DCC Developments & Experimentation

The place for general discussions and requests for help on all matters relating to T gauge.
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dkightley
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Re: DCC Developments & Experimentation

Post by dkightley »

With no English version of the data sheet for the decoder....just the German one..., I've today spent a few hours working my way through the sheet on a free pdf editor, using Google translate to create an English version.

I have to admit that Google translate does a very good job of translating technical terms, etc. I had very few grammar and other changes to make so that the text made sense.

Attached to this post is the datasheet for the DCX65....in English!

EDIT......see the post two below this for an official English version of the document.
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DCX65.pdf
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Doug Kightley
Webmaster here and volunteer at the National Tramway Museum http://www.tramway.co.uk

rail450
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Re: DCC Developments & Experimentation

Post by rail450 »

Hi all,

I just ordered some DCX65 - they are on the way to Germany.

I´ll translate the data sheet into English and will publish my version for revision

BR,

Siegfried

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dkightley
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Re: DCC Developments & Experimentation

Post by dkightley »

Today, I received ......direct from CT Elektronik ..... a copy of the data sheet for the DCX65 in English.

This official English translation is attached..

My thanks go to Cuong Tran for emailing me the document without having to ask.....
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DCX65_English.pdf
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Doug Kightley
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dkightley
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Re: DCC Developments & Experimentation

Post by dkightley »

Aside from all the excitement of my recent decision to upgrade The Bridge to DCC, I have been progressing with my DCC development in general....

As the DCC decoders I'm going to be using are not only a bit pricey but are likely to be a little delicate, I've created a DCC decoder test and setup rig so I can check out and do some set up work on the decoder settings before I tyre-lever them into a chassis. Here's a photo of the rig with a decoder wired up for testing:
IMG_3400_red.JPG
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The green and blue twisted wires are the DCC connection. Off the photo, the wires have a plug on that goes straight into the main DCC box. The wires on the decoder have simply been soldered to pins on the back of a socket that plugs into header pins on the piece of veroboard. There's a greed LED to indicate the DCC is live, a red and green pair of LEDs to indicate forward and backward motor drive, a red and white pair of LEDS to indicate lights, and a yellow LED for an auxiliary output from the decoder. The big white component is a high wattage resistor that is simulating the motor load....and it gets warm!!!

Building this board has allowed me ...in one test....to establish that the DCC is actually working, to check out the first decoder, and to set up and test that I can drive a loco from either my PC (or laptop), my mobile phone, and a tablet!! Pretty cool!!
Doug Kightley
Webmaster here and volunteer at the National Tramway Museum http://www.tramway.co.uk

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dkightley
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Re: DCC Developments & Experimentation

Post by dkightley »

A few weeks on....and decisions and progress made.

Firstly the decision.....as stated on the Bridges at Saltash thread, I've decided to upgrade The Bridge to DCC control and automated operation using the JMRI train control software. To facilitate this, I'm going to be using some of the control boxes I've already built; the main control box, and two of the track detector interface boxes. I'm also going to need a new control box to drive the LEDS for the seven signals...twelve LEDS in total. For this, I'm using a MERG control board designed to drive LEDs on a control panel...which will be built into its own box with a ribbon cable connecting to the existing signal cabling on the layout.

Using the JMRI PanelPro software, I've created a layout panel that will show on the laptop that will sit behind the scenes on the layout. The block signalling has been set up within the PanelPro software to detect block occupancy and operate the advance and home signals...all of which are two aspect. Here's a screenshot of the track layout panel...which still needs some details adding onto it to make it look reasonable:
Capture.JPG
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Using the scrit language in PanelPro, which is a version of Jython, a derivative of Python, which is similar to Java. It's sort of like Basic, C, JavaScript and Java all mixed up together!!, I've started putting together the first of three controls for running a train around the dog-bone style track....either stopping at one or more of the stations, or running through....and obeying the block signalling as it goes. This will allow me to run any permutation of up to three trains at once....and I've worked out that it will automatically hold up trains if I'm in the middle of either putting a new train on, or sorting out a train already on the track! No more messing around resetting the system...hopefully!!!
Doug Kightley
Webmaster here and volunteer at the National Tramway Museum http://www.tramway.co.uk

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dkightley
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Re: DCC Developments & Experimentation

Post by dkightley »

Moved on a little with the software for The Bridge.

Here's what I believe the final layout panel will look like:
JMRIPanelWindow.JPG
JMRIPanelWindow.JPG (56.77 KiB) Viewed 6242 times
The track colour represents whether a section is occupied; blue is vacant and red is occupied. The red or grey "lights" are the track sensors that indicate specific locations.

I've got the train operation script to a point where I'm ready to test it with a DCC controlled train on a track. The script generates a window from which parameters can be set up and the automated control started and stopped:
ScriptWindow.JPG
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The log window shows what's happening....and I think should help show where the train is. The script...and window....can be run multiple times so as to allow up to three trains to be controlled independantly....but interact with each other under the block signalling logic!

I have to admit to being slightly excited about trying this out!!!!!

Electonics-wise....I have today built and connected up a small PCB in the main control box that has one simple task to perform.....to flash a LED on and off every time there is a command signal transmitted on the control bus. This will help check things are working...and help to make setup easier. I'm also building the PCB for the extra control box that will be driving the signals....and one of the next jobs will be to design and print a box to put it in.
Doug Kightley
Webmaster here and volunteer at the National Tramway Museum http://www.tramway.co.uk

davidmatthewson
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Re: DCC Developments & Experimentation

Post by davidmatthewson »

Thanks again Doug... but....you mention 12v to the tracks - I thought the current Blue box T controller gave about 4v DC but 'chopped' - how do off the shelf but with DCC added T locos cope with 12V- or don't they? -

Or am I being a clutz?

David

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dkightley
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Re: DCC Developments & Experimentation

Post by dkightley »

There are a few rules that govern running either/or DC and DCC systems. DC in T means using the existing PWM controllers.

1) On a DCC enable track you can only run DCC converted power units. non DCC converted power units will sit there and "buzz"....and might even overheat!
2) On DC track you can run non-DCC power units...and I have to confirm if you can also run DCC power units in DC mode. You can in larger scales...but I've not tried a DCC converted power unit on DC track!!

That's the rules.....but why?

DC track is powered as indicated above by the standard PWM controllers at around 4.5v DC.

DCC track is powered by (in my case) approx. 14v AC. The track also has high frequency varying pulse signals that the DCC decoders respond to. The DCC decoders have a DC voltage stabilised PWM output (around 6v I think) that power the drive motor, the %age pulse width being determined by the electronics in the decoder based on the transmitted high frequency signal and the internal settings in the individual decoder!

The BIG difference between DC and DCC is the volt drop over the track to wheel interface of say 1-2v has a significant effect on a DC loco, whereas a DCC loco motor has a stabilised supply voltage. And an advantage of DCC over DC....you can define acceleration and deceleration rates - so no more 100G starts and stops. My DMUs go from full power to stationary in around 15 feet of track, in something like 10 seconds....whatever you do with the controller (except press the big red button!)..and a similar distance & time to get up to full speed! Somewhat similar to the "fly-by-wire" effect on an Airbus! You tell the electronics "Full Power!"...and the electronics accelerates the loco at a pre-determined acceleration rate up to full speed!
Doug Kightley
Webmaster here and volunteer at the National Tramway Museum http://www.tramway.co.uk

davidmatthewson
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Re: DCC Developments & Experimentation

Post by davidmatthewson »

Ah... Light bulb moment! Thanks Doug. So effectively each DCC loco acts like the Blue PWC unit but in miniature and and on wheels.

Many thanks... Best explanation I've read so far.

D.

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dkightley
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Re: DCC Developments & Experimentation

Post by dkightley »

I hadn't thought of it that way!!

One half of the controller is a handset, a window on a PC/laptop, a tablet, a smart phone, or a few variables in a program running on a computer.

...and the other half id the small PCB in the loco!

And the two halves are connected by magic!
Doug Kightley
Webmaster here and volunteer at the National Tramway Museum http://www.tramway.co.uk

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