NCE Switch 8 alternative


JimD - G&J--BKRR
 

As I build out my layout with the great help from these forums, I've run into the problem of having too few Switch 8 MK2 decoders. So far my system is 95% NCE with the 5amp Power-Pro, 3 AIU's, 3 Switch8's, Light-its, and 2 Minipanels being installed as I go. All of these components were purchased several years ago but are finally getting their chance to shine! And so far so good.  I need to control  5-7 more Tortoises. I have exhausted all avenues/searches to get just one more Switch 8. I do not want to loose momentum, finally getting to build a layout I designed. I am open to any suggestions regarding possible alternatives. I am only superficially aware of other manufacturers' product lines but would be willing to learn if it is a reasonable option. Thank you.

Jim Donahue
Old friend of the Battenkill RR/G&J/D&H


thomasmclae
 

Are you controlling the switchits from jmri/digital system or from push buttons?
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Thomas
DeSoto, TX


JimD - G&J--BKRR
 

I was hoping to be able to do both. I have enough and can get more button boards (and/or minipanels)  Sometimes operating with a dispatcher, sometimes with just 1-2 operators. 
I realize that a JMRI panel can get out of sync regarding true turnout positions but I believe this can be avoided at the start of a session with a script or possibly turnout feedback through an AIU.
I am no expert, but hopefully gaining a workable knowledge of the amazing system we know as DCC!!! 
Please correct any misunderstandings on my part! 
I did not plan on, nor have any hardware for, a Loconet nor LCC detection/control system.  as I decided my modest railroad (3-4 operators, 6-8 locos; absolute maximum) was within a complete NCE system's capability. "They (the NCE components) play nicely together", a respected groups.io contributor once wrote! :)
I am willing to use a component (accessory decoder) of any manufacturer.

NOTE, latest news: a kind member of the group did have a Switch 8 available so my immediate crisis is resolved but the issue of NCE component availability remains serious. It is my understanding they are working full-time making the Power Cab and remain limited by chip availability for their other products. 

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Jim Donahue
Old friend of the Battenkill RR/G&J/D&H


Don Vollrath
 

Why don’t you just purchase another NCE switch 8 and continue with whatever method you had working?


DonV


Alexander Wood
 

Jim,

The turnout status will stay up to date as long as all commands are sent through a Power Pro via throttles/cabs or Mini Panels. They will get out of sync with a button board on a Switch 8, as it has no means of feedback to the Power Pro. If you route all the turnout commands through the Power Pro system, the brand of DCC decoder doesn't matter, it's just taking DCC accessory commands and throwing turnouts. You could have a mixture of different types of decoders and switch machines, as long as they all take DCC input. Although DCC is very limited as a method of controlling accessories, its advantage is that it is a standard, so you can mix and match decoders and the system controlling them. The eventual promise of LCC is that it will be a widely adopted standard for layout controls, unlike LocoNet that is proprietary to Digitrax and companies that Digitrax decides to license it to.

As for other DCC decoders, Digikeijs makes some interesting ones for servos or 3-wire switch machines including the MP1 machines, but they require adapters for slow motion machines. The DCC Concepts Cobalt IP Digital switch machines are pretty neat, they are a little more expensive than using separate decoders and Tortii, but they're easy to install since it's just two wires from the DCC accessory bus. RR-Cirkits makes the Motorman, which can be used with SSB (LocoNet) or as a DCC decoder. There are tons of other DCC decoders, but many cost a lot more on a per turnout basis. There's also DIY options, especially with Arduinos and servos, and if controlled through DCC, it would integrate with the DCC system.

The big advantage of DCC and the DCC standard is that you can, to a large extent, mix and match components from various manufacturers, as no single manufacturer offers best-in-class products in every category.

Alex

On Fri, May 6, 2022 at 9:06 AM JimD - G&J--BKRR <jim.donahue.amtrak@...> wrote:
I was hoping to be able to do both. I have enough and can get more button boards (and/or minipanels)  Sometimes operating with a dispatcher, sometimes with just 1-2 operators. 
I realize that a JMRI panel can get out of sync regarding true turnout positions but I believe this can be avoided at the start of a session with a script or possibly turnout feedback through an AIU.
I am no expert, but hopefully gaining a workable knowledge of the amazing system we know as DCC!!! 
Please correct any misunderstandings on my part! 
I did not plan on, nor have any hardware for, a Loconet nor LCC detection/control system.  as I decided my modest railroad (3-4 operators, 6-8 locos; absolute maximum) was within a complete NCE system's capability. "They (the NCE components) play nicely together", a respected groups.io contributor once wrote! :)
I am willing to use a component (accessory decoder) of any manufacturer.

NOTE, latest news: a kind member of the group did have a Switch 8 available so my immediate crisis is resolved but the issue of NCE component availability remains serious. It is my understanding they are working full-time making the Power Cab and remain limited by chip availability for their other products. 

--
Jim Donahue
Old friend of the Battenkill RR/G&J/D&H



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Alexander Wood

Hartford-New Haven, CT

Modeling the modern era freelanced G&W Connecticut Northern in HO

Digikeijs DR5000 - JMRI - ProtoThrottle - TCS UWT-100 - TCS UWT-50p - Digitrax Simplex