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Nigelcliffe

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  1. I've built a DCC function decoder for about £2 (from a published public DIY design) which can do lights "properly" from the DCC instructions. I'm not sure what the problem is that's being chased here.
  2. The decoder manual from ESU will show you which solderpads and pins are full-current and which are logic-level. Though a fair bit of work, re-wiring directly to the decoder will give you control; if you have one light onto one function output, then you have full control of them in the ESU function mapping. If you need variable brightness (eg. two intensities of a light), then some of the lower function outputs in an ESU can be setup with two different output levels. Thus output headlight(1) can be different to headlight(2), and a different function key (or combination) can control what brightness you get. DecoderPro will handle every option possible in the LokPilot decoder. If it doesn't, then either you've missed a setting, or the chap who wrote that bit would be happy to hear from you (no its not me). - Nigel
  3. MTC / MKL = there are two versions of the 21 pin decoder standard (oh how we love standards when makers decide to have two which are almost but not quite the same). It affects how the high function outputs work on the decoder. MTC = aux3 / aux 4 are logic level outputs, MKL = aux 3 / aux 4 are full power outputs. If you want everything to work, you need the "right" decoder. If Kaput says that's the MKL version, then you won't get anything on Aux3/Aux4 without making electrical changes inside the loco, or getting the "right" decoder. Sorry...
  4. It is critical that you do remember, because the explanation as to what's going on will be completely different. In one case it's doing exactly what the maker expected it to do, in the other there may be a setting issue. - Nigel
  5. I'm not Paul, but here's how.... the solder pads are MASSIVE compared to what I'll attempt. Its mostly holding things so they don't move, and being organised: 1 - decent light, good working place with enough space. If you need magnifiers, then use them. Good soldering iron with a clean tip. (Mines a 50W temp controlled iron, but basically its the tip cleanliness that matters). Solder of choice: mine is usually 188 degree lead/tin, resin cored thin electrical/electronics solder. The resin core means no additional flux required. 2 - fix the PCB socket down. Bluetac works well for this. 3 - plan your actions. Plan the orientation of the wires, so they come out at the angles which suit your installation in the loco. If wires will come out going past a second (or third) pad, then that second (and third) pad needs to be soldered before the first. If necessary rotate the device on the bluetac for best access for each wire - think where the wire needs to lie, what angle your soldering iron will come from, and where any holding/prodding needs to be placed. 4 - strip the insulation from the end of a wire, tin the strands with solder. Cut the tinned wire back to enough length beyond the insulation for the solder pad. 5 - put a tiny spot of solder on the pad on the device with your soldering iron. 6 - Hold the wire in a way so it stays still, with the wire pushing down on the solder pad. If you can't keep it steady in that position with your non-soldering iron hand, tape the wire down, and use a little prodder, such as a cocktail stick to hold the wire over the pad. 7 - bring iron down onto pre-tinned wire, so it presses into the solder on the join, and the solder flows. Keep the wire pressed down (that cocktail stick), remove iron. Allow joint to set. Remove cocktail stick pressure. 8 - if you end up with the insulation shrinking back a long way from where it should be, then either remove wire, and start again on that one, or slide some heatshrink over the wire to protect things. - Nigel
  6. There lots of Zimo combinations available. MX617N is what you need, as per the first reply in the thread: 6 pins on the end of the decoder, not a wire in sight. There are other options available with wires on them, to fit different situations.
  7. Agreed, as a long time user of Sprog products.
  8. No, the Tortoise stops when you remove power. It doesn't move again unless you apply power to it. You can mechanically push it to a new position, but it takes a considerably shove to do it, and not recommended. Yes, it is larger than the Cobalt, though not by much.
  9. No. If any N gauge loco gets near 0.5A you'll be seeing blue smoke just before the loco dies.
  10. Needs a decoder. Could be an "accessory decoder "(turnouts/signals) or a "loco decoder". The loco decoder option is probably more flexible. I know my way around Zimo decoders, but ESU can do similar-ish things. All Zimo's have the ability to operate a couple of servo motors, though with most you have to add a handful of components to control voltages/currents (in the Zimo manuals), so a "basic" MX617 with a few parts added to solder-pads on the decoder will do all of this. Once installed, the servo could respond to a function key press, or could respond to throttle speed/direction (using the "live steam" control options in the decoder) - those are all choices you can make. Would need experiments to see if a two position brake (on/off) from a function key gave acceptable braking behaviour, or if it was too sharp. The alternative of throttle position could give more fine control of movement.
  11. If the model arrived on my bench, I'd use a £20 Zimo MX617N.
  12. As with the others, I suspect getting the free-wheeling to work may be tricky. If you can, then the brake should be simple, just a strap around an axle which is pulled tight as the brakes are applied. Doing the brakes by DCC is OK *if* the coach has reliable pickups. Which are great if its fitted with them, but if added afterwards are a potential source of friction on the free-wheeling. Alternative might be battery and some sort of wireless control: infrared or radio; either requiring pretty minimal control. Could use a servo for the brake (though you then need a decoder with servo control outputs, look at Zimo and ESU for those). Or could just use a small DC motor and stall it briefly - a bit of fine cord would around the motor shaft pulls the brake on, and a small light spring to pull it back to release again. (See the Preci-models motor kit for opening Kadee couplers as an example of this). Motorised coach doesn't quite cut it for me, too much hassle to have to consist it with a loco, and speed match stuff. What may work on motorising is a mechanism which can be engaged/disengaged by a servo: perhaps a large rubber roller pushing an axle around by friction, which can be lifted away from the axle when not needed.
  13. Tortoise are still around, made motors well before the Cobalt's first appeared. Tortoise are pretty much unchanged over several decades. Generally reliable, though I've known the contact switches fail on extensively used examples. I think the Cobalt issues are largely fixed, but I don't have enough direct personal experience to vouch for them. A friend who builds layouts to-order for clients uses a lot of them, usually in their "digital/DCC" versions. In part because its a single item to fit/install with minimal setup hassles. Servos have their uses, but they usually come with installation/setup hassles - there are numerous designs of mounting brackets to reduce this hassle, but its still there.
  14. It takes quite a lot of heat to destroy loctite. Yes, it can be done, and it will be weakened, but this is 2mm, not holding the wings onto a Boeing... And soldering a crankpin, unless using a big gas-flame, has to transfer heat from the crankpin area, along relatively thin spokes, and around a rim, to cause any damage to the rim retainer. The Mk5 centres CAD files have grooves in the axle bore and crankpin bore for retainer, so there's somewhere for it to flow into and expand. I suspect the printing doesn't keep the groove in the crankpin bore as well as that for the axle. There are ideas around for improving the crankpin installation, but the facilities for doing such experiments are unavailable until at least early 2022 (Unless someone wants to step up and offer access to suitable precision machinery, it involves turning and the tricky task of drilling the stainless prints...).
  15. If you dig around this and other forums, you'll find very mixed views on those motors. Suggest you get the smallest pack to try them before spending lots on a large pack. My experience of them was dire, and a large box was returned unopened to retailer in return for a credit note. The one opened still sits around looking for an application where it is reliable. They seem very sensitive to how they're installed; small changes in screw tensions, alignment, etc.. I'm usually pretty good on high precision stuff, scratchbuilding locos in 2mm and 4mm scales, designing tiny gizmos, etc.. - Nigel
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