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Discussion Boards => Large => Topic started by: StanAmes on February 25, 2007, 04:32:30 PM



Title: EZ COmmand for Large Scale
Post by: StanAmes on February 25, 2007, 04:32:30 PM
Since the other EZ Command for large scale thread seems to have digressed into  another radio vrs DCC debate I thought I would start a new thread to answer the question of what one might expect in using the EZ Command with 5 amp booster for large Scale.

Today I shoveled off a section of the layout to try it out.

I ran out of locomotives at the low addresses before I ran out of power.

I had three trains running.

On the plow train I had a Heisler, a 3 truck Shay with DCC Sound on Board, and  2 truck Shay.  The second train had a unconverted 45 ton loco and the third was a 4-4-0 passenger train.  The grade was 2%.  That's 10 motors.

Using a Tonys meter the amp draw  was around 6.7 and the voltage dropped from 18 to around 13.

To increase the amperage draw I reversed the direction of the three truck shay and ran all the locos at full speed.  This caused wheel slippage. The practical limit for this system is the voltage drop which under such a high load is a little low for Large Scale.

Stan Ames


Title: Re: EZ COmmand for Large Scale
Post by: Nathan on February 25, 2007, 08:30:55 PM
Stan,

Thanks for the great information.

Did you happen to get a reading on the 3-truck shay by itself as far as power draw?

Nathan


Title: Re: EZ COmmand for Large Scale
Post by: Jim Banner on February 25, 2007, 09:56:11 PM
Thanks, Stan for running the tests and giving us some real numbers.  That is great performance for a "5 amp" booster.  I am not sure if any of my "8 amp" boosters would do as well. 


Title: Re: EZ COmmand for Large Scale
Post by: Curmudgeon on February 25, 2007, 10:33:27 PM
You still want some "worn-in" wheels to see what that Shay really draws?

I guess one could also say since the original question somehow got derailed to 3-truck Shays, grades, and factory-equipped on-boards, good idea to start a new thread where it can happen all  over again! :o


Title: Re: EZ COmmand for Large Scale
Post by: Curmudgeon on February 26, 2007, 01:07:01 AM
"what one might expect in using the EZ Command with 5 amp booster for large Scale."

Just for clarification, is this using the EZ Command or the system you use?
If the 5 amp is driving the trains, and you're drawing 6.7 amps, maybe this is some of that "special" amps we've heard about.


"Using a Tonys meter the amp draw  was around 6.7 and the voltage dropped from 18 to around 13"
Okay, less voltage into a given load, less amps, unless of course we have a new dcc-friendly Ohm's Law.
Looks like the system is somewhat self-protecting.
Good!
That 4-4-0 must be a real rocketship on 13v.


Title: Re: EZ COmmand for Large Scale
Post by: StanAmes on February 26, 2007, 01:26:41 PM
Dave

I will try to answer your questions.
Quote
Just for clarification, is this using the EZ Command or the system you use?
If the 5 amp is driving the trains, and you're drawing 6.7 amps, maybe this is some of that "special" amps we've heard about.
For this test I used pure Bachmann power.  I used an  E-Z Command System connected to an E-Z Command 5 Amp Power Booster set for 18 volts DCC.  Both items come with their own power supplies which I also used.  I was using a section of the layout that has Stainless Steel rail and I have found that wheels will slip much easier on this rail then the softer Aluminum rail.

There is no standard for how a manufacturer rates the power output of a device.  The Bachmann 5 amp booster compares well in power output to what some systems call an 8 amp booster.  The real limit in the setup appears to be the Switching power supply they use.  I have not tried to hook up a more powerful switching supply to see what the real limiting factor is.  A very key aspect of any power station (booster) is how well it handles short term surge currents (such as sometimes found in startup of locomotives) and some do a lot better then others in this regard.

Quote
Okay, less voltage into a given load, less amps, unless of course we have a new dcc-friendly Ohm's Law.
Looks like the system is somewhat self-protecting.
Good!
That 4-4-0 must be a real rocketship on 13v.

I prefer a power station that can maintain its voltage at the load I intend to use it at.  I was clearly intentionally stressing the Bachmann unit beyond its specified design limits to make a point. One less locomotive and the voltage was acceptable.  I have a large railroad and 4 power districts (only really need 2 or 3 at present but I am still growing).  I run my layout at 21-22 volts DCC which is a higher voltage then the Bachmann unit can supply.

The 4-4-0 performed well at the low voltage as I do not run the locomotives fast anyway.

For most users who have up to 9 DCC Bachmann Locomotives and want to run 3 or 4 max at a time the Bachmann system will perform just fine.

For those that want more power, a good 10 amp booster is in my opinion better and for those that want to run a lot more locomotives at a time a higher end system is likely useful as well.

Stan


Title: Re: EZ COmmand for Large Scale
Post by: Curmudgeon on February 26, 2007, 04:24:45 PM
Here is some actual-factual, real-life current draw readings.
Bachmann original 2-truck Shay (Ely-Thomas), NO sound, NO smoke, flicker and headlight ON, worn wheels (through the copper, most places), on old aluminum track.
2.8 amps.
Full slip.
Now, just for a drill, let's take half of that (1.4 amps) and add it to the 2.8 (like, maybe, another powered truck?), and we get 4.2 amps.

Now, on another forum, someone posted the data from Soundtraxx on the Quasinami, which they told him is 3.5 amps max.

I don't know if you use a different kind of voltage, current and maybe math, but that sure looks to me like it exceeds the 3.5 amp max current by a BUNCH, and falls right in line with my earlier post of tripping a 4 amp on-board breaker but not a 5 amp with a 3-truck Shay, which we did about 7 years ago.

And that is without sound, which can, depending on brand and settings (like volume), draw an amp.

That makes 5.2 amps.

And the EZ Command with booster is 5.0 amps, right?

So, there you have the differences.
One of my 3-truck units (reviewed) draws 1.6 amps full slip, but that's shiny wheels. The other, 2.4 amps.

2 truck Shays with shiny wheels (in review) drew 1.6 amps, or .8 per truck.
If the current jumps from 1.6 amp to 2.8 amp, with no sound or smoke, you might just be able to comprehend the increase in current draw with tractive effort increase due to wheels and track.
If the two truck doubled, and let's say the 3-truck I measured with 2.4 amp draw doubles, well......

I guess one of the needed components of dcc must be the slipperiest tracks available, right?
And clean?

Maybe if you oil the tracks lightly you can increase the slip factor and get away with it.

So, with that empirical data, we exceed the capabilities of the Quasinami by a bunch, and get close on the EZ Command with booster.

Not that anybody will actually read or comprehend this data, especially when they think I have e vested interest and don't think you do in the type of control system used.


Title: Re: EZ COmmand for Large Scale
Post by: Curmudgeon on February 26, 2007, 04:31:37 PM
In reply to your reply to my reply to your reply, "guessing" as to current output of the EZ Command station is not good.
You have no way to place your ammeter in-line between the control station and trck and add load until it smokes or shuts down?

Sayig that the 5 amp unit acts like 8 amp units is somewhat misleading.
Does the EZ Command put out more than 5 amps or does the "other" unit put out less than 8 amps, or both?

When I do reviews, I try to give voltage and current readings measured on the review sample, not guesswork, which is why these readings do not show up in reviews.
A) the 2.4A draw 3-truck Shay was not being reviewed, and B) none of them have plating worn enough to get the readings I show on those with worn plating.

But, I do have the data, and so posted.

TOC


Title: Re: EZ COmmand for Large Scale
Post by: StanAmes on February 26, 2007, 10:44:12 PM
Quote
In reply to your reply to my reply to your reply, "guessing" as to current output of the EZ Command station is not good.
You have no way to place your ammeter in-line between the control station and trck and add load until it smokes or shuts down?
Dave

Tonys Train Exchange produces what they refer to as a Ramp Meter which is both a amp meter and a volt meter that is used with DCC.

This device was inserted between the output of the E-Z Command booster and the track.  The measured results are as reported in my first message on this thread. 

I actually have some experience with measuring the output of this unit using both resistive loads and actual track loads.  Its limit is indeed the switching power supply.  I could build an adaptor and hook the power station up to a 15 amp switching power supply to determine exactly its limits but using it as intended from the manufacturer is better for this type of discussion.

The AMP ratings the manufacturers provide mean very different things and with no defined and consistent definition and testing environment it is somewhat difficult to compare them.  One needs to define both average long term current, peak current, and shutdown current with the time for shutdown.  Also the type and characters of the load also come into play.

And no I do not oil my track  and no I also have no need to clean my track either.  Stainless Steel track only needs to be wiped down to avoid getting the grit into the motor drives and with the conversion I am doing to Hybrid Drive (DCC with Battery Backup) the Brass track will not need cleaning as well.

And yes your Amp draw calculations are accurate as are my reported actual use. If the voltage did not drop the amp reading would likely have been very similar.

Stan


Title: Re: EZ COmmand for Large Scale
Post by: Curmudgeon on February 26, 2007, 11:17:18 PM
Okay, somehow we didn't answer the question.
"You have no way to place your ammeter in-line between the control station and track and add load until it smokes or shuts down?"

Power supply, yes, nothing else?
If the manufacturer states 5 amps, well, does the output devices and the wire have the ability to handle more?

"The AMP ratings the manufacturers provide mean very different things and with no defined and consistent definition and testing environment it is somewhat difficult to compare them.  One needs to define both average long term current, peak current, and shutdown current with the time for shutdown.  Also the type and characters of the load also come into play."

So, the next question is, why isn't the nmra jumping in on this?
Why aren't reviews written with load-to-smoke to see if the unit will actually DO what it says and so report?
They were quite successful in shutting down several outfits over the years, all 17/64ths manufacturers springs readily to mind.
We used to see that as a line in reviews "meets or does not meet nmra standards".

With my short experience in electronics, if something continues to put out current but fails to maintain voltage, it is NOT doing "as advertised".

The output voltage needs to stay within limits. If it drops below said limits prior to reaching the stated current limit, it's not good.
If you overload it by continuing to draw current so that the voltage drops and does not recover, you are operating well outside the safe envelope.

One should be very careful in recomending a product, and product, to do a job that it is not designed for.

When the output voltage drops by almost 1/3 of what it should be, the device is not suitable for the purpose for which one is attempting to use it.


Period.



Title: Re: EZ COmmand for Large Scale
Post by: Jim Banner on February 27, 2007, 02:19:29 AM

When the output voltage drops by almost 1/3 of what it should be, the device is not suitable for the purpose for which one is attempting to use it.

Period.

And what should the voltage be?  Certainly not the 18 volts open circuit voltage.  More likely the 15 volts or so that it produces into a 5 amp load.  In my books, 13 volts is only 2 volts (13%) below "what it should be," not 5 volts (33%.)

And why would anyone want to load something down until it smoked?  A fixed, constant load is nothing like the load a model railroad imposes on a power supply.  Would you load down an outlet in your house to see when your house burned down?  I know I would not.  Yet I routinely draw 30 or 40 amps out of a 15 amps circuit many times a day.  The secret is the length of time.

Similarly, DCC boosters can run what the uninitiated might consider "overloads" and still be within their operating parameters.  Normally it is the output transistors that overload.  But overload here has two distinctly different meanings, one an absolute maximum above which the current density inside the transistor exceeds a safe value.  But there is a lower maximum, based on safe temperature of the transistor, above which the silicon melts.  The temperature of the transistors depends on many more things than load, things like ambient temperature, thermal mass of any attached heat sinks, air flow over the heat sinks, thermal resistance of the transistor cases, and so forth.  An honest designer takes all these into consideration when he decides on a "worst case" current rating.  Changing any of the factors of course changes the current rating up or down.  The most common one is ambient temperature.  A booster rated for a maximum of 5 amps at 100 F. will shut itself down at about 5 amps on a 100 degree day.  On a 20 degree day, it will take more current to heat the output transistors up to the shutdown temperature.  Take it to the north pole on a cold day and you might be able to pull 10 amps out of it continuously before the over temperature circuit shuts it down.  This same principle applies to on board controllers, be they DCC decoders or r/c power modules.  If it gets too hot inside a locomotive, you use a fan to blow out the heat.  Even better, you use it to increase the airflow over the critical components at the same time.

In simpler terms, lets think of a flat heat V-8.  Above some temperature, it siezes up.  Yet in a drag race, you can run it with no water pump and no radiator.  That is because of thermal mass - it absorbs the heat.  But there is a limit - take it on a Sunday drive with the same set up, you had better take your walking shoes for the return trip.  Likewise if you take that engine out of a car and put it in a large truck.  What do you do?  You install a larger radiator and a bigger fan for better cooling in the hot weather.  But if you ran it only in winter, you could use the smaller car radiator and fan.  That is the effect of ambient temperature.  Would putting it in a truck overload the crankshaft?  Probably not - the designer engineered the crank shaft based on the maximum possible output power of the engine, or at least you hope he did.  Same with the booster - the wires and traces on the circuit board were not designed for the worst case minimum output current, they were designed for maximum best case output current.  For a 5 amp booster, that would likely be 10 amps or more.

Bottom line with the booster is that loading it down until the smoke comes out probably cannot be done.  Keep in mind that DCC booster are designed to operated into dead shorts continuously.  Lesser loading can only cause heating until the thermal overload detection circuit shuts off the output.


Title: Re: EZ COmmand for Large Scale
Post by: Curmudgeon on February 27, 2007, 03:47:59 AM
"And why would anyone want to load something down until it smoked?"

If he keeps making statements about one companies 5 amps isn't what another companies is, the only way to now for sure is to run it until it smokes.
Do you know what most large-scale engines run like at 13 volts?

Hmmmm.

Maybe you don't, and maybe folks who run track power are used to some kind of regulated suply.

So, on top of all of this, we now know dcc isn't regulated, and the voltage drops to surpisingly low levels when you run the system well outside the advertised parameters.

Good information to have for the newbie coming into the hobby.

What would you consider acceptable voltage drop in a control system under load?
In the load range?
Ouside of the load range?

"Normally it is the output transistors that overload.  But overload here has two distinctly different meanings, one an absolute maximum above which the current density inside the transistor exceeds a safe value.  But there is a lower maximum, based on safe temperature of the transistor, above which the silicon melts.  The temperature of the transistors depends on many more things than load, things like ambient temperature, thermal mass of any attached heat sinks, air flow over the heat sinks, thermal resistance of the transistor cases, and so forth.  An honest designer takes all these into consideration when he decides on a "worst case" current rating.  Changing any of the factors of course changes the current rating up or down.  The most common one is ambient temperature.  A booster rated for a maximum of 5 amps at 100 F. will shut itself down at about 5 amps on a 100 degree day.  On a 20 degree day, it will take more current to heat the output transistors up to the shutdown temperature.  Take it to the north pole on a cold day and you might be able to pull 10 amps out of it continuously before the over temperature circuit shuts it down.  This same principle applies to on board controllers, be they DCC decoders or r/c power modules.  If it gets too hot inside a locomotive, you use a fan to blow out the heat.  Even better, you use it to increase the airflow over the critical components at the same time."

Yes, the parameters set up for EZ Command were for Half-Zero, Nano-scale and 0n30.

We know they stated 5 amp booster, yet he measured 6.7 amps.
Without sound or smoke, I am getting 4.2.
With sound, bets are one unit exceeds the rating.
Why tell folks they can use it then?

Even Stan tells us there are no standards to it, every manufacturer seems to count the ratings differently.

This is so much fun.

I've not seen anything like this in a long, long time.

If ever there was a primer for NOT using it, this might just qualify.

Surge loads are a totally different animal than constant.
That 6.7 amps was pretty constant, from what I read.
That means the overload on the published factory spec was 1.7 amps.

Good enough.

So, let's say a newbie to this type of control buys said contol station.
He (or she) has one (1) each, control station.

Following the statements made, they place it into service and it smokes.
Since you have effectively argued against any kind of test to see how long said unit would operate at said overload without smoking, no-one has any idea, and that person now has no operable railroad, as they "bought into" the entire package, and the one control station just fried.

I learned in model railroading never to rely on one of anything important in about.....1954 or 1955.

That's why everything I run outdoors is totally inependent of all other units, the only commonality being the rails.

And you're serious, aren't you?




Title: Re: EZ COmmand for Large Scale
Post by: Jim Banner on February 27, 2007, 12:40:52 PM
Things have changed quite a bit since 1954 or 1955.  Back in those days you could load down a transformer until it did smoke.  These days, power packs and command stations are either current limited or have protective breakers.  You can load them down and down and down, right down to a dead short, and they still don't smoke.

Incidentally, by 1960, those old transformers were replaced by the new ones with built in circuit breakers.  No more smoke.


Title: Re: EZ COmmand for Large Scale
Post by: Curmudgeon on February 27, 2007, 01:48:46 PM
"Things have changed quite a bit since 1954 or 1955.  Back in those days you could load down a transformer until it did smoke.  These days, power packs and command stations are either current limited or have protective breakers.  You can load them down and down and down, right down to a dead short, and they still don't smoke."

Pre-freaking-cisely!

Thank-you!

This is just to freaking easy.

THAT is what I've asked, that he load it until it shuts down (o smokes).
If 6.7 amps drops the voltage by almost 1/3, now I see that you consider that to be "normal".
What point does it shut iteslf down?
How far can the consumer overload the manufacturer-stated specs and for how long before what happens?

Trying to change the subject as seems to be the wont of proponents of this stuff is NOT going to fix anything.

The EZ Command was not built for large-scale, right?
You ever find anything in print from the manufacturer that says it is?
The title of THIS attempt to convince the masses thread is "EZ COmmand for large scale".

I do appreciate you honesty and willingness to share......something.

Still wondering why someone would consider a 1/3 drop in output is normal.....


Title: Re: EZ COmmand for Large Scale
Post by: Noah Effingway on February 27, 2007, 04:08:23 PM
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
An EZ-DCC.

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Two sound decoders, for my EZ- DCC.

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Three five amp boosters, two sound decoders for my EZ-DCC.

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Four bags of railclamps, three five amp boosters, two sound decoders for my EZ-DCC.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Five friggn’ amps!
Four bags of railclamps, three five amp boosters two sound decoders
For my EZ-DCC.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Six powered axles drawing
Five friggin’ amps!
Four bags of railclamps, three five amp boosters, two sound decoders
For my EZ-DCC

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Seven breakers blowing
Six Powered axles drawing
Five friggin’ amps!
Four bags of railclamps three five amp boosters two sound decoders
For my EZ-DCC.

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Eight amps that were five amps
Seven breakers blowing
Six powered axles drawing
Five friggin’ amps!
Four bags of railclamps, three five amp boosters two sound decoders
For my EZ-DCC.

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Nine mis-programmed CV’s
Eight amps that were five amps
Seven breakers blowing
Six powered axles drawing
Five friggin’ amps!
Four bags of railclamps, three five amp boosters two sound decoders
For my EZ-DCC.
On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Ten books explaining
Nine mi-sprogrammed CV’s
Eight amps that were five amps
Seven breakers blowing
Six powered axles drawing
Five Friggin’ Amps!
Four bags of railclamps, three five amp boosters, two sound decoders
For my EZ-DCC.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Eleven miles of wiring
Ten books explaining
Nine mis-programmed CV”s
Eight amps that were five amps
Seven breakers blowing
Six powered axles drawing
FIVE FRIGGIN AMPS!
Four bags of railclamps, three five amp boosters, two sound decoders
For my EZ-DCC.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Twelve track cleaning methods
Eleven miles of wiring
Ten books explaining
Nine mis-programmed CV’s
Eight amps that were five amps
Seven breakers blowing
Six powered axles drawing
FIVE FRIGGIN’ AMPS
Four bags of railclamps, three five amp boosters,  two sound decoders
For my EZ-DCC.


Title: Re: EZ COmmand for Large Scale
Post by: rperego on February 27, 2007, 04:28:26 PM
I thought for sure this would end with "on the 12th day my true love had an epiphany and gave me a battery."


Title: Re: EZ COmmand for Large Scale
Post by: Jim Banner on February 27, 2007, 05:05:35 PM
Very good Noah.  I think we have all had days where we feel like that.
And rperego, as someone who has run on batteries, I would expect something like:
On the thirteenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
A funky little windup to run under the tree.
Twelve extra batteries,
Eleven battery chargers,
Ten pounds per engine,
Nine amps the limit,
Eight cars per engine,
Seven amps on hot days,
Six hours of running,
Five if it's hilly,
Four if you're silly,
Three years per battery,
Too many problems,
And a TX tossed up high into a tree.

Who's up for doing one on track powered outdoor layouts?
Keep in mind, we didn't get in to outdoor model railroading because it is easy.  We go into it because it is FUN.


Title: Re: EZ COmmand for Large Scale
Post by: Steve Stockham on February 27, 2007, 05:23:11 PM
He he he... ;D Noah, that was truly inspired and Jim, nice comeback!! ;) :D


Title: Re: EZ COmmand for Large Scale
Post by: Jim Banner on February 27, 2007, 05:46:13 PM
On a more serious note, lets see if we can explain model railroad controls in a way that everybody can understand them.

Q. Will the power pack that came with my train run my LS train?
A. Yes.
Q. Will the power pack that came with my LS train run all kinds of LS trains?
A. No.  For many LS locomotives, you will need a stronger/heavier/ higher rated power pack.

Q. Will the Bachmann E-Z Command Control system run my Bachmann LS DCC on board train?
A. Yes, with the optional 5 amp booster.
Q. Will the Bachmann E-Z Commander complete with 5 amp booster run all kinds of LS trains with DCC?
A. No.  For many some LS locomotives, you will need a stronger/heavier/higher rated power pack.  You may also need a decoder.

Q.  Can I run my Bachmann LS train on batteries and radio control?
A.  Yes, with a transmitter and a properly sized power control module.
Q. Can I run all kinds of LS trains on my batteries and radio control?
A.  No.  Many LS locomotives will require stronger/heavier/higher rated power control modules and/or stronger/heavier/higher rated batteries to perform properly.

Q. What are the advantages of running on regular dc power packs?
A.  Unlimited operating time.  And simple, simple, simple.
Q. What are the disadvantages of running on regular dc power packs?
A.  No way to independently control two trains on one track without more power packs, lots of wiring and toggle switches, and a difficult operating process.  Dirty track interfers with operation.


Q.  What are the advantages of DCC?
A.  Unlimited operating time.  Low cost decoders include lighting and accessory outputs as well as sophisticated motor control.  Relatively affordable decoder/sound systems are also available.
Q.  What are the disadvantages of DCC?
A.  Dirty track interfers with operation.  Multiple high current boosters are expensive.

Q.  What are the advantages of batteries and radio control?
A.  Dirty track is not a problem.  Electrical circuit through the rails is not required.
Q. What are the disadvantages of batteries and radio control?
A.  Limited run time, battery maintenance including charging and replacement, accessory modules required for lights and/or functions.

Q. Are there any other options?
A. There may be.  Contactless DCC is on the horizon.
Q. What are the advantages of contactless DCC?
A.  Dirty track is not a problem.  Low cost DCC decoders with many outputs and sophisticated motor controls that do not draw power from the rails.  With no power being drawn, there is no need for electrical contact with the rails, and no need for boosters.
Q.  What are the disadvantes of contractless DCC?
A.  Limited run time, battery maintenance including charging and replacement, may be range limitations.


Title: Re: EZ COmmand for Large Scale
Post by: StanAmes on February 27, 2007, 07:53:17 PM
Not to break into all this great humor but I just got off the phone with Dave and would like to answer his specific questions.  These tests are on the unit I have and some variability can be expected.

1) Does Bachmann intend its E-Z Command to be used for Large Scale.

Answer.  On the back of the unit there is a switch.  In one position it says 14V N/HO/OO/On30 .  In the other position the label says 18V LS/G.  To prevent accidentally moving the switch it is locked in the HO setting until you move a protective locking plate.  Given this label I believe it is fair to assume that Bachmann intended that this unit be used for Large Scale use.

2) What is the resistive load overload for the unit.

Answer:  On a bench indoors at normal room temperature  into a resistive load the booster will normally deliver about 6.2/6.4 amps before shutdown:  Note the resistive load I have is hard to adjust accurately at this level so the real level could be another 1/2 amp or so higher. Note a resistive load is not exactely what the same system will see on a real layout.

3) What is the voltage under various loads into a resistive load,

Answer 1: Switch in the 14V HO setting

Unloaded - 15 Volts DCC
1A -    14.5 Volts DCC
2A -    14.3 Volts DCC
3A-     14 Volts DCC
4A-     13.4 Volts DCC
5A-     13 volts DCC
6A-     12.3 Volts DCC

Answer 2: Switch in the 18 volt setting

Unloaded:  17.8 volts DCC
1A-     17.5 Volts DCC
2A-     16.9 Volts DCC
3A-     16.5 Volts DCC
4A-     16.1 Volts DCC
5A-    15.5 Volts DCC
6A-    14.6Volts DCC


4) Is this voltage drop normal

Answer.  In many systems this type of voltage drop is typical.

5) Is this voltage correct for Large Scale -

Answer: There seems to be one school of thought that says 18 volts is best for Large Scale,  Another school feels that 20-24 volts is best and there are now some locomotives that prefer up to 35 volts.  I am in the 20-24 volt camp.  Bachmann locomotives work fine at the lower voltages.  In my opinion the 35 volt level is of questionability safety,

6) Can this system be used effectively for running a few Bachmann locomotives in Large Scale

Answer:  Based on my experience I would say yes.  If you have a large outdoor layout and have the room and grades to really load some of these locomotives down to their full potential (wheel slip) then the amp draw will increase. On smaller layouts running shorter trains the amp draw for a locomotive is much less then its wheel slip load. The Bachmann E-Z Command system is designed for one to three users and is tethered to the layout.  For these types of layouts with 9 or less Bachmann large scale locomotives operation 2-4 at a time, the system appears to perform well.

As with any DCC system if you get near the limits and have frequent shutdowns due to overloads then its time to consider a second power station.

Now back to the humor.

Stan Ames


Title: Re: EZ COmmand for Large Scale
Post by: Jim Banner on February 27, 2007, 08:42:35 PM
The voltage drops sound quite reasonable.  From no load to full load (5 Amps) it is only 13%, which is what I had estimated earlier.  Quite good compared to say the power pack that came with my first Big Hauler - 16 volts open circuit to 12 volts under load or a 25% drop or the typical drop on batteries - 14.4 freshly charged to 10.8 discharged or a 25% drop.  These drops are no big deal as far as the locomotives are concerned - they still run.

As far as what is the correct voltage for any locomotive, as I see it if there is enough voltage to spin the wheels then there is no need for anything higher.   


Title: Re: EZ COmmand for Large Scale
Post by: Curmudgeon on February 28, 2007, 07:17:51 PM
Thanks, Stan.
The manufacture's rating is 5 amps.
The shutdown is 6.2-ish.

Jim-
I am surprised.
The power pack with your first Big-Hauler was a "set" pack, and as most are, barely up to the task.
I guess you must be saying this unit is barely up to the task?

To have a power supply drop 25% to 35% under load is not good, normal, to be expected, or "standard".
10%, which is 16.8V on an 18V supply.
You can factor in internal control station drops (readable as soon as the loco moves).

I am really quite happy to know that the dcc community accepts this kind of voltage drop as "acceptable".

As far as batteries, different kettle of fish.
If your battery dropped to that voltage under load, and not as a design characteristic when it reached the end of it's charge cycle, then you have battery capacity insufficient for the load.
I know that, you should know that.

While that was a good attempt at trying to derail this discussion to batteries, it was, nonetheless, feeble.

You really need to study up on battery technology a bit so you don't come across quite so bad.

The battery discharge cycle is a 'standard", i.e. a 2AH pack should put out 2 amps for one hour.

Likewise, a 18V pack should put out 18V (within a stated range) in the given loading the manufacturer states.
Not quite sure about that 13%....it's more like 5.2A and 15.5V, still, for either one, outside of 10% by a bunch, but when limited to 5A, as this and the other thread tried to discuss, probably the best you'll get.

This will be highly useful information in the future about the standards of dcc not even being there.

Funny, too, nobody seems to be thinking about lighted passenger cars and the ever-present driving trackside accessories off the fixed track voltage.

I must say, too, with this information, folks like Bridgeworks had best find another line of work.
You think there was no reason for them to come out with 15 amp regulated supplies?
And no reason for another manufacturer to discuss a 40-amp arc welder?

For a large-scale layout, based in part on my few weeks in the hobby, 10 amp pack is the absolute minimum.

What happens with wet ballast touching the rails?

Quite a story behind that, but the short is a 12V deep-cycle battery (big, lead-acid golf-cart type) went flat in 20 minutes.......

Someday, when I get around to actually building a railroad, buying some trains, and trying out all this theoretical stuff, maybe I can join the big boys in their discussions, right?

I may have to visit one or two in the meantime to see what this outdoor trains stuff is all abot.

TOC
The voltage drops sound quite reasonable.  From no load to full load (5 Amps) it is only 13%, which is what I had estimated earlier.  Quite good compared to say the power pack that came with my first Big Hauler - 16 volts open circuit to 12 volts under load or a 25% drop or the typical drop on batteries - 14.4 freshly charged to 10.8 discharged or a 25% drop.  These drops are no big deal as far as the locomotives are concerned - they still run.

As far as what is the correct voltage for any locomotive, as I see it if there is enough voltage to spin the wheels then there is no need for anything higher.  


Title: Re: EZ COmmand for Large Scale
Post by: Jim Banner on March 01, 2007, 01:20:55 AM
TOC, could you please go back and reread my posting just above your latest one?  I am not sure what your posting below it has to do with the acceptable range of supply voltages for large scale locomotives.

Perhaps if I restate my posting as a single question:

If a supply voltage ranging from 18 down to 12 volts is good enough to run a Big Hauler locomotive,

And a supply voltage ranging from 14.4 down to 10.8 volts is good enough to run a battery r/c locomotive,

Then why is a supply voltage ranging from 17.8 down to 15.5 volts not good enough for running a DCC locomotive?

If you would be kind enough to answer this one simple question for us, we could get on to more interesting things. 


Title: Re: EZ Command for Large Scale
Post by: bobgrosh on March 04, 2007, 05:24:24 AM
...

To have a power supply drop 25% to 35% under load is not good, normal, to be expected, or "standard".
10%, which is 16.8V on an 18V supply.
You can factor in internal control station drops (readable as soon as the loco moves).

I am really quite happy to know that the dcc community accepts this kind of voltage drop as "acceptable".
...
...

Once again, I just got to come down on TOC's side.

As for me, NO NO NO. I would absolutely NOT accept anywhere near that sort of voltage drop on a DCC system.

Not 35%
Not 25%
Not 10%

NOT EVEN 5%

That may be fine for battery or DC but not DCC.

Here is why.

On DC you run one train, maybe several locos, but one train.
Increase the throttle the train will speed up because you are increasing the POWER.

Lets say you increase the throttle one NOTCH or TICMARK on the control panel. You happen to know that unloaded each one equals a volt.
Under a load the voltage did not go up one volt because the power pack sages under load.

Does that really hurt anything on a DC layout? No, because the train goes a little faster. Unless you have a meter you would not even notice.


BUT FOR DCC YOU WILL NOTICE.

You are running more than one train. All the trains are running on 18 volts (on an 18 volt DCC system)

Lets say you have a light  passenger train, not drawing a lot, one loco, just a couple cars, but it is going FAST. Full speed, 72.6 scale miles per hour. Still, it's only drawing 1 amp or less. (the LGB LCE III Munich Train Set will do that)

Now you just crack the throttle on some shays and try to start a long string of logging cars. Lets say it draws 4 amps.

If the booster drop the output 35% that's 6.3 volts.
Does the fast passenger train slow down 35%

No, Actually it would slow to a crawl. The speed is not liner compared to voltage. There is a lot of difference in top speed between a 17 and 18 volts. For the LCE set it is about 30 scale MPH. a change of 1 volt in the 17 to 18 volt range would be very noticeable. A change of one volt in the 2 to 3 volt range would be hard to see.

Aside from the speed problems, one would really notice even a 5% sag on a DCC system. Sound cards would suddenly change volume, Most lighted cars would dim, fans on the tops of diesels will change the pitch of the sound they make.
At 10%, running trains suddenly slow and the cars slack up, you can get false uncoupling if using Kadees and if they happen to be over a magnet. You could even experience derailments if backing light logging disconnects through turnouts or sharp curves.

In my opinion, a 5 amp system should put out it's rated voltage with no more than a 2% drop from unloaded to it's full 5 amp capacity.

But that is just my preference.

Still, I think anyone using a DCC system that sags 10% to run more than one train at a time would soon become disappointed with the performance of their trains. They may not recognize the source of the problem or be able to explain exactly why they are unhappy, but when they visit a layout with a proper DCC system, they will surely notice how much better everything runs.

ASIDE:
I'm just a little surprised that the EZ DCC booster Stan tested did not automatically shut down at 5 amps. I would not want any system that puts out more than the rated capacity without some sort of shutdown provision. Some LS manufacturer's will not honor the warranty if the loco or car has been subjected to more than 5 amps. The resulting damage is fairly easy to see and the current that caused the damage can usually be calculated.

B0B



Title: Re: EZ COmmand for Large Scale
Post by: Jim Banner on March 05, 2007, 02:38:09 AM
Bob has some interesting points there, and I am glad the Bachmann DCC booster does not drop anywhere near 35%.  In fact, it's drop is only 13%.  Thanks to Stan and TOC, we can calculate the no load to full rated load drop as follows:

 (17.8 - 15.5) x 100 / 17.8 = 12.921%.

The drop in voltage when you draw another 4 amps of current compared to when you were drawing only 1 amp of current is:

  (17.5 - 15.5) x 100 / 17.5 = 11.429%

Cranking up the 4 amp Shay would only pull the voltage on an E-Z Command booster down 2 volts, not 6.3.  Calculated as follows:

  17.5 - 15.5 = 2.0 volts

 (17.5 is the voltage at 1 amp, 15.5 is the voltage at 5 amps)

Bob is correct that motor speed is not a linear function of voltage.  Especially not with dc.  With DCC, it is much closer to linear because we always apply full supply voltage to the motor and regulate the motor speed by how long we apply it compared to how long we do not apply it.  So even though a dc driven locomotive might slow from high speed to a crawl under a particular set of conditions, a pulse width driven locomotive will change speed only slightly to moderately.  Of course, if we are using DCC and are at all concerned with these minor changes in speed, we have the option of using back emf control which works very much like the cruise control in your automobile.  With back emf control in operation, the speed change at a measly 2 volts would be all but undetectable.

Personally, I don't much like running with back emf control turned on.  I like to drive my model locomotive like I would drive a real one.  I like having to work the throttle, opening up a bit going up hills, closing down a bit on down grades.  Someone else drawing down the track voltage?  Not much different than all those little things that affect a real locomotive - a curve wet with dew here, a track a tad tight on gauge there, a boggy spot where the rails settle and you run up hill in both directions, well, you name it.

As I explained elsewhere in this thread, a 5 amp output on a power source is often the guaranteed minimum under a given range of conditions, particularly temperature.  If you get more output at some specific conditions within the limits of the guaranteed range, that is fine and it will not harm the power source.  But do not make the mistake of counting on the greater output at all conditions within the limits of the guaranteed range.  To put that in simpler terms, if Bachmann called it a 5 amp booster but at some conditions within its rated range it produced only 4 amps, you would quite rightly be mad.  But if it produces at least 5 amps in that range, and maybe more, then be glad that Bachmann is using a good, honest rating.


Title: Re: EZ COmmand for Large Scale
Post by: Pospete on March 11, 2007, 09:47:05 PM
  Hi, I just wondered if the Bachmann system was compatable with other operating systems?   Thing is I got rid of my LGB MTS and bought the Lenz system, which I find easier.  The bulk of my fleet, are Bachmann locos, tho I am now also using the Soundtraxx DSX boards for sound.  So far the Lenz system copes with the Climax, and Annie and Porter , all at the same time, but I think maybe i need to block the track into 2 sections or more as occasionally on the very hot days the thermal cut out does it's thing. Even with extra cooling fans I guess it just gets too hot. I just wondered, if I could use the EZ Booster with my Lenz system for extra blocks or am I better off to stick with Lenz Boosters?
   


Title: Re: EZ COmmand for Large Scale
Post by: Jim Banner on March 12, 2007, 12:53:48 AM
Pospete, I am afraid that Bachmann has not been very forthcoming with information on how their E-Z Commander communicates with their booster.  Without that information, it is impossible for me to say whether a Lenz command station can communicate with a Bachmann booster.  Your best bet is to assume they cannot communicate and stick with the Lenz products. 


Title: Re: EZ COmmand for Large Scale
Post by: Pospete on March 12, 2007, 02:07:44 AM
Thanks for that info.


Title: Re: EZ COmmand for Large Scalehttp://www.bachmanntrains.com/home-usa/images/head
Post by: the Bach-man on March 12, 2007, 11:06:02 PM
Dear Pete,
I'm building yet another display layout, this one to demonstrate EZ Command.
It's set up like this:

Wall Pack> EZ Command> Booster> Track
                              ^
                  EZ Companion
                               ^
                   EZ Companion
                               ^
                   EZ Companion

As you can see, the companion goes to the command station. Extra Companions are daisy chained to the first companion.

You can use the booster with other NMRA Conformant DCC systems, like Lenz.

Have fun!
the Bach-man
 


Title: Re: EZ COmmand for Large Scale
Post by: Hunt on March 12, 2007, 11:23:23 PM
E-Z Command is compatible with a DCC booster built to conform to NMRA RP-9.1.2  Opto-isolated (Current) Interface.    Digital plus by Lenz Power Station (what Lenz calls their DCC booster) is built to this specification.

I recommend you review the information about Lenz Power Stations and the new product releases  http://www.lenz.com/products/powerstations/index.htm (http://www.lenz.com/products/powerstations/index.htm)

Like Jim, I suggest you select one of the Lenz  Power Stations to add power to your Lenz command station.


Title: Re: EZ COmmand for Large Scale
Post by: Jim Banner on March 13, 2007, 01:20:24 AM
NMRA Recommended Practice 9.1.2 requires that a compatible booster be able to receive DCC information from a command station on a pair of wires.  It also allows for a compatible booster to send information back to the command station on a separate pair of wires.

The Bachmann E-Z Command booster meets the requirements in that it can receive DCC information.  As far as I know, it cannot send information back to the command station.  This is of no importance if you are using the E-Z Command command station which, as far as I know, cannot receive information from a booster.  A second pair of wires is not shown between the E-Z C command station and the booster in the DCC FAQ section, nor could I find any mention of them.

(http://www.bachmanntrains.com/home-usa/ez/Images/booster.jpg)

Lenz boosters have the ability to send information back to the command station.  As Pospete already has a Lenz command station which is equipped to receive that information, I believe it would be to his advantage to stick with Lenz boosters.  This will be particularly true if Pospete decides some time in the future to add a second booster, which is a good possibility in large scale.

This is in no way intended to disparage the E-Z Command booster.  Tests by Stan Ames and others have shown this to be a good, robust booster more than capable of doing its job and in most cases, I would have no reservations in recommending it.  Just not in this specific case.