Re: DCC Controller Features

wrote:


Thanks Keith. I have had mixed emotions on controller size and what controls to put where. I decided to go with the larger two-dial-controllers-in-one, because I liked the idea of being able to control two trains simultaneously from a single panel for things like consisting and yard operations. However I did not want to be limited to the two controllers, therefore my inclusion of the CAN bus that could really be used for any kind of peripheral... a wireless receiver, wired controllers like you are talking about, etc. I like the idea of having the master controller, input dials and booster all in one package for those folks with small layouts and limited needs, but yet providing a mechanism for future flexibility. After completing and testing, I plan to make my design and software free to all who are tinkerers and would like to have some flexible and powerful DCC control functionality without the exorbitant cost I have seen for similar setups.
One particular question I have wrestled with... Do any\most controllers give you the option to set a loco to a particular speed and direction and then select a different loco to manually control without affecting the operation of the first? Kind of a loco cruise control? This is the direction I am heading... allowing as many locos as the memory will hold to be directed simultaneously. This will of course requires a well-executed "emergency stop all" mechanism to avoid disasters.
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<<snip>>

The deeper you get into this, the more it sounds like you're just re-inventing Digitrax... ;)
--

Joe Ellis

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wrote:

Agreed Joe. I am not doing anything that has not been already, commercially, but my plans are to provide more than what I have seen so far in the DIY category. Anybody can go out and buy off-the-shelf, but my intention is to meet all the features I want, plus future flexibility, and then provide that information to others like me who take pride in doing something themself and at a cost that is reasonable for the middle class hobbiest with family budget. As for getting in deeper, its already too late, I have made too much progress to stop now and I have a LokSound(DCC mode) equipped Bigboy waiting for me to finish this project. Any suggestions as to feaures, do's or dont's?
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It might be a little late for you to consider this, but here's a good primer on the features and functions of commercial DCC: http://www.dcctrains.com/tonystips/dccprimer/index.htm -- Bill McC.
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seware wrote:

wrote:

How about instead of putting the f1,2... across the handheld, put them down the side. While you are at it, make them able to be switched from the right side of the throttle to the left.
My reason for asking, is that I am a lefty. I also like switching and using sound. I hold the throttle in my left hand and use the left throttle. Having all the frequently used f keys down is easier than using them across.
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Good suggestion. Should I decide to go with the programmable buttons, it should be a fairly easy task to make them totally customizable within the context of the displayed screen. I will keep that in mind.
Steve
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seware wrote:

The more you put in it the bigger it is going to be! The ideal size is one that can be held and operated with one hand.
Turnouts and the like are fixed parts of the railway, so you don't need to operate them from the hand-held. The one exception I make to that (there has to be an exception 8^) is a button for selecting all turnouts and signals on the route occupied to clear the route.

Yes.
That's the other button - big and red!
Regards, Greg.P.
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wrote:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't most of the handhelds, plug into (or wireless into) a master unit that multiplexes the input from the controllers into one data stream that is the output to the booster? The handheld unit itself does not generate the DCC packets? I totally agree that a portable controller should be of handheld size and easy to operate. Hear me out here... I am not aiming at portability right off the bat. (Trying to duck the tomatoes just thrown!!)
My first step is a master control unit that will: 1. Be able to control two locos manually (as well as any others operating on cruise control) {partially done} 2. Perform loco programming 3. Multiplex input from the serial input (from a PC software presumably) 4. Multiplex input from any device on the CAN bus. 5. Generate DCC packets according to standard {partially done} 6. Turnout control {partially done} 7. Maybe route control (turnout macros of some sort) 8. Provide weak (3A) bypassable booster {Circuit done, but not yet tested} 9. Isolated programming track output. 10.Reprogrammable via serial port 11. Provide large feedback (LCD)
It will be item number 4 that will include the handheld device that you speak of. That will come next after the master unit is functional.
Again I thank you for your comments and suggestions. I believe that I will give the portable bus units some further thought, given your suggestions. Any more comments, please shoot!
Steve
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seware wrote:

I'm not agile enough to control two locos at once - I keep finding in tight situations I mix up the knobs. One loco is enough on direct control!

OK - that turns the base unit into a plain box.

Great.
The base unit?

Well, why?

I do that via a PC.

?
ok.
Feedback to what?

Ahhh - ok. I thought you were cramming everything into a cellphone sized hand-held. :-)

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will
suggestions.
There is the complicated way to build a model railway control system then there is the simple DC method. See my web page below for details
--
Terry Flynn

For HO scale track standards go to
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On Mon, 13 Dec 2004 13:07:52 +1100, "Terry Flynn"

All them plugs and sockets? That's easy?
Me, I like to run trains, not direct telephone calls...
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On Mon, 13 Dec 2004 19:49:07 -0500, Cheery Littlebottom

Terry doesn't understand that many people are not the slightest bit interested in wiring a model railway for DC operation when DCC requires just two wires to the track to run several trains at once. Even on a layout that is complicated for DC, using DCC makes it much esaier to wire and troubleshoot. Not to mention that with DCC you have less troubleshooting to do to start with. ---------- Note to Terry: Lots of folk just want to run trains and are not so concerned with prototypical operation in the way we think of it. Managing a DC block control system is utterly daunting for many of them. ----------- If you enjoy working calculus puzzles in the Loo, then you might get on with a DC layout, otherwise DCC is the wave of the future. Ride it.
........F>
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wrote:

I
then
I see you are refering to my current DC cab control system. The plug and socet replaces the need for signal switches. If I had DCC on my layout these plugs and socets are replaced by either switches, track detectors or DCC acessory decoders where the DCC hand controller does the switching. The hand controller method is the least user freindly method for signal operation. Now the block system Iam currently building uses less wires than my old DC cab control, and means my signals will be operated by switches in most cases. There is one place were I will use a safeworking staff to operate the signal instead of a switch.

I like to run trains in a prototypical maner, hence a signaling system consistent with my prototype. DCC does not make the wiring for signals or operating them any easier than DC.

interested in

to the track

DC, using DCC

DCC you have

Try this fact. Most model railways still use DC, therefore most modellers are interested in DC. DC can be easier to fault find and repair because there are less electronic black boxes (eg decoders) that can go wrong. DCC layouts larger than a small oval of track require more than 2 wires to the track. My DC block layout only has 2 wires to the track, per block, just like properly wired DCC layouts. If you compare the wiring diagram for a walk around DCC to my block control system the number of extra wires is minimal . DCC runs a 2 wire power bus, my DC block control uses a 3 wire power bus which also can be used for your stall type point motors and other acessories. DCC uses a 4 or more wire cable for its hand controllers, my DC block system uses a local 4 or more wire cable. My DC block system uses 2 signal wires between each block. If the DCC layout runs a seperate power bus for point motors, there is only one wire difference between systems.

concerned with

control system

Operation can be easier with DC compared to DCC. I don't need to press numerous keys to select a locomotive number before running a train for example. DCC operation is like driving a TV/VCR/DVD remote control. My 'new?' block control system is a simple system, which minimises wiring on large layouts and allows walk around control with the option for layout based push button control. There is more to layout operation then just driving trains.

with a DC

DCC has developed about as far as it can, on the other hand DC control has plenty of scope for development, Sound for DC is one area to watch. The cost advantage of DC means it is here to stay.
--
Terry Flynn


http://angelfire.com/clone/rail/index.html
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On Wed, 15 Dec 2004 13:25:56 +1100, "Terry Flynn"

You're right. Have a lok at Digitrax.com for a signalling system that works equally well witth DC or DCC.
P.S. It doesn't require constant plugging and unplugging as you run your track^h^h^h^h^htrain...
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--

"Cheery Littlebottom" < snipped-for-privacy@this.is.a.fake.address.com> wrote in message
news: snipped-for-privacy@4ax.com...
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Cheery Littlebottom wrote:

In the last few years just about every model railway ng has degenerated in to discussions about how to operate DCC.
Regards, Greg.P.
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A glance at recent threads in this NG does not seem to support that supposition. We have threads on all sorts of topics, not a preponderance of DCC threads. Whatever the "thread count" ... I would not call DCC discussions a "degeneration." DCC is a hot topic for good reason. It's the biggest, most radical, change to model RRing in decades. At least I can't think of anything that has so fundamentally changed the hobby. -- Bill McC.
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Bill McCutcheon wrote:

I did say "... just about every model railway ng has ..."

OK, we'll have to differ on that point :^)

Well yes, but it has nothing to do with railways per se.

Sure, but CVs, functions and the like are not model railways.
Regards, Greg.P.
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Maybe you should have appended smileys to your last two comments. If controlling trains, switches, lights, and sound "has nothing to do with railways" and "are not model railways," then I can't imagine what does/is! -- Bill McC.
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Bill McCutcheon wrote:

What has? Locomotives, rolling stock, tracks, surroundings ... Controlling trains using DCC is specific to DCC and is of no real interest to model railroaders unless they are into DCC. :-)
Regards, Greg.P.
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