Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

DB, DCS, 210 or 240... Help!

537 views
8 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    February, 2004
  • From: Out on the Briny Ocean Tossed
  • 4,204 posts
DB, DCS, 210 or 240... Help!
Posted by Fergmiester on Friday, November 10, 2017 3:52 PM

after several months of reading and comparing I'm still wondering what to do and what direction to go. 

I am a Digitrax guy with a DB 150 and a couple of PM42 power management systems that havent been hooked up yet. I am now looking at signalling and remote turnouts. I really don't want to go with computer interfacing, so the question is ... is an upgrade to a DCS 210 sufficient or should I bite the bullet and go with the DCS240 ?

http://www.trainboard.com/railimages/showgallery.php?cat=500&ppuser=5959

If one could roll back the hands of time... They would be waiting for the next train into the future. A. H. Francey 1921-2007  

  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 22,992 posts
Posted by rrinker on Friday, November 10, 2017 4:04 PM

Only a big club (or REALLY big home layoout like Ken Mccorry's) needs a DCS240 with 400 loco capacity.

If your DB150 is working fine - there's really no need to upgrade it, other than to gain a dedicated program track with readback capability.

How are you planning to do signalling and detection without a computer interface? Unless you are just looking for signal animationa nd the appearance of working signals.

                               --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
    February, 2004
  • From: Out on the Briny Ocean Tossed
  • 4,204 posts
Posted by Fergmiester on Friday, November 10, 2017 7:49 PM

I have 60 or so engines, need more address capacity. The 150 cannot handle my amp demand, hence the PM42s, with engines sitting idle on the sideline. As for the signalling i'm still looking into it and reading up on it. Is that it me or are the write ups somewhat convoluted as to how to? Signalling is not an easy read. I have a neighbour retired from CN, he said he'd explain it to me and hopefully i can come up with a viable solution.

http://www.trainboard.com/railimages/showgallery.php?cat=500&ppuser=5959

If one could roll back the hands of time... They would be waiting for the next train into the future. A. H. Francey 1921-2007  

  • Member since
    October, 2002
  • From: City of Québec,Canada
  • 1,258 posts
Posted by Jacktal on Saturday, November 11, 2017 8:53 AM

The DB150 is serious power that will run most layouts without a sweat.The number of the command station's needed memory slots is dictated by the number of locos your layout can allow you to run simultaneously at any given time.Since all locos should be cleared (dispatched) from the DB150's memory upon removing them from active service,owning 40 or 200 locos shouldn't be a consideration when selecting a command station.

Most HO locos will run full blast with .7A or less so the DB150 will easily handle up to seven or even more locomotives at any given time.An idle engine on the layout will draw only a few milliamps,next to nothing.

  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 22,992 posts
Posted by rrinker on Saturday, November 11, 2017 10:49 AM

How many do you run at a time? You can have a million locos but if you only run 10 at a time, the system does not have to handle a million locos. For a large dead storage, it's not a bad idea to use toggles and cut power, both to save current draw and to prevent accidents if you call up the wrong address.

 The new boosters aren't like the DB150, they have no command station capability, they are pure boosters. The DCS210 command station is not sold seperately, you'd have to get the EVO starter set, which also gets you a DT500, the latest throttle. That would give you another 5 amps of power for part of the layout (set your existing DB150 to booster mode with a short jumper wire between Config A and Ground) and capability to run up to 100 simultaneous locos. 

 I'm just now starting a layout that will handle more than 2 or 3 trains at a time, so up to and including my last layout, I was still using my Zephyr. I have a lot more than 10 DCC locos, but since the layout could only handle a max of 3 trains (and really only 2 because I never got the cement plant penninsula built), that was effectively 4 locos (2 per train) and there were no slot issue with the Zephyr as command station.

                                --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 22,992 posts
Posted by rrinker on Saturday, November 11, 2017 11:02 AM

 As for signaling - much of it will be era dependent. There was a lot of rulebook consolidation in the more modern era, compared to what existed in the 50's and before. But prototype rules aside, it's rare you can actually fully implelemtn a protoype system because model railroad distances are just too short (unless you have a barn size layout). There would normally be mulktiple intermediate signals between any set of interlockings, but unless you make the signal spacing so short as to look kind of silly when your typical train occupies 4 blocks at once, we're lucky to get one intermediate stuffed in. So there's always some modification to get it to all work in a model context.

 It is definitely NOT an easy task setting it all up, either. Unless you go for simple red/green signals (no not the duct tape DaVinci, just the colors) that change with turnout position, there's no way to get around a good bit of wiring. And you need to combine things like turnout position and track occupancy with logic conditions to determine what any given signal should display. There are a couple devices that relay on tables of CVs to program to set this logic, but I still say involving a computer is easier. And easier to change when you add that new siding. Once all the hardware is connected and recognized by the computer software, it's mostly a matter of then defining each signal aspect by clicking elements and setting conditions from dropdowns - setting things like Signal 1 East is set to restricting if Block 2 is occupied, Signal 1 East is Approach Medium if Turnout 2 is set diverging and Block 3 is empty, Signal 1 East is Approach if Turnout 2 is set normal and Block 2 and Block 3 are empty. 

Not easy, but it does look neat when you can run the railroad on signal indications and you see them all change automatically as routes are selected and the trains move. It's a lot of wires to hook up - after that, at least if a computer sits in the middle to do the logic, it's just some repetitive data entry.

                                           --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
    February, 2004
  • From: Out on the Briny Ocean Tossed
  • 4,204 posts
Posted by Fergmiester on Sunday, November 12, 2017 7:52 AM

Oh Gawd, my head is spinning! Definitely a lot to think about. Thanks guys for your time and thoughts. I'm not sure as to the state of my DB150. It will work for about 10 mins then start to chirp, this is why I'm thinking I've either got a power issue and hopefully the PM 42s will resolve it or the DB is getting old and fininick... waiting for the snow and rain so I can get back to the MR full time.

Randy, Scenery is on hold until I can figure the wring for signals as I know there will a rat's nest in the making. For the most part the Red/green approach will be the mainstay but I do have several semaphores I'd like to incorporate. This is definitely a work in progress.

again thank you for your responses

Fergie

http://www.trainboard.com/railimages/showgallery.php?cat=500&ppuser=5959

If one could roll back the hands of time... They would be waiting for the next train into the future. A. H. Francey 1921-2007  

  • Member since
    October, 2002
  • From: City of Québec,Canada
  • 1,258 posts
Posted by Jacktal on Sunday, November 12, 2017 9:52 PM

Though a DB150 failure is possible,the fact that it runs fine for a while before acting up tells me that you have a power issue somewhere.And if you do have issues,installing PM42's or buying a DCS240 won't fix a thing.The issues have to be identified and corrected.

One quick way to know if the DB150 is the issue would be to try it on someone else's layout if possible.

  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 22,992 posts
Posted by rrinker on Monday, November 13, 2017 7:03 AM

 Couls just be running right on the edge of overloading, so that after it runs for a while and heats up, it starts cutting out. When it starts beeping - what beep code does it give? The different number of beeps indicate various issues. Check the fins on back when it acts up - are they really hot? Is ther free air flow, or is it kind of stuffed up under the layout? Warm is ok, but if you can only cautiously tap it because it's too hot, you probably do need to add another booster and split the load on the layout. Anything too hot to comfortably touch and hold is running too hot for long life.

                                       --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!
Popular on ModelRailroader.com
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Search the Community

Users Online

ADVERTISEMENT
Find us on Facebook