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DT
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I've been thinking for a while about writing some articles on DCC. I looked at publishing a book and spoke to some publishers as I have a friend who is just about to release a slot car tuning book. The idea was to try and make some money out of the project as it would involve quite a bit of work. When puiblishing, at the end of the day, you are not going to make a fortune unless your name is Dan Brown. You would have to write a good book every year or even more often to make a living from it.

I also thought about releasing the articles as a series of documents, available on-line, each for a small price. This has the benefit of allowing information to be updated instantly and new articles added as per the demand. I could publish this myself and sell the PDF articles using PayPal. The downside is the posibility of illegal coying. You know, why pay for something if you can get it foir free from a mate...

I have started writing some articles, I showed some to Gary and he thinks that they are still too complicated for beginners. That maybe true as I do assume that the reader understands certain concepts. I'll keep those articles and perhaps work on some even simpler ones.

What do you guys think about the idea?

Would you pay for articles on converting a DC layout to DCC, DCC wiring, configuring and installing DCC feedback, computer control and other similar concepts?

BTW: It wouldn't be DCC for dummies, they don't take submissions for books, rather, they commission books when they feel there is a demand.
 

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If I did not already have (most) of the knowledge required for DCC than I certainly would be prepared tp pay a reasonable price for what you have in mind.

The subject of illegal copying may be an issue but is there really much (in practice anyway) difference between ;

1) Photocopying/scanning/printing a page of information & giving it to someone or
2) Telling the same person verbally so that they have all the knowledge.

At the end of the day the outcome is the same the second person gets the knowledge for nothing - the first person has paid for it.

Just something that is really a downside of technology.

IMHO - get some more opinions (by all means send an example to me) - it's a tough one - too little information & it won't be a lot of use - too much & it may tend to confuse newcomers.

Maybe the way to do it would be to approach the subject in easy stages.

Hope this helps.
 

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The hardest thing for DCC newbies is the concept of wiring.

Like others I fail to understand why DCC should have wiring when everybody tells us it should make wiring easier.

From a base of not having any wiring at all with a DC (train set style?) layout then any wiring is a complication.

There are two distinct groups of hobbyists.

Train set modellers and protypical modellers.

My belief is that any "DCC for Dummies" type publication has to be aimed at the train set modeller (Marklin/Fleishmann/Roco/Hornby modeller?) who uses set track and any use of traditional wiring diagrams and images that we asscociate with current DCC publications or use of jargon would not be appropriate. If I find it hard to relate to then so will train set type modellers such as Pat Hammond (the UK most famous train set modeller?) and others. If you do have to introduce wiring concepts then start with the simple things that can be surface mounted and that can be covered by scenic effects (use copper tape?) and don't ask modellers to solder (use clips and junction boxes). And include info on where you can buy this stuff from as I am lazy and like to be told!

All in all an entirely new concept in DCC education.

You can move on to more complex solder and under baseboard subjects latter. Soldering itself is an art to master, can be offputting, and there are large articles on this subject all by its own! Doug is already aware of my thinking on all this.

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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The trouble with the current lack of popularity for DCC is due to many modellers being set in their ways, and unwilling to invest in something when there are so many new models to buy instead. Despite the fact a popular magazine has been running a series of articles about DCC for years now and other publications covering it in detail, it took Hornby, Bachmann & Gaugemaster to release DCC equipment before most people took notice of this "Black Magic".

I think there is a market for such a publication, because in all fairness the previous DCC bible mentions using automotive light bulbs and alot of the equipment referred to is out of date, so maybe the book should retail at £19.95 with a free decoder....!
 

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Ian Wigglesworth
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Nice idea Doug!

You could set up a website "www.dcc4dummies.co.uk"


A little like scalescenes, in so much as, you goto the web site and you select which 'chapter or article' you want to pay for and download.

That would be really good, select the topic of interest pay and a download link is sent to the buyer so he/she can download the information to the PC.
Each chapter/article or topic can include pictures as well, all in a PDF file.

Like Gary has said, for 'dummies' it would have to be very basic, but then on the website there could be a synopsis of what is covered in each chapter perhaps with a sample picture, so customers know roughly what they are getting.

You have a very good idea there, it has taken me over a year of asking questions and reading lots of forums and books/magazines to get the information I needed to build a layout, which incidently I've just ripped up and started again!!!!!
As a service engineer I would like to think I'm not really stupid but some of the wiring issues(mainly frog polarity switching is fairly confusing!)

Having a one stop source of information would be very good, would take alot of work though!

Ian
 

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Doug
book is an excellent idea,especially if written from the British perspective,if that is to insular then plain ,simple,easy,clear,and consise language.I am just embarking on dcc and have never run,owned, or even built a dc system.The amount of differing ideas available on the multitude of websites (often in complete contradiction) is totally mind numbing.Simple things confuse me,such as you lay the track for arguments sake an oval,run bus wires underneath.Join up to the rails with droppers.Do not join up the bus wires to form a circuit,this confuses the dcc signal.But the fact that my track is an oval, and the bus is wired to, it is that not joining the bus by virtue of the rails?.Just a wee example,call me old fashioned but i like books i can take a book up to bed with me,and read till i fall asleep.Have you ever had a laptop hit you in the kisser when you've fallen asleep whilst reading?It's not bonnie.Some may say that for a first layout i'd be better going dc,but to me dcc would seem to be the way ahead for all of us whether we like,want,or need it.Also i may not live long enough to finish this one never mind one of each

Regards Peter
 

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DT
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QUOTE ...Do not join up the bus wires to form a circuit...
Not sure where that one originates. I have heard it before, I may even have said it, but I had my DCC signal/power BUS under my track looped for years. The rails never quite looped around due to plenty of insulated sections, but I never had a problem with the looped DCC signal/power BUS.

It is the XpressNet BUS should not be looped. Perhaps this is the source of the DCC signal/power BUS confusion. The XpressNet BUS should be kept as a trunk with branches going off as required, but not joining back to themselves or the trunk.
 

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QUOTE (Doug @ 4 Mar 2007, 20:25) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Not sure where that one originates. I have heard it before, I may even have said it, but I had my DCC signal/power BUS under my track looped for years. The rails never quite looped around due to plenty of insulated sections, but I never had a problem with the looped DCC signal/power BUS.

It is the XpressNet BUS should not be looped. Perhaps this is the source of the DCC signal/power BUS confusion. The XpressNet BUS should be kept as a trunk with branches going off as required, but not joining back to themselves or the trunk.

Doug
thanks! simple plain english answer that even a technophobe like me can understand.Thought the XpressNet Bus was a techie name for the signal/ power bus.Now you see the need for your book.I wont go into my trials and tribulations to try and choose a system(which i'll purchase 27th of march,bonus time).All I'll say Is It's a choice between Digitrax Empire Builder,NCE PowerCab,and the Prodigy Advance.If I knew what I was looking for It might help.Go for the book Doug, put me out of my misery.

Regards Peter
 

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DT
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QUOTE (petemack @ 4 Mar 2007, 22:13) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>...Thought the XpressNet Bus was a techie name for the signal/ power bus....
XpressNet is the communications network [BUS] between control devices. Base station and cab controllers etc. This allows you to connect together multiple cab controllers on the layout to control any of the trains.

Digitrax uses something called a LocoNet BUS.
 

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I think it's a good idea, and beginning to be overdue (as opposed to "late" or "cancelled").

There is a British book in preparation, isn't there, with Midland Publishing/Ian Allen?

I don't have a preference for your distribution method (web-based is fine, but a book has more to it) but I think there is a definite need for an up-to-date British/European primer, done in the right way, using recent models and recent kit, available in the UK or Europe. I tried the famous Ames/Friberg/Loizeaux book (first published 1998, re-printed 2003) and I'm afraid I couldn't get on with it at all. Plus, it's significantly out of date.

It seems to me a graded approach, taking account of Beginners' needs, but also leading on to more advanced topics, is needed. Don't make it too simple, in my opinion.

For example, I can figure out how to fit a decoder (though it wouldn't hurt to have several worked examples, in both steam and D&E, with step-by-step pictures) and I am gradually getting up to speed on my system (Lenz, in my case); BUT - and I think it's a big but - there is a lot of ignorance on my part when it comes to CV setting, and hooking up points and signals. I'm perfectly happy to research stuff, but in the DCC world, with the market as it is, there is a LOT of information to get through.

I have to take some issue with Gary, as I don't think the wiring is hard at all, except that there is so much myth and b**s**
around that you could be forgiven for thinking so. It's like a priesthood all of its own. Steve Jones does a good job of de-mystification in his web-site, and that approach I find very helpful. What I still think is tricky, is how various components fit together (perhaps this is what you were referring to, Gary?). Feedback and point-interlocking spring to mind, especially when no manufacturer has a comprehensive range. It's all rather like hi-fi separates at the moment, and I was never a hi-fi buff. Or, to put it differently, I didn't want to spend the time on finding out (life being short).

If your book could cut through some of that jungle, it would be well worth it.

It's also worth stressing the potential operational benefits, rather than just the technical issues. Control over lighting and now sound is a plus for me, but so is the abililty to drive a train anywhere. I haven't tried multiple consists yet, but I'm going to need to (to get my trains to climb rather steep gradients). For the steam boys, there's also double-heading and banking.

Not to mention, I hope, exciting future prospects like digitally-controlled remote uncoupling, opening doors, operating cranes, door warning lights, passenger sounds, context-sensitive station announcements, etc.

My tuppen'orth, anyway. I think a very worthwhile thing to do.
 

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DT
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Ian Morten is releasing a DCC book this month.

ISBN-13/EAN: 9780711031524
ISBN-10: 0711031525

Here's the description for the DCC book:
This is the first title in a brand new series from Ian Allan Publishing which will tackle a range of topics that are significant for modellers working in different areas of interest in this absorbing and wide-ranging hobby which embraces so many materials, scales and subjects. The series begins with this examination of a recent revolution in the operation of model railways, the development of Digital Control Command (DCC). Until recently, attempts to bring in more sophisticated control systems, to allow for the multiple operation of trains, were relatively primitive.

This has changed with the arrival of DCC. Using computer chip technology, each locomotive can now be individually identified and operated, making the operation of a model railway layout much more akin to the real thing. Most proprietary models now come with DCC compatibility. It is also possible to upgrade older models to take advantage of this new technology. This book explores the theory and practice of DCC and explains how the technology can be applied, making this essential reading for both those who already have the technology and for others contemplating the significant investment involved.

Contents
Foreword
1: Introduction
2: Converting to DCC
3: Base stations, boosters and controllers
4: Locomotive Decoders
5: Accessory Decoders
6: Wiring for DCC
7: First Use
8: Configuring Locomotive Decoders
9: Advanced Use
Glossary
Trouble-shooting Guide
Manufacturers and Suppliers (UK)
Locomotive Decoder Quick CV Calculator

Cover price is £12.99 and it will be available from all good bookshops. Published by Ian Allan.
 

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QUOTE (Doug @ 4 Mar 2007, 01:27) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I've been thinking for a while about writing some articles on DCC...

Doug,

I think your biggest problem is going to be competition. Virtually all of the information you'll probably put in a book or on a website is available for free on the net anyway or on websites such as our: http://mrol.gppsoftware.com.

The other area you will have problems with is in the technical aspects. For example:

1/ There are people who won't agree on what the correct way to wire up live frog turnouts is and maintain that 'out of the box' is sufficient. Which solution are you going to follow ? If you don't follow the correct method (ie http://mrol.gppsoftware.com/livefrogwiring.asp) you will loose credibility very fast.

2/ There are people who won't agree on what the correct way to wire up districts is and they persist on the old car lightbulb method which doesn't safely remove current completely. Which way will you take on this one ? Again, you will have to follow the approach of using proper commercial products. You will loose credibility if you adopt the heath-robinson light bulb solution.

We tried selling PDFs on the net. It only had limited success and what we were selling wasn't available elsewhere.

I think your best option would be a book but you have to set the standards high otherwise it will be dismissed as trainset stuff. Doing it on the net is a lot of hard work with limited return.

Graham Plowman
 

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QUOTE (Paxman @ 4 Mar 2007, 22:10) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Not to mention, I hope, exciting future prospects like digitally-controlled remote uncoupling, opening doors, operating cranes, door warning lights, passenger sounds, context-sensitive station announcements, etc.

Most these things are already available (& have been for some time) in "euroland".
 

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QUOTE I think your best option would be a book but you have to set the standards high otherwise it will be dismissed as trainset stuff. Doing it on the net is a lot of hard work with limited return.

It is a commercial risk with time. Its pretty much down to whether you feel the market is big enough for this type of offering relative to the time spent working on, marketing and updating the publications and the investment in any hardware required.

What is the issue with trainset stuff?


This seems to be the largest market for DCC information and one area where current published work seems way over the head of everybody involved.

Is it that it will be dismissed as trainset stuff by techies?


I'm not sure that Doug has the techie market in mind but I might be wrong.

Is it important that techies give published work their blessing for it to be a success?


Happy modelling
Gary
 

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Just received my copy of that book.
How it compares to other DCC books, I couldn't say as this is my first DCC book.
On the whole it looks good with plenty of diagrams and photos.
I found some useful info in there and the language used is non too technical.
It is biased to the UK modeller, though.
I got mine from Amazon UK
regards
David(UK)
QUOTE (Doug @ 4 Mar 2007, 23:53) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Ian Morten is releasing a DCC book this month.

ISBN-13/EAN: 9780711031524
ISBN-10: 0711031525

Here's the description for the DCC book:
This is the first title in a brand new series from Ian Allan Publishing which will tackle a range of topics that are significant for modellers working in different areas of interest in this absorbing and wide-ranging hobby which embraces so many materials, scales and subjects. The series begins with this examination of a recent revolution in the operation of model railways, the development of Digital Control Command (DCC). Until recently, attempts to bring in more sophisticated control systems, to allow for the multiple operation of trains, were relatively primitive.

This has changed with the arrival of DCC. Using computer chip technology, each locomotive can now be individually identified and operated, making the operation of a model railway layout much more akin to the real thing. Most proprietary models now come with DCC compatibility. It is also possible to upgrade older models to take advantage of this new technology. This book explores the theory and practice of DCC and explains how the technology can be applied, making this essential reading for both those who already have the technology and for others contemplating the significant investment involved.

Contents
Foreword
1: Introduction
2: Converting to DCC
3: Base stations, boosters and controllers
4: Locomotive Decoders
5: Accessory Decoders
6: Wiring for DCC
7: First Use
8: Configuring Locomotive Decoders
9: Advanced Use
Glossary
Trouble-shooting Guide
Manufacturers and Suppliers (UK)
Locomotive Decoder Quick CV Calculator

Cover price is £12.99 and it will be available from all good bookshops. Published by Ian Allan.
 
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