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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, guys! I'm new to hobby but I'm learning very hard. Sometimes it is not easy to find an answer to particular question. Newbie question. :rolleyes:
So.. I opened this thread to ask all turnout-related questions because this is the hardest topic for me.
So far, is it necessary to have turnout decoder? :confused: For example, I have Peco Insulfrog turnout, Peco Side Mounting Turnout Motor and Atlas switch control.

Thank you very much for your help! ;)
 

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is it necessary to have turnout decoder?
If you mean a 'Stationary DCC Decoder' then the answer is no. The decoder is to control the turn-out motor by a DCC command from either the hand controller or a computer interface.
The turn-out motor can be activated by manually operated electrical switches.
Try googling "turnout motor control" for more info.

In addition, it is not even necessary to have a motor on a turn-out. There are a number of different way to 'throw' a turn-out.

As a beginner there is a lot to learn. Be patiently, google, read then ask questions.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for respond!
Actually I do a lot of Google (and also reading) and sometimes it is useless. That's why I'm here. That's why forums exist for. :)
I'm sorry for stupid question, but what is the purpose of 'Stationary DCC Decoder' which is used for turnouts(for example)?
 

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The usual way to throw turnouts is to have manual switches at different places around a layout or on a specific control panels,depending on personal modeler's preferences.Having stationary decoders allows modelers using DCC to throw turnouts from their handheld throttles.
 

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Its never a stupid question!

How much do know about DCC? If this is still a mystery then it is hard to describe a decoder. I gave you the short answer assuming that you know what DCC is.

In DCC (Digital Command & Control) all commands are send on a common carrier (which is normally the track power) or bus. So a decoder is required to 'decode' the device's address and the command sent. The most commonly used decoders are in locomotives and are called "Mobile DCC Decoders" since a loco moves. For controlling objects that do not move (turnouts, crossing gates, building lights, etc) then a "Stationary DCC Decoder" is used.

Maybe these can help:
http://www.nmra.org/standards/DCC/
http://www.tonystrains.com/tonystips/dccprimer/index.htm
 

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Stationary DCC decoders are electronic switches.
They can be used to activate a turnout switch machine. They can be used to turn on lights in a building! They can be used to turn on motor that runs an conveyor belts.
Almost anything is possible with decoders they are a programmable electronic switch, you can also use mobile DCC decoders if you would like to use the motor controls to run a motor at a variable speed!
You can also use DCC Sound decoders to give your buildings sound! I use one to give my saw mill sound, and another to give my gravel crusher sound too!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
...For controlling objects that do not move (turnouts, crossing gates, building lights, etc) then a "Stationary DCC Decoder" is used.
But you said I can use turnout without St. decoder. What is the point to use(have) the decoder for turnout if I can do it w/o decoder? :confused:

Brakeman Jake, thank you for response! But I wish to try myself for electronic throw. Manual is too simple. ;)
 

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But you said I can use turnout without St. decoder. What is the point to use(have) the decoder for turnout if I can do it w/o decoder?
The point is: remote control via a computer or handheld controller. If you have decoders for all your turnouts you don't have to get up and go to the individual turnout to switch it manually. You send a command while kicking back in your Lazy Boy...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Looks like I got it. So, I can use
to switch manually each one or I can install st. decoder and operate all my switches through my DCC commander. Is it right?
 

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You got it right.There are in fact three ways to throw a turnout,just to reduce the possible confusion.The most simple one is throwing the turnout manually,no motor or solenoids,by reaching the turnout with your hand and simply move the turnout.
The second one is having it remotely thrown (the TO has some powering device) by manually moving a distant switch that can be anywhere along the layout or on an organized turnout control panel so you don't have to move to do so.

Then there's the high tech way where your handheld throttle can also control your turnouts on top of controlling your trains.With these,you can even have the layout computer controlled with the appropriate software.Hope this is clear enough.
 

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OK...what I'm going to say here is just an opinion,others may differ and I'd be glad to hear their comments.

I'm actually building my layout and I have no plan to install any stationary decoder at all.I am the "hands on" type operator so will never have computer control on my layout,so I don't feel there's a need for these decoders.My biggest reason though is price...if you have a fair amount of turnouts on the layout (wich is my case),having a bundle of stationary decoders does indeed increase the costs too fast to my taste.
Another point I'd like to hear other modelers on is that I believe that you have to set specific adresses to all these decoders.Now having to remember all these adresses to dial them into your handheld,sometimes in a hurry to avoid derailments,doesn't seem like much fun to me.Flicking a switch is simple and fast.On the other hand,remembering these adresses is no more of a problem if you go the computer control route.
Something I don't know,do the handhelds(DT400R for one) have to be tethered to dial stationary decoders just like when dialing locos.If such is the case,then the stationary decoders aren't worthed anything to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
You got it right.There are in fact three ways to throw a turnout,just to reduce the possible confusion.The most simple one is throwing the turnout manually,no motor or solenoids,by reaching the turnout with your hand and simply move the turnout.
The second one is having it remotely thrown (the TO has some powering device) by manually moving a distant switch that can be anywhere along the layout or on an organized turnout control panel so you don't have to move to do so.

Then there's the high tech way where your handheld throttle can also control your turnouts on top of controlling your trains.With these,you can even have the layout computer controlled with the appropriate software.Hope this is clear enough.
Thank you, Jake! Just on time! :thumbsup: But I really like the way #2.
Also I wonder about one waltr's moment:
it is not even necessary to have a motor on a turn-out...
so how can I switch powered turnout w/o motor? :confused:
 

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My biggest reason though is price...if you have a fair amount of turnouts on the layout (wich is my case),having a bundle of stationary decoders does indeed increase the costs too fast to my taste.
You don't have to have a separate decoder for every turnout, if some of your turnouts are always operated together. You can wire several up to a single decoder output if needed, at least on the model I have you can (Digitrax DS52). It can fire off 4 Kato coils at a time, I have one output hooked up to my Double Crossover (which has 4 coils inside) and it works just fine.

Another point I'd like to hear other modelers on is that I believe that you have to set specific adresses to all these decoders.Now having to remember all these adresses to dial them into your handheld,sometimes in a hurry to avoid derailments,doesn't seem like much fun to me.Flicking a switch is simple and fast.On the other hand,remembering these adresses is no more of a problem if you go the computer control route.
A computer screen is the way I'm going to go, but you could still just make a picture of your layout with addresses for reference. Nobody would want to remember all the addresses.

Something I don't know,do the handhelds(DT400R for one) have to be tethered to dial stationary decoders just like when dialing locos.
No, it can control the turnouts untethered.
 

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Thank you, Jake! Just on time! :thumbsup: But I really like the way #2.
Also I wonder about one waltr's moment: so how can I switch powered turnout w/o motor? :confused:
The way Jake explained:
The most simple one is throwing the turnout manually,no motor or solenoids,by reaching the turnout with your hand and simply move the turnout.
This is how I do most of my turn-outs. Simple and cheap, no motors, no wiring.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Another question is... Insulfrog or electrofrog? There are so a lot of topics about them but I want to hear your thoughts, my friends. I'm going to buy insul, but people says plastic frog makes short and loco loose power. Is it true?
I don't really want to deal with tons of wires for electrofrog.
 

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For any turnouts that you can easily reach - I use caboose industries manual ground throws. They are about $3-4 each - they do a great job of keeping the points flush on the correct rails in the direction thrown.

http://www.walthers.com/exec/search?category=&scale=H&manu=caboose+industries&item=&keywords=&words=restrict&instock=Q&split=30&Submit=Search

Turnout control can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. Anything from manual control with your finger to touch screen interface via a laptop computer is possible these days. All depends on how you want to run your layout and how much of a budget you have to work with.
 

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Insulfrog turnouts definitely WILL NOT create shorts.The drawback of Insulfrog turnouts is that having a plastic frog means that there is a short length of track that has no power in it.This will only show with either very short locos or locos that have poor power pickup.Other than this Insulfrog turnouts will do the job just fine without the complexity of "frog powering",wich is the "bullet proof" way to install turnouts.
 
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