wHAT IS A " DECODER "

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bronco

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I have just bought 2 stains lgb 404 locos from a man in Germany, The locos arrived 3 days ago and I am very pleased with both engines , They almost look new. However each of the locos had a note inside the cab which read " ADRESSE 6 DECODER .and ADRESSE 6 DAUPT 3, ,I have been getting the German language on his ebay listing for these 2 locos and getting it translated to English..Having done this I am still no wiser as to what a decoder is. The numbers on the underside of them is 20201 and 20211 . grateful for any help..May I also ask if LGB publish a catalogue etc in English ??? Thank you Alan
 
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ebay mike

ebay mike

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Are you running your trains analogue Alan? i.e with a straightforward transformer and controller or combined unit? If so you needn't worry about the address bit. That only kicks in if you have a digital control set up (formerly known as MTS or MZS or something similar. That provides you with extra functions like being able to turn lights on and off and operating different sounds (whistle, bell, chuff, brake squeal etc) as well as controlling more than one loco on the same piece of track. The decoder is like a mini computer which controls what you want your engine to do, put simply.
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

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I think it should also be pointed out that ”Decoder” is another word for “Chip” as used to describe the very clever bit of Tech that converts a DCC (MTS) AC Signal and Converts to DC Current that runs the Loco Motor and in some cases controls Sound.

Have to say in my early years of DCC I did wonder what a Decoder was when reading USA Magazines as I had been used to Chip or Digital Chip.
 
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phils2um

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Hi Alan,
I don't think anyone has actually answered your question. It would seem that both of you locs have "decoders" installed that will allow them to be operated with both analog control (which you appear to be using) and digital control. 6 is the locomotive's digital address you would use to control the locs if you had a digital control system.
 
ntpntpntp

ntpntpntp

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The traditional way of controlling a loco on the track has been to use a controller which varies the DC voltage in the track to drive the loco's motor. Nowadays some folk like to call that an "analogue" system to distinguish it from the more recent "digital" control systems which let you control multiple trains independently on the same length of track, and which let you switch lights and sounds off and on etc. all done from the controller. Personally I think using the term "analogue" can be just as confusing for someone unfamiliar with the different types of system.

Digital control systems use a more complex method of control, with a constant voltage in the track and sending command signals to specific locos. Each loco has a small electronic unit called a decoder (because it "decodes" the control signals). The decoder listens out for and only acts on commands sent to its individual address number which has been set (programmed) in it. "Chip" is just an alternative name some folk use for these little units, but I much prefer "decoder" (all sorts of electronic components can be called "chips").

The most common form of digital system these days is known as DCC (Digital Command Control) but there are others (not necessarily compatible with each other). LGB had its own variation called MTS or MZS, fortunately this IS basically compatible with DCC though early versions had a few unique quirks.

B bronco So, these ebay items would appear to have digital decoders fitted and the seller has left a note saying which address numbers they are currently set to. If you're not running a digital system then that's not necessarily a problem as the majority of decoders can recognise and operate on a good old DC system unless someone has turned that ability by programming a setting in the decoder. Just be aware that the driving characteristics on DC will be slightly different to a loco which doesn't have a decoder fitted; the decoder will need to see a few volts in the track before it "wakes up".
 
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ntpntpntp

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Rhinochugger

Rhinochugger

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What is a decoder?

Someone who used to work at Bletchley Park ;););)
 
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bronco

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B bronco Oh and yes, LGB cetainly do publish their catalogues in English. Here's a link to an example;
LGB 2019 catalogue - English
Thank you for your help and download of the uk brochure ,just what I needed.. I only have a 8ft x 4ft indoor layout as at 85 years old I don't fancy the idea of being out in the cold weather. The layout will run in a C shape along 3 sides with a short 3ft branch line. and the centre of the board will be laid out as a grass field and a vintage car rally with about 20 old cars.....Would it be poss to run 2 of the 6 040s that I have now on the same track , just forward and reverse.. Thanks again great site...Alan
 
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dunnyrail

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Thank you for your help and download of the uk brochure ,just what I needed.. I only have a 8ft x 4ft indoor layout as at 85 years old I don't fancy the idea of being out in the cold weather. The layout will run in a C shape along 3 sides with a short 3ft branch line. and the centre of the board will be laid out as a grass field and a vintage car rally with about 20 old cars.....Would it be poss to run 2 of the 6 040s that I have now on the same track , just forward and reverse.. Thanks again great site...Alan
Assuming that you are not going to have a DCC System, both Locomotives would run at the same time with a normal Analogue Controller. You will need to have a couple of sections where one rail is Isolated so that one would not be not be collecting current / electricity / juice all 3 words that are the same thing! Some points will achieve that isolation for you by the track being the opposite way to where a locomotive is sitting but as you do not tell us what makers Track you are using we are unable to tell you exactly. A Track Plan may also help as I assume that the Branch will in effect be a Siding. Sorry but there is a lit of Terminology in Model Railways, perhaps a simple ‘guide book’ may help you some more
 
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bronco

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Are you running your trains analogue Alan? i.e with a straightforward transformer and controller or combined unit? If so you needn't worry about the address bit. That only kicks in if you have a digital control set up (formerly known as MTS or MZS or something similar. That provides you with extra functions like being able to turn lights on and off and operating different sounds (whistle, bell, chuff, brake squeal etc) as well as controlling more than one loco on the same piece of track. The decoder is like a mini computer which controls what you want your engine to do, put simply.
Hi Mike, Thank you for reply...All the bits that I have are LGB including the track. I have six LGB 0-4-0 locos and a LGB transformer 5003 .I will probably get rid of 3 or maybe 4 of the locos and just run 2 .as its a small layout. I also have a Playmobil 4350 transformer. But I only need to run one or maybe two locos and 2 carriages. back and forth along the C shaped layout board and I have bought a pair of l & r LGB turnout points . So I can have a siding of 3 or 4 curved pieces of track on the inside of the semi circle..So my only concern is that this setup will be ok to run with just the items I have listed . Thank you and all the other kind lads that have replied to my question Great stuff this site. Thanks again Alan
 
PhilP

PhilP

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I may be teaching you to suck eggs? ..

Just after your point to the siding, you will need an 'isolating track joiner' in one of the rails..
You then need a wire, connected to each side of this joiner, and a switch.. With the switch closed, the loco can run onto the siding. Once 'parked', you open the switch, so the siding is now 'isolated' (no power to run that loco). - This works even though you only break one rail. You have still broken the circuit.
You can then run a second loco round your 'C' of track.

You might want to consider a second 'isolated section' towards one end of your 'C'? - You can park a train in this section, and then bring the first train out of the siding.


You might also be better with a 'shunting puzzle' layout? But the space you have is quite limited at this scale.

PhilP.
 
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bronco

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Hi PhiliP. Thank you for that , You wont be teaching me to suck eggs, I am a complete dodo and this is my first attempt at this hobby, and probably my last at 85 years old . does it make a difference that the two points that I have are electric operated [ though I haven't tried , just push the switch on the point ]
Thanks again Alan
 
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bronco

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Is there anywhere that I can buy a track isolating track joiner ??, Cannot find one anywhere. including ebay, Alan
 
PhilP

PhilP

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Is there anywhere that I can buy a track isolating track joiner ??, Cannot find one anywhere. including ebay, Alan
Hi Alan,
You are welcome to the advice.. We all started somewhere! :)

Have you discovered how to send a 'Personal Message' yet? - Look for an 'envelope symbol, top-right, next to the 'B' in a green circle.. It should have a '1' next to it?
I have sent you a message, answer with your address, and I will drop one in the post for you.

PhilP.
 
ntpntpntp

ntpntpntp

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Is there anywhere that I can buy a track isolating track joiner ??, Cannot find one anywhere. including ebay, Alan
These are what you need, but do be aware that you have to remove an existing metal joiner in order to fit the isolating one. It can be tricky to remove the metal joiner without destroying it as it has a little tab set into the sleeper. I must admit I usually take a "destructive approach" and just bend the thing off with a pair of pliers!

LGB isolating joiners on ebay


LGB ones are yellow and stand out nicely to show where the rail break is situated. You can also get them in black from (I think) Massoth?
 
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Zerogee

Zerogee

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The plastic isolating joiners mentioned above are the cheapest way to do the job (well, other than cutting the rail yourself of course!), but if you want something even simpler that does not entail removing the metal rail-joiner, you can just use one of these instead:


This is a normal piece of track that can be inserted anywhere you need it, with one rail gapped (there is also a version with BOTH rails gapped if you prefer) and a set of screw terminals under the black plastic cover which allows you to easily connect up whatever switch arrangement you wish to use to turn the power on and off to the isolated section.

Jon.
 
maxi-model

maxi-model

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It can be tricky to remove the metal joiner without destroying it as it has a little tab set into the sleeper. I must admit I usually take a "destructive approach" and just bend the thing off with a pair of pliers!
Use a 3 mm H/S drill bit to drill out the little dimple in the brass joiner which is what fixes it to the bottom of the rail. Then gently pull the joiner off with a snipe nosed pair of pliers, holding the flat bottom of the joiner with the plier's jaws. Re-fold the tab on the end of the joiner back to a right angle after removal or cut off completely. You now have one reusable brass rail joiner for set or flexi track use :) I do so hate unnecessary waste :D Max

P.S. If you remove a rail joiner you may find you now have a rail that is free to slide as it wishes in the sleeper web. Check you have kept the bottom flange of the rail in all the chairs on the sleepers after removing a track joiner when you reassemble it and the track formation.
 
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B

bronco

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Hi Alan,
You are welcome to the advice.. We all started somewhere! :)

Have you discovered how to send a 'Personal Message' yet? - Look for an 'envelope symbol, top-right, next to the 'B' in a green circle.. It should have a '1' next to it?
I have sent you a message, answer with your address, and I will drop one in the post for you.

PhilP.
Hi Phil, Thank you . I clicked several times on the envelope but there is no number at all .I can start laying the track when I get the joiner and may even put a photo on this site so everyone can see how not to do it, and have a laugh .But it is my first and probably last attempt. Thanks again mate, Alan
 
PhilP

PhilP

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Hi Phil, Thank you . I clicked several times on the envelope but there is no number at all .I can start laying the track when I get the joiner and may even put a photo on this site so everyone can see how not to do it, and have a laugh .But it is my first and probably last attempt. Thanks again mate, Alan
I was 'instructed' we were going shop-pain.. :(

I have seen your message, and will get a Massoth isolating joiner (with wire on the tags) in the post tomorrow. - Have this one on me. :):nod:

PhilP.