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DCS50 as a slave unit

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DCS50 as a slave unit
Posted by Paul Schulze on Thursday, May 02, 2019 12:21 PM

Tried searching but cannot seem to find out what I need to know.  Can a Digitrax DCS50 be slaved to another DCS50 or other Zephyr?

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Posted by gregc on Thursday, May 02, 2019 1:31 PM

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by SPSOT fan on Thursday, May 02, 2019 1:38 PM

I don’t know how this is done but I know it can be done. You can continue to use a Zephyr as a throttle and a booster, even after you get a more advanced system for lack of a better term. I am therefore 99% certain you can do this, the Zephyr is intended to be capable of being able to add on to.

There will be plenty of answers to add on to this and what other have said!

Regards, Isaac

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Posted by mbinsewi on Thursday, May 02, 2019 1:48 PM

Yep, right on the Digitrax web site. 

Mike.

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, May 02, 2019 2:15 PM

 Greg posted the picture right out of the Digitrax manual (it's in the Zephyr manual as well as a Tech Support Depot article)

Mind the fine print - you hvae to set OpSw 2 Closed to make the second DCS50 a booster, or you'll have 2 command station and wonder why it doesn't work.

                                        --Randy

 


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Posted by Paul Schulze on Thursday, May 02, 2019 2:56 PM

Sorry, should have looked at Digitrax site first.  However, I have only one power district which I want to power with two DCSs.  Do I just leave the track connection off the slave unit?  Will both units then act as programmable throttles? 

I am looking for some used Zephyrs as I do not need a walk around throttle.  Thanks.

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, May 02, 2019 4:39 PM

 Yes, you can configure one as a booster but not connect it to anything. The throttle still works.

 Is a used DCS50 cheaper than a UT4? Operation of a UT4 is pretty much identical to the Zephyr, potentiometer speed knob, toggle switch with fwd-brake-rev. At least in the past, there has not been a heavy discount on older Digitrax equipment since even the oldest stuff still works with the latest.

                           --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

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Posted by Paul Schulze on Friday, May 10, 2019 1:07 PM

After further research, I think the UT4 would be the way to go.  Before I hit the buy button I have a couple of questions. 

Does the UT4 add a completely new throtle or does it simply replace my Zephyr? 

If you are in control of a locomotive and want to release it, can you simply redial another address or do you have to unplug the UT4 from the loconet?

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, May 10, 2019 4:53 PM

 It adds a throttle, just like any other throttles you plug in. You can use up to 10 with the DCS50.

 You need to plug and unplug to properly dispatch and select a loco with the UT4. 

You would probably want to get at least one UP5 to mount ont he fascia to plug the UT4 into. Reaching around to the back of the Zephyr will get old, quick.

                                   --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

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Posted by Paul Schulze on Friday, May 10, 2019 10:33 PM

Thanks Randy,

It seems like it would be a hassel to have to disconnect the UT4 if one wants to switch to other locomotives from time to time. 

Do you know if the UT4 can be  opened so a disconnect switch could be installed?  This seems like it would be a useful mod.

Paul

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Posted by gregc on Saturday, May 11, 2019 6:08 AM

Paul Schulze
It seems like it would be a hassel to have to disconnect the UT4 if one wants to switch to other locomotives from time to time.

wouldn't you simply reprogram the UT4 with a different loco decoder address?   (fundamental feature of DCC)

Paul Schulze
Do you know if the UT4 can be  opened so a disconnect switch could be installed?

doesn't the UT4 have an easily unpluggable RJ12 connector that connects to the loconet either in the command station or UTP for walk around control?

following is only diagram I found showing booster/command station connected to UTPs connected to controllers.  (i believe diagram incorrectly suggests additional throttle plug into one another instead of UTPs).

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by Paul Schulze on Saturday, May 11, 2019 11:49 AM

Hello GregC,  The instructions as well as well as the Digitrax website say that you must unplug the UT4 to release a locomotive. For some reason dialing in a new locomotive will not release an acquired locomotive. That means you have to walk over to the loconet every time you want to change locomotives. That is why I want to add a momentary "breaker" switch.

i need someone to tell me if i can access the electronics in the UT4 without breaking the case. 

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Posted by Stevert on Saturday, May 11, 2019 12:05 PM

Paul Schulze

That means you have to walk over to the loconet every time you want to change locomotives.

Personally, I don't think that unplugging/replugging is such a big deal. After all, the cord is only what, six feet, so you only have to take two steps at most.

But if it is, then consider looking for a used DT400 or DT402 (Or a DT500 if cost isn't a factor). Two throttles in one case, so you can run two locos at once. Plus, each throttle has it's own recall stack, AND you don't have to unplug/replug to select a different loco.

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Posted by gregc on Saturday, May 11, 2019 12:12 PM

Paul

not clear what you mean by "release the locomotive".

my understanding is that Loconet is a bus used for communication between the command station and controllers.   NCE has it's own proprietary bus protocol.  Neither is DCC which is the track protocol defined by the NMRA.

Universal Throttle Panels may be use to extend the bus from the command station to multiple locations on the layout where a controller may be temporarily plugged in.

if Digitrax is anything like the NCE system, unplugging the controller (UT4) from the UTP or command station does not cause the locomotive to stop, the loco continues running at the last speed issued by the controller and allows you to walk around the layout, plug in the controller and resume control. 

The command station repeatedly sends speed commands to all locomotives.   If a locomotive derails while the controller is not plugged in, it will resumes its speed after being rerailed and receiving the speed command again from the command station.

When you select a loco on a controller, you associate commands for the locomotive with that controller.   When done controlling a locomotive, presumably it is stopped and the controller can be programmed with a different locomotive address, releasing the old one. 

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by SPSOT fan on Saturday, May 11, 2019 12:24 PM

I’d say breaking open the case and messing with the components of the UT4 is a bad idea. Not only is is highly likely you will break something, there is like 100% chance doing such will violate the warranty.

Your confusing how the UT4 works. To switch locomotives, you just change the nobs, and then plug in to the loconet. It’s quite simple. Adding a breaker will not fix this because the whole reason you have to plug in is to tell the DCC system you changed locos.

Now I’m not certain but I think the newer Digitrax stuff will allow you to change locos without plugging in. I believe it’s called ”duplex”. I think the UT4D is the throttle which does this. I think you may also need the UR92 duplex receiver to connect to the zephyr, but I‘m not certain.

Regards, Isaac

I model my railroad and you model yours! I model my way and you model yours!

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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, May 11, 2019 12:27 PM

 On the 'big' throttles, the DT40x and DT50x series, there is a Select Loco button as well as a Dispatch button. These send the correct signals on the cab bus to tell the command station to use or stop using that throttle to control the selected loco address. The UT4 does not have this, since there are only 8 buttons, many have to do double duty to get access to functions and also the 'housekeeping' part of runnign trains. So it works similar to an old printer  hold down a button while you turn it on (plug it in) and it performs the task.

 Don;t blame Digitrax, they polled the user group (it was an Yahoo then, groups.io now) and this is what people wanted in a simple engineer's throttle. Frankly, I think anything less than 10 buttons is sheer foolishness, but there is a subset of peopel who think that more buittons, even if each one does ONLY one thing, is someone more complicated than have to pres shift and a button, or do things like hold doown a button while simultaneously plugging and unplugging the device. A simple 12 key pad like a telephone would be significantly easier to use.

                             --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, May 11, 2019 12:36 PM

SPSOT fan

I’d say breaking open the case and messing with the components of the UT4 is a bad idea. Not only is is highly likely you will break something, there is like 100% chance doing such will violate the warranty.

Your confusing how the UT4 works. To switch locomotives, you just change the nobs, and then plug in to the loconet. It’s quite simple. Adding a breaker will not fix this because the whole reason you have to plug in is to tell the DCC system you changed locos.

Now I’m not certain but I think the newer Digitrax stuff will allow you to change locos without plugging in. I believe it’s called ”duplex”. I think the UT4D is the throttle which does this. I think you may also need the UR92 duplex receiver to connect to the zephyr, but I‘m not certain.

 

 Yes, the Duplex radio allows you to select and dispatch locos from the UT4D without plugging in - however the total cost of a UT4D and a UR92 is nearly enough to buy TWO additional Zephyrs. If the distance needed is easily reachable by a plugged in throttle without it dragging over the layout, a used DT400 or DT402 might be a better bet, although finding them for low cost is not easy because there simply has been no real need to replace them, they still work fine with the latest command stations. Old DT300's might be around, those are the same physical size as the UT4 but function more like a DT40x. I even have a DT100 I use to run trains, but I would not recommend one to someone who is not very well versed in the way Digitrax works. That whole reputation of being incredibly difficult to use came about simple from the DT100 throttle. Two knobs and 8 buttons and it can do all functions - programming, running trains, etc. ANd each knob's part of the LCD display only displays 2 digits, so to get a CV over 99, it uses a wonky numbering system which is sort of hexidecimal but it isn;t: 00-99, then A0-A9, then B0-B9, etc. Even I do not use this throttle to program, but to run trains around and, since I am mostly interested in just the basic functions like headlight, horn, and bell, it works great.

                                               --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

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Posted by Paul Schulze on Saturday, May 11, 2019 2:00 PM

Here is my confusion with which the forum members could possibly help me.  From the downloadable Digitrax UT4 instruction sheet (underlines are mine):

"Dispatching

Dispatching is the process of releasing a loco so that another user can take control of it. To release, or dispatch, a loco under current UT4 control:

1 Unplug the UT4 from the LocoNet port

2 Press andhold the Dispatch key

3 Plug the throttle back into a LocoNet port."

I assume that if you do not follow the steps above, the UT4 has control of the loco.

If my assumption is correct, redialing another loco address will not dispatch the loco. 

Now having said this, I wonder if, say, the first loco is running and you redial a second address, will you be able to run the second loco while the first continues in the state you left it -  in this example, running? 

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Posted by gregc on Saturday, May 11, 2019 2:11 PM

could you provide a link to the instructions you're quoting?

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by gregc on Saturday, May 11, 2019 2:30 PM

here's the link to the UT4/R Series Digitrax Throttle Manual

 

it says to dial in the loco address and either plug it in or press the SEL key.

i see the section under Dispatching that describes- how to disassociate a selected loco address from a controller so that a different controller can select the loco.

I believe that the same can be accomplished by simply changing the loco address on the UT4.   When I'm done with a loco using NCE, I always select address 0 and then usually unplug. 

that note also describes "Stealing" to take control of a loco current selected by another controller.   Not sure why you would do this.

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by Paul Schulze on Saturday, May 11, 2019 2:30 PM

It is the dispatching or release feature in the above link.

The instructions for the UT4D are more explixit about different loco operation in the walk-around mode. It seems to be able to "release" a loco without unplugging.  I assume it can be run in the wired mode without the need for a UR90.

I find it interesting that the UT4 and UT4D both have a DISP key but the UT4 seems to require unplugging the unit from the LocoNet whereas the UT4D does not.

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Posted by gregc on Saturday, May 11, 2019 2:39 PM

Paul Schulze
It is the dispatching or release feature in the above link.

i discussed this

gregc
i see the section under Dispatching that describes- how to disassociate a selected loco address from a controller so that a different controller can select the loco.

I believe that the same can be accomplished by simply changing the loco address on the UT4.   When I'm done with a loco using NCE, I always select address 0 and then usually unplug. 

have you seen this video

 

 

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by Paul Schulze on Saturday, May 11, 2019 2:51 PM

I believe I have.  I think it is a video by Mike Fiffer.  He seems to indicate that the loco will be dispatched when the dial is changed, but just falls just short of saying how to aquire the next loco, e.g., whether or not the new dialed address picks up a new loco.  That is the whole crux of my inquiry.

 

 
 
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Posted by Paul Schulze on Saturday, May 11, 2019 3:00 PM

If the only difference between the UT4 and UT4D is infared capability on the latter, then one might assume that they have identical operation in the wired mode.  The panels do have the same buttons and labels which would lend credence to this. 

I suppose I can buy the UT4 and if it does not work like the UT4D, I can simply return it. Feedback before I push the buy button would be appreciated.

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Posted by gregc on Saturday, May 11, 2019 3:01 PM

at the begging of the video he shows how a loco address is "dialed in" and then plugged it in, but the instructions say you can also hit the SEL button.

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by Paul Schulze on Saturday, May 11, 2019 3:06 PM

gregc

at the begging of the video he shows how a loco address is "dialed in" and then plugged it in, but the instructions say you can also hit the SEL button.

 

It would really be nice if someone would just say, "To select a different loco, simply dial a new address and press ......." or "You absolutely must unplug the UT4 from the LocoNet before ......"

Obtaining the first loco seems straight forward.

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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, May 11, 2019 4:34 PM

 If you don;t properly dispatch a loco when done running it, you will end up getting slot full errors as each new loco uses up a new memory slot in the command station. In the Zephyr this shows as FULL on the display, on the UT4 it's a matter of the blinking lights. On the DT40x throttles, it shows SLOT=MAX.

 In order for the slot to be freed up and reused, all functions need to be off, and the speed needs to be 0. Then the command station will reuse that memory location if needed. If the loco was not correctly released, the slot is marked as if it were still in use and selecting a different loco will use another memory location. Kee doing that and never releasing the loco, and you will fill up the slots. On a DCS50, that's 12 slots. So it is important to follow the correct steps every time you switch to a different loco. 

                                   --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

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Posted by Paul Schulze on Sunday, May 12, 2019 4:51 PM

Thanks Randy. I was unaware of memory slots on the DCS50. I assume unplugging the LocoNet cable releases them.

Coming back to unplugging the cable, to me that is like clearing up memory on a DVR by unplugging it instead of simpyl pushing a button.

The UT4D apparently has the capability of dispatching a locomotive by the push of a button, why not the UT4? Maybe it does and the instruction sheet is incomplete. 

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Posted by Paul Schulze on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 2:16 PM

To end this discussion, I would like to update the results of my operation of the UT4 which I just recieved.  One can aquire a new locomotove currently under control of the UT4 simply by turning the selector dials to the new address and pushing the select button.  There is no need to disconnect the UT4 from the loconet to do this particular operation. Thanks all for your input.

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