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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi , some of you may know that I have inherited a near complete N gauge DCC computer controlled layout from my late father , I knew almost nothing about such things until I started to investigate via sites such as this just exactly what I was facing to finish it .I have been going through umpteen boxes of bits and pieces and have come across something that I have'nt a clue about and was wondering if anyone can tell me what my father intended it for ? I also wonder if it is related to 2 Peco electromagnetic uncouplers which the layout has on 2 sidings tracks , these uncouplers have a thing called a "dual relay " board sitting between them beneath the baseboard but it and the uncouplers are not wired up , also the layout has no spare accessory decoders so do you have any idea as to how my father intended the uncouplers to operate ? .
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It's a voltage regulator. Presumably some use intended on the layout, but no clue to what it might be. Something like driving a DC powered turntable is possible. Not applicable to DCC.
Thanks 34C , I suspected a VR but was'nt sure , I have no idea what my father intended it for but it may just have been a blind alley he explored and then abandoned as I know he never intended to include a turntable due to a lack of space.Do you have any ideas as to how he intended to allow traincontroller to issue commands to the uncouplers or suggestions on how to do it , the dual relay puzzles me but it may have been another blind alley he explored and then abandoned but never got around to removing it from under the baseboard .
 

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For controlling the uncouplers you need to know what mechanism they use. My guess is a solenoid but they could be micro motors. If they are solenoids then they will controlled in the same way as solenoid controlled points, so a DCC accessory decoder for solenoids is indicated.

David
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
For controlling the uncouplers you need to know what mechanism they use. My guess is a solenoid but they could be micro motors. If they are solenoids then they will controlled in the same way as solenoid controlled points, so a DCC accessory decoder for solenoids is indicated.

David
They are not motors or Solenoids dwb but are rather electromagnetic ie they create a magnetic field that acts on Peco lift arms on ELC couplings , it is I gather a momentary energising of the uncoupler that creates the said field , the layout uses Lenz LS100 accessory decoders to operate the points but all outputs are in use so i'm thinking that I would need an Accessory decoder with just 2 outputs but it must be able to handle 16-18 volts DC as that is what the uncouplers require in the way of power and there is a 16 volt DC power supply marked " uncouplers " amongst the various power supplies the layout uses , and i've just realised that maybe that is what the dual relay is all about ? but I don't have a clue as to the best way to go about it ?.
 

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Is this it - Your Guide to Railway Modelling
If so that coil looks very like one half of a Peco point motor.

I also found this - Electro Magnetic Uncoupler for N Scale-Seep-GMC-EM1

Both require current to flow for a short period of time and seem to use a non latching push button. For DCC operation you need to replicate the action of the push button and provide the appropriate volts and current. My feeling is that current will be the limiting factor for direct operation from an accessory decoder. The way around that is a relay. So now you are replacing a momentary push button with a non latching relay - ie when power is applied to the relay, the contacts close and the uncoupler operates. Remove power to the relay and the contacts open.

So you need an accessory decoder with an output that will drive a relay and allow you to program the length of the 'on' time which is usually done by setting a value in a Configuration Variable in the decoder.

This manual for the LS100 on the Lenz website https://www.lenz-elektronik.de/src/pdf/b_11100.pdf shows Table 3 with pulse durations up to 15s in length.

David
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I had a look through dads receipts and found that rather than being Peco uncouplers they are in fact Seeps , i've had a close look at the dual relay and even found it online and it appears to use 12 volt DC and is non latching so that leaves the question of what accessory decoders give out 12 volts DC and preferably with just 2 outputs although if it has to be 4 then 4 it shall be .The only accesory decoder I have any experience of are the LS100's and that is very limited , what would be a good choice with the aim of keeping the cost down ?.
 

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Accessory decoders are usually multi output. I can't think of any which have fewer than four, but that doesn't mean there aren't any.
Decoders react to the DCC signal so any standards compliant decoder will work with your controller. Ie you can use decoders from othe manufacturers.
The main difference is if feedback to the controller is required. There are no standards for that so you need to read the specs closely to see if you can mix and match the decoders from different manufacturers.
For a one off project like yours I think you would be best to stick with the LS100.

For the Gaugemaster uncoupler I would ring them, explain the situation and ask if they have an application note for driving it from DCC.

David
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I did find this which has just 2 outputs , Cobalt iP DCC Decoder FX Stall Motor Drive (2-way Output) , i'm going to email them and ask what they think about using it in conjunction with the 2 input/output relay .I do remember talking to dad about how he'd get the uncouplers to reliably uncouple a wagon parked over an uncoupler and he said that he doubted that it would be 100% reliable even though traincontroller Gold had the ability to precisely position a wagon over an uncoupler but that he was'nt bothered about that as if a wagon failed to uncouple sometimes it would'nt matter a great deal especially as you'd have to be looking at that part of the track when the momentary uncoupling happened , as I said before there are no complicated shunting movements planned as all that will happen is that a coal wagon or wagons will be uncoupled and the loco will move a short distance away and then after X amount of time it will move back and recouple with the whole thing repeating endlessly .
 

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i'm going to email them and ask what they think about using it in conjunction with the 2 input/output relay
Good idea.

David
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Just to round off this post I came across a discussion on another forum from some years ago and found that it was discussing a layout virtully identical to my dads in it's use of hardware and there the uncouplers were succesfully enabled by the use of the same dual non latching relay that dad had mounted between the 2 uncouplers under the board and a Lenz LS150 .I found a little used LS150 online at a good price so that's how I now plan to proceed , my thanks to all who contributed to the entirety of this post .
 

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When I was programming computer control of the Lenz Set 100 system for my layout, I seem to recall that the LS150 is a very old design and is physically manufactured to only activate one of its 6 outputs (accessories) at any given time. This would obviously be to limit the load on it. What this means is that if you have 'Tortoise-type' point motors, you'll have to wait for one to change before the next one on the same accessory decoder can be changed. If this is an issue, you might want to look at alternative accessory decoders which don't have this limitation. I know MERG did some really cost effective kits at one time, including one purposely designed for Tortoise and on/off motors. IIRC ESU did too. Alternative would be to use multiple LS150's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Point switching is not the reason for using the LS150 as that is satisfactorily covered by Cobalt analogues and LS100's , the LS150 is only intended to produce a 3 second pulse to fire a dual non latching relay which will take it's power from a seperate 16 volt PSU and supply those 16 volts to 2 Seep electromagnetic uncouplers which will never be activated both at the same time so only 2 of the LS150's 6 outputs will ever be used , I went that way for 2 reasons in that it keeps all the accessory decoders as being Lenz and also means that I already know how to program it and secondly being a used unit means that it was actually the cheaper solution than purchasing some other model of accessory decoder .
 
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