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301  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: # Truck Shay-Max DCC Voltage on: February 15, 2007, 06:18:39 PM
If one does read the DCC Standards and RP's I believe you will find that the decoder is required to withstand 24 vols for N or Z scale and 27 volts for the larger scales. Standard 9.1 Page 3 Lines 70 to 72.  If a manufacture does not meet the standard then they need to let the user know.

Most DCC decoders are not designed to run on other then DCC or DC, and a number are designed to run on DCC only.  All the DCC manufactures I have come across state if they can work on DC in the spec sheets they put out.  Running a DCC decoder on MTS has not been something that most DCC manufactures have even thought about, and I am sure that MTS does not worry about how the DCC decoder works, they only care how the equipment they have designed for the MTS system works.  They are two competitive systems and there is no need for either one to 'play nice' with the other.

As for using DCC, I do not use it because it is 'a computer', but because it is one of several available ways to run several trains on one track in different directions at one time.  It allows me to 'run my train' and not worry about controlling power.

The only thing you have to 'set' is the locomotive address.  Most systems allow you to do this with a minimum 'learning curve'.  If you wish to 'fine tune' from that point, then you can take the time to learn how to make the changes on step at a time.

Each system, DCC, MTS, DC, Radio Control, Live Steam has its good points and bad points.  It took me a while to understand how to wire a DC layout when I first got into model railroading.  I found that as I got into more complex layouts putting in the wires was taking up more and more time.  DCC has allowed me to take less time in the building stage and get to running trains.  The same could be said of Radio Control, MTS, and Live Steam.

This does not mean that DC is bad, or wrong, or 'old fashion', just that is one of many ways to enjoy the hobby of model railroading.

302  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Who has the best price on the new 3 truck shays? on: February 11, 2007, 11:57:04 PM
There is more to it then just 'low price'.  Several places will give you a 'low price' but get you on shipping charges and 'other charges'.  Sometimes paying a little more at the nearest hobby shop is worth it if they are like several I know that if you have a problem with a new unit within the first 30 days they will ship it back and have it worked on rather then you having to pay the shipping cost.  Twice in side of one week one person I know had two different locomotives he bought go bad inside of the first week and his local hobby shop just gave him a replacement units.

303  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Doorbell wire on: February 11, 2007, 09:42:26 PM

Assumption: HO Scale Layout, one 5 Amp output used on the whole layout, normal draw when running your trains is say 3.5 Amps. This allows for the times that you may have and extra train running or are throwing turnouts and still stay under 5 amps.  If I read what you say right the longest distance from the DCC unit to the end of track is 39 feet.

Run several feeders from the DCC unit to the track, lets say one feeder to each main line on the 26 foot wall, one to each main line on each 17 foot wall and one to each main line on each 9 foot section.  At each yard run a feeder to the lead track, the same to each engine terminal.  Here you could use #16 wire, two single wires each feeder,  one pair #16 'zip' cord each feeder, or one pair #16 'trailer' wire each feeder.  Then a short pair of #18 or #20 wires, lets say about 3 inches long, at the end of each feeder to the track.  It would not hurt to add additional feed points off each feeder pair to each track in the engine terminal or yard.

If you will have more then 3.5 amps normal draw you will want to split the layout into sections with a 5 amp booster for each section, if you main unit is 5 Amps, say one extra booster if you feel that no section would normally see more the 3.5 amps.  Place the main booster along one 17 foot wall and the other one on the other 17 foot wall, splitting the load and running multiple feeders from each one to the areas each serves.

Lets say you want to use a system like the NCE Power Cab.  The power cab it self will not run the layout, but you could use the 3 Amp Smart Booster and several DB3 3 Amp Boosters.  Here you would want to split the layout so that one booster handles the engine terminal, one for each major operating area, and maybe one for a branch line.  Then you could put each booster at the area it serves, running the control buss from the Smart Booster to the other boosters and then running several #18 or #20 wires from each booster to several places in each section it serves.

304  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Re: Doorbell wire on: February 10, 2007, 01:07:17 AM
Another type of wire one can find at a good price is 'trailer' wire that you can get at places like Northern Tool & Equipment in 100 foot rolls, or try your local auto supply discount house.  Get the 4 wire, normally it is #16 wire with four different colors.  Then use short drops of smaller wire from this to the track.  This should be good for most areas unless you have very large current draws or very long runs.  At trains shows our large scale club uses this wire for quick set ups and even on loops of several hundred feet with only two sets of feeders the only time we have had problems is when our one member puts on his PA-PB-PB-PA set with 12 to 14 lit passenger cars.

305  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Newbie to large scale! on: February 08, 2007, 06:31:06 PM
There are a number of ways to add sound.  Everyone will say 'Us This' or 'Use That'.  Before you go off in a wrong direction ask yourself some other questions.

Will I want to do some sort of radio or command control in the near future?  Do I want the sound to be under my control or some sort of automatic system?  Where will my sound be used: indoors, outdoors in a quite setting, at a layout with a number of other sound locomotives running at the same time?

I was able to add sound to one large scale locomotive by using a board and speaker that came out of a low cost toy train.  I had no control over any sound, it was ON or OFF.  There are some low cost sound boards that run on 9 volt batteries that you can add some simple magnetic triggers to if you want sounds to happen only at fixed points on your layout.  There are several sound boards that will work with standard DC controlled trains that use an add on box you put between the power pack and the track.  Some versions will work with a simple radio control.

Once you have defined what you want to do then you should be in shape to do some cost shopping.  The range for new sound equipment will run from $30 to $300 for the sound board and speaker.  Controlling the sound can run from $10 to how ever much you want to spend.

I you live in a area that has some good model railroad hobby shops, stop by and talk to other model railroaders and find out what they DO NOT like about the sound systems they use.  If you get Garden Railways Magazine look at some of the web sites the manufactures have in the ad's.

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