Model Railway Forum banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,201 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi
Being electrically challenged
could anyone tell me how to wire for a headlight and tailight plus a flashing light for the roof of my plymouth shunter , as i understand it would need a four function decoder.
My problem is 1. how to wire it correctly and 2. how to control each light independantly /set the flashing light for the roof and the corresponding CV with its value.
Many thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,342 Posts
Hi
Depending on what lamps you use

but wiring will be

White wire to the front headlight -powered from the blue wire will be at track voltage
so you need to add a resister if you are using a LED

Most decoders come with wiring diagram and suggestions to the use of resistors

The white to the tail lights , if you want them to come on in the forward direction
blue wire will also power the tail lights

Yellow wire goes to the rear headlights once again powered from the blue wire
Yellow to the tail lights at the other end

the flashing light will be the Green or purple wire (usually switchable as F1, F2)

By default the white wire is switched on in the forward direction , Yellow for reverse

TCS decoders have a number of lighting effects ,built in , that you can program quite easily

Strobe lights ,double strobe , mars , gyro auto dimming etc
and wait theres more you can change when the lights come on (with function buttons or loco Direction)

Hope this helps , If you look at their website and down load the decoder literature you can see what I mean

http://www.tcsdcc.com/

Regards Zmil
 

·
Just another modeller
Joined
·
9,983 Posts
QUOTE (zmil @ 6 Jul 2008, 19:12) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi
Depending on what lamps you use

but wiring will be

White wire to the front headlight -powered from the blue wire will be at track voltage
so you need to add a resister if you are using a LED

Most decoders come with wiring diagram and suggestions to the use of resistors

The white to the tail lights , if you want them to come on in the forward direction
blue wire will also power the tail lights

Yellow wire goes to the rear headlights once again powered from the blue wire
Yellow to the tail lights at the other end

the flashing light will be the Green or purple wire (usually switchable as F1, F2)

By default the white wire is switched on in the forward direction , Yellow for reverse

TCS decoders have a number of lighting effects ,built in , that you can program quite easily

Strobe lights ,double strobe , mars , gyro auto dimming etc
and wait theres more you can change when the lights come on (with function buttons or loco Direction)

Hope this helps , If you look at their website and down load the decoder literature you can see what I mean

http://www.tcsdcc.com/

Regards Zmil

***Keep it simple

All as Per Zmil comment, but use a 1k resistor on all LED. A TCS 3fn M3 will do it fine (Bromsrove will have in stock). You CAN easily programme the lights - have a go, its just a matter of adding a number to one CV normally and if you strike problems I'll help - but try first, its well explained by TCS in their data.

Richard
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,201 Posts
Hi Zmil/Richard,

Many thanks for the advice, i installed the decoder and miniatronics led's this afternoon (digitrax Dz143) and have fitted it so the headlight and tailight are on in both directions with a flashing roof light on the third function F1 changing the CV 51 to 6, the flashing LED works when going forward but in reverse goes out do i need to wire in the purple lead and run it on F2 as well joining it to the green wire with another resistor to work and complete the install, sorry i have explained it in a long winded way but as i said originally i am electrically challenged lol.
Here is a pic to show progress so far.

http://nick--orwin.photoblog.me.uk/p51751060.html
 

·
Just another modeller
Joined
·
9,983 Posts
QUOTE (upnick @ 7 Jul 2008, 01:49) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi Zmil/Richard,

Many thanks for the advice, i installed the decoder and miniatronics led's this afternoon (digitrax Dz143) and have fitted it so the headlight and tailight are on in both directions with a flashing roof light on the third function F1 changing the CV 51 to 6, the flashing LED works when going forward but in reverse goes out do i need to wire in the purple lead and run it on F2 as well joining it to the green wire with another resistor to work and complete the install, sorry i have explained it in a long winded way but as i said originally i am electrically challenged lol.
Here is a pic to show progress so far.

http://nick--orwin.photoblog.me.uk/p51751060.html

***Hi Nick

Arghhh a digitrax decoder - where's the hammer???


No, you need only set the appropriate CV for that light to tell it to remain on in both directions. Green is usually controlled by CV51

I don't have the digitrax instructions to hand, but if it was a TCS you'd set CV51 to 35

regards

Richard
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,201 Posts
QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 7 Jul 2008, 05:28) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>***Hi Nick

Arghhh a digitrax decoder - where's the hammer???


No, you need only set the appropriate CV for that light to tell it to remain on in both directions. Green is usually controlled by CV51

I don't have the digitrax instructions to hand, but if it was a TCS you'd set CV51 to 35

regards

Richard

Thanks Richard,
I tried the settings on CV 51 and found a value of 37 worked in both directions with a beacon light effect.
I see your view on digitrax decoders now


One quick question if need to trim the wires to fit inside the little body of the loco do the functions lose any data i have programmed into the decoder and need resetting.
Now to paint the body either U.P. of course
or a plain white with orange wasp like striping.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,647 Posts
QUOTE (upnick @ 7 Jul 2008, 23:39) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Thanks Richard,
I tried the settings on CV 51 and found a value of 37 worked in both directions with a beacon light effect.
I see your view on digitrax decoders now


One quick question if need to trim the wires to fit inside the little body of the loco do the functions lose any data i have programmed into the decoder and need resetting.
Now to paint the body either U.P. of course
or a plain white with orange wasp like striping.

Wiring changes (if done carefully and with loco not under power !) should have no affect on programming.

I find all this programming of CV's a bit quaint, and use a computer interface with JMRI/Decoder Pro; if I want flashing in one direction, I select the relevant tickboxes and drop-lists. For some command systems, the cost of the computer interface is low.
 

·
Just another modeller
Joined
·
9,983 Posts
QUOTE (upnick @ 8 Jul 2008, 07:39) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Thanks Richard,
I tried the settings on CV 51 and found a value of 37 worked in both directions with a beacon light effect.
I see your view on digitrax decoders now


One quick question if need to trim the wires to fit inside the little body of the loco do the functions lose any data i have programmed into the decoder and need resetting.
Now to paint the body either U.P. of course
or a plain white with orange wasp like striping.

***Well done Nick. No, trimming the wires will cause you no grief. do insulate the ends of any unused ones though

Richard
DCCconcepts
 

·
Just another modeller
Joined
·
9,983 Posts
QUOTE (Nigel2001 @ 8 Jul 2008, 18:29) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Wiring changes (if done carefully and with loco not under power !) should have no affect on programming.

I find all this programming of CV's a bit quaint, and use a computer interface with JMRI/Decoder Pro; if I want flashing in one direction, I select the relevant tickboxes and drop-lists. For some command systems, the cost of the computer interface is low.

***Actually Nigel, I and many others also use computer related programmes from time to time in relation to DCC, but when a poster asks a simple question the best answer is a simple and direct one.

As to Decoder pro, its an excellent and evolving project but doesn't replace the need to know and understand about use of CV's at all, so its not "quaint" or anything else setting CV's directly - it is standard usage for most modellers for other than basic setup which the controller usually takes care of just fine.

I appreciate your preference but you should also consider that many do not want to bother with adding a PC to their hobby or connecting one for the purpose of programming a single loco.

As to simple, yes it is when you use Decoder Pro, however its neither simpler nor more sophisticated for general decoder setup than many current controllers can do directly - and certainly not quicker... After programming hundreds of loco's by knowing and understanding the meaning of CV's I can have most setup changes done by the time your computer has finished booting up and you have even opened Decoder Pro

Kind regards

Richard
DCCconcepts
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,647 Posts
QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 8 Jul 2008, 12:02) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>***Actually Nigel, I and many others also use computer related programmes from time to time in relation to DCC, but when a poster asks a simple question the best answer is a simple and direct one.

Which I did with respect to the "cut wires" question.

I see no harm in raising the programming issue as the thread had discussed the vagueness of Digitrax' decoder instructions, and implications of "prodding around" until finding the appropriate value for a CV for a particular decoder.

QUOTE As to Decoder pro, its an excellent and evolving project but doesn't replace the need to know and understand about use of CV's at all, so its not "quaint" or anything else setting CV's directly - it is standard usage for most modellers for other than basic setup which the controller usually takes care of just fine.

Which doesn't really square with various makers of command stations offering "easy" ways to setup decoders.

For example, the often recommended NCE PowerCab, has menu options to get round setting up certain CVs, ( as well as the option of directly setting up a CV by specific number). I guess NCE offered the special options to solve some user interface issues with managing common CV's, and the need to understand bits and binary to decimal conversions. The expensive ESU Ecos command station has a graphical interface for setting up ESU decoders, but comments in manual that one has to drop back to CV values for other makers (their manual admits its complicated and difficult).

I don't think DecoderPro is a perfect solution. Its far from it. I've seen a few other DCC computer interfaces which look better.

But the standard approach to decoder CV setup is close to dialing *#40 (or whatever it is on a PABX) to divert a phone call. 20 years ago, telephone engineers said this was fine for end users. Human factors engineers (including me, at the time I worked for BT) said it was mad, end customers couldn't handle it.

QUOTE I appreciate your preference but you should also consider that many do not want to bother with adding a PC to their hobby or connecting one for the purpose of programming a single loco.

As to simple, yes it is when you use Decoder Pro, however its neither simpler nor more sophisticated for general decoder setup than many current controllers can do directly - and certainly not quicker... After programming hundreds of loco's by knowing and understanding the meaning of CV's I can have most setup changes done by the time your computer has finished booting up and you have even opened Decoder Pro

You are not comparing apples with apples. You are an expert, and know the command structure of CV's in your head, whereas an average user does not.

I think its unreasonable to expect a normal user of DCC to learn CV numbering schema (even just the NMRA basic agreed bits, let alone all the manufacturer specific extensions). The practical reality of current development is that one needs to know a bit about them to get anywhere with DCC (mimium to set decoder address), but I regard that as an unfortunate middle step during the evolution of digital control.

As for a decoder configuration race, that depends on how many CV's you want programming in a single session :). A computer (be it my laptop or a DCC command station) will outperform anyone's typing speed, so the limit is the human selecting/entering values. The interface with the lowest number of keystrokes is likely to win any race with expert users. But, take away the expert users and try again, and the result will be dependent on other factors, including how difficult it is to interpret manuals, make binary-decimal conversions, etc.. I would argue that the interface which offered the options in a well structured manner and without requiring the end user to make calculations or consult manuals is likely to be quickest.

But, we've been here before, and you are certain many users don't want computers anywhere near their trains. I am not so sure; those who I know who've seen decoder setup via a computer seem taken with the idea.

regards,

- Nigel
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,201 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well it 'horses for courses' as i see it gents, and i'm just
to be able to change the CV to obtain the desired effect and have a little shunter for the layout presently with its body being stripped, mention was made "keep it simple" good advice especially to a newcomer to DCC like myself
 

·
Just another modeller
Joined
·
9,983 Posts
Hi Nigel

I don't actually think I disagree with you in any way - perhaps my words could have been better chosen though.

My overview

Most command stations with any real human understanding / market intelligence shown by the software designer allow readback and also implement an intuitive and simple setup procedure - for example the NCE will walk an owner through the whole decoder setup with simple yes no questions from number to speed curve, avceleration etc etc.... however at the same time for those who enjoy it it will allow direct CV implementation or for those comfortable with it either very simple programming on the main or again direct Cv setting.

I DO consider a good basic understanding is critical..... So have no negative about PCs on the layout but I DO think its important to have a basic idea of CV use - If for no other reason than a simple "reset to factory" is the life saver for many decoders and when its scrambled, and for this a simple one step "set Cvx to Y" is the quickest way to salvation irrespective of decoder brand.

The problem for many is.... if users lose this pragmatic bridge with the reality of how a decoder is set, then they will always be a little crippled when things aren't right..... Just as a carpenter may use power tools for almost everything, but he still needs to understand how to get the best out of the timber... and how to use a hand saw and plane when the circumstances demand it.

I do very much agree that many command stations are not intelligently designed. Lack of ability to read a decoder should NOT exist today - No programming track ability should not exist today, arcane symbols instead of plain english displays should not exits today - but they all DO unfortunately.

Even many of the systems that are supposedly mature have huge customer problems:

ie: (and with apologies to digitrax owners) We have a club here in Perth that ended up with digitrax because one of the louder members pushed for it. They set up a zephyr as a programming tool because "it was easier" and NOBODY really took the trouble to learn about their systems - so now they have about 50 members who can't use their DT400 handsets to programme, can't consist, can't trouble shoot and are constantly frustrated - many drop in to see me to "fix" loco's that aren't actually broken, or claim new installs won't work because they have trouble choosing an address!

Is this the club, the system designers or the owners fault?????????

Re many modellers not wanting PC interface, sadly its true and I do see it all the time.... This will change eventually as I see all systems in fact long term taking the ECOS route so in fact they ARE computers in custom cases.

I also see their software changing.... to better help their clients by accommodate other manufacturers with at least tick the box adjustment of all mandatory and RP based CV adjustments.

In the end we have maybe 4 types of modellers
Those who simply want to change an address and will never do more (more than 80% of current DCC buyers in fact)
Those who will take the trouble to learn in detail and will buy a system that WILL do all it should because they researched it properly
Those who buy a basic control system and then to get adequate results enhance it with a device such as SPROG or another PC interface device to make up for its shortcomings
Those who embrace PC interaction and use the PC as the basis of their DCC experience

All just modellers - and those differences are no more than the kit vs RTR, hand laid vs peco or any other thing. All choices for the hobby.

All are OK with me.

Richard
DCCconcepts
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,647 Posts
QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 9 Jul 2008, 10:38) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi Nigel

I don't actually think I disagree with you in any way - perhaps my words could have been better chosen though.

Richard,
good we seem to have an agreement.

QUOTE In the end we have maybe 4 types of modellers
Those who simply want to change an address and will never do more (more than 80% of current DCC buyers in fact)
Those who will take the trouble to learn in detail and will buy a system that WILL do all it should because they researched it properly
Those who buy a basic control system and then to get adequate results enhance it with a device such as SPROG or another PC interface device to make up for its shortcomings
Those who embrace PC interaction and use the PC as the basis of their DCC experience

All just modellers - and those differences are no more than the kit vs RTR, hand laid vs peco or any other thing. All choices for the hobby.

All are OK with me.

I'm OK with the above with one minor clarification. Those who research their purchases may well come to the view that a command station primarily for operation, plus separate computer programmer, is the best solution for their needs. Its not using the computer as the centre of the system, just treating it as the programming bench. When running the layout, the programming bench is not present, much like most modellers don't take a lathe to a running session.

When operating/exhibiting, there is a question as to what to do if a loco needs reprogramming. Ideally it shouldn't happen, but things do go wrong. Should one carry the programming bench or rely on the command station capabilities ? But that's no different to any other fault in a loco which needs attention, the modeller has to make a call as to what tools and spares to carry and when to say the fault requires workshop attention.

regards,

- Nigel
 

·
Just another modeller
Joined
·
9,983 Posts
QUOTE (Nigel2001 @ 9 Jul 2008, 19:35) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Richard,
good we seem to have an agreement.

I'm OK with the above with one minor clarification. Those who research their purchases may well come to the view that a command station primarily for operation, plus separate computer programmer, is the best solution for their needs. Its not using the computer as the centre of the system, just treating it as the programming bench. When running the layout, the programming bench is not present, much like most modellers don't take a lathe to a running session.

When operating/exhibiting, there is a question as to what to do if a loco needs reprogramming. Ideally it shouldn't happen, but things do go wrong. Should one carry the programming bench or rely on the command station capabilities ? But that's no different to any other fault in a loco which needs attention, the modeller has to make a call as to what tools and spares to carry and when to say the fault requires workshop attention.

regards,

- Nigel

*** Logically you are correct, but in the real world unfortunately thats actually not the path very many follow to a purchase decision.

In itself the ability to use a PC for some tasks is no reason to consciously compromise on a primary DCC system. A good decision will retain flexibility and choice for either option.

There's really no logical reason to make a controller that cannot also read decoders and offer a proper programming track ability - its technically, software and cost wise simply not a big deal.... in fact it will most often be a marketing, not a cost or technical decision.... ie: I'd suggest some brands consciously cripple the start set model so owners will have to upgrade for full features. (A thing commonly done on many consumer products I'm afraid).

The Dynamis for example.... its eminently competent in many ways and quite capable of being created to include programme and readback as it needs no more buttons - just some software and very very few parts.... So it has to be a marketing decision to separate programming readback from the basic system, not a "need" in any way.

At least if the controller is well chosen it can do core fundamentals like read a decoder ....the owner can then happily choose to use the PC for the bench and if he had to programme at the layout for the odd problem, cope with it easily.

Richard
DCCconcepts
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top