Decoder?

Hi all! I found this group a few weeks ago and have been reading all I can
to try and learn all about a "feature" in model trains called "decoder". I
say "Feature" because I have N Gauge engines that are approximately 30
years old and don't have this. My father got me into model trains when I
was young. I built the track, did the layouts, wiring, and so forth. Over
the years, I lost interest in it, probably because I was growing up and
wanted to chase girls then. (just a theory)
Anyway, I assume that the decoder in the engine will make the headlight
flash, or make smoke pour out of the stack, or probably have mulitple
engines on the same track and control just one at a time.
Please point me to some information describing what the decoder feature
will (or probably) do.
The engines I have now are, like I say, about 30 years old and just go
forward and backwards. That's all.
In case you're wondering what old engines I have...I have the Pennsylvania
383 2-6-4 steam engine with tender and working headlight, and a C&O 7071
Chessie System Diesel. Both are made by Bachmann. I know they're
antiques, so I'll never part with them. (both N Gauge)
I want to build another layout and bring these old engines back to life, as
well as buy new ones to enjoy too. I found TONS of layouts and scenery on
the net, but nothing to describe the decoder function.
Please help me, as I'm a 40 year old man trying to re-live the childhood
memories of model railroading once again!
Thanks ;)
Reply to
Scott
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For starters you might try these sites.
Howard R Garner
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Reply to
Howard Garner
Try this link All the links listed there are to manufacturers or sellers of decoders, the decoder does what you suggest and is part of a DCC system (Digital Command Control). You would have done better searching for DCC but you will find all you need from the above link. Keith
Make friends in the hobby. Visit Garratt photos for the big steam lovers.
Reply to
Keith Norgrove
Scott, welcome to the fold. If you are in or even planning to visit the Kalamazoo, Michigan area let me know and I will invite you to the club that I belong to. If you are not, there are clubs all over the place, just ask around.
The Decoder you are asking about is for Digital Command Control (DCC). The decoder is wired into the locomotive to make it work. You have been given some very good links. There are also Yahoo groups dedicated to some brands of DCC equipment.
If the engines are good running, then it would pay to convert them to DCC. If they are not, then DCC won't help them much. New equipment is comming DCC ready or even equipped and has far better running quality than that of 30 years ago.
Keep asking questions, that is the best way to learn all this 'new fangled' stuff.
Reply to
Frank Rosenbaum
The feature to which you are referring is known as DCC (Digital Command and Control).
Let me recommend a book for you:
Digital Command and Control: the comprehensive guide to DCC By Stan Ames, Rutger Friberg, and Ed Loizeaux.
The information on products is a bit dates, but these guys helped establish the standard on which DCC is based and the background is informative and approachable by those who are not electrical engineers.
But some short answers embedded in your question below:
in article Xns96BDB439123DEonlyformetoknowmyisp@65.24.3.135, Scott at snipped-for-privacy@myisp.com wrote on 8/25/05 3:42 PM:
Same story with me (but with HO); girls, surfboards, and guitars.
A DCC system can make the headlights flash, dim when you are backing up, etc. Sound Decoders can add the dimension of sound to your layout. The main purpose of DCC is to allow control of multiple engines on a single track without electrical "blocks." That said, you'll wind up installing blocks anyway, but for short circuit isolation. There are many on this board who prefer old school DC blocks and operations (I hope this does not generate another DC vs DCC war ;-); others, myself included, really like DCC and would not go back.
Installing decoders in these older engines may be a challenge. I'm not familiar with those particular ones, but DCC required that the motor be isolated from the frame so that all electrical connections to the motor, lights, etc., goes through the DCC decoder. (see page 62 in the Ames book cited above).
But you can run one DC locomotive at a time on most (all?) DCC systems. The motor will buzz when it is standing still, but for most motors, that is not a problem other than the noise (basically, the motor is going forwards/backwards about 400 times a second). DCC stretches the forward or backward pulse to cause the motor to go one way or the other.
There are several manufacturers which now sell locomotives with DCC pre-installed.
40? Your just a kid.
Reply to
Edward A. Oates
Here's a good DCC on-line primer:
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Bill McC.
Reply to
Bill McCutcheon
Thanks people. You've ALL been a big help in steering me in the right direction!
Things sure have changed since I was a junior locomotive engineer. Of course, my girlfriend thinks I'm crazy wanting to build a railway in the basement. (it's a long-time dream for me) I've seen the website over in Germany, I think, that has internet controlled trains. I play with them all the time, and that's what eventually got my interest sparked again with building a railway in the basement.
Once again...many thanks to all you for helping me.
I'll always follow this N/G for more articles. If anyone has anything for me, please post it. I check the post daily since I found it, so I'll be sure to see it.
:)
Reply to
Scott
Hi all! I found this group a few weeks ago and have been reading all I can to try and learn all about a "feature" in model trains called "decoder". *** Anyway, I assume that the decoder in the engine will make the headlight flash, or make smoke pour out of the stack, or probably have mulitple engines on the same track and control just one at a time. Please point me to some information describing what the decoder feature will (or probably) do. *** never part with them. (both N Gauge) I want to build another layout and bring these old engines back to life, as well as buy new ones to enjoy too. I found TONS of layouts and scenery on the net, but nothing to describe the decoder function. Please help me, as I'm a 40 year old man trying to re-live the childhood memories of model railroading once again! ------------------------------------------------------ Two good books...
"DCC Made Easy" explains DCC and lists the various products:
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"Digital Command Control--The Comprenhesive Guide to DCC":
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These books are up to 32% off list price and include free shipping on orders over $25.
Welcome to model railroading. I hope you'll derive as much pleasure from the hobby as I have.
Bill Bill's Railroad Empire N Scale Model Railroad:
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History of N Scale:
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Railroad Bookstore:
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to 1,100 sites:
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Reply to
Bill
These might be helpful...
"DCC Articles":
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ADCC's Home Page:
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Bill Bill's Railroad Empire N Scale Model Railroad:
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History of N Scale:
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Railroad Bookstore:
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to 1,100 sites:
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Reply to
Bill
Scott, if you do decide to convert to DCC, you can run *your* trains over the internet using the JMRI software available here:
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And even if you don't care to do that, the JMRI software can still be amazingly helpful when it comes to DCC. When setting up your locos and other DCC-controlled stuff, JMRI handles much of the mundane, tedious stuff behind the scenes, presenting you with an easy to use computer interface.
It's also quite powerful; some users have rather sophisticated setups. Dispatching, signalling, and automation are well within it's abilities. It supports most if not all of the popular DCC systems (as well as C/MRI), and it will run on Windows, Mac, Linux, and OS/2 machines.
It's best attribute, though, may be that it's open-source and therefore available for free!
Stevert
Reply to
Stevert

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