Bachmann Message Board

Discussion Boards => General Discussion => Topic started by: Yampa Bob on May 04, 2009, 04:57:11 AM

Title: Decoder Calculators
Post by: Yampa Bob on May 04, 2009, 04:57:11 AM
Everybody knows I don't mess with CVs. I push a button, turn a knob, the loco goes. If it doesn't run, it's broken. The only "mapping" I do is finding my way around Denver or trailblazing in the mountains with my trusty GPS.

Anyhoo, I find the wierdest stuff while surfing. These remind me of a game I used to play called "Battleship".

Thought I would post these for my friends who seem to enjoy pain, but don't ask me any questions. Remember "Schultz" on Hogan's Heroes?  "I know nuuuuthings"   :D

Stock up on Tylenol and have fun.

Title: Re: Decoder Calculators
Post by: pdlethbridge on May 04, 2009, 05:08:47 AM
Here comes a brain cramp :o :o :o :o :o :o
you should get the tools I suggested under my thread, proper tools.

Title: Re: Decoder Calculators
Post by: rustyrails on May 04, 2009, 08:45:36 AM
Yampa Bob,
Thanks a lot for the calculators.

Title: Re: Decoder Calculators
Post by: az2rail on May 04, 2009, 09:20:49 PM
Sorry Bob, but I clicked on both those links, and was immediately confused.


Title: Re: Decoder Calculators
Post by: Jim Banner on May 04, 2009, 10:30:11 PM
The first link has several tables where you can enter what you want to do.  Then you click on "calculate" and it gives the values to program into a long list of CVs.  It makes you love Decoder Pro.  You enter the same type of data, click on "Write CVs" and Decoder Pro puts all the values into the decoder for you.

The second link gives you values to program into various CVs to remap the first 14 function keys.  With a bit of experience, you can figure these out in your head.  Just remember to Waltz through the table - 4 down, three across and do it over again.  4 down is /4, 3 across is 3/, put them together and you get 3/4, just like Waltz time.  Okay, so its a hokey memory aid, but it works for me.


Title: Re: Decoder Calculators
Post by: Yampa Bob on May 05, 2009, 03:12:58 AM
Rusty:  You're welcome.

Bruce:  After playing with the CV calculator for awhile, CV29 started to make a little sense.  Scary huh?   8)

Title: Re: Decoder Calculators
Post by: pdlethbridge on May 05, 2009, 07:56:08 AM
Bob, are you planning to get the NCE power cab now?

Title: Re: Decoder Calculators
Post by: renniks on May 05, 2009, 07:58:48 AM


      Useful if you use Digitraxx  decoders.  Personally use TCS for non-sound and  Soundtraxx or Loksound for the bells and whistles.  TCS come with a leaflet which makes setup very easy.

       Eric UK

Title: Re: Decoder Calculators
Post by: jsmvmd on May 05, 2009, 09:43:24 AM
This is too nuts for me.  Love my trusty Bachmann analog controller, and TE.

Best Wishes,


Title: Re: Decoder Calculators
Post by: Yampa Bob on May 05, 2009, 10:11:25 AM
Paul: It's very unlikely. So far I haven't found any need to upgrade. It's difficult enough for me to run my trains as it is, without adding to the frustration. I should clarify, I said "I don't mess with CVs".  I didn't say I don't know how to do it. I have the manuals for Power Cab, Zephyr and Prodigy and have read them through several times.

Most people buy something on impulse then learn how to use it. I learn how to use it first before making any decision. None of the current systems meet my idea of a perfect controller, but who knows what lies ahead?

Erik: I agree a simple chart for the specific decoder is much easier and better. I just stumbled onto the calculators and wanted to get other's reactions. Personally I seldom use online calculators, they are a "crutch" to real learning.

Jack:  Yeah, the more I read about this stuff, the more I appreciate the simplicity of my EZ Command. I suggest that anyone considering upgrading do a lot of research and study before buying impulsively, to avoid "Buyer's Remorse".

All: Just because I post a link or reference to something doesn't mean I necessarily recommend it or approve/disapprove it. I just "report and you decide".

Title: Re: Decoder Calculators
Post by: rustyrails on May 05, 2009, 10:21:53 AM
The CV's work because each possible set of features each CV supports has only one possible TOTAL value, all of which are based on powers of 2.  Two to the zeroth, two to the first, two squared, two cubed, etc.  If we look at CV29,  we see that the 2 bit (2 to the 2 power or 4) controls the dual mode feature of the decoder.  The feature can only be on or off.  If it's on and I want to turn it off, I have to subtract 4 (two squared) from the total value stored in CV29.  If it's off and I want to turn it on, I have to add 4.  The 1 bit (2 to the first power or 2) controls how many speed steps the decoder responds to, 14 or 28.  If the decoder is supporting 14 speed steps and I want 28, I have to add 2 to the value stored in the CV.  Or, if I want to go back to 14 speed steps from 28, then I would subtract 2.  

The decoder doesn't "see" these decimal numbers.  It learned to count using only two fingers, so 4 looks like this to the decoder:  100.  But we really don't have to go there.  The command station (at least mine) hides the binary from me when I'm  programming a decoder.

I know my explaination isn't real elegant, but this really isn't difficult to grasp, and I'd be glad to correspond with anyone who needs help understanding it.


Title: Re: Decoder Calculators
Post by: Jim Banner on May 05, 2009, 11:27:27 AM
Well said, Rusty.  And you almost did it without using that scary term "binary."  As I like to say, There are 10 kinds of people in this world - those that understand binary and those that don't.

Little known fact - those who are stuck in decimal numbers can count to 10 on their fingers.  Those who can count in binary can count to over 1000 on those same fingers, and that isn't 1000 in binary, it is 1000 in decimal.


Title: Re: Decoder Calculators
Post by: Rangerover on May 05, 2009, 12:02:13 PM
Yampa Bob...I know what you mean for me it was like the Twilight Zone all these cv's and binary stuff for the past 4 years and I shuddered and kept my EZ Command, and I still do use it. I haven't changed to another system yet.

But like Jim Banner sorta of said, thank God and digitrax for Decoder Pro and JMRI, I really like programming if it's called that, simply sliding the slide bars left or right to adjust sound and moving the speed step table to adjust the speed steps in those programs make it awesome and very rewarding to be able to tweak my loco's.

If you have lots of Bachmann decoder installed engines, well you won't be able to do anything with them. Plug and play is what they truly are and by the way nothing at all wrong with that or them, sometimes it is best to leave it as is. Bachmann decoders work fine for me. I had a problem installing a digitrax decoder, recommended by digitrax for a Spectrum Dash 8 and it didn't work, I installed a Bachmann decoder and it works fine. TCS is probably the best decoders right now out there, if I mess it up even if it's my fault, they will replace it free and they are not that expensive, just my 2 cents worth, hey we all have fun in the hobby whether we do it simple or we dare venture in the Twilight Zone!

Title: Re: Decoder Calculators
Post by: Rangerover on May 05, 2009, 12:19:06 PM
One more thing I dared to install decoders in DC loco's that I would not have done if it weren't for Decoder Pro. I upgraded 2 Atlas F units to DCC, and had to strip them and isolate the motor's. I also did a nice little IHC 4-6-2 Baldwin Steam DC, not DCC ready, and hardwired it with a TCS decoder yesterday and it took all of 30 minutes, it's a great runner. I am going to install a separate sound decoder Soundtraxx down loadable sounds in the tender for about $55.00.  Never thought I'd be doing this, always been afraid of messing something up, now it's a piece of cake. Just another 2 cents worth.

Title: Re: Decoder Calculators
Post by: Jim Banner on May 05, 2009, 01:52:05 PM
Rangerover, it is programming whether you change addresses with E-Z Command, tweak a whole lot of CVs with Decoder Pro, enter the CVs manually in decimal or plug them in using binary/hexadecimal.

You can talk all you want about wooden computers and iron men, I would still rather do things in Windows than in Basic or machine code.  And I would rather use Decoder Pro even though I can, if necessary, do it the hard way.

I am glad to hear you are installing your own decoders.  For those of us that do, times are good.  There are lots of good used locomotives being sold at swap meets, eBay, and on consignment, usually at very affordable prices, as people who do not install their own decoders upgrade to DCC by a different path.