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New: ESU CabControl DCC system.


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22 minutes ago, GoingUnderground said:

Try turning up the voltage on the PSU slightly. Some CabControl users in the USA have found that helps eliminate spurious "shorts".

 

I'd forgotten that on Keith.

It's suggested in an American YouTube video review.

 

 

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3 hours ago, young37215 said:

 

I checked the settings which show the top right function button is set up as a Stop/Start button for power

I still suggest that you use the panel just in case the contacts for the side button are faulty.

 

EDIT: I'd also suggest disabling all the side buttons, as, based on my experience, it is too easy to press them without realising it. Or perhaps it is just my incompetence that means that I end up pressing them when just holding the handset. All mine are disabled for that reason.

Edited by GoingUnderground
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Hooray. Increased the voltage and the short does not arise. The buttons work as programmed and I managed to move a loco up and down my 500mm of test track. Tomorrow I will attempt to install the CC on my layout

 

Thank you so much, I appreciate your time and support. Having bought a US product I was having nightmares that it was all going pear shaped. I hope to report back in a day or two that I have managed to get CC to operate my layout.

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I managed to get CC up and running yesterday and spent a few hours gaining practical experience. I was hoping that Railcom Plus would load chip data straight into the ICU but was frustrated by ESU's default setting on their V4 chips which is off! I need a Lokprogrammer which I dont have, a friend does but we cant meet up at present. Not a major issue as I can manually set up locos but I will not manually set up individual functions for each and every loco.

 

The ICU is sensitive to shorts and trips track power when it senses one. The obvious solution is dont create them but in planet real world I get the occassional short. With more than about 10 locos on the layout (and I have 20) CC will not re-apply track power. When I physically remove locos down to about 10 I am able to re-apply track power. This sounds like a variation on my initial shorting problem; I wonder if increasing the voltage again will solve it? I only use CC for loco control, I have a totally independent Megapoints network for point and signal control. If I understand correctly the Loksound sound chips regulate the amount of power they take up so a higher voltage should not cause a problem?  I dont have a multimeter so I cannot tell precisely what the voltage is at, the variable switch is a little bit above the low point and the range is 15V to 21V so I guess I am in the 16/17V range. 

 

Can anyone tell me whether my increasing volatage represents an unacceptable risk? 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, young37215 said:

I managed to get CC up and running yesterday and spent a few hours gaining practical experience. I was hoping that Railcom Plus would load chip data straight into the ICU but was frustrated by ESU's default setting on their V4 chips which is off! I need a Lokprogrammer which I dont have, a friend does but we cant meet up at present. Not a major issue as I can manually set up locos but I will not manually set up individual functions for each and every loco.

 

The ICU is sensitive to shorts and trips track power when it senses one. The obvious solution is dont create them but in planet real world I get the occassional short. With more than about 10 locos on the layout (and I have 20) CC will not re-apply track power. When I physically remove locos down to about 10 I am able to re-apply track power. This sounds like a variation on my initial shorting problem; ....

 

 

Enabling Railcom and RailCom Plus is a few simple CV changes to each loco, and does not need a LokProgrammer.   Some of the more advanced features of RailCom Plus may need a LokProgrammer to set them. 

 

Your startup problem sounds like "inrush current" as everything fires up.   A work-around is a few section switches on the layout, and at power up, you switch them on manually, so the system doesn't see such a big surge in power.  

 

 

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To enble RailCom Plus in V4 decoders change CV28 (twenty EIGHT) to 131 (the default in LokPilot V4s is 3 = off, whilst in LokSound V4s the default is 131 = on). If you've lost your LS or LP V4 manuals, you can download them from the Downloads area of the ESU website, www.esu.eu/en 

 

You do NOT need a LokProgrammer to change CVs, it's just a lot easier if you have. Section 10 of the CC manual covers changing CVs with CC.

 

You will also need to make sure that RailCom Plus is turned on in the CC ICU, see section 14 of the CC manual

 

CabControl, like the ECoS, is sensitive to shorts as it reacts faster than many older designs of controller. If you plan on using breakers to create separate power districts, make sure that you buy solid state breakers as traditional electromechanical relay based ones won't be fast enough. The same goes for Autoreverse modules.

 

You could try increasing the voltage, ESU recommend 16-18V for 2 rail DCC. I have my ECoS set to a bit over 17V as the ECoS includes an option to display the output voltage. Unfortunately, CC cannot do that, but as the voltage range of the PSU is 15-21V, somewhere a bit less than half way sounds about right.

Edited by GoingUnderground
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2 hours ago, Nigelcliffe said:

Your startup problem sounds like "inrush current" as everything fires up.   A work-around is a few section switches on the layout, and at power up, you switch them on manually, so the system doesn't see such a big surge in power.  

 

Thanks Nigel, helpful as ever.

 

Your hypothesis is an interesting point and I can see the logic of your solution. What surprises me is that my Guagemaster Prodigy at 3.5 Amps never complained on start up wheras the supposedly 7 Amp CC does. I understand that they are different pieces of kit and will have been built in different ways but if it is the case that 20 locos trips out then CC seems fundamentally flawed given is aimd at the US market and their famed larger layouts. Whilst running this morning I found 13 locos was the threshold for re-setting track power. If I had more locos than this the ICU showed a short. I'll see how the next few days pan out, I already have one outstanding issue with ESU relating to their registering my ownership and thus gaining access to the ESU Forumn. If the 'inrush current' assessment proves correct, I will be making a complaint to them.

 

I am still uncertain on voltages, is there any reason that I should not try increasing this to see if it has any effect?

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1 hour ago, GoingUnderground said:

To enble RailCom Plus in V4 decoders change CV28 (twenty EIGHT) to 131 (the default in LokPilot V4s is 3 = off, whilst in LokSound V4s the default is 131 = on). If you've lost your LS or LP V4 manuals, you can download them from the Downloads area of the ESU website, www.esu.eu/en 

 

You do NOT need a LokProgrammer to change CVs, it's just a lot easier if you have. Section 10 of the CC manual covers changing CVs with CC.

 

You will also need to make sure that RailCom Plus is turned on in the CC ICU, see section 14 of the CC manual

 

CabControl, like the ECoS, is sensitive to shorts as it reacts faster than many older designs of controller. If you plan on using breakers to create separate power districts, make sure that you buy solid state breakers as traditional electromechanical relay based ones won't be fast enough. The same goes for Autoreverse modules.

 

You could try increasing the voltage, ESU recommend 16-18V for 2 rail DCC. I have my ECoS set to a bit over 17V as the ECoS includes an option to display the output voltage. Unfortunately, CC cannot do that, but as the voltage range of the PSU is 15-21V, somewhere a bit less than half way sounds about right.

 

Just spotted this reply which answers several of the points in my last post. My comment earlier on using the Lokporogrammer was poorly worded, as you both rightly say, I can (and have) amended CV's using my controller. Thanks for the clarification on the CV's, I will adjust one or two locos in an effort to enable Rail Com. It is turned on in my ICU and works, several of my chips must have the Railcom setting enabled because they registered immediately when the loco was placed on the rail. 

 

I was hoping that power districts would not be a potential solution although I suspected they might be. I dont understand them at present and need to read up. Given that my running line totals in excess of 50m, I have read that I should install power districts.

 

 

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52 minutes ago, young37215 said:

 

Just spotted this reply which answers several of the points in my last post. My comment earlier on using the Lokporogrammer was poorly worded, as you both rightly say, I can (and have) amended CV's using my controller. Thanks for the clarification on the CV's, I will adjust one or two locos in an effort to enable Rail Com. It is turned on in my ICU and works, several of my chips must have the Railcom setting enabled because they registered immediately when the loco was placed on the rail. 

 

I was hoping that power districts would not be a potential solution although I suspected they might be. I dont understand them at present and need to read up. Given that my running line totals in excess of 50m, I have read that I should install power districts.

 

 

Have you adjusted the overcurrent protection limit? Whilst the CC is supposed to set the limit itself in the first instance, you can set it manually. See section 14.6 of the manual.

 

Also I think you said earlier that your coaches had lights. They will be pulling current when you switch on, especially if they have stay alives. A few strategically-placed DPST switches in the DCC bus should fix the switch-on issue. A pain, but not a big issue IMHO. 

 

Also, auto-registration is done by RailCom Plus using RailCom functionality. Plus is an extension of RailCom and can be turned on and off independently of RailCom in both command stations and decoders. You can have RailCom turned on but locos with Plus equipped decoders will not auto-register unless RailCom Plus is turned on in both the decoder and on the command station. Sorry to go on, but so many folks don't seem to realise the difference between RailCom and RailCom Plus, or if they do they still call it RailCom.

 

As regards running at a higher voltage, you'll have seen my earlier comments, which were taken from the ECoS manual. The CC manual suggests 15V, but I suspect that is because some N. American manufacturers warn that their decoders are not to be operated at voltages exceeding 15V, which seems unnecessarily low to me given the NMRA standards, but the makers clearly know more about their products than I.

 

I'm guessing your problem with registration with ESU is that you're in the UK and they're not happy about a grey import from the USA?  I take the view that in our internet world market segmentation by geographical region is virtually impossible as there's always going to be someone who will sell the product cross-border. If the problem that you have is just the time it is taking, well it can take several days at the best of times, and they may be short staffed at the moment because of Covid. At least they haven't got the problem of preparing for the Nuremburg Toy Fair as that's been postponed until July.  

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29 minutes ago, GoingUnderground said:

Have you adjusted the overcurrent protection limit? Whilst the CC is supposed to set the limit itself in the first instance, you can set it manually. See section 14.6 of the manual. I had already increased this to 5A from the factory setting of 4A. 

 

Also I think you said earlier that your coaches had lights. They will be pulling current when you switch on, especially if they have stay alives. A few strategically-placed DPST switches in the DCC bus should fix the switch-on issue. A pain, but not a big issue IMHO. Only 2 Hornby coaches so modest draw albeit they have stay alives. I will endeavour to keep them in an un-powered siding at start up so as to reduce the current draw. I will also look into carving up the power BUS as you suggest as part of my deliberations on power districts. 

 

Also, auto-registration is done by RailCom Plus using RailCom functionality. Plus is an extension of RailCom and can be turned on and off independently of RailCom in both command stations and decoders. You can have RailCom turned on but locos with Plus equipped decoders will not auto-register unless RailCom Plus is turned on in both the decoder and on the command station. Sorry to go on, but so many folks don't seem to realise the difference between RailCom and RailCom Plus, or if they do they still call it RailCom. I was not aware of the difference until your comment! On the basis that I have had several decoders auto register, my ICU appears to be enabled. My issue is most of my Loksound decoders have not auto registered which makes sense as ESU default the RailCom Plus setting to off which is why I want to amend CV's to On

 

As regards running at a higher voltage, you'll have seen my earlier comments, which were taken from the ECoS manual. The CC manual suggests 15V, but I suspect that is because some N. American manufacturers warn that their decoders are not to be operated at voltages exceeding 15V, which seems unnecessarily low to me given the NMRA standards, but the makers clearly know more about their products than I.  Really interesting and helpful. I have just managed an hours running at a higher voltage, just below mid point on the PSU screw so should be just below 18V. Interestingly the number of locos I can leave on the layout to re-set track power has increased to 15/16. I am guessing that the measurement used by the ICU to indicate/trigger shorts is voltage based? Do you have a view of increasing this 18/19V? based on my experience with the increase from 15 to 17 it appears to me that this may well solve my short problem. I am crystal clear that if I choose to increase voltage it is at my risk, what I want to know is the risk that a higher voltage creates.

 

I'm guessing your problem with registration with ESU is that you're in the UK and they're not happy about a grey import from the USA?  I take the view that in our internet world market segmentation by geographical region is virtually impossible as there's always going to be someone who will sell the product cross-border. If the problem that you have is just the time it is taking, well it can take several days at the best of times, and they may be short staffed at the moment because of Covid. At least they haven't got the problem of preparing for the Nuremburg Toy Fair as that's been postponed until July.  Spot on, I registered on their forumn some time ago but it will not let me register CC, only an ECoS.

 

Hi Keith

 

Thank you very much for the information, it is much appreciated. Slowly but surely with you and Nigel's guidance I seem to be getting my head around the CC and how it works. It might not look like it but I have read the instruction manual several times and use it as a reference source before posting my problems. Whilst informative, the manual is far from perfect for a person with little electrical knowledge or instinct. I doubt what I am facing is anything new and I hope that when/if ESU get around to giving me access to their forumn, I will be able to find a lot of answers there.   

 

 

regards Rob

 

 

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I have now had a week or so of using CC and am increasingly pleased with it. I have not altered the voltage, it is somewhere in the 17/18V region but the short issue on restarting track power has receded. It has not totally gone away but is 95% better than it was. Interestingly I can now usually restore track power after a short with all locos on the layout. The manual section 14.6 references Current Limit and states that CC auto detects power supply in use; from that I conclude that CC has worked out that my layout can have a high volatge draw at times and is no longer treating the sharp spikes arising on restarting the power as a short. 

 

I find the CC manual OK but there are questions I have that it does not answer. I have still to hear from ESU about getting access to their forum, I shall give it another few days before I chase.   

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