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Consisting: Using same decoder address

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Consisting: Using same decoder address
Posted by tstage on Saturday, August 24, 2019 3:06 PM

Greetings -

I have a Stewart FTA-B consist that has the exact same decoders installed in each locomotive but each programmed to different addresses.  Since the NYC operated the FTA-Bs together with a draw bar, would it make sense to just program both decoders to the same address?  Or, is there an advantage to having them with different addresses?

I will ultimately operate them consisted with an NYC F2 (on a Stewart F3 chassis), or maybe with another FTA-B combo for a four-locomotive consist.  The B-units with the latter would be connected together with a coupler.

Tom

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Posted by RR_Mel on Saturday, August 24, 2019 3:17 PM

Tom
 
I have like decoders in two sets of E7 ABs connected with a drawbar using the same address and they run very nice, Yes they operate very good.
 
I find it much easier not having to fool around with consisting.
 
Mel
 
 
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Posted by CGW121 on Saturday, August 24, 2019 3:51 PM

I use the same address on all locomotives I run together. They run very welll for me.

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Posted by PennCentral99 on Saturday, August 24, 2019 3:52 PM

tstage

would it make sense to just program both decoders to the same address?  

if you plan on keeping them together, sure. don't forget you might need to change CV 29 for the rear loco as to “normal forward“

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Posted by cuyama on Saturday, August 24, 2019 4:02 PM

An advantage to consisting is that the headlights will operate correctly in either direction, etc. Since it is so easy to build a consist with NCE (which I think I remember that you are using), I don't see a good reason not to do so.

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Saturday, August 24, 2019 4:42 PM

That's my reason for consisting, too.  I only want one horn to sound.

On my Lenz system, I can use any loco address in the consist or the consist address to run all locos, but if I use the front engine address, I get the sound and headlight behavior I want.

I don't have to remember consist addresses, and if I break up a consist I don't have to reprogram the decoders.

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Posted by tstage on Saturday, August 24, 2019 4:51 PM

PennCentral99
tstage

would it make sense to just program both decoders to the same address?  

if you plan on keeping them together, sure. don't forget you might need to change CV 29 for the rear loco as to “normal forward“

Terry

Terry,

The FTB-units had a definite front and rear because of the exhaust stacks: It was at the rear of the A-unit and towards the front of the B-unit.  So, AFAIK, you would never flip around and operate an FTB like you could an F3B or F7B.  Since they will never be operated separately it just seemed to make sense to program them to the same address rather than two destinct addresses.

 

All,

I'm using a motor-only decoder in both units: A TCS MC2P-UK.  The FTA & FTB operate very smoothly and evenly programmed to different addresses; therefore I know they will operate the same whether consisted together or programmed to the same address.

Tom

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Posted by CGW121 on Saturday, August 24, 2019 6:07 PM

Creating a consist .with Digitrax is extreemly easy with Digitrax as well. I do not care about sound as I do not use it. I see no advantage to consisting

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Posted by sol on Saturday, August 24, 2019 7:56 PM

CGW121

Creating a consist .with Digitrax is extreemly easy with Digitrax as well. I do not care about sound as I do not use it. I see no advantage to consisting

 

 

Consisting is perfect for when a train has two or more locos that get joined together to drive that specific train but the locos can be used independently when required with their normal address.

 

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Posted by York1 on Saturday, August 24, 2019 8:03 PM

I use both.  I have an E8 A & B.  They will never run separately, so I have them with the same number.

I also have a consist of two locomotives that will sometimes run separately.  It takes about 5 seconds to make the consist or run them separately.

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Posted by Autonerd on Saturday, August 24, 2019 8:09 PM

If the locos are always together, and if you'll remember they have one address, then there is no disadvantage to having one address (and a key advantage -- you don't have to worry about the system "losing" the consist as sometimes happens).

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Posted by tstage on Saturday, August 24, 2019 8:36 PM

I use the lead locomotive road number for the consist so it makes sense to use the same for addressing both the A- & B-unit.

Tom

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Posted by richg1998 on Saturday, August 24, 2019 9:05 PM

I have done that with a F3 A/B F7 B/A.

The F3 had a decoder in the A that ran the motor and speaker in the A and motor and speaker in the B.

THe F7 had a decoder in each for motor and speaker.

I did it both ways. Always as ABBA. Only three decoders to deal with but CV consisting was nice. I like the different sounds.

The F3 A/B both had the same sound though.

Rich

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Posted by RR_Mel on Saturday, August 24, 2019 9:42 PM

Tom
 
I run two sets of E7-ABB locomotives (Cary E7 bodies on Athearn SD40-2 frames) for my passenger service.  Both sets of the ABB configuration are identical, both As and both #1 Bs are powered, the 2nd Bs in each set are not powered (dummy) but have like decoders for the EMD 567 sound.  The 2nd Bs in both configurations are my 4 volt power source for the passenger car lighting.  I have all three decoders in each set configured with the lead A locomotive equipment number as the DCC address.
 
I use F4 on the 2nd B in each set to turn on and off the passenger car lighting.  I only have the sound on for the bell and horn on the lead locomotives but motor sound from all three.  The only special functions in the two E7-As are the MARS light, I can turn the MARS light on and off individually.  The headlights on and off are normal, on in forward and dim in reverse.
 
As both ABB sets are configured as drawbar connected they do not need individual DCC addresses that would need consisting by DCC programming.  I do have individual locomotives that I occasionally run in a consist by DCC consisting but not very often.
 
 
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Posted by rrinker on Sunday, August 25, 2019 9:13 PM

 My drawbar coupled FTs have the same address. There's no reason not too. I can't easily separate them in the middle of operation. There's noot much to worry about in terms of lights, there's none on the B unit. Only one has sound, so I'm not worried about 2 horns and 2 bells, although if I did put a sound decoder in the B unit, I would just turn the bell and horn volume to 0, or just disable those F keys. No sense wasting a consist address.

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Posted by Brammy on Monday, August 26, 2019 7:52 AM
I run at a club, and we have a range of 99 addresses to use. We have a unique number for the first 2 numbers of an address. So, say my number is 11, I have 11xx free. This can lead to a lot of duplicate numbers if I use the last 2 digits of the road number. Plus, I have run into some weird consisting issues especially if I forget to kill the consist before I take it off the layout. And a few times if I hit a short a certain way it causes issues. Therefore my general rule is: any pair of locomotives I always run together I give the same address and flip the bit for the trailing locomotive. Locomotives that don’t always get run together get their own address. I don’t care about the horns and the bells, and actually like how loud it is with both of them blaring.
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Posted by dehusman on Monday, August 26, 2019 12:07 PM

If you have only 2 digit addressing give the units in a consist the same number.

If you have 4 digit addressing, the units are drawbar connected, only only one of the units will ever be a leader, then give them the same address if you want.

If you have 4 digit addressing, and either unit can be used as a leader, then address them individually and advance consist them.  That way you just acquire the lead unit and all the forward/backward, headlights, horn, bell stuff will operate correctly.

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Posted by joe323 on Tuesday, August 27, 2019 6:40 AM

Since I only have 1 F7 A & B units it makes sense to use the same address for both. Never saw a B running by itself.

 

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Posted by jjdamnit on Wednesday, August 28, 2019 5:35 PM

Hello All,

What the OP is talking about is known as simple consisting- -multiple units with the same DCC address.

joe323
Never saw a B running by itself.

The rotary snowplow train on my pike has a single B-unit that is used to push the plow.

This B-unit is sandwiched between the snowplow and the steam generator car at the head end.

Many B-units were fitted with control stands so they could be operated independently of the master A-unit in yards.

I have an A-B-B Royal Gorge consist with a trailing A-unit for prototypical operation.

Each unit in this MU has it's own address.

Yes, I understand the simplicity of a single address for a MU. However, when I need to split the consist it's a matter of deleting or adding a unit to the consist.

Hope this helps.

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, August 28, 2019 7:20 PM

 But since the A and B are coonnected by a drawbar, they aren't coming apart during a session, so why bother with a consist? You can't pick them up and move them to another layout without redoing the consist, either. With them both on the same address, it's really just one loco.

Different story when connected with couplers so they can be mixed and matched.

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Posted by Paul3 on Wednesday, August 28, 2019 11:48 PM

Brammy,
It sounds like you're in my club as we do the same thing.  Smile  The club reserves 00-99, 100-0199, and 9900-9983 (the highest Digitrax goes), but any other group of 100 numbers are available to members.

We keep a list on a clipboard near the programming track that lists all number groupings and who has what.  That way, if you find a loco and don't know who owns it, simply reading it's address will tell you the owner's number.  To get those 100 numbers, all a member has to do is sign their name on any un-used group of numbers.  Simple.  And if they need more than 100 numbers, they can sign up for another 100.  We haven't run out yet.

As for "basic" consisting (programming multiple engines to the same address) we do it all the time for train shows because:

1) You never have to worry about a loco dropping out of consist.
2) In a noisy show environment, having multiple engines blow the horn is actually a good thing.
3) Saves memory in the DCC system and improves performance by having less info flowing over the network.

At our club, having 10 trains running is no big deal, and if each one has 4 engines...well, it's easy to see why running 10 addresses might work better than running 40 addresses.

 

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Posted by joe323 on Thursday, August 29, 2019 6:21 AM

Well you learn something new every day in this hobby 

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Posted by gdelmoro on Friday, August 30, 2019 6:58 AM

How do you speed match the two locos?

Is speed matching not needed when using the same address or does the drawbar eliminate the need?

Can you remove couplers and install a drawbar?

If not speed matched doesen’t one loco constantly push or pull the other.

I would love to be able not to have to speed match.

Gary

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Posted by SouthPenn on Friday, August 30, 2019 9:42 AM

I have consist that has the same address and have been running them that way for years. To speed match the engines I set one engine up the way I want it run. Then I put another engine on a parallel track. With both engines having the same address, I run them beside each other and set the second engine to match the first. I can remove the second engine and add a third, fourth, etc. Time-consuming but it works. None of my engines have sound so that is not an issue. By setting CV-29 on the trailing 'A' unit to have forward the opposite direction as the lead engine, the lights work fine.

But most of the consist I run now have RailPro radio controllers in them. Press the 'consist' button on the handheld controller, pick your lead engine, then pick the other engines in the consist. If you have an 'A' unit on the rear, to can change the forward direction with two button pushes. Done. The lead engine becomes the master and all the other engines speed match to the lead. Automatically and on the fly. 

As an experiment, I had nine engines in a consist. Three at the front, three in the middle, and three pushers on the rear. In between were 20 coal cars that were heavily weighted. The consist ran great. No surging or pulling, just smooth running. Even uphill and downhill. The spacing between the coal cars stayed the same.

I don't run my DCC engines much anymore.

  

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, August 30, 2019 10:21 AM

 My FT-B is actually the one with sound (because the sound chassis that was on sale was for a B unit), my FT-A has a TCS T1 decoder. The B unit has a Loksound. Speed match? They are the same brand loco, same motors and same gears, and both decoders have excellent motor drive. I screwed the drawbar together and gave them the same address. That's "speed matching"

 My main club loco consis is an Atlas Trainmaster with QSI sandwiched between a pair of P2K GP7s with TCS T1 decoders. Too many people fat finger addresses and ignore any messages on the throttles trying to tell them that someone else is using that address, or it's in a consist, so we generally do not allow anything other than assignign the same address. So that's what I did with my 3 locos, and set the lights so the middle unit, the Trainmaster, has no lights lit, and only the light facing out on the Geeps lights in direction of travel - so there's no light shining off the next loco sort of thing. And that's all I did - no speed matching. They run fine together. I didn;t even adjust the momentum, because if you drive them correctly, they all move at the same time. If I try something silly, like crank the throttle from stop to full, then the Geeps will drag the Trainmaster a bit. Or try to. Likewise suddenly going from track speed to stop, the TM tries to push the Geeps. But normal throttling up or down - they run fine together. The run for hours at a time during shows, no overheating or other issues.

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Posted by tstage on Friday, August 30, 2019 3:39 PM

Gary,

The FTA-B is a Stewart and both have the same decoder installed in them.  When I originally tested both of the A & B units separately but using the same address, they ran perfectly in-sync so no speed matching was required.  The Stewart F3 (with F2 Highliners shell) I added later on with the same decoder did require some speed matching.

As long as the speeds of the locomotives are close, you don't really need to speed match.  A little pulling or pushing is perfectly fine.

Tom

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Posted by wjstix on Friday, August 30, 2019 4:09 PM

gdelmoro
How do you speed match the two locos?

On my FT sets, I've used a separate ID for each, then put them in a consist so I can run them at the same time on parallel tracks to see how they run, and adjusted the CVs of one so they match the other. Then both get assigned the same address.

gdelmoro
Is speed matching not needed when using the same address or does the drawbar eliminate the need?

Speed matching is almost always needed, even with two engines from the same manufacturer. Two engines that run at different speeds won't run well together, regardless of whether they're connected by drawbars or couplers, or what their ID numbers are.

gdelmoro
Can you remove couplers and install a drawbar?

Yup, Stewart FTs come with two drawbars, a short one for close-coupling, and a longer one to allow operation on layouts with sharp (like 18"R) curves. The same screws that hold the couplers in place hold the drawbar.

gdelmoro
If not speed matched doesen’t one loco constantly push or pull the other.

Yup.

Note that as designed, the real FTs were only set up to be A-B (or A-A) sets with drawbars between the A and B units. EMD jerry-rigged up a coupler for ATSF.

Many railroads found one FT A-B set wasn't enough horsepower for a typical mainline freight, and an A-B+B-A set was too much, so bought F2 and F3 A units after WW2 to create A-B+A sets that were 'just right'.

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Posted by RR_Mel on Friday, August 30, 2019 6:20 PM

I buy mostly clunker locomotives to restore.  One of my things is restoring clunker locomotives, I really enjoy making them look and run better than new. 
 
As I run both DC and DCC modes on my layout I speed match my locomotives during the restoring process for DC operation then they don’t need any tweaking in DCC mode.  I try to match them to not gain or loose more than one locomotive length in 120’ of track.  So far out of close to 70 restored locomotives only a couple don’t meet my standard.
 
There is a speed difference pulling my 3½% grades but the average over the 120’ is very close.  Most loose a bit up grade then gain a bit down grade.
 
I can mix and match any of my locomotives even steam with diesel.  The only exceptions are my specialty locomotives, 4-4-0s (Golden Spike), 0-6-0 switchers and Shays.
 
Mel
 
 
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Posted by rrinker on Friday, August 30, 2019 6:50 PM

 Never ran locos in MU before DCC Stix? There's no speed matching in DC, and people did it all the time - basically by getting two locos fromt he same manufacturer, with the same motors and gear ratios. 

 Slight pushing and pulling is to be expected, it will even out with the load of a train, as each loco will pull what it has to. Speed matching is most definitely NOT always required - it's a good thing to have so you CAN run prototypical consists without worrying that one loco is a recent release Athearn Genesis and the other is a 30 year old Atlas model. 

 Two from the same manufacturer, wiutht he same decoder in them? Unless something is wrong with one of them (damaged motor, over or no lubrication, broken pickup so it stalls all the time) they will run close enough that no special settings are needed. Also assumes both decoders are programmed the same way, one doesn't have twice the momentum, or the start voltage cranked up, or something like that. 

 I've never had a problem with both (or all three) locos having decoders with BEMF turned on, either. Could be the decoders I use, but they don't get into shoving matches with the BEMF making them oscillate like crazy. 

                                       --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 gdelmoro on Monday, September 02, 2019 8:23 AM

It seems that some of us believe Speed Matching IS required for smooth running and others do not. I asked the question because other posts on this forum and others firmly believe speed matching is required.  

I believe I once posted asking why the same loco from the same manufacturer with the same decoder need to be speed matched and why the manufacturer doesn’t make sure they run the same before they sell them and was told that it was not possible.

Clearly some of us have had success not speed matching so once I have enough of my track installed I’ll try it out. If I don’t need to speed match that would be great. Perhaps I’ll find that I don’t need to do it ALL the time. 

Thanks to all for your posts.

Gary

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