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Ian Wigglesworth
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750 Posts
As I've built my little hopefully, exhibition layout using the EZ-commands, I thought it would be a good idea to be able to program all of the CV's

I've been looking at joining Merg for some time now and when I saw this stand alone programmer kit thought it was the perfect time to go for it.
Yes I have the NCE PowerCab so I could have just bought an extra PCP (powercab powerpanel) and just switched over to using that, but I wanted a completely separate system and anyway where's the fun in doing that?

So for any of you who have an EZ-command, the Dyanmis or the Hornby Select, this could be very useful.

It will program Loco and accessory decoders, so if you have the Dynamis and not bothered about going for Pro-Box, the Select or the EZ-command but would like to be able to program decoders on a program track or just have the ability to read back CV settings this could be just the thing.
The kit is £45 and includes everything apart from a mains plug and the 3 core mains cable.

It arrived today, only sent the cheque and order form off on Monday!

It arrives in a jiffy bag containing these two items:-



I will post more pics as I go along with the build.
I think I'm going to replace the standard box with a bigger one to which I can glue to lengths of track 1) N-gauge and 2) OO-gauge.

This will then be a complete self contained unit that I can put a loco on and program it, perfect.
The current is limited to 250Mamps so no chance of destroying the decoder.
Any questions just ask and I will try my best to answer them.
My electronics isn't particularly good, forgotten most of it from my HND in Mechatronics, but I can ask one of the other members if required.

Mr MOD, is it ok to put this in here or 'in my workbench'?

PS it may take a while as I'm off sick at the minute as my back is destroyed and I can't actually walk.....not good crawling around the house!

Hopefully the mountain of tablets I have, should start to easy the pain soon, not been prescribed Diazepam before though!

Cheers
 

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Ian Wigglesworth
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750 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Neil,

Here is what the finished programmer looks like in the supplied box.



I've ordered from Maplin a larger box which should work out quite well, we will see when I get it!

So all I have to do now is turn this little lot into the programmer!

A Few pages of A4 instructions are also included along with the schematics so once read through a few times it does become clearer.
Help is always a phone call or email away so not too much of a problem.



Cheers
 

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Ian Wigglesworth
Joined
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750 Posts
Hi,

The complete kit is available from MERG

On the main screen down the right hand side click on DIY DCC, takes you to a list of goodies!

Well worth becoming a member, if you goto the website it does give a list of all required components, the main program chip you will need to have programmed though.

I just joined Merg and bought the full complete kit.
They do have lots of other useful kits available which are very good to.

Hope this helps

Cheers
 

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QUOTE (wiggy25 @ 6 Jun 2008, 20:22) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi,

The complete kit is available from MERG

On the main screen down the right hand side click on DIY DCC, takes you to a list of goodies!

Well worth becoming a member, if you goto the website it does give a list of all required components, the main program chip you will need to have programmed though.

I just joined Merg and bought the full complete kit.
They do have lots of other useful kits available which are very good to.

Hope this helps

Cheers
thanks I'll take a look.
 

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Ian Wigglesworth
Joined
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750 Posts
Having just read through that, thought I'd make it a bit clearer.

Merg are unable to supply the full complete kits to non members for various different reasons, I have no idea why.
They do however provide all component lists, PCB masks and layout diagrams on their website.
They also provide the source code required for the PIC EEPROM module.

I have no way of programming the PIC chip or making up my own PCB's.
As Merg have such a lot of electronics knowledge and kits available, for me it was better to join them and try and support the group and hopefully this will allow them to continue and develop more kits.

Hope that makes it a little clearer.

Will post pics as I progress with the build.

Cheers
 

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Administrator
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9,859 Posts
QUOTE Merg are unable to supply the full complete kits to non members for various different reasons, I have no idea why.

It is almost certainly legal liability, both from a personal injury point of view and compliance with regulations relating to electronic items offered for sale.

David
 

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Ian Wigglesworth
Joined
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750 Posts
Carrying on where I left off!

There are two options for the programmer, option A is to mount the keypad,screen and push buttons in the top of the box, then mount the main PCB over the top of these.

Option B is the same but the main PCB is mounted in the base of the box.

This pic shows the Option A, just below the transformer can be seen the back of the keypad, this is all in the top or should I say lid of the box, as can be seen the track output connections are at the front of the box.



As I've bought a bigger box there is loads of room so I'm mounting the main PCB in the base of the box.
I'm also having all of the connections at the back along with the track output connections.
When the components arrive they are all stuck to a backing sheet which tells you the value, the colour bands, how many of that part and the part number as to where it fits on the PCB, very straight forward and easy to follow!



So by following these and the markings on the PCB you end up with something looking like this, you may notice next to the large capacitor at the front there are three holes, these are for wires which are soldered in place and goto a Potentiometer which is fixed into the rear of the case to adjust the track voltage!



You also have the option to fit the pin headers and connectors, the choice is yours, although you do have to crimp the connectors onto the cables, very easy really I just used some long nose pliers.
Once the crimps are on, you push them into the connectors.
I've used these as it makes it much easier to just unplug the four connectors if it ever needs to come apart!
This shows all of the connectors, I've crimped the cables and pushed them into the actual connector block already to push onto the pin headers.
An instruction sheet on how best to fit the crimps without the crimp tool is included with the instructions.



Now the fun bit, drill and cut out the panels in the box, this may take a while!!

Cheers

Oh and yes I have put this on other forums as I don't like putting links in to take you to a different forum, some forum rules don't allow really allow it anyway.
 

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QUOTE (dwb @ 7 Jun 2008, 12:15) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>It is almost certainly legal liability, both from a personal injury point of view and compliance with regulations relating to electronic items offered for sale.

David
That's one aspect, but also simply that being able to buy kits is a privilege of membership in much the same way that many scale societies sell kits and components to members.

The kitmaster and helpers put a lot of time/effort into packing and posting the kits on a purely voluntary basis.

Andrew
Merg Member
 

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Ian Wigglesworth
Joined
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750 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Andrew,

Another excellent bit of kit, if you want to connect upto a PC.
The SPROG II, makes it all very simple, reading another forum, The new owners were surprised at just how good and easy it was to set up!
They didn't realise you could also control the loco using it, via Decoder PRO and Panel Pro from JMRI
All you need now is a little palm top or PDA to connect it up to, the ulitmate in miniture DCC control

Again another bit of kit that I think has passed many people by!

Cheers
 

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Ian Wigglesworth
Joined
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750 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
After much drilling and trimming I ended up with this, it's a much bigger box, and I quite like the vinyl effect covering!

Crikey, the track didn't look that bent when it's laid on the floor...bugger,, easily altered...later when I can actually move! The switch you can see is to flick between using the OO gauge track or the N gauge track, I added that as I thought it would make it easier.



The rear panel, as can be seen the fuse holder, output terminals, and then at the very right hand side is a trim pot to alter the voltage out to the track, between 9-15v



When you first plug the unit in the power LED comes on and the screen message is shown:-



The default is PAGE MODE as this should work with virtually every decoder, by pressing the MODE button you can change it to DIRECT MODE used by new decoders and much faster when reading.

So to read a CV...place loco on the track press the READ button type in the CV number to read then press the ENTER button.
The TRACK led will light to show power is going to the track, once it's finished reading or programming the TRACK LED will go out.
After a short delay the CV number will be displayed in decimal and binary.
If the decoder draws too much current OVERLOAD will be displayed, as it conforms to NMRA then there is not enough current to cause decoder damage!

This is my GraFar class04 CV5 being read, you can see the binary numbers at the top.



To program a CV press the PROGRAM button, type in the CV number and press ENTER.
The CV number will have an = sign after it. type in the value you want and press ENTER.
If all is well PROGRAM OK will show, if there's a fault OVERLOAD or NO ACK message will show.

Long address? easy program CV17 with the 4 digit address it will automatically program the correct long address.

For CV29 you can swap from decimal input to binary input and enter the 1's and 0's up to 8 digits then press enter.

Makes life very easy!

Hope it's useful for any of you, a very useful bit of kit indeed, well worth the money and the time taken.
It should have turned out much better, but as I'm not at work dont have access to a pillar drill or vice, but it's not too bad and it does work!

Cheers
 

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Ian Wigglesworth
Joined
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750 Posts
QUOTE (Brian Considine @ 12 Jun 2008, 08:22) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Thanks for the report & pics Ian - does look like a really useful bit of kit too.

No problem at all, I hope it gives other users more information on what is actually available out there.
There is so much useful bits of kit that lots of us are unaware of.
Yep, it certainly is a useful bit of kit!

Cheers
 

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3 Posts
You still have to actually build the MERG Programmer kit. Although a MERG member myself I see nothing they make that interests me and they don't make what I want (64-way double-pyramid relay switch) so I had to make it myself (£10) and very reliable it is. I do have to say that the BT-47 type relays I used were supplied very cheaply by the MERG Kitmaster and one of their members, who is a retired University teacher in Electronics (wow!) spent a lot of time devising an improvement to the single-pyramid relay I already had. Result a really mean wiring system that uses each solenoid-operating wire four times over!

Coming back to the Programmer kit, I purchased an ESU LokProgrammer 53451 Set. This is, admittedly, a lot dearer than the MERG kit and there's practically nothing there once you've unpacked the massive box (!) but, especially if you model Continental outline (big library of readymade sound procedures), you get quite a lot for the money. As well as enabling the loading of (their own) sound files to a LokSound module that incorporates the DCC gubbins into one module, you get to program loco and accessory modules - AND you get a small DCC master box capable of running one loco or accessory module - so handy when out and about. The only drawback - and it is very disappointing because it forces you into the hands of commercial British railway sound pedlars - is they don't provide a free library of British loco sounds and it needs a great deal of skill to construct sound profiles at home.
 

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QUOTE (John Broadley @ 18 Jan 2010, 13:08) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>The only drawback - and it is very disappointing because it forces you into the hands of commercial British railway sound pedlars - is they don't provide a free library of British loco sounds and it needs a great deal of skill to construct sound profiles at home.
There is a second drawback with all these sort of devices in that you are restricted to that manufacturers sound decoders. There is, as yet, no standard way to upload sounds across different brands of decoder.

Andrew Crosland
 
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