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Discussion Starter #1
Here's what I've got:

• 70' of N Scale Kato Unitrack
• 20 Kato turnouts
• 1 Digitrax Zephyr
• A need to auto-reverse 3 sections
• Traincontroller Bronze or Silver still TBD

Here's what I want.

• Stay within Digitrax ecosystem as much as possible, including interfacing with lighting from these folks because I try to support the little guy. (Model Train Lighting and Animation | Model Train Technology)
• Because of overall space limitations I need to do a PC touch computer interface, probably MS Surface notebook. I do not need wireless or handheld control.
• Control 20 turnouts
• No more than 3 locos, eventually.
• 20 - 30 miscellaneous DCC light controls, maybe crossings, etc.

Here's what I understand.

• The Zephyr can use up to 20 addresses
• The Zephyr probably has sufficient power.
• The BXPA1 handles the reversing sections and three detection sections. I need 3.
• The DX64 handles four turnouts. I need 5.

What additional Digitrax parts do I need to complete my layout?

If replacing the Zephyr with an other Digitrax Command Center makes for a smaller physical footprint and/or more seamless implementation, then that is a possibility.

Thank you.
 

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Hi Kflorian,

It sounds like you want to do full train control automation on your new layout since you mention TrainController software. (That's what I've done with my layout too. See Modified Peace River HO Layout for my layout build with automation.) If that's the case, you'll need to figure out how to break up your track into various detection blocks first before you can determine the number of boards you'll need for block detection. From the track plan you posted in another thread regarding the number of autoreversers, I'm guessing you'll want 15 or more additional detection blocks above and beyond your 3 reversing sections. I'm not an expert on breaking up a layout into blocks, so you should read as much as you can about that topic and you may also want to run your track plan with your proposed blocks by others here and also perhaps on the TrainController forum.

Regarding the Digitrax Zephyr, is it the DCS52 that you have or the older DCS51? I originally started my railroad with the DCS51 but found some limitations with it regarding short circuit detection (which also impacts the autoreversers). I ended up replacing it with a full command station (such as the DCS240) on my layout and using the DCS51 on my workbench. I don't know if the DCS52 has resolved the issues I had with the DCS51 or not.

It appears that the BXPA1 is a replacement for the older AR1. The documentation for the BXPA1 isn't very helpful at explaining how exactly to wire it up. You mention that the BXPA1 handles a reversing section and 3 detection sections. I can't understand from the documentation I read on the BXPA1 how those other 3 detection sections work or are wired up. I suspect that those 3 sections aren't really independent. You'll certainly need the three BXPA1s, but I also think you're going to need two or three BXP88s. The number of BXP88s depends on figuring out the number of other blocks you need outside of the reversing sections.

Your count of DX64s sounds right.

I can't help you with the automated lighting since all the LED lights on my layout are wired with traditional mechanical switches.

Hope this helps.

Mark
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Mark,

Thank you.

I've got the 52 and I was imprecise in my statement about the BXPA1....it supports a single detection zone.

For now, I am building my layout excluding the leg on the left which I've been calling the "peninsula."

This means I should be able to get most of what I need with the DCS52.

When Digitrax says something like "400 locomotive addresses" is that only for locos or are those 400 addresses usable by any DCC-addressable device?
 

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I'm pretty sure that when Digitrax says "400 locomotive addresses" that it does actually mean locomotive addresses and not other DCC addresses. You can use the single throttle on the Zephyr to control multiple locomotives at once by switching between addresses. So it needs to be able to store and command multiple locomotive addresses at the same time. I can't imagine ever needing 400 locomotive address, but I suppose that's a number for marketing purposes.

If you're not going to build the "peninsula", then you don't need one of the BXPA1s since you won't have the reversible Wye as part of your initial layout. I think you're going to need two BXP88s even though you won't need all the detectors of the second board.

One thing to note about your track plan is that it doesn't lend itself to continuously running multiple trains at the same time. The reason I say that is that because of the 2 reversing loops, you're going to get train traffic running in opposite directions between them. Your layout doesn't really have any passing sidings on that track to let the trains pass by one another. If you're planning to do mostly switching operations, that probably won't matter, but if you want to continuously run longer trains, its something to think about and perhaps modify your track plan to accommodate.
 

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Could use guidance on wiring the Digitrax.

Staring with three BXPA1, Zephyr, and one DS64.

I will use Loconet throughout.

  1. Can I daisy-chain power between these?
  2. Can I daisy-chain OUTA and OUTB then distribute via feeders close to each reversing section?
 

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The BXPA1 is an autoreverser, circuit breaker and occupancy detector all in one, do you have a reverse loop on your layout? You would need a BXPA1 for each reverse loop. Note that the BXPA1 does not reverse the direction the locomotive is going, it only eliminates the short that a reverse loop causes. I would power the DS64 with its own 12 wall wort, The Loco net is the cable that has an ethernet looking type of connector ant that can daisy chain from Zephyr, to DS64 to BXPA1. As to how the rail power is connected, probably need some idea of the layout. The DS64 will drive different types of turnout motors or solenoids, and will need to be programmed while connected to the loconet before connecting up any turnout control. The DS64 manual is extensive and does cover all this, but you will have to read it several times. What you need to decide is whether you want to have a single push button for the turn out control (each push changes the turnout, or 2 buttons - one for each direction if you are going to have a panel for control. You could just use the Zephyr to control the switches, but you will find that annoying.
 

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Hi, and Thank you.

I have three reversing sections.
Using Kato track/turnouts.
Will use iPad for control sooner rather than later.
 

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I have a reverse loop sufficiently long to want to break it into two detection blocks.

Am I correct that I need a BXPA1 for each block?
 

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Somehow I think connecting 2 reverse loops together will generate trouble as both may trigger.
 

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Lemonhawk is correct. You cannot abut two 'isolated' reverse loop
sections. When loco wheels span the joint between the
two sections there would be short circuit...because both controllers
would be ''fighting' each other.

You can have 'detection blocks' within an isolated section. They
would simply be powered thru the 'reverse loop controller' The BXPA1 is
the reverse loop controller. You would have to research it's instructions
to determine whether it's 'detection' circuits can be used WITHIN an
isolated section that the BXPA1 is controlling. A contact with Digitrax
might be helpful. They are located in Panama City, Fl.

Don
 
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