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NCE Powercab question





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#1 katwigan

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 14:18

Hi all, 

I would like some thoughts in regard to a proposed Fiddle yard control method on my Wigan Wallgate layout.

I am using an NCE Powercab with a 5A booster for control of the layout, a full lap of the layout runs to approx 275' and so far the 5A supply runs three trains with apparent ease  (I haven't plucked up sufficient courage to attempt anymore at this stage, keeping track of three on my own keeps me on my toes !)

 

The Fiddle Yard / Storage area is actually 2 parallel tracks of around 35 - 36 feet in length each that are located under the main board level. They have been layed with 3 isolating sections of roughly equal length giving me the capacity of holding up to 6 full length trains, ( there is also a similar arrangement on the other side of the layout )

 

My proposal is to follow a 'cascading' principal as described back in 2005  on a layout titled Lakeside my a chap whose name I appear to have lost, however.

 The principal of operation is to 'call on' the train in section '1' either by manual, timed  or Section ahead clear method, when that train has cleared an appropriate 'Train detection point' the train in No 2 section would be called forward into section '1', stopping at the appropriate position by the activation  ( or deactivation ) of a relay to switch the power to the track off. At this position the train in section '3'  would be called forward into section '2' position, leaving section '3' clear for the next arrival from Wallgate.

As there are 2 parallel tracks relays could also be used to alternate the settings of the points to call trains through in a varying sequence if desired.

 

 

The rationale behind this is to allow me to carry on such shunting operations as required with varying trains arriving at various intervals.

 

The Question : Does anyone see any issue as far as the controller and or locos are concerned with the track power being switched off / on in these areas.

Given that the power would still be on to the rest of the track and

when switched back on the trains would attempt to return straight away to whatever speed they were doing before stopping.

 

I currently have installed an isolating switch and fuse between the track and controller mainly because an unsighted short last week resulted in the fuse on the 5A booster blowing given that the booster is on the supply side of the controller I didn't like the idea of blowing things up.

 

As I run Wallgate by myself and I, the hand control and any 'incidents' etc always appear to be on opposite sides of the  20' sq room I will also be installng a series of 8 Emergency stops at appropriate positions around the layout ( A principal dating back to my 30 years looking after automatic molding lines in a foundry, and why I am proposing to use such antiquainted technology as relays! )

 

Thank you in anticipation

Kevan

 

 



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#2 Ray H

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 19:39

Our club is contemplating a DCC conversion for its 7mm layout that currently features a length of track split into three with trains moving into the next vacant section as soon as the preceding train has cleared that section.

 

Aware of this "automated" section we conducted some tests with a DCC fitted loco being allowed to progress along a length of (DCC powered) track and onto a piece of paper that was laid over the two rails, thereby ultimately isolating the loco from the track. We subsequently (and manually) moved the loco forward so that one pair of wheels was again in touch with the rails and the loco resumed its progress, as did its sound. We also left the loco for more than 12 hours with the same result.

 

However, and I think this may be affected by the decoder manufacturer, I have a mix of different decoders in my home 4mm layout. I find that if a loco stalls and is then persuaded to move onward again using the finger from the sky, some locos will resume their movement almost as though they haven't stopped, others will gradually accelerate forward with the accompanying sound and some need to have their sound turned on again.

 

One problem that I have found with NCE equipment is the Emergency Stop button only stops the last loco a command was given to (even though the manual implies differently). On this basis your Emergency Stop buttons would appear to have to completely remove power thereby stopping every loco. I'm not sure how your system would then cope with (presumably) the possibility of all locos restarting simultaneously when power is restored or whether your layout design allows you to restart individual locos without any fear of a following loco impacting upon the loco you are attempting to restore to its previous speed.

 

Have you considered the NCE Mini-Panel as a means of starting and stopping your trains? You may be able to use relays to trigger inputs to the Mini-Panel although there might be some complications depending on how many different locos you have.



#3 katwigan

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Posted 14 August 2017 - 00:00

Hi Ray,

Thank you for your input, I hadn't thought about the restart confusion that may occur after one of my E / Stops was activated, however I guess a full power down of the system would then reset everything to 'Zero' before a restart was attempted so hopefully that would be manageable. 

 

I find the NCE E/stop appears to operate a little erratically that is for sure, sometimes it needs to be pressed about 3 times before there is an acknowledgement on the screen!

 

I am running several brands of loco's but predominately TCS decoders and as there are significantly varying 'decelleration' settings due to trains varying between 30 wagon coal trains down to the 'Chorley Bob' which is a 2-4-2 with one carriage it became apparent that I would need all locos to 'stop' in the same short area hence the " turning off of the power supply ".

 

I haven't looked into the mini-panel function at this stage although I probably should. I will proceed with my ancient technology for now and get the detection components in place that will be needed however I work this.

 

Oh, Nice looking work on Virney Junction by the way, just had a quick trip through, I will have to go back and revisit when more time permits. :good:

 

Cheers 

Kevan



#4 Ray H

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Posted 14 August 2017 - 08:44

Kevan

 

Thanks for the compliment.

 

We have MERG circuit breakers on the club layout and I have TamValley breakers at home - the latter purely because buying them was quicker than building the MERG kits which also needed to be in stock and come through the post.

 

Everything in the Power District on either layout stops when a short occurs and everything is able to restart when the short is cleared. Fortunately the shorts are generally caused by an incorrectly set turnout and most times only one loco is affected thus there is only one to restart so it tends not to matter whether it is one of the locos that carries on regardless or one that has to be re-started, so to speak. It may be a different kettle of fish if more than one loco had been tripped and some do not restart when others do.

 

You should be aware of the following if contemplating use of the Mini Panel:

  • The Mini-Panel is designed for use with (momentary making) push buttons. They can be made to work with On-Off switches but each switch requires the use of two of the Mini-Panel's thirty inputs.
  • Although the Mini-Panel will issue instructions to control a locomotive's movement, that only works if the loco number is specified. You would need to use different inputs for different locos.








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