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Switching from DCC to DC

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Posted by Bayfield Transfer Railway on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 8:59 PM

Decoders don't cost that much, especially if you don't need lots of fancy lights and sound.  As in, probably less than $25.

And it would be a LOT less farting around.

 

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

Michael Mornard

Bringing the North Woods to South Dakota!

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 8:38 PM

 Right, it's not exactly straightforward wiring to get two dead section on either side of the switchable section. You need 6 poles, so it would probably end up being a rotary switch, 2 position, 6 pole. The dead section on the DCC side switches between DCC or dead, the dead section on the DC side switches between dead and DC, and the interchange yard switches between DCC and DC.

Or you could just install the decoder and call it a day. Big Smile  Plus then the Heisler could make a tour of the rest of the layout once in a while.

                                  --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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Posted by RR_Mel on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 6:57 PM

I revised my original drawing to make it easier to see the wiring.
 
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Mel
 
 
 
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Posted by John-NYBW on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 5:31 PM

rrinker

What you don't want is ==DCC====|====DC== anywhere. Toggle switch or no toggle switch, it's too easy to overrun the gaps, and with cars with metal wheels, or a loco, this will connect the two systems and SOMETHING will fry.

A dead section in this case means that when the interchange is switched to DC< it looks somethign like this:

==DCC===|<no power>|===DC==|====DC=======

So that even if you do run past the gap, it won; link DC and DCC.

ANd when you finish with the DC loco and switch the interchange back to DCC, it looks liek this:

=====DCC====|==DCC==|===<dead>==|===DC===

where the | are gaps in both rails.

                                     --Randy

 

 

OK, if I am understanding you, you are saying when the interchange yard is operating in DC mode, there should be an unpowered gap between the interchange yard and the DCC section of the layout which would require a dead section at both ends. When the interchange yard is switched to DCC mode, those dead sections would then be powered onto the DCC system and at the same time there would be a dead section between the interchange yard and the DC portion of the layout. Both the switchable DCC and DC sections could not be powered at the same time. That would certainly be the safer way to go but sounds like a lot more complex wiring set up then the simple DPDT switch I envisioned. I think I'd prefer to just go with the simple set up knowing the danger involved. The DC Heisler is only going to make one entry into the interchange yard each operating session and it would require me to flip the switch each time it did and then flip it back once it exits. I still haven't decided on whether to go with this or bite the bullet and try to solder a decoder into the Heisler. 

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 1:06 PM

What you don't want is ==DCC====|====DC== anywhere. Toggle switch or no toggle switch, it's too easy to overrun the gaps, and with cars with metal wheels, or a loco, this will connect the two systems and SOMETHING will fry.

A dead section in this case means that when the interchange is switched to DC< it looks somethign like this:

==DCC===|<no power>|===DC==|====DC=======

So that even if you do run past the gap, it won; link DC and DCC.

ANd when you finish with the DC loco and switch the interchange back to DCC, it looks liek this:

=====DCC====|==DCC==|===<dead>==|===DC===

where the | are gaps in both rails.

                                     --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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Posted by mbinsewi on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 12:33 PM

John-NYBW
Perhaps we are arguing over the semantics of what a "dead section" is. To me it is a section of track that is not powered at all. It sounds to me as if some are using "dead section" to indicate a section of track that is switchable from DC to DCC with a center off position on the switch to make it dead. If that is the definition, that is what I had in mind. The interchange yard and runaround tracks could be switched from either DC or DCC depending on which loco was using them. 

Yep!  That's what most of us are talking about.  A section of track that can be switched either way, or OFF.

John-NYBW
Some seem to be suggesting is the DC loco push cars onto an unpowered interchange track and a DCC loco pull them off the other end of the unpowered track.

Yes, that has been mentioned by some, because of the misunderstanding on just EXACTLY you want to do, and to caution against DC meeting DCC and visa-versa.

So, that clears up the confussion once and for all ?  Yes?   

So isolate track joints, and install controls ( DPDT's or whatever) how ever you need to make what you want work.

One thing we ALL had a concern about is the co-mingling of DC/DCC.  That's all, just trying to make sure we were clear on that, and that you understood.

Good luck with your project John, let us know how things work out! Yes

Mike

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Posted by John-NYBW on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 12:18 PM

rrinker

 The only other option then would seem to be to make the approaches to the yard at each end the dead sections, when the switch is flipped to DC, then the yard and the approach from the lumber side with the Heisler is powered by DC, the approach from the rest of the layout would be dead, and beyond that the rest of the layout would be DCC. When flipped to DCC, the layout side approach and the yard would be powered by DCC, and the approach from the lumber side would be dead.

 This just all seems WAY more complicated than just putting a decoder in the loco. The referenced issue of MRH shows the install in pictures, it's free to get. There's a lot of misinformation out there about older Rivarossi locos. The late 70's/early 80's ones were much improved over the early/mid 60's ones when it comes to the motor. They may not be Kato good but they are at least as good as anything Athearn was making at the time and far beyond the typical Tyco/Life Like/Bachmann of the era it isn't funny. Some have issues with the accuracy of the model, saying they are horribly oversized, but it looks the part and generally runs fine.

                                          --Randy

 

Perhaps we are arguing over the semantics of what a "dead section" is. To me it is a section of track that is not powered at all. It sounds to me as if some are using "dead section" to indicate a section of track that is switchable from DC to DCC with a center off position on the switch to make it dead. If that is the definition, that is what I had in mind. The interchange yard and runaround tracks could be switched from either DC or DCC depending on which loco was using them. 

The suggestion that there be a dead section of track that isn't wired isn't feasible with my track arrangement. Some seem to be suggesting is the DC loco push cars onto an unpowered interchange track and a DCC loco pull them off the other end of the unpowered track. That won't work for me. The DC loco is going to be on the lead entering the interchange section so it can't shove cars. DCC locos will make pick ups traveling in either direction. The interchange is nothing more than the main, the runaround track, and a spur track for the cars to be interchanged. It will sometimes require facing point pick ups and setouts which is why the runaround track is needed. If I choose not to put in a decoder, all three of these tracks will have to be switchable from DC to DCC.

I'm sure there are lots of modelers who are skilled with a soldering iron who think it is no big deal to open up a loco and solder the connections for a loco. To me and I'd bet other, soldering is a skill I just have never been very good at and when I open up a loco, there is a real chance I am going to do some damage. I destroyed one decoder when I broke off a terminal tab. I recently broke off a tiny receptacle on a Bachmann Consolidation. It had nothing to to with soldering but it is a reason I don't like to open up a loco and mess with the electronics. A number of locos I have converted had plug in decoders and I am OK with that. If I have to solder connections, that is a real task.  

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 7:27 AM

 The only other option then would seem to be to make the approaches to the yard at each end the dead sections, when the switch is flipped to DC, then the yard and the approach from the lumber side with the Heisler is powered by DC, the approach from the rest of the layout would be dead, and beyond that the rest of the layout would be DCC. When flipped to DCC, the layout side approach and the yard would be powered by DCC, and the approach from the lumber side would be dead.

 This just all seems WAY more complicated than just putting a decoder in the loco. The referenced issue of MRH shows the install in pictures, it's free to get. There's a lot of misinformation out there about older Rivarossi locos. The late 70's/early 80's ones were much improved over the early/mid 60's ones when it comes to the motor. They may not be Kato good but they are at least as good as anything Athearn was making at the time and far beyond the typical Tyco/Life Like/Bachmann of the era it isn't funny. Some have issues with the accuracy of the model, saying they are horribly oversized, but it looks the part and generally runs fine.

                                          --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 Wednesday, February 26, 2020 7:23 AM

One track, or the other, or both the main and runaround, are going to need to be switchable.

Where is the change from one to the other supposed the take place?  Use a section of track that's already there.

Nobodies talking about rearanging anything, we are just interested in what you have, and what you want to do.

Overhaul answer to your original question..YES you can.  figure out where you can put.

Mike.

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Posted by John-NYBW on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 6:14 AM

RR_Mel

It would help if you would post a drawing showing the problem area.
 
 
 

It wouldn't help me and there is no problem area. It is a simple interchange yard that requires a runaround move by locos on both the branch and the main. I started the thread to ask whether or not it would be feasible to use a switchable section of track rather than convert an older loco to DCC. Those are the only two options I am considering. I'm not interested in rearranging track or changing the operating scheme. 

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Posted by John-NYBW on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 6:06 AM

mbinsewi

OK, so you make the runaround track the switchable track.  I guess that answers my question.  

 

 
John-NYBW
A dead section is not going to get rid of that requirement.

 

I get that, but you will be using the runaround track, so there is your "dead" section, and "switchable" track, in one.

Mike.

 

You can't have a dead section on

mbinsewi

OK, so you make the runaround track the switchable track.  I guess that answers my question.  

 

 
John-NYBW
A dead section is not going to get rid of that requirement.

 

I get that, but you will be using the runaround track, so there is your "dead" section, and "switchable" track, in one.

Mike.

 

 

You can't have a dead section on a runaround track.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Monday, February 24, 2020 7:59 PM

OK, so you make the runaround track the switchable track.  I guess that answers my question.  

John-NYBW
A dead section is not going to get rid of that requirement.

I get that, but you will be using the runaround track, so there is your "dead" section, and "switchable" track, in one.

Mike.

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Posted by RR_Mel on Monday, February 24, 2020 5:22 PM

It would help if you would post a drawing showing the problem area.
 
 
 
 
Mel
 
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
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I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by John-NYBW on Monday, February 24, 2020 5:15 PM

mbinsewi

I get what he wants to do, but he has me confused with the runaround track, making it sound like he might be trying to use both at once.

I think Larry's suggestion is trying to address what he wants, using his DCC loco to shove cars on to the DC track so the DC loco can couple to them, or visa-versa.

I'd sure like to see a track diagram of what he has, and what he wants, with the runaround track.

Mike.

 

No, they are not both going to use it at once but both need to use it. That means the runaround track has to be able to switch from DC to DCC and back. There's no getting around it. There has to be a section of track that is switchable. A dead section is not going to get rid of that requirement. 

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Posted by BRAKIE on Monday, February 24, 2020 2:36 PM

John-NYBW

 

 
BRAKIE

One solution would be a dead "interchange" secation-a 3" snap straight  section will work. All you need to do is shove your interchange cars to the DCC gap. A turnout would be required to have a place to put the inbound cars out of the way so,you can place the outboud cars on the interchange. This is a common interchange setup between short lines and their interchange road(s).

 

 

 

The operating scheme calls for the Heisler to come out of the switchback branch into the interchange yard leading the cars to be interchanged. The runaround track is part of he interchange yard. The mainline trains making setouts and dropoffs at that interchange will also use that runaround at times. Adding a second runaround to the switchback just isn't feasible. A dead section of track isn't really an option.  

 

To save headaches I would use a dead section.. Nothing wrong with a push/pull operation.

My Summerset Ry shoves the outbound cars to the NS interchange and places the inbound cars on a side track,then places the outbounds on the NS track for pickup.

We use a former CR caboose on these shoves so the conductor has a place to ride after all its a two mile trip.

Larry

Conductor.

Summerset Ry.


"Your first mistake may be your last!" Safety First!

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Posted by mbinsewi on Monday, February 24, 2020 2:04 PM

rrinker
 He's talking about sharing a track, not switchign the entire layout.

I get that Randy, and then he states he doesn't have room for a shared section, because of a runaround. Confused

Maybe we'll see a track plan for what he wants with the runaround.

Mike.

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, February 24, 2020 12:29 PM

 He's talking about sharing a track, not switchign the entire layout. ALl it taks is for a metal wheelset to bridge the gap and DC is conencted to DCC in that circumstance. Or either the DCC loco or the DC loco runs past the gap. Having the DPDT set so the interchange track is DC will not prevent a loco or cars being shoved fromt he DCC side into the interchange, or a DC loco or cars being shoved from the DC side into the DCC side.

Not much of a photo, and you have to click on it to actually see it because Photobucket, but here is an install in the old round motor Rivarossi Heisler:

http://www.railroadredux.com/2011/03/adding-dcc-to-a-rivarossi-heisler/

 October 2011 Page 32 of Model Railroad Hobbyist has a more detailed how to on adding DCC to the older models.

                                       --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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Posted by mbinsewi on Monday, February 24, 2020 12:27 PM

I get what he wants to do, but he has me confused with the runaround track, making it sound like he might be trying to use both at once.

I think Larry's suggestion is trying to address what he wants, using his DCC loco to shove cars on to the DC track so the DC loco can couple to them, or visa-versa.

I'd sure like to see a track diagram of what he has, and what he wants, with the runaround track.

Mike.

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Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, February 24, 2020 10:31 AM

John as far as I can you never said you wanted to run DC and DCC at the same time, yet many seemed concerned that you will manage to do that inspite of a center off DpDT switch.

I'm not sure how that system fails unless you have a loco chugging along on the keep alive power while you switch from DCC to DC.  The other way to do it is with a plugs or connectors.  Have a female connector for the bus and a male connector for each: DC and DCC. 

 

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by John-NYBW on Monday, February 24, 2020 10:14 AM

mbinsewi

 

 
John-NYBW
Having a dead section of track is not and option since runaround moves will be involved in the interchange. 

 

OK, thanks, I get what your saying about  the Heisler.  I don't understand not having a place for a "dead" track, that can switched either way, gets in the way of a runaround move?  You can't do a runaround move using both DC and DCC at the same time.

 

The point is that both the mainline and branchline have to use the runaround track in the interchange yard. That means I have to have a section of track that can operate in either DC or DCC mode if I choose not to convert the Heisler to DCC. I can't completely isolate the DC section from the rest of the layout. 

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Posted by John-NYBW on Monday, February 24, 2020 10:10 AM

BRAKIE

One solution would be a dead "interchange" secation-a 3" snap straight  section will work. All you need to do is shove your interchange cars to the DCC gap. A turnout would be required to have a place to put the inbound cars out of the way so,you can place the outboud cars on the interchange. This is a common interchange setup between short lines and their interchange road(s).

 

The operating scheme calls for the Heisler to come out of the switchback branch into the interchange yard leading the cars to be interchanged. The runaround track is part of he interchange yard. The mainline trains making setouts and dropoffs at that interchange will also use that runaround at times. Adding a second runaround to the switchback just isn't feasible. A dead section of track isn't really an option.  

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Posted by snjroy on Monday, February 24, 2020 7:02 AM

I always take the baby steps approach. I was in your shoes a few years ago, and my first step at this was to install a toggle switch that TOTALLY alternated the layout between DCC to DC. That worked until I learned how to convert most of my locos to DCC. My soldering skills improved as I practiced. I started on low-cost Mehano steam locos. Now that I am getting pretty good at this, I am gradually removing the decoders from my first installs to more expensive locos. I agree that the bulb is the most complicated part on the heisler . But with the baby-step approach, you don't need to install a new light right away. Early steam engines did not operate with their lamps on during the day anyway...

Simon

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Posted by BRAKIE on Monday, February 24, 2020 5:18 AM

One solution would be a dead "interchange" secation-a 3" snap straight  section will work. All you need to do is shove your interchange cars to the DCC gap. A turnout would be required to have a place to put the inbound cars out of the way so,you can place the outboud cars on the interchange. This is a common interchange setup between short lines and their interchange road(s).

Larry

Conductor.

Summerset Ry.


"Your first mistake may be your last!" Safety First!

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Posted by mbinsewi on Sunday, February 23, 2020 8:30 PM

John-NYBW
Having a dead section of track is not and option since runaround moves will be involved in the interchange. 

OK, thanks, I get what your saying about  the Heisler.  I don't understand not having a place for a "dead" track, that can switched either way, gets in the way of a runaround move?  You can't do a runaround move using both DC and DCC at the same time.

Maybe it would help if you could show a track diagram of what your doing.

Going either way with DCC and DC is very doable, but both can't be operating at the same time, UNLESS the DC has seperate power supply, and NO WAY is connected to the DCC power.

The idea is fine. each needs it's own isolated power supply.

My thoughts are, to do this hobby and make things work takes development of some skills.  Soldering is at the top of the list.

I guess I'm not totally understanding the situation.  A track plan would help.

Mike.

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Posted by rrinker on Sunday, February 23, 2020 7:56 PM

 There's no need to solder directly to the electronics of the decoder. You need one with wires, ni plug ont he end. These are actually the most inexpensive types of decoders. You solder wires (small, but still wires) to wires, not to the electronics. At least for the track input power, the motor output power, and lights front and rear. 

 A full size one might not fit, but they can also be had with a 9 pin plug. As such, you can set the electronic bit aside while soldering the wires, then plug it in. The TCS MC series have disconnectable plugs and are much smaller. The MC2 has a 7 pin plug and socket. You unplug the wiring harness while connecting it to the loco wiring, and then plug the decoder in after it's all done. 

 As it's the older model, it probably has incandescent bulbs for the headlight. You would probably want to replace those with LEDs and resistors, because the hot light bulb will possibly melt the plastic around the headlight housing. That's the most complicated part of the whole thing.

                          --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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Posted by John-NYBW on Sunday, February 23, 2020 6:25 PM

mbinsewi

Has long has that switchable section of track is off, no problem. 

If your going to change to DC ops, why even have a DCC loco on that track?  Keep it on the DCC track, or remove it from the layout.

If you move the DCC loco on to the powered DC track, problems!

Isn't there a "drop in " decoder for your loco?  Have you checked decoder sites like TCS? or even Digitrax?

Is your loco a Spectrum consolidated?

I just looked at Ed's link to the TCS install of a decoder in your Heisler, it doesn't get any easier!  The decoder plugs in.  It probably takes longer to open up the loco than it does to install the decoder.

 

The logging branch interchanges with the mainline so there has to be a section where both the DC and DCC locomotives can operate although not at the same time. Having a dead section of track is not and option since runaround moves will be involved in the interchange. 

The Heisler is an older Rivarossi. They now make that same loco with factory installed decoders or at least DCC ready (plug in decoder option). Mine will require some soldering. I've never been good at soldering and I've had lots of practice. It's one thing to solder a feeder wire to a section of track. It's quite another when it involves sensitive electronics. It's a skill I've just never gotten the hang of and I avoid it whenever I can. Kind of like an air brush. I never learned to use one of those either. 

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Posted by rrinker on Sunday, February 23, 2020 5:18 PM

 A decoder might cost $20. Messing up and crossing the gaps with both Dc and DCC enabled will cause a lot more than $20 in damage.

 Switches, deasd track sections, or completel disconnects will avoid the problem of damaging something, but it's just as easy to install a decoder in the one loco that doesn't have one than make all these changes just to support said 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 mbinsewi on Sunday, February 23, 2020 3:45 PM

Has long has that switchable section of track is off, no problem. 

If your going to change to DC ops, why even have a DCC loco on that track?  Keep it on the DCC track, or remove it from the layout.

If you move the DCC loco on to the powered DC track, problems!

Isn't there a "drop in " decoder for your loco?  Have you checked decoder sites like TCS? or even Digitrax?

Is your loco a Spectrum consolidated?

I just looked at Ed's link to the TCS install of a decoder in your Heisler, it doesn't get any easier!  The decoder plugs in.  It probably takes longer to open up the loco than it does to install the decoder.

Mike.

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Posted by John-NYBW on Sunday, February 23, 2020 1:39 PM

OK, if I decide to go with a switchable DC/DCC set up, I understand the dangers if a DCC loco bridges the gap into the section that has been switched to DC. If I have a DCC loco stationary in the switchable section and I then flip the switch to DC, is that going to cause problems or is it only when it passes from a DCC section to a DC section?

I still haven't made a final decision. One reason I am reluctant to install a decoder is my soldering skills are not the best and anytime I go under the hood on a loco there is a real possibility of my ham hands doing some real damage. In another thread I told of a problem I had with a Bachmann Consolidation. I was forced to open up the tender. I thought I had taken care of the problem but in reassembling it, I broke one of the tiny recepticles off the tender that the loco plugs into. I'll probably have to send it back to the manufacturer now to get it repaired. If I ordered a replacement part, I'd still have to solder some very tiny wires onto the terminals of that part. Way beyond my skill level. 

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