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Z21 + DR4088LN-CS Detectors + Traincontroller


RFS
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  • RMweb Gold

I have now replaced my Lenz LZV100 with a new black Z21. The layout operates under Traincontroller, and the Z21 at the moment manages just the accessories (points, signals) with a Lenz LZV200 managing train operations and feedback from LDT RS8 detectors.

 

The RS8s are very old and I'm now looking at replacing these with DR4088LN-CS detectors which would then be managed by the Z21 through the Loconet coinnection. But I can't work out how these are addressed and defined to TC. According to TC it supports up to 160 detectors on the Z21 in the form of 20 units with 8 ports. So I'm a bit lost to understand how that works. 

 

I have a DR4088LN in the post for testing so looking for advice.

 

Thanks

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Can’t help you with TC but each DR4088xx has 16 connections and they are work perfectly with a Z21. I would expect that you simply gave the feedback on the DR4088 a number and use that number in TC - that is how I would do it in iTrain.

 

it should be as simple with TC as they have been used by many people for a long time.

 

look for Rudi’s videos on TC as I am sure there was one about this.

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  • RMweb Gold

Seems I may have bought the wrong DR4088 version - should have been the DR4088RB-CS which plugs into the R-BUS port. The documentation for it does match what TC is doing. I assume now that this DR4088 version is emulating the Roco detector.

 

So when it arrives I may have to negotiate a swap with Dijikeijs or perhaps just plonk it on to Ebay and get the right one....

 

Pays to research properly before you buy!

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  • RMweb Gold
36 minutes ago, WIMorrison said:

Why can’t you use the Loconet version? The Z21 loconet works correctly and the DR4088LN-CS works correctly with Loconet, you don’t need the Roco Bus  version with the Z21 - but you do with a z21.

 

The guy in the video is using a Digitrax system. My Z21 is defined to TC as a Roco/Fleischmann Z21 so TC is expecting it to follow the Roco protocols which allow for up to 20 connections each with 8 ports on the R-BUS port. This is what the DR4088RB delivers. I can't see any option within TC to use Loconet occupancy detectors with the Z21.

 

I've now got a DR4088RB coming from Coastal DCC. If I can't get the LN version to work it will go on Ebay ....

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The connection and protocol to the Z21 from the PC is not the same as the connections and protocols used to connect devices to the different busses available in the Z21. Using that logic then there would be no point in the Z21 having Loconet, XpressNet, B-Bus and R-Bus as only one protocol would be required - namely R-Bus.

 

The Z21 LAN protocol is an open format published by Roco for manufacturers e.g. Freiwald that enables them to interface to the Z21.

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  • RMweb Gold
9 hours ago, WIMorrison said:

The connection and protocol to the Z21 from the PC is not the same as the connections and protocols used to connect devices to the different busses available in the Z21. Using that logic then there would be no point in the Z21 having Loconet, XpressNet, B-Bus and R-Bus as only one protocol would be required - namely R-Bus.

 

The Z21 LAN protocol is an open format published by Roco for manufacturers e.g. Freiwald that enables them to interface to the Z21.

 

Having read the Z21 Maintenance Manual more thoroughly, as I should have done before purchase, it's clear that feedback modules can only be connected to the R-BUS or CAN Bus. There's no facility within the Z21 to use the L-Bus (or even the X-Bus) to connect feedback modules. The R-BUS supports up to 20 modules each with 8 ports, so 160 in all which is more than adequate for my needs. No doubt there are uses for the L-Bus with the Z21 but not for feedback. 

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I don’t know what manual you are reading but it isn’t the one for the Z21.

 

Loconet feedback modules such as DR4088LN work perfectly with a Z21 - if they don’t then my layout is using magic fairy dust bacausr I use them for occupancy detection on my turnouts and I use DR5088RC for track feedback

 

both are Loconet devices and connected to the Z21 loconet socket (which is Loconet T for clarity)

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2 hours ago, WIMorrison said:

I don’t know what manual you are reading but it isn’t the one for the Z21.

 

Loconet feedback modules such as DR4088LN work perfectly with a Z21 - if they don’t then my layout is using magic fairy dust bacausr I use them for occupancy detection on my turnouts and I use DR5088RC for track feedback

 

both are Loconet devices and connected to the Z21 loconet socket (which is Loconet T for clarity)

 

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the DR5088RC comes with its own software for the PC which creates USB interfaces that allow you to define it as a loconet system with train identification. And your DR4088LN modules are then connected to the DR5088RC, and not directly to the Z21?  I do not have a DR5088RC and hence have no means of attaching a DR4088LN directly to the loconet interface on the Z21. Hence my problem and need to use DR4088RB modules instead. 

Edited by RFS
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I'm confused as to what you've done, but the 4088 nomenclature is a bit confusing and it would be better had they been numbered in separate ranges.  Your latest posting concerns the DR 5088RC (which is for Railcom) and DR4088RB (which is for RBus)

 

But your original post said DR4088LN-CS which is a starter kit consisting of two devices : DR4088LN and DR4088CS.  These are capable of detecting 16 feedback sections each, ie 32 sections.  LN is LocoNet ;  CS is Current Sensing.  The former plugs into the Loconet port of the Z21.  The latter plugs into the former using S88 protocol.  I know that works because it's what I am using myself.   If you've got the CS only and you don't need to expand from 16 to 32 sections then yes you have ordered the the wrong module - you should have got the LN which costs a few euros more.

 

Your second post says you've got the DR4088RB.  This plugs into the Rbus socket of the Z21, not its Loconet port, and there are two versions of this - CS (Current Sensing) and  OPTO  - Optical indicators for H-Bridge.  if the former, it should work you'll just have to using a different port on the Z21.  If you want Railcom support (to tell your Z21 what loco you is one the section rather than just that there's something there) you should have got the 5088 rather than the 4088.  Your locos would also need to be fitted with decoders that are Railcom compliant.

 

There are also yet other versions - GND for 3-rail.

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2 hours ago, RFS said:

 

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the DR5088RC comes with its own software for the PC which creates USB interfaces that allow you to define it as a loconet system with train identification. And your DR4088LN modules are then connected to the DR5088RC, and not directly to the Z21?  I do not have a DR5088RC and hence have no means of attaching a DR4088LN directly to the loconet interface on the Z21. Hence my problem and need to use DR4088RB modules instead. 


the DR5088RC connect to the Z21 via loconet in the same way as the DR4088LN connects via loconet and yes, they can be chained one after the other in whatever order you want - that is what Loconet is for and how it works.

 

the DR5088RC can be configured using a PC unlike the DR4088 which has almost no configuration but what there is can be done using a button and it learns the base address.

 

You are probably thinking about S88 detectors which cannot be connected to the Z21, however you haven’t mentioned them - and neither have 8.

 

I said in my first response that the DR4088LN-CS works with the Z21 and I can unequivocally state that this is 100% correct.

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19 minutes ago, Michael Hodgson said:

I'm confused as to what you've done, but the 4088 nomenclature is a bit confusing and it would be better had they been numbered in separate ranges.  Your latest posting concerns the DR 5088RC (which is for Railcom) and DR4088RB (which is for RBus)

 

But your original post said DR4088LN-CS which is a starter kit consisting of two devices : DR4088LN and DR4088CS.  These are capable of detecting 16 feedback sections each, ie 32 sections.  LN is LocoNet ;  CS is Current Sensing.  The former plugs into the Loconet port of the Z21.  The latter plugs into the former using S88 protocol.  I know that works because it's what I am using myself.   If you've got the CS only and you don't need to expand from 16 to 32 sections then yes you have ordered the the wrong module - you should have got the LN which costs a few euros more.

 

Your second post says you've got the DR4088RB.  This plugs into the Rbus socket of the Z21, not its Loconet port, and there are two versions of this - CS (Current Sensing) and  OPTO  - Optical indicators for H-Bridge.  if the former, it should work you'll just have to using a different port on the Z21.  If you want Railcom support (to tell your Z21 what loco you is one the section rather than just that there's something there) you should have got the 5088 rather than the 4088.  Your locos would also need to be fitted with decoders that are Railcom compliant.

 

There are also yet other versions - GND for 3-rail.


I’m sorry but you are wrong.

 

the DR4088LN-CS is a single device that connects via Loconet to the command station (in this case the Z21).

 

the DR4088CS is a S88 device which can be chained from the DR4088LN-CS using the S88 port on the DR4088LN-CS.

 

You can get a starter kit that comprises  a DR4088LN-CS and and DR4088CS, which is what you have purchased.


What you have purchased is not what @RFShas purchased and I advise him to ignore your post as it is inaccurate and introduces concepts that are irrelevant to his issue.

 

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  • RMweb Gold
37 minutes ago, WIMorrison said:

I said in my first response that the DR4088LN-CS works with the Z21 and I can unequivocally state that this is 100% correct.

 

So how are you accessing the DR4088LN on the PC? As I understand it, a loconet connection is accessed via a USB COM port but there's no USB port on the Z21. It's the DR5088 software package that generates psuedo-COM ports to allow you to access the modules, and the DR4088LN is connected in behind the DR5088 and gains the access that way. Without this software you can't access a DR4088LN that is plugged in to the L-BUS on its own - ie my situation. 

 

Incidentally I have purchased the DR4088LN starter set with the additional DR4088 to provide 32 ports and will replace this with DR4088RB start sets.

Edited by RFS
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Where are you seeing anything about the USB? The DR4088xx do not have USB connections and you do not use USB with them at all. The are configured by sending accessory commands from your command station.

 

The Loconet signal is passed from the DR4088LN-CS to the Z21 using the cable connected between the DR4088LN and the Z21. The DR4088LN is never connected to the PC, indeed this isn’t even possible as there is no means to do so, nor is there any requirement to do so.
 

The Z21 is connected to the PC using a LAN cable or WiFi 

 

At no point are there any pseudo ports created on the PC, in fact you never use it excepting for TC.

 

I would advise you just to use DR4088LN-CS and not use the S88. This will be much simpler to implement, configure and monitor. 
 

as you are not using a DR5088RC therefore ignore it as it is a) a different product b) it is configured in a different manner c) is adding confusion for you.

Edited by WIMorrison
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  • RMweb Gold

Iain - all I'm asking is how you allocate the DR4088LN ports in iTrain. This how ports are done in Traincontroller for Lenz and I'm sure it would be easy for me to translate iTrain into TC. -

 

P1.JPG.ac13213ce1990046e84b4517a9244ffc.JPG

 

P2.JPG.970e62265d3c72e403b81e003f48aaf2.JPG

Edited by RFS
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Robert

Once they are connected to the Z21, surely on TC you set up access for a Loconet connected device from the drop down menu where you select digital system?

 

You can many different bus systems connected to TC simultaneously and the devices connected to them should point to that system when you set them up.

Just add those from the list you need connections to.

e.g.

selection.JPG.2317a27e7b82155179062d96b435da4a.JPG

 

 

I just added Roco Z21 loconet to my set up:

455484210_selection2.JPG.d479a3ce4466fd07f7210ed3beabd806.JPG

Edited by melmerby
change of snip
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30 minutes ago, melmerby said:

Robert

Once they are connected to the Z21, surely on TC you set up access for a Loconet connected device from the drop down menu where you select digital system?

 

You can many different bus systems connected to TC simultaneously and the devices connected to them should point to that system when you set them up.

Just add those from the list you need connections to.

e.g.

selection.JPG.2317a27e7b82155179062d96b435da4a.JPG

 

 

I just added Roco Z21 loconet to my set up:

455484210_selection2.JPG.d479a3ce4466fd07f7210ed3beabd806.JPG

 

Thanks - that at last answers my problem. What I've been doing is going into "setup digital systems" and then selecting change for one of them. Then the drop-down list does not include the loconet option. What you have to do is add a new system where you choose the Z21 loconet one and its path is the base Z21 system.  That's not a configuration I've come across before. Will do some more tests tomorrow. 

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  • RMweb Gold
On 23/06/2021 at 18:46, melmerby said:

Hi Robert

Did you get it operating as required?

 

Just an update to say I've now successfully completed the upgrade. Decided to go with the R-BUS option because it seemed the simplest thing to do. Unfortunately the Digikeijs documentation is pretty poor and it took me a while to work out the configuration needed. To cut a long story short, if you are using DR4088RB modules on the R-BUS with DR4088 modules connected to the S88 port on them, then you can have only 2 DR4088RB modules in the configuration. The R-BUS has two lines each capable of having 10 8-port modules, which means you can have one DR4088RB  on each line (addressed as 1 and 11 respectively) and each can have up to 4 DR4088s. Each of these counts as 2 modules as they have 16 ports each. Thankfully I managed to work this all out before buying the remaining kit I needed. I have 3 DR4088s on one leg and 2 on the other. I like the R-BUS tab on the maintenance tool as it shows the status at a glance and is updated in real time. 

 

Now all running very well. I have ended up with more ports because I wanted to add some turnout monitoring. Plus it's enabled me to completely isolate the two halves of the layout. Very happy with the Z21 and the way it works compared to the Lenz although I'm only using it for turnouts, accessories and feedback at present as the LZV200 is still running the trains. Only interface I've need is the Z21 Maintenance Tool on the PC, plus the Lenz LH101 handset works very well with it too. I've set up the wifi and will look at its options in a while. 

 

Have been toying with replacing the LZV200 too. But it would require a dual booster as the Z21 is only 3A and the Lenz is 5A.  I've tested the Z21 running the trains and it does that well so long as I set its track voltage to match the Lenz so that I don't end up having to re-profile everything. On the other hand if either the Lenz or Z21 fails, the other is capable of running the trains while any repairs take place.  Food for thought ....

Edited by RFS
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Hi Robert

I also have a Z21 & Lenz but I am doing it the other way round.

The Z21 controls the trains complete with a Roco WLAN Maus so I can wander without a cord to get snagged up.

The Lenz still does the detection as I have 15 RS-8s and a RS-16, that is a lot to replace, I also have a couple spare RS-8s in case of failure.

 

I've been trying to find a convertor from RS bus to something that the Z21 can use. So far to no avail.

There is an Arduino project for sending RS bus data to the DCC system from an Arduino being used as a detector etc. but I want to convert it to something else. (Must be possible!)

 

Points can be controlled with either DCC system, I just need to swap a plug over and change the default in TC.

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  • RMweb Gold

Just to update this thread as to where I'm at. I did some role-changing tests with the LZV200 taking over the turnouts and feedback to allow the Z21 to run the trains. The Z21 is only 3A and the LZV200 5A so I had to be careful. In the end I liked the Z21 running the trains, so I've now purchased and installed a Z21 dual booster to replace the LZV200. These two boosters run the two halves of the layout, with the Z21's booster managing turnouts and feedback as Railcom needs to be disabled for the NCE Switch-8s.  The DR4088 replacements provided some addional ports to allow me to fully separate the two halves of the layout.

 

Very pleased with the operation. What made up my mind was the way the Z21 interface works especially with its Maintenance Tool which made the Lenz look so primitive. And above all having the Z21 provide the fully automatic train tracking function in Traincontroller that shows no sign of ever appearing in the Lenz. 

 

I've retained my Lenz LH101 handset as it works very well with the Z21. This, and the Z21 Maintenance Tool, are all I've needed so far but I may look at using the wifi at some point in the future. 

 

The Z21 boosters show me that current consumption is around 2.5A  at startup. I can see 1A is the Tortoise motors, and I estimate another 600ma is the lighted Hornby Pullmans, but so far neither of the two track boosters has gone above 2A when running a full schedule, so all looks good. 

Edited by RFS
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Another ardent supporter and user of TC and the Z21 here (and  former Lenz DCC user).

 

I took a slightly different approach when running my big H0 layout.  I split it into 3 power districts using Digikeijs boosters  - each have a 3A rating.  Train tracking is with reed switches through several Digikeijs feedback units via the Z21 R-Bus - these are great because you can connect 16 sensors to them.  For turnouts and lights I fitted an accessory bus separately powered by a Lenz TR100 transformer.  I had a number of redundant Lenz Turnout units (LR-150s) so I used these to drive the Tortoise turnouts.  (The outputs on the Lenz 150s  had to be fitted with a pair of directional diodes to convert the current but that was simple enough).    

 

For operating, when I'm not sitting back and watching Train Controller handle everything - and I actually want to drive something myself or change any turnouts - I use the Z21 App either on my Samsung Tablet or with my phone.  In a large shed I wanted wireless operation, so it all works great.

 

Great to see the various setups folk use.  Enjoy.

 

Cheers ... Alan    

Edited by Alan Kettlewell
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  • RMweb Premium
3 hours ago, Alan Kettlewell said:

  I had a number of redundant Lenz Turnout units (LR-150s) so I used these to drive the Tortoise turnouts.  (The outputs on the Lenz 150s  had to be fitted with a pair of directional diodes to convert the current but that was simple enough).    

 

 

 

Cheers ... Alan    

I started using Tortoises with Lenz LS150s but the time delay between each change made them impractical with TrainController, which expects turnouts all to operate at the same time unless you put large delays (typically 3 seconds) in the operating times.

 

I had occasions when a train would stop or nearly so when approaching a sequence of points that needed to change before the train could continue.

Using Switch-8s meant that they would all change simultaneously.

Edited by melmerby
RS-8 wrong Switch 8 correct!
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  • RMweb Gold
1 hour ago, melmerby said:

I started using Tortoises with Lenz LS150s but the time delay between each change made them impractical with TrainController, which expects turnouts all to operate at the same time unless you put large delays (typically 3 seconds) in the operating times.

 

I had occasions when a train would stop or nearly so when approaching a sequence of points that needed to change before the train could continue.

Using RS-8s meant that they would all change simultaneously.

 

Think you mean NCE Switch-8s rather than RS-8s :)

 

I used to have Peco PL-10s with LS150s and considered using the latter when I converted to Tortoises, but decided against it for the very same reason. So I purchased NCE Switch-8s and sold the LS-150s on Ebay. The proceeds from these sales almost covered the cost of the Switch-8s, as the latter have 8 ports compared to 6 on the LS150. 

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