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General Model Train Discussion Mostly anything goes, especially train related!


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Old 11-18-2019, 02:54 PM   #11
Tom_C
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Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Virginia
Posts: 380
Scales Modeled: On30
For sensors, Azatrax IR detectors are bullet proof.

Also Tamvalleydepot has a good reputation. I use one of their train shuttles to automatically control a back and forth DCC railbus for my holiday layout. Unfortunately, they discontinued it. There is also a shuttle unit by a UK company blocksignaling.co.uk. I have tried it, but it's got a small power capability, so recommended only for HO and smaller. I used it with On30, and it worked but sometimes would overload and shutoff. But, the operation worked well.

Z-Stuff for trains has some IR sensors, and while they work when I added a bunch of fake snow to my layout they lost their mind because of all the light bouncing around. I switched to Azatrax which can be installed using reflective mounting of the LEDs... it shines an IR beam up and it bounces off the bottom of the rail cars back into a detector. As I said, it's bullet proof. Highly recommended.

I also will recommend the Powercab starter kit, going for around $175 nowadays. There are other controllers, but I have no experience with them. I use a bachmann ez-command controller for running the trains and the powercab to program. The bachmann unit is very limited, but it's easy to use and anyone can run a train with it with no experience.

Last edited by Tom_C; 11-18-2019 at 05:29 PM..
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Old 11-18-2019, 06:18 PM   #12
gregc
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Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: somerset, nj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shdwdrgn View Post
My understanding is that DCC++ can also read an S88 bus and show those values on the telnet port along with the DCC commands. The ESP32 version of this code is currently working on adding LCC functionality into the code, but LCC can also be set up separately with an arduino acting as a repeater to put the information out on telnet. Once you have access to that information, you can write your own script to manage the layout.
bear in mind that the NMRA's support for LCC, supports separating control of locomotives from other I/O (e.g. detection, turnouts, signals).

so an automated train control system 1) interfaces to something like LCC or CMRI to align turnouts to establish routes and determine train location, and 2) interfaces to a DCC system (e.g. NCE, Digitrax, DCC++) to control trains.
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Old 11-19-2019, 10:17 AM   #13
J.Albert1949
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Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 489
If all you're looking for is a "loop around a Christmas tree", just run it using regular DC.

If you want the train to stop now and then, stop it yourself. Then start it again.

I ran the big railroad locomotives for 32 years. Frankly, I can't understand why anyone would want an engine that "runs itself" -- I wouldn't have had a job!
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Old 11-19-2019, 01:36 PM   #14
DonR
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Jacksonville, Fl
Posts: 8,154
There are products on the market that will
permit your train to approach a station, stop, then
continue on.

Here is one: (scroll down)

https://www.ncedcc.com/online-store/...mann-p38322131

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Old 11-19-2019, 09:08 PM   #15
MechE-83
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Join Date: Nov 2019
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Thanks for all the advice everyone!!!

So far JMRI seems to be the way to go as far as programming.
Also, I think I have figured out the NEC components I would need to do a small setup, without having to by a starter kit.

Last thing for me to research is DCC++!!!

Thanks again everyone!!!
I'll make sure to post an update when I get something running!
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Old 12-04-2019, 07:53 PM   #16
MechE-83
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Shdwdrgn,

Thanks for the input!!
I'm still learning, but I've got no problem hand wiring my own stuff.

For now I built a basic base station with an uno and a motor shield.

I know I'm getting ~16v to the tracks, but I'm still getting a 308 error out of JMRI.
In the process of googling that now, but if anyone has any advice I'd love to here it.


Thanks again all!!!
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Old 12-04-2019, 08:58 PM   #17
wvgca
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Scales Modeled: HO 1890's
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MechE-83 View Post
but I'm still getting a 308 error out of JMRI.
308 just means it's not getting a current draw reading back ...
incompatible motor driver, sense signal on different port, using the main rather than programming track, could be just about anything ...
does it program okay ??
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Old 12-04-2019, 10:16 PM   #18
MechE-83
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I'm guessing it has to do with inconsistent power.

I got the train to run, using address 03, but it was not smooth. Got power, lost power, etc.
Track power is consistent, and the train is an old one that I updated, so I'm guessing the fault lies somewhere in the locomotive. (or my wiring!)

I did not try programming it on the programming track though, just on the main. I had figured that more power would be better, but I can try using the programming track tomorrow.

Thanks again, I'll keep everyone updated with my progress.
Thanks to everyone who's helped get me this far!!!
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Old 12-04-2019, 10:38 PM   #19
wvgca
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if you are using DCC++ then you must program on the program track pair, and run on the main pair ...

don't know of any way to get around this, i -mostly- use the program pair to enter new data into a loco, and read back what works on the main layout after wards [with a MRC setup] ..
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Old 12-05-2019, 06:30 AM   #20
Severn
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Join Date: May 2016
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I also had some problems with the programming track vs the operational track, although some manufacturers seem to allow both. It's possible this is a DCC++ thing. Jmri seemed to improve a little over the course of a couple of versions I tried. As of say 2 weeks ago I was using the most recent beta version. But mixed into this was a bad board from soundtraxx, which they replaced on their nickle -- no complaints.
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