Frank, I replaced the lamp in my E units with a Miniatronics single filament lamp, and used Digitrax decoders to program the Mars effect. Very convincing...I also took a moment to tweak the lamp in front of the lens for maximum illumination.
I suppose you could wire the function to just one of the lamp filaments, if you didn't want to replce it. Or maybe wire them both up as a ditch light effect, and have it on all the time. However, the two-filament lamp is a kludge, IMHO.
There are no melted details, and no danger of any details being melted. The lamp I replaced runs no hotter than the lamp I removed. In fact, it is a bit cooler, since the total filament duty cycle is somewhat lessened.
Why do you think there is such a problem?
What would a 555 and a transistor do that a decoder cannot?
If you will read the OP's message, he specifically stated he was running DCC - implying a decoder, right? The least expensive Digitrax decoder has many built-in lighting effects, including your choice of Mars light or Pyle-National Gyralight, according to your prototype's practices..
Why do you always want to impose an unneccesary layer of complexity onto a simple task?
I was picturing you doing your first ever piece of soldering - you never solder decoders because they come with DCC ready plugs, you never solder 555s, you never solder switches ... it's a fair assumption this was the first time you ever picked up a soldering iron in anger. ;-)
Err, my prototype used to turn on the lights at each corner of the loco before moving it.
LOL - you want everyone to install a complex and user unservicable decoder to turn simple loco lights on!
On Sat, 08 Jan 2005 11:38:40 +1300, Gregory Procter wrote:
Yet another "Monty Python" response. That's not what he said and you know it. You are the one who made the nonsensical suggestion that he add a 555 and a transistor to make the Mars light work when the decoder already has provisions for a far better one than you can ever make from a 555 and a transistor. You're obviously not stupid Greg. Are you on some kind of medication that interferes with your thinking? When you have a decoder, you have merely to connect the blue and white leads to the light globe and you're done. The manual has instructions for making the light work any of several ways to suit your taste. I don't give a rat's ass about learning how to use a 555 and all its associated supporting circuitry to get an inferior result when all I have to do is attach the blue and white wire and go. You continue to publish the falsehood that decoders are not user serviceable. This is a lie because you know better. If you are as adept as you claim to be with electronics you know that you can repair anything on a decoder except the CPU, and that the CPU is the thing that fails the least. Most often it is a function transistor or one of the motor drive FETs. All easy to find and replace. In rarer instances one of the other components such as a diode will fail. Very rare. You're the one who maintains that he has no need for DCC, so why do you perpetuate this thread with provocative and off-base statements and outright falsehoods? Could it be that you are a troll entertaining himself? Your continued insistence on the superiority of DC block control over DCC has done wonders to educate people on the benefits of DCC and has brought out many points that clearly demonstrate that the opposite is true. DC is best for operating slot car fashion and for tiny, one-man, one-train diorama style layouts. That is what you have. DCC is best for the vast majority that does not fit your tiny niche. EMD
Nope, been soldering for over 30 years Even the decoders made for Atlas locomotives with the push on caps get the wires soldered on instead. . But soldering is not my hobby - model railroading is.
We have already established that yours was a highly unique and specialised prototype.
Well, as you are well aware, they are neither user unseviceable (with the exception of the PIC, possibly) nor do they simply "turn the lights on". Neither do I want "everyone" to install such a device. I challenge you to show where I made such a statement. If you will recall, the OP stated his intention to instal a DCC decoder in his locomotive, I msimply shared my experiences with a similar installation.
But you knew that...
As for my prototype, which was not unusual in North America, the forward light package included a headlight, a pair of number board lights, a white Mars light and a red Mars. All of these lights would be illuminated, dimmed or extinguished depending on the position and circumstances of the locomotive.
The deoder that I install to communicate the engine driver's wishes to the motive power unit already contains the electronics necessary to supply all of these lamps and display their respective functions.
In what sense does a decoder powered model Mars light work better than a home made 555 + transistor lashup?
Do you have a particular reason for tossing in personal insults?
Great - I enjoy figuring out how to use a 555. Everyone should try doing it once as the technique could be useful elsewhere - road maintenance lamps, power pylon safety lamps, emergency vehicle lights etc. I suppose you could use another loco decoder function to operate your road maintenance lamps, but you'd really want one per lamp so that they flash individually.
I get a regular stream of modellers at my door carrying locos with malfunctioning decoders or just decoder fitted locos which malfunction. Sure, I can service them, but the owners can't.
If you know all this then you can throw together a 555 and transistor in about the time it takes to type out your order for a new decoder, never mind the time until it finally reaches your letterbox.
I already explained my starting point and also that I am interested in learning from others experience.
I've explained the specific circumstances where this holds true. As most of the world's railways outside the US operate on the block system you haven't changed my opinion, other than for some US railways.
That's great, I'm here to explore and to learn, not to troll.
DC is no good for slot car style operation because one has to be aware of the track one is controlling and the potential conflicts. As has been pointed out numerous times, DCC controlled trains can be driven anywhere, without regard for other traffic.
No, we have established that (some) US operation is different from the other 95% of the world.
Most modellers can't service their own decoders, nor can they service their locos once a decoder is fitted. (in my experience)
Sure, I keep advocating that the electronics firms make such light operating modules for analogue operation as well. As far as I can tell, the difference would be a slightly differently programmed PIC in a DCC type decoder.
Can be, Greg, only CAN be. Are you even remotely capable of understanding that those of us with prototypical operational experience, or those of us who strive to emulate prototype operational practices, DON'T drive our trains in this fashion? That we WOULDN'T drive our trains in this fashion???
I didn't intend to insult you, I merely asked you a pertinent question. Your conclusions are sometimes quite bizarre. That you choose to regard it as an insult is beyond my control.
Great - I enjoy operating with DCC Everyone should try doing it once.
Outside the locomotive is another issue completely. I loathe and despise working with electronic crap. Unfortunately, I am quite good at it as I have been haunted and tortured with having to be adept with electronics all my working life. I dearly wanted to be a recip. aircraft engine mechanic when I went into the Navy, but the Navy wanted me to be an electronics technician. I didn't know a capacitor from an inductor and didn't give a damn about either one. 45 years later I know a great deal about electrical and electronics and I still don't give a damn and I still don't care, and I still avoid all association with the loathsome stuff to the greatest extent possible. I would rather drive needles under my fingernails than wire a model railway for DC block control. I hate it that much. I wired and wired, from the '50s until 1995 when I embraced DCC. Now, I will never wire another Triple-Damned block control model railway again in my life. They purely suck. I don't care if the cost of DCC is ten times the cost of wiring an analog system, I will pay it. I am sick of effing around with electrical crap.
So then, they are not unserviceable, just unserviceable by a few who choose not to learn how. That is very different from unserviceable. That may be a conscious choice. They may not want to know, but would simply rather pay you to do it. I am that way about some things. We all are at some point.
Refer to my comments above. I would rather drive nails through my toes if those were my only two choices.
You demonstrably are not. You are only interested in playing games on the board. So play.
OK, I'll spell it out - you should try (almost*) everything once - who knows, you might enjoy it. Almost* excludes those things which are self-destructive, those which are pointlessly destructive and those where one knows that one is totally incompetent.
??? I have a collection of Faller and Aurora slot cars, mostly the town geared type.
I am asking questions in the hope of learning something and am trying to make a specific point which is apparently being ignored or disregarded. This thread has wandered far further than I ever expected.
So how is the ability to do that any great advantage if you don't do it? (hey, we've gone full circle and come back to the beginning on the parallel track ;-) It's a serious question, because I'm fairly sure I can manage almost all the prototype actions you can, without the added costs of DCC.
North America contians a great deal more than 5% of the world's rail mileage. it is also bigger, longer, and heavier, and covers more mileage that 95% of the rest of the world's railway equipment. The entire country of Germany (356,970 sq km ) will fit inside the state of Montana ( 376,988 sq km), which is not even the largest state in the USA. There are three even larger. European railroads are likewise diminutive by comparison. Their operating rules and systems are likewise substandard for North American application. They are better suited to rapid tansit type applications. In fact, European trains more closely resemble North American transit equipment than they do actual interstate trains. Only Australia comes close to North America in size and scope of railway operations. Almost everything else is trolley cars on steroids. Compare a DBB 2-10-0 alongside Pennsylvania RR 2-10-0. The German machine looks like a 2/3 scale model.
I DON'T regard as an advantage, and I've NEVER claimed otherwise. What I've always maintained, and continue to maintain, is that for those who wish to replicate the most common types type of prototypical operation, DCC enables one to do so quite simply, without recourse to the complexities of DC block wiring.
You will noi doubt quibble over that, but as I and others have repeatedly pointed out, the style of operation that you model is atypical of what most posters here are familiar with. I acknowledge that in your particular context, DC is more appropriate. I don't wish to argue that any further.
What you seem incapable, or at best unwilling, to acknowledge is that the typical North American style of operation is most easily emulated using DCC.
And I'm fairly sure that you can't. The railway you model is totally unlike the railway I model, for starters...