Re: DCC HO DC Question

Mark Gurries

Jan

1. The DCC systems I've encountered all required AC input. Have you
found
one that runs on DC power?
Disclaimer: Consult with the DCC products manufacture for both DC and AC
capability before attempting to do anything.

Being familiar with DCC system internals in general (common circuits
shared by all), if a DCC system can take a low voltage AC input (less
than 30V), it will still work with a DC input.

A bridge rectifier converts AC power to DC power by "untangling" the
constant voltage reversal AC power present such that the voltage becomes
steady with one fixed polarity. If you present DC power to the input
designed for AC, all the bridge rectifier does is make sure the input DC
polarity will be matched to the required polarity inside the DCC system.

A less scientific way of stating this another way:

Think of the external DC power as being AC power source that suddenly
"Froze" at one polarity forever. The bridge rectifier does not care
what the polarity is at any given time because it job by definition is
to "on the fly" correct the polarity to match what is required inside.
So if the AC freezes, so does the rectifier in one rectification mode.
Hence the DC passes right through the rectifier to DC again.

This "capability" is limited to DCC products as far as my discussion
applies. Do not assume that above applies to every device especially
devices that run from 110/220VAC! See disclaimer.

Best Regards,

Mark Gurries
Linear Technology
Power Supply & Battery Charger Applications Engineer/Manager
---------------------------------------------------------
Model Railroad Club and NMRA DCC presentations are at:
http://www.siliconvalleylines.com/index.html
--------------------------------------------------------
Audio Enthusiast (Love SAE equipment)
----------------------------------------------------------

Re: Kato HO Unitrack #4 turnouts 2850/2851 with DCC

traincrazee <david.horn@...>

Thanks Don. You are correct; it is not reversing just simply a shorter
loop around if the switches are set to turn in toward the center of the
loop than if set straight. Thanks for confirming the info for me and

--- In WiringForDCC@..., "Vollrath, Don" <dvollrath@m...>
wrote:
Your description sounds like the track loop and shortcut is not
a 'reversing' loop, but more like a mainline by-pass or simple siding.
In that case it is only necessary to isolate the power routing track
switch at both rails leading way from the "V" crotch as you called it,
AKA the frog. Same treatment at both ends of the shortcut track. Yes,
then you must connect independant DCC power feed wires to the shortcut
track section. you will also need them to feed the original outside
loop of track.
DonV

Re: Kato HO Unitrack #4 turnouts 2850/2851 with DCC

Vollrath, Don <dvollrath@...>

Your description sounds like the track loop and shortcut is not a 'reversing' loop, but more like a mainline by-pass or simple siding. In that case it is only necessary to isolate the power routing track switch at both rails leading way from the "V" crotch as you called it, AKA the frog. Same treatment at both ends of the shortcut track. Yes, then you must connect independant DCC power feed wires to the shortcut track section. you will also need them to feed the original outside loop of track.
DonV

-----Original Message-----
From: WiringForDCC@...
[mailto:WiringForDCC@...]On Behalf Of traincrazee
Sent: Tuesday, July 12, 2005 11:16 AM
To: WiringForDCC@...
Subject: [WiringForDCC] Kato HO Unitrack #4 turnouts 2850/2851 with DCC

I'm new to DCC. I have my track plan done. Part of it includes a
loop with a shortcut. That is there is a HO Kato #4 switch
(2850/2851) on the straight sides of the loop with curved track
connecting the switches. Thus creating a "shortcut" around the loop
or passing siding between the sides of the loop. I want to use HO
Kato #4 Untrack switches because they match the 550mm (21 5/8")
radius curves at both ends of the loop and the "shortcut". I will
operate using DCC. I want to use them with DCC, but it seems since
they are Power Routing only (i.e. they have no mode selection) they
may not work OTB with DCC. I read the article on wiring Kato HO
Unitrack #4 turnouts with DCC
http://www.wiringfordcc.com/switches_kato.htm . I also called Kato
and spoke to a tech. He said that all I need to do is use Insulator
RailJoiners on the #2 and #3 rails. If you look at a right hand
turnout top lefthand rail is #1, so insulator rail joiners would go
on the rails that come into the crouch or "V" of the turnout/switch.
Is it really that simple? The article mentioned opening up the
turnout, etc.

Will I need to run power leads to the shortcut section in order for
it to receive power while the turnouts at either end of the shortcut
are set straight? With the insulator railjoiners installed will the
#2 or #3 frog rail fail to get any power when the turnout is set
opposite their direction, even if I run leads to the shortcut tracks?

Thanks in advance for your help. I realize the #6 HO Kato turnouts
(2860/2861) are "mode selectable" and therefore DCC friendly, but I
don't want to redesign this portion of my layout, especially because
it will effect the geometries of neighboring tracks as well.

TC

http://www.WiringForDCC.com

Kato HO Unitrack #4 turnouts 2850/2851 with DCC

traincrazee <david.horn@...>

I'm new to DCC. I have my track plan done. Part of it includes a
loop with a shortcut. That is there is a HO Kato #4 switch
(2850/2851) on the straight sides of the loop with curved track
connecting the switches. Thus creating a "shortcut" around the loop
or passing siding between the sides of the loop. I want to use HO
Kato #4 Untrack switches because they match the 550mm (21 5/8")
radius curves at both ends of the loop and the "shortcut". I will
operate using DCC. I want to use them with DCC, but it seems since
they are Power Routing only (i.e. they have no mode selection) they
may not work OTB with DCC. I read the article on wiring Kato HO
Unitrack #4 turnouts with DCC
http://www.wiringfordcc.com/switches_kato.htm . I also called Kato
and spoke to a tech. He said that all I need to do is use Insulator
RailJoiners on the #2 and #3 rails. If you look at a right hand
turnout top lefthand rail is #1, so insulator rail joiners would go
on the rails that come into the crouch or "V" of the turnout/switch.
Is it really that simple? The article mentioned opening up the
turnout, etc.

Will I need to run power leads to the shortcut section in order for
it to receive power while the turnouts at either end of the shortcut
are set straight? With the insulator railjoiners installed will the
#2 or #3 frog rail fail to get any power when the turnout is set
opposite their direction, even if I run leads to the shortcut tracks?

Thanks in advance for your help. I realize the #6 HO Kato turnouts
(2860/2861) are "mode selectable" and therefore DCC friendly, but I
don't want to redesign this portion of my layout, especially because
it will effect the geometries of neighboring tracks as well.

TC

Re: DCC HO DC Question

Marcus Ammann

Hi Blair

My NCE system outputs 13.8. I have an ammeter fitted fulltime that uses
a bridge rectifier in series with one track feeder so the voltage at the
output of the ammeter is 12.4 and I use 21 watt lamps for power division
which further drops the voltage to the track.

For a test, I consisted 4 sound equipped locos two Soundtraxx and two
Loksound, and run all with lights on and drawing .6 Amp and with the 21
watt lamp just starting to glow. The track voltage was 10.3 volts. Sound
decoders were all operating with sound. The Soundtraxx units on a
previous test for using 12 volt lamps for power division, do start to
play up at about 9 volts.

Operating with 12 volts DCC at the track, allows successful operation.
Obviously the top speed will be reduced at this voltage but all locos
were working.

Some operators on my NCE group have lowered the track voltage to 12
volts and have said that some problems they were experiencing, have
disappeared.

Marcus

-----Original Message-----
From: WiringForDCC@... [mailto:WiringForDCC@...]
On Behalf Of Rasa and Blair Smith
Sent: Tuesday, 12 July 2005 8:27 PM
To: WiringForDCC@...
Subject: RE: [WiringForDCC] DCC HO DC Question

Marcus
Yes, we know that the input may be AC or DC, and that regardless of that
input signal, in at least the Digitrax case, the input is rectified.
Yes,
we know that any system that produces AC from DC from AC is going to
need
what we generally refer to as "headroom". Digitrax specs 12 to 28 as
input
DC, what I am more or less questioning is whether 13.8, or even 12,
provided
sufficient voltage "at the track" for satisfactory operation. The
latter is
a very subjective consideration, so I guess the upshot is I should just
try
it.

The double battery suggestion is a fine one; I'll need yet a third, I
guess,
for all the PS12 and other electronics. Alternatively, I guess an
inverter
might be a better idea, with the layout wired for 110 VAC. Then I won't
need to make these decisions at all, off-the-shelf equipment will
suffice.
Thanks
Blair

-----Original Message-----
From: WiringForDCC@...
[mailto:WiringForDCC@...]On
Behalf Of Marcus Ammann
Sent: July 12, 2005 04:45
To: WiringForDCC@...
Subject: RE: [WiringForDCC] DCC HO DC Question

Hi Blair

You can power your DCC systems with DC.
NCE - 18 to 28 volts DC
Lenz - 15 to 18 Volts DC
Digitrax - 12 to 28 volts DC

DCC power at the track is produced from DC that is made from rectifying
the normal AC voltage from your transformer by a bridge rectifier in the
booster. Supplying the bridge rectifier with DC instead of AC will still
provide DC to the booster circuits. It just uses 2 diodes to pass the
DC, instead of the 4 that are used for rectifying the AC.

The bridge rectifier and the electronics that produce the DCC voltage
will require some "extra" volts. For example if you supply the DCC
system 12 volts from a car battery you will only at maximum get say 10
volts. All decoder will work on 10 volts DCC but top speed will
certainly be affected. Sound decoders will start dropping out at 9
volts.

So for a DCC system to provide the recommended HO voltage of 14.25
volts, it will require at least 16 to 18 volts DC.

So if you go off the "grid" and have to supply your system with DC then
I would check your system requirements. From the above if you were
operating either the NCE or Digitrax, you could supply them with two 12
volt batteries connected in series to give you 24 volts. You will have
to separate the batteries to charge them with a 14 volt car alternator.

Hope this helps

Marcus

-----Original Message-----
From: WiringForDCC@... [mailto:WiringForDCC@...]
On Behalf Of Rasa and Blair Smith
Sent: Tuesday, 12 July 2005 11:34 AM
To: WiringForDCC@...
Subject: [WiringForDCC] DCC HO DC Question

Hi
13.8
VDC not being enough to power DCC systems for HO, because you "dont get
enough speed out of the locos". Now, when I think about it for not very
long, it seems to me that that implys running the units at full throttle
and
being unsatisfied with performance. So what voltage DC is required to
achieve full performance? Yes, I realize that we have to assume a few
things, like the voltage drop to the farthest corner of the layout, etc.
etc, but ignoring those factors for a moment, what input voltage DC
should
we strive for to get satisfactory DCC performance?

If 13.8 VDC is satisfactory as long as we aren't looking for slotcar
performance, then the next question becomes will a DCC system perform
satisfactorily from an automobile electrical system? With and without
alternator charging system, or only when the car is running?
12 VDC is the minimum input, right? Or is that optimistic?

I ask all of this because there is a significant chance I am going to
want
to go off-grid in my next abode, and I expect 12 Volts will be part of
my
life at that point.

Blair Smith

http://www.WiringForDCC.com

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http://www.WiringForDCC.com

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Re: DCC HO DC Question

Blair & Rasa

Jan

1. The DCC systems I've encountered all required AC input. Have you found
one that runs on DC power?
Digitrax. AC or DC input. They specifically did not put the wall-mains
input section into the DCS100. I suspect that was because of a) simplicity
of not having to certify that high-voltage front end, and b) not having to
have different front ends for different power regions.

2. Power is not the same as speed with DCC, the DCC signal is full power
all the time. However, more power in the signal allows more speed. I like
to aim for 14-15 volts on the tracks, which implies a similar amount of
input power.
Nope. Power is not at issue, as power is the product of Volts and Amps. My
concern here is strictly the peak voltage available to the Digitrax circuit
producing the DCC waveform. To have 14-15 volts at the track, your DC
source must have that voltage PLUS whatever headroom the switching circuits
require.

I guess the upshot is, "try it", and see whether I get acceptable
performance.
Thanks
Blair

Re: DCC HO DC Question

Blair & Rasa

Marcus
Yes, we know that the input may be AC or DC, and that regardless of that
input signal, in at least the Digitrax case, the input is rectified. Yes,
we know that any system that produces AC from DC from AC is going to need
what we generally refer to as "headroom". Digitrax specs 12 to 28 as input
DC, what I am more or less questioning is whether 13.8, or even 12, provided
sufficient voltage "at the track" for satisfactory operation. The latter is
a very subjective consideration, so I guess the upshot is I should just try
it.

The double battery suggestion is a fine one; I'll need yet a third, I guess,
for all the PS12 and other electronics. Alternatively, I guess an inverter
might be a better idea, with the layout wired for 110 VAC. Then I won't
need to make these decisions at all, off-the-shelf equipment will suffice.
Thanks
Blair

-----Original Message-----
From: WiringForDCC@... [mailto:WiringForDCC@...]On
Behalf Of Marcus Ammann
Sent: July 12, 2005 04:45
To: WiringForDCC@...
Subject: RE: [WiringForDCC] DCC HO DC Question

Hi Blair

You can power your DCC systems with DC.
NCE - 18 to 28 volts DC
Lenz - 15 to 18 Volts DC
Digitrax - 12 to 28 volts DC

DCC power at the track is produced from DC that is made from rectifying
the normal AC voltage from your transformer by a bridge rectifier in the
booster. Supplying the bridge rectifier with DC instead of AC will still
provide DC to the booster circuits. It just uses 2 diodes to pass the
DC, instead of the 4 that are used for rectifying the AC.

The bridge rectifier and the electronics that produce the DCC voltage
will require some "extra" volts. For example if you supply the DCC
system 12 volts from a car battery you will only at maximum get say 10
volts. All decoder will work on 10 volts DCC but top speed will
certainly be affected. Sound decoders will start dropping out at 9
volts.

So for a DCC system to provide the recommended HO voltage of 14.25
volts, it will require at least 16 to 18 volts DC.

So if you go off the "grid" and have to supply your system with DC then
I would check your system requirements. From the above if you were
operating either the NCE or Digitrax, you could supply them with two 12
volt batteries connected in series to give you 24 volts. You will have
to separate the batteries to charge them with a 14 volt car alternator.

Hope this helps

Marcus

-----Original Message-----
From: WiringForDCC@... [mailto:WiringForDCC@...]
On Behalf Of Rasa and Blair Smith
Sent: Tuesday, 12 July 2005 11:34 AM
To: WiringForDCC@...
Subject: [WiringForDCC] DCC HO DC Question

Hi
13.8
VDC not being enough to power DCC systems for HO, because you "dont get
enough speed out of the locos". Now, when I think about it for not very
long, it seems to me that that implys running the units at full throttle
and
being unsatisfied with performance. So what voltage DC is required to
achieve full performance? Yes, I realize that we have to assume a few
things, like the voltage drop to the farthest corner of the layout, etc.
etc, but ignoring those factors for a moment, what input voltage DC
should
we strive for to get satisfactory DCC performance?

If 13.8 VDC is satisfactory as long as we aren't looking for slotcar
performance, then the next question becomes will a DCC system perform
satisfactorily from an automobile electrical system? With and without
alternator charging system, or only when the car is running?
12 VDC is the minimum input, right? Or is that optimistic?

I ask all of this because there is a significant chance I am going to
want
to go off-grid in my next abode, and I expect 12 Volts will be part of
my
life at that point.

Blair Smith

http://www.WiringForDCC.com

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http://www.WiringForDCC.com

Re: DCC HO DC Question

Marcus Ammann

Hi Blair

You can power your DCC systems with DC.
NCE - 18 to 28 volts DC
Lenz - 15 to 18 Volts DC
Digitrax - 12 to 28 volts DC

DCC power at the track is produced from DC that is made from rectifying
the normal AC voltage from your transformer by a bridge rectifier in the
booster. Supplying the bridge rectifier with DC instead of AC will still
provide DC to the booster circuits. It just uses 2 diodes to pass the
DC, instead of the 4 that are used for rectifying the AC.

The bridge rectifier and the electronics that produce the DCC voltage
will require some "extra" volts. For example if you supply the DCC
system 12 volts from a car battery you will only at maximum get say 10
volts. All decoder will work on 10 volts DCC but top speed will
certainly be affected. Sound decoders will start dropping out at 9
volts.

So for a DCC system to provide the recommended HO voltage of 14.25
volts, it will require at least 16 to 18 volts DC.

So if you go off the "grid" and have to supply your system with DC then
I would check your system requirements. From the above if you were
operating either the NCE or Digitrax, you could supply them with two 12
volt batteries connected in series to give you 24 volts. You will have
to separate the batteries to charge them with a 14 volt car alternator.

Hope this helps

Marcus

-----Original Message-----
From: WiringForDCC@... [mailto:WiringForDCC@...]
On Behalf Of Rasa and Blair Smith
Sent: Tuesday, 12 July 2005 11:34 AM
To: WiringForDCC@...
Subject: [WiringForDCC] DCC HO DC Question

Hi
13.8
VDC not being enough to power DCC systems for HO, because you "dont get
enough speed out of the locos". Now, when I think about it for not very
long, it seems to me that that implys running the units at full throttle
and
being unsatisfied with performance. So what voltage DC is required to
achieve full performance? Yes, I realize that we have to assume a few
things, like the voltage drop to the farthest corner of the layout, etc.
etc, but ignoring those factors for a moment, what input voltage DC
should
we strive for to get satisfactory DCC performance?

If 13.8 VDC is satisfactory as long as we aren't looking for slotcar
performance, then the next question becomes will a DCC system perform
satisfactorily from an automobile electrical system? With and without
alternator charging system, or only when the car is running?
12 VDC is the minimum input, right? Or is that optimistic?

I ask all of this because there is a significant chance I am going to
want
to go off-grid in my next abode, and I expect 12 Volts will be part of
my
life at that point.

Blair Smith

http://www.WiringForDCC.com

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Checked by AVG Anti-Virus.
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Re: DCC HO DC Question

Jan Frelin <jan.frelin@...>

At 21:34 2005-07-11 -0400, Rasa and Blair Smith wrote:

Hi
VDC not being enough to power DCC systems for HO, because you "dont get
enough speed out of the locos". Now, when I think about it for not very
long, it seems to me that that implys running the units at full throttle and
being unsatisfied with performance. So what voltage DC is required to
achieve full performance? Yes, I realize that we have to assume a few
things, like the voltage drop to the farthest corner of the layout, etc.
etc, but ignoring those factors for a moment, what input voltage DC should
we strive for to get satisfactory DCC performance?

1. The DCC systems I've encountered all required AC input. Have you found
one that runs on DC power?
2. Power is not the same as speed with DCC, the DCC signal is full power
all the time. However, more power in the signal allows more speed. I like
to aim for 14-15 volts on the tracks, which implies a similar amount of
input power.

If 13.8 VDC is satisfactory as long as we aren't looking for slotcar
performance, then the next question becomes will a DCC system perform
satisfactorily from an automobile electrical system? With and without
alternator charging system, or only when the car is running?
12 VDC is the minimum input, right? Or is that optimistic?

I ask all of this because there is a significant chance I am going to want
to go off-grid in my next abode, and I expect 12 Volts will be part of my
life at that point.
Like I wrote above, the systems I've found all require AC input. I was
going to say that you can always change the power source at a later time if
it doesn't work, but your situation kind of rules that out.
/Jan

DCC HO DC Question

Blair & Rasa

Hi
VDC not being enough to power DCC systems for HO, because you "dont get
enough speed out of the locos". Now, when I think about it for not very
long, it seems to me that that implys running the units at full throttle and
being unsatisfied with performance. So what voltage DC is required to
achieve full performance? Yes, I realize that we have to assume a few
things, like the voltage drop to the farthest corner of the layout, etc.
etc, but ignoring those factors for a moment, what input voltage DC should
we strive for to get satisfactory DCC performance?

If 13.8 VDC is satisfactory as long as we aren't looking for slotcar
performance, then the next question becomes will a DCC system perform
satisfactorily from an automobile electrical system? With and without
alternator charging system, or only when the car is running?
12 VDC is the minimum input, right? Or is that optimistic?

I ask all of this because there is a significant chance I am going to want
to go off-grid in my next abode, and I expect 12 Volts will be part of my
life at that point.

Blair Smith

atlas snap relays

Les Crawford <cei300@...>

Hi gang: I have several snap relays, that I wish to wire to my
switches and to my target lights. Does any one have a wiring diagram
for this out there? I do not have the original wiring diagram of how
to hook up these relays either.

Les

Re: more dcc

MT,

It appears that no one has developed a circuit that displays green
for no short and red for short. There are probably several reason
for this.
1. If a light bulb is not used to limit a short, DCC boosters shut
down when a short occurs. This would make it hard for a circuit to
know that a short is present.
2. When a short occurs, your trains comes to an abrupt stop. You
don't need a light that tells you have a problem. You will already
know you probably have a short before you look at any light.
3. If you use light bulbs to limit short circuit current, this will
provide you with a short circuit indication.

http://www.WiringForDCC.com/track.htm#a6

Note: At the moment I created this email, the server for the
website appears to be down. Try later.

Allan

more dcc

zekda99 <zekda99@...>

K am a little bit slow, have now figured out that DCC runs on AC, not
DC, (thus reason why lites come on in non dcc engines when put on dcc
powered track) Now i want to know how to set up blocks that show one
colored lite when all is ok and a red lite when I have a short...I
know I need to use relays, but not quite sure how to configure
but this one is eluding me. (plus i guess i'm getting old laugh laugh)

mt

Re: Help with DCC wiring of kato unitrack!

Whoops! I see that when I added the "How to wire this turnout"
feature to my website, I missed the Kato turnouts. Sorry about that.

I just updated the website. You should find the information you seek
there now. Go to http://www.wiringfordcc.com/switches_kato.htm

I strongly recommend soldered connections to the track. However,
given that there is so much plastic in the Unitrack, if your soldering
skills really are weak, you may do more harm than good. If you use
joiners with wires attached to them, you should be good for several
years IF THE JOINERS ARE TIGHT ON THE RAILS. Long term, you may start
developing problems. Therefore, you really should solder your
connections.

Allan

Help with DCC wiring of kato unitrack!

sugelle@sbcglobal.net <sugelle@...>

HELP!!! I am new to the hobby and I am currently building a dcc N
scale layout using KATO Unitrack. I am building the Manning Oaks
for N scale layouts. The layout uses 6 left hand #6 swithces
(turnouts) as well as a double crossover. I read on this website the
articles on how to make the Unitrack #6 turnouts "DCC Friendly" by
removing the tab or wiper arm that powers the frogs and to do the same
with the Unitrack double crossover. I made theses modifications this
weekend but now I am totally confused on how to wire the layout??? I
already ran my bus wire under the layout but I have no clue on how and
where to properly wire the switches and double crossover as they
relate to the layout. Also, would it be O.K. to use the terminal
Unijoiners as feeders and solder the ends of them to the bus wires or
should I really solder feeders directly to the track? (My soldering
skills are weak). Since my skills and knowledge of the hobby are very
limited, please be specific as possible!

Re: Automatic Train Control

robert_scheffler

Jan,

No problem. I've added it to the solutions worth considering ;-)
Glad to hear it. We're pretty flexible for updates and features. The
firmware running now hasn't changed in several months. It's about due for a
update. If you have any features or functions that seem to be lacking,

Do your system feature slow starts and stops?
At the moment, it just sends a 'kick' to get the motor moving when running
at slow speed. Since it doesn't have any Back-EMF or way to detect what the
physical motor is doing, slow speed can be a bit tricky. It is really more
dependant on the mechanics of the trolley/loco. The Brill trolley shown in
my pictures is quite finicky at slow speeds. It has the factory motor. It
works very nice with a 'normal' motor, not the factory pancake in the Brill.
We could add a more flexible ramp or curve to get your motor stable at slow
speeds. This would take the form of 'settings' that you could 'tweak' for
your specific trolley, much the same as CV's in a mobile DCC decoder.

Your homepage say you're considering a DCC version.
Been considering it, but we have a much more aggressive plan for this that I
can't quite talk about yet, more like a universal throttle...

As we're using a Lenz system, using Loconet is a non-starter.
I understand and agree. I have NCE, Lenz, MRC, and Digitrax here, you are
right, committing to one is a non-starter for the others. Have a plan, but
still working on the solution.

I suppose that is about the limit for what we should talk about on-list, if
you have more questions or comments, best to send me off-list so I don't
offend anyone here. If anyone else has questions, please let me know!

Bob Scheffler
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
www.dcctester.com "Test all the data on your Rails!"

Re: Automatic Train Control

Jan Frelin <jan.frelin@...>

At 13:05 2005-07-01 -0600, Robert Scheffler wrote:

Not sure if you are interested in DC control. Keeping all the warnings Mark
has described about mixing DC and DCC on the track level in mind. This
system will only work with DC:
<http://www.pricom.com/Trains/TrainController.html>http://www.pricom.com/Trains/TrainController.html

It has up to 8 station sensors (for me Hall-Effect sensors) that simply
'close' when the Trolley is over them. You put a small magnet on the bottom
of your Trolley and the controller can start and stop at any station. It can
change position of up to 4 twin-coil switch machines, or 4 slow-motion
switch machines.

I have one setup on my layout with 4 switch tracks and 8 station sensors. It
drives from any point to any point using a scripting-like table of events.
You just say "Drive East at 40%", "Wait For Station A", "Stop for 5
seconds", "Throw Turnout 2", "Drive West at 50%", "Wait for Station B",
"Stop for 25 Seconds", etc... This would be considered a "ROUTE". You can
create many "ROUTES" and then build them up into a "SCHEDULE" so that the
movements are not just a "BUMP AND REVERSE" type of controller.

Having an automatic line is actually pretty cool because it really does run
itself. It doesn't use a computer once you have the "ROUTES" set. When you
power it on, it just starts the "SCHEDULE" you have stored. The programming
of the "ROUTES" is done with a PC, but after that, no PC needed.

This is my product, so sorry for the plug, since you didn't get any better
answers, I though you might appreciate this.
No problem. I've added it to the solutions worth considering ;-) Do your
system feature slow starts and stops?

Your homepage say you're considering a DCC version. As we're using a Lenz
system, using Loconet is a non-starter.

/Jan

Re: Automatic Train Control

robert_scheffler

Not sure if you are interested in DC control. Keeping all the warnings Mark
has described about mixing DC and DCC on the track level in mind. This
system will only work with DC:
http://www.pricom.com/Trains/TrainController.html

It has up to 8 station sensors (for me Hall-Effect sensors) that simply
'close' when the Trolley is over them. You put a small magnet on the bottom
of your Trolley and the controller can start and stop at any station. It can
change position of up to 4 twin-coil switch machines, or 4 slow-motion
switch machines.

I have one setup on my layout with 4 switch tracks and 8 station sensors. It
drives from any point to any point using a scripting-like table of events.
You just say "Drive East at 40%", "Wait For Station A", "Stop for 5
seconds", "Throw Turnout 2", "Drive West at 50%", "Wait for Station B",
"Stop for 25 Seconds", etc... This would be considered a "ROUTE". You can
create many "ROUTES" and then build them up into a "SCHEDULE" so that the
movements are not just a "BUMP AND REVERSE" type of controller.

Having an automatic line is actually pretty cool because it really does run
itself. It doesn't use a computer once you have the "ROUTES" set. When you
power it on, it just starts the "SCHEDULE" you have stored. The programming
of the "ROUTES" is done with a PC, but after that, no PC needed.

This is my product, so sorry for the plug, since you didn't get any better
answers, I though you might appreciate this.

Bob Scheffler
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
PRICOM Design
www.pricom.com

Re: Automatic Train Control

Jan Frelin <jan.frelin@...>

At 11:18 2005-07-01 -0700, Mark Gurries wrote:

Friends,

My club has a requirement for a tram that just goes back and forth
between it's terminal track and staging/storage. We want this to be
automatically controled. There are several kits for doing just this on
the market, but all I have found are DC based. As this track is
connected with the general layout, we would prefer a DCC solution, but
this seems to require a computer, a computer interface, and track
detectors.

My question is: Is there a simpler solution with DCC? What's the
cheapest DCC-based solution (without building your own hardware or
sofware)?
Nothing is simpler or more cost effective than a DC solution.

DCC has layout automation software for DCC.

<http://www.freiwald.com/>http://www.freiwald.com/

is an example of such software.

But you will need a computer, a computer interface to the DCC system,
sensors in the track (DC will need that too) and do some programming.

Definitely more expensive and requires a computer running to make it
happen. The DC solution would be hands off easy to setup and forget.
That's what I suspected, thanks for confirming.

Some thoughts...

Generally mixing DC and DCC is not recommended by anyone. I can result
in destruction of a booster, DC throttle or both if both power sources
connect to each other. (DCC is a form of AC power) If you must run DC,
the recommendation is that one have a master switch that toggle the
whole layout between DC or DCC but NEVER both at the same time. Many
layouts have done this successfully. There was an article about how one
club did it in MR magazine.

If you MUST have DC and DCC present, there are some recommended rules.

1) Isolate at least a 12: section of track the goes between the DC power
section of the layout and the DCC powered portion of the layout. A no
mans land with not power. Using a momentary center off switch, you
would toggle the power of the dead section of track to DC or DCC
depending on which side of the dead section of track you need to get
power from. The key is momentary switch. A standard toggle will no be
safe for you will forget to turn it off.
That solution is something like what I had in mind. We don't want any
rolling stock straying into the way of the automatic tram, anyway.

Yours,
Jan

Re: Automatic Train Control

Mark Gurries

Friends,

My club has a requirement for a tram that just goes back and forth
between it's terminal track and staging/storage. We want this to be
automatically controled. There are several kits for doing just this on
the market, but all I have found are DC based. As this track is
connected with the general layout, we would prefer a DCC solution, but
this seems to require a computer, a computer interface, and track
detectors.

My question is: Is there a simpler solution with DCC? What's the
cheapest DCC-based solution (without building your own hardware or
sofware)?
Nothing is simpler or more cost effective than a DC solution.

DCC has layout automation software for DCC.

http://www.freiwald.com/

is an example of such software.

But you will need a computer, a computer interface to the DCC system,
sensors in the track (DC will need that too) and do some programming.

Definitely more expensive and requires a computer running to make it
happen. The DC solution would be hands off easy to setup and forget.

Some thoughts...

Generally mixing DC and DCC is not recommended by anyone. I can result
in destruction of a booster, DC throttle or both if both power sources
connect to each other. (DCC is a form of AC power) If you must run DC,
the recommendation is that one have a master switch that toggle the
whole layout between DC or DCC but NEVER both at the same time. Many
layouts have done this successfully. There was an article about how one
club did it in MR magazine.

If you MUST have DC and DCC present, there are some recommended rules.

1) Isolate at least a 12: section of track the goes between the DC power
section of the layout and the DCC powered portion of the layout. A no
mans land with not power. Using a momentary center off switch, you
would toggle the power of the dead section of track to DC or DCC
depending on which side of the dead section of track you need to get
power from. The key is momentary switch. A standard toggle will no be
safe for you will forget to turn it off.

2) Another option to isolate the approach track from the DCC portion of
the layout and power it through a Lenz LT100.

http://www.lenz.com/products/modules/index.htm

The LT100 is connected to your DC power pack output. It monitors for
signs of DCC and will instantly disconnect the DC power pack from the
track protecting both system.

I should say that running a locomotive from DC section of track to a DCC
section of track can lead to a runaway locomotive. Most decoder make a
decision on first power up to run in DCC or DC mode. As long as power
is maintained, that decision remains true. So if the decoder see DCC
power after while it has been running in DC mode, the decoder will not
recognize the DCC and assume the DCC is nothing more than full throttle
DC power and vrooom.....

The reverse DCC to DC is less predictable. The engine may simple stop
and not run OR switch to DC mode with a very erratic reaction in the
process.

Part of the randomness to all this is the nature of an engine rolling on
track with the corresponding momentary loss of power. Dirt, oxidation,
clean wheel, number of wheel pickups and other such factor play into the
experience.

Best Regards,

Mark Gurries
Linear Technology
Power Supply & Battery Charger Applications Engineer/Manager
---------------------------------------------------------
Model Railroad Club and NMRA DCC presentations are at:
http://www.siliconvalleylines.com/index.html
--------------------------------------------------------
Audio Enthusiast (Love SAE equipment)