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DCC or (not verses) DC

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DCC or (not verses) DC
Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, July 8, 2023 6:14 PM

Kevin wrote:

Again, where is this debate? Did I live in the only part of the world where we all agreed DCC was better, but if you were already "in" for DC it might be beneficial for you, as an individual, to stay there?

 

I never was part of any of these debates. Why was there any debate? DCC is better for a hundred reasons, and DC is only better for three or four.

 

I do not personally know any model railroader that feels differently.

Well Kevin, that whole thing had pretty much died down around here before you joined us.

I found your comment very interesting, because I see it as much more subjective than that.

I think it depends as much on your personal layout goals (and sometimes a lack of specific goals) as it does on the technical apects of either system.

And that said, DC is not just "one" system. It can be applied so many different ways as you know.

I have been following a few model train groups on facebook, now that I spend time there for the "GRAVELY garden tractor" hobby (insert tractor picture here).

One thing I have found interesting is there are a lot of guys, apparently younger from what I can see, with "medium" sized layouts that are DC powered. Once again supporting the anecdotal evidence that suggests DCC usage is about 60% in HO and N scales.

And while sales of newly manufactured DC locos are surely less than DCC/sound locos, a number of manufacturers are still offering them - for DC operators and DCC operators who prefer their choice of decoder.

Bachmann just announced a new run of USRA Light Pacfics - all DCC ready, not DCC/sound?

So why DCC?

If you want sound it is the only sensible path.

If you like no or minimal control panels, it is the best choice.

If you plan to just walk around with manual turnouts - again, best choice.

If your layout is small or medium sized but you still want multi train action - I would go DCC.

If you are new to the hobby, phone or computer tech savy, there is a built in simplicity to DCC, especially since as a new person you may not really know what your modeling goals will be. This and sound is why I tell new people to go DCC. 

The "neutral" issues.

If you plan to control turnouts with switch motors, that wiring will be the same, more or less.

If you want detection, signals, and possibly CTC, you are in for a lot of wiring either way - DCC or DC. There is no big advantage on either side. If you say your constant track voltage is an advantage, I say my DC system has a simple add on for that, but now you need blocks I already have in my core infrastructure.

Locomotive performance - My Aristo wireless radio throttles use PWM speed control just like your decoder - so do a number of other DC throttles.

 

Why DC?

Well the first thing is you have to be happy with no onboard sound. Trust me I'm happy.

The rest of "why" depends on your goals - I could give lots of examples, but here are some of my key reasons.

I would rather build control panels and relay boards than install decoders.

For the few buttons that I need to push, I like the tactile feel of real buttons - controling a train on a smart phone is a non starter for me.

In my case, I already have the equipment, knowledge and skill - I know I am somewhat unique in that fact.

I did not start in this hobby in the last year, or even in the last two decades, try 1967. I'm not much for replacing things that are not broken just to have the "latest thing" (the garden tractor just turned 27, and if I posted a picture you might say it looks nearly new).

My "givens" and why DC is a fit for me.

No interest in "tinny" onboard sound - bought one tried it, ran a bunch of them on other peoples layouts - sometimes could not wait to leave the noise......

I have a layout design philosophy that says:

  • Left is always west, right is always east - I would do this even with DCC. I feel it makes the layout easier for operators to understand.
  • I like being "inside" the circle (even if the layout operates point to point - I prefer thru staging). Our models look better from the inside of the curve than they do from the outside of the curve, so I avoid too many views of the outside of curves unless they are large "cosmetic" curves. And my minimum mainline radius is 36".
  • I like depth of scenery - I bult one "shelf" layout, which was also a double deck layout - I hated it before it was complete, never again to both ideas.
  • Detection, signals and CTC (simplified) are "must have".
  • Same is true of wireless throttles - that are simple. 

So my DC advanced cab control works very well within this criteria.

What do I give up by not having DCC?

Sound - something I don't want anyway.

Being able to move locomotives in close proximity to other moving or stopped locos. This feature has some value, but on a larger, spread out layout like mine, the engine terminal is the only place it would have noticable advantage - at a pretty high relative cost.

Being able to control locomotive lighting separately - not an interest or issue in my 1954 era. And my PWM throttles provide some pretty fantastic constant lighting as is.

Speed matching - never needed it so far, and I double head and MU lots of power.

Everybody approaches this hobby in a different way, different goals, different solutions.

I visited a layout once, a 1200 sq ft basement layout that was a point to point industrial switching layout - controlled by a single Aristo wireless DC throttle, all ground throw turnouts, toggles on sidings to park locomotives - convince that guy he "needs" DCC.

Comments and questions cheerfully welcomed, off topic rabbit holes allowed.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by PM Railfan on Sunday, July 9, 2023 2:25 AM

I missed that discussion too. 

Musta been betwixt a lamp shade and a fence post because if someone was to be asking me, who ever figured out how todays DCC works had to be one or the other!

 

Recap) in the late 70's the talk was hot about mixing electronics with trains/layouts. Sound and DC had already been mixed to a varying degree ands its success was in the ear of the beholder. 

Even MR was publishing articles on how to fashion electronics into daughter boards to insert into a pc. Or other projects if not in article form, then could be found under the sub-section titled "Symposium on Electronics". I was ecstatic with anticipation! 

(my first ever project with electrical componants can be attributed to MR - THANK YOU!)

The hardest problem being faced then, was super imposing signal over power. We didnt have the intel, nor the electronics (good enuf) to do the job. Time was needed. 

I take a hiatus from the hobby and do the college thing, marriage thing, family thing, and once all that nonsense was over, i get back to the hobby. 

 

Today) But what the heck? DCC isnt PC's controlling model railroads, its vcr remote paddles and cell phones. Who in the world thought this was the way it should be? 

WOW! DCC really missed the mark there! Its my own sad fault for thinking this would have turned out correctly. I cant fathom, with the control and power available in a PC, why anyone would use anything else to control your model railroad. 

Waybills, switching, forwarding, inventory, video monitoring, programming, automation, i mean the list goes on and on for what a PC could do..... compared to the puny lil paddles you have.... that only enter rudamentery numerical keystrokes. 

I was really let down after waiting years for DCC and finding that what we have today, is dismally inadequate.

In the end, it didnt matter if i heard that 'discussion' or not, or even the pros and cons of DCC. The form of todays DCC made up my mind for me. Which would indicate that this post would be a view probably not heard before on this topic. 

 

Rabbit hole    1

Normal post   0

 

 

PMR

 

 

 

 

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Posted by FRRYKid on Sunday, July 9, 2023 2:43 AM

The main reason I'm happy with DC is that I can't afford to put decoders in 37 engines! (I think two of those might already have dual mode ones but I don't know as they were given to me without any information. Three are old enough I don't know how I would put a decoder in them! Older than me as a matter of fact.)

I have a crossing circuit for sound and lights for the main triple track crossing. I also found a DC sound system with output good enough that it startled my Mom when I cranked the diesel horm up one evening. She thought the train which runs about a block and a half from the house had derailed! Just can't get it too loud as it gets a bit tinny.

I have the layout already wired for block operation and it's just me running everything. Can't run more than one engine at a time anyway. Also have a very nice wired throttle which has a long enough wire to be practical walk around operation. (Small layout but I just have to make sure I don't catch the wire underfoot! It is contained when I'm not using the throttle.)

"The only stupid question is the unasked question."
Brain waves can power an electric train. RealFact #832 from Snapple.
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Posted by mobilman44 on Sunday, July 9, 2023 5:26 AM

Nothing I can add - other than my own experience - to what Sheldon and others have written.  They covered it all.

I started HO (after a decade of Lionel) in 1960, and went thru a few small DC layouts until the mid '90s when I built an 11x15 two level room filling railroad.  Everything worked and frankly it was my "pacifier" from the hectic world of oil & gas number crunching.  

In the mid '90s, I realized two "facts of life".  One was that my present layout had a couple of inherent design flaws, and DCC was a massive trend that wasn't going away.  So that developed into two decisions for me - to tear down and rebuild the existing layout, and to go to DCC or stay with DC.

Fortunately I retired in 2006, so I had the time, and building a new layout was a wonderful project to latch onto. 

But to go to DCC or stay with DC was a more difficult decision.  While I consider myself fairly good with electrical projects (DC), I was (and am) fairly ignorant when it comes to electronics (DCC).  So I bought a few Kalmbach books and studied and finally made a list of what all I would need to - IMO - do it right.

The list of components - including several decoders - came up to about $2k from online dealers.  That was a lot of money, especially added to the cost of layout lumber, trackage, roadbed, wiring, and basic scenery materials.

Fortunately, I had a stash of silver coins and the bullion market was pretty good, and coincidently I covered the DCC cost with sales of silver.  So in the end, I had all the Digitrax controls I needed, and a slew of NCE decoders, etc.

So the layout was built, I immersed (sort of) myself in DCC, and was pretty happy with it - although I confess there were times I missed the simplicity of DC.

Do to various reasons - mostly my getting old - the layout was taken down four years ago and the components sold off.  And believe it or not, I'm good with that. 

But when the question comes up - DC or DCC - on this forum, I ask myself this question.  If I didn't have the available monies to dive into DCC, would I have stayed with DC, or ???

  

   

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

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

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Posted by gregc on Sunday, July 9, 2023 7:34 AM

PM Railfan
Waybills, switching, forwarding, inventory, video monitoring, programming, automation, i mean the list goes on and on for what a PC could do..... compared to the puny lil paddles you have.... that only enter rudamentery numerical keystrokes.

are you comparing DCC to waybill, ... generation ?

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, July 9, 2023 7:56 AM

Thanks to all for the thoughtful replies so far.

PM Railfan - Your reply speaks directly to idea of different goals, or different possible goals that DCC has yet to provide for.

I seriously considered DCC on two occasions and came very close to pulling that trigger. At some point I will explain why I did not.

I also considered computerized DC block control - it has been done, both on a custom level and a commercial level but never got any real traction.

FRRYKid and mobileman44 - Thank you for your candor about you feelings regarding the cost of DCC. Any way you look at it, especially adjusted for inflation, DCC was dramaticly more expensive 20 years ago when I seriously considered it.

I was not about to revise my modeling/layout goals just to achieve that one feature I considered of value - independent locomotive control. 

FRRYKid does not want to buy 37 decoders plus the control infrastructure, I understand.

Even back then I had 100 plus locomotives and was building a layout in 1000 sq ft room, and would have needed 8 throttles for the desired operations. After years of planning, refining my interests, testing ideas on other layouts, etc. - I was not going to change my desires to fit or afford this new technology.

Greg - I think PM railfan saw a larger possibility for electronics that DCC has been very slow to even get close to.

Honestly, my advanced cab control has features that would be complex to intergrate into DCC. Example - if you run a red signal on my layout - your train is stopped by the ATC (automatic train control). And this feature is nearly free.

Again, thanks for your replies.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by wrench567 on Sunday, July 9, 2023 8:22 AM

 I don't see a controversy at all. The beauty of the hobby is that we are free to indulge in our tiny universe any way we can. That's why we have more than one scale, operating system, time zone, era, flat or mountain, and even underground. You do things your way and I can do things my way. 

  DCC. I've been in it since HO decoders were the size of N scale locomotives. Way before sound. Sound is not the only reason or the best reason to do DCC. Control and ease of use is the main reason I switched. DCC can itself become a hobby within THE hobby. I have locomotives sporting their third or fourth decoder. Not because of burnout, but upgrade. 

  DC. Tried and true. Easy to understand, wiring is straight forward. Can be as easy or difficult as you see fit. And yes you can run sound on DC too. One control system instead of 30 or more decoders.

    My conclusion. If you're happy with DC. Great. If you're happy with DCC. Great. Just like life itself. Don't try to force your beliefs, choices, lifestyles, onto anyone else. You do you and I will do me.

     Pete.

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Posted by gregc on Sunday, July 9, 2023 8:27 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Greg - I think PM railfan saw a larger possibility for electronics that DCC has been very slow to even get close to.

is DCC a complete "system" or simply a means of controlling devices thru the track?

i think its helpful that it be made clear what DCC and what it isn't

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
my advanced cab control has features that would be complex to intergrate into DCC.

i'm curious to hear what they are, how they are implemented and why you think they are complex to integrate into a system using DCC?

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, July 9, 2023 8:56 AM

gregc

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Greg - I think PM railfan saw a larger possibility for electronics that DCC has been very slow to even get close to.

 

is DCC a complete "system" or simply a means of controlling devices thru the track?

i think its helpful that it be made clear what DCC and what it isn't

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
my advanced cab control has features that would be complex to intergrate into DCC.

 

i'm curious to hear what they are, how they are implemented and why you think they are complex to integrate into a system using DCC?

 

I can't completely answer the first question, but I think LOCONET? and stationary decoders for things like turnouts are a sincere and direct effort to make DCC a complete system.

I don't keep up with the progress of those feaures/products since I don't use DCC.

I will address the features of my Cab Control one at a time. I will first address the one I described. I wish I had drawings easily published, but I don't, so here goes.

Because my system does not use common rail, and because each throttle has its own independant power supply, the simple act of staggering the north and south rail gaps between blocks by a distance equal or greater than the typical locomotive length creates a dead zone between the two blocks that are assigned to different throttles.

So trains cannot over run their block and then be under control of a different throttle currently controling the next block.

To reinforce the effectiveness of this, all my interlockings are these buffer zones, the north rail is powered by the block to the west, the south rail is powered by the block to the east.

You can't make it thru the interlocking unless the route is correct and the correct blocks are assigned to the same throttle. And that is the only way you get a clear signal - you run a red over red signal and your train will stop. Your loco will see the trackage as dead even if the block on the other side is powered by a different throttle. The interlockings are all long enough to stop the longest locomotive lashups in use on the layout.

The cost of this feature? Planning gaps and a few relay contacts that route power based on turnout position, which are required anyway.

For DCC you would have to write a software solution for a processor or PC that would interface with the DCC control signal, and it would have to know which loco to slow down so it would be like computerized block control, it would have to keep track of the address and location of every loco on the layout.

Sheldon 

    

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Posted by rrebell on Sunday, July 9, 2023 9:00 AM

Ok, I am a prime example of DC or DCC. I was into DC and had radio controled thottles. This worked great and also the decoders were not that great in the begining just like the first smart phones were not that great, but time moves on and in tech, very fast. Moved to a new place and did not have my layout space so I played arround and gathered anything I needed for the new layout that I didnt have. One of the things I bought was a second hand engine with sound and a controler. These were alot better than the old stuff and the sound stared wining me over. Tried a few other things like smart phone control but really didn't like that even though it was supper simple. I wanted powered frogs on my new layout and the frog juicers were the answer for me but they only work on DCC, think that was the final straw and I could get other fixes for things like running from opposisite sides of a loop into a single yard etc. Next in the perfect storm was a major retailer giving (very cheap prices) small Bachmann DCC sound engines for under $100 in both steam and diesel in my roadname. I bought a bunch of those and started to convert some DC enginges with mixed results. I was still going to convert my Kato's but Walthers came out with my NW2's in my road for less that $150 with DCC sound and they run great, so was fully commited now to DCC.  The one thing that has puzzed me about DCC is all the hype about DCC freindly turnouts, mine are all Shinohara old school and have never had an issue with DCC, sure I have had a manul swith thrown the wrong way but no big deal, fix the proublem and restart my Digitrax, if it even triped.

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Posted by John-NYBW on Sunday, July 9, 2023 9:16 AM

I've never regretted going to DCC for my current layout which I began over 20 years ago. I can see why it is not for everybody so I don't think there is any right or wrong answer. This might be the year I get around to building my long planned 4x8 Christmas layout and it is going to be DC. I'll use a couple smaller locos from my last layout plus a 60+ year old Camelback I picked up on ebay. It's going to be a simple oval with a siding on each side of the oval. Just three blocks that can easily be controlled from a central panel. I don't see DCC being of much value on a layout like that. 

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Posted by gregc on Sunday, July 9, 2023 9:34 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Because my system does not use common rail, and because each throttle has its own independant power supply, the simple act of staggering the north and south rail gaps between blocks by a distance equal or greater than the typical locomotive length creates a dead zone of the the two blocks are assigned to different throttles.

thanks.   a neat idea that can't be used on a DCC layout

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
gregc
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Greg - I think PM railfan saw a larger possibility for electronics that DCC has been very slow to even get close to.

is DCC a complete "system" or simply a means of controlling devices thru the track?

i think its helpful that it be made clear what DCC and what it isn't

I can't completely answer the first question, but I think LOCONET? and stationary decoders for things like turnouts are a sincere and direct effort to make DCC a complete system.

right, Loconet is a proprietary and necessary interface supporting the throttles used by Digitrax to provide a complete system for controlling locos using DCC.   NCE uses its cabbus.   These "systems" from Digitrax and NCE are a NOT a complete system to for turnout control, block detection, signaling, interlocking, ...  I'll bet some of the approaches used by Sheldon on a DC layout to do these things could be used on a DCC layout.

DCC does not define the logic elements to combine block detection, switch position, ... to determine signal conditions or interlocking needed for a more complete system

are waybills part of the DCC/DC debate?

 

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, July 9, 2023 9:46 AM

PM Railfan
I cant fathom, with the control and power available in a PC, why anyone would use anything else to control your model railroad. 

When I started building the Dream House layout, I am pretty sure this was in 1989, their was a CTC room for train control seperate from the layout.

All the CTC switches would go into a PC, and the PC would run the signals and cab selection on the mainline.

This was DC or course, DCC in N scale was certainly not easy then.

The PC, I was working with a used Tandy T-2000, was more than powerful enough for the task. Commercial software MS/DOS compatible was available. Computer/Model Railroad inerface boards could be built from kits.

Imagine what could be done now. Windows 3.1 wasn't even out yet when I was doing this.

No more computers in model railroading for me though. Those big layout dreams are gone.

-Kevin

Living the dream.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, July 9, 2023 10:46 AM

SeeYou190

 

 
PM Railfan
I cant fathom, with the control and power available in a PC, why anyone would use anything else to control your model railroad. 

 

When I started building the Dream House layout, I am pretty sure this was in 1989, their was a CTC room for train control seperate from the layout.

All the CTC switches would go into a PC, and the PC would run the signals and cab selection on the mainline.

This was DC or course, DCC in N scale was certainly not easy then.

The PC, I was working with a used Tandy T-2000, was more than powerful enough for the task. Commercial software MS/DOS compatible was available. Computer/Model Railroad inerface boards could be built from kits.

Imagine what could be done now. Windows 3.1 wasn't even out yet when I was doing this.

No more computers in model railroading for me though. Those big layout dreams are gone.

-Kevin

 

 

I considered various computer/software/Programable Logic Controller solutions for my current system. In the end, at the time, they were all more expensive and just as complex to design as my current relay logic based system. I was able to by high quality industrial ice cube relays in new or gently used condition for $1-$3 each.

I had board made for the key circuit that is used in the cab selection, and I found a commercial inductive solid state detector with a relay already on the board.

My primary input devices are very small LED lighted pushbuttons, skipping the need for separate panel indicator LED's in most cases.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, July 9, 2023 10:47 AM

gregc

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Because my system does not use common rail, and because each throttle has its own independant power supply, the simple act of staggering the north and south rail gaps between blocks by a distance equal or greater than the typical locomotive length creates a dead zone of the the two blocks are assigned to different throttles.

 

thanks.   a neat idea that can't be used on a DCC layout

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
gregc
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Greg - I think PM railfan saw a larger possibility for electronics that DCC has been very slow to even get close to.

is DCC a complete "system" or simply a means of controlling devices thru the track?

i think its helpful that it be made clear what DCC and what it isn't

I can't completely answer the first question, but I think LOCONET? and stationary decoders for things like turnouts are a sincere and direct effort to make DCC a complete system.

 

 

right, Loconet is a proprietary and necessary interface supporting the throttles used by Digitrax to provide a complete system for controlling locos using DCC.   NCE uses its cabbus.   These "systems" from Digitrax and NCE are a NOT a complete system to for turnout control, block detection, signaling, interlocking, ...  I'll bet some of the approaches used by Sheldon on a DC layout to do these things could be used on a DCC layout.

DCC does not define the logic elements to combine block detection, switch position, ... to determine signal conditions or interlocking needed for a more complete system

are waybills part of the DCC/DC debate?

 

 

Yes, DCC will work fine with my intergrated turnout control/CTC system.

You will loose the Automatic Train Control feature.....

Sheldon

    

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Posted by gregc on Sunday, July 9, 2023 10:50 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
You will loose the Automatic Train Control feature

how about describing what your ATC does and how it works?

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, July 9, 2023 10:54 AM

wrench567

 I don't see a controversy at all. The beauty of the hobby is that we are free to indulge in our tiny universe any way we can. That's why we have more than one scale, operating system, time zone, era, flat or mountain, and even underground. You do things your way and I can do things my way. 

  DCC. I've been in it since HO decoders were the size of N scale locomotives. Way before sound. Sound is not the only reason or the best reason to do DCC. Control and ease of use is the main reason I switched. DCC can itself become a hobby within THE hobby. I have locomotives sporting their third or fourth decoder. Not because of burnout, but upgrade. 

  DC. Tried and true. Easy to understand, wiring is straight forward. Can be as easy or difficult as you see fit. And yes you can run sound on DC too. One control system instead of 30 or more decoders.

    My conclusion. If you're happy with DC. Great. If you're happy with DCC. Great. Just like life itself. Don't try to force your beliefs, choices, lifestyles, onto anyone else. You do you and I will do me.

     Pete.

 

Pete, completely agreed with one exception/question.

When you say you can run sound on DC, are you refering to running DCC locos with something like the Tech6?

That would not work for me. I am building a large layout, controlled with Aristo wireless radio throttles. Dual mode DCC decoders will not work at all with my throttles.

My throttle output is PWM, just like the motor output of a DCC decoder. It provides similar quality speed control.

But the dual mode decoders cannot recognize it as DC or DCC, so they just go nuts.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, July 9, 2023 10:57 AM

gregc

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
You will loose the Automatic Train Control feature

 

how about describing what your ATC does and how it works?

 

?????

I did, several posts back.

I will try to post a simple diagram later.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, July 9, 2023 10:59 AM

gregc

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
You will loose the Automatic Train Control feature

 

how about describing what your ATC does and how it works?

 

 

Here it is again:

I will address the features of my Cab Control one at a time. I will first address the one I described. I wish I had drawings easily published, but I don't, so here goes.

Because my system does not use common rail, and because each throttle has its own independant power supply, the simple act of staggering the north and south rail gaps between blocks by a distance equal or greater than the typical locomotive length creates a dead zone between the two blocks that are assigned to different throttles.

So trains cannot over run their block and then be under control of a different throttle currently controling the next block.

To reinforce the effectiveness of this, all my interlockings are these buffer zones, the north rail is powered by the block to the west, the south rail is powered by the block to the east.

You can't make it thru the interlocking unless the route is correct and the correct blocks are assigned to the same throttle. And that is the only way you get a clear signal - you run a red over red signal and your train will stop. Your loco will see the trackage as dead even if the block on the other side is powered by a different throttle. The interlockings are all long enough to stop the longest locomotive lashups in use on the layout.

The cost of this feature? Planning gaps and a few relay contacts that route power based on turnout position, which are required anyway.

For DCC you would have to write a software solution for a processor or PC that would interface with the DCC control signal, and it would have to know which loco to slow down so it would be like computerized block control, it would have to keep track of the address and location of every loco on the layout.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by BEAUSABRE on Sunday, July 9, 2023 12:21 PM

One thing about sound. On a home layout with one operator and one train, sound is fine. But in a club setting, where you get competing sounds from different locomotives, the racket can be anoying. Certainly the sound of multiple locomotives that are supposed to be miles apart destroys the illusion for a lot of people. 

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Posted by gregc on Sunday, July 9, 2023 1:35 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
?????

I did, several posts back

so by ATC, you mean stopping a loco if it crosses a STOP signal?

i thought ATC is

  • partially aligning routes on a scheule,
  • starting trains on a schedule,
  • slowing and stopping trains at stations and at stop signals and
  • stopping trains at there destinations.

this type of ATC is not trivial and requires some planning to work well.   it also requires tracking a loco from block to block and either short block or point (optical) detector near a stopping point to trigger slowing a train down.

the NJ club had stopping blocks, a short block before a signal which if entered when a STOP signal is active would open a relay stopping the train ... if it doesn't have a long keep alive.

PSX/PSXX DCC circuit breakers can be used on a single track and has a optical detector input to drop power when active

 

 

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, July 9, 2023 1:57 PM

gregc

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
?????

I did, several posts back

 

so by ATC, you mean stopping a loco if it crosses a STOP signal?

i thought ATC is

  • partially aligning routes on a scheule,
  • starting trains on a schedule,
  • slowing and stopping trains at stations and at stop signals and
  • stopping trains at there destinations.

this type of ATC is not trivial and requires some planning to work well.   it also requires tracking a loco from block to block and either short block or point (optical) detector near a stopping point to trigger slowing a train down.

the NJ club had stopping blocks, a short block before a signal which if entered when a STOP signal is active would open a relay stopping the train ... if it doesn't have a long keep alive.

PSX/PSXX DCC circuit breakers can be used on a single track and has a optical detector input to drop power when active

 

 

 

Yes, I mean Automatic Train Control as in the prototype system used starting in the 1920's by a number of railroads only on passenger trains.

A quick search of the internet seems to have renamed this older system Automatic Train Stop as ATC is now defined as systems like you are describing. But I assure you at one time it was called ATC.

On the prototype it worked like this, inductive coils on the train and near the track would relay aboslute stop violations to a control box on the locomotive. If the Engineer failed to respond quickly the system would close the throttle and put the brakes in Emergency. At that point the engineer had no control over this.

What I have creates a similar effect to what you describe at the NJ Club, but mine does not require another detector or an additional relay. In fact it requires no extra hardware.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, July 9, 2023 2:03 PM

BEAUSABRE

One thing about sound. On a home layout with one operator and one train, sound is fine. But in a club setting, where you get competing sounds from differet locomotives, the racket can be anoying. Certainly the sound of multiple locomotives that are supposed to be miles apart destroys the illusion for a lot of people. 

 

OR, a larger home layout with multiple trains operating. In my case most of my layouts, including the new one I am working on, have been designed for both "prototype operation" and multi train display running.

The new layout will support 5 display loop trains when desired.

 

So you are exactly correct, I don't like the noise from multiple sound equiped locos, not to leave out the fact that HiFi audio is one of my other hobbies......

Sheldon

    

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, July 9, 2023 2:16 PM

Greg, as a side note, even though I design my layouts to allow continious display operation, I have no interest in "automation" like you described above, station stops, automatic route changes, or automatic schedules.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by gregc on Sunday, July 9, 2023 2:17 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
but mine does not require another detector or an additional relay. In fact it requires no extra hardware.

yes, definetly a neat idea

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by BradenD on Sunday, July 9, 2023 2:52 PM

I run DCC sound but I only recently switched over. I will say there is something peaceful about DC. I just miss the simplicity sometimes. DC operators are not worried about blowing up a decoder and that's something that I miss a lot.

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Posted by Doughless on Sunday, July 9, 2023 3:10 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
I think it depends as much on your personal layout goals (and sometimes a lack of specific goals) as it does on the technical apects of either system.

In the days when DCC or DC discussions were more spirited, my frustration came from the lack of exploration of this point.

The more frustrating comments came from the point of view that eveybody seemed to want goals/layouts that ran multiple trains either at the same time or in some fairly complex way.  That DCC solved some sort of problem more simply than DC did.

When your goals are to have a shelf style layout than runs a one loco train, one at a time.....because the railroad you model runs one loco trains one at a time...you realize tha the layout simply needs two wires from power source to track, and that's it.  (Turnout wiring for conductivity security or powering frogs is generally a matter of choice).

If your layout needs only two wires, what problem does DCC solve?

My comments were often met with crickets, and the discussions about the problems caused by complex layouts carried on.  I guess the idea of running one loco trains one at a time was not what model railroading was.  Eventhough I'll wager that a large percentage of modelers run their layout exactly that way, or, the people that do have simple layouts may not participate in forums much. (fewer problems beget fewer questions?)

Then along came sound, and I went DCC because of it.  And I agree with just about every critical comment I read about onboard sound, but those shortcomings of the system still make for a better experience for me than a silent running train.  (Also, one loco at a time isn't as annoying as having multiple sound locos running at the same time)

- Douglas

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Posted by PM Railfan on Sunday, July 9, 2023 3:47 PM

GregC) Not comparing DCC to Waybills, Im reffering to waybill generation, AND DCC both being controlled by one PC. Along with all the other things a PC could do, for a Model Railroad if it was implememnted. 

 

 

ATC = Automatic Train Control. The purpose for ATC was to "Stop any train so equipped" once it passed a point that it was not supposed to. IE: Station stop. Red signal.

The whole reason ATC came about was because before unions, railroads would work their crews so many hours station agents would see trains blow through stations with the engineers head bobbling around.... asleep!

You can tell an ATC equipped locomotive by the pick up shoes located on the tender trucks. For a better view of the equipment, look at the front of an RF&P Berkshire betwixt the front deck mounted air pumps. Youll see a large box - thats the ATC controls. The pick up shoe is on the tender truck. This particular loco class the ATC  equipment can be seen easily. There are others Im sure.

 

The PC to Layout computer stuff from way back in the beginning was called C/MRC or C/MRI (i cant remember which). This is what DCC should have evolved into, not as it did. AS 7 OF 9 tertiary adjunct of unimatrix 1 would put it....

"DCC is acceptable, however its design is crude and insufficient." 

 

PMR

 

 

PS: 2 points before I go-

1) you cant have DCC without DC! and...

2) a keyboard has 101 keys, your DCC has what? Maybe 20 buttons on the most expensive controller/programmer? Well thats 81 more keys of control for the PC. Which do you think gives you more bang for the buck???

81 keys i tell ya!!!!!

 

 

 

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Posted by gregc on Sunday, July 9, 2023 4:19 PM

PM Railfan
"DCC is acceptable, however its design is crude and insufficient." 

what would be better for comparable cost (that actually controls locos on the track)?

the electronics to support DCC communication is trivial, a diode.

PM Railfan
The PC to Layout computer stuff from way back in the beginning was called C/MRC or C/MRI (i cant remember which). This is what DCC should have evolved into, not as it did

you realize Chubb's C/MRI is not for loco control, it's for turnout, signal, block occupancy, turnout feedback, ..., no connections to track and provides a way to connect all the devices on a layout to a controller (PC) using just a pair of wires.    some would say it significantly simplifies wiring. 

LCC, the part that controls the layout doesn't control locos

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, July 9, 2023 4:54 PM

Doughless, I would agree that one sound equiped loco, on the intimate setting of an industrial switching layout, or other smaller specific theme layout, can be an enjoyable thing.

And, to my ears, if that is an S scale, On30 or O scale loco, where a larger speaker will fit, so much the better.

I will also remind others of how quickly the noise of the train fades in real life. They are loud when they are close but quickly fade into the background noise of the world at 300 feet or so.

Yes, I think sound makes much more sense on smaller, one train at a time layouts.

In my case, I have never fully imbraced that level of being the engineer.

Sheldon

    

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