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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had an idea for how to "address" DCC locomotives visiting another DCC layout. I am only proposing it for second generation command units with graphic displays because I think the user interface needed for my proposal would be too opaque for the typical 2x16 character displays found on older units.

This method relies on the command station having a database of all the "home" units. The procedure is as follows:-

1) The visiting loco is put on the programming track.
2) The command station reads back the loco's current active address
3) The command station looks up the home database and chooses a free address.
4) The command station reprograms the loco with the free address and records the original address in the loco.
5) The command station offers other steps as appropriate for "integrating" the visiting loco - eg offering a choice of "friendly name", so that the visiting loco can be selected and driven like any "home" loco.
6) At the end of the session, the visiting loco is put back on the programming track.
7) The command station reads the "free address" it used earlier, uses that to fetch the original address it stored earlier and reprograms the locomotive to its original address

That's the basic procedure. There are other features that could be added such as
a) Seeing if the visiting loco has no address conflict and so no need to reprogram.
Allowing the choice of using the current "inactive" address slot in a 2/4 digit decoder;
c) "pinging" the layout to see if the home loco with the same address is actually on track and not in a show case

With the computing power now available in the 2nd gen units, this should quite possible.
In fact, 1st generation units with a PC connection might be able to do the same? or the software to do this already exists?

Do you think this idea will fly?

David
 

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NO
sorry your making a comprise for a non conforming system. Rather buy a decent DCC set up and save yourself the effort. Just to make it clearer the Hornby DCC system does not conform with conventional four digit addressing. It will only handle a three digit address. For a few quid more you can buy a Digitrax Zephyr and have a full blooded DCC system, why bother with Hornby.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
>Just to make it clearer the Hornby DCC system does not conform with conventional four digit addressing
Are you deliberating misunderstanding what I wrote? Where did I put Hornby in the post? Will you just leave Hornby out of it and read what I said again in neutral light.


David
 

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This is a bit like DHCP or other dynamically assigned IP addressing on a computer network.

Why not, I like the idea. Keep it simple and let the devices choose the correct address for the loco.

To make it work even better, the loco name and or it's number should be stored on the decoder in some way or another so when it was put into a new environment, it would be recognised and assigned a free address.
 

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QUOTE (Doug @ 21 Oct 2006, 08:31) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>To make it work even better, the loco name and or it's number should be stored on the decoder in some way or another so when it was put into a new environment, it would be recognised and assigned a free address.
Alternatively give each decoder a unique id at the time of manufacture (rather like network cards). Then allow loco definitions to be transferred between systems in a standard file format on some form of memory card. This keeps the memory requirements low on the decoder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
>This is a bit like DHCP or other dynamically assigned IP addressing on a computer network.
Absolutely, although I came to the idea from a different direction - "What happens if the command station becomes more intelligent and starts taking control of the simple DCC actions for you?"

>standard file format on some form of memory card.
Good idea. I suggest the file format should be XML.

As for the memory card, it would be great if the command station came with a USB socket. Then you could plug in any form of memory card if you have the reader. It saves having to choose which memory card format you will support. Having worked in the desktop photo printing design business, I have seen a lot of memory card designs.

David
 

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No I'm not deliberately misunderstanding whats said. Your proposal won't work with existing hardware. Your inventing a solution where one isn't required. No offence intended. The addition of a computer simply adds to the cost and is probably unacceptable to 95% of potential users. In an Hobby where a large proportion of potential users seem to regard DCC in the same light as some type of Witch Craft this proposal is impractical.

Note: I hav'nt mentioned hornby yet
. If the Hornby Elite had the right specification with regard to addressing this discussion would not have been initiated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
>Your proposal won't work with existing hardware
I didn't propose it for existing hardware.

>Your inventing a solution where one isn't required
So you are proposing keep a register of DCC addresses for "travelling modellers" who go about from layout to layout with their DCC equipped locos?

>In an Hobby where a large proportion of potential users seem to regard DCC in the same light as some type of Witch Craft this proposal is impractical.

That's why the new graphic displays and increased processor power available at a reasonable cost will hide more and more of the "Witch Craft" from the user.

As Doug pointed out with his reference to DHCP, who these days assigns their own IP address to their PC? DCC will go the same way.

David
 

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QUOTE (dwb @ 20 Oct 2006, 18:14) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I've had an idea for how to "address" DCC locomotives visiting another DCC layout. I am only proposing it for second generation command units with graphic displays because I think the user interface needed for my proposal would be too opaque for the typical 2x16 character displays found on older units.

This method relies on the command station having a database of all the "home" units. The procedure is as follows:-

1) The visiting loco is put on the programming track.
2) The command station reads back the loco's current active address
3) The command station looks up the home database and chooses a free address.
4) The command station reprograms the loco with the free address and records the original address in the loco.
5) The command station offers other steps as appropriate for "integrating" the visiting loco - eg offering a choice of "friendly name", so that the visiting loco can be selected and driven like any "home" loco.
6) At the end of the session, the visiting loco is put back on the programming track.
7) The command station reads the "free address" it used earlier, uses that to fetch the original address it stored earlier and reprograms the locomotive to its original address

That's the basic procedure. There are other features that could be added such as
a) Seeing if the visiting loco has no address conflict and so no need to reprogram.
B) Allowing the choice of using the current "inactive" address slot in a 2/4 digit decoder;
c) "pinging" the layout to see if the home loco with the same address is actually on track and not in a show case

With the computing power now available in the 2nd gen units, this should quite possible.
In fact, 1st generation units with a PC connection might be able to do the same? or the software to do this already exists?

Do you think this idea will fly?

David

Not exactly "fly" but that's far too easy for some people.

Easy solution to one of the most frequent "anti-DCC brigades" "issues" with converting to DCC on a club level.

best regards
Brian
 

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QUOTE (Makemineadouble @ 21 Oct 2006, 10:31) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>No I'm not deliberately misunderstanding whats said. Your proposal won't work with existing hardware.
It could work with existing hardware, but you would have to perform all the steps and checks manually.
QUOTE Your inventing a solution where one isn't required.
You personally might not need to do such things, but there are plenty of clubs where loco address duplication could be a problem, especially when everyone has chosen to adopt the same address because it is for a standard unrenumbered RTR item ('last two digits' syndrome).
QUOTE The addition of a computer simply adds to the cost and is probably unacceptable to 95% of potential users. In an Hobby where a large proportion of potential users seem to regard DCC in the same light as some type of Witch Craft this proposal is impractical.
A computer would only be needed if you want to aotumate the procedure using existing hardware. There is no reason why a manufacturer could not incorporate such a capability into a new command station design. It becomes a feature of that station, nothing to do with the DCC standard itself.

An alternative but similar method would be to use the facilities that already exist for Advanced Consisting, where a loco is given a secondary consist address, leaving its own address intact. Each visiting loco would be assigned a consist number (even though it would be the only one using it), use it for the duration of the session, and then be de-consisted at the end. Even if this was forgotten at the time, the owner could do it with his/her own system when they get home.
 
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