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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
To those who run consists of two-unit diesels; what is your consist addressing method?

I had planned on running triple-unit head end power… Which was going to be easy by using the center locomotive, which of course remains the same regardless of direction.
But with two unit head end power, I’m undecided. Lower number? Higher number? Sum of the two numbers?
I’m looking for a method, other than creating a registry of owned locomotive numbers, to avoid duplicate consist addresses, but also easy to remember/deduce for visitor operators i.e. That is really a key aspect.

I’m leaning towards the Sum solution, but curious how others keep track of consist addresses and why that method was chosen.
 

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I use "1" as the first number and then the next 3 numbers of the lead locomotive. ALWAYS.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I use "1" as the first number and then the next 3 numbers of the lead locomotive. ALWAYS.
A consistent universal system is what I’m looking for, but also trying to detect potential problems.
For example adding the sum of all road numbers could be problematic if the #s are i.e. 5014 and 5284. That exceeds 9999.
But I’m also hoping to keep things unique so there is no consisted set being addressed 3012, and a single locomotive being 3012.

But you got me thinking… If just the last digit of each locomotive was summed, then add 9500 for the consist.
So CR 4015 + CR 3642 + CR 4889 would be consist # 9516. And that’s triple head end power just to illustrate the point.

Why this came to my attention & deemed worth problem-solving before it’s a problem is my trains arrive from the West, and depart back to the West. The locos do not turn. So the loco that was trailing upon arrival, is leading upon departure. Hence there is no “lead” loco, er, they both lead depending.
 

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With the Digitrax system I have you MU one loco to the other (or two locos) , so the address of the loco that you decide will be the "lead" loco becomes the address of the consist. Since each loco has a unique address there's no address conflict for MU'd consists.

Did that make any sense? :oops::unsure:
 

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With my NCE system, I really haven't played with it much, lately. But as I remember.........................

Build your consist. Select a consist number, any easy-to-remember, two-digit number if desired. Say for instance, #63 (an easy number for me, 'cuz it represents both my age and my I.Q. :p). This consist will have a lead loco, a trailing loco, and (if desired) any number of intermediate locos.

Your entire consist now responds to "forward" and "reverse". Go ahead and run your train "forward" from west (origin) to east (destination).

To return your train to origin in the opposite direction, you have one of two easy choices. For one, you could run the consist in reverse. But then you have to remember it's running in reverse. Or, you could do something quite magical and VERY easy to do. When you're ready to run in the opposite direction and return to origin, simply "select loco", put in the rear loco's road number, and push "enter". Wa-Laa!!! - your entire consist has changed to the desired controller direction! In other words, the formerly trailing rear locomotive has now become the new leading locomotive of the consist, and responds to "forward" and "reverse" as such!

And the consist number hasn't changed at all - it's still consist #63 (or whatever number you chose)! Which makes it very handy (and easy to remember) when it comes time to "break consist". ;)
 

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Forgot to mention, hang a dry erase board in a handy location. Choose your first consist number, say #10, and write it down. Build your consist, then write the leading and trailing loco road numbers next to it. Note: In my opinion, there's no need to write down any additional intermediate locos in the consist unless you want to for some reason. But if you do, you may wish to underline the leading and trailing locos in order to keep track of them.

Choose the next consist number, maybe #15. Build it and write it's leading and trailing loco numbers by it. Next consist number, #20, then so on and so forth on down the line for further multiple consists. Lather, rinse, and repeat. You can have multiple consists sitting on the layout, ready for work at any time.

When it's time to call up a consist for duty, "select loco" and enter road number for loco that's going to lead the consist, and press "enter". You're off and running!

If you break any consist, be sure and erase the loco road numbers for that particular one. Then you can re-use that consist number for any new future consist you wish to create.

Easy Peazee for an NCE system. I think. (Famous last words, of course :D).
 

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I use two different methods, depending if it is a permanent consist or a temporary one. I have a few of the Kato train sets where the locomotives were sold as a set matching the passenger cars. I consider these as a permanent consist where I will always run the same locomotives, in the same order, with the same passenger train. I program all of the locomotives to us the number of the lead locomotive. They are individually programmed for speed matching and direction of travel, just using the address of the lead locomotive. This way there is no consist to build or remember.

I programmed all my freight locomotives to run at the same speed, no matter which model they are. These I use for a consist that will be temporary (the one run only). Since I use a Digitrax Zephyr command station, I program this one exactly how @Stumpy described it above. I pick the lead loco, and then I tell the Digitrax to add other units to it. This gives me a consist with the same address as the lead loco for that run. The only trick is to remember to release the engines from the consist when I am done that day.
 

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What DCC system are you using and what abilities does it have?

The latest NCE system will pretty much do everything automatically for you. You can dictate an address or it can automatically select one. And when you set it up you enter lead and rear engines, then fill in the middle units. You can call up a consist on the throttle by the consist address, or either the front or rear engine to operate it.

All this business about adding numbers and whatever systems is massively overthinking things IMO.

The other primary option is (especially if you operate realistically) to use the train number as the consist address. If your train symbols aren’t numeric, or you’re running lots of extras just note them somewhere, or make a simple system like passenger trains in 10-19, through freights 20-29, etc., but the consist addresses can’t conflict with loco numbers if you have engines 20-29.

If you don’t operate, and just run several consists around a loop or whatever, just note what the consists are - a small whiteboard from the dollar store works wonders.

Seriously you’re making it overly complicated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It’s an older NCE system. Not sure what version firmware it is running.

I disagree though on over thinking it, given the circumstances. Trying to avoid problems as I notice them out on the horizon.

The mainline ops are pretty simple, really just point to point from yard to yard on directional mainlines (which technically connect for the option of continuous loop running).
10 to 12 trains in staging, all with 2 or possibly 3 locomotives. Which one leads and trails changes every so often, as I said. Actually every time they arrive/leave the on-layout yard the lead/trail locomotives swap places as it were. Not every staged train will appear every day. I’m bound to forget which is the “consist leader” so going for a more logical & universal system for consist addressing. As things are bound to wind up backwards operationally so to speak, I don't want to be one of them. Lol And less paperwork always gets my vote of approval too.
 

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A consistent universal system is what I’m looking for, but also trying to detect potential problems.
For example adding the sum of all road numbers could be problematic if the #s are i.e. 5014 and 5284. That exceeds 9999.
But I’m also hoping to keep things unique so there is no consisted set being addressed 3012, and a single locomotive being 3012.

But you got me thinking… If just the last digit of each locomotive was summed, then add 9500 for the consist.
So CR 4015 + CR 3642 + CR 4889 would be consist # 9516. And that’s triple head end power just to illustrate the point.
But so would 4014 + 3645 + 4887.
Or 4016 + 3641 + 4889.
Or 4011 + 3647 + 4888.
etc.

Summing numbers won't give you unique addresses either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yeah I’ll have to pair them with their #s in mind, but only once in most cases. I can only think of 1 or 2 consists out of roughly 15 that may from time to time get altered.
And while locos in the 9500 range exist(ed), due to this memorized system I simply know to renumber or get a different #, which are both easy for me to do, to avoid duplicate #9514 addresses i.e.

EDIT The dry erase board @Mixed Freight suggested is a good idea. I plan to use them for train orders/switch lists, but adding one for “yard notes” will have to be rolled in to my ops plan.
 

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But I’m also hoping to keep things unique so there is no consisted set being addressed 3012, and a single locomotive being 3012.
A simple way to avoid the consists and individual locomotives having the same number is to use all 4 digit numbers for the individual trains and two digit numbers for the consists. if I did that, I would need the whiteboard to remember which locos are in which consist, so I like that idea. If you happen to get an individual loco with a two digit road number, add two zeroes to the end to make it a four digit address (for example, my Santa Fe F7 is road number 40 and would be addressed as 4000).
 
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