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Advanced Vs Universal consisting

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Advanced Vs Universal consisting
Posted by Capt.Brigg on Thursday, July 22, 2021 7:17 PM

After watching a whole bunch of Utube videos and reading my NCE command station manual, I am even more confused than when I started. At our club using NCE throttles we have all our many engines consisted with three units. However we use the lead and/or third engine's long address to run the consist and this can be swapped to the back engine when we run the consist in reverse. Is this "Universal" consisting where the consist is kept in the command station? If we were using "Advanced" consisting would we not have to use the consist address instead of the engine's long address?

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Posted by CSX Robert on Thursday, July 22, 2021 9:37 PM

Capt.Brigg

After watching a whole bunch of Utube videos and reading my NCE command station manual, I am even more confused than when I started. At our club using NCE throttles we have all our many engines consisted with three units. However we use the lead and/or third engine's long address to run the consist and this can be swapped to the back engine when we run the consist in reverse. Is this "Universal" consisting where the consist is kept in the command station? If we were using "Advanced" consisting would we not have to use the consist address instead of the engine's long address?

 

NCE really uses a combination of both.  It uses advanced consisting, as in it programs a consist address into the lococs in the consists.  In fact, when you setup the consist, it tells you the consist address and lets you chnage it if you want.  In addition, NCE maintains a table of what engines are in the consist and allows you to select the consist by the lead or trailing engine (this is the "universal consisting" part).  The nice thing about this is you don't have to remember the consist number, or even which locomotive is the lead.  One disadvantage is if you take the engines to another layout and reprogram the consist address, the club system will not know they have been re-programmed and if you try to run one it will send the commands to what it thinks is the consist address.

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Posted by richhotrain on Friday, July 23, 2021 6:29 AM

With my NCE PH-Pro system, I use Advanced Consisting.

Universal Consisting is the "old" system of consisting. With it, the command station is programmed to control the consist. It is a slower system than Advanced Consisting in which the decoder is programmed to control the consist.

I think that the best way to answer your questions about Advanced Consisting is to read an article prepared for NCE by Dave Heap, an expert on NCE operations.

Here it is, right off the NCE website.

Setting up an Advanced Consist the NCE way  

==========================================

- Assume we have three locos, numbered A, B & C we wish to consist.

- On the NCE throttle press CONSIST SETUP.

- Press ENTER to select an advanced consist.

- The system will suggest a consist address X. You should NEVER change this and you should NEVER remember it. For a technical justification of these assertions see my addendum. Simply press ENTER and proceed to the next step.

- Follow the prompts to set up the three locos in consist with loco A as the lead, Loco C as the rear and loco B as mid-consist.

- Let us assume the loco decoders only support three functions; headlight, bell and horn. These three functions are all only relevant to whichever loco in the consist currently is driving the consist, i.e. contains the crew to manipulate the lights, bell or horn. In this case you should have already programmed CVs 21 & 22 in all three locos to a value of 0. If not, never too late, you can do it with POM now. (For the slightly  more complicated situation of how to handle decoders with other functions applicable to all locos in the consist, such as dynamic brakes or sound mute, see my addendum.) 

Driving an Advanced Consist the NCE way

=======================================

- Assume the consist will be hauling a train with loco A leading and loco C coupled to the train. Climb aboard loco A with your scale crew. To do this you press SELECT LOCO A ENTER. The throttle should display CON: A. Select DIRECTION FWD, turn on the bell, blow the horn, turn on the headlights and head off down the track. Loco A is the only loco that will respond to the function commands you just gave. Locos B and C will remain dark and no horn will sound.

- Assume you have reached your destination and you wish to run around your train preparatory to returning with the train (maybe after some loading, unloading or shunting). Do exactly what a real loco crew would do. Pick up your kit (not forgetting to turn the headlight off first), disembark loco A with your scale crew, walk to the other end of the consist and climb aboard loco C. To do this you press SELECT LOCO C ENTER. The throttle should display CON: C. Select DIRECTION REV, uncouple, back off from your train, run around and couple up to your train. When ready to depart, select DIRECTION FWD, turn on the bell, blow the horn, turn on the headlights and head back off up the track. Loco C is the only loco that will respond to the function commands you just gave. Locos A and B will remain silent and dark. 

That is all there is to it. You have driven the consist in a prototypical fashion, simulating climbing aboard each end of the consist in turn by selecting the appropriate loco address displayed on the loco cab side. Note that the FWD direction is defined by which loco your crew is aboard, and the headlights, bell and horn function only on the loco the crew is currently aboard.

 

 

Alton Junction

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Friday, July 23, 2021 8:01 AM

Does advanced consist remember that consist or do you create it afresh each time your "crew" is assigned to a train?

If you break up the advanced consist do I assume correctly that each locomotive will revert to its regular single locomotive address without having to " cancel" the advanced consist in any way?

Extrapolating the "crew" model this would be the way a crew would form or break up a consist by actually connecting or disconnecting the MU cabling as I understand things. For protypical model locomotive consist operation logically uncoupling each locomotive and sending its individual address should be enough to in effect cancel the consist for that locomotive.

I ask because an easy and sensible consisting feature is a really good reason to buy one particular brand of DCC over another that may lack easy consist features.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, July 23, 2021 9:38 AM

richhotrain
That is all there is to it. You have driven the consist in a prototypical fashion, simulating climbing aboard each end of the consist in turn by selecting the appropriate loco address displayed on the loco cab side. Note that the FWD direction is defined by which loco your crew is aboard, and the headlights, bell and horn function only on the loco the crew is currently aboard.

That actually sounds like a cool way to run a model train.

-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 CSX Robert on Friday, July 23, 2021 9:49 AM

Lastspikemike
Does advanced consist remember that consist or do you create it afresh each time your "crew" is assigned to a train?..

With advanced consisting, the consist address is programmed into the decoder, so that locomotive will stay a memebrt of that consist until explicitly told otherwise.

Lastspikemike
...I ask because an easy and sensible consisting feature is a really good reason to buy one particular brand of DCC over another that may lack easy consist features

There are three types of consisting, and all three are easy and sensible as long as you understand them, and they all three have advantages and disadvantages.

  1. Basic or "brute force" consisting is just programming the same address into two or more locos.  This makes since with locos that are always run together.  For example, I have an A/B set that is connected with a drawbar, so I will always run them together and there is no reason for them to have different addresses.
  2. Advanced consisting is programming the consist address (prinary address 1-127) into CV19.  Since it is programmed into the decoder, the decoder remians in the consist until explicitly told otherwise.  You can create a consist on one layout (or even without a layout) and take it to another layout and run it using the consist address - handy if you want to take a consist to a club layout and not have to program it once you get there.  I find this method the most convenient for consists that I tend to keep together for longer periods, but still want to have the option of running seperately, another advantage is with sound decoders you can have different locos respond to different functions.  Also, the command station only has to send out one command for each consist instead of one for each loco in the consist.
  3. Command station or "universal" consists are built in the command station.  The command station sends commands to each decoder in the consist and the decoder doesn't even know it is in a consist.  If you take a command station consist to another layout, the loco will not be in a consist unless you build it on that layout.  The biggest advantage of command station consisting is you don't have a "consist" address to remember, you just use the address of the lead loco.

As I stated before, in a way NCE really uses a mix of universal and advanced.  It uses advanced consisting but maintains a table of conststs and locos.  It really gives you the advantages of both, but it has some pitfalls as well.  Since consist information is stored in both the decoder and the command station, there is always a chance of them getting out of sync.  For example, if you build a consist while one of the locos is off the layout or on unpowered track, the command station will think that loco is in a consist so you won't be able to drive that loco with it's regular address, but it also won't respond to the cpnsist addres when you drive teh consist.  Also, if you take the consist (or a loco from the consist) to another layout without breaking down the consist, you'll have to know the consist number to run it on the other layout, or reporogram CV19 on that layout.

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Posted by richhotrain on Friday, July 23, 2021 10:01 AM

Lastspikemike

Does advanced consist remember that consist or do you create it afresh each time your "crew" is assigned to a train?

Different DCC systems handle Advanced Consisting differently from one another. I am only familiar with the NCE system since I own a PH-Pro, so let me address how NCE systems handle Advanced Consisting. By the way, the OP indicates that he is operating an NCE system as well.

Yes, the NCE system remembers the consist each time you power up the system. The key to this is CV19 which controls the consist. That said, certain decoders act up and defeat the consist memory. A good example is the QSI Quantum decoder which sometimes loses its memory upon power down. Very annoying.

Lastspikemike

If you break up the advanced consist do I assume correctly that each locomotive will revert to its regular single locomotive address without having to " cancel" the advanced consist in any way?

Here is what happens with the NCE system. To break up a consist, you "KILL" the consist by first pressing the CLEAR button on the cab. What this command does is to reset the value of CV19 to zero (0). At that point, each loco in the killed consist responds to its own long address. Keep in mind that all other CVs remain unchanged. For example, let's say that two F7A locos are consisted back to back, the lead loco facing forward and the rear loco facing backward. When the Advanced Consist was set up, the operator would indicate that the rear loco will be running in reverse. So, if a consist is killed, the rear loco will respond to its own long address but will move in reverse unless and until changed by the operator.

One other thing about Advanced Consisting, at least with NCE. It does not work well on multi-decoder locos. A good example is the BLI Blueline series with its two-decoder setup  - - sound and lights decoder and motor decoder. NCE recommends Basic Consisting ("Old Style") in such a situation. My solution is to number all of the locos in the consist with the same long address which is really not consisting.

Rich

 

 

 

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Friday, July 23, 2021 2:28 PM

My Tech 6 is too simple minded to create a consist as such.  I leave consisted locomotives with the same address, there are only six total available. To run one in reverse direction I also first have to code that locomotive CV29 to run in reverse while the other locomotive is not on the same powered track. Interestingly, some decoders retain this reverse direction when operating in DC mode and others run correctly in DC even though set to run in reverse while in DCC mode.

I can understand why the OP may be confused.  The explanations, helpful though they are, remain somewhat confusing. 

It is clear that if the consist information is stored in the command station and not the decoder then that consist information cannot travel to another command station in the locomotive. 

It seems clear that if the consist information is stored in each locomotive's decoder then that should travel to another command station.  I assume you then need to know the address of that consist as, in effect, you've coded all locomotives to respond to one new address as a consist (the command station sees the consist as if it were only one locomotive) even though the actual locomotive address is also retained.

I interpret the reference to a "Kill" command as releasing the locomotives from the consist  without deleting the specially allocated consist address, reviving the individual assigned address for each locomotive. Then if you wish to recall the consist you do so by entering the special address allocated to that consist. Then those locomotives will behave as one consist even if they are not yet actually coupled. While "killed" each locomotive in the consist responds only to its own assigned address unless the consist is recalled by entering that address.

I remain unclear about which term (adjective) applies to which type of consisting.

Alyth Yard

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Posted by richhotrain on Friday, July 23, 2021 3:18 PM

Lastspikemike

I can understand why the OP may be confused.  The explanations, helpful though they are, remain somewhat confusing. 

Well, let's see what the OP has to say about that. If you own a DCC system and decide to consist two or more locomotives using Advanced Consisting, it pretty quickly becomes second nature, so to speak. 

To setup an Advanced Consist, you press the Setup button on the cab, enter the consist address, enter the lead loco address and direction, enter the rear loco address and direction, enter each mid-consist loco address and direction.

Lastspikemike

I interpret the reference to a "Kill" command as releasing the locomotives from the consist  without deleting the specially allocated consist address, reviving the individual assigned address for each locomotive. Then if you wish to recall the consist you do so by entering the special address allocated to that consist. Then those locomotives will behave as one consist even if they are not yet actually coupled. While "killed" each locomotive in the consist responds only to its own assigned address unless the consist is recalled by entering that address.

Using the NCE system and Advanced Consisting, you kill the consist by first pressing the Clear button on the cab. You then select the consist to be cleared by entering the lead or rear loco number, or the consist number if you remember it, and press the Enter button. This kills the consist by removing the consist number from CV19. There is no recovery unless you rebuild the consist.

Alton Junction

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Posted by CSX Robert on Friday, July 23, 2021 3:52 PM

Lastspikemike
My Tech 6 is too simple minded to create a consist as such.  I leave consisted locomotives with the same address, there are only six total available. To run one in reverse direction I also first have to code that locomotive CV29 to run in reverse while the other locomotive is not on the same powered track

Since you can program any CV with the Tech 6, you can use advanced consisting.  The advantage would be you would not have to change CV29, so there's no worry about messing it up.  When you assign a decoder to an advanced consist, you program the consist address into CV19, unless you want to reverse the loco, in that case you program the consist address+128.

Remember that a consist address is a regular primary ("2-digit" or "long") address, so if you have a loco's primary address programmed to the same address as a consist, they will both respond.  This can be bad if you are not expecting it but it can also be used to your advantage.  For example, say you have a loco '2' and a loco '3' and you want to consist them.  On loco '3', just program CV19 to '2', or, if you want loco '3' to run backwards, program CV19 to 130 (2+128).  Now when you drive loco '2', loco '3' will also respond.  When you are done running them as a consist, just program CV19 on loco '3' to '0' and it will go back to responding to '3', and if you had it running backwards it will go back to responding normally, all without ever touching CV29.

 

Lastspikemike
I interpret the reference to a "Kill" command as releasing the locomotives from the consist  without deleting the specially allocated consist address, reviving the individual assigned address for each locomotive. Then if you wish to recall the consist you do so by entering the special address allocated to that consist. Then those locomotives will behave as one consist even if they are not yet actually coupled. While "killed" each locomotive in the consist responds only to its own assigned address unless the consist is recalled by entering that address.

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Posted by jjdamnit on Friday, July 23, 2021 6:27 PM

Hello All,


Capt.Brigg
I am even more confused than when I started.

I completely understand. 


Let me make it worse...Stick out tongue

My DCC system is the "dead-end" Bachmann Dynamis. It supports basic, universal, and advanced consisting.

However, the factory-installed Bachmann decoders in the locomotives didn't support CV 19- -advanced consisting.

I run three (3) consists on my pike:

    •    Four (4) GP40s; A-A-A-A

    •    Three (3) GP30s; A-B-A; 

    •    A MOW train with a F7-B, RS-11, and a BL2


Depending on the use of the consist I use different consisting methods.


I re-motored and upgraded the decoders in the Bachmann GP40s to Digitrax DH166Ds. The Bachmann GP30s decoders were upgraded to DH126Ps. 


The decoders in the MOW train are a mix of TCS & Digitrax- -all support CV 19 consisting (Advanced). 


As has been posted, "Advanced" consisting is a function of the decoder; CV 19.

If the decoder doesn't support that CV then you must use either "Basic" or "Universal"- -which is in the DCC system and not the decoder. 


On my pike, the four (4) GP40s are Advanced Consisted.

All GP40s in my roster are numbered in the 3500s. 


This consist is never "Broken" however, these units can be all-head-end or Distributed Motive Power (DMP) throughout the coal drag. 


So the Advanced Consist number is 35. 


By using Advanced consisting I can control the lighting functions of each locomotive in the consist (I don't run sound so those functions don't come into play). 


The lead locomotive only has its lights on in the forward direction. The middle two (2) locomotives are "dark" and the trailing unit only has the trailing light on in the reverse direction. 

For the three (3) unit GP30 consist, I use Universal Consisting.

It's going to get a little bit confusing but stick with me here...

This consist is an A-B-A coal drag. 

All the GP30s in my roster are 3000 series. 


The Universal Consist number is 30.

Before this train begins up the 3% slope the A-B Universal Consist is cut off the headend and parked on a siding. 

This is done by "deleting" the single A unit 3001 from the Universal Consist 30. Now only the A-B units respond to Universal Consist number 30.

Take a deep breath...It makes more sense as you follow along!

The single A unit on the headend is removed from the Universal Consist of 30 and responds to its road number 3001. 

The now single unit 3001 pulls the coal drag passed the siding while the Universal Consist 30, sits idle.

When the coal drag, headed by 3001, passes by, the Universal Consist 30 moves to the tail end of the train to act as pushers up the grade.

Once in place unit 3001 is added bck to the Universal Consist of 30.

Now the A-B units act as pushers up the grade and with 3001, on the head end all act as a single Universal Consist 30.

For the MOW train with three (3) locomotives and two DCC-controlled rotary snowplows I use Universal Consisting here too. 

I don't need lighting control over the entire consist and I can break any MUed unit out of the Universal consist, and have them respond to their individual road number or the consist number.

A great addition to your modeling library, no matter what DCC decoders you use, is the Digitrax Big Book Of DCC.

Hope this helps.

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

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Posted by maxman on Friday, July 23, 2021 9:13 PM

richhotrain
Using the NCE system and Advanced Consisting, you kill the consist by first pressing the Clear button on the cab. You then select the consist to be cleared by entering the lead or rear loco number, or the consist number if you remember it, and press the Enter button. This kills the consist by removing the consist number from CV19.

When I kill a consist, I always like to check the value of CV19 just to make sure that the value is really "0".  At the club we have found that some decoders don't, for whatever reason, revert CV19 to zero.

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Posted by maxman on Friday, July 23, 2021 9:33 PM

CSX Robert
You can create a consist on one layout (or even without a layout) and take it to another layout and run it using the consist address - handy if you want to take a consist to a club layout and not have to program it once you get there.

Yes and no.  Assume you have an NCE system and make up a consist at home and accept the command station's consist number.  Also assume that the address happens to be 127.  So you do the programming thing and consist locos 1000 and 2000.  Then you happily run the consisted locos for some time.

Now you take the locos to the club, which also happens to use NCE.  If you try to run the locos using the loco cab numbers, they won't do anything.  This is because they think they are in consist 127, which is a consist address remembered by your home system.  The club system will not recognize the loco numbers.  Of course if someone else has a 1000 or 2000 in another room, they will wonder why their loco just ran into the turntable pit.

Now you can run your locos using the 127 number, assuming you remember it.  But then another consist 127 on the layout will also run, leaving its owner to wonder why his engines just ran into the limited.

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Posted by CSX Robert on Saturday, July 24, 2021 6:33 AM

maxman

 

 
CSX Robert
You can create a consist on one layout (or even without a layout) and take it to another layout and run it using the consist address - handy if you want to take a consist to a club layout and not have to program it once you get there.

 

Yes and no.  Assume you have an NCE system and make up a consist at home and accept the command station's consist number.  Also assume that the address happens to be 127.  So you do the programming thing and consist locos 1000 and 2000.  Then you happily run the consisted locos for some time.

Now you take the locos to the club, which also happens to use NCE.  If you try to run the locos using the loco cab numbers, they won't do anything.  This is because they think they are in consist 127, which is a consist address remembered by your home system.  The club system will not recognize the loco numbers.  Of course if someone else has a 1000 or 2000 in another room, they will wonder why their loco just ran into the turntable pit.

Now you can run your locos using the 127 number, assuming you remember it.  But then another consist 127 on the layout will also run, leaving its owner to wonder why his engines just ran into the limited.

 

Of course, in a club situation, you're going to have to keep track of engine and consist numbers to keep from overlapping.  That's true whether or not you bring in pre-programmed consists.  If you brought 1000 and 2000 to a layout and set the consist up on the layout, if someone else has a 1000 or 2000 on the layout you would still have the issue of running their's into the turntable pit.

As I stated before about the methods of consisting, "all three are easy and sensible as long as you understand them."  If you are building consists at home to take to another layout, then you need to understand how they work - you need to remember the consist number and make sure it won't conflict with another consist or loco and understand that you'll have to run it using the consist number instead of one of the loco numbers.  If you don't understand how advanced consisting works, then you don't need to be building consists to take to another layout, but if you do understand how it works, it can be very useful.

Many clubs have address rules to prevent such conflicts.  For example, they could have address 1000-1999 belong to member X, 2000-2999 belong to member Y, etc.  In such a case, they can also have primary address 10-19 belong to member X and primary address 20-29 belong to member Y.  Then if someone wants to bring a pre-programmed consist they have to have it programmed to one of their allowed primary addresses.

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Posted by RR Baron on Sunday, July 25, 2021 9:15 PM

jjdamnit

> > >

My DCC system is the "dead-end" Bachmann Dynamis. It supports basic, universal, and advanced consisting.

However, the factory-installed Bachmann decoders in the locomotives didn't support CV 19- -advanced consisting. < < <

Actually to date, all factory-installed Bachmann decoders do support CV 19.

 

What you maybe thinking about is the Bachmann non-sound decoder does not support  CV 21 or CV 22.

https://www.bachmanntrains.com/home-usa/images/44913_Decoder_IS.pdf

 

RR Baron

 

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Posted by Capt.Brigg on Thursday, July 29, 2021 11:54 AM

Thank you all for your reply. I've decided to just program both engines to the lead NP 4-8-4 steam engine long address 2660 and the helper deasel also to the 4-8-4's address. I only run them together and the 4-8-4 will never be the second engine.

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Posted by jjdamnit on Friday, July 30, 2021 2:07 PM

Hello All,

Capt.Brigg
I've decided to just program both engines to the lead NP 4-8-4 steam engine long address 2660 and the helper deasel (SIC) also to the 4-8-4's address.

So...

You are MUing a steamer and a diesel.

That might have been a useful bit of information in your OP.

As Albert Einstein was quoted as saying, "Once you open a can of worms the only way to get all the worms back in the can, is to use a 'bigger' can."

Now, the "bigger" can is- -you should speed-matched these locos.

You can MU (consist) these units by Basic, Universal or Advanced methods.

Unless they have been speed matched; using supported CVs 2 (V Start), 5 (V High), and 6 (V Mid), you might have problems with bucking and pulling causing derailments and string-lining. 

Speed matching is a completely other thread.

Also, CVs 3 & 4 might come into play combining steam and diesel motive power in the same consist.

Hope this helps.

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

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Posted by CSX Robert on Sunday, August 1, 2021 9:32 PM

jjdamnit
...Newer sound-equipped Bachman decoders do support CV 19. However... The decoders I am dealing with are EZ Command 2 Function Non-Sound Decoders (#36-552)...These decoders also don't support CV 19!..

Well, according to Bachmann (https://www.bachmanntrains.com/home-usa/images/44913_Decoder_IS.pdf), they do cupport CV19.

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Posted by RR Baron on Monday, August 2, 2021 2:13 PM

RR Baron

 

 
jjdamnit

> > >

My DCC system is the "dead-end" Bachmann Dynamis. It supports basic, universal, and advanced consisting.

However, the factory-installed Bachmann decoders in the locomotives didn't support CV 19- -advanced consisting. < < <

 

 

Actually to date, all factory-installed Bachmann decoders do support CV 19.

 

What you maybe thinking about is the Bachmann non-sound decoder does not support  CV 21 or CV 22.

https://www.bachmanntrains.com/home-usa/images/44913_Decoder_IS.pdf

 

RR Baron

 

 

 

I did some digging in my old DCC notes.

A 2007 note -- found reports of CV 19 value not being changed in a Bachmann non-sound decoder when using OPS Mode (programming on the main) programming.  The decoder CV 19 would accept a value change using Service Mode (programming track).

My note does not identify the DCC system(s) being used or any comments from Bachmann.

 

RR Baron

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, August 3, 2021 6:51 AM

Capt.Brigg

Thank you all for your reply. I've decided to just program both engines to the lead NP 4-8-4 steam engine long address 2660 and the helper deasel also to the 4-8-4's address. I only run them together and the 4-8-4 will never be the second engine. 

Good solution. Yes

Rich

Alton Junction

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