DCC issues for beginners and "experienced" people alike

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
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Had some fun today. My pal was investigating a fault on his layout that turned out to be a Micro Switch on a live frog home made point. He uses a Massoth Base Station and every time he triggered the point short a rather expensive RHB Maerklin DCC/MTS sound equipped locomotive decided to run backwards and forwards at top speed speed for a few yards or so till it hit either another train or the door to the shed. Not looking for an answer to this, I just accept that it is a ‘feature’ of Maerklin equipped chips on Locomotives using a Massoth base station.
 

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
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Have a Zimo system as well. I bought it after PaulRHB of this forum recommended it. I have it setup to a 00 rolling road and use it predominantly for messing about with 00 chips. However I find that if I cant get my ancient LGB setup or my Massoth setup to upgrade a G scale Chip then the Zimo generally will sort it just fine.
 

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
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Had some fun today. My pal was investigating a fault on his layout that turned out to be a Micro Switch on a live frog home made point. He uses a Massoth Base Station and every time he triggered the point short a rather expensive RHB Maerklin DCC/MTS sound equipped locomotive decided to run backwards and forwards at top speed speed for a few yards or so till it hit either another train or the door to the shed. Not looking for an answer to this, I just accept that it is a ‘feature’ of Maerklin equipped chips on Locomotives using a Massoth base station.
Disable DC on this loco...
This sounds very-much like the power-buffer run-away problem, on a fault shut-down of the Central Station..

PhilP
 

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
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Disable DC on this loco...
This sounds very-much like the power-buffer run-away problem, on a fault shut-down of the Central Station..

PhilP
Hm that may not be possible as he does like to run analogue at times still, dinosaur that he is.
 

Homo Habilis

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There was also General Electric's ASTRAC command control system. A childhood friend had one on his HO layout. I seem to remember it was a gigantic pain to get reliable operation on anything other than the cleanest track and wheels.
 

phils2um

Phil S
11 Sep 2015
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Disable DC on this loco...
This sounds very-much like the power-buffer run-away problem, on a fault shut-down of the Central Station..
Thanks for that Phil. I'll have to make sure I disable analog operation for my locos with buffers. My very expensive LGB Furka Dampf Bahn HG 4/4 reversed itself when it hit the frog on one of my LGB R5 turnouts last Summer. This broke the drive gears. Luckily Märklin repaired it under warranty so no real cost to me but that to ship it to Jefferson City, MO. I was without it for almost 9 months though. Just got it back about a month ago.
 

Rhinochugger

Retired Oik
27 Oct 2009
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I'm not a DCC knocker, I just know my personal limitations, but I am reminded of a model railway exhibition before the pandemic where one guy was single-handedly trying to control about 5 trains.

The unfortunate result was, on one track, there were three trains buffer to buffer behind each other with the locos of the rear two idly spinning their wheels.

Nothing wrong with the DCC, just needed another operator or two.
 

JimmyB

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I'm not a DCC knocker, I just know my personal limitations, but I am reminded of a model railway exhibition before the pandemic where one guy was single-handedly trying to control about 5 trains.

The unfortunate result was, on one track, there were three trains buffer to buffer behind each other with the locos of the rear two idly spinning their wheels.

Nothing wrong with the DCC, just needed another operator or two.
Yep, not just a DCC problem I have a couple of controllers, and also a Deltang with selecta (runs multiple locos), and two locos I can just about manage to control, any more than that is just a nogo, tried both separate controllers and the selecta :(.
 

Ralphmp

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Yep, not just a DCC problem I have a couple of controllers, and also a Deltang with selecta (runs multiple locos), and two locos I can just about manage to control, any more than that is just a nogo, tried both separate controllers and the selecta :(.
Agree fully. I run DCC and my biggest “oh crap” moment was getting distracted with 3 trains running at once! Reached for the wrong Navigator and stopped the wrong train…
 

Greg Elmassian

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I try not to run more than one train on a "loop" at a time.

I did run (several times) two trains on my mainline in opposite diretions (I have two 35 car passing sidings).... pretty darn hectic for one person... thank God for the emergency stop button.

Of course if you have a train on a curve, normally all the cars fall off on the outside of the curve. Don't ask me how I know.

Greg
 

John Russo

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Just reading this thread following my weekly email from the forum.

My two cents is that there are two basic camps of model railroaders. One camp just wants things to work and does not care about the how or why. The other camp derives enjoyment (at times painful) from understanding the how and why and dealing with all the intricacies, whether they be electrical, mechanical, or digital.

I liken this to the use of gauges in an automobile verses indicator ( a.k.a. idiot ) lights. I don't say this as a derogatory comment. In some ways, I wish I was never cursed with the engineer's mentality. Ignorance can be bliss.

I dabbled in hand assembly of assembler code and am quite comfortable of working at the register level of zeros and ones. Same goes for electrical a, electronics and mechanical.

I do believe that there needs to be a easier user interface put in front of DCC if DCC is to survive. I have not made the switch to battery but for many reasons I think it will allow the overall hobby to survive. In addition to battery, using wireless control, whether RF or WiFi will be the future.

I posted some work I had done awhile back using C/C++ and the ESP8266 for control. The ESP8266 has penetrated the world in home appliances, sensors, toys, cameras, gas grills, garage door openers, and more. It is the backbone of IOT. I believe it is only a matter of time before it or something similar (ESP32) is introduced to model trains.
 

Dan

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If anyone has issues with the Zimo system MX1 or MX10, I use both and have programmed many locos with both systems. I also have lots of knowledge of the old LGB MTS system. I do help over the phone and on forums to try and resolve issues with these systems. My background is 45 years of main frame computers and IC chip testers. Like Greg I do convert numbers between binary, octal, decimal and hex. I am located in Southeastern Masachusetts in the USA.
 
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Software Tools

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Android OS, would appear to have the most intuitive and seamless user interfaces out there.
Android is a support nightmare for devices with a long commercial life. It is tolerable on devices which are used for a few years and then replaced, but that is not a characteristic of the model rail market.
 
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Paul M

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While most of our pages are available in a version of latimes.com created for European Union users, some are currently unavailable. We are engaged on the issue and committed to identifying technical compliance solutions to this problem. Thanks for your interest in the Los Angeles Times

Just about sums it up!:rofl::rofl::rofl:
 

Ralphmp

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While most of our pages are available in a version of latimes.com created for European Union users, some are currently unavailable. We are engaged on the issue and committed to identifying technical compliance solutions to this problem. Thanks for your interest in the Los Angeles Times

Just about sums it up!:rofl::rofl::rofl:
Clearly news of the UK leaving the EU has yet to reach the Los Angeles Times…
 

ge_rik

British narrow gauge (esp. Southwold and W&LLR)
24 Oct 2009
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Just reading this thread following my weekly email from the forum.

My two cents is that there are two basic camps of model railroaders. One camp just wants things to work and does not care about the how or why. The other camp derives enjoyment (at times painful) from understanding the how and why and dealing with all the intricacies, whether they be electrical, mechanical, or digital.

I liken this to the use of gauges in an automobile verses indicator ( a.k.a. idiot ) lights. I don't say this as a derogatory comment. In some ways, I wish I was never cursed with the engineer's mentality. Ignorance can be bliss.

I dabbled in hand assembly of assembler code and am quite comfortable of working at the register level of zeros and ones. Same goes for electrical a, electronics and mechanical.

I do believe that there needs to be a easier user interface put in front of DCC if DCC is to survive. I have not made the switch to battery but for many reasons I think it will allow the overall hobby to survive. In addition to battery, using wireless control, whether RF or WiFi will be the future.

I posted some work I had done awhile back using C/C++ and the ESP8266 for control. The ESP8266 has penetrated the world in home appliances, sensors, toys, cameras, gas grills, garage door openers, and more. It is the backbone of IOT. I believe it is only a matter of time before it or something similar (ESP32) is introduced to model trains.
I think there is a third group - to which I am undoubtedly a subscriber. Those who seek out and acquire information on a need to know basis - and no more. I don't just want to run trains ( cars, fridges, phones, computers, TVs, etc) regardless of how they work nor am I interested in the minutiae or fundamental principles of how they work, but when they go wrong or if I need to create something from scratch, I find out just as much information as I need to get by - that and no more. It means that, at times, I end up wide a width of knowledge but which I know sometimes lacks depth.

It puts me in mind of the story of the development of the Miners' Safety Lamp. Sir Humphrey Davy was given the prize and accolades as the inventor of the Miners' Safety Lamp, but what many people don't realise is that George Stephenson also invented a safety lamp at exactly the same time which worked on very similar principles. While Davy was a famous chemist and (later) president of the Royal Society, Stephenson was, by contrast, a self taught raggedy-arsed engineer who developed his lamp by trial and error. He tested his various versions of his lamp by going down into gas-ridden mines - if his lamp cause an explosion he knew he'd got it wrong!

I see myself very much a raggedy-arsed modeller. I experiment and try things out. If they work I am happy, if not I try again (or sometimes give up). I learn very much by trial and improvement rather than pursuing the underlying principles before having a go.

Rik
 

Greg Elmassian

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No, I really believe there are only 2 groups, and you just attempted to re-define the second group, people that want to know just enough to fix it, as in my basic premise.

(I'm ignoring the true 3rd group, the people that have enough money to pay someone to do everything they don't want to, or can't, they don't complain here because they have no issues)

It's the "I don't want to know the theory, just give me the decimal value for CV29". That matches what I said and what you said in your post above.

I can post to a recent thread that exactly (and painfully) shows this, where even the simple use of a calculator to get the CV29 number was IGNORED and people continued to "send" different decimal values for CV29 until the user was satisfied.

This thread is about helping DCC users and their issues.

Greg