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Author Topic: Plug and play a great concept  (Read 10404 times)
zubi


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« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2007, 03:49:43 AM »

Bill, I see. But he may still get back when he gets bored with the R/C cars. But I agree, the expenses involved in our hobby are bordering with absurd. In Japan, at least in the Tokyo area there are a few clubs where one can run his/her loco and rolling stock. But obviously, some contribution is necessary to the costs of establishing the line and subsequent maintenance. So it may be actually cheaper to have your own line, but then you will not have as much fun as we do during the steamups;-)... Well, I am going to have both, actually. My own line here in the centre of Tokyo as well as continued participation in the steamups. While I am not interested in R/C cars, I like both R/C planes and ships in particular paddle steamers,  planes are a bit tricky to be operated in central Tokyo as you may imagine (or perhaps not if you have never been here) but there is a possibility to play with the R/C ships, I know where the club meetings take place. So next time you come to Tokyo, take your steamer, either the boat or the locomotive;-),  or also electric one, to plug it here and play! Best wishes, Zubi

 
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Loco Bill Canelos

Model railroading since 1947


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« Reply #16 on: November 02, 2007, 11:13:03 AM »

Zubi, If I ever get to Tokyo I will look you up!!   I like the steamboat idea!!   Good Luck with your railway construction and your live steam.

Bill
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Loco Bill,  Roundhouse Foreman
Colorado & Kansas Railway Missouri Western Railway
Semi Official Historian; Bachmann Large Scale
There are no dumb or stupid questions, just questions!
Cascade Northern

Cascade Northern Railroad


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« Reply #17 on: November 02, 2007, 11:41:06 PM »

Plug and pray, Zubi

For the technically disinclined, that might be better than "wire-and-weep."

Think about this:
wire-and-weep.  It fails, you can find and fix your problem.
Plug-and-play.  It fails, your screwed!

So, for me, I would rather wire-and-weep!!!! Wink
« Last Edit: November 02, 2007, 11:42:44 PM by Snoq. Pass RR » Logged

Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


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« Reply #18 on: November 03, 2007, 07:07:45 PM »

And when you miss-wire-and-weep?  Not many of us are equipped to repair damaged boards.

Most failures of plugs and sockets are contact failures with tin plated contacts.  Repair is to unplug board and then plug it back in.  With gold plated pins, this almost never happens, even after repeated insertions and withdrawls (property of gold.)  Harder to deal with is an overheated socket pin which can happen when an accidental short meets an unfused battery pack.  This type of failure can be repaired by by-passing the pin with a piece of wire but does involve that dreaded process - soldering.  How do you repair a broken screw in a screw terminal?  Or a screw terminal that burns away from not being tightened enough?
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Curmudgeon
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« Reply #19 on: November 03, 2007, 09:36:24 PM »

Since gold-plated contacts are now off the proposal, as are heat-sinked sockets, and the dreaded 36-pin socket assembly, we are only dealing with tin.

That said, add water to the mix.
Then add electricity.
Then factor in spring-loaded contacts (or, just the inherent springiness of said socket).
You can add high current to that equation.

Before you get all steamed up, discussions with the nmra have indicated that (if this ever gets out of committee) it will be a LONG time before it is accepted.

There IS no LS nmra socket approved, contrary to what some websites might claim.

There is now someone on-board the WG who is going back and writing the non-existant requirements.

For all intents and purposes, consider this proposal dead until the basics that weren't done are accomplished and the process re-starts.

That could happen soon, or later down the road.
My crystal ball is currently in the shop, so I am unable to give you an exact moment in time when that will occur.

Please note, for the record, I am not telling you your opinions are wrong.
Rather, I am laying out the data as it stands now, from sources inside the nmra and from the proposal website.
I am in awe of you great experience running LS trains, and dcc with sockets, in wet outdoor environments.
I appreciate your vast experience, and encourage you to continue sharing with the people who visit this forum.

Thank-you for choosing Bachmann.

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Cascade Northern

Cascade Northern Railroad


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« Reply #20 on: November 03, 2007, 09:43:18 PM »

Most failures of plugs and sockets are contact failures with tin plated contacts.  Repair is to unplug board and then plug it back in.  With gold plated pins, this almost never happens, even after repeated insertions and withdrawls (property of gold.)  Harder to deal with is an overheated socket pin which can happen when an accidental short meets an unfused battery pack.  This type of failure can be repaired by by-passing the pin with a piece of wire but does involve that dreaded process - soldering.  How do you repair a broken screw in a screw terminal?  Or a screw terminal that burns away from not being tightened enough?

So, if the board fails and it is not the board being seated wrong, your screwed.  Ever try to fix a computer curcuit board (that is seated properly) Undecided?  You can't (been there done that, never going back).  This plug-and-pray board would be similar.
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Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


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« Reply #21 on: November 04, 2007, 12:11:01 AM »

Thanks, TOC.  That is good news if it means they are going to do it right.  Hard to believe that with the other costs involved - locomotive + sound card + receiver + motor control - that they would balk at the slight extra cost of gold flashed pins, the one thing that would make the difference between success and failure in a wet environment.  Back when I was designing, prototyping and field testing scientific instruments, gold contacts were a minimum.  When the going got rough - humidity 100% condensing, corrosive atmosphere, etc. - I used a silicone dielectric grease on the pins and stuffed the sockets full of it as well.  There were still failures, of course.  Military grade components rated to -55 C occasionally failed because they got too cold.  Wild life (the two footed and the four footed kinds) tore up some installations and carried others away.  Batteries were a favorite item to go missing, although what use a 50 pound battery is to anybody when they are 100 miles from the closest road I do not know.  But connector failure was so rare as to be virtually non-existent.  The only example that leaps to mind was an instrument case that a bear used as a volley ball - not only did the cards shake loose, they shattered as well.  Sort of like a couple of soccer pros playing football with your Shay.


I have to agree with Snoq about multi-layer computer boards.  They are so hard to work on, the success rate is so low, and the cost of labour is so high that replacement is a far better choice than attempted repair.  With the simpler, two sided boards used in decoders, sound cards, motor controllers, battery chargers, etc., repair is often possible, if you have the test equipment, the knowledge, and the fault does not involve a proprietary part that the manufacturer will not sell you.  When Snoq says

Quote
So, if the board fails and it is not the board being seated wrong, your (sic)  screwed.

he is basically correct for most people.  Unfortunately, board failure is not unique to boards with pins - boards with screw terminals, with solder pads,  and with edge connectors can fail just as easily, or perhaps even more easily.  These failures are all devastating, and all will mostly require a trip back to the factory for repair.  Even replacing multipin sockets is a fairly simple repair given the right equipment, but it certainly is not a job for the average train owner with a Radio Shack soldering iron.
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Curmudgeon
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« Reply #22 on: November 04, 2007, 12:18:18 AM »

Since I now know that my opinion is considered invalid, and all others are of utmost importance, it is with reluctance that I continue.

Moisture, current handling, ability of the newbie to install the electronics of their choice without using said socket assembly, and the need for battery space all add into this concept.
Do a check and see how the stock 2 watt oval speaker supplied with a Sierra, the board, the electronics, and the connecting wires will fit into the available space of a Climax.
Then add the Sierra board to your control system.

Or a 2K2, or a Phoenix 97.

The interesting bit that has showed up is that it seems to be considered an nmra socket already.
We are almost talking "X2F" here.

http://www.qsisolutions.com/news/bach_k27_090307.html

"Bachmann has just announced the release of a G scale K27 with an NMRA G scale decoder socket. The NMRA decoder socket is modeled after the Aristocraft decoder socket......"
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Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


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« Reply #23 on: November 04, 2007, 02:12:53 AM »

Climax with DCC and Sierra Sound



1 - voltage regulator
2 - power supply board
3 - DCC decoder
4 - Sierra sound board
5 - power supply filter capacitor
6 - volume control/programming switch
7 - speaker

This was a battery-less installation.  The owner did not want a battery visible anywhere,  and there wasn't enough room in the tender for the stock battery.  In others, I have put the battery up under the roof of the cab, which eliminates the power supply board and the voltage regulator, but adds a battery charger board.  If I were doing a battery-less one today, I would use a battery charger board plus a super cap.

Bottom line though, I agree with TOC - with presently available boards, there is no room for a socket in this locomotive.  To effectively use a socket here would require a redesign of the boards and a different approach to the socket idea.  The boards would have to stack like a cheese sandwich with each board plugging into the board beneath it and the bottom board plugging into the locomotive socket.  I am not at all convinced that such co-operation between manufacturers will ever come about, independent of what the NMRA comes up with.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2007, 02:19:00 AM by Jim Banner » Logged

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Curmudgeon
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« Reply #24 on: November 04, 2007, 12:38:00 PM »

Apparently you mis-read the challenge.
Apparently you mis-understood what this thread was about.

I do not see a fixed 2.4" X 1.5" board with two rows of 12 pin sockets, approximately 1/2" high, with your control equipment mounted to it and plugged in.

If you look at the photos on this page, you will see a QSI nmra socket and dcc board. This is a retrofit, except it is to an unknown version of the Ames Super Socket. See what the actual size can be:

http://www.qsisolutions.com/news/bach_k27_090307.html
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Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


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« Reply #25 on: November 05, 2007, 01:35:25 PM »


Do a check and see how the stock 2 watt oval speaker supplied with a Sierra, the board, the electronics, and the connecting wires will fit into the available space of a Climax.
Then add the Sierra board to your control system.

I'm sorry, was that supposed to be a challenge?  All I tried to do was to show how cramped it can be, even without the socket.  I suspect that TOC did not realize that I was agreeing with him (it does happen!)  Particularly when he asked for a Sierra board which, as far as I know, has not come out yet in a piggy back form.

I can visualize how a 1/2" thick "Ames board" plus a 1/2" thick DCC decoder plus a 1/2" thick sound board plus a 1" thick speaker would fit.  I can even see how the same stack substituting a radio control board for the decoder would fit.  But I would be at a loss to cram batteries in there as well.  Mind you, I do not know how I would fit batteries in given conventional boards either, although I seem to remember that TOC has managed to do it.
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Curmudgeon
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« Reply #26 on: November 05, 2007, 01:40:41 PM »

No, I saw that you agreed it was tight.
Add the Cu In displacement of the socket was all I said.

Since my opinion is of no value, I now feel I can share, as no-one will pay any attention anyway.

Jim- On batteries.
We always use fuses, in my case, Polyswitches, which keep you from arc-welding.
On simply track-powered units, running on a 15A supply, a derailment can and does take out wiring and circuit boards.


Thank-you for choosing Bachmann.
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granpab

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« Reply #27 on: January 28, 2008, 07:39:29 PM »

Tin is good for tomato juice cans.  It flavours the juice as it mutates.

I am new to LG trains, but have decades of experience with R/C planes.  We tried some tin connectors and rekitted planes because of it.  Tin is BAD for low voltage electical contacts -- it oxydizes due to humidity -- prevents constant electrical flow -- creates radio noise interference -- wreck radio receivers and ruins electronic speed controllers.

For electrical connectors in LG trains, my experience indicates that the only viable electrical connector is gold.  Like Ft Knox, use the GOLD standard.
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Greg Elmassian


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« Reply #28 on: January 28, 2008, 11:28:04 PM »

Guys, there was an attempt to make an NMRA standard socket and put it into the K.

That did not happen, it is not a standard.

Now, several decoders MAY plug into this socket, but I am trying to get confirmation of what actually does plug in and what modifications are required. I do not have this information, but someone may have it. I have asked him, and did not get an answer yet.

BUT

This socket does little to help installers that are not plugging in a circuit board designed specifically for this socket.

You WILL see places on the main board where screw terminals COULD be installed.

BUT

The K has brought up even more fundamental issues, like should lights have a common. Should the common be plus or minus?

Should there be provision to allow leds and incandescent bulbs to be used?

What kind of electrical interface should be brought to the socket and screw terminals for chuff sensors? (No matter whether they are solid state or reed switches)

How "involved" should the board be in accepting or switching power so that battery power can be used as well as track power?

So all of this is up in the air. One good thing about the electronics in the K, it has brought to focus that trying to define a standard socket is WAY premature.

What we need to come up with is what interfaces need to be "presented" and what electrical "characteristics" should they have?

On top of this, we need to try to cover all users, from the most "stripped down" interface of motor and headlight and backup light, all the way up to all the "bells and whistles" that a user might want (like controlling all lights independently, driving flicker from a separate circuit, remote smoke on/off, and the list goes on.

Trying to do all of this will be a monumental task.

It behooves anyone who takes the "larger" view to consider all of the hobby. Doing this job right will benefit the Manufacturer and the Consumer.

So, that's what I am involved in.

No perfect answers yet.

Regards, Greg
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rperego

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« Reply #29 on: January 29, 2008, 03:03:37 PM »

Speaking of connector problems, it's ironic this post appeared on the Atlas site a few days ago:  http://forum.atlasrr.com/discussion/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=44041

I'm glad I took TOC's advice from the start of installing stuff by first throwing out any factory boards.

After just over a year in this hobby, my take is customers fall in three camps - live with what comes out of the box, learn what it takes to make modifications, or pay someone to do it.   The reason I think PNP will have problems is because from what I can see many of the products are basically cottage industries.   Consequently one must be willing to put up with a miriad of difficulties.

As an example, I recently bought an upgrade to my DCC system advertised to bump the amps.  So far I've discovered 3 differences in how the system operates.   I'm not unhappy but only because I discovered quickly that if you don't like quirks and the attendant follow up necessary to get things to work, this isn't the hobby for you.

Having spent a career making Mainframe software and hardware work where adherance to protocols is paramount, and seeing where huge corporations don't get it right, I can't imagine PNP working without difficulties in this hobby.

I'm also into RC planes, and the story is no different.  In a review of a new plane I'm considering, it was noted that the servos included in a package deal won't fit without modifying the mounts.  And by the way, PNP is also used in the RC businiess.  I agree with whoever said it means Plug and Pray - and research, and network, and buy stuff you didn't' know you would need, and know TOC's phone number.

Bob


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