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Track signals on my NCE DCC layout

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Track signals on my NCE DCC layout
Posted by timber2 on Tuesday, March 16, 2010 12:56 PM

The second strongest feature on my HO, steam era, around the walls double track code 83 layout, is the signals (trains are my strongest feature). I've been studying "Introduction to North American Railway Signaling", "Railroad Signaling by Brian Solomon", and "Realistic Model Railroad Pperation". I've collected N. J. I. 1212, 1213, 1214; Tomar No. H-880,886, & 845CO; and Atlas Type G Double Target.

I'm Using Tortoise turnout motors wired to control panel, not DCC decoder controled.

For a standard siding signal arrangement I intend to have 3 signals at each end, as indicated in the literature. I prefer to use rail detection rather than infrared detection. Can someone help me with the wiring, or any other advise. HELP!

timber

 

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Posted by jrbernier on Tuesday, March 16, 2010 1:12 PM

Timber,

NJ International & Tomar are wired the same, but the Atlas signal are wired with the opposite common, so you will need to allow for that.  There are several companies that make signal logic:

http://www.logicrailtech.com/

http://www.wsaeng.com/Signaling_Solution/

  Both of the above have complete track detection systems for driving you signals.  Be aware that you will need detection wheelsets to detect a complete train.

  IR detection will work as well, if it has good entrance/exit logic.  South Bend Signal has a good system if you want to seperate the track power from the signaling:

http://www.sbsignal.com/

  Be aware that a working signal system can be very expensive.  I have about $450 invested in my 8 blocks of ABS signals.  The signals just may be inexpensive part.  You also need 'detection' and 'control logic' to make this all work.

  You can also use the Digitrax signal boards/Loconet(will work 'stand-alone' with NCE) and a computer running JMRI - Panel Pro.  The software is free.

Jim

Modeling BNSF  and Milwaukee Road in SW Wisconsin

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, March 16, 2010 2:08 PM

 You can also use the Digitrax detectors with signal boards from Team Digital or CML with no computer required. There are also other options like products from RR-CirKits for detection adn signal control, some of which will require a computer and some which can be compeltely programmed and then oeprate standalone.

 This is quite common, since the NCE system really was never designed to handle signalling as well as train control on the cab bus. The Digitrax Loconet bus can do it all, but ther needs to be one device to act as the 'master' (which really means it jsut needs to supply the current for the data bus), the Digitrax detectors boards can do this, as well as the RR-CirKits Locobuffer computer interface. Any Digitrax command station also provides this function, but to implement a detection and signalling system you don;t need a Digitrax command station. What's also great is there are multiple suppliers of compatible devices, not just Digitrax themselves. CML has a complete line of deivces, as does Team Digital and RR-CirKits. ANd there are plenty of DIY projects - I use a homemade version of the Locobuffer and I/O cards from Hans DeLoof.

 Another option is the C/MRI system designed by Bruce Chubb. It's a good solid system but seems much more expensive for equivalent numbers of detection sections and signal heads vs. a Loconet based system.

 If you don't mind using a computer to handle the logic, there are several ways to go. JMRI is free and can do darn near everything - you can even hook u two interfaces, one to the Loconet signalling system and one to your NCE system and use it to both operate the signals via Loconet and program locos via NCE. RR&Co is (not inexpensive) commercial software but as such it is a bit more 'polished' than JMRI and at least for setting up all the signal logic, probably a little 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 gandydancer19 on Tuesday, March 16, 2010 6:14 PM

 There are different systems that can be used on a model RR.  This link contains some information and other links that may be helpful to you in your search for a system.

http://www.waynes-trains.com/site/Signals/Model-Railroad-Signaling.html

EDIT - The above link is the latest one.

Elmer.

The above is my opinion, from an active and experienced Model Railroader in N scale and HO since 1961.

(Modeling Freelance, Eastern US, HO scale, in 1962, with NCE DCC for locomotive control and a stand alone LocoNet for block detection and signals.) http://waynes-trains.com/ at home, and N scale at the Club.

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Posted by swendt on Friday, February 10, 2012 10:37 AM

Pardon me Randy, but I believe you may have misspoke...

NCE was in fact designed to have a very robust signal system that overlaid the train control on the cab bus. It was designed to function as a second accessory overlay.  Its functional design is similar to Team Digital in that it would allow for ABS control without any computer support or user input required, or it could be fully integrated into a JMRI type application for a full CTC dispatcher application and anything in between. It also would be vastly cheaper at around $15 per signal head!

The problem is that the NMRA still has not approved the Signal Command Proposal made by NCE. (source: Mark Gurries)  (Unless you can show me a link approving the NCE proposal.) The signal commands would be "signal aspect" commands" using DCC Accessory packets.  NMRA 9.2.1 D mentions signal aspect development but doesn't approve of the standard packet protocol. So, in the meantime, my PowerPro continues to have a whole series of menus on my throttle for programming signals on the main that I can't use because the hardware has not been approved.

Of course, if this were approved, it would mean an end to the $1000s people currently have to spend for working signals and the loconet Monopoly.

 

Tags: NCE , NMRA
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Posted by Stourbridge Lion on Friday, February 10, 2012 11:25 AM

swendt - Welcome to Trains.com! Cowboy

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, February 10, 2012 7:45 PM

 I think you're confusing NCE and Digitrax. The NCE polled serial bus can;t EVER handle the data volume that Loconet can.There's even a 63 cab limit, and each cab has to have a unique address, plus some of those numbers are reserved for certain functions. The input options that htere are for NCE, like the AIU, take one of those addresses and can mosstly just trigger macros. A computer plugged into the PH Pro can't see what's on the cab bus, it can only query the command station.

 Loconet is a peer to peer network, sort of like Ethernet only slower. There is no need for a device address, just a DCC address for anythign controlled (like accessory decoders). A coonnected computer can see and act on anything - including an operator pressing a function key on a throttle.

 Most NCE users, when goign to signals, use either C/MRI or install a standalone Loconet (no Digitrax command station) as a signal bus and install products from Digitrax, Team Digital, RR-CirKits, CML, and others for track detection and signal control.

                     --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 swendt on Friday, February 10, 2012 9:09 PM

Randy,

You don't understand the proposal put forth by NCE. The proposal to allow extended signal packeting would allow the NCE signal system to use the track bus, NOT THE CAB BUS and allow everything to just have a DCC accessory address. It would eliminate the need for things like AIUs because detectors would be integrated into the accessories. The current accessory protocols support up to 2044 addresses and are NOT limited to 63 cabs.

To repeat, with the SIG12 and proposed protocol, signal control is NOT ON THE CAB BUS! The wiring would be much simpler because everything would connect to the track and use DCC packets.

I think the problem is that the NMRA hasn't given serious consideration to allow NCE to develop its extended accessory bus because its too busy working on its own NMRAnet proposal.  As a result we all have this extensive range of accessory control riding on the DCC Track bus that goes underutilized because the NMRA hasn't allowed the extended packeting protocol development to advance.

 You should really read some of NRMA 9.2.1 and 9.5.1 and the NCE information pages from people like Mr. Gurries before dismissing someone.

-Scott

 

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Posted by CSX Robert on Saturday, February 11, 2012 1:42 AM

swendt

Randy,

You don't understand the proposal put forth by NCE. The proposal to allow extended signal packeting would allow the NCE signal system to use the track bus, NOT THE CAB BUS and allow everything to just have a DCC accessory address. It would eliminate the need for things like AIUs because detectors would be integrated into the accessories. The current accessory protocols support up to 2044 addresses and are NOT limited to 63 cabs.

To repeat, with the SIG12 and proposed protocol, signal control is NOT ON THE CAB BUS! The wiring would be much simpler because everything would connect to the track and use DCC packets.

...

You would still need the cab bus or some other additional bus to get the occupancy detection information to the computer or whatever else you have controlling the signals.

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Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, February 11, 2012 4:20 AM

Stourbridge Lion

swendt - Welcome to Trains.com! Cowboy

No offense SL, but is this really necessary every time a new guy shows up on the Forums?

Rich

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Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, February 11, 2012 4:25 AM

swendt

Randy,

 You should really read some of NRMA 9.2.1 and 9.5.1 and the NCE information pages from people like Mr. Gurries before dismissing someone.

-Scott

 

Scott,

You may be right.  You may be wrong.

But one thing is for certain.  You are dead wrong in signing onto the Forum, just to jump on Randy.  I don't see or read where he is dismissing anyone.

Rich

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Posted by mobilman44 on Saturday, February 11, 2012 8:54 AM

Swendt,

I second Richhotrains comments.  

While I honestly can't say Mr. Rinker is right or wrong, I can say that his opinions and expertise on MR subjects is HIGHLY respected on this Forum.

I urge you to utilize some tact and diplomacy when expressing your views, which will get you a lot further with the Forum's populace. 

All that being said, what possibly brought you to bringing up this very old post - in a very negative manner?   Surely there are more current topics here that you could address without bashing other posters.   

 

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

Living in southeast Texas, modeling the "postwar" Santa Fe and Illinois Central 

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Posted by maxman on Saturday, February 11, 2012 10:54 AM

mobilman44

Swendt,

I second Richhotrains comments.  

While I honestly can't say Mr. Rinker is right or wrong, I can say that his opinions and expertise on MR subjects is HIGHLY respected on this Forum.

 

All that being said, what possibly brought you to bringing up this very old post - in a very negative manner?   Surely there are more current topics here that you could address without bashing other posters.   

 

I'm sorry, but I find that I must disagree with both you and richhotrains.  Swendt's original post started out with "pardon me, but...".  In my opinion there is nothing disrespectful about this.  I did not read anything in that post or the follow up that would lead me to believe bashing was intended.

Concerning the old post, I didn't realize that there was a statute of limitations.  I'm by nature not a trusting individual, but until proven otherwise I find it difficult to believe that someone would  search old posts just to find one where he could single out another individual to "bash".  Besides, if someone feels that new information is warranted concerning an older post, why start a new one?  And might not the new information be beneficial to all of us?

I also find it interesting that both of you state that you don't know if Swendt's posts were right or wrong, yet find a way to discredit what he says by criticizing his approach to making his point.  And I don't think that it is necessary for any of us here to defend Randy.  I read what he says, and I know that he knows more than I, and a lot of others, on topics electrical.  He's more than capable of defending his own positions.  And again, if some useful discussion results, that benefits us all.

Finally, it is my opinion that your comment "I urge you to utilize some tact and diplomacy when expressing your views, which will get you a lot further with the Forum's populace" is an unnecessary shot across the bows.  There are a couple other guys that post to this particular forum that don't even know how to spell those words.

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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, February 11, 2012 11:28 AM

 I hadn't seen the new proposal for additional traffic on the NMRA standard side of the equation (which shoudl then work with ANY DCC system, not just NCE), however there is no easy way to make the DCC track bus bi-directional without making major changes. Digitrax has had that for years with their Transponding which sort of works, and Lenz has theirs which they gave to the NMRA but in some ways is even worse as far as modifications - it REQUIRES the command station to stop sending packets for a period of time to allow the decoders to respond back. Only Lenz command stations even have this feature today, and as far as I know Lenz and TCS are soem fo the only oens making decoders that can handle Railcom. On the Transponding side, only Digitrax has actual transponding decoders, and only SOundtraxx decoders are truly comptible with it (ie, run locos with some other brands of decoders and transponding fails).

 This just isn;t practical, at least not with anyone's proposal so far, without a radical change to the DCC track signal. For one-way com for a signal display, there's no need for any changes, the existing accessory command protocols are sufficient, but to report back block occupancy states, forget it. Honestly? Sounds like NCE trying to figure out a way around the shortcomings of their cab bus. If block occupancy reports came back via the track bus and not the cab bus, then that information could be stored inside the command station and read by a computer interface, unlike information fed in via the cab bus.

 Perhaps DCC-Next with be designed from the ground up as a bi-directional protocol. However that will be a completely new standard and for the most aprt incompatible with current DCC standards. So once again a massive shift - but this time the affected installed base is many times larger what it was back in the pre-standard days of command control systems.

 And yes I also know about the NCE signal controllers that have their own bus - great, so now I need a track bus, a command bus for additonal boosters, a cab bus for throttles, and a signal bus for the signal system. I thought the point of DCC was simplified wiring? With Digitrax thre are but two - track bus and Loconet, which handles boosters, throttles, and detection and signalling.

 ANd I will finish up by saying the only alternative to Digitrax I ever even considered was NCE< because it too is expandable and actually does pretty much everything you could want. In the end it was Loconet and the peer to peer nature of the bus that swayed me, along with the huge choice of third party and DIY options for devices to connect. I've built and used some of the DIY options, my one computer interface is the Hans DeLoof version of the Locobuffer, and I have a couple of Hans' LocoIO board I built to play around with input and output connections. Right now there's a guy on the Loconet Hackers Yahoo group working on a rather interesting discrete signal that you woudl just plug in to Loconet, however I have a feeling the final cost of components will be a bit high per signal since a microcontroller capable of handling lots of signals is only a few cents more than one with just enough ports for one signal. Kind of like the Hare decoder for Tortoises. It's convenient, but for a few bucks more you can build the same thing but have it capable of running say 8 Tortoises, it would just be a standalone board though and not something that conveniently clips on the Tortoise.

                      --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 richhotrain on Saturday, February 11, 2012 11:59 AM

maxman

I also find it interesting that both of you state that you don't know if Swendt's posts were right or wrong, yet find a way to discredit what he says by criticizing his approach to making his point. 

maxman,

My comment was in no way intended to discredit what he said.

My objection was to the statement, "You should really read some of NRMA 9.2.1 and 9.5.1 and the NCE information pages from people like Mr. Gurries before dismissing someone".

That was only his second post on the forum, and both posts were in response to a 2-year old thread.  A lot could have changed in that amount of time to alter Randy's earlier statement.  Why not just provide updated information instead of singling someone out like that?

Rich

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Posted by mfm37 on Saturday, February 11, 2012 12:01 PM

I'm just wondering why NCE would need to wait for the NMRA's blessings? Develop it, build it, sell it. Corner the market and everyone will be buying their product. If demand goes past their ability  to produce, license it.

Martin Myers

.

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Posted by gandydancer19 on Tuesday, February 14, 2012 1:07 PM

mfm37

I'm just wondering why NCE would need to wait for the NMRA's blessings? Develop it, build it, sell it. Corner the market and everyone will be buying their product. If demand goes past their ability  to produce, license it.

Martin Myers

.

I'm an NCE user and I think NCE missed the boat on that one.  Digitrax did a great job with their SE8C signal board and I decide to use that.

Elmer.

The above is my opinion, from an active and experienced Model Railroader in N scale and HO since 1961.

(Modeling Freelance, Eastern US, HO scale, in 1962, with NCE DCC for locomotive control and a stand alone LocoNet for block detection and signals.) http://waynes-trains.com/ at home, and N scale at the Club.

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