Topics

Programming Track on layout

PennsyNut
 

Since I'm such a hard headed old guy. I want to have a pt on the layout. Use a siding. Connect the pt to the end of the siding. I'm using PECO Insulfrog turnouts, so that it can be thrown to isolate the siding. i.e. Throw turnout for main and the siding is dead. Then, turn on JMRI&SPROG etc. on the siding alone. Obviously, that isn't a great idea. It's too easy to throw the turnout while JMRI is connected. So, could I cut both rails, wire a simple DPDT center off toggle. Like online at "the" web site. But, keeping it simple, wire a bulb that lights when the pt is live. So that if the bulb is lit, DO NOT RUN A LOCO ON IT. And if it's off, you can use the siding as a regular one, no programming allowed. I wish I could draw this. But I'm only trying to keep this as simple as possible without endangering the DCSS50 or the SPROG. This is a simple layout. Only one power district/DCS50. And only run one or two locos at a time. And just don't have room for a separate laptop/pt.  Morgan Bilbo, barely one year with simple DCC

whmvd
 

Hi Morgan,

Although I admire your courage, I don't want to be there when you make the mistake that's almost inevitable. Is the price to pay for the programming track being reachable without an airlift really worth it? Don't forget that programming on the main is also a very easy and valuable possibility, so except for an initial rough set-up of a loco away from the layout on a dedicated programming track programming needs can be easily catered for on the layout anyway - so why go the dangerous way? What's the added value?

I find the other way round, a dedicated programming track - with roller stands - where programming on the main is also possible a much more alluring configuration.

Wouter


On Wed, 29 Apr 2020 at 16:53, PennsyNut <pennsynut@...> wrote:
Since I'm such a hard headed old guy. I want to have a pt on the layout. Use a siding. Connect the pt to the end of the siding. I'm using PECO Insulfrog turnouts, so that it can be thrown to isolate the siding. i.e. Throw turnout for main and the siding is dead. Then, turn on JMRI&SPROG etc. on the siding alone. Obviously, that isn't a great idea. It's too easy to throw the turnout while JMRI is connected. So, could I cut both rails, wire a simple DPDT center off toggle. Like online at "the" web site. But, keeping it simple, wire a bulb that lights when the pt is live. So that if the bulb is lit, DO NOT RUN A LOCO ON IT. And if it's off, you can use the siding as a regular one, no programming allowed. I wish I could draw this. But I'm only trying to keep this as simple as possible without endangering the DCSS50 or the SPROG. This is a simple layout. Only one power district/DCS50. And only run one or two locos at a time. And just don't have room for a separate laptop/pt.  Morgan Bilbo, barely one year with simple DCC

PennsyNut
 

Thanks Wouter. I guess my stubbornness is what gets me in trouble. I just try to avoid handling locos and cars. I have too many broken cars. Especially those old timers with brake wheels sticking up. LOL But with expensive BLI locos, I don't like handling them. Also, having a SPROG, and not needing OPS, I like using JMRI for all programming. When using OPS and the DCS50, works well for momentum. But JMRI is better for all else. So to be safe, I will stop my persistent thinking. And just be super super careful handling BLI steam engines. They are so nicely done. Make my Penn Line/Bowser look like toys.  Morgan Bilbo

Robert Morrison
 

Morgan,

There is no reason not to use your method. I have a programming track which is the first track in the staging yard. It is controlled by a DPDT center off switch. Both rails have insulators. No problems with this setup for over 15 years. If the switch is set for the PT, the loco will not run.  

On a separate note, JMRI/DecoderPro can program on the main, so most of your changes can be made using JMRI if that is your preference.  JMRI certainly makes life easier for programming. 

I use a Lenz DCC system, so cannot address any other system’s issues with this method.

Best of luck,
Rob
Robert Morrison



 

Hi Morgan,
It is so bad when this goes wrong. Don't make this mistake again, as so many of us have already done. It is so simple to avoid: Just a little stretch of dead rail and a switch. Follow the description: http://www.wiringfordcc.com/track_2.htm#d2
DCC Wiki has a similar description: https://dccwiki.com/Programming_Track


Good luck,
Michael Boyle

PennsyNut
 

Mike: I have poured over those drawings in both wiringfordcc and dccwiki. And they look: Like super simple or vastly complicated. So many wires. 4 pole switches. Egads. All I am suggesting is what Robert has stated works for him. Robert: I need a wiring diagram. Any way you can post it? Here or a private email? Draw it on a paper, scan it. Or take a picture. I am having trouble picturing what I want.  My idea is that the pt/end of siding is connected to a SPROG for programmng. And when not used as a pt, the toggle will power it from the DCS50.  Morgan Bilbo, about one year with very basic DCC

Don Vollrath
 

Yes Morgan... the whole idea of a programming track is quite simple. Protecting the programmer and/or other locos that could be affected by operator error becomes the problem. to make it more foolproof... One should somehow ensure that the test loco cannot bridge the isolating gaps to accidentally connect main layout track power to the back side of the programmer. This can damage some programming apparatus. (brand dependent) It also has the possibility of writing commands to any other loco on the layout. This is the reason for a toggle switch or auto-switch or whatever to isolate a dead section, or the whole layout from the PT section. Also note the recommended use of a non-conductive block to keep a pulsating loco from creeping and crossing the isolating gaps as it jerks to respond to programming commands (decoder dependent). YMMV
DonV

Robert Morrison
 

Morgan, I have also added the diagram and control panel photo to my photo album at
https://groups.io/g/w4dccqa/album?id=246254
My diagram is essentially the same as the one at
http://www.wiringfordcc.com/track_2.htm#d2

Rob Morrison

Don Vollrath
 

Thanks for providing a direct link to the subject photos or website page. It makes it so much easier for others to get right to it

DonV

Robert Morrison
 

Morgan,

Here is a diagram of the DPDT-center off switch as used to control the programming track so you can drive a locomotive from the layout onto the program track, throw the switch and do your programming, then throw the switch back to layout power and drive the loco back onto the layout.  Observe the correct (matching) rail power connections.
Also attached is a photo of the Program Track Panel.
To have an indicator light would require a switch with 2 more sets of contacts. This would be called a “4PDT-center off” switch.

The reason for the center-off type switch is to have a short time that no current passes to the program track, preventing the track power from being present at the same time as the SPROG power which prevents an overload of current flowing into the SPROG.  It also allows for an unpowered track in case you need to re-rail a locomotive.

Attachments:




Robert Morrison



mgj21932
 

I am still a newbie and follow this group carefully.  I have found the knowledge and information conveyed most helpful.  A great learning tool to read responses such as those from Dave in Australia!   

I have been monitoring the discussion about the importance of separating the programming track from the layout.  I have a separate programming track, physically unconnected to the rest of the layout (a siding that disappears into a tunnel that goes nowhere).  I have separate parallel power bus wires to the layout and to the programming track.  To avoid the problem of programming locos on the layout when using the programming track, I could remove all the locos from the layout (not an attractive option) or use the described DPDT switch.  

Am I correct in understanding that I only need to connect one of the two bus wires to the layout, and one of the two bus wires to the programming track respectively to opposite “sides” of the switch — one bus wire to the layout and one bus wire to the programming track, to each side of the DPDT.  This should assure that only one of the separate parallel power bus circuits (to the layout or to programming track) is completed at any time.  I’d probably use the same “polarity” wire (red or black) from each bus just to minimize chance of screwing up.  

Do I have that right?

Thanks.
Bill Demarest

David McBrayer
 

Bill,
Others may speak up as well.  However, the best way to connect DCC to your track is to treat the wires as pairs.  And when you cut one track to isolate it, cut the other one, as well.  Track, feeders and Bus wires are always treated as pairs in DCC. 

regards,
Dave McBrayer

On 05/03/2020 8:44 AM, mgj21932 via groups.io wrote:
<snip>
Am I correct in understanding that I only need to connect one of the two bus wires to the layout, and one of the two bus wires to the programming track respectively to opposite “sides” of the switch — one bus wire to the layout and one bus wire to the programming track, to each side of the DPDT.  This should assure that only one of the separate parallel power bus circuits (to the layout or to programming track) is completed at any time.  I’d probably use the same “polarity” wire (red or black) from each bus just to minimize chance of screwing up.  

Do I have that right?

Thanks.
Bill Demarest
_._,_._,_



--
Dave McBrayer
Castro Valley, CA 

vincent marino
 

For what it's worth I would recommend completely isolating the program track using insulators and dpdt switch. I agree with the previous response using two wires + and - to the switch and the track. That way there is no problem with polarity. I have a program track incorporated in a main line.  Insulators is the trick and the dpdt switch works great. The program track is about 30" just enough to fit an engine. Here is another trick put the program track convenient to the control center. Happy Railroading. 


On Sun, May 3, 2020, 11:45 AM mgj21932 via groups.io <mgj21932=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
I am still a newbie and follow this group carefully.  I have found the knowledge and information conveyed most helpful.  A great learning tool to read responses such as those from Dave in Australia!   

I have been monitoring the discussion about the importance of separating the programming track from the layout.  I have a separate programming track, physically unconnected to the rest of the layout (a siding that disappears into a tunnel that goes nowhere).  I have separate parallel power bus wires to the layout and to the programming track.  To avoid the problem of programming locos on the layout when using the programming track, I could remove all the locos from the layout (not an attractive option) or use the described DPDT switch.  

Am I correct in understanding that I only need to connect one of the two bus wires to the layout, and one of the two bus wires to the programming track respectively to opposite “sides” of the switch — one bus wire to the layout and one bus wire to the programming track, to each side of the DPDT.  This should assure that only one of the separate parallel power bus circuits (to the layout or to programming track) is completed at any time.  I’d probably use the same “polarity” wire (red or black) from each bus just to minimize chance of screwing up.  

Do I have that right?

Thanks.
Bill Demarest

mgj21932
 

Thanks Dave.

I have two separate pairs of wires — one black & red pair to the layout and one pair to the programming track. Essentially parallel separate power buses.

I believe that wiring the DPDT switch to (1) interrupt the circuit to one side of one of the two bus wire pairs and (2) complete the circuit on the other bus wire pair should do the trick.

Bill Demarest

mgj21932
 

Vincent, the programming track is physically separate, not connected to the layout. A dead end with end-of-track bumper and an unpowered extension (just for scenic effect) that runs into a tunnel to nowhere.

I may not fully understand the wiring options for the DPDT switch. I assume there are physical screw or other connectors on opposite “sides" of the switch. Left toggle closes circuit on wires hooked up on left side; right toggle closes circuit on wires connected to right side; center toggle both circuits dead.

From what I have read here, I assume cutting the circuit on one side of a bus pair is sufficient; and closing the circuit on either wire completes the circuit for that particular power bus (and only that bus — either the layout bus or the programming track bus).

wirefordcc
 

For how to wire up a switch to create a layout programming track, see my website at:

http://www.wiringfordcc.com/track_2.htm#d2

Allan Gartner
Wiring for DCC