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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been lurking as a guest here for a week or so, and learned a lot in that time: Thanks everyone.
I have used an EZ command as a taster for about a year, now I am starting a major redesign/rebuild to include a full spec DCC. I need to decide 1) do I use probe/studs on track diagram or digital point control and 2) do I go for manual control on the storage tracks or some form of auto control. If I stick with probe and manual storage then I guess Dynamis is the answer, but DCC routes and auto storage tracks would be my preferred option then I could justify what I really want, an Ecos.

After hours searching this forum and web sites I think digital route control is feasible, even with my high current Peco solenoids and possibly having to use relays, but I am stuck for answers on the control of the storage tracks. I do not want to use a PC to control operations. My new out and back layout will have 2 storage tracks each holding about 4 trains one behind the other then joining together to lead back to the station. I am not prepared to commit to Lenz Gold decoders but the arrangement I want is exactly as described in the manuals for Lenz modules BM-3 with BM-2 at the front, with one signal controlling the train about to enter the station and all the ones behind moving up a block automatically when it leaves.

Can anyone give me a link to something as clear as the Lenz manuals to do the same thing based on an Ecos, possibly using the S88 bus? My knowledge of electronics is close to zero but I can follow instructions to build from a kit. What I need is info on what modules and detectors to use and how to link them up.
Thanks,
Brian
 

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Check Neil Wood's blog for details of how he set up a shuttle train service using the ECoS.

I am in the process of evaluating the Lenz "ABC" braking zones and have built my own BM1 module - it's only 5 diodes - as part of that. So far I have only been able to test it with a Lenz Gold decoder and I'm not convinced by its behaviour when stopping from high speed. Zimo also support Lenz "ABC" in some of their decoders (MX620, MX63 and MX64) but the one MX63 I have is not a new enough software version and until we get something approaching a normal postal service, I am unlikely to get a newer one to try. Zimo decoders are software upgradable but you have to invest about £80 on the tool to do so. If I decide to go with Zimo as my decoder of choice, it will probably be worthwhile, for although the Zimo decoders have RailCom hardware support, the software is not there just yet AFAIK.

So far my investigations suggest that a six foot (my max train length) long zone would be the best for my purposes. I've also discovered that you can't wire a single track with coincident braking zones for both directions and have them both active at once - ie in this case switching the zones directly from a signal is not going to work; another method will be required.

The Railroad & Co "Train Controller" software can certainly be used to automatically handle trains in a storage yard and Steve Jones has an entry on his website (electricnose) on how he did this.

I am sure there will be others along shortly with more info. I am still at the "dipping toes" stage myself.

David
 

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David,

When using any type of constant braking distance facility the "stop" section has to be the length of the longest train in use plus the required stopping distance, allowing for the highest speed in use.

Hope this helps
Brian.
 

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QUOTE (dbclass50 @ 11 Oct 2007, 05:59) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>David,

When using any type of constant braking distance facility the "stop" section has to be the length of the longest train in use plus the required stopping distance, allowing for the highest speed in use.

Hope this helps
Brian.
This is where a lot of people go wrong. Make sure you take into account any coaches that have lighting too!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies. It looks as if the Lenz BM series is about the only way to achieve this without going to PC control. On cost it may be better to control the storage loops with BM-1 modules alone, especially if I can make my own. However, I want the option of using different makes of decoder, in particular I want to try a sound decoder. Do any of Soundtraxx, Loksound or any non sound decoders of other makes besides Zimo respond to the Lenz ABC system? How can I tell from a decoder spec if it is Lenz ABC compatible?
Thanks,

Brian
 

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QUOTE Do any of Soundtraxx, Loksound or any non sound decoders of other makes besides Zimo respond to the Lenz ABC system? How can I tell from a decoder spec if it is Lenz ABC compatible?

The only decoders I am certain support ABC are Lenz and Zimo. I use "Asymmetric Braking Sections" when I search with Google. I have an ESU LokPilot 3.0 which sails through the ABC sections I have set up on my layout. I thought ESU supported ABC but in fact if you read the manual carefully you find the support is for Lenz Brake Generator module which is something completely different.

The current outlook for asymmetric looks a bit bleak. There is an NMRA working group assigned to progressing it. It's headed by Zimo's head honcho. The last news in the public minutes of the NMRA DCC committee is that work on asymmetric DCC has been parked until some other stuff has been finalised. There was a meeting scheduled for last month, maybe the public minutes from that will be more hopeful.

Zimo have their own more sophisticated block section system. It allows for 5 different speeds to be set from trackside modules. This sounds complex enough not to be cheap.

Another thread specific to asymmetric DCC has been started. It may be better to transfer any further discussion on it to there.

David
 
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