Date   
Re: Defecting from NCE to Digitrax

halkuff@...
 

Thanks Mark.. It is very frustrating trying to hunt down what-works-with-NCE in the signaling and accessory arena. Agree NCE is a better well thought out throttle but they barely out a tech note out on the BD-20 and nothing in the name of a reference architecture - which is the attraction to Digitrax.. If NCE is listening.. lets get to it because Digitrax has the guts and if they ever get a good product designer then they will own the market

Re: Defecting from NCE to Digitrax

halkuff@...
 

Thanks Mark.. It is very frustrating trying to hunt down what-works-with-NCE in the signaling and accessory arena. Agree NCE is a better well thought out throttle but they barely out a tech note out on the BD-20 and nothing in the name of a reference architecture - which is the attraction to Digitrax.. If NCE is listening.. lets get to it because Digitrax has the guts and if they ever get a good product designer then they will own the market

Re: Digest Number 2154

hal kuff <halkuff@...>
 

Thanks Mark.. It is very frustrating trying to hunt down what-works-with-NCE in the signaling and accessory arena. Agree NCE is a better well thought out throttle but they barely out a tech note out on the BD-20 and nothing in the name of a reference architecture - which is the attraction to Digitrax.. If NCE is listening.. lets get to it because Digitrax has the guts and if they ever get a good product designer then they will own the market


On Tuesday, August 26, 2014 3:34 AM, "WiringForDCC@..." wrote:


2 Messages

Digest #2154

Messages

1a

Defecting from NCE to Digitrax

Mon Aug 25, 2014 5:39 pm (PDT) . Posted by:

halkuff

It appears that although NCE is elegant and good engineering that the temptation of Digitrax already having an eco system with signals , detection, automation etc is too overwhelming. Unless I am missing something its time to ship off the NCE to e-Bay and convert.

1b

Re: Defecting from NCE to Digitrax

Mon Aug 25, 2014 10:32 pm (PDT) . Posted by:

"Mark Gurries" gurriesm

> On Aug 25, 2014, at 9:08 AM, halkuff@... [WiringForDCC] wrote:
>
> It appears that although NCE is elegant and good engineering that the temptation of Digitrax already having an eco system with signals , detection, automation etc is too overwhelming. Unless I am missing something its time to ship off the NCE to e-Bay and convert.

You can have it both ways. AKA You can "have your cake and eat it to" so to speak.

https://sites.google.com/site/markgurries/home/technical-discussions/nce-digitrax-notes

Let NCE's �legance�run the trains and use Digitrax to run everything else.

There is no technical advantage just running trains with Digitrax. Loconet� value only become useful and obvious when you do other task such as what your suggesting.

Best Regards,

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



NCE UTP on Digitrax

Douglas Krahn
 

Group:

I have a FREE-MO  module that uses NCE UTPs, because I have an NCE system and I normally connect with others who use the NCE system.  For some shows I would like to connect with DIGITRAX users.  Can I use the NCE UTP with a Digitrax system?  Is there any changes that need to be made, or do I need to replace the UTP?


Thank you


Doug Krahn

Re: Defecting from NCE to Digitrax

Mark Gurries
 

On Aug 25, 2014, at 9:08 AM, halkuff@... [WiringForDCC] <WiringForDCC@...> wrote:

It appears that although NCE is elegant and good engineering that the temptation of Digitrax already having an eco system with signals , detection, automation etc is too overwhelming. Unless I am missing something its time to ship off the NCE to e-Bay and convert.
You can have it both ways. AKA You can "have your cake and eat it to" so to speak.

https://sites.google.com/site/markgurries/home/technical-discussions/nce-digitrax-notes

Let NCE's “elegance” run the trains and use Digitrax to run everything else.

There is no technical advantage just running trains with Digitrax. Loconet’s value only become useful and obvious when you do other task such as what your suggesting.

Best Regards,

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

Defecting from NCE to Digitrax

halkuff@...
 

It appears that although NCE is elegant and good engineering that the temptation of Digitrax already having an eco system with signals , detection, automation etc is too overwhelming. Unless I am missing something its time to ship off the NCE to e-Bay and convert.

Re: Atlas switch machines in dcc layout

Glenn
 

There seems to be several generations of Atlas Switch machines. My faves are the oldest with the fine spring wire activator. And screw terminals.

 

The best way is to use a separate power supply for the switch machines. You can use an old power pack for this just use the 16V AC terminals and wire according to the Atlas instructions. Leave the DCC system for the trains.

 

There are switch machine controllers that are operated via DCC. But from my experience they can be frustrating. Along this line NCE makes the “Snap It” at $20 per twin coil switch machine. MRC has the #1628 Accessory Decoder which can control four accessories including twin-coil and slow motion switch machines as well as other accessories. It costs $73.

 

It was nice to be able to set a turnout ahead of you, but I kept forgetting to recall the locomotive. I will stick with pushbuttons and hand throws.

 

Glenn

 


From: WiringForDCC@... [mailto:WiringForDCC@...]
Sent: Thursday, August 21, 2014 13:54
To: WiringForDCC@...
Subject: [WiringForDCC] Atlas switch machines in dcc layout

 



I am new to model railroading and have set up our layout according to the Atlas central midlands design. We have wired the layout for DCC and the locos all run well all the way around. Now comes time for wiring the turnouts. I am thinking of using the old atlas switch machines since that is what I have laying around. I know how to wire the turnout to the switch machine but am confused as to how to power the switch machine. I am using the NCE power cab and SB5. Can anyone help me out? Steve

Re: Atlas switch machines in dcc layout

Vollrath, Don <dvollrath@...>
 

Since these will be twin coil machines, I suggest wiring them up using the Team Digital SMD82 or SMD84. Either of these will drive up to 8 twin coil machines right from the DCC track bus power. You can set them up to use external pushbuttons or DCC commands from your NCE throttle accessory commands. The SMD82/84 units include cap discharge circuits but must be powered from DCC track or accessory power.

 

But you can also control the Atlas machines independent of any DCC system using the age-old techniques as suggested by Atlas using an external power supply and power pushbuttons or any other type of capacitor discharge circuitry.

 

DonV

 

From: WiringForDCC@... [mailto:WiringForDCC@...]
Sent: Thursday, August 21, 2014 12:54 PM
To: WiringForDCC@...
Subject: [WiringForDCC] Atlas switch machines in dcc layout

 



I am new to model railroading and have set up our layout according to the Atlas central midlands design. We have wired the layout for DCC and the locos all run well all the way around. Now comes time for wiring the turnouts. I am thinking of using the old atlas switch machines since that is what I have laying around. I know how to wire the turnout to the switch machine but am confused as to how to power the switch machine. I am using the NCE power cab and SB5. Can anyone help me out? Steve


Atlas switch machines in dcc layout

steve01810@...
 

I am new to model railroading and have set up our layout according to the Atlas central midlands design. We have wired the layout for DCC and the locos all run well all the way around. Now comes time for wiring the turnouts. I am thinking of using the old atlas switch machines since that is what I have laying around. I know how to wire the turnout to the switch machine but am confused as to how to power the switch machine. I am using the NCE power cab and SB5. Can anyone help me out? Steve

Re: Custom Model Railroad connectors - Terminal Strips?

asychis@...
 

Not sure what you mean by the "mundane black terminal strip with crimp on connectors," but at the Amarillo Railroad Museum we are using a black plastic terminal strip with one screw-type connector at the bottom and four spade-type connectors above that.  I believe they are 10-position strips and you can bus them together or keep them independent.  They sure work well for us!  Maybe mundane, but simple and versatile.  The only problem I have is some members solder wires to the spade connectors, for all practical purposes ruining their versatility.  Any mis-wiring and the soldering iron has to come out.  Simple spade connectors soldered (or crimped) to the wire works much better. 
 
We use the screw-terminal European type connectors too, and I see no problem with them.  We use them primarily where space is a limitation.  They are nice with multiple sizes available for different sized wire.  The only thing I don't like them for is bussing lines together, such as a common ground.  I think the black strips work better for this. 
 
Curious aside.  We have one member who is adamantly opposed to IDC's, but has no problem crimping fork and spade connectors to wires.  Go figure!
 
Jerry Michels

Re: Custom Model Railroad connectors - Terminal Strips?

Oscar Moutinho
 

I decided to use these ones and I'm very satisfied.
You may see them in use at: hobby.oscarmoutinho.com
More specifically bellow 'Rails and Switches' and 'More benchwork and rails'.
Oscar
 

Re: Custom Model Railroad connectors - Terminal Strips?

jazzmanlj
 

The Euro style strips are nice as you can put multiples wires in each side and feed through! Check surplus and Ebay.

Another interesting style is the lever type.

28-12 GA Lever-Lock Quick Connect Terminal Blocks | Installation Supplies | Super Bright LEDs | Super Bright LEDs

Len Jaskiewicz

Custom Model Railroad connectors - Terminal Strips?

halkuff@...
 

Building another layout and its time to do it right, I remember running across very useful hobbyist wiring parts - terminal strips etc....I'm really interested in something beyond the mundane black terminal strips and crimp on connectors. 

open beta test - NCE Information Station

ed wilson
 


Hello! The NCE Information Station is doing an open beta test. Feel free to poke around and email me your constructive feedback. No sales involved, this an ongoing project to provide NCE product knowledge to the general public. 

Have a look around the new NCE Information Station. https://ncedcc.zendesk.com/hc/en-us Your ideas, feedback and comments are most welcome. Send to: ed@...


Ed Wilson - Technical Support Engineer

NCE Corporation

82 East Main Street

Webster, NY. 14580

585-265-0230   9am-4pm M-F

https://www.facebook.com/groups/NCEcorporation/

Have a look around the new NCE Information Station.

https://ncedcc.zendesk.com/hc/en-us 



--
Ed Wilson   ewilson248@...

Re: RC Snubber question

asychis@...
 

Thanks Mark,  as I keep saying, this is a great group and if it wasn't for you guys, our club would probably never be wired correctly.  Jerry Michels

Re: RC Snubber question

Mark Gurries
 

On Aug 15, 2014, at 7:40 AM, asychis@... [WiringForDCC] <WiringForDCC@...> wrote:
Mark,  I guess my post was unclear.  I did not mean to suggest putting a snubber in a locomotive. 

OK.

What I was getting at is if a section needs a snubber, what sort of things would you see a locomotive do? 

I still read this as asking what bad things will a locomotive do without a snubber and I did answer that question referring to section 2 of my website.  By installing a RC Filter/snubber, these bad things should go away.

In regard to part of your reply:
 
"Not sure what you mean by missing or lose "signal ground". There is no ground wire with respect to the DCC track bus. There is no DC power. The DCC signal is a special digitally generated "form of AC" and as such the polarity of the DCC voltage is alternating between the two rails and hence alternating between the two wires that make up the track bus."
 
Again, probably poorly written, but I am referring to the green wire everyone says must run from the command station to boosters, PM42s, etc. to keep them all at the same reference level.  Signal ground might have been a misnomer.  Chassis ground? 

Got it.

The connection between boosters is all about allowing engines to smoothly transition from one "booster district" to another "booster district" without engines stalling.  Engines with offset wheel pickup are the ones that are vulnerable to this problem.  By installing this "Booster Common" connection, these engine will be able to cross without issue.  

Engine with all wheel pickup have minimal problems crossing between booster districts that do NOT have this booster common connection between boosters..  Some may think the blinking headlight or small hesitation by the engine is just dirty wheel or track when it is in fact is a momentary loss of power.   But once enough wheel of pickup are established on both side of the double insulated rail jointer (double gap rails), the engine moves on.   By installing the booster common, the blinking light/hesitation problem will go away.

During the crossing event, normally only the current of a single engine will pass through the booster common between the two booster representing each side of the booster district boundary.   However if there is a short circuit involved in this same booster district crossing, then full booster current will flow in this wire.   If you have a two 8Amp boosters, that can potentially run 8Amp of current down booster common wire until the booster shuts-down or the short is cleared.

To be clear this has nothing to do with RC filters or track bus wiring.


Rant On:

The correct technical name is Booster Common.   (Unfortunately DCC manufactures simple call it Ground.   But the word “Ground" comes with technical baggage such as people assume they need to ground the DCC system to earth ground.  After all they call the green wire, which is Earth Ground in your 3 prong AC outlet, simply “ground”.   In other words a ground is a ground….which is not true.)

Some, such as NCE use the chassis to make this Booster Common connection, but many people use the more visually descriptive terms "Chassis Ground”.   But in NCE manual, they simple call it ground.
Others such as Digitrax simply call the booster common a “ground” but unlike NCE have a specific terminal with that name.

Other DCC systems include the booster common in the cable that runs between the boosters.  Hence there is no discussion about it.

Rant off
 
Going on from there.  I see in the Wiring for DCC website that it is suggested to install this "green" ground and to cut the ground wires in the Loconet "telephone" cable in that part of the setup that includes Loconet cables running from command station to boosters and other devices, but not in the throttle side of the setup.  This was a revelation to me.  I had never seen this in Digitrax manuals.

Correct because it is only recommended for large layouts.

The goal here is not to allow high current to flow down the loconet cable.   Running a heavy gauge ground wire between all the boosters using the ground terminals on all the boosters, you have provided a suitable high current path for this current between boosters to flow.   

Unlike the center two wire which are the Loconet which need the ground wires in the cable to work, the two outer wires or Railsync are differential such that they are the only two signal wires that a pure booster requires to operate.  Any needs for a ground connection is taken care off by the big ground wire.  

Digitrax has consistently chosen, for marketing reasons I presume, to not explain complex issues and simply say it is not needed or ignore it.  They never discuss the technical reasond why they claim this to be true.  I suspect they prefer to address the needs of small layout owners which represent 99% of their customer base and ignore the large layout needs.   They do not want to scare small owners away from DCC.   

I find this very surprising because Digitrax makes many DCC accessories products that only larger layouts will every really use and truly take full advantage of Loconet capabilities.   Simply running trains on a DIgitrax system does not take advantage of Loconet potential capabilities.  


Because of the size, as we continue to "wire" our layout, I want to include any and everything that will preclude problems in the future, so I have a lot of what might seem to be basic questions, but it seems as I delve deeper into all the various websites and see discussions on this board and the Digitrax board, that there are a lot of issues not covered or very thinly covered in the manufacturers' manuals.

Right.
 
As I mentioned a few days ago, we were having problems with phasing between some sections of the layout.  I got that figured out when I discovered a DB200+ booster was out of phase with our other four boosters.  This is in addition to our DCS200 being shipped from the factory out of phase. I also got an email noting that  aDB200+ can change phase on it own, seemingly at random.

Yes this has been a long running problem which Digitrax has not chosen to fix.  Again they say nothing about it and apparently ignore the problem.  The problem keeps common up over and over again.
 
I am learning to question every piece of equipment we install and set up protocols for installations.  For example, each additional booster will be tested for phase, each PM42 run thought a test bed to make sure it is properly wired, and I am sure the whole process will repeat when we get around to detection.  I can see on a small layout with a command station, maybe a booster and a PM42 a lot of these problems don't show up.  On a large layout, it is a completely different game. I am not complaining, in fact, I like the challenge of getting an electronics project set up and running smoothly.  It is just interesting that there is so much to consider.  Thankfully we have data bases and people such as those on this list that are so helpful.  I can't imagine doing this back in the early 1990s when you had to muddle through on your own, or write letters waiting a month or more for a reply.
 
Jerry

Best Regards,

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



Re: RC Snubber question

asychis@...
 

Mark,  I guess my post was unclear.  I did not mean to suggest putting a snubber in a locomotive.  What I was getting at is if a section needs a snubber, what sort of things would you see a locomotive do? 
 
In regard to part of your reply:
 
"Not sure what you mean by missing or lose "signal ground". There is no ground wire with respect to the DCC track bus. There is no DC power. The DCC signal is a special digitally generated "form of AC" and as such the polarity of the DCC voltage is alternating between the two rails and hence alternating between the two wires that make up the track bus."
 
Again, probably poorly written, but I am referring to the green wire everyone says must run from the command station to boosters, PM42s, etc. to keep them all at the same reference level.  Signal ground might have been a misnomer.  Chassis ground? 
 
Going on from there.  I see in the Wiring for DCC website that it is suggested to install this "green" ground and to cut the ground wires in the Loconet "telephone" cable in that part of the setup that includes Loconet cables running from command station to boosters and other devices, but not in the throttle side of the setup.  This was a revelation to me.  I had never seen this in Digitrax manuals.
 
Because of the size, as we continue to "wire" our layout, I want to include any and everything that will preclude problems in the future, so I have a lot of what might seem to be basic questions, but it seems as I delve deeper into all the various websites and see discussions on this board and the Digitrax board, that there are a lot of issues not covered or very thinly covered in the manufacturers' manuals.
 
As I mentioned a few days ago, we were having problems with phasing between some sections of the layout.  I got that figured out when I discovered a DB200+ booster was out of phase with our other four boosters.  This is in addition to our DCS200 being shipped from the factory out of phase. I also got an email noting that  aDB200+ can change phase on it own, seemingly at random.
 
I am learning to question every piece of equipment we install and set up protocols for installations.  For example, each additional booster will be tested for phase, each PM42 run thought a test bed to make sure it is properly wired, and I am sure the whole process will repeat when we get around to detection.  I can see on a small layout with a command station, maybe a booster and a PM42 a lot of these problems don't show up.  On a large layout, it is a completely different game. I am not complaining, in fact, I like the challenge of getting an electronics project set up and running smoothly.  It is just interesting that there is so much to consider.  Thankfully we have data bases and people such as those on this list that are so helpful.  I can't imagine doing this back in the early 1990s when you had to muddle through on your own, or write letters waiting a month or more for a reply.
 
Jerry

Re: micro engineering turnout wiring issue

Mark Gurries
 

ALL DCC friendly turnouts all have one thing in common.  Out of the box, the frog is insulated or plastic (does not support power) -OR- the frog is all metal but not connected to power….AKA dead.

The micro engineering turnouts have metal frogs with no electrical connection.

To power the frog, you have to solder a wire to the underside of the frog.  If you flip the turnout upside down, there is a round hole exposing the metal bottom of the frog.  This is the place that is intended to be soldered with a wire that will power the frog. 

The trick with soldering the frog is you must:

1) Prepare the frog wire by 
    a) stripping off the insulation, 
    b) end the end into a small “ L” shape such the bottom of the “L" will fit on the bottom of the frog.
    c) Pre-tin the bottom of the “L” with solder and be generous with the solder.
2) Clean out the hole and remove all the plastic flash.  Be picky and aggressive since there is ALWAYS to much flash in the hole.   If there is any plastic left, it will melt and contaminate the solder connection.
3) Scrub the metal area to be soldered to remove all oxidation.
4) Place the turnout upside down on a piece of metal such that is serves as a heat sink for the turnout.
5) Apply flux to the frog hole..
6) Use a soldering iron with more than 25Watts but not a soldering gun, get a LITTLE solder to flow on the bottom of the frog then stop and remove the heat.  DO NOT fill it up with solder.  
7) Hold the wire in place with the bottom of the “L” contacting with the solder already on the frog and then solder it to the frog applying heat between the wire and the frog.  The presence of the solder in the frog and wire will make the heat flow quickly melting all the solder.  When both are melted, quickly remove the heat and let cool.  Do not move the wire.   The goal is not to overheat the frog and melt the plastic. 

You will now have to drill a hole where the frog wire will feed into.  I pre-position the turnout to identify the hole location and then drill it using a 1/4” drill.  Then install the wire and then install the turnout.  When I am done, you cannot see the wire.

Follow the wiring instructions that comes with you switch motor (tortious, bluepoint or whatever that supports powering frog.




On Aug 13, 2014, at 5:44 PM, gettysburg114th@... [WiringForDCC] <WiringForDCC@...> wrote:

Hope all is well.  I wired up the layout and am having issues with the turnouts.  I am using DCC with micro engineering turnouts and bluepoint switch machines.  The train will run straight thru the turnouts, however, if I throw the switch to the right or left the train stops at the frog.  All the frogs.  What in the world am I doing wrong?
Thanks,
Bob
These are the DCC friendly turnouts.

Best Regards,

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



Re: RC Snubber question

Mark Gurries
 

On Aug 13, 2014, at 8:07 PM, artcre8embroidery@... [WiringForDCC] <WiringForDCC@...> wrote:

Thanks Mark for writing this article in such a way a non-electrical engineer can understand the principals of the subject So a question comes to mind. Feeders coming from the twisted bus wires to track.. Should they be twisted? Art Berkowitz Las Vegas, NV Generally No.

Hopefully your track feeders are very short (under 18”) such that their length is negligible compared to the overall track bus length.

The goal is to have at least 90%+ of the track bus length wire twisted.  The benefit of twisting is not lost if you have very very short section of untwisted wire.  Besides, you have to be able to tap into the track bus with your track feeders and to do that you have to untwist the track bus wire at the point of the track feeder connection.  Just keep the track bus wires twisted as PRACTICALLY as possible.  Do not stress yourself over this twisting in trying to achieve perfection.

Best Regards,

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



Re: RC Snubber question

Mark Gurries
 

On Aug 11, 2014, at 10:03 AM, asychis@... [WiringForDCC] <WiringForDCC@...> wrote:

Thanks for all the feedback about snubbers.  We're kind of getting to the question I had. I was a bit unclear I suppose.  I was wanting to know what the manifestations are, i.e. what do you see on the layout if you need snubbers

That is covered here in section 2 here:  


This ALL assumes you do not have bad connections.

 or if you have a missing or lose signal ground. 

A bad connection is a bad connection period.

If you have a lose connection with DC, you lose reliable track voltage as in it drops.

If you have a lose connection with DCC, you lose reliable track voltage as in it drops AND you lose reliable DCC communication.  

A lose connection will effect everything.  There are no specific things it will NOT effect and what it Will.

Not sure what you mean by missing or lose "signal ground".   There is no “ground” wire with respect to the DCC track bus.   There is no DC power.   The DCC signal is a special digitally generated "form of AC" and as such the polarity of the DCC voltage is alternating between the two rails and hence alternating between the two wires that make up the track bus. 

The track bus wires are simply a pair of wires with the first wire leaving the booster carrying current OUT to one rail of the track where as the second wire picks up the current in the OTHER rail and RETURNS it back to the booster.   The track bus is a “current" conveyer of DCC power between the Booster and the actual track.  
 
You may need a snubber if your locomotives ….

You certainly can put a RC filter in a locomotive and in fact that is a good idea from a pure electrical point of view since it the decoder that needs it.  But there are other BIGGER considerations.

Installing a RC filter on a given locomotive will help that specific locomotive but it does NOT help the other locomotives on the layout because the locomotive moves around the layout moving the location of the RC filter with it.  In contrast by placing a given RC filter on the track at the location that needs it, you cover ALL you locomotives at the same time.  Hence you will not need to do anything to your locomotives.  In other words, you get more bang for for your "RC filter installation” buck by installing it on the track rather than in a locomotive.   Besides, locomotive today are fragile and once you get it all wire up and put together, I hope one never has to open it up again until there is a problem that really requires it to be open.

The need for a RC filter is driven by the layout wiring in terms of its length and routing of the track bus wires on LARGE LAYOUTS.   Most layouts will NOT need a RC filter and as such the locomotives running on that layout will not need it too.

Best Regards,

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