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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Am pushing myself to the limits here. OK so I converted to DCC early this year, put decoders into my engines and away we go. Now am working with Hornby Elite which would probably not be a everyone's first choice of control equipment, However downloaded the firmware and hooked up to a computer and again no problems. I have got computer throttle control.
Now fired with enthusiasm and maybe beginners success am looking at block detection. Having trawled the web am now not sure what I really want. I THINK I need contact sensors on the track and a feedback module to pass the data back to the computer. I think Lenz produce what am looking for but can anybody tell me exactly what I need and who supplies such things.
 

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DT
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There are a couple of solutions, but it is best to use one complete system. Say a Lenz command center with Lenz block detectors and Lenz feedback modules.

Zimo do it, Digitrax and a few others. Hornby doesn't have a range of solutions for that level of DCC control.

The price of these devices can mount up, but you do get some products making cheaper block detectors - like LDT, but these will match the specs of existing systems like Lenz.

Investigate the LR101 Feedback Module and the LB101 Dual Block Occupancy Detector



See here: http://www.lenz.com/products/modules/index.htm
 

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If you want to return the detection information to the computer, you need to decide on which feedback bus you will use and then check to see if there is an interface in the Elite to return it to the computer. I don't know whether the Elite has this facility and if it has, whether or not it is active in the current firmware.

If the previous paragraph has passed you by, the point I really want to get across is this - the standard part of DCC is in the "outbound" direction from the controller - the signals which control the trains, points and signals. There is not yet an agreed and implemented standard for getting information in the "inbound" direction - signals from train detectors, point position and so on. The result is that there are almost as many "buses" used for getting the information back as there are systems.

The Lenz modules that Doug has mentioned are designed to be used without the need for a computer. They can also be integrated with a computer through the Lenz computer interface. I believe that the Railroad & Co software will work with multiple interfaces - ie you can have a Hornby and Lenz interface working at the same time, but you would have to check up on that.

The lack of a standardised feedback is a source of disappointment to me.

David
 

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Hi Dumpy

I'm not sure if anyone has done this

But your Elite has a computer interface and should have the XpressNet bus connection for addition of additional components
this should hook up to the Lenz LZV100 command station and the Elite will become a slave unit . The Lenz system will theoretically be connected via the Elite to the computer. This may save you buying the Lenz Computer interface
worst case you will have to buy a Lenz Computer Interface. See if you can borrow a LZV100 to try this out

I have been playing around with computer control using a Lenz LZV100 a Roco MultiMAUS system and the Lenz LI-USB interface and it all works together on the ExpressNet (I do not use the Lenz LH90 or LH100 hand control at all) . The LZV100 has the connections for the feedback from Modules in Doug's post

For Some reason it is Cheaper to buy Lenz from the USA than the EU and there are lots of Online stores selling Lenz products
Here are some online shops DCC Train
Johns Hobbies

These Shops take Paypal , there are lots More

Hope this helps

Regards Zmil
 

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DT
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You can't connect the Hornby Elite to the Lenz LZV100. Gary and I tried it. I seem to remember that you can connect the Select to the Lenz system, but you only get an extra cab with short addressing.
 

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Hi Dumpy,

I too wondered this a while back. I was happy with my Hornby Elite but wanted to add Occ detection and more.

I am using RR&Co software and decided after much reading that i would give a Digitrax Loconet system a go.

I do not have a digitrax command station, just their PR3 interface (USB TO LOCONET)

I have gathered quite a bit of gear and now have several DS64 acc decoders, their BDL168 detector as well as CML electronics DTM30.....with all this i can now.......Drive trains with the Elite as per normal, drive trains via RR&Co software with on screen throttles etc.... Change points from screen or automated on pc and change points and show their state on my "Old school" point/route control panel.

It all works very well. Down the track i will purchase a Digitrax command station and tie it together but for now it works well.

Mike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for replies. Have been snow bound and done very little of late hence delay in acknowledging the wealth of information. It does seem as if my original thoughts on a Lenz solution maybe problematical. Will have a look at Digitrax.
En passant what can anyone tell me about this new Sapphire decoder and what data,if any it can send back. I gather its not out until the new year.
 

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QUOTE ....the point I really want to get across is this - the standard part of DCC is in the "outbound" direction from the controller - the signals which control the trains, points and signals. There is not yet an agreed and implemented standard for getting information in the "inbound" direction - signals from train detectors, point position and so on.
Yes there is!
The NMRA ratified the standards and recommended practices some time ago (either earlier this year or last year?).
The standards are based on Lenz's Railcom, which does away with the need for dedicated feedback buses to the command centre.
We're just waiting for Railcom products to appear now.

Lenz, who were instrumental in developing DCC and also proposed Railcom, seem to have gone very quiet of late.
At the moment, Zimo, ESU and some Lenz decoders are ready for it and so are a number of DCC systems. But there's still no news on any applications!

Hornby's Sapphire decoder is the first Railcom enabled decoder announced with any actual functionality mentioned.
They say it will support fuel/coal and water loads.

I'm not sure but I think Fuel/Coal uses CV 894 and Water CV 895.

So I'm guessing it will send back loco ID, direction, actual speed, fuel/coal remaining (if active), water remaining (if active)....any more (help!).
 

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QUOTE We're just waiting for Railcom products to appear now. rolleyes.gif

I stopped holding my breath for these a long time ago and whilst it may be an NMRA standard, I'm not really sure that it is a viable way of returning a lot of real time information from a large layout. If you google the right question, you can read minutes from an NMRA DCC standards meeting a couple of years ago which shows that the responsibility for developing Railcom was given to someone at Zimo which is a good thing since Zimo are active in this area of adding to DCC functionality.

I am not the only person who is disillusioned with the slow progress and availability of RailCom. A similar sentiment was expressed recently in the ECoS users Yahoo Forum by a gentleman who is a leading European light on the NMRA DCC committee. I checked by cross referencing his name.

David
 
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