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DCC Consisting

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DCC Consisting
Posted by corsiar on Thursday, October 3, 2019 6:19 PM

Do the locomotive brands and decoder brands need to be the same to do consisting or DPU with say 2 locos in the lead and a trailing unit? I have a KATO FEF excursion locomotive I would like to have a diesel run with it like UP does with the excursion trains. All my locos are DC so I have to get decoders for them and would like to know if I should get all the same brand.

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Posted by BigDaddy on Thursday, October 3, 2019 6:35 PM

I'm way over my skiis here, but the rest of the forum is here to beat some sense in me. 

There are two variables here, the Kato steam loco gearing and the unnamed diesel gearing with possibly different decoders. 

Different models of diesels or different brands can have different gearing. I would expect that between steam and diesel.

What I think is that the decoder could compensate for the difference.  What I know is your life would be much simpler if you stick to one brand of decoder.

 

Henry

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Posted by York1 on Thursday, October 3, 2019 6:40 PM

corsiar
All my locos are DC so I have to get decoders for them and would like to know if I should get all the same brand.

 

If you are like me, you should get the same brands.  However, even with that ....

I have a Kato loco and an Atlas loco that have the same decoder brand, although not exactly the same decoder.  The Kato runs much faster.  To get them near the same speed, I ran them on parallel tracks and adjusted the CVs.  It took a while.

Saints Fan John

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Posted by RR_Mel on Thursday, October 3, 2019 7:20 PM

I try to stay with the same manufacturers for decoders and for consisting I go with the same manufacturer for locomotives too.  I’ve never had to speed match my consists. 
 
I run mostly Athearn BB diesels together, E7s and SD9s.  My E7s are actually Athearn SD40-2 frames with Bowser E7 bodies and MRC 1730 decoders.  I can run the Athearn SD-9s together also with MRC 1730 decoders.
 
Some of my Athearn SD-9s have been remotored and I keep like motors with like decoders for consisting.
  
 
 
Mel
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by jjdamnit on Thursday, October 3, 2019 7:23 PM

Hello All,

As long as all the decoders are NMRA compliant consisting is no problem- -with one caveat.

The problem of consisting arises with speed-matching the locomotives. This can be tricky when combining steam and diesel.

In the DCC world speed-matching is done through manipulating CVs with each individual decoder in each individual locomotive. 

If speed-matching is not done than problems; both physical and electronically, can occur.

All decoders will support "Basic" consisting; where all the locomotives have the same address. This is done through the DCC system and programs all the decoders in the consist to respond to the same address.

All the locomotives will have the same two- or four-digit address.

Most decoders will support command station consisting.

This is done through the DCC system. The individual DCC system will "capture" or build a consist based on a two digit address for the consist. The individual addresses of the locomotives will remain separate.

Locomotives # 3001 & #3005 are added to a two digit consist of #22 through the DCC system. This consist is stored in the DCC system.

Then there is "Advanced Consisting". This type of consisting requires that the decoder and the DCC system both support this function.

Advanced consisting provides the most prototypical operation. All the locomotives in the consist will act as one MU but lights and sounds can be individually set.

Some decoders do not support advanced consisting. Check the decoder manufacturers specifications.

Pros & Cons of each...

  • Basic consisting does not rely on the particular DCC system. You can take this consist to another pike and, as long as that particular address is not used, you can run this consist on another pike.
  • The downside of this is if you need to "split" the consist you need to re-program the addresses of the locomotives
  • Command station consisting keeps each individual address (two- or four-digit) intact so if you need to "split" the consist you can easily remove one or more locomotives from the consist.
  • This can be handy if you are using mid- or end-of-train helpers.
  • Unfortunately, command station consisting occurs in the DCC system. If you decide to run this consist on another pike the locomotives won't act as a consist because that consist only occurs in the "home" DCC system.
  • Advanced consisting, in addition to being more prototypical, can be run on other pikes. The consisting occurs, and must be supported, in the individual decoders.
  • The con is that all the decoders (no matter the manufacturer) must be able to support this type of consisting. Some lower-end decoders do not support this type of consisting.

All that being said (or written). I am a "Lone Wolf" modeler and have no need to run my consists on other layouts. Basic consisting is not necessary.

Not all the decoders in my motive fleet support advanced consisting. I run a mishmash of various decoders from many different manufacturers (all NMRA compliant).

I use command station consisting. I can "split" the consist for switching operations.

The most important aspect of any consist is speed matching the individual locomotives.

Good luck and...

Hope this helps.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

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Posted by gmpullman on Thursday, October 3, 2019 7:39 PM

I occasionally put a steam helper on a diesel train and vice versa. Decoder brand doesn't much matter to me since most will allow changing speed configuration using the "speed table" (much easier if you have Decoder Pro).

Run both your engines and see which one is the faster of the two. You need to slow this one down since you can't very well get the slower one to run faster.

You can adjust the speed curve of the faster locomotive's top end.

Conversely, you can adjust the starting voltage at the low-speed range so the engines begin to move at the same, or close, speed step.

There are lots of tutorials on basic speed matching.

https://tonystrains.com/news/dccprimer-intro-faq-how-can-i-customize-each-locos-performance/

Sometimes, if I'm only going to use the steam/diesel power infrequently, I don't MU (consist) them at all. Do what the real ones had to and have a cab (throttle) for each one, although these days there is often controls for the diesel in the steam cab, also for dynamic braking.

 PRR_T-E7_sm by Edmund, on Flickr

Good Luck, Ed

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, October 3, 2019 8:05 PM

 I have standardized on one brand of decoders not for the sake of MUing, but to keep things simple - since they are all the same, the same CVs use the same values to set things in ALL of my locos. Not "this one used CV123 while that one used CV122 for the same setting"

 Since you are talking about two vastly different locos, one steam and one diesel, it's not going to matter muich - you will have to do some speed matchign here. Two identical locos with the same identical decoder in each - they will generally run together well enough with little or no adjustments needed, but when we're talking about different brands, with different motors, different gearing, and all that - it's not likely they will run together without some adjustment. Close is good enough, especially if you stick the diesel behind the steam loco like UP typically does. Might have to be a little more careful if you stick the diesel halfway back in the train, or on the rear end - if the diesel pushes too hard too soon and the train is on a curve and you have some light cars in there - the whole thing might pop like a spring. Realistically, they'd have to be way off, with the diesel running and spinning its wheels while the steam loco isn;t even starting to creep yet. Avoid that. Same can happen in reverse, if the diesel lags and sits there not moving while the steam loco is trying to pull away with the train. It's like holding on to the last car and cranking up the throttle.

 So - I like standardization, but it's not required. It won;t automatically solve the differences in these two locos, so you'll need to do a little speed matching to allow the diesel to reliably work back in the train with the steam loco on the front. But this is all completely doable without a whole lot of effort.

                                 --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 corsiar on Thursday, October 3, 2019 9:53 PM
Forgot to mention all of my road diesels are KATO. Right now in DC the FEF runs pretty good with GEVO.
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Posted by corsiar on Sunday, October 13, 2019 1:15 AM

I have 6 KATO N scale diesels that need to be coverted to DCC. Would like to be able to consist any of them. Which decoder/decoders are the best for this?

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Posted by rrinker on Sunday, October 13, 2019 10:47 AM

 There are several that make decoders that fir Kato N scale diesels. Really up to you which to use, but I like TCS.All of the major manufactures have charts to help select which decoder fits which loco, much more important in N scale than HO, so if they are all not the same model, check the charts, sometimes what decoder goes in one model is not the same as the one for another model even by the same manufacturer (usually size issues, say one is a switcher and the other is a big modern AC44CW - even if both are Kato, they may take two different decoders). TCS has a very complete line of decoders, and their web site has lots of installation pictures.

                                        --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 corsiar on Wednesday, October 16, 2019 7:14 PM

I have an Intermountain with a Loksound select decoder (factory) and want to consist it to an Atlas with a NCE decoder. Got them speed matched pretty good but the Loksound has a brake that releases at speed step 1 but by the time the brake releases the Atlas with NCE is already 1-2 locomotives ahead of the other because it starts moving right away. How do I fix this? I ask because I would like to consist Intermountains with sound to my other KATOs but would like to know which decoder I should buy for them. Was going to get NCE decoders but now I wonder if I should get Lokpilots instead.

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Posted by York1 on Wednesday, October 16, 2019 7:38 PM

corsiar
with a Loksound select decoder (factory) and want to consist it to an Atlas with a NCE decoder. Got them speed matched pretty good but the Loksound has a brake that releases at speed step 1 but by the time the brake releases the Atlas with NCE is already 1-2 locomotives ahead of the other because it starts moving right away. How do I fix this?

 

I had the same problem.  I found that on my decoder, CV 124 controlled a delayed locomotive start.  If I set CV 124 to zero, the locomotive would start moving right away.

It was explained to me that the idea was to let the sound of the locomotive rev up before it started to move.

I didn't like that, and by setting CV 124 to zero, I solved the issue.

I do not know enough about any of this to tell you it will work for you, but it did for me.

Saints Fan John

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, October 16, 2019 8:49 PM

 It may, although the sound revving first is more prototypical. The biggest problem is that the Loksound decoder has BEMF and the NCE does not. The NCE is a very good decoder, but the absolute slow speed performance will never be equal to a decoder with good BEMF.

 The lokpilot are matched to Loksound, although they don't have a lot of drop in ooptions for N scale (do thay even have any?).  

                         --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 corsiar on Wednesday, October 16, 2019 10:00 PM

So something like TCS would be a better choice since it has BEMF and they are drop in?

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Posted by corsiar on Thursday, October 17, 2019 12:14 AM

Just tested setting CV124 to 0 and it definately responds faster.

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, October 17, 2019 7:17 AM

 It will help, but it will never be perfect because of the delay. But - I also have some non-zero momentum in all my Loksound decoders, so quickly advancing the throttle revs the prime mover but the loco accelerates slowly. I was doing this before the introduction of the DriveHold feature to control the prime move somewhat independent of loco speed - burts of full throttle, loco cranks up but just clowly creeps away with its train, back off as the train reaches the desired speed, prime mover settles back, train maintains speed. So by using momentum is both decoders, you can also handle the start delay in the Loksound. Just know that not all manufacturers use the same formula for the momentum CVs so where a value of 4 might be good in one decoder, it may have almost no effect on another, or vice versa. 

                                  --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 Redvdub1 on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 9:19 PM

You can get your decoders and play around with CV speed matching.  But in the meantime take your "faster" DC loco and add cars to it until it's speed matches that of the "slower" locomotive.  Let's say that turns out to be 4 cars.  Now hook up both engines and add the 4 (or more) cars.  You have a consist where the "faster" engine is pulling itself plus the 4 cars and the slower engine is just pulling itself.  As you add cars beyond 4 each locomotive will pull it's "share" of the train load in addition to pulling themselves.  There will be no bucking.  At car loadings of less than 4 cars the faster locomotive will be pulling itself, the "slower" engine, and the 1, 2, or 3 cars.  The slower engine is acting as a load.  With the 1, 2, or 3 car consist there may well be bucking as the train goes through switches or around tight curves.  I call the above procedure load speed matching.  Each locomotives load share depends on it's operating line (torque versus rotational wheel velocity).  You can use this load speed matching procedure in DCC also.  The only caveat here is that the applied voltage (or speed step setting in DCC) must be high enough to get all drive wheels rotating.  That might sound so obvious that it doesn't need mentioning but I have more than once seen one locomotive dragging a 2nd locomitive around the layout where the drive wheels of locomotive #2 were "sliding" ..not rotating.  ergo flat spots on the "slid" engine drive wheels. 

corsiar

Do the locomotive brands and decoder brands need to be the same to do consisting or DPU with say 2 locos in the lead and a trailing unit? I have a KATO FEF excursion locomotive I would like to have a diesel run with it like UP does with the excursion trains. All my locos are DC so I have to get decoders for them and would like to know if I should get all the same brand.

 

 

 

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