ONLINE
STORE
"ASK THE BACH MAN"
FORUM
PARTS, SERVICE,
& INFORMATION
CATALOGS AND
BROCHURES

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
October 19, 2019, 12:38:58 AM
Home Help Search Login Register
News: Check out the photo gallery link above or >click here< to see photos of recently announced products!
+  Bachmann Message Board
|-+  Discussion Boards
| |-+  General Discussion
| | |-+  DC to DCC Conversion
« previous next »
Pages: 1 2 [3] 4 5 6 Print
Author Topic: DC to DCC Conversion  (Read 23110 times)
WGL
Great Northern


View Profile
« Reply #30 on: May 26, 2009, 03:04:08 AM »

jward, have you programmed with your Zephyr?  I just lost another auction of a Zephyr, but I saved $155.   Undecided
Logged
jward


View Profile WWW
« Reply #31 on: May 26, 2009, 08:52:08 AM »

yes, i have done some pretty extensive programming with it, when i first bought it. i am an old school model rail, from way before dcc when athearns were among the best. to improve performance i had regeared most of them to get about a 40 scale mph top speed. just to see what dcc was capable of, i programmed an out of the box athearn to run with the regears.

the zephyr offers full readback of anything you've programmed. you don't have to guess whether the programming took or not. i believe it will support control of 10 functions as well, but all i ever use those for is the headlight anyway. my best decoder has 6 functions so the zephyr is adequate for my needs.

$155 seems to be about the going rate for the zephyr. you can find them advertised for less, but shipping will probably push your costs up to $160-165.
Logged

Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
Tim

View Profile
« Reply #32 on: May 26, 2009, 09:44:36 AM »

WGL & Jward

The zephyr is available here, and the shipping is free.

http://www.litchfieldstation.com/xcart/product.php?productid=2450095&cat=23&page=1


Tim Anders
Souderton, PA
Logged
pdlethbridge
Guest
« Reply #33 on: May 26, 2009, 09:53:45 AM »

or here
http://www.gadgettom.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=ZEP&Category_Code=D-S
or get the NCE power cab, a nice hand held unit
http://www.gadgettom.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=NCE0025&Category_Code=NCE-S
Logged
WGL
Great Northern


View Profile
« Reply #34 on: May 27, 2009, 04:44:36 AM »

Thanks, jward, Tim & pdlethbridge!  I just looked through the manual for NCE PowerCab, & it looks interesting.  Decisions, decisions! 

 I received The Dcc Guide: How to Select and Use Your Command Control System by Don Fiehmann, but much of it is over my head.  Also, questions that are important to me, he does not discuss.  Embarrassed

  If I wanted to use my Bachmann 5 amp booster with a Digitrax Zephyr or NCE PowerCab but had to connect them to sections insulated from each other, could the command station still communicate to the section controlled by the booster?

 What I'd prefer is to connect the Bachmann booster to the command station.  NCE says, "NCE POWER PRO POWER BOOSTER 5 amp Booster

User-friendly set include everything to 5 amps of additional power.

This is a generic booster which works with most DCC systems to add 5 amps of power to your main system.
This unit can also be used to add 5 amps of power for a separate power district.

NOTE: Requires 15V, 5 Amp, AC power supply, (#524-215 sold separately)"
« Last Edit: May 27, 2009, 04:48:05 AM by WGL » Logged
Tim

View Profile
« Reply #35 on: May 27, 2009, 06:36:48 AM »

WGL

The command station is connected to the power boosters in a daisy chain
fashion, the boosters in turn are each connected to a separate section (Power District) of track.

The command station talks to all boosters all the time.  The command station is in turn connected
to multiple throttles (Cabs) via the cab buss.  In this way you have control of your train anywhere
on the layout.  The boosters are used for power distribution only, not for control.

The NEC PB105 and PB110 boosters will work with Lentz , Digitrax, and of course NCE.  They are not
reccomended for the PowerCab system.  The PowerCab system has the smart booster SB3 which is a command station-booster combined to which you can connect several DB3 boosters at 3a each.

Using the SB3 smart booster makes your PowerCab into a 3amp Pro-Cab system.

As for using a EZ-command booster with NCE or Digitrax, I can't answer that as their isn't enough
documentation available.  I don't reccomend it.  Jim Banner may be able to help with it.

I hope this helps clarify boosters for you.

BTW  I have a NCE Pro-Cab 5a system with an RRAMP meter in the power circuit and have yet to see
1amp draw and all my lcoos are Tsunami equipped.

Tim Anders
Souderton, PA
Logged
jward


View Profile WWW
« Reply #36 on: May 27, 2009, 08:47:29 AM »

here are a couple of interesting features about the zephyr, and these are what caused me to buy one over the other systems:

1. the zephyr has the abil;ity to use 2 dc power packs as additional cabs. if you are like me, you already have these. with other systems, additional throttles cost in the neighborhood of $100 apiece.

2. address 00 can be used to control any locomotive without a decoder. i don't believe nce offers this feature.....

being on a somewhat limited budget, i had to get the most bang for the buck. what i got was an instant 3 throttle system that would run all of my locomotives whether decoder equipped or not. i could convert them to dcc as funds allowed, yet still have full use of them in the meantime.

my friend bought an nce system. he had well over $1k invested before he even turned a wheel. my dad got the mrc prodigy and ran into the same situation. i had mine up and running with 3 decoders installed in locomotives for about $200. i would not have been able to make the switch to dcc with the other systems as they are an all or nothing approach, versus my phased conversion.
Logged

Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
rustyrails
Guest
« Reply #37 on: May 27, 2009, 09:06:05 AM »

I am very pleased with Digitrax, also.  I bought my first Digitrax parts back in '96 and the old parts all still work and interface with all the new parts, including a Zephyr.  Digitrax's committment to LocoNet seems to be one of their biggest assets.

Rusty
Logged
Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


View Profile WWW
« Reply #38 on: May 27, 2009, 12:10:52 PM »

Sorry, I do not know enough about the Bachmann E-Z Command booster to say.  Some booster allow you to power one district while your command station/booster powers another.  Digitrax and Lenz are examples.  Other boosters must keep their inputs isolated from their outputs which means your command station/booster can connect only to the booster and not directly to the track.  MRC's Power Station 8 is an example of this.

I use a Digitrax Zephyr to power my outdoor railway via a Power Station 8.  I can and do use the programming output of the Zephyr connected to an isolated programming track, even as the trains are running on the main layout.  But I cannot use the Zephyr to power a piece of the main layout, even if the section is insulated from the rest.  This is because trains crossing over the gaps would short the input of the Power Station 8 to its output.  If I used my 8 amp Digitrax booster, then using the output of the Zephyr as well would be no problem.

I switched to Digitrax when my original MRC system became obsolete, replaced overnight by a new system that had no compatibility with the old.

Like many, my initial Digitrax purchase was a Zephyr, in part because of the jump throttles, but mostly because of upgradability.  As funds permitted, I added a radio throttle and radio receiver for the garden layout, another command station for the indoor layout (so I could run both layouts at once,) another radio throttle, a booster for the indoor layout (which can also run as a command station if needed,) yet another radio throttle, and finally another radio receiver, this one for the indoor layout.

Digitrax is not perfect.  I find it awkward to run two trains using only the one throttle on the Zephyr.  For that, E-Z Command has a much easier way of switching the throttle back and forth between trains.  And the Digitrax manuals, like many computer manuals, assume some preexisting knowledge of the subject.  That is, they are good at telling you how to do things without telling you why you would want to do them.  And Digitrax manuals are long, but that is not surprising considering the large number of things they are capable to doing.

Overall, I am glad I made the switch.

Jim
Logged

Growing older is mandatory but growing up is optional.
WGL
Great Northern


View Profile
« Reply #39 on: May 27, 2009, 11:07:17 PM »

Tim, thanks for explaining how the command station works with multiple boosters, each having its own power district.

 jward, thanks for telling why you like the Zephyr.  The ability to have 3 throttles to control 3 locomotives seems a good alternative to EZ Command's having a button for each loco.  I e-mailed NCE & just received this reply:

 I currently have an EZ Command DCC system with a Bachmann 5 amp booster.  I am considering advancing to a system that would enable me to program my locomotives.  Could I connect my booster to an NCE PowerCab?

  William,
 
I'm sorry, but no. The Power Cab is a stand alone system and the upgrade path is for the Smart Booster.
 
Larry Larsen
NCE Customer Service
 
 Since the booster must be connected to the command station, I doubt that I could use my Bachmann booster with any other brand.

  Thanks, Jim for your discussion of the Zephyr & boosters.  I suppose I could always sell by Bachmann booster to pay for a booster made for whatever system I might get. 

 Thanks, Rusty.  Compatability over time is a good feature.  I used MS Bob for 14 years to catalog my movie collection & print it--until something went wrong a month or two ago.   Cry
 
Logged
Robertj668

View Profile
« Reply #40 on: May 29, 2009, 03:00:06 AM »

This was great thread to read.

I decided that if I have an emotional attachment to an engine.  This would be one that I had when I was a kid. That's about 30 years ago.  I would convert it to DCC.  I did it for several reasons.  However it was mainly because I could run more than one at a time and secondly I would not hear that sound I heard when i would run a DC engine on a DCC system. 

Also I like taking on the challenge as well. As for my newer stock they are all DCC.  And until recently I was adding sound.  Now I think I just want to buy the engine with sound and DCC or DCC ready.

Lastly I would love a board that would just cover DCC questions.

Again a great Thread!
Logged
Yampa Bob

Y.V.R.R.


View Profile
« Reply #41 on: May 29, 2009, 04:15:22 AM »

I can see another section being added specifically for DCC, but leave the General and other sections for the "physical" aspect of Model Railroading. There are still many modelers who run DC.

There are also many, like myself, who only run EZ Command and have no interest in what I call the "dark side" of DCC.  I probably run my trains more miles and more often than those who enjoy the challenge of adjusting CVs and computerizing their railroad.

Just as DCC is not the wherewithal of modeling, fine tuning CVs is also not the epitome of DCC, at least not for me. My fear is that DCC is taking us away from the true joy of modeling. Frankly I miss the discussions about layouts, crafting, bashing, running trains and having fun. When the fun requires too much thinking, it becomes more of a science than a hobby.

For my part, I have 22 DCC locomotives, every one runs velvety smooth and predictable. I enjoy EZ Command so much, I bought two more just for spares. I believe very strongly in the concept of "one engineer, one train". I could be wrong, but my theory is that if a locomotive doesn't run well on EZ Command, there is something drastically wrong with it.

One thing is certain, manufacturers know what bait to use and many are hooked on the advanced technology. Older members may remember the phrase: "Hook, line and sinker".  Cheesy
« Last Edit: May 29, 2009, 04:48:30 AM by Yampa Bob » Logged

I know what I wrote, I don't need a quote
Rule Number One: It's Our Railroad.  Rule Number Two: Refer to Rule Number One.
pdlethbridge
Guest
« Reply #42 on: May 29, 2009, 05:09:06 AM »

It should read " hook, line and sucker!"  Grin Grin Grin
     I Have 11 locos converted to DCC and a few laying in the wings for upgrade but they are really too big to look good on the layout, 2 Athearn PA's and a couple of E units. A couple of small switchers I might upgrade but time will tell. I love my NCE Power cab more for its flexibility than its ability to change cv's. Its 6 foot cord gives me access to the whole layout especially good for switching operations.
    Old Athearns are real easy to change but I would recommend replacing wheels if the unit is baulky. 
Logged
WGL
Great Northern


View Profile
« Reply #43 on: May 29, 2009, 05:13:19 AM »

 Yes, manufacturers keep finding more ways to make an expensive hobby even more costly.  Once we have invested a lot into the hobby, however, we need to find ways to keep up our interest.  Many hobbyists have lost interest & stored or sold their equipment.  My brother-in-law modelled a layout 20+ years ago, put it away when it was done, & went on to other hobbies.  A local MD started the hobby but is not currently active.

 DCC programming has many possibilities that shouldn't cost much.  I would like DCC to let me record the HO miles each locomotive has traveled.  I'd like to be able to send a train on a trip of a specified distance in HO miles & have it either stop or signal that the trip was completed.

  As a boy, I had an electric baseball game.  Someone said baseball is a game of statistics.  I enjoyed meticulously compiling teams' & players' statistics.

  The history of the hobby contains many ingenious features & accessories, like a milk car with a man coming out of it carrying milk cans, a barrel loader, a crossing signal that rings a bell, or a mail car that snags a mail sack from a trackside pole.  They added details to model railroading.
Logged
jward


View Profile WWW
« Reply #44 on: May 29, 2009, 09:47:55 AM »

i understand about sentimental value of older locomotives.

i have an old alco models brass rs27, and a hobbytown rs3 that i am going to convert to dcc. both run well on dc, but as with many locomotives of the 1970s they use the locomotive frame as one side of the motor circuit. so i have to figure out how to isolate the motor before i install my decoders.

bob is right about the aspects of modelling being forgotten. back when this was a craftsman's hobby, we understood about things like selective compression. now, we expect to model things in exact scale, no matter how overpowering they may be. we also now buy ready to run boxcars at $40 a pop, which were derived from kits that sold for less than $10. we expect track that snaps together, and are lost when things don't fit perfectly. and as for dcc, the magazines have told us that all we need are two wires to the track. when we figure out that maybe we need some form of block control, we call them "power districts" and spend a fortune on power management components to replace the $3 block toggles we once used.......

in a way, i feel sorry for the people just coming into the hobby. they have been told to be afraid of dc control, and block wiring. but if you know how to wire your layout for dc, wiring for dcc will cause you no problems because you understand the concept of wiring in the first place. the same goes for laying track. understand how it works and why, and if it doesn't work you'll know how to fix it.

i'll get down off my soapbox now and let you all enjoy the hobby, in whatever way you see best......
Logged

Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
Pages: 1 2 [3] 4 5 6 Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  
Powered by SMF | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!