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Re: DCC Developments & Experimentation

Postby Slarge » Wed Dec 06, 2017 7:33 pm

@Siegfried
Sadly not mine, the video is by tgauge.com showing off their latest developments with RailwayShop.
Hopefully the DCC motor units will be available as complete units soon (although soon can be somewhat slow).
My interest is in the size and positioning of such chips so I can alter my 3D printed loco bodies to incorporate...
And now back to Doug's awesome developments...
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Re: DCC Developments & Experimentation

Postby dkightley » Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:33 am

I've made some good progress with the various boxes of electronics....I think I'm nearing the point where I will need to put the whole lot into storage for a few weeks and await the decoders. :cry: :cry:

I've already shown two of the boxes....the main control box that holds the main control board and the interface to a laptop, and the box containing the output boards that drive the servos that operate the point and flexi-traverser....and potentially a signal or two. For the inputs to the control system, I will have no less than four separate boxes, gathering inputs from 12 track section occupancy sensors and 15 LDR train location sensors. This may sound an overkill....but I'm wanting a live track layout to show which sections are occupied....and to be able to stop trains at exact positions throughout the layout.

Here's a photo of two of the boxes. They are identical in content....just having different addressing:
IMG_3303_red.JPG
IMG_3303_red.JPG (72.43 KiB) Viewed 4652 times

The open box on the left has a twin TOTI board (the track section occupancy detectors!) on the left and the CBUS input board on the right....with a small 5v power supply at the bottom. The five connectors (top to bottom) are two track supplies to individual track sections, an input track power supply, the CBUS interface connection, a 5v DC output to supply a separate box I'll be describing shortly, and finally a 15vAC/DC input power. The plastic holder with the two small boards on ( the circuitry for the LDR sensors) sits over the top of the connector blocks...and the LEDs and mini pots show through holes in the box lid.

The box on the right shows the LEDS and pots showing through the holes. These are indicators and sensitivity adjusters for the LDR sensors. The five wires with servo connector plugs are the connections to the LDR sensors as shown in a previous post.

And now onto the final two boxes...which are also input interfaces that are similar to the boxes above:
IMG_3306_red.JPG
IMG_3306_red.JPG (75.23 KiB) Viewed 4652 times

This time there are occupancy detectors for 4 track sections.....but only three LDR sensors. These boxes are powered from the above boxes...so don't have a power supply board....and the connector layout is very similar (top to bottom) four track section supplies, a track input, The CBUS connection, and the 5v DC input. And of course there'll only be three wires poking out the hole in the lid. Just remembered....one box will have three LDR connections, the other will only have two.

And for anyone who's spotted that all the connectors are the same style.....yes they are! I'll be going round with some different coloured paint to mark them up so it'll be easy to ensure the right plug goes into the right socket! And I'm keeping to a rigid wiring colour coding both inside and outside of the boxes. 15AC/DC - red/black; 12vDC - blue/black; 5vDC - red/yellow; CBUS -white/yellow; DCC - blue/green. The servo wires used for connecting the LDRs...+ve - red; -ve - black; LDR sense - white.

Once I get all the assembly and wiring completed, then I need to run through a careful and thorough testing and set-up phase to get all the outputs operating from the schematic panel....and all the inputs turning on and off the indicators. But that may wait until well into the New Year!
Doug Kightley
Webmaster here and volunteer at the National Tramway Museum http://www.tramway.co.uk
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Re: DCC Developments & Experimentation

Postby dkightley » Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:36 pm

Looking forward at the what looks like a maze of wiring on the layout, I've colour-coded the connectors:
IMG_3307_red.JPG
IMG_3307_red.JPG (130.08 KiB) Viewed 4637 times

For my own reference.....colours are:

RED - 12v AC/DC main power supply (output on main box, input elsewhere)
YELLOW - 5v DC regulated supply (where adj to RED, output, otherwise input)
unpainted - 12v DC output ....currently not used
WHITE - CBUS interconnection
BLUE - DCC track power (output on main box, input elsewhere)
BLUE + DOTS - DCC track power outputs....dots to indicate correct output.....no dots on above photo - waiting for paint to dry before applying!!
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Re: DCC Developments & Experimentation

Postby dkightley » Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:03 pm

A day or so of good progress....curtesy of the snow! Horrible stuff!

I've now got all the TOTI sensors wired up and tested out.....all AOK! And I've assembled a single LDR sensor on a test piece of track board...and got the LDR sensor board installed in one of the boxes. Here's the completed box.....ready for screwing the lid on!:
IMG_3319_red.JPG
IMG_3319_red.JPG (133.94 KiB) Viewed 4616 times


And just to show how the LDR sensors work...here's the test sensor with no train:
IMG_3315_red.JPG
IMG_3315_red.JPG (73.13 KiB) Viewed 4616 times

Notice only one LED in the box lid lit up. The other is lit because there's no sensor connected.

....and here's it with a train being sensed.
IMG_3314_red.JPG
IMG_3314_red.JPG (71.17 KiB) Viewed 4616 times

Both LEDs lit! And both a train moving into the sensor AND moving away trigger events that the software in the PC can detect!
Doug Kightley
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Re: DCC Developments & Experimentation

Postby dkightley » Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:43 pm

Here we are in January 2018 and I have all the necessary DCC electronics....which I have built from kits produced by MERG (Model Electronics Railway Group).....but despite having placed an order with DCC Supplies, who immediately placed an order for decoders directly from the manufacturers (CT Elektroniks), at the beginning of October, none have to date been supplied.

I have emailed and phoned DCC Supplies....who have been most apologetic and somewhat embarrassed that both myself and they have been let down by CT, who have failed to deliver on their promises a few times now. I have even emailed CT directly to ask what the delays were, and their response in early December was that they have been having issues with manufacture and would have the issues resolved quickly.

They even advised me to order directly from themselves rather than via a distributer....with the promise they would supply before Christmas if I did! I didn't...as I had already placed an order via DCC, and I did not want to sideline them as they have been very helpful!

Having spoken to DCC this afternoon, who had emailed CT earlier in the week and had not had a reply, I have also emailed CT again expressing by deep concern and anger about thie inability to supply what the advertise as being available!

I'll post any news I get as and when..... :roll:
Doug Kightley
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Re: DCC Developments & Experimentation

Postby dkightley » Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:13 pm

Another month has gone by......and absolutely no information whatsoever abut when....and if....I will be getting any decoders.

I have today sent an email to both the CT Elektroniks and the UK distributer begging that they do something to get some decoders to me. I'm not hopeful of getting any sense out of them!!
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Re: DCC Developments & Experimentation

Postby dkightley » Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:58 pm

One step forward......twenty five steps back!!! :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil:

Had an email back from DCC Supplies cancelling my order with them as they are not getting any response from CT!!

So now there are two UK DCC specialists who are not prepared to place an order for CT decoders!!!

I've spoken to a third specialist this afternoon, who have said they do not have any issues with CT.....and they are going to order some decoders for me.

And now another wait......
Doug Kightley
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Re: DCC Developments & Experimentation

Postby dkightley » Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:11 am

Just had an email back from this supplier.

They have contacted CT, who have responded that they can supply in small quantities, so they will be ordering some.

Fingers....and everything else....crossed!
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Re: DCC Developments & Experimentation

Postby dkightley » Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:19 pm

A couple of things to report.....

Firstly, I've purchased a different DCC decoder to try out....the ESU LokPilot Nano. It's a little larger than the CT decoder at 8mm x 7mm x 2.4mm (with one component making the board 2.8mm high on one side)...and it doesn't have a voltage regulator on the motor output, which means the motor will get fed with a pulsed voltage not far off rail voltage.

This board, I think, will just squeeze vertically at the non-drive end of the longer power units provided there are decent under-belly equipment cubicles created. Once I get round to fitting this board and trying it out, I'll post more details on what I mean....

At Doncaster, I introduced myself to the owner of Digitrains, ,the unnamed distributor I mentioned in my last post and asked for an idea of when he would be ordering decoders for me .....and his reply was a little disappointing..."When I check my stock levels and need to place an order with them, I'll include the decoders you have asked for in the order." I wonder if this is T Gauge getting it's usual "not a serious gauge" treatment?? :roll: :roll:

Trying to be a little more positive, Alan had the DCC demonstration set-up that was brought over from Japan. Boy is the DCX65 decoder small when you see it on its own!!!! Unfortunately, I think the demo set-up and all it's bits has to go back to Japan.
Doug Kightley
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Re: DCC Developments & Experimentation

Postby dkightley » Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:58 pm

Hot off the press...

TGauge.com have the DCX65 decoders in stock......and I have just placed an order for some! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

I now have....or will have very soon......everything I need to get DCC up and running on my new layout.

And, I'll be able to get this development back on track.
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