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June 17, 2019, 07:29:33 PM
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16  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: DCC buss power supply on: April 16, 2019, 02:47:18 PM
I think you misunderstand how DCC works.

The DCC command station supplies both the track power and the control commands at the same time.  You do not want to connect any other power source to the tracks when you have connected a DCC command station (except special DCC "boosters" that connect between the command station and the tracks).

Before you damage your locomotives and EZ Command station, you really need to read-up on how DCC works.  It supplies something like 12 to 14 volts to the track in the form of a square-wave AC voltage (as compared to a sine-wave form in regular house AC voltage).  The lengths of the individual waves are changed to send either "0" or "1" bits of digital information onto the tracks, somewhat like sending digital signals on a computer circuit.  Individual computers in each locomotive (called "decoders") have individual digital addresses, and they all monitor the signals on the tracks for a command sent to their particular address.  When a decoder sees a command telling it to start a locomotive, it takes the AC power on the track, rectifies it to DC power, and applies it to the wires going from the decoder to the electric motor in the locomotive, at a voltage that is different from what is on the track.  That allows multiple engines to be run on the same track at various speeds in different directions (compared to all DC locomotives on a regular DC power pack having to run in the same direction and with all the speeds subject to one control (track voltage).

DCC must not be confused with other ways to run locomotives that involve computers.   For instance, it is possible to put a constant voltage on the track and send signals to locomotives by radio waves to receivers in the locomotives.  For large scale locomotives, it is even possible to use "dead rail" systems where radio waves control a computer in each locomotive telling it how much power to send to its electric motor from batteries carried in the train, so there is no wiring to the track.  But, those are not DCC systems.
17  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Use HO Scale Layout Kit for N Scale Layout? on: April 16, 2019, 10:21:28 AM
One thing to keep in mind is that the vertical clearances will look ridiculous when you run N scale track, even double track, into an HO tunnel portal.  That can be fixed by using an N scale portal.  The grades to get one track over another will be more than needed for N scale (because the clearance required is 1/2 that for HO scale), but a grade is the same no matter what the scale.  So, the grades themselves will be usable.  But, it will probably severely limit the train length you can pull in either scale.  A short train is about all you can get on a small HO layout, but you could double the that train length on an N scale layout in the same space if the grades don't limit your train length to the same number of cars as in HO.
18  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: DCC buss power supply on: April 16, 2019, 10:11:42 AM
If we are talking only about a power supply, then it still may not be "that simple" as making sure that the current rating (max amps) of the power supply is greater than the max amp draw of the device it is powering.

The important consideration is what happens if there is a short circuit on the layout.  If the EZ Command has a circuit breaker, then the higher amp rating on the power supply is OK.  But, if the EZ Command relies on a breaker in a dedicated power supply, then having a higher capacity power supply will mean that a higher current can pass through a short without tripping the supply.  Shorts on 1-2 amp supplies are much less likely to cause damage than shorts on a 5 amp supply if the short is not cleared quickly.  And, there will be shorts on model train rails from time to time.  Of course, you can always add your own breaker between the EZ Command and the track.  But, those are not cheap.  You could also just wire a 12 volt automobile incandescent light bulb with a rating of about 12 watts between the EZ Command and the track, and that will prevent the current to the track from exceeding around one amp.
19  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Sectional Track Prototype on: April 16, 2019, 10:01:04 AM
Wow, that looks like a model that has been plastered, before the ground foam and static grass.  And, I think an EM-1 would make it through all of those switches - if they were connected to some track!
20  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: DCC buss power supply on: April 15, 2019, 08:46:12 PM
Not clear what you are really asking.  You can usually replace a DC power supply with a DCC power supply/command station on an existing layout.  However, there can be some issues.  If the "layout" is a simple loop, then there probably won't be any issues.  If there are turnouts on even a simple loop, you may very well have short circuits when your trains go through those turnouts if they are not "DCC friendly" in their design.  If they are not DCC friendly, they probably also made short circuits when used with DC, but you did not notice because the voltage was lower and the power to the tracks was not interrupted as quickly.  If you used "common rail" wiring for multiple power districts on the DC version, it is important to make sure that any circuit breakers all interupt power to the same rail, or they might not clear a short and you might melt something.

Tell us more about the layout and we can tell you what you need to check for your particular case.
21  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: My layout and the future on: April 15, 2019, 11:57:54 AM
Doctors don't have crystal balls that are any clearer than yours.  My dad was a doctor, and that is what he told me. "X months to live" is usually off by quite a bit, and sometimes off by several years.  So, while it is good to become more realistic about prioritizing fun now vs work now to have more fun later, it is important to never give up on having fun.  Often it seems that the more fun you have, the longer you last.  It sounds like you are figuring it out in a reasonable way.  Take care of yourself as best you can, and enjoy as much as you can.  Wishing you good luck and lots more fun.
22  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Reworking the layout on: April 12, 2019, 09:28:53 AM
Terry's just following the prototype...



Len

It looks like even that prototype track has about a car length of relatively straight track between the opposing curves, maybe with easements, and almost certainly not as tight a radius.
23  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Northeast caboose parts?? on: March 21, 2019, 11:04:10 AM
This does bring-up a good question.  Does Bachmann sell parts for anything other than locos and trollies?  Many of their passenger cars are getting very expensive, so repair rather than replace seems like the best option.  And, getting expensive "donor" cars for parts is not a good option, either.  I can buy such parts from other manufacturers, so I think Bachmann could provide them,
24  Discussion Boards / N / Re: N Scale FRED on the horizon? on: March 06, 2019, 09:52:07 AM
There is already an N scale version from "Firefly FRED" that uses rail power and comes already mounted on a truck, which you use to replace one truck on any piece of rolling stock.  The coupler extensions come in short, medium and long.  It is not cheap ($25).  And, it is not easily taken off one car and put on another, like the prototype is designed to be.  So, for display, it is fine, but for operating sessions, it is about the same as having a caboose - you need to make sure that the car with the FRED is put at the end of the train when you build your train.  Worse, it is much more conspicuous when your car is not facing the right direction than it is with a caboose (at least, that is true for most of us that don't go to the trouble of putting actual lighted marker lamps on our cabooses).

And, the FireFly FRED is patented, so there may be some inhibition to Bachmann making something too similar.
25  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Running a second track on: March 04, 2019, 08:20:01 PM
That is a lot of power!  I am guessing this ain't N scale.

But, it really doesn't make any difference what the scale is, just the track configuration and how it is sectioned.

What is confusing me (and maybe you) is that you seem to be attaching 2 boosters to all of "track 1" plus another 2 boosters to all of tracks 1 and 2, together.  So, the way you write it, it sounds like you can put 20 amps on any part of "track 2".  And, if all 4 of the boosters are attached to "track 2", and 2 of then are also attached to "track 1", it seems to me that really all 4 boosters are also electrically attached to "track 1", also.

I am suspecting that you are confusing the wires for sending signals from the command station to the boosters with the wires that send power+signals from the command station to the track through the boosters.  Typically, a single, electrically isolated part of the track is powered from a single booster, not 2 or more in parallel.

It would help to know what scale locomotives you are talking about. 
26  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Running a second track on: March 04, 2019, 11:32:44 AM
Yes. 

It could be 2 loops, with one inside the other, or it could be two loops sitting beside each other.  Or, two separate end-to-end tracks.  It really doesn't matter, except that you must be careful how you join them together, if you do that.  The rail-to-rail connections must be the same phase of the alternating DCC voltage, or you will create a short circuit. 

You should also look at the wiring issues for a "reversing" section, to make sure that you understand the needs for keeping the rail power phases separated.  Think about your track plan this way: is there any way you can run a train through it so that it eventually ends-up going the other way on the same piece of track?  A diagonal across a loop would do that.  A wye would do that.  If any track configuration would do it, then you have a reversing section, somewhere, and will need to learn how to wire that to prevent a short circuit.  Typically, it requires an electrically isolated part of the track that has the ability to reverse its phase while the train is on it.  A manual double-pole,double-throw electrical switch is the cheapest way to do that, but there are electronic devices (e.g., AR1 or PSX-AR) that will do it automatically and much more conveniently.
27  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Testing Engines- Dyno vs Track on: February 24, 2019, 07:20:27 PM
So what exactly would you guys suggest to do to get rid of older locomotives you don't have a use for?

Send them to Len? Roll Eyes
28  Discussion Boards / N / Re: 2-8-0 Product Sheet on: February 24, 2019, 11:22:24 AM
Aren't there both "DCC ready" and "DCC on-board" "Spectrum" versions that are not in cardboard boxes?
29  Discussion Boards / N / Re: 2-8-0 Product Sheet on: February 23, 2019, 03:01:18 PM
Because this has been sitting around for about a day with no response from "the Bach Man", I am going to suggest that you provide us with the model version you are seeking the sheet for.  Some of us probably have one and could xerox that sheet for you.  But, we need to know if you are talking about the non-DCC "Spectrum" version or the DCC on-board "Spectrum" version.  Or is it possibly that old, much different non-"Spectrum" version?
30  Discussion Boards / N / Re: N scale DCC and Blocks on: February 05, 2019, 09:19:30 PM
Flare,  I know the standard advice,which is to twist the bus wires about 3 turns per foot to avoid signal distortion and interference.  But, I really don't know how important that actually is for smallish layouts.  I know that NCE recommends that the cab bus and the track bus wires not be run close to each other to avoid cross-talk, even when twisted.  Those two buses are carrying different signal "traffic".   For a shelf layout, they recommend putting the cab bus along the front edge (so that it can have places to plug-in throttles) and the track power buses along the back edge.  That would seem to imply that the track power buses (that all carry the same DCC signals) can run parallel for whatever distance is needed to get a bus to a distant power district through another power district that is between the command station and the more distant track power district.
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