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Need help i gotta digitrax controller but i don't think it's compatible with a Lionel decoder that's inside my atlas rs1 0 scale locomotive any Tec people out there ? Train go back & forth but at a set speed that i can't change 馃槤
 

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Lionel I recall went their own way in O gauge with a digital system, Trainmaster Command Control. You may have such a decoder which isn't compatible with DCC. And that's all I know!
 

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Lionel I recall went their own way in O gauge with a digital system, Trainmaster Command Control. You may have such a decoder which isn't compatible with DCC. And that's all I know!
Thx that's what I was thinking can't make things compatible with other systems that would make life to eazy just like car parts 馃憤
 

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Quite simply DCC is 'the compatible system' and offers plentiful choice. But some brands trade on 'different', for reasons which are theirs to explain.
 

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Generally with any digital communication system it is how the designer reads the specification. I am surprised you are getting the effect you are, usually the differences in decoders is noticed when trying to read or write CV values. I am an ex Electronics/Software designer specialising in digital communications and normally most errors occur in the timing of the reading of the signal. The best I can recommend is to buy a middle of the road decent decoder like a Zimo, which I have found to be super reliable and change the decoder. If it still shows the same faults then your issue may be nothing to do with the decoder more like the capacitor across the motor or the pickups. I have two controllers a Fleishmann and an Elite, only because I bought them broken and fixed them, but it is surprising how many decoders work on one but not the other always involving reading and writing CV values.The Fleishmann handles most decoders better but the the Elite has an easier menu system for reading and writing CV values. Anyway, sorry but that is the best advice I can offer.
 

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Generally with any digital communication system it is how the designer reads the specification. I am surprised you are getting the effect you are, usually the differences in decoders is noticed when trying to read or write CV values. I am an ex Electronics/Software designer specialising in digital communications and normally most errors occur in the timing of the reading of the signal ...
Yes, we have had some of those over the years within DCC as defined by the NMRA, but that's typically unintended!

But several model railway businesses have intentionally specified their digital control systems to be incompatible with NMRA DCC, and if it is a Lionel Trainmaster decoder, that's one of them by common report. (If you look in the manufacturer ID list, there is no reference to 'Lionel' or 'Trainmaster'.) The actual protocols that the non-NMRA DCC systems use are typically 'near relatives' to NMRA DCC, and the very limited control described is a typical outcome.
 

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Yes, we have had some of those over the years within DCC as defined by the NMRA, but that's typically unintended!

But several model railway businesses have intentionally specified their digital control systems to be incompatible with NMRA DCC, and if it is a Lionel Trainmaster decoder, that's one of them by common report. (If you look in the manufacturer ID list, there is no reference to 'Lionel' or 'Trainmaster'.) The actual protocols that the non-NMRA DCC systems use are typically 'near relatives' to NMRA DCC, and the very limited control described is a typical outcome.
In that case I bow to your superior knowledge. A bit of a silly thing to do, means you cannot get any other business, but I suppose they like it like that. If you take Hornby, ok their decoders are not the best in the world but a lot of people use their decoders in non Hornby products.
 

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Not so much with the superior knowledge! I promise you I have only picked up enough over the years to obtain the required performance standard.
If you take Hornby, ok their decoders are not the best in the world but a lot of people use their decoders in non Hornby products.
Hornby are a very special case in the UK, is my opinion. They have retained a grip on the affections of the UK public when it comes to model railway product, such that non-Hornby purchases are grudging. (And there isn't an alternative UK DCC decoder brand with any presence, since ZTC evaporated, and their market reach was limited.)

But Hornby's ability to sell decoders for non-Hornby is undoubtedly being squeezed out, as their connector range is restricted. Increasingly other RTR OO manufacturers are using the MTC 21 pin, Next18 or PluX connectors on new introductions, and Hornby don't offer these.
 

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Not so much with the superior knowledge! I promise you I have only picked up enough over the years to obtain the required performance standard.

Hornby are a very special case in the UK, is my opinion. They have retained a grip on the affections of the UK public when it comes to model railway product, such that non-Hornby purchases are grudging. (And there isn't an alternative UK DCC decoder brand with any presence, since ZTC evaporated, and their market reach was limited.)

But Hornby's ability to sell decoders for non-Hornby is undoubtedly being squeezed out, as their connector range is restricted. Increasingly other RTR OO manufacturers are using the MTC 21 pin, Next18 or PluX connectors on new introductions, and Hornby don't offer these.
I agree with you entirely, I got barred from the RMWEB for daring to mention some of Hornby products were bit overpriced. Amusing thing is I do actually buy a lot of Hornby products but as when I worked I have been trained to look for value for money. It annoys me that for Bachmann, Dapol and Heljan the most difficult bit about fitting a decoder is getting the body off, with Hornby several of the separately fitted bits fall off as you get the body off then to be followed by how can I get this decoder to fit with the body on, as I try to lose a coil of wire. You would have thought putting the decoder in the tender would make things easier but now they add super detailed bunkers there is probably more room in the loco. I like Hornby locos but Dapol and Bachmann are catching up fast, the Dapol Mogul being a superb example, especially the DCC fitting.
 

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It never ceases to amaze me that both Hornby and Bachman make locos that their own decoders will not fit into such as I think the Bachmann Hall and 4MT both of which were able to take a DCC concepts nano decoder even with a bit of crushing going on but these are not the only ones
 

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It never ceases to amaze me that both Hornby and Bachman make locos that their own decoders will not fit into such as I think the Bachmann Hall and 4MT both of which were able to take a DCC concepts nano decoder even with a bit of crushing going on but these are not the only ones
I gave up with Bachmann decoders years ago, similarly Hornby ones as well. As I used to do microectronics as a living for the tough fits I buy Zimo 6 pin decoders and fit 8 pin headers on them. The 6 pin decoders are smaller and have significantly shorter leads, for the Zimo the circuit is the same just crammed into a smaller space. On the Bachmann newer locos the fit is much better, with their diesels definitely no issue, whereas with Hornby I get the opinion DCC is a bit of an afterthought. Watching the Yesterday program, I can see why, it doesn't come under the "detail/detail" heading. For a lot of the Hornby locos where the socket is in the tender the 21 pin option would be so much better. I have never managed to blow up a 21 pin decoder but the 8 pins are easy with all their exposed pins and soldered joints.
 

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... DCC is a bit of an afterthought...
Twenty-one years buying the better RTR OO since my restart in this hobby, and the steam locos continue to be a mixed bag in terms of simplicity and competence for decoder fitting, and I don't bother with sound effects decoders.

Even the move to putting decoder sockets in tenders wasn't a complete fix, all of Bachmann, Heljan, Hornby, Oxford Rail and Rapido have managed to achieve tender tops that are difficult to remove, sometimes requiring breaking something to gain access; but once inside the tender at least all is straightforward.

Inside the loco, both tender and tank types, I have frequently resorted to significant modification and hard wiring to arrange things to my liking, sometimes simply to achieve a fit, and quite frequently to shift the decoder location out of a space where ballast for traction needs to go.

Twin bogie traction is overall much better, but then there is plenty of interior space to play with. The major exception the otherwise fine Bachmann Cravens DMU, (and I believe applies to all Bachmann's BR pilot scheme DMU's) a pig to remove the bodies for interior access without damage to the underframe detail.

Not a few times over the years the thought has crossed my mind that the need for a DCC decoder fitting option was an afterthought and handed to the office junior. (However, I shouldn't grumble overmuch, there's a good choice of the locos I need, made to a standard at least as good, and typically better, than I can build for myself from kits and by DIY.)

...I like Hornby locos but ... Bachmann are catching up fast...
That's a recent perspective in my opinion. Bachmann had a comfortable advantage over Hornby for a good ten years, and even now items like their their 56xx, 57xx, N class 2-6-0, WD 2-8-0, introduced in the late 1990s are competitive. Hornby's steam product improved significantly from 2007 as they abandoned the last of the bad old Margateness from their mechanism designs to achieve parity: then came the metal bodies on some locos, and these really are a cut above. (I would like Hornby to move to metal bodies on all steam locos.)
 

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..... I have never managed to blow up a 21 pin decoder but the 8 pins are easy with all their exposed pins and soldered joints.
I confess, that I did... sound, too!!..... Ouch!! I can still smell the burnt component. I can also, still remember the sound of the laughter from legmanbiffo, when I rang them to obtain a replacement. Also imprinted in the memory was their reason for the laughter. Apparently I was the first person to ring and confess, from the outset, that they had blown-up a decoder. They were also very good with the response [once they recovered from the laughter] and asked for the damaged item to be returned wrapped in a single, suitable, small 拢value note and the replacement is still working very nicely in a Class 40.

J
 

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I confess, that I did... sound, too!!..... Ouch!! I can still smell the burnt component. I can also, still remember the sound of the laughter from legmanbiffo, when I rang them to obtain a replacement. Also imprinted in the memory was their reason for the laughter. Apparently I was the first person to ring and confess, from the outset, that they had blown-up a decoder. They were also very good with the response [once they recovered from the laughter] and asked for the damaged item to be returned wrapped in a single, suitable, small 拢value note and the replacement is still working very nicely in a Class 40.

J
My locos are a mix of just DCC and sound. I use a lot of TTS decoders, because originally they weren't that much more than a standard decoder. Now that they are a lot more it is not such an easy choice. I have a few of them where they have been working quite happily then suddenly they fail, I have worked in Electronics for all of my career and normally once it is working is very reliable. When they are working they are perfectly ok with a decent speaker. I do have a few Zimo sound decoders and LokSound decoders which are obviously a lot better. I normally buy those for special locos. I bought the Dapol Mogul and fitting sound was so easy.
I think the issue with fitting the decoder in the tender on a Hornby is I assume they fit the tenders together while the print is a bit tacky, so it forms a sort of glue. On one I spent nearly an hour slightly wobbling it hoping that it would release itself without me breaking something. Of course in the instructions they never mention the separately fitted bits that will fall off unless you take evasive action. On my Merchant Navy the water control on a long shaft, pinged off as I was putting it back together, never to be seen again.
 

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That's one of the benefits of DCC, which is, of course, known but seldom acknowledged, that it is possible to run, not just several locos but, many levels of DCC on the same tracks, together [with a "mostly" nod to the original Poster]. Like most DCC users, I also have a variety of loco DCC levels and what is nice, is that they all seem to have properties which are a benefit to enjoy. I recently obtained a small number of N Gauge German locos, each with sound, which never ceases to amaze me as to how good they are, let alone for their tiny size.

It's good to see that the recent contributions from the makers now include space for decoders and speaker enclosures.
J
 

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... It's good to see that the recent contributions from the makers now include space for decoders and speaker enclosures.
What has really helped more recently is the general move to decoders which go directly on sockets, where the 'blanking plug' defines the space the decoder will occupy. (The Next18 my favourite.)

Even with this manufacturers can get it wrong though: item 1 NRM/Rapido Stirling single. This is a beautiful model with a fine concealed mechanism in what is a very awkward subject to get a competent drive installed within. So, perfect?

Only if you are running it on DC. To get access to the decoder socket the tender top has to come off, but the screw securing posts inside the tender top were truly jammed on the decoder socket blanking plug. Once separated, (grunt, grunt) filing was required to increase the width between the posts to arrange a freely moving fit around the decoder. Not quite what I expected from a reputedly 'high grade' outfit, but as a model such a beauty, so all forgiven...

Where DCC misses a trick is that no manufacturer appears to have found an edge connector up to the job. Wouldn't it be neat to just slide in a decoder, accessed from an underside slot?

... I recently obtained a small number of N Gauge German locos, each with sound, which never ceases to amaze me as to how good they are, let alone for their tiny size...
There you see the effect of a higher level of engineering know how in a society: many German customers know that 'better' is possible and demand it, and the businesses have well trained staff that know how to achieve it, which produces a 'virtuous circle'. The way that RTR model railway product in the UK remained frozen at 1950s level, while the German land's manufacturers continuously improved, was very marked. The first RTR OO loco I was able to purchase at the standard expected for an HO product to be considered as an acceptable basic RTR model, was the Bachmann WD 2-8-0 of late 1999.
 

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What has really helped more recently is the general move to decoders which go directly on sockets, where the 'blanking plug' defines the space the decoder will occupy. (The Next18 my favourite.)

Even with this manufacturers can get it wrong though: item 1 NRM/Rapido Stirling single. This is a beautiful model with a fine concealed mechanism in what is a very awkward subject to get a competent drive installed within. So, perfect?

Only if you are running it on DC. To get access to the decoder socket the tender top has to come off, but the screw securing posts inside the tender top were truly jammed on the decoder socket blanking plug. Once separated, (grunt, grunt) filing was required to increase the width between the posts to arrange a freely moving fit around the decoder. Not quite what I expected from a reputedly 'high grade' outfit, but as a model such a beauty, so all forgiven...

Where DCC misses a trick is that no manufacturer appears to have found an edge connector up to the job. Wouldn't it be neat to just slide in a decoder, accessed from an underside slot?


There you see the effect of a higher level of engineering know how in a society: many German customers know that 'better' is possible and demand it, and the businesses have well trained staff that know how to achieve it, which produces a 'virtuous circle'. The way that RTR model railway product in the UK remained frozen at 1950s level, while the German land's manufacturers continuously improved, was very marked. The first RTR OO loco I was able to purchase at the standard expected for an HO product to be considered as an acceptable basic RTR model, was the Bachmann WD 2-8-0 of late 1999.
I know, perhaps it is because the British manufacturers don't employ Engineers or they don't seem to. In the Hornby program we hear a lot about their designers, I think there was one reference to an Electronics Engineer. Even in the UK a decent Engineer commands a reasonable salary. I notice on a lot of my models where they could have made things a lot easier for themselves. There is one Dapol model where they put the pickups within the gearbox where there is oil, not that good an idea. Mention it on some model railway websites and you are alienated. Looking at my retooled Hornby models they do seem to be improving a lot mechanically, but DCC is still an after thought. It is a shame Sam is not into DCC, if he did a review on how difficult it is to fit a decoder, things might change. Jenny Kirk because of her tie up with a DCC decoder manufacture does show the fitting as part of her review. I get the opinion Simon is obsessed with detail that you can see, couldn't care about the rest. Go on any spares site and count how many motors Hornby use in their models, designing for 3 or 4 standard types would certainly lower their costs and probably help with reliability.
 

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I know, perhaps it is because the British manufacturers don't employ Engineers or they don't seem to...
Let's face it, no professionally recognised UK engineer with a shred of ambition would work on such low tech product; other than perhaps as a little fun, once they had retired from challenging work. (The exception would be Peco, as they have been steadily upgrading their tooling for track manufacture which is a specialised niche.)

The last engineer that I am aware of involved in bringing RTR OO to market, was Graham Hubbard, who had been running his own business, which he sold to Kader in the 1980s, and then emerged as MD of the Bachmann Europe operation. He was pretty forthright at that time on the subject of 'we can do better than this' with respect to the then current RTR OO; achievable by adoption of proven HO mechanism designs, moulding, casting, assembly and finishing technique; all developed over decades for the North American market, and quickly made his case in the UK. Hornby decamped from UK manufacturing to sourcing from China pretty smartly in response.

But all this technique resided in China, that's where the engineering development had been done. Hornby engaged the Sanda Kan operation as a turnkey product development and manufacturing contractor: what manufacturing development through to production capability Hornby had in the UK lost. The UK input is dimensions and exterior appearance; and Hornby's current inability to correctly specify paint colours - for which there are well developed systems - suggests to me a further loss of basic know how on the UK side.

Recently I have observed some poor mechanism technique creeping into Chinese sourced RTR OO, split axle pick up in oily locations, gear and rod coupled mechanisms with inattention to the vital control of phasing of the two coupling systems, clumsy and inadequate 'plug together' loco to tender connectors; displacing well proven and reliable technique. I read this as 'newbies' on the mechanism layout side, attempting innovations; which their more expert predecessors would have tried and found wanting.
 

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Yes, you are right. Mind you if the money is right who knows. When I moved from Avionics to work in Electronics at Ford, I remember one guy said it was a downward step. To me it was doubling my salary and surprisingly a very interesting job. When I was looking for a job 40 odd years ago they were looking for an Electronics Engineer to develop Zero 1, so that would have been quite interesting. Trouble is moving your production to China is ok if you have frequent trips to China to check they are doing it properly, we were forever flying to plants in Europe to check what was going on. Trouble is China is a long way a way and travel costs a lot of money. Also working for a company that is constantly losing money gets you down. Video conferencing doesn't work for really technical stuff, I have been there. I think they will struggle trying to catch up their production with what is a limited production source in China, but we will see.
 
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