DCC

DCC

Postby WillYart » Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:15 pm

Hi Fellas,

I appreciate all the help and support I've been getting as I plan this father-son layout.

So I've never seen or touched a TT scale locomotive; DCC is all new to me as well; when I was a kid it was all DC. I imagine I can get into it as a computer guy! So the goals are:

- Sound and power
- Nice smooth starting and stopping
- Nonlinear acceleration/deceleration start and stop
- Interfaces with JMRI; capable of working with JMRI to allow iDevices to control throttle etc.
- Not horribly expensive (I've seen DCC command stations for $1000.00 which is impossible).

To be set up in each of these 2 smallish locos or similar:

Tillig class 202 (4 axle)

Tillig class 236 (3 axle)

Where to start... I've looked through the board here and most people seem to be putting decoders in larger engines. Can I even fit the 2 decoders needed for power and sound in these smaller-sized locomotives? The smaller engines will look better on my somewhat space-limited layout. I've heard good things about Zimo controllers...and read about them here on this board... but they don't currently sell a command station!

Maybe I can get a command station that works with Zimo? I just need to interface with JMRI, I want to use iPhones as throttles, and to control sound.
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Re: DCC

Postby ConducTTor » Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:31 pm

Bill, you don't need a command station with the JMRI. It IS the command station - especially when controlled from a pc which gives you much more functionality than the iPhone apps (I use WiThrottle). The only thing really needed for the JMRI is a power booster if you're planning on running anything more than 2 locos.

One of my German friends swears by Zimo decoders but I've yet to try one since they're not easy to come by on this side of the ocean. I have a couple of Kuehn decoders which are very good, very smooth, but most of my fleet is ESU which are also very good. Also I have a few Lenz decoders which are decent but I'm not super impressed.

As for fitting them in locos, everything modern is made to fit a decoder - just buy the smallest one you can for small locos. Definitely read the loco's manual to see what's recommended. It may be in German but there are plenty of us who can help with that (I've typed manual text in google translate before to get the gist of what it's saying).
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Re: DCC

Postby WillYart » Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:41 am

Ok, Hey, thanks, that is really great news! I was reading the JMRI website and that wasn't obvious yet. Well I guess I'll control it from the computer and my son will control it from the iPhone. I'll impose speed limits. :)

Re. availability of Zimo, I had found this, it is a Zimo pricelist in Canadian dollars: http://www.mrsonline.net/html/zimo_order_pricelist.html.

But nothing is to be taken for granted. I forgot before, but FYI there is an apparent issue with Zimo and iDevices through JMRI, see the JMRI users group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jmriusers/message/78597. Seems I'd have to get involved in the development if I want to use WiThrottle (don't have time for that).

Maybe I'll use ESU for power, if nothing else because you are doing so. I've just read that Zimo can make the locomotive go very slow. Are you happy with ESU decoders in that regard? Found your link to a retailer on another thread.

On decoder size, well good, that takes a constraint off. I just read elsewhere on ttnut that TT locos take up to 0.5 Amps, so I guess there's no need to try to squeeze the biggest possible decoder in there: i-need-some-advice-all-of-it-t1609.html.

Oh here are some cool photos of DCC installation if you've never seen them yet: http://ttrailway.blogspot.com/2009_01_01_archive.html
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Re: DCC

Postby ConducTTor » Fri Aug 17, 2012 4:21 am

billwrw wrote:Re. availability of Zimo, I had found this, it is a Zimo pricelist in Canadian dollars: http://www.mrsonline.net/html/zimo_order_pricelist.html.


Thank you :thumbup:

billwrw wrote:FYI there is an apparent issue with Zimo and iDevices through JMRI, see the JMRI users group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jmriusers/message/78597.


Correct me if I'm wrong - this seems to only be a problem for older Zimo decoders.

billwrw wrote:Maybe I'll use ESU for power, if nothing else because you are doing so. I've just read that Zimo can make the locomotive go very slow. Are you happy with ESU decoders in that regard? Found your link to a retailer on another thread.


Honestly the Kuehn decoders a more buttery smooth at slow speed. Not that the ESUs are bad.....the Kuehns are just a bit better.

BTW, relatively speaking I'm a newb to digital railroading. There are guys around here that have a lot more experience than I do. Maybe they'll chime in?
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Re: DCC

Postby WillYart » Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:50 am

Kuehn? Ok I'll try to read about them. Nonlinear throttle is no longer a requirement for me. Apparently it can be done in JMRI.

Wait, the Zimo issues were with their Command Stations, which are superfluous for my purposes.

I hope so, anyone else with input on DCC in TT scale??
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Re: DCC

Postby dileTTante » Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:06 am

ConducTTor wrote:Bill, you don't need a command station with the JMRI. It IS the command station - especially when controlled from a pc which gives you much more functionality than the iPhone apps (I use WiThrottle). The only thing really needed for the JMRI is a power booster if you're planning on running anything more than 2 locos.
I think this is not correct. JMRI and computer will not drive a layout with just a DCC booster. You need the extra hardware to feed the digital signals to the booster. Since most DCC systems are self contained (no computer required), the signal generating and the power supply are combined into a command station. I could be wrong about this, of course, or maybe I misunderstood the comment.

-Edit- If you have money, take a look at new Roco/Fleischmann Z21 command station.
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Re: DCC

Postby ConducTTor » Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:35 am

You may be correct. I'll do a little more research.
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Re: DCC

Postby WillYart » Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:11 am

Thanks dileTTante. Z21. Wow. (Just looked at it). I might get it. From what I can tell the features, if they all work, seem really compelling. It is a bit expensive. Also I'm concerned that it's from a new manufacturer. But I don't suppose Roco will disappear any time soon.

ConductTTor, you have a Lenz command station right? So I suppose your model supports railcom; I wonder if you have the ability to see actual speed and actual load? (See http://jmri.org/JavaDoc/doc/jmri/RailCom.html)

Seems these 2 things could be extremely useful in fine-tuning grades during layout construction.

- Bill
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Re: DCC

Postby LVG1 » Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:33 am

billwrw wrote:Also I'm concerned that it's from a new manufacturer. But I don't suppose Roco will disappear any time soon.


Roco is by far the largest Austrian modell railroad manufacturer.
But don't forget Fleischmann. It's one of the oldest modell railroad manufacturers in Germany (and in the whole world). And they have been in the DCC business for more than 20 (!!!) years.
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Re: DCC

Postby railtwister » Sat Aug 18, 2012 3:44 pm

If you are looking into running trains without a DCC system using your computer and JMRI software plus perhaps a smart phone or iPod throttle, be sure to check out the latest version of the SPROG (SPROG III), which has a higher output booster (3 amps) built into it's USB interface for just this purpose. Also, if you are considering any foreign DCC system, be sure to determine the level of support you can get in your own country on those products before you buy. If you have to pay for shipping to and from another country just to get service on a defective item, you'll likely pay the same or more than if you just throw the item in the trash and buy new.

In the USA, the SPROG importer offers excellent support, although I've never needed it, while Digitrax offers almost no support for their PR3 interface, other than to replace it with a new unit (which is why I went to the SPROG II that I now use for programming). Anyone looking for a new-in-the-package Digitrax PR3 (no warranties)?

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