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August 18, 2018, 01:09:44 AM
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31  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: 2 EZ Commands? on: March 17, 2018, 09:38:33 PM
Maletrain is mostly right about EZ app. But the description of EZ App vs other "Bluetooth" control is a little confusing.

On DCC the command signals to the locomotives pass through the rails and are thus susceptable to dirty track. The "bluetooth" control  these systems use merely passes a control signal from your cell phone to a command station which then puts that signal on the rails for your locomotive to read. Thus, it is not REALLY bluetooth control at all.

EZ App sends those control signals directly to the locomotive via bluetooth. The control signals do not pass through the rails and are thus less susceptable to corruption and degradation due to dirty track or loss of contact. An EZ APp locomotive will still draw its power from the rails, but since  the control signal is not passed through the track it should be more tolerant of dirty track.

EZ App was developed in a partnership with Blue Rail Trains, who offer bluetooth boards that can be added to any locomotive that is DCC ready. They also sell conversion kits to run locomotives off battery power, which could have some really interesting applications.
32  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Insulated joint and gaps on: March 17, 2018, 09:25:46 PM
Most switches come with the frogs already insulated. On some, the frogs are plastic which itself acts as an insulator. Others use a metal frog which is insulated from the surrounding rails. There is often a provision for metal frogs to be powered in some way if you desire. This is accomplished by a set of contacts that throw at the same time as the switch itself. the contacts may be built into the switch itself, or use an external relay that is wired in parallel with the switch motor.

The advantage of a powered frog is that the locomotives  with short wheelbases that tend to stall on plastic frogs will run smoothly through a powered frog.

I know some of the HO EZ track switches have frogs that are powered internally, but don't know which ones off hand. Likewise all HO Atlas custom line switches have a metal frog that can be powered by an external relay.

33  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: recommended 8 pin decoder for s2/s4 dcc ready locomotives on: March 17, 2018, 06:02:15 PM
Almost any decoder manufacturer offers them with 8 pin plugs. I've had good luck with Digitrax DH153/165 series decoders. They are reasonable priced, and have back EMF which acts as a sort of cruise control and enhances low speed operation. The real S2/S4 locomotives were speed restricted to about 40 mph due to their trucks, so good low speed operation is what you want.
34  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: bus wiring on: March 17, 2018, 05:57:19 PM
Don't let it overwhelm you. We were all beginners once. And no matter what anybody tells you, this hobby is way too big for one person to completely master. Just concentrate on learning the basics you need to get things up and running. Once you do that, you can concentrate your energy and money on what interests you most.
35  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: 2 EZ Commands? on: March 17, 2018, 08:17:39 AM
Re: crossing the gap between sections powered by different EZ commands. As alluded to, this could cause a short. I'd like to amend that to it WILL cause a short. The DCC waveform is a form of AC. The "polarity" is constantly changing. Unless the waveforms of the two command stations are perfectly in phase, which is highly unlikely, they WILL short.


There is another way to run two trains that I haven't seen mentioned here. EZ App trains will run off the power supplied by the EZ command, but are controlled by Bluetooth. You could run one train with EZ command on DCC, and another on EZ App by your cell phone or tablet.
36  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: bus wiring on: March 16, 2018, 08:20:04 PM
As a general rule. the DCC bus is a larger wire size, maybe 12-14 guage, than the feeders, 18 guage or smaller. If you are soldering the feeder wires to the rail, you will find the larger guage bus wires may be larger than the rail itself, especially in N scale. At any rate, soldered feeders with large guage wire will look out of place, and the smaller guage will be less obvious.
37  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: 2 EZ Commands? on: March 15, 2018, 09:33:26 PM
Yes, you can do that. Be sure to maintain the polarity of the rails when you connect the power cables between the rerailers. Otherwise you will get a short and possibly damage your command center. If you understand how to use a muilimeter, you can use it to test the wiring BEFORE you power anything up.
38  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: About this layout on: March 14, 2018, 08:25:51 PM
mrmel, please disregard the part of bbmiroku's post about one pack running multiple trains. You got some bad info there.

The layout as shown is designed for running two trains independently using traditional dc control. To do this, you need two separate power packs, one for each train.  The track is divided into electrically isolated blocks, and enough of them are provided in the plan that you can have two trains running the outer loop at the same time.

On dc, each block can be connected to only one power pack at a time. This is accomplished through the use of electrical switches, which are usually SPDT with a center off position so that power can be killed to any block if necessary. throw the switch one way, and power pack A controls the train, throw it the other way and pack B is in control. Because anything in a particular block is controlled by whichever pack is connected to it, you will want to have only one train in any given block at a time. To run two trains in a given loop, you will need at least three blocks, one for each train and one that is vacant. As your trains move around the layout, train one will move into the vacant block, leaving an empty block behind it. Train two then moves into this block, leaving a vacant block for train one behind it, and so on. As you run the trains, you will be flipping the block switches between pack A and B and vice versa depending on which train is where. It sounds more complicated than it is.

The plan also recommends cutting gaps in both rails to isolate the blocks. This is unnecessary. As long as all gaps are in the same rail (outer or inner, it doesn't matter) you can use the other rail as a common return. This is called common rail wiring, and is greatly simplifies things. The common rail is connected directly to BOTH power packs, the gapped rail is connected to the block switches, one switch per block.

The link below illustrates the common rail wiring better than i can describe it.
http://www.zscalemonster.com/atlas/atl-215.jpg
39  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: February 22, 2018, 11:01:30 AM
A couple of comments here:

First regarding the water colour. Model Railroader likes to paint the centers pf their bodies of water black. To me this is unrealistic. I live within spitting distance of several large rivers, and most of the time these are either a murky green as Len has described, or a muddy brown. I would experiment with the colour starting with an olive green shade and add various combinations of greens and lighter browns until you find something that looks right.

With regards to the backing to uncouple, this is entirely prototypical. Having worked in both the railroad and trucking industries, i can tell you that you can't release the couplings if they are under tension. With railroad couplers, you need to put some slack in the couplings, but not too much or theknuckles won't swing open when you pull the cut lever.

Kadee really hit on something all those years ago when they first made the magnetic knuckle coupler. Not only do they look like the real thing, they operate the same. They became the modeller's choice, and when the patents expired others were quick to offer their own versions as well. Better yet, manufacturers started using thses designs as their defaault coupler. To me, that, and the upgrading of the drives in the locomotives, are the two biggest advances in model railroading in recent times.


40  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Do other companies locomotives run with Bachmann Controllers? on: February 16, 2018, 10:55:45 PM
You should be able to run any locomotive equipped with a DCC decoder. If your Kato is not equipped you'll have to convert it yourself. Most of the time it is as simple as plugging a decoder into a socket, but not always.
41  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: DC on a DCC Layout on: February 10, 2018, 09:23:40 PM
what you are doing with an on off switch  to control power to a section of track is a time tested concept that was used for many years before DCC came along. It is known as block control. Using only one rail to control the section via a single pole switch is also time tested, known as common rail wiring, where one rail acts as a common return to the power supply, similar to a grounded chassis in electronic equipment. Unless you have a special situation such as a reversing loop, there is no need to isolate both rails, or use a double pole switch. In your case, where you are merely killing power to a section of track, a SPST, or on-off switch will do just fine. Just be sure that the contacts can handle the current output of your power supply. In the case of EZ command, with a 1 amp output, a switch you can buy in Radio Shack with contacts rated 3 amps will be more than enough.

The concept here can also be applied as many times as you want on your layout. You could, for example, have every siding on your layout isolated, and park all your locomotives in their own track when not in use.
42  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Adding onto The General starter set on: February 06, 2018, 08:08:40 PM
the switch control boxes should be designed so they gang together. a single cable from the accessory terminals on the controller to the boxes will power them all. You are only going to be throwing one switch at a time so it doesn't matter how many boxes are in the string.
43  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Modyfing The General train set for figure eight over and under on: January 27, 2018, 03:05:00 PM
Using the 14 piece pier set, each pier under a track joint for optimal support, gives a grade of just under 5%. Even a heavy diesel would have trouble pulling more than 3 or 4 cars up that. I have a stretch of 4@ on my own layout, and those numbers are based on my experience. Figures listed in an old Atlas layout plan book indicate that pulling power is reduced to 1/6 on a 4% grade, compared to what it will pull on level track.

Using two pier sets, with shims as Len suggested, will still yield a grade of about 2.5%. That is much better, but will still significantly reduce your locomotive's ability to pull a train up the grade. Ironically, the track configuration you are considering, using the pieces described by bbmiroku, would give a grade of about 3% if the rise and fall were evenly distributed around the track.

To use the two pier sets as described by Len requires a 4 additional straight pieces, two on each side of the figure 8. The two straight pieces can be located anywhere on the curve, but must be directly across from each other. If you experiment with their location, you should be able to fit the enlarges figure 8 on a 4x8 sheet of plywood.
44  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Configuring Registry on: January 27, 2018, 02:22:22 PM
MY system is digitrax, and I can easily call up any locomotive by entering its number as the address. My dad has MRC, and a friend has NCE, and on both systems calling up a locomotive is similar. Wonder why you can't do that on Dynamis?

Hunt would be the best person to answer your question. He is the go to guy for this system.
45  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Configuring Registry on: January 27, 2018, 08:58:11 AM
Just wondering why you didn't use the locomotive number as the address? That way you'd just enter the locomotive number to control it. The only thing you'd have to remember is what numbers you assigned to your consists. And you should be able to enter those directly as well. Direct entry of addresses is the way most dcc systems handle this problem.
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