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Monday, September 26, 2016

New Auxiliary Control Panel

A Quick and Dirty Control Panel for the New DCC Turnout Controls.

The old DC NJ International Turnout Machines are being replaced by Tam Valley Depot Singlet DCC Decoder and Servo Drivers. So as a result a new control panel is required for the Fascia Decoders.

Control Panels are way easier to make these days with a computer and printer compared to the old mask and paint method.

This new panel is drawn with the free vector graphics program Inkscape. This time I included labeling for the electrical isolated blocks as well as a letter designation for each of the four city blocks.

The drawing was then printed out and glued to 1/8" Masonite Board. And then drilled to accommodate the Servo Decoders. Done! Easy peasy. Well... except now comes the wiring!

This new auxiliary panel provides a manual way to control the turnouts since primary control of the layout will be controlled by the computer. But I know computers, and my experience with computers has taught me that a manual alternative would be a wise thing. Yes sir! A wise alternative!


Thursday, March 10, 2016

Track ~ Electrically Isolated Blocks

DC Block Control, Eliminated, and then Revived...

Gaps in the rails.  Originally designed for DC Block Control, DCC eliminated the need for these electrically isolated track blocks.

Power bus. A bare wire is run under the layout following the cloverleaf pattern of the track above to tie all the block wiring together.

Block Detection for Automation. Putting those old blocks to good use, they can be used to give feedback to loconet for use in running the layout automatically or semi-automatically.

Yes Sir! Running the layout automatically!


Monday, February 01, 2016

TCS Keep Alive DCC Decoders

Installing A DCC Decoder In A Poor Running Model Yields Surprising Results!

One of the advantages touted by DCC proponents is that it improves the performance of motors. So I decided to add a TCS Keep Alive Decoder to my poorest running model to see how it fares:

A Huntington Standard by Oriental Models.
It features a crappy open-frame motor and all brass gears ( usually alternating brass gears with plastic gears produce much better performance).

And wouldn't you know it, I was able to get decent performance out of it. In this short video I was able to run the car around the block with some realism:

Yes sir! Decent performance!


Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Digi for the Trax

Santa Baby Was Good To Me!

Digitrax DCS 51

It's official, the layout has gone digital. Though DC was fun, playing keep-away by only using the turnouts...:

...but it's time to start implementing realistic operation. So DCC it is!

To make a quick connect/disconnect between the command station and layout I purchased these XLR Connectors. They seem able to handle any maximum amperage the command station should dish out.

Under the layout shot. The female XLR Connector was mounted to a small project box and then wired to the layout. The male in-line XLR Connector was wired to a 16awg 3 conductor cord (positive, negative, neutral) which is wired to the Command Station.

.We are now DCC ready. Yes sir! DCC ready!