on you push button panel?   If so then the two wires go to the output 1 on the tortoise  you splice the output one wire and put the LED wires one on each end you may need to flip flop them use clips to test first.
HTH


--
Tom Grassi
trgrassijr@...


Re: Wiring a NCE Switch 8 to Mini Panel

Brent Johnson
 

Steve,
I tested the Switch 8 by sending commands through the ProCab and seeing it correctly threw the tortoises for each accessory address. 

When programming the mini panel, the ProCab gives the option to test the program. In test mode, it should throw the tortoises in the order programmed. It did not work in test mode or with the push buttons.

Brent


On Dec 31, 2021, at 2:17 AM, Steve Haas <Goatfisher2@...> wrote:



Brent Johnson inquires:

 

“I am wiring a staging yard control panel for push button routing using a NCE Switch 8 and NCE mini panel. I wired the Switch 8, tested it, and each tortoise responded to their accessory addresses correctly.”

 

A good start!

 

“I then programmed the mini panel.  When I tested the mini panel routing on the ProCab or the push buttons, neither responded.”

 

How did you do your initial testing of the Switch 8? What did you use to send commands to it that allowed it to properly drive the tortoise to your satisfaction?

 

I’m a bit confused by your comment that you tested the mini panel routing on the ProCab – is that part of the programming process for the Mini-panel??? It’s been years since I’ve had to program one and the mind doesn’t retain everything like it used to <GRIN>.  One does not activate a Mini-panel input via a ProCab.  Mini-panel commands are triggered by grounding the input in question (typically by a push button).  That triggers the execution of the command(s) programmed in the Mini-panel connected to that input.  If you are grounding input #1 and that doesn’t do what you programmed input #1 to do you will need to review your programming.  You should also review the addressing of the Switch 8(s) in question.

 

 

“Should the Switch 8 be wired directly to the mini panel somehow?”

 

No.

 

“The Switch 8 is fed by the track power and the mini panel is fed by the cab bus.”

 

That is correct.

 

“Any help is appreciated.”

 

I’d review what I’ve said here, see if it makes sense.  A better place to ask for help on this topic is the NCE-DCC group on groups.io.

 

Best regards,

 

Steve

 

Steve Haas

Snoqualmie, WA


Re: Wiring a NCE Switch 8 to Mini Panel

Steve Haas
 

Brent Johnson inquires:

 

“I am wiring a staging yard control panel for push button routing using a NCE Switch 8 and NCE mini panel. I wired the Switch 8, tested it, and each tortoise responded to their accessory addresses correctly.”

 

A good start!

 

“I then programmed the mini panel.  When I tested the mini panel routing on the ProCab or the push buttons, neither responded.”

 

How did you do your initial testing of the Switch 8? What did you use to send commands to it that allowed it to properly drive the tortoise to your satisfaction?

 

I’m a bit confused by your comment that you tested the mini panel routing on the ProCab – is that part of the programming process for the Mini-panel??? It’s been years since I’ve had to program one and the mind doesn’t retain everything like it used to <GRIN>.  One does not activate a Mini-panel input via a ProCab.  Mini-panel commands are triggered by grounding the input in question (typically by a push button).  That triggers the execution of the command(s) programmed in the Mini-panel connected to that input.  If you are grounding input #1 and that doesn’t do what you programmed input #1 to do you will need to review your programming.  You should also review the addressing of the Switch 8(s) in question.

 

 

“Should the Switch 8 be wired directly to the mini panel somehow?”

 

No.

 

“The Switch 8 is fed by the track power and the mini panel is fed by the cab bus.”

 

That is correct.

 

“Any help is appreciated.”

 

I’d review what I’ve said here, see if it makes sense.  A better place to ask for help on this topic is the NCE-DCC group on groups.io.

 

Best regards,

 

Steve

 

Steve Haas

Snoqualmie, WA


Re: Parallel track power busses

Tom O'Hara
 

The second method wins. As Steve is suggesting, there is really no need to have the breakers centrally located.
...Tom

On Thu, Dec 30, 2021 at 10:21 PM Steve Haas <Goatfisher2@...> wrote:

Michael Boyle inquires,

 

“I have a power district that is just over 40 feet long. This power district is divided into five sub-districts protected by four circuit breakers and an auto-reverser. For convenience I want to place the booster and a control panel with the AR and circuit breakers at the middle of the district. If I do this there will be three track busses that run in parallel to the right of the panel before they get to the protected sub-districts. The alternative would be to run a single track bus to the right splitting it and inserting a breaker at each sub-district. This alternative, of course, means that the breakers are not conveniently located at the control panel. What are the potential negatives associated with my preferred arrangement?”

 

Functionally they are both fine.

 

There are a couple of things to consider:

 

  1. If the centralized approach is used, you’ll have three pairs of wires extending to the right.  Assuming more or less equal spacing of the three districts you will use 1x + 2x + 3x = 6x wire to reach the distribution point for each of those sub districts.
  2. If a single bus extends from the booster to the right, you will use only 3x of wire.  That also leads to cleaner wiring underneath the layout.
  3. What is the benefit to you of the centralized location? How, in your eyes (after all, you’ll be maintaining this) does centralized vs. distributed design work to your advantage?  What do you see as the advantage of having all the components centrally located?  I’m curious, as this topic doesn’t come up much.         

 

Not arguing here, just trying to ask questions that will help you find the best answer for you and your layout.

 

Best regards,

 

Steve

 

Steve Haas

Snoqualmie, WA


Re: Parallel track power busses

Steve Haas
 

Michael Boyle inquires,

 

“I have a power district that is just over 40 feet long. This power district is divided into five sub-districts protected by four circuit breakers and an auto-reverser. For convenience I want to place the booster and a control panel with the AR and circuit breakers at the middle of the district. If I do this there will be three track busses that run in parallel to the right of the panel before they get to the protected sub-districts. The alternative would be to run a single track bus to the right splitting it and inserting a breaker at each sub-district. This alternative, of course, means that the breakers are not conveniently located at the control panel. What are the potential negatives associated with my preferred arrangement?”

 

Functionally they are both fine.

 

There are a couple of things to consider:

 

  1. If the centralized approach is used, you’ll have three pairs of wires extending to the right.  Assuming more or less equal spacing of the three districts you will use 1x + 2x + 3x = 6x wire to reach the distribution point for each of those sub districts.
  2. If a single bus extends from the booster to the right, you will use only 3x of wire.  That also leads to cleaner wiring underneath the layout.
  3. What is the benefit to you of the centralized location? How, in your eyes (after all, you’ll be maintaining this) does centralized vs. distributed design work to your advantage?  What do you see as the advantage of having all the components centrally located?  I’m curious, as this topic doesn’t come up much.         

 

Not arguing here, just trying to ask questions that will help you find the best answer for you and your layout.

 

Best regards,

 

Steve

 

Steve Haas

Snoqualmie, WA


Parallel track power busses

 

Greetings,
I hope this finds each of you staying healthy.

I have a power district that is just over 40 feet long. This power district is divided into five sub-districts protected by four circuit breakers and an auto-reverser. For convenience I want to place the booster and a control panel with the AR and circuit breakers at the middle of the district. If I do this there will be three track busses that run in parallel to the right of the panel before they get to the protected sub-districts. The alternative would be to run a single track bus to the right splitting it and inserting a breaker at each sub-district. This alternative, of course, means that the breakers are not conveniently located at the control panel. What are the potential negatives associated with my preferred arrangement?

As always, be in good health and do good work.

-Michael Boyle

 

 

          The miracle is this: The more we share the more we have.
                      Leonard Nimoy


Wiring a NCE Switch 8 to Mini Panel

Brent Johnson
 

I am wiring a staging yard control panel for push button routing using a NCE Switch 8 and NCE mini panel. I wired the Switch 8, tested it, and each tortoise responded to their accessory addresses correctly. I then programmed the mini panel.  When I tested the mini panel routing on the ProCab or the push buttons, neither responded. Should the Switch 8 be wired directly to the mini panel somehow? The Switch 8 is fed by the track power and the mini panel is fed by the cab bus. Any help is appreciated.

Brent Johnson 


Re: Main Bus Wiring - Thread from Digitrax List

 

The small side of the AliExpress connectors go down to 22AWG. The large side goes between 18 and 20 AWG.  So while very cool it might not be ideal for drops when 12-16AWG is favored for the bus and 24AWG is favored for the drops.

Best,

Ken Harstine


Re: Main Bus Wiring - Thread from Digitrax List

stevejohns
 

I haven't really looked at aliexpress before thanks for the tip.

I'd like to find a decent solution for tapping into a bus without having to actually cut it and splice which the wago type connectors require.  I have used suitcase connectors in the past with success, but my favorites are the posi-taps but they are pricey.  I haven't found any low cost alternatives yet. 

These look like maybe a good option to try: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005002559620031.html?pdp_ext_f=%7B%22sku_id%22:%2212000021141312240%22,%22ship_from%22:%22CN%22%7D&gps-id=pcStoreJustForYou&scm=1007.23125.137358.0&scm_id=1007.23125.137358.0&scm-url=1007.23125.137358.0&pvid=95de0cfb-6ec3-4259-ad14-e5af74b6d7b0&spm=a2g0o.store_pc_home.smartJustForYou_6000851356087.5


Re: Crossover "Short"

Blair
 

Somewhere, a long time ago, I read of a person opening up his Tortoises and increasing the gap on the circuit board by filing away some of the copper pad.  While this would work, it does void your warranty, so it's up to the OP whether that's acceptable.  I don't know what I'd do with a warranty on a $20 item anyways, it would cost me most of that in shipping just to send a defective product back.


On 2021-12-18 11:05, thomasmclae via groups.io wrote:
Are you powering the frogs through the tortoise relays? We have found that some tortoises do not have a dead gap when the relay throws, so the frog shorts in the center of the throw. We had to use both relays to get proper frog powering.
also, You might have the relay changing the power before the rails stop making contact with the outside rail. As in, tortoise starts to move, relay makes for new route, then rails in the turnout move.
Timing can bite you! 

Thomas
DeSoto, TX


Re: Crossover "Short"

thomasmclae
 

Are you powering the frogs through the tortoise relays? We have found that some tortoises do not have a dead gap when the relay throws, so the frog shorts in the center of the throw. We had to use both relays to get proper frog powering.
also, You might have the relay changing the power before the rails stop making contact with the outside rail. As in, tortoise starts to move, relay makes for new route, then rails in the turnout move.
Timing can bite you! 

Thomas
DeSoto, TX

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