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JZjr

Is 28 functions enough? What is the future of DCC?

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Wasn't sure where to post this, but seeing as how many functions sound can use I think it's best placed here.

 

As in the title, is 28 functions enough?

 

With lighting at either end of a vehicle/MU and potentially cab lights and internal lights combined with sound functions and increasingly available DCC uncouplers and pantographs is 28 functions enough?

 

Have you experienced a shortage of functions in any of your models?

 

I'm adding lighting to a 142 and am wiring it for the separate control of head & tail lights, this combined with cab, internal, hazard lights and sound is pushing me ever closer to using all 28 functions. If I ever wanted to add separate marker/head light control and uncouplers I'd be maxed out.

 

What is the future of DCC?

 

Cheers

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Wasn't sure where to post this, but seeing as how many functions sound can use I think it's best placed here.

 

As in the title, is 28 functions enough?

 

With lighting at either end of a vehicle/MU and potentially cab lights and internal lights combined with sound functions and increasingly available DCC uncouplers and pantographs is 28 functions enough?

 

Have you experienced a shortage of functions in any of your models?

 

I'm adding lighting to a 142 and am wiring it for the separate control of head & tail lights, this combined with cab, internal, hazard lights and sound is pushing me ever closer to using all 28 functions. If I ever wanted to add separate marker/head light control and uncouplers I'd be maxed out.

 

What is the future of DCC?

 

Cheers

 

28 functions? That's more than a real 142 has...............?

 

I struggle using any more the 4 or 5 functions, let alone 28!

 

Cheers,

Mick

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I find that the sound alone takes up 10 or so functions, there are also 'virtual' functions such as shunt mode, momentum off, braking - not all of them I use - but they quickly add up in my case.

 

I enjoy tinkering with electronics and enjoy squeezing in as many features as I can so maybe I am in the minority here!

 

Cheers

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Don't think I have ever used more than 8.    I have been using DCC for 20 years.....

 

Maybe you're over-thinking things, or over complicating your installations.

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I think the way forward, for me, is to thin out the sounds - I don't feel I need the driver guard buzzer sound, in most cases you can't hear it outside of the train anyway. Along with other sounds which aren't heard outside the train, I think the number of functions mapped can be reduced. This gives me enough free functions to add DCC uncouplers if I want to in the future when they are more common.

 

However, many people like to use these sounds on their models. With each one taking up a function I can see them being used up rather quickly - I'm sure there are some sound projects out there that push close to the limit, and that's before any lighting functions are added, let alone uncouplers and pantographs.

 

Cheers

Edited by JZjr

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I think the way forward, for me, is to thin out the sounds - I don't feel I need the driver guard buzzer sound, in most cases you can't hear it outside of the train anyway. Along with other sounds which aren't heard outside the train, I think the number of functions mapped can be reduced. This gives me enough free functions to add DCC uncouplers if I want to in the future when they are more common.

 

However, many people like to use these sounds on their models. With each one taking up a function I can see them being used up rather quickly - I'm sure there are some sound projects out there that push close to the limit, and that's before any lighting functions are added, let alone uncouplers and pantographs.

 

Cheers

 

I sometimes wonder if some sound projects use up to F28 "just because they can".

 

Cheers,

Mick

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I'd have to agree with that statement. Often on sound projects you hear things that would never be heard from the same viewing distance on the prototype. I like to see sound as an enhancement whereas others, it seems, see it as a main feature. Each to their own, but I prefer sound to be a bit quieter than it is often presented at exhibitions.

 

I still think that in the coming years there will be demand for more than 28 functions. On more modern stock there is more equipment to make sound, I'm not sure if - in reality - this all has to be manually switched or should be played randomly. Perhaps a project creator can shed some light.

 

Cheers

Edited by JZjr

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The DCC spec now includes a lot (and I mean a lot, something like 32000 if my memory is correct) extra functions should you need them. It is all down to whether command stations will support the extra feature, and how the functionality will be handled on hand controllers. I am sure that Zimo will include support on their decoders if they do not already support it!

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Thanks Suzie

 

That's definetly more than I could hope to use across all the stock I ever have and will own!

 

It will be interesting to see how it is implemented across decoders and command stations indeed.

 

Cheers

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The new ESU v5 decoders will have 32 functions but as far as I know only the ECoS will handle that amount.

Lenz I believe are brining out a new or updated command station but at the moment Lenz go up to 28.

Many others will only go up to 20 and some only up to 13.

Wiggy.

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Both DCC and Märklin do have so many sounds function that it has become boring to keep control all of them!

I do use light function, start sound (which also sample other sounds function automatic) under drive and telex couple (digital couple as function).

I can accept maximum 16 functions but no more than that.

Some model railer did complained about too many sounds function.

I use only steam locomotive so i present here what is perfect functions:

1.Light function

2. Smoke generator

3. Steam sounds with some sample sound functions automatic

4. Digital couples

5. Cabinet light

6. Under frame work light

7. Contact couples for the wagons light (if not telex couples as digital function)

 

The future about DCC depends what manufacture do present for the customer.

When you buy a digital locomotive what is your decides to control it?

It´s up to yourself...

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The new ESU v5 decoders will have 32 functions but as far as I know only the ECoS will handle that amount.

Lenz I believe are brining out a new or updated command station but at the moment Lenz go up to 28.

Many others will only go up to 20 and some only up to 13.

Wiggy.

ESU new shunting locomotive V 60 do have 31 digital functions and all of them works with M4 system while the DCC as far only 28 functions.

But ECoS 50210 will soon upgrade again and this time DCC handle with maximum 32 functions.

By the way...Lenz can handle with 29 functions.

Edited by Anders63

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How do remember what all the functions are????

 

Some appear to be not required but are being added to say aren't I clever to include this...lummy!

Baz

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Whilst it may be simple for a manufacturer/programmer to include a greater number of functions onto a decoder there is a finite memory which limits what these functions can do for us. Until future electronics can squeeze more into the silicone ‘pint-pot’ then we are stuck with what we have got, but looking at the rate of progress in computer memory over the recent few years we may yet be surprised.

 

Rob

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Controls only need to go up to 11...…………………..

 

 

(Only those knowledgeable of a certain film will understand)

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The DCC spec now includes a lot (and I mean a lot, something like 32000 if my memory is correct) extra functions should you need them. It is all down to whether command stations will support the extra feature, and how the functionality will be handled on hand controllers. I am sure that Zimo will include support on their decoders if they do not already support it!

 

 

The new ESU v5 decoders will have 32 functions but as far as I know only the ECoS will handle that amount.

 

 

Uhlenbrock command stations have a very silly number of functions available (possibly all 32000).  I'm more familiar with the Daisy-2, but expect the Intellibox is the same.  On the Daisy-2, the low number functions (up to 24) are very easy to use, the high numbers are much more problematic with too many key presses to access them.   Never met any decoders which really uses them. 

 

As to how to do it with current technology;  use two decoders on different addresses.   That gives F0-F28 twice, which ought to be enough to occupy most people for a while. 

 

 

 

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I've tried to create a universal function map for all of my stock, sound & non sound. All of my stock is diesel of varying types. This does mean that some functions in the middle of the range don't do anything. It will however help me to remember what each function does without the help of prompt cards for each model.

F0 - Directional Head/Markers

F1 - Directional Tail Lights

F2 - Front & Rear Tail

F3 - Shunt (Half Speed)

F4 - Momentum Off

F5 - Coast (RTI)

F6 - Internal Lighting (Saloon/Engine Room)

F7 - Front Cab Light

F8 - Rear Cab Light

F9 - Start/Stop

F10 - Compressor Speed-up

F11 - TwoTone Horn

F12 - OneTone Horn

F13 - Doors Open (BILs On/Off) (FRGT BUFFER UP)

F14 - Doors Close (FRGT COUPLE UP)

F15 - Whistle

F16 - Flange Noise

F17 - Track Noise

F18 - Driver/Guard Buzzer

F19 - TwoTone Horn 2

F20 - Gear Clunk

F21 - Announcement 1

F22 - Announcement 2

F23 - No.1 Uncoupler

F24 - No.2 Uncoupler

F25 - Hazard Lights

F26 - Heavy Load

F27 - Loco Specific

F28 - Loco Specific

Some of the sounds admittedly never get used and I may 'unmap' them to free up space for other lighting features such as separating head and marker lights for 'depot driving'.

 

Cheers

Edited by JZjr

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Even on my Legomanbiffo huge amounts of sounds locos do I only use a few sounds.

But then my current layout simply isn't big enough for anything too exciting.

 

I get annoyed by having to push "Shift" on my controller - would prefer more buttons so I can just turn each function on/off, but then I doubt 28 buttons will be practical!

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Controls only need to go up to 11...…………………..

 

 

(Only those knowledgeable of a certain film will understand)

Hi Mick

 

You have tapped into my thread and seen my spiral controller then. :mosking:

 

I consider myself lucky and satisfied as a DC modeller. My trains can go faster or slower, backwards and the other way and at times don't fall off the tracks. What more does someone need? :dontknow:

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I remember a colleague buying a 13GB hard drive in the late 90s & getting told he "will never use all that", so what is ample by today's standards will not necessarily be a lot in the future.

Maybe some decoders can be upgraded? Maybe some will need more memory to access more functions?

28 seems a common maximum for command stations. It is possible that these can be firmware upgraded to support more

 

28 is not a binary power (2,4,8,16,32 etc), so I agree with the above that this is unlikely to be a limit within NMRA's DCC standard, but many more would be awkward to access without bigger control panels.

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Hi Mick

 

You have tapped into my thread and seen my spiral controller then. :mosking:

 

I consider myself lucky and satisfied as a DC modeller. My trains can go faster or slower, backwards and the other way and at times don't fall off the tracks. What more does someone need? :dontknow:

I think I should buy you a big key so you can wind people up more easily.  :jester:

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I get annoyed by having to push "Shift" on my controller - would prefer more buttons so I can just turn each function on/off, but then I doubt 28 buttons will be practical!

 

That was one of the reasons that I went with the Sig-na-trak ACE2.  All 29 functions (F0 to F28) can be accessed from a single touch screen and each can be assigned a six character name.  Many of the others on the market seem to require several button pushes to access anything past the lowest functions.

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The functions grew from just headlight (F0) integrated with the 14-step speed packet, then function group 1 were added (F0-F4) with F0 being moved from the speed packet to allow speed steps to go from 14/27 to 28. Then Function group 2 (F5-F12) when just five functions was considered inadequate. Thirteen was not enough so Function Group 3 were added (F13-F28). Now that just a mere twenty nine is not enough there is a big add to give thousands of functions (presumably Function Group 4 - but I have not seen it referred to as this) which really should be enough - but we will wait and see.

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I think you might be losing sight of reality.

 

ManyDCC controllers do not identify what a particular function button does either with words or an icon. Users have enough trouble remembering what each function button does as it is. Increasing the number, whilst desirable in terms of flexibility, will just make for more complexity and confusion over exactly what button does what.

 

OK, so you can list them all out, but by the time that you've found the one you want on your list, the loco may well have gone so far round the layout that the sound is no longer applicable to its location when you push the button..

 

Personally, I think that sound project developers are using some of the function buttons needlessly, and some of the sounds could be eliminated without significantly reducing the user's enjoyment.

 

And as to running out of function buttons, lighting effects on your locos could be handled by a function decoder using an adjacent address, freeing up function buttons on the main decoder for the extra sound effects. 

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It would be interesting to know what sounds you do not need and what sounds you do need.

Also lights etc.

Steam and diesel.

As most developers of sound projects like to cater for all tastes and the sounds on the decoder do replicate the sounds available on the prototype but you are not going to please everyone.

I know you don't want birds singing or bacon frying on the shovel or do you!!!!

 

Wiggy.

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