ONLINE
STORE
"ASK THE BACH MAN"
FORUM
PARTS, SERVICE,
& INFORMATION
CATALOGS AND
BROCHURES

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
November 21, 2017, 04:38:55 AM
Home Help Search Login Register
News: Check out the photo gallery link above or >click here< to see photos of recently announced products!
+  Bachmann Message Board
|-+  Discussion Boards
| |-+  General Discussion
| | |-+  DC to DCC Conversion
« previous next »
Pages: 1 ... 3 4 [5] 6 Print
Author Topic: DC to DCC Conversion  (Read 14464 times)
Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


View Profile WWW
« Reply #60 on: June 06, 2009, 10:53:18 AM »

It does not matter if more voltage comes out of the E-Z Command booster than comes out of the Zephyr because their outputs are not connected together.  The outputs (track terminals) of the Zephyr go ONLY to the inputs of the booster.  These are the terminals that you originally had connected to your E-Z Commander's track outputs.

Jim
Logged

Growing older is mandatory but growing up is optional.
WGL
Great Northern


View Profile
« Reply #61 on: June 07, 2009, 02:01:57 AM »

 Thanks, Jim.
Logged
jward


View Profile WWW
« Reply #62 on: June 07, 2009, 09:00:20 PM »

 
  I was surprised that Digitrax does not provide wires to connect it to the tracks, as Bachmann & LifeLike do.  I can use the Bachmann wires.  What is worse is the absence of wires for a programming track.  Today, I went to Radio Shack & bought clips to which I can solder wires, so I can connect the bare ends to the Zephyr & clip the other ends to the rails.  For $155, they ought to include program track wires.  The decoder & loconet cable tester they do include is something I may never use.

 Bill

why are you worried about a set of feeder wires? you can make your own that are more reliable, at modest cost. as a matter of fact, since you are soldering the wiers to alligator clips for use on the programming track, why not do the same for the rest of the layout? i do. you don't even need to use alligator clips.....

don't discount the use of the decoder tester. it can save you a world of trouble. it will confirm to you that the decoder is good before you begin your installs. digitrax and some other decoder manufacturers will not honor warranties on decoders that have been improperly installed, so it is best to make find the occasional bad decoder before you begin the install. they are way too expensive to throw away.....
« Last Edit: June 07, 2009, 09:10:58 PM by jward » Logged

Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
WGL
Great Northern


View Profile
« Reply #63 on: June 08, 2009, 02:29:51 AM »

jward, thanks for the advice.  I will have more respect for the decoder tester.
  Suppose a beginner gets a Zephyr & doesn't have spare wires from other train equipment, doesn't know what gauge to use, doesn't know how to connect a programming track, & is unaware of model train forums?  He looks at Digitrax's Quick Start poster & reads "attach your train layout wires to these terminals" & wonders what wires, & how they attach to the track?  The documentation does not explain.  Thus, the Zephyr Quick Start Guide does not get him off to a quick start.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2009, 02:43:22 AM by WGL » Logged
WGL
Great Northern


View Profile
« Reply #64 on: June 08, 2009, 05:23:59 AM »

 I connected my Bachmann 5 amp booster to my Digitrax Zephyr tonight.  I almost didn't, because I didn't want to cut the plug off the cable that connects the booster to EZ Command & not be able to connect the booster to EZ Command.  I finally had a brainstorm:  I checked the booster's instructions & found in its box a second cable designed for connecting the booster to other brands of DCC systems!

 With the booster set to 14 Volts, I measured 15.8 v on the tracks; with the booster set to 18 Volts, I got 19 v on the tracks.  With the booster at 18v, the speeds of my trains are about what they are with EZ Command & the booster set to 18 v.  I ran 3 trains simultaneously, including 4 locos with sound & am satisfied with their performance.

 Next, I'll connect the power pack from my LifeLike DC train set for a jump throttle.  Thanks for all of your help, & I hope my experience will help to confirm for others that the Zephyr & Bachmann booster will work together.
Logged
jward


View Profile WWW
« Reply #65 on: June 08, 2009, 10:24:56 AM »

i do agree that the digitrax instructions that come with the zephyr can be bewildering at times.  i had bought the digitrax big book of dcc along with kalmbach's dcc made easy. the digitrax book does an excellent job of explaining dcc along with all the possibilities and pitfalls. the kalmbach book? forum rules prohibit me from giving my honest opinion. let's just say i wish i could have gotten my money back.

wire guage. as explained in the digitrax big book should be 18 and above. larger wire means lower resistance and less corruption of the dcc signal. i have used smaller wire, 22 guage, but quickly replaced it. 18 guage is small enough to solder to the rails, yet large enough to reliably carry the dcc signal on a medium sized layout.
what happens when your decoder loses the signal? unlike dc where a loss of power causes your locomotive to slow down or stop, loss of dcc signal causes your decoder to continue running the locomotive according to the last command it received, regardless of how frantically you are triying to regain control. once the signal is re-established, the locomotive responds to commands in the normal manner.
Logged

Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
Yampa Bob

Y.V.R.R.


View Profile
« Reply #66 on: June 08, 2009, 02:04:01 PM »

WGL,

Congratulations on your success with the Zephyr and booster. Your experimenting and testing will help others with the same issues.

Good job!!
Logged

I know what I wrote, I don't need a quote
Rule Number One: It's Our Railroad.  Rule Number Two: Refer to Rule Number One.
Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


View Profile WWW
« Reply #67 on: June 08, 2009, 02:32:53 PM »

WGL, thank you for keeping us up to date on your progress, your trials and your tribulations.  Sometimes those of us who have been connecting power packs or boosters to tracks for a long time forget that we too did it for the fist time at sometime.  Then we need a smack upside the head to remind us.

If I may tell a story at this point:  As a kid, I got in trouble for cutting a piece of wire off a table lamp.  Hey, I really needed it to hook up something on my railroad.  Afterwards, I started having second thoughts about what I had done.  So I figured I had better fix things up so no one would notice.  I unscrewed the plug from the stub end of wire and screwed it on the wire still hanging out of the lamp.  It took me a long time to figure out how my Dad knew that I was the one that did it, just because the plug was a few feet short of the wall outlet.  

This story had a happy ending.  Soon after the lamp cord incident, an electrician friend of my Dad brought over a huge mess of wire, mostly bell wire, all for me.  Solved my problem.  Solved my Dad's problem.  And was no doubt the reason I get good feelings, even today, on the rare occasion I run into some double cotton covered bell wire.

Jim
« Last Edit: June 08, 2009, 02:34:45 PM by Jim Banner » Logged

Growing older is mandatory but growing up is optional.
Yampa Bob

Y.V.R.R.


View Profile
« Reply #68 on: June 08, 2009, 05:24:10 PM »

Jim,
Mentioning wire reminds me of a huge mistake I made. About 5 years ago, at a local auction, there was a 3 foot wooden spool of wire. The auctioneer said it was heavy duty extension cable. The end was taped over, but it appeared to be about one inch diameter, so I bid and bought the spool for $5.00.

When I got it home, I discovered it was actually telephone trunk cable, with 100 or more tiny color coded wires inside the jacket. Not being into trains at that time, I figured it was of no use to me, so I took the spool to the dump.  Embarrassed Embarrassed

Well, it was probably for the best, can you imagine that big spool hanging over my work bench?   Cheesy
« Last Edit: June 08, 2009, 05:28:15 PM by Yampa Bob » Logged

I know what I wrote, I don't need a quote
Rule Number One: It's Our Railroad.  Rule Number Two: Refer to Rule Number One.
WGL
Great Northern


View Profile
« Reply #69 on: June 09, 2009, 01:54:24 AM »

 Thanks, Bob & Jim, for the help & encouragement.
 
 I did connect my LifeLike power pack for a jump throttle.  Since the dial turns only about 150 degrees for forward speed (about half what EZ Command & Zephyr's throttles have), one can't make small adjustments in speed.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2009, 02:00:59 AM by WGL » Logged
jward


View Profile WWW
« Reply #70 on: June 10, 2009, 09:29:41 AM »

you can build your own jump throttles with components easily found at radio shack.
http://f1.grp.yahoofs.com/v1/QKAvSjmv9vMald0B9rt15fSS0yHswsAx_XS9b_dscthqEmf8WMrm6zWxOMXPxRi4haqYU1Ybxg2ALwY5ab6n7xRWt6kK-VA/JumpThrottle.GIF

the jump throttle input on the zephyr reads the voltage from the jump throttle, and current output is irrelevant. so you can have a jump throttle controlled by a 9 volt battery. you can make them removable plug in type throttles and have walkaround control.

Logged

Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
Yampa Bob

Y.V.R.R.


View Profile
« Reply #71 on: June 10, 2009, 11:44:32 AM »

Jeffery,
The link didn't work for some reason.

You might want to check this site. "TinyUrl" turns those incredibly long URLs into short ones.

http://tinyurl.com/
Logged

I know what I wrote, I don't need a quote
Rule Number One: It's Our Railroad.  Rule Number Two: Refer to Rule Number One.
Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


View Profile WWW
« Reply #72 on: June 10, 2009, 01:24:16 PM »

If you like single knob, center stop throttles, you can build a jump throttle with two 9 volt batteries and a 1k pot in four easy steps:
- Connect the + of one battery to one end of the pot.
- Connect the - of the other battery to the other end of the pot.
- Connect one jump port wire to the center of the pot.
- Connect the other jump port wire to the unconnected ends of both batteries.

With the pot at center, the locomotive stops.  Turn it one way and the locomotive goes one way at increasing speeds.  Turn the pot the other way and the locomotive goes the other way.  Disconnect the batteries when not in use (but you can leave the rest of it connect to one of the jump ports.)

For a deluxe version, add an on/off switch and a knob and put it all in a small box.  The switch will have to be a double pole type, using one pole for each battery.  For connecting the batteries, you can buy battery clips with wires attached or you can salvage the clips off dead batteries.

Diagrams are available on request.

The down side of a jump throttle is that you cannot control functions with it.  The upside of the Zephyr is that you can turn the headlights on (from the Zephyr) and they will automatically switch fore and aft when you change directions with the jump throttle.  The jump throttle is excellent for switching a yard.  In switching, the three main things are speed control, direction control, and an indicator of which direction you have the locomotive set for (the headlights.)  A jump throttle is also a good choice for running trains on a smaller layout where you would normally run them from one location anyway.  And the limited number of controls make it a great choice if you want to let a youngster run a train.

If you like to adjust CVs to stretch out the low end of the throttle for switching or to limit the maximum speed for youngsters, remember that these adjustments are in the decoder, not the throttle or the command station.  So your jump throttles will give whatever special speed control that you have programmed into the locomotive.

Some sound decoders (including the Tsunami) allow you to select automatic sound controls.  These include, for example, a crossing whistle _ _ . _ if you blip the throttle, one whistle for stop, two for starting forward and three for starting in reverse, bell on at low speed, and special effects when stopped.  Some sounds are always automatically controlled, such as steam locomotives chuffing and diesel engines ramping up.  The good news here is that all these sounds can be operated by a jump throttle if the proper CVs are set for automatic operation on DCC.

Bottom line, don't under rate the jump throttles.  Digitrax is big on design, and programmed in all the bells and whistles (bad pun intended.)  And while I agree with Bob that the E-Z Command is as easy as it gets when it comes to switching a single throttle between trains, switching a single throttle will never match the luxury of having a separate throttle for each train.
Logged

Growing older is mandatory but growing up is optional.
jward


View Profile WWW
« Reply #73 on: June 10, 2009, 01:43:42 PM »

Jeffery,
The link didn't work for some reason.

You might want to check this site. "TinyUrl" turns those incredibly long URLs into short ones.

http://tinyurl.com/

here is an alternate way to access the file:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Digitrax/files/

scroll down through the links until you find one called Jump Throttle. GIF
Logged

Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


View Profile WWW
« Reply #74 on: June 10, 2009, 02:24:37 PM »

Although the throttles Jeffery linked to are a little more complex, the use of a transistor about doubles the battery life.  The 1k base resistors in these circuits are not necessary and can be eliminated with no effect what so ever on the circuits operation.  You would still want to include an off/on switch for the battery in the battery version.

Jim
Logged

Growing older is mandatory but growing up is optional.
Pages: 1 ... 3 4 [5] 6 Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  
Powered by SMF | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!