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Wright writes.....


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16 minutes ago, Chuffer Davies said:

Hi Michael, 

you beat me to it!


Sorry Tony but whilst I accept that it is your belief that there are all sorts of construction techniques that make installation of DCC chips in frames problematic, this is not my experience in almost all situations.  All my tender loco’s for Clayton use American pickup and are DCC chipped without any problems whatsoever. I do not attempt to isolate the superstructure from the live chassis either.   Similarly my tank loco’s are split frame and chipped. The only immediate problem I could see with converting Roy’s loco’s might be the space issue but the latest generation of chips are small and may fit between the EM frames.  The rule for installing chips in loco’s is simple, don’t allow an unshielded chip, or the wires between the motor and chip, to touch any metal part of the locomotive and all will be well.

 

The only situation where converting a loco to DCC is difficult is where the motor’s brush housing is shorted directly to a live frame.  This is true of many commercially built split frame loco’s and the early Hornby Dublo and Triang models.

 

I doubt converting the Retford layout to DCC would be that difficult either.  It is far harder to go the other way and convert a DCC layout to Analogue.  The cost of chipping all the loco’s on the other hand……..

 

Frank

It's probably prejudice on my part Frank, but my personal experiences are the opposite of yours.

 

I've fitted chips to locos using the 'American' system, a short has occurred and it's instantly goodbye decoder in a puff of smoke! As an aside, how do you test-run an American pick-up loco chassis without its tender? 

 

I'm also trying to establish best-practice. Surely it's better to have an electrically-dead (metal) loco body, meaning insulated wheels all round, than a live one for DCC? I've found it so; again, cooked chips. I've replaced a few for Gilbert Barnatt. 

 

But, haven't we been here before?

 

The only thing I'd reiterate is when a short occurs on a DCC system, it has a far greater impact on the running than on DC; in some cases, shutting the lot down. And, I've never seen a DC layout as crippled by a short as one large O Gauge DCC layout I saw at one show. Behind it was a veritable Who's Who of model railway celebrities, but none could get it to work. 

 

Mike Edge mentioned detecting shorts on a large DCC layout. I know. He and I had to find one on Carlisle. We'd run it the day before, only to find a short next morning. By isolating the sections, it was finally discovered. The errant loco was pushed half an inch, and the short disappeared. How? Why? 

 

Regards,

 

Tony. 

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11 hours ago, dibateg said:

At last my J6 staggers towards completion - nearly there. I know we were discussing J6's who knows how many pages ago!

That looks lovely Tony. I remember 64219 very well. It was the last J6 at Colwick and didn't arrive until March 1960. For a short while 64257 was still around but that went in the Summer of 1960 whilst 64219 lasted until November the following year if I remember correctly.

You certainly captured the look and feel of a J6 perfectly and I love the detail. If I was thirty years younger, 7mm wouldn't half tempt me!

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3 minutes ago, Tony Wright said:

The only thing I'd reiterate is when a short occurs on a DCC system, it has a far greater impact on the running than on DC; in some cases, shutting the lot down. And, I've never seen a DC layout as crippled by a short as one large O Gauge DCC layout I saw at one show. Behind it was a veritable Who's Who of model railway celebrities, but none could get it to work. 

 

That just sounds like poor wiring practice to me. Having sections so that faults can be isolated is just as important on DCC as it is on DC. 

 

My club's layout used to be one large section however that was soon changed after the first show and the number of times the entire layout was shut down due to shorts. It's now got a seperate section for each Mainline and one for the yard. A short on one does not impact the running on the other two.

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Posted (edited)

It certainly does not follow that any DC wired layout can easily be converted to DCC just by switching on all of the sections, although the advocates and purveyors of expensive and un-necessary DCC gadgetry would like everybody to believe that. Layouts with very narrow gaps between rails of opposite polarity around crossings, perhaps sometimes getting momentarily bridged by wide profile metal wheels, may protest with no more than a barely noticeable stutter when running on DC. Convert to DCC and the whole thing shuts down to protect itself when a momentary short occurs, and if the gimmick of synthetic loco sounds of all sort is included in the package, then all of the dreaded diesels (if present) go silent and then run through their entire annoying start-up performances all over again when the system re-activates. I've also had experience of at least one layout which would just about run properly on DC, on a favourable day, but which clearly had electrical anomalies, and whose owner decided that DCC would fix it up a treat. It actually rendered the thing almost totally inoperable!

Then of course, if the layout is actually wired for DCC only and without any isolating switches (anti-socially I would say) you cannot put a non-chipped loco on it anywhere, at the same time as any other locos, not even in a dead end siding with the points shutting it in, because everything is live, all of the time, so that loco will either slowly fry its motor or will run (wanted or not) depending on the settings on the controller...

Edited by gr.king
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I'd have to agree with both Mike and Frank. Pretty much all my locos are split chassis so have live frames and I've never found it to be an issue fitting DCC chips and, as a 2mm modeller with a penchant for small tank locos, the notion that room cant be found in a large 4mm loco to put a chip is laughable.

 

In addition, citing poorly wired DCC layouts that don't work very  well to make a case simply doesn't wash. As any trained historian will tell you the particular does not prove the general. If it did then ordinary  DC  would have been written off years ago judging by the number of poorly wired, unreliable DC layouts I've seen.

 

Sandra is absolutely right when she says that a layout of the complexity of Retford would be much better off wired for DCC, the big problem is the mammoth task of retro fitting 100 plus locos.

 

As for the nonsense that wiring a layout for DCC is somehow antisocial because it precludes visiting DC locos. Do those who advance this one sided argument make their layouts DCC compatible so that visiting, chipped locos can run. I suspect not.

 

Jerry  

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12 hours ago, Tony Wright said:

Good evening Brian,

 

I never suggested it was you who turned the kit/RTR debate into a contest. In fact, I personally don't think it is.

 

I'll happily run RTR stuff on Little Bytham, particularly Mk. 1 coaching stock. Life is too short (and getting shorter!) for me to build everything.

 

I never look at Wishlist polls, so I don't know what others have said about the debate.

 

 

Thanks Tony

 

No problem at all - just a little 'cross wiring' (to coin a bit of a pun in relation to the Retford situation!:):jester:)

 

Perhaps I can clarify a point whilst writing?

 

There is a possible misconception that any of the Polls we have run in the past - as well as any of the current Mini-Polls - have simply been 'a list of stuff'.

 

They have been carefully balanced along with much detail. They are - and were - for modellers and collectors.

 

In the case of the Mini-Polls on Gilbert's thread, they are aimed at getting people to think constructively about what might have been seen at Peterborough North in steam days and what might be useful to him and others in RTR form.

 

They are drawing much considered, well thought out and friendly debate.

 

However, even with those, I have had to include the following rider in each introduction:

If you vote on the thread, please feel free to explain why you have chosen your selection – hopefully, that will promote some interesting debates – but please do not take it as an excuse to start up the old chestnut of ‘kits vs RTR’!

 

Experience has shown me that as soon as we start a RTR discussion, it won't be long before someone chimes in with accusations of us 'having it in' for the kit makers or telling us we are responsible for 'duplication'. We haven't 'got it in' for the kit makers - in fact, we used to refer readers of The Guide to any item that had a kit existing - and no-one has ever supplied a shred of evidence for duplication.

 

There are many folk in our community who would like to 'make things' but now can't due to ill health or for one of a myriad of other valid reasons. The RTR market is seemingly booming and that can only be good for us all in the long run.

 

Hope that helps.

 

Brian

 

 

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It’s a matter of personal priorities.  You can chip 100+ existing loco’s with those excellent Zimo chips at £20 each for around the same price as commissioning one new kit-built loco from a reputable builder.

 

Plus the cost of the control system and handsets, and the time required to fit the chips.  Probably only a small percentage of the overall build cost of a large layout, but yes, there is an additional cost, both financial and in modelling time.

 

It depends on what your personal priorities are, there’s no right or wrong, just choices!

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1 hour ago, Tony Wright said:

 

 

Mike Edge mentioned detecting shorts on a large DCC layout. I know. He and I had to find one on Carlisle. We'd run it the day before, only to find a short next morning. By isolating the sections, it was finally discovered. The errant loco was pushed half an inch, and the short disappeared. How? Why? 

 

That does happen from time to time and on a layout as big as that it takes some finding but on Carlisle and my own layout momentary shorts don't shut the whole show down. The circuit breakers have an adjustable delay in them, most layout owners seem to have them set to near instantaneous but ours are set with a much longer delay. This allows for the usual sort of short circuit caused by slighly errant pickups/brakes and guard irons glancing the rails - no chip damage has resulted from this. The circuit breakers in use are NCE EB1s.

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1 hour ago, gr.king said:

 I've also had experience of at least one layout which would just about run properly on DC, on a favourable day, but which clearly had electrical anomalies, and whose owner decided that DCC would fix it up a treat. It actually rendered the thing almost totally inoperable!

 

 

 

In other words, you can't polish a turd.

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2 hours ago, Tony Wright said:

Mike Edge mentioned detecting shorts on a large DCC layout. I know. He and I had to find one on Carlisle. We'd run it the day before, only to find a short next morning. By isolating the sections, it was finally discovered. The errant loco was pushed half an inch, and the short disappeared. How? Why? 

 

22 minutes ago, Michael Edge said:

That does happen from time to time and on a layout as big as that it takes some finding but on Carlisle and my own layout momentary shorts don't shut the whole show down. The circuit breakers have an adjustable delay in them, most layout owners seem to have them set to near instantaneous but ours are set with a much longer delay. This allows for the usual sort of short circuit caused by slighly errant pickups/brakes and guard irons glancing the rails - no chip damage has resulted from this. The circuit breakers in use are NCE EB1s.

Without knowing any more detail than that, I suspect that the short would have appeared just the same on a DC layout.

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2 hours ago, Tony Wright said:

It's probably prejudice on my part Frank, but my personal experiences are the opposite of yours.

 

I've fitted chips to locos using the 'American' system, a short has occurred and it's instantly goodbye decoder in a puff of smoke! As an aside, how do you test-run an American pick-up loco chassis without its tender? 

 

I'm also trying to establish best-practice. Surely it's better to have an electrically-dead (metal) loco body, meaning insulated wheels all round, than a live one for DCC? I've found it so; again, cooked chips. I've replaced a few for Gilbert Barnatt. 

 

But, haven't we been here before?

 

The only thing I'd reiterate is when a short occurs on a DCC system, it has a far greater impact on the running than on DC; in some cases, shutting the lot down. And, I've never seen a DC layout as crippled by a short as one large O Gauge DCC layout I saw at one show. Behind it was a veritable Who's Who of model railway celebrities, but none could get it to work. 

 

Mike Edge mentioned detecting shorts on a large DCC layout. I know. He and I had to find one on Carlisle. We'd run it the day before, only to find a short next morning. By isolating the sections, it was finally discovered. The errant loco was pushed half an inch, and the short disappeared. How? Why? 

 

Regards,

 

Tony. 

Tony,

 

You're right that it’s best practice, but it’s certainly not essential as Frank said. I have lots of live frame loco DCC fitted and a couple with the American system (including Duke of Rothesay which you sold me). They all work fine once you eliminate any shorts. And it’s not fair to say that a short automatically blows up the chip. I have had this happen on a handful of occasions (normally with ‘cheap as chips’ Chinese decoders) but it’s very rare and I find the excellent £20 Zimo decoders are very resilient to such things.

 

Chips are getting better all the time and much less fussy than they used to be. 

 

I think DCC on Retford would be fantastic, particularly for the sound. But I recognise that’s a personal viewpoint not shared with everyone on here! I also recognise that the cost and time fitting all those locos would be prohibitive. A trial session would be perfectly feasible though - although please don't think I’m suggesting that for Retford Sandra - I wouldn’t be so presumptuous.

 

I know we’ll never agree on this but the banter is fun! 

 

Andy

 

 

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2 hours ago, gr.king said:

It certainly does not follow that any DC wired layout can easily be converted to DCC just by switching on all of the sections, although the advocates and purveyors of expensive and un-necessary DCC gadgetry would like everybody to believe that. Layouts with very narrow gaps between rails of opposite polarity around crossings, perhaps sometimes getting momentarily bridged by wide profile metal wheels, may protest with no more than a barely noticeable stutter when running on DC. Convert to DCC and the whole thing shuts down to protect itself when a momentary short occurs, and if the gimmick of synthetic loco sounds of all sort is included in the package, then all of the dreaded diesels (if present) go silent and then run through their entire annoying start-up performances all over again when the system re-activates. I've also had experience of at least one layout which would just about run properly on DC, on a favourable day, but which clearly had electrical anomalies, and whose owner decided that DCC would fix it up a treat. It actually rendered the thing almost totally inoperable!

Then of course, if the layout is actually wired for DCC only and without any isolating switches (anti-socially I would say) you cannot put a non-chipped loco on it anywhere, at the same time as any other locos, not even in a dead end siding with the points shutting it in, because everything is live, all of the time, so that loco will either slowly fry its motor or will run (wanted or not) depending on the settings on the controller...

Perhaps a slightly one sided view Graham. I have converted many DC layouts to DCC simply by switching everything on although the more complex a layout is and it’s wiring in DC the harder it is. Why is having a permanently live track a gimmick or unnecessary?

As others have said, if the DCC layout has been wired correctly the whole system does not shut down after a short.

Finally, why would you want to run an un- chipped loco on a DCC layout. It won’t run well and rather defeats the object ie beautifully smooth control.

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2 hours ago, gr.king said:

It certainly does not follow that any DC wired layout can easily be converted to DCC just by switching on all of the sections, although the advocates and purveyors of expensive and un-necessary DCC gadgetry would like everybody to believe that. Layouts with very narrow gaps between rails of opposite polarity around crossings, perhaps sometimes getting momentarily bridged by wide profile metal wheels, may protest with no more than a barely noticeable stutter when running on DC. Convert to DCC and the whole thing shuts down to protect itself when a momentary short occurs, and if the gimmick of synthetic loco sounds of all sort is included in the package, then all of the dreaded diesels (if present) go silent and then run through their entire annoying start-up performances all over again when the system re-activates. I've also had experience of at least one layout which would just about run properly on DC, on a favourable day, but which clearly had electrical anomalies, and whose owner decided that DCC would fix it up a treat. It actually rendered the thing almost totally inoperable!

Then of course, if the layout is actually wired for DCC only and without any isolating switches (anti-socially I would say) you cannot put a non-chipped loco on it anywhere, at the same time as any other locos, not even in a dead end siding with the points shutting it in, because everything is live, all of the time, so that loco will either slowly fry its motor or will run (wanted or not) depending on the settings on the controller...

Graeme,

 

I appreciate that you don’t like it but, with due respect, I think that’s quite an outdated view of DCC. While the problems you highlight can occur they needn’t with modern technology. As Mike has said, momentary shorts don’t need to shut the whole system down - they don’t on Gresley Jn. And even if they do, sound fitted locos with stayalive (which IMHO is essential for sound) will not shut down /go through their start up cycle.

 

However, I do agree with you about the problems of putting DC locos on DCC layouts. I think they’re best not mixed. I can switch my main circuits over to DC for guests or running in, but that means removing all my DCC fitted locos on the relevant section/ circuit. I do this on occasion but it is a fag.

 

All the best

 

Andy

 

 

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40 minutes ago, St Enodoc said:

 

Without knowing any more detail than that, I suspect that the short would have appeared just the same on a DC layout.

I would have to concede mea culpa on that one with Grantham, a resolutely DC layout. Over 90% of 'mysterious' shorts are cured by moving a loco/coach/wagon an inch either way. The trick is finding which one!

I like to think we've got better over the years as we've gradually eliminated repetitive faults by fitting lengths of 'dead' track in the fiddle yard or moving rail breaks to more sensible places - but the risk of a loco (or even a metal-framed wagon / coach) straddling a rail break remains ever present. It does require vigilance on the part of the operator to park a loco / train in the correct (generally prototypical) spot.

 

I'll refrain from trotting out all the counter reasons why I prefer DC nonetheless - most have already been mentioned in posts above!

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4 minutes ago, LNER4479 said:

Over 90% of 'mysterious' shorts are cured by moving a loco/coach/wagon an inch either way. The trick is finding which one!

@acg5324 and others of this parish will remember a dead short on a Brighton MRC layout on the morning of a show. After an hour or so's frantic fault-finding the cause was found to be a three-rail wagon that somebody had parked in a siding for scenic effect...

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5 hours ago, Tony Wright said:

on a practical level something like Retford (and on the grand scale) illustrates the futility of considering DCC as a control option.

 

An tentative approach was made to Roy by a DCC manufacturer offering to "do the necessary" to Retfords wiring and "chip" all of the loco's. The offer was that the the work would come at no financial cost.

 

We had a couple of long conversations about the many pro's & cons of such an offer. There was the obvious things such as the company insisting on using the layout as a promotional tool, some of the Loco's that operated on the layout were the property of third parties, etc etc., but Roys overriding thought was, that as it stood, he understood how the layout worked electrically and could fix most problems arising. If the conversion work had been carried out Roy acknowledged that he wouldn't have a clue as were to start if a DCC problem arose and he would by more reliant on A. N Other.

 

More importantly he did not want to relinquish any of the Retfords groups autonomy (I was going to pun and use the word "control") over the layout.

 

Roy diplomatically declined the offer.

 

P

 

 

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Yesterday I said when I design a layout I design the track plan to fit in how I will be operating it, that includes the electrics. If I get a short it is normally the stock, after the initial problem of the wrong wire being soldered to the wrong bit of track, only two on Sheffield Exchange, so I am getting better. Planning the play value is as important as the types of engine you want to run.

 

 

Saying that the other day I had a short, I couldn't find out which section as it appeared on multiple section. I was just about to rip out all the wires on the control panel, but before I did I took a  sip from my coke can ..............zoooooooom and whizzzzz went the trains.

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2 minutes ago, Clive Mortimore said:

but before I did I took a  sip from my coke can ..............zoooooooom and whizzzzz went the trains.

 

A problem that neither DC or DCC can counter :lol: (well, unless the DC controller was actually an arc welder and then the can might give up the fight ....)

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1 hour ago, St Enodoc said:

 

Without knowing any more detail than that, I suspect that the short would have appeared just the same on a DC layout.

Happens all the time but easily found on a DC layout by switching all the sections off one by one until it disappears.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Tony Wright said:

The only thing I'd reiterate is when a short occurs on a DCC system, it has a far greater impact on the running than on DC; in some cases, shutting the lot down.

 

That's a misleading statement. It's the same as a DC controlled layout and depends on how many electrical block sections the layout is divided into. On a DCC layout a short should only shut down the section it occurs in.

Your misconception is probably fuelled by the popularity of the entry level NCE powercab system and the way it operates under short circuit conditions. Most DCC layouts that I've seen using the powercab (as opposed to the pro cab) are wired as one single section. So when a short occurs the handset shuts down and power is removed from all of the track until the short is found and removed.

If you think about it, that is the safe way to operate.

 

P

Edited by Porcy Mane
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4 hours ago, Clem said:

Kits for these very iconic LMS hopper wagons would be delightful. They came in two main varieties, the 8'6" high and the 7'9" high. I've scratch built a couple of the 8'6" type but I found it quite a long process and I could do with about 10 more. A good kit would be so welcome. So if your nagging is effective, by all means please nag nag nag. I think Cambrian might be a good place to start as they've fairly recently brought out an ex-GW ballast hopper. 

 

LMS_Hopper_i4384.jpeg.50761b6a1358a70fd115a59a44a42870.jpegLMS_hopper_i2603.jpeg.cfe21cbb2a9bb0b3c6ad1df1d386982e.jpeg

 

 

I do like that, was considering it, also looked and thought too awkward to do on the Cameo, so far produced 9 pairs DMU sides a station and a shed.

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1 hour ago, Porcy Mane said:

 

That's a misleading statement. It's the same as a DC controlled layout and depends on how many electrical block sections the layout is divided into. On a DCC layout a short should only shut down the section it occurs in.

Your misconception is probably fuelled by the popularity of the entry level NCE powercab system and the way it operates under short circuit conditions. Most DCC layouts that I've seen using the powercab (as opposed to the pro cab) are wired as one single section. So when a short occurs the handset shuts down and power is removed from all of the track until the short is found and removed.

If you think about it, that is the safe way to operate.

 

P

 

And a lot of Powercab people add a PSX powershield (or several) between the cab and the layout, to add additional protection, and to "shut down" only part of the layout at a time.

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