DCC Consist programming

DCC programming for an F7ABBA and an F3ABA
I am most interested in how one programs a consist using the ABBA and ABA configurations. Regrettably, I don't yet have the DCC equipment
which makes this discussion one directional. I own an Athearn Genesis F7AB. I will be adding another Athearn Genesis F7AB to create the desired F7ABBA. I also own two different Athearn Genesis F3ABA combinations.
The B-unit in two cases is numbered: albeit tiny numbers. One B-unit not numbered. The A-units have offset number plates on the nose. All of these engines are boxed away due to house renovations.
If someone could please explain the DCC programming process for the ABA and the ABBA, that would be most appreciated. I am confused particularly with the B-units given their centered position in the consist with no apparent direction. How are they programmed?
If it is easier, we could assume logical numbering: i.e ABBA = 1234 and ABA = 123.
Many Thanks!!! Matt
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mc snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

If you're going with NCE, it's quite simple, and explained in detail in their User Manual. Go the their web site (Watch the line wrap) http://www.ncedcc.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=3&category_id=1&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1
home page:
http://www.ncedcc.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=frontpage&Itemid (
and download the manual for the Power Cab. Consist programming starts on about page 25 IIRC. B units normal direction would be F (forward).
Works great!
Matt (also)
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At Sun, 22 Nov 2009 12:50:25 -0800 (PST) mc snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

"no apparent direction" is actually wrong. Look *closely* at the B units. There is a front end as distint from the back end. Really. If nothing else note the roof fan configuration. The roof fan configuration of F 'B' units is not front-to-back symetrical -- the engine cooling fans are different from the dynamic brake cooling fans and there are also engine exhaust stacks there as well, along with various roof hatches, etc. The arrangment of all of the roof detail is much the same as for a A units -- this will give you a front and back orientation. (Also the port hole windows and side doors are also not front-to-back symetrical either and follow the same pattern as the A units.)
In the case of pure DC systems, the orientation of the engine does not effect the direction of travel. I imagine the same is actually true for DCC locos as well. The DCC just feeds a more positive voltage to one side on the loco and the loco moves in a certain direction. Eg if the south is more positive the loco moves east and if a more positive voltage is applied to the north side the local moves west. (I picked arbitary directions here for illustration purposes.) Basically, the 'shell' orientations have no meaning when programming a consist. There is no reason not to connect two A units, nose to nose. Actually, since 'B' units are no longer made or used on modern RRs, it is not uncommon for locos to wind up coupled nose to nose. It matters not with a prototypical MU lashup and matters not on a model MU lashup either.

Sure. The DCC addresses do NOT have to match the painted numbers on the shells.

--
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Deepwoods Software -- Download the Model Railroad System
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Donng multiple units that always run together isn't hard, just do them with identical ID number and they will always run together in a consist. You do need to make sure you don't turn one around but the railroads didn't hook up the units at random back then eeither. Aften an A/B pair of eengines had a perment drawbar rather than couplers between the units.
-- Bob May
rmay at nethere.com http: slash /nav.to slash bobmay http: slash /bobmay dot astronomy.net
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Thanks Everyone!!!
As always, the replies and sharing of interest, assistance, and advice is immeasurably helpful. I do, in fact, plan to go with NCE so the download of their user's manual will be a great read for me.
Being delayed a few years in the development of my hobby, due to finances, has allowed me to return in the prime of DCC. The silver lining has certainly been revealed. I so look forward to these eventual purchases.
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mc snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com writes:

I don't know anything about the NCE system, but on digitrax you would attach all consisted engines to the front one, one at a time, after signing in the two engines on your handheld and syncronizing their direction of movement. I don't think I've ever consisted more than two engines together, but I assume you can.
Personally, unless you plan on also running these engines individually, I wouldn't make a 4-engine consist at all - just give them all the same DCC address and they'll move together [1]. The only caveat to that is if the decoders are different (say, you have a sound decoder in the lead engine), you can run into issues if you do "ops mode" programming - you'll need to make sure only a single engine with that address is on the track when you do any form of programming.
This can get especially maddening when you have a seperate sound or lighting decoder in the same case as an engine decoder - programming will often totally freak out when you do this because of how DCC feedback works. If at all possible, strategically place your decoders in different cars or buy an integrated decoder instead. *
[1] for varying values of "move together". For matched sets from the same manufacturer, things MAY run fine. Worst case you may need to play with voltages or speed tables to get engines to not play tug of war with each other. Kind of a black art, but it's easier than trying to do the same thing in the DC world. "Back EMF" settings may help a bit, but I've had mixed results.
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Great suggestions ... thanks!!!
All of our Genesis engines will need DCC decoders installed. I figured that I would get NCE decoders to mate nicely with the NCE DCC system. That said, I will look into the issues you raised. Those are very helpful "to look for" issues.
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I would not use the same address for multiple units in a consist as it can cause many problem. It only takes a minute to put several units into a consist and you only have to do this once if you always plan to run the units together. The consist is remembered. You do not have do do it each time you turn the system on.
If you use the same address for all units you have the following problems: 1. In the ABBA example you would have to program an A and B unit to run in reverse. because one AB set is facing one direction and the other is facing the other way. 2. If you want to tweak the CV's of just one of the units, you can't if they all have the same address. 3. You can't control the lights individually in each unit. The lights will go on and off in all units if they have the same address. 4 With the NCE system you can select the unit at either end to make the consist go East or West when forward is selected. If all units have the same address reverse must be selected when running a train forward in the opposite direction.
Stuart Sabatini Palm Coast, FL
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This isn't really a problem. If for some reason you swapped wires around and want the engine to run in "reverse", for just that engine, you can change a CV (I want to say it's a subsetting of CV29, but I don't have my books handy) to make the decoder do the reverse of the commanded direction.

Yep, I said that. That only applies to ops mode programming though - on a seperate programming track you'd be using only one engine at a time on the track anyway.

For a B unit, probably not a factor, and you could set up the lighting plan on the back engine to do what you want to do in sync with the front. For example, to have the headlight go on when you are in reverse.

That's a nice feature. On Digitrax, you can only select the front engine for movement. I think you can still sign in to use functions though.
A good compromise would be to make the AB one address, the BA the other, and consist the two groups. On the other hand, if you plan on occasionally take one of the B units out and run ABA, that unit has to be off the track (or on an unpowered section), or it will happily mimic the movements of the active consist. *
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All you say is true but complicated. It's easier to just set up a consist than have oddball settings in individual Locos. 1. Oddball setting of CV29 2. You have to move to programming track. If your tweaking speed settings it's easier on the main. 3 Again oddball setting of the lighting CV's and you still can't control them individually. 4. True. Most of the advantage here is with NCE system. You can use two AB sets , I did for a while, but this setup is half and half and like you said, at one point I wanted to run ABA. It's easier to just have all different numbers for each unit. This assumes you are using advanced consisting where you can setup the consist once and forget about it. No disadvantage if you always run the units together but no problems if you decide to change the consist.
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