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Nigelcliffe

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  1. Read back CV8 on the loco to determine the maker of the decoder. Bachmann have used several different makers over the years, and how to adjust them varies.
  2. As well as the two brightness/flashing states for the outputs, you've also got "forwards", "backwards", "moving" and "stationary" as options. Plus there is a "not" option and combinations, so "F0 but not F19". .... In terms of user interface for ESU function mapping, DecoderPro and the LokProgrammer software are very similar (the DecoderPro developer went to considerable lengths to make it similar). So, really a matter of personal preference which will do the job for you.
  3. Completely do-able, but hugely complex unless you have a computer around to keep things in order. So, either a LokProgrammer hardware and software, or JMRI plus computer hardware to link your DCC system to JMRI. Its in the ESU function mapping. You can define keys to do pretty much anything (conceptually, a little like Zimo Swiss mapping, in that the rows can be anything, but much more complex). - Nigel
  4. OK, that's a useful bit of information. Are you absolutely certain there is no electrical path from either motor terminal to pickups (with decoder not connected to the motor) ? Could be via suppression components manufacturer fitted, or other routes ? ( Or do the test on another motor suggested earlier, which would confirm things). If no electrical path, then I'd say its pointing to a faulty decoder, which does happen sometimes, so refer back to supplier. - Nigel
  5. Either decoder fault, or loco fault. Hard to be sure which. Could be a contact from motor wires to pickup wires (anywhere from decoder all the way to loco). Suggested test: disconnect the motor leads, and attach those to an independent, known good, motor. See if that motor now runs correctly or not. ( For hard-wire jobs, I check decoders before installing. A free-standing motor is all that's needed, though there are several sources of "decoder testers" which offer a neater way of checking things ). - Nigel
  6. Not quite. Need to read the active address in each loco on the programming track. I'd hope the z21 App will let you do that, without faffing with CV numbers. The active address might be long or short, depending on the setting in CV29. And conceivably might even be a consist address (set in CV19), though that's the least likely in practise. If short, then CV1 gives the address. If long, then a calculation on the values in CV17&18 will give the long address. I'd hope the z21 App does this CV stuff for you, no need to read these CVs manually, and then interpret them. ( If wanting the details, I wrote this many years ago: http://www.2mm.org.uk/articles/cv29 calculator.htm ) I'd say "faffing with functions" is not for someone who just wants to sell on some stock. Alternative approach to the addresses, may be a lot simpler: put each loco (one by one) on the programming track, select the programming and just WRITE a new address to each loco - perhaps use short address "3", as its the default address of any decoder. (If doing this, and if the z21 doesn't also automatically set CV29 (I suspect it does), then also write "6" to CV29). Then the locos will run on the known address. As others have said, reading CV8 will give the decoder maker. Having found the maker, deducing which decoder is then much more complex, and not always possible (depends on the decoder maker, and specific decoder model). - Nigel
  7. Read CV8, that will give you a manufacturer ID for the decoder. The NMRA publishes a list which tells you which maker corresponds with the ID number. If the loco works, and you're happy with how it works, then it works. If you're not happy with how it works, then replace the decoder.
  8. Look like "SIL" pins, which usually come on a long strip. I use them for similar connections.
  9. Interesting thread, thanks for posting it. There are a few things where your experiments have given answers to questions I had in my head - notably the buck-converter for single power supply. I doubt I'll go down the WiFi or Bluetooth options - USB seems fine to a computer, and that computer could be a RaspberryPI, so its small and could fit inside the main box. - Nigel (used to live in Suffolk, so Mid-Suffolk Light Railway was known. But now hundreds of miles away )
  10. As I understand the Kato official turnout switches, they are simply passing contact reversing switches. The input to those is 12v DC, the output is a brief amount of DC which reverses depending on direction switch is moving. The Kato AC-DC adaptor is only needed if the power supply is AC (ie. an old style transformer). If the power supply is DC (modern power-brick), then just need that, 12v. If using own switches, must use momentary action (non-latching) switches, such as push-buttons, or centre-biased toggle switches which return to centre. Or use an extra circuitry (simple electronics) to ensure the current only flows briefly.
  11. OK, yes, I remember (it was a lot of years ago). Its the arrow indicators which illuminate which were confusing - arrow right, loco goes left. - Nigel
  12. In my case experience taught me it was poor. Experience of a slightly smaller layout than yours that I used to help with (owner has since sold it, and take up different hobbies). Operating sound locos was a pain-in-backside from excessive button presses, the centre-off speed controls were counter-intuitive on a circular layout (half the time the loco goes left when knob turned right). Operating accessories through the Elite was awful due to the way the buffer from Elite to computer didn't report itself as full. Consequence, multi-aspect colour light signals which required several accessory instructions to change didn't work properly as the Elite would "forget" commands randomly sent by the computer. The only fix I found was to delay between commands, so the signal would be "green" then "dark for a while" then "yellow", then pause a bit, then "second yellow appears". Which was awful. So bad that we had to put a second DCC system (a Sprog) in place to run the signals alongside everything else (new system was fine with the signals, they'd change to any commanded aspect as near instantly as the eye could perceive). How will you do "some automation" with the turnouts controlled by Kato levers outside of the system's knowledge ? You really need to think this stuff through. - Nigel
  13. If planning to use Kato turnout motors, with their own switches, then these are outside of your DCC setup (which is completely fine, lots of people keep their turnouts outside of the DCC setup). Therefore, don't put the need to power those onto the DCC system - a cheap AC transformer will power the Kato turnouts without hassle. Or, they can be powered from DC with a little more thought. And, with the move to using DC power-bricks as power supplies (rather than transformers delivering AC), you'll find few DCC systems with a low voltage (approx 15v) AC output anyway. The Roco Z21 (black box) system is very good, and very adaptable. The design does assume a phone/tablet as the controller interface, though the WLanMaus is a decent piece of kit. Plus a computer is useful for updates (they come out reasonably regularly). The main issue with the Roco Maus designs is the control knob being "centre-off" : some like it, some loathe it, its very much like Marmite. Remember that it is "turn right to send loco forwards, turn left to send loco backwards". And, critically, forwards is "chimney end of loco (or cab-1 if its a diesel)" - it is not "clockwise around my layout", you will find sometimes you're turning the knob clockwise and the loco will move to the left. The WLanMaus will do 28 functions, which covers all sound decoders. Someone else who uses one needs to comment on how the latching/non-latching works on the device.
  14. Key questions before jumping into "whichever system someone else bought and thinks is great".... 1 - do the throttles do what you want, and fit well in your hand. Some are an absolute pain in the arse to set higher function keys or operate turnouts. Others are easier. Some people like using phone screens as throttles, others dislike them. 2 - do you plan to have sound locos ? If so, how will you handle the multiple sound function keys ? Will a handset which only has F2 as non-latching (ie. you press and the sound plays, you release and it stops) work well when you want multiple non-latching keys (so you end up pressing button once to play the sound, let it play, then have to press button again to clear the button). As a general rule, its European handsets which allow you to customise the latching/non-latching behaviour, US designs tend to be fixed. Smartphone and tablet throttles generally allow customisation of this. 3 - turnout control. Turnouts through most throttles are difficult and awkward to use. So many people end up back with either switch panels or computer screens. If planning to control turnouts through your DCC system, make sure you can add a button or computer screen system without too much difficulty. Most can have that added with some extra stuff (sometimes from third party suppliers), but some don't. 4 - any possibility of using computers to assist at some point ? Be it signalling/turnout control on a touch screen. Or full-blown computer-drives-trains automation ? If so, how complex is it to add such stuff. Some makers are pretty poor when it comes to computer interface feature; either down-right hostile to the idea, or have an interface which doesn't work properly. 5 - any possibility you might want RailCom to identify locos on the layout in different places ? If so, buy a system which works with RailCom (lots don't, general rule, if its European it may work with RailCom if its US-designed it probably doesn't (or doesn't unless you add a load of hassle)). And the Hornby Elite system isn't worth spending your pennies on. - Nigel
  15. Glad it worked, I can't see why the NBL 0-4-0 wouldn't be similarly improved by the same collection of parts. If a £20 Zimo won't fit, then there are smaller ones at higher prices (MX616, and the even smaller MX615 may be in the shops before Christmas). Similarly, there are smaller stay-alive packages possible, but not with the same quantity of energy stored. There's still a need to get wheels/pickups/track to a high standard. Then fit a good decoder and stay-alive to get even higher quality running. - Nigel
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