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Functionality of Today's Technology In, Say, Twenty Years

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Functionality of Today's Technology In, Say, Twenty Years
Posted by Attuvian on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 1:41 PM

None of us are getting younger.  We will be leaving our treasured collections, stashes, and inventories of everything but (perhaps) our layouts to others.  Of all the possible recipients (including a dumpster Crying - BUT NOT BY MY DESIGN!), I'm considering leaving it to my grandson who just turned 14 and delights to do ops at the club when he's in town.

If the locos were all DC, he would be able to run them twenty years from now on what then might be an archaic but still available powering technology.  Perhaps the more interesting issue would be the useability of DCC locos.  I am projecting in this scenario that there may well be a gap of a decade or so before he has the wherewithall to haul them out of storage and put them into service.

Put on your thinking caps and project what a fistful of Genesis and Stewart/Kato Geeps and F units with non-sound TCS decoders will face then.  This exercise in imagination will hopefully be more positive than where most of our imagination is tending currently. Wink

John

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Posted by wjstix on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 1:53 PM

Well FWIW over the weekend I converted a Bachmann GP-30 engine I bought in 1988 to sound. Since it's a diesel, I took the easy route and shopped around and found a current 'state of the art' (can motor, DCC/sound with factory 1" speaker in the fuel tank etc.) for a bargain price and swapped bodies.

I suspect, even if your diesels might internally be 'old fogies' in the 2030's, your grandson could probably do something like that then.

Too bad installing brand new innards in old bodies doesn't work for model railroaders....

Wink

Stix
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Posted by tstage on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 2:07 PM

Attuvian,

A DCC locomotive can always be converted back to DC, if needed.  And whatever technological changes are in, say - 20 years, a Stewart F-unit will still be a very viable contender because it operates so smoothly.

And who knows?  Maybe the next technological leap forward in MRRing will be backwards compatible with DCC - i.e. should DCC ever be supplanted.

To me - a smooth operating locomotive is the most important ingredient.  And it's not contingent on what operating system you use...or will use in the future.

Tom

http://www.newyorkcentralmodeling.com

Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 2:14 PM

DCC has already been around more than 25 years now. I don't think it's going anywhere.

                                    --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 2:39 PM

I still use Windows XP on my desktop.  It works fine.  It does everything I want, and also things later versions of the OS can't handle anymore.  Windows XP came out in 2001.

My layout was started about 15 years ago, but I had trains long before that.  The rolling stock is mostly running fine and has been easily upgraded to modern standards.  Locomotives have been either discarded (a few) or converted to dummies.  The motors simply did not fare well after 40 years in attics.  I gave up on the old motors, but before I did, I installed decoders and got them sort-of running.  Easy job.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 3:05 PM

rrinker

DCC has already been around more than 25 years now. I don't think it's going anywhere.

                                    --Randy 

Breaking news!

newspaper-2.jpg

Alton Junction

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Posted by Attuvian on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 3:32 PM

richhotrain

rrinker

DCC has already been around more than 25 years now. I don't think it's going anywhere.

                                    --Randy  

 

Breaking news!

 

newspaper-2.jpg

 

 
Ha, ha!  That is rich - Rich. Geeked
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Posted by Bayfield Transfer Railway on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 3:44 PM

rrinker

DCC has already been around more than 25 years now. I don't think it's going anywhere.

                                    --Randy



^What he said.

The DCC standard was voted on over 25 years ago, and the system that would become what we call DCC was invented over 30 years ago.  And those original decoders will still work today.  Maybe not with all the bells and whistles (har de har har), but with speed and direction control.

 

Disclaimer:  This post may contain humor, sarcasm, and/or flatulence.

Michael Mornard

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Posted by Bayfield Transfer Railway on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 3:46 PM

richhotrain

 

 
rrinker

DCC has already been around more than 25 years now. I don't think it's going anywhere.

                                    --Randy 

 

 

Breaking news!

 

newspaper-2.jpg

 



...you have too much time on your hands.

Big Smile

Disclaimer:  This post may contain humor, sarcasm, and/or flatulence.

Michael Mornard

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Posted by betamax on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 3:55 PM

Well Unix has been around for like 50 years, and it is still going strong.  Most of the basic internet protocols we use everyday were probably developed and in use before MS-DOS appeared.

Since most of DCC is based around software, there is no reason to believe it will disappear any time soon, although some of the electronic components may fail over time for their own reasons.

Systems that are heavily dependant on specific pieces of hardware may be a problem when the parts needed to build them cease production.  But you can still get 6502 and 68000 processors today, should you have an application for a CPU which is 40+ years old.

Since DCC is not a sole source item like many of the past command control systems, someone will always be around to supply the need. After all, you can build a command station around an RPi.

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Posted by dknelson on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 6:11 PM

Attuvian

 

 
richhotrain

rrinker

DCC has already been around more than 25 years now. I don't think it's going anywhere.

                                    --Randy  

 

Breaking news!

 

newspaper-2.jpg

 

 

 
Ha, ha!  That is rich - Rich. Geeked
 

 

OK guys - I know this link has been posted before in these Forums, but not for years, so here it is again.

Hitler's views on DCC.  Not to be missed.  Warning: strong language

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2umTTPFfiiY

PS: I think the OP's problems are easily resolved by putting full instructions for the youngster on long-lasting floppy discs.

Dave Nelson

 

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 6:23 PM

I never get tired of watching that video. At the moment, tears of laughter are dripping onto my keyboard. LOL x LOL

There is actually a free editing app on the Internet to make your own Downfall video. A few years back, I made one and sent it to the head pro at my golf club. It dealt with Hitler's over-the-top, outside-in golf swing, an off-handed bit of humor about my own swing problems. 

Rich

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Posted by Attuvian on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 6:37 PM

Dave,

That was just too, too much!  My wife must have been wondering why I was cracking up here in our home office.  I'm glad she didn't ask - she'd have just rolled her eyes.  What movie did it come from?  I've seen about all the WWII movies that have come along, but apparently there's one that escaped my notice.

(BTW, it's my nature to leave notes on this kind of stuff.  But he's so tech-savvy already, he probably wouldn't need them.  Zounds, where did these kids pick up their flair for this tech stuff?  Must be something they've been adding to school lunches.  Surely it's from nothing that we old fogies passed along by genetics!)

John

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 7:06 PM

dknelson
PS: I think the OP's problems are easily resolved by putting full instructions for the youngster on long-lasting floppy discs.

LaughLaughLaughLaughLaugh

Thanks,

Dave

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Posted by Attuvian on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 7:26 PM

hon30critter
dknelson
PS: I think the OP's problems are easily resolved by putting full instructions for the youngster on long-lasting floppy discs.

LaughLaughLaughLaughLaugh

Thanks,

Dave

 
Oops!!  Sorry, Dave.  I just picked up on the floppies comment.  Must be going into brain starvation from watchng the news.  On the other hand, the grandson's too young to remember even those square plastic thingies, let alone floppies.
 
I always have wondered if aliens would be able to gather any information from the technology that we'll leave behind - or that disc that was included on Voyager, as I recall.  (And don't get me going on the first Star Trek movie: too long and boring compared to the ones that followed.  I think they were trying to channel "2001, A Space Odessey" and came up short.)
 
John
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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 8:12 PM

 You don't even need something as powerful as a Rasp-Pi to make a command station - an simple 8 bit Arduino can be one as well - that's DCC++. 

 A popular DCC system uses a Z80 8 bit CPU.

                                --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 SeeYou190 on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 8:22 PM

tstage
And it's not contingent on what operating system you use...or will use in the future. Tom

Tom: Good to see you back. Your presence has been missed.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 8:23 PM

richhotrain
There is actually a free editing app on the Internet to make your own Downfall video.

Ah yes, "Hitler Reaction" videos are priceless. My friend Lt Col. Jones made one of Hitler reacting to Kevin winning a game of Axis And Allies. It was great, and actually got a few thousand views. That was surprising because I am sure nobody knows who I am or how much dice hate me when I play A&A.

Attuvian
I've seen about all the WWII movies that have come along, but apparently there's one that escaped my notice.

Downfall is a great movie. It was quite controversial when it was released. It was made by a German director and there was a lot of displeasure with showing the "human" side of Hitler instead of just portraying him as the monster he was.

It has actually improved over time, and is worth watching. the scenes with the children manning the guns to defend Berlin are very powerful.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by FlattenedQuarter on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 8:53 PM

I'm guessing in 20 yrs you will be able to have period appropriate hobos running alongside your train and jumping on board, engineers waving as theygo by, people riding unicycles,scale planes and helicopters circling overhead and drones delivering goods

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Posted by Attuvian on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 9:58 PM

SeeYou190
Downfall is a great movie. . . . .

-Kevin

 
Thanks, Kevin.  Was it in English or auf Deutsch?
 
I'll try to pull it off Netflix or Amazon Prime.  It's not as though I don't have time on my hands.  Why, this is becoming strange for use of time even being retired!
 
Hang in there in Florida; what's left of the Spring Breakers (there may be a pun there) are about to vacate the state.
 
John
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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 10:12 PM

John, the movie is filmed in German with English subtitles. It is an outstanding movie with a highly accurate portrayal of the real events of the time. The screenplay is based on books by historian Joachim Fest and Hitler's personal secretary Traudl Junge.

Rich

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Posted by gregc on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 11:46 PM

Attuvian
Functionality of Today's Technology In, Say, Twenty Years

Perhaps the more interesting issue would be the useability of DCC locos.

Put on your thinking caps and project what a fistful of Genesis and Stewart/Kato Geeps and F units with non-sound TCS decoders will face then.

the interfaces (DCC, WIFI, bluetooth) between equipment will more likely survive while some hardware becomes obsolete or less economical.

will small economical wifi/bluetooth decoders become more prevalent while coexisting with DCC

unless batteries become smaller, still likely to need power on the rails and the need for auto-reversers, frog juicers and circuit breakers or bulbs.  But smaller batteries could be a game changer.

it seems there may be substantual improvements for layout accessory control but i'm learning it's not essential

but will the tech-saviness of modelers improve to be able to take advantage of improvements?

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by selector on Thursday, March 26, 2020 3:20 PM

I hope we can find something better than caps to keep our DCC engines running smoothly.  I would like to see them converted to on-board power maintained by the intermittent pickup from charged rails, just as the rails are now.  But other than that, I agree with those saying if it works well today, only broken components will limit their utility in 20-30 years.  I could see the architecture changing, and of course the mechanisms themselves as someone engineers improved drives and materials.  The tooling for the shells and such is really quite excellent.  Look at what Scale Trains and Rapido are doing with their models.

Also, we should all hope that the hobby benefits from reductions in costs over time while still keeping up good details and function.  That will help to keep the hobby established, even if on a somewhat diminished scale over time...something I have always felt would be the case.  

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Posted by Bayfield Transfer Railway on Thursday, March 26, 2020 10:20 PM

KDKA in Pittsburg started transmitting commerical radio 100 years ago.  They're still in existence, and if you had a working 100 year old radio in range, it would still pick up the signal.

 

Disclaimer:  This post may contain humor, sarcasm, and/or flatulence.

Michael Mornard

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, March 27, 2020 7:23 AM

 We need another order of magnitude breakthrough in battery technology to get on-board power without 'battery cars' or using a dummy unit as the battery pack. It's just about doable with larger steam locos in HO today. N scale is pretty much out, and forget Z. Even with a new battery technology with sya double the power density of li-ion, that MIGHT make N possible for larger locos, but still no dice for Z scale. 

 What I do find interesting is that for the longest time, there was no such thing as a stay alive capacitor, and we got along fine. Someone invents them, and suddenly we can't do without them? Hogwash. I have yet to have an issue that would require such a device, on two different layouts built with sound decoders in use, and the problem on the club layout is something that should have been fixed a long time ago, namely the loose fitter sections between the older modules. The newer ones with the rails run to the edges which just butt up against one another when connected don;t have any problems with locos crossing the gaps. The fitter sections - those were aproblem long before the layout was converted to DCC. DC locos lost power and the lights blinks as well. At least two diesles were ALWAYS required for any train to run reliable as one of the two would always die crossing the gaps - that's not a control system fault, that's a track design issue. 

                                        --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 mbinsewi on Friday, March 27, 2020 8:18 AM

rrinker
What I do find interesting is that for the longest time, there was no such thing as a stay alive capacitor, and we got along fine. Someone invents them, and suddenly we can't do without them?

My thoughts, exactly.  None of my locos have these.  Probably the next generation of decoders will have it, if they don't already.

Mike.

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, March 27, 2020 8:43 AM

 I have one loco that came with one already installed. ANd it just firther reinforces my desire to NOT use them - as this little loco runs on and on and on when lifted off the track. Enough to roll off the workbench at least twice on a charge. There is ZERO need for something like that. If your track is so dirty the loco needs to be able to run for 30 seconds without power, you have bigger problems. Note too that it's just going to continue at the last commanded speed and direction, it's not controllable.

 If I DO need a stay alive for something, it will be connected to my standard Loksound decoder and I will use the Loksound 3 wire type of stay alive. Why? Because the 3 wire type allows you to control how long it actually provides power. Instead of "until the capacitor runs out of power" which can be a long time with a low current motor, it runs for however long you configure it - 5 seconds seems like more than enough time to get past a speck of dirt on the track. The 3 wire type also allows the decoder to turn it off when on the program track.

 I think Lenz may be the only other one that uses the 3 wire stay alive system.

 I can think of better uses for supercapacitor circuits - like lighting in passenger cars and markers on a caboose. Flicker free and no batteries to worry about leaking all over the inside of your nice model.

                                            --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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