Wireless Operation?/ DCC Track Signal ?


bernard steinbacher <b55go@...>
 

Iam New to DCC, Appreciate any help, 
Basically I would like to know the simplest way to have Wireless operation approx 15'x 10' x 10' horseshoe layout
Iam looking at NCE systems 
Will  NCE SB5 Smart Booster and a Power Cab work or is there additional equipment needed ??
or a NCE SB5 Smart Booster and Pro Cab
Thanks Bernard
Also What is the easiest way to check all  my Track work For  DCC Track Signal ??


Puckdropper
 

How's your hearing? I find the easiest way is to rub my fingers along both rails and listen for the "singing" that DCC does. If you don't hear it on known good track, don't worry... Not everyone hears those frequencies.

A multimeter set to AC is a sure bet. You'll see around 14-15 volts. One lead on one rail, the other on the other. It's not technically the proper voltage reading but we don't need the exact voltage anyway. You may see other procedures that correct for this, but usually a meter set to AC is enough to give us the information we need.

Finally a test light works great. The automotive style has an alligator clip and probe. If the light lights, the track has power.

Puckdropper


John Bishop
 

With bare feet on my garage floor I can easily feel whether there is the AC DCC signal in the track. Power is NEC boosters (10 amps).

John Bishop

On Sunday, September 18, 2022 at 10:20:45 AM PDT, Puckdropper via groups.io <puckdropper@...> wrote:


How's your hearing? I find the easiest way is to rub my fingers along both rails and listen for the "singing" that DCC does. If you don't hear it on known good track, don't worry... Not everyone hears those frequencies.

A multimeter set to AC is a sure bet. You'll see around 14-15 volts.  One lead on one rail, the other on the other.  It's not technically the proper voltage reading but we don't need the exact voltage anyway. You may see other procedures that correct for this, but usually a meter set to AC is enough to give us the information we need.

Finally a test light works great. The automotive style has an alligator clip and probe. If the light lights, the track has power.

Puckdropper






Alexander Wood
 

If you want wireless, you'd need an RB-02 and a radio cab. NCE gets VERY expensive VERY quickly when you upgrade from the PowerCab to radio and the SmartBooster. Look at systems other than just Digitrax and NCE, get one that works for you, and start with WiThrottle on a phone, and then you can add system throttles, or better yet, TCS UWTs if you want physical throttles. And if you're into the prototypical operation with diesel switching, then ProtoThrottle is amazing too, but it's not everyone's cup of tea like the UWTs.

Alex

On Sun, Sep 18, 2022 at 7:00 AM bernard steinbacher via groups.io <b55go=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
Iam New to DCC, Appreciate any help, 
Basically I would like to know the simplest way to have Wireless operation approx 15'x 10' x 10' horseshoe layout
Iam looking at NCE systems 
Will  NCE SB5 Smart Booster and a Power Cab work or is there additional equipment needed ??
or a NCE SB5 Smart Booster and Pro Cab
Thanks Bernard
Also What is the easiest way to check all  my Track work For  DCC Track Signal ??



--

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


Jim Zarnick
 

You can also achieve wireless operations w/ JMRI and WiThorrtle on a phone.  JMRI is free as well , but PC required…

 

From: w4dccqa@groups.io [mailto:w4dccqa@groups.io] On Behalf Of Alexander Wood
Sent: Sunday, September 18, 2022 6:10 PM
To: w4dccqa@groups.io
Subject: Re: [w4dccqa] Wireless Operation?/ DCC Track Signal ?

 

If you want wireless, you'd need an RB-02 and a radio cab. NCE gets VERY expensive VERY quickly when you upgrade from the PowerCab to radio and the SmartBooster. Look at systems other than just Digitrax and NCE, get one that works for you, and start with WiThrottle on a phone, and then you can add system throttles, or better yet, TCS UWTs if you want physical throttles. And if you're into the prototypical operation with diesel switching, then ProtoThrottle is amazing too, but it's not everyone's cup of tea like the UWTs.

 

Alex

 

On Sun, Sep 18, 2022 at 7:00 AM bernard steinbacher via groups.io <b55go=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:

Iam New to DCC, Appreciate any help, 
Basically I would like to know the simplest way to have Wireless operation approx 15'x 10' x 10' horseshoe layout
Iam looking at NCE systems 
Will  NCE SB5 Smart Booster and a Power Cab work or is there additional equipment needed ??
or a NCE SB5 Smart Booster and Pro Cab
Thanks Bernard
Also What is the easiest way to check all  my Track work For  DCC Track Signal ??


 

--

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


Jim Betz
 

All and Alex,

  I'm into Ops.  My layout will have 4 to 6 operators plus myself.  It is in the
wiring and laying track phase - but I have done several conversions of layouts
from DC to DCC and helped on many layouts that were implementing DCC.

  I went with NCE and am very happy with it.  I consider the additional cost of
NCE to be more than worth it ... and it is not all that much more than any other
system (for the same stuff/capabilities).  I made that choice after having been a
member of a club where I was the primary implementer of the conversion 
from DC to DCC on Digitrax ... and after having operated on dozens of different
layouts with just about every brand of DCC and every possible combination
of components from different mfgrs.

  The new kid on the block (TCS) is, as yet, "untested".  Will it be all that it is
said to be?  And be reliable and easy to implement?  I/we don't know.  The
only people I know who have already used it are "super techs" and not 
regular guys who just want something that works.  In my opinion the new
system is also targetted at larger/more complex layouts than the average
home layout system that just wants trains that run well.

  I don't really think any one system is hugely better for a smaller layout.
But I would never use "cost" as the -major- criteria for choosing a DCC
system.
  I stand by my statement that it is better/easier to get up to speed on
DCC if you have someone you can sit down with over a cup of coffee
and ask questions.  Even better if that person comes over.
                     
                                                                                - Jim in the PNW


Wil Davis
 

I agree with Jim. My introduction to DCC was on a fairly large layout using Digitrax. I liked the digital aspect but found the controllers to be frustrating. If you didn’t send a command to the engine for a relatively short time you had to find a place to plug your cab in and reacquire your engine. The owner did not provide enough places to do that. Plus the 8-10” cord hanging out of the top of the cab was a pain, but necessary. When our club was interested in DCC another member and I were appointed to make a recommendation. After our experience with Digitrax we wanted something better. We attended a NMRA regional convention where one of the events was a setup of about six different systems we were able to try out. Some were very expensive European systems.
I joined several user groups on yahoo and followed the discussions. We ultimately decided on NCE as we believed it was one of the most user friendly and widely available. Easy DCC was about the same cost, but had a single source.
While NCE is not perfect we have found it meets our needs. The biggest problem we have is the 915 mhz frequency band. We are a traveling club and some venues are impossible, but we have overcome this with WiFi.

Sorry for the long post.

Wil


Alexander Wood
 

Jim,

At the very small end, and on larger layouts, NCE is significantly more expensive, but where the difference is the largest is in the middle. The SB5 and radio upgrades are astronomically expensive for what you're getting. I wouldn't base the decision on a DCC system purely on the cheapest system, but NCE just doesn't have the bang for the buck, as their competitive advantages have been chipped away at over the years, and they don't have anything new to compete. Up until now, they still had the advantage of NCE-style consisting for those who want more advanced consisting functionality, but even now that is matched by TCS.

TCS's DCC system is quite new, literally it's not even shipped out yet to the first batch of orders. Based on what I've seen so far with the UWTs, and of the system itself, it's probably still for early adopters, but they are quickly on their way to becoming the undisputed leaders in the North American DCC market. The CS-105 is for larger layouts like the EVOXD and PH-Pro, but the LT-50 is their smaller system. I'm not a huge fan of ESU's system, but it certainly is a compelling system at a very attractive price, especially for LokSound devotees. And for sheer value for a smaller layout, Digitrax and Digikeijs have unparalleled value around the $200-$250 price point.

There is a ton of information out there about DCC, whether on websites, social media (YouTube), etc, so I don't see the advantage in using the same system as others in the area. If you're active in operations you're going to have to be proficient with at least Digitrax and NCE, and probably Lenz, MRC, and possibly CVP as well, and we'll probably start to see more layouts with ESU, TCS, and other modern systems in the near future.

The areas I see a lot of people struggling with is not understanding fundamentally what DCC is, what the components of the system are, and how they work together, which several of the Kalmbach books explain in a matter of a few pages, providing a foundational knowledge so that people can do effective research and ask good questions.

Alex

On Mon, Sep 19, 2022 at 11:16 AM Jim Betz <jimbetz@...> wrote:
All and Alex,

  I'm into Ops.  My layout will have 4 to 6 operators plus myself.  It is in the
wiring and laying track phase - but I have done several conversions of layouts
from DC to DCC and helped on many layouts that were implementing DCC.

  I went with NCE and am very happy with it.  I consider the additional cost of
NCE to be more than worth it ... and it is not all that much more than any other
system (for the same stuff/capabilities).  I made that choice after having been a
member of a club where I was the primary implementer of the conversion 
from DC to DCC on Digitrax ... and after having operated on dozens of different
layouts with just about every brand of DCC and every possible combination
of components from different mfgrs.

  The new kid on the block (TCS) is, as yet, "untested".  Will it be all that it is
said to be?  And be reliable and easy to implement?  I/we don't know.  The
only people I know who have already used it are "super techs" and not 
regular guys who just want something that works.  In my opinion the new
system is also targetted at larger/more complex layouts than the average
home layout system that just wants trains that run well.

  I don't really think any one system is hugely better for a smaller layout.
But I would never use "cost" as the -major- criteria for choosing a DCC
system.
  I stand by my statement that it is better/easier to get up to speed on
DCC if you have someone you can sit down with over a cup of coffee
and ask questions.  Even better if that person comes over.
                     
                                                                                - Jim in the PNW



--

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


thomasmclae
 

One possible solution is to start with a SPROG. Works for small layouts, and if you grow too large, you can convert it to only a programming track or add boosters.
Gets your feet wet with DCC at a reasonable price (<$100) and gets you into JMRI.
There is a programming bug in some NCE systems, so setting up a separate SPROG for programming might be a cost effective option.

One good thing about JMRI is the WiThrottle option, Sets up a wireless throttle connection to a smartphone or compatible (Open source). Our EasyDCC throttles were failing due to age and lack of parts to fix, so we added a JMRI connection to the EasyDCC system. Now almost all users prefer the phone throttles. And if you have a smartphone already (Android or Apple) no extra cost to add more throttles. See JMRI.ORG hardware section to see all the dcc systems JMRI can connect to.

Another club I am in converted from NCE to Digitrax. They set up at shows with lots of other layouts in a large room, and they could not isolate their NCE system from the other NCE systems, so throttles would connect to the wrong layout!
Not an issue with a home layout, but for a modular layout that sets with other layouts of a regular basis, might be a game changer.

Note that a DCC throttles can cost more than $100 depending on how many features in specific throttles. Digitrax actually has a JMRI compatible part that will connect a digitrax layout to JMRI compatible throttles.

Take your time, ask folks questions, go look at the systems in action.
--
---
Thomas
DeSoto, TX


Alexander Wood
 

On a related note, I would add that DCC was originally designed primarily to have a standard to operate multiple trains on the same track, but over time, the addition of wireless throttles and sound decoders together has fundamentally changed operating layouts, and the combination of adding both has allowed the full potential of the DCC standard to be realized.

It's a bit more subjective to the era and type of operations that you like doing, but I would argue that the combination of the ProtoThrottle and the newer generations of sound decoders with realistic coasting and braking is yet another leap forward in realizing the full potential of the DCC standard.

Alex


On Tue, Sep 20, 2022 at 2:28 PM thomasmclae via groups.io <mclae5-lists=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
One possible solution is to start with a SPROG. Works for small layouts, and if you grow too large, you can convert it to only a programming track or add boosters.
Gets your feet wet with DCC at a reasonable price (<$100) and gets you into JMRI.
There is a programming bug in some NCE systems, so setting up a separate SPROG for programming might be a cost effective option.

One good thing about JMRI is the WiThrottle option, Sets up a wireless throttle connection to a smartphone or compatible (Open source). Our EasyDCC throttles were failing due to age and lack of parts to fix, so we added a JMRI connection to the EasyDCC system. Now almost all users prefer the phone throttles. And if you have a smartphone already (Android or Apple) no extra cost to add more throttles. See JMRI.ORG hardware section to see all the dcc systems JMRI can connect to.

Another club I am in converted from NCE to Digitrax. They set up at shows with lots of other layouts in a large room, and they could not isolate their NCE system from the other NCE systems, so throttles would connect to the wrong layout!
Not an issue with a home layout, but for a modular layout that sets with other layouts of a regular basis, might be a game changer.

Note that a DCC throttles can cost more than $100 depending on how many features in specific throttles. Digitrax actually has a JMRI compatible part that will connect a digitrax layout to JMRI compatible throttles.

Take your time, ask folks questions, go look at the systems in action.
--
---
Thomas
DeSoto, TX



--

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


Alexander Wood
 

Thomas,

I like that approach with the SPROG. The SPROG 3 has 2.5A of track power available, so several operators could operate with it on most HO/N layouts without a problem. With WiThrottle or Engine Driver, it would cost almost nothing (the full version of WiThrottle is $10, the Lite version is free) to add several throttles. It's easy to expand with TCS UWTs or ProtoThrottle, or to bring the Wi-Fi throttles over to a regular DCC system.

Prior to Wi-Fi throttles, wireless seemed to be a big driver of DCC system selection. Many layouts in the US had Digitrax when they had their Simplex system, as it was quite good, and NCE's original radio system was terrible. Some layouts in Europe switched to Digitrax when they released their Duplex radio that was legal over there, as at the time NCE's radio was not. Likewise, some layouts in the US switched to NCE because Digitrax's Duplex was terrible on larger layouts with many operators, and NCE's Gen3 radio was decent for the time. Now that Digitrax has improved their Duplex and Wi-Fi throttles are available, that's not nearly as big of a deal as it used to be.

Alex

On Tue, Sep 20, 2022 at 2:28 PM thomasmclae via groups.io <mclae5-lists=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
One possible solution is to start with a SPROG. Works for small layouts, and if you grow too large, you can convert it to only a programming track or add boosters.
Gets your feet wet with DCC at a reasonable price (<$100) and gets you into JMRI.
There is a programming bug in some NCE systems, so setting up a separate SPROG for programming might be a cost effective option.

One good thing about JMRI is the WiThrottle option, Sets up a wireless throttle connection to a smartphone or compatible (Open source). Our EasyDCC throttles were failing due to age and lack of parts to fix, so we added a JMRI connection to the EasyDCC system. Now almost all users prefer the phone throttles. And if you have a smartphone already (Android or Apple) no extra cost to add more throttles. See JMRI.ORG hardware section to see all the dcc systems JMRI can connect to.

Another club I am in converted from NCE to Digitrax. They set up at shows with lots of other layouts in a large room, and they could not isolate their NCE system from the other NCE systems, so throttles would connect to the wrong layout!
Not an issue with a home layout, but for a modular layout that sets with other layouts of a regular basis, might be a game changer.

Note that a DCC throttles can cost more than $100 depending on how many features in specific throttles. Digitrax actually has a JMRI compatible part that will connect a digitrax layout to JMRI compatible throttles.

Take your time, ask folks questions, go look at the systems in action.
--
---
Thomas
DeSoto, TX



--

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