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Author Topic: EZ COmmand for Large Scale  (Read 11482 times)
rperego

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« Reply #15 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."
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Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


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« Reply #16 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.
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Steve Stockham


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« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2007, 05:23:11 PM »

He he he... Grin Noah, that was truly inspired and Jim, nice comeback!! Wink Cheesy
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Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


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« Reply #18 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.
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StanAmes


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« Reply #19 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
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Jim Banner

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« Reply #20 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.   
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Curmudgeon
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« Reply #21 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.  
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Jim Banner

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« Reply #22 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. 
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bobgrosh

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« Reply #23 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

« Last Edit: March 04, 2007, 11:21:26 AM by bobgrosh » Logged
Jim Banner

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« Reply #24 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.
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Pospete

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« Reply #25 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?
   
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Jim Banner

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« Reply #26 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. 
« Last Edit: March 12, 2007, 01:08:02 AM by Jim Banner » Logged

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Pospete

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« Reply #27 on: March 12, 2007, 02:07:44 AM »

Thanks for that info.
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the Bach-man
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« Reply #28 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
 
« Last Edit: March 12, 2007, 11:36:34 PM by the Bach-man » Logged
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MBB


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« Reply #29 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

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