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gavino200

Cross compatibility of different DCC and block detection systems?

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gavino200

From what I know most of the DCC systems on the market should play well together with the exception of their proprietary decoder based communication systems. However, I'm going to do some research to find out if this is true or if there are known compatibility issues between brands. I don't want to reinvent the wheel and waste time and money.

 

Anyone here mixed components from different manufacturers? Or know first hand of anyone who has? I'm not talking about decoders but rather, control systems of one brand with block detection, communication, interface, or signalling devices of other companies? What has been your experience?

 

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gavino200

This video shows some examples of a Digikeijs system working well with a Digitrax SE8C signal and turnout controller.

 

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gavino200

This video isn't exactly about general DCC system compatibility. But it give a good discussion about one of the bigger schisms in the DCC world - RailCom vs. Transponding. It only really becomes an issue with detection and computer control. This video gives an nice treatment of how this division came about and a good explanation of how they both work. 

 

 

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gavino200

This discussion is somewhat basic. It covers the most basic aspects. Any decoder should work on any system (with the exception of trainsponding and railcom). The Command centers themselves from different manufacturers are not compatible and can't be used together. An exception to this is that many command centers (eg Digitrax) can be converted to boosters. In this case they don't function as command centers but act as a slave unit to boost the amps supplied to as layout. Throttles are usually not compatible. 

 

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/744/t/140244.aspx

 

What I'm really trying to find out, is if there are unforseen problems when using peripheral devices such as for block dectection and signal control from one manufacturer with a command center from a different company.

 

I see that Digikeijs make a big feature of how their block detection units work with other brands. However, they seem to achieve this by making multiple versions of their devices each designed to work with a specific manufacturer or group of manufacturers. 

 

https://www.ironplanethobbies.com/product-category/manufactures/digikeijs/page/2/

 

I wonder if this means that when not specifically designed to be compatible, these units may not play well together. But that's what I'm trying to ascertain. More to follow. 

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chadbag
12 minutes ago, gavino200 said:

I see that Digikeijs make a big feature of how their block detection units work with other brands. However, they seem to achieve this by making multiple versions of their devices each designed to work with a specific manufacturer or group of manufacturers. 

 

https://www.ironplanethobbies.com/product-category/manufactures/digikeijs/page/2/

 

I wonder if this means that when not specifically designed to be compatible, these units may not play well together. But that's what I'm trying to ascertain. More to follow. 

 

It does not mean that they are designed to work with specific manufacturers.  What it means is they are designed to work with specific protocols/transports.  Ie, Loconet, S88, R-BUS and in some cases, varying ways of running the train power, ie, 2 vs 3 rail, or with opto isolators as your track works.

 

I have not personally tried it but the idea is that if your command station supports Loconet, then the appropriate module for your style of wiring (2 wire, 3 wire (which is the H0 Märklin AC stuff), etc) will work.  Because different manufacturers have standardized on different protocols/transports, you need your module to work with the one your CC uses.  Loconet, S88, R-Bus, etc.

 

I currently only have the one command station so this is "academic" for me now.  I plan on getting some more command stations to test my own software against eventually (not anytime soon -- need to get my software to a point where it works with what I have 🙂  ).

 

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inobu

What I'm really trying to find out, is if there are unforseen problems when using peripheral devices such as for block dectection and signal control from one manufacturer with a command center from a different company.

 

 

Yes, anytime you mix manufactures you will find problems. Manufactures are in the business of selling their products. They do not go

in depth to support another manufactures product line.

 

Just get a BXP88 and you will see everything...........Within a hour or so you will see how detection works.

 

With the Zephyr, PR3,BXP88 and JMRI you will have block detection and the ability to do automation.

Once you do that you will have experience to weed out the Internet wheat from the internet chaff.

 

Inobu

 

real quick

 

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gavino200
4 hours ago, inobu said:

What I'm really trying to find out, is if there are unforseen problems when using peripheral devices such as for block dectection and signal control from one manufacturer with a command center from a different company.

 

 

Yes, anytime you mix manufactures you will find problems. Manufactures are in the business of selling their products. They do not go

in depth to support another manufactures product line.

 

Just get a BXP88 and you will see everything...........Within a hour or so you will see how detection works.

 

With the Zephyr, PR3,BXP88 and JMRI you will have block detection and the ability to do automation.

Once you do that you will have experience to weed out the Internet wheat from the internet chaff.

 

Inobu

 

real quick

 

 

I think I get how it works. Doing will be another thing. I think it'll be an interesting process though. I've decided I'm going to drop Digitrax. I've had the system for about four years now, and it's rock solid. I have no criticisms of Digitrax functionality. But personally I've never liked their design, interface or how their manuals are written. It's a personal thing. 

 

I'm wiring up my Azatrax automatic reversing loops. Just a few more things to do before I start trouble shooting it. I made my first attempt to do on of your clean wiring removable panels on PVC. First attempt wasn't bad. It looks about 10% as good as yours, but it's still the best looking wiring I've ever done. Thanks much for the idea! 

Edited by gavino200

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Martijn Meerts

It really depends, if you go for a command station that supports for example the S88 bus for occupancy detection, then any brand that does S88 modules will work with the command station. Same should be the case for LocoNet occupancy detectors. They're both very well defined protocols.

 

Pretty much all command stations will do what you want, so I'd go with one that you think is interesting, is expandable and that has easily available additional components. For example, I really like working with the ECoS due to the large display and the ability to do routing and some simple automation right on the device, as well as the dual speed dials. However, if you're going full computer control and/or want walkaround handheld throttles, much of the ECoS's features will remain unused, in which case it's too expensive for what you'd use it for. Something like a Z21 or that Digikeijs command station would be a better choice in that case.

 

Some systems also have conversion modules, for example, there's a LocoNet converter for the ECoS, which translates LocoNet commands to something ECoS will understand. That way you can hook up any LocoNet device to the ECoS.

 

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gavino200
8 hours ago, Martijn Meerts said:

It really depends, if you go for a command station that supports for example the S88 bus for occupancy detection, then any brand that does S88 modules will work with the command station. Same should be the case for LocoNet occupancy detectors. They're both very well defined protocols.

 

Pretty much all command stations will do what you want, so I'd go with one that you think is interesting, is expandable and that has easily available additional components. For example, I really like working with the ECoS due to the large display and the ability to do routing and some simple automation right on the device, as well as the dual speed dials. However, if you're going full computer control and/or want walkaround handheld throttles, much of the ECoS's features will remain unused, in which case it's too expensive for what you'd use it for. Something like a Z21 or that Digikeijs command station would be a better choice in that case.

 

Some systems also have conversion modules, for example, there's a LocoNet converter for the ECoS, which translates LocoNet commands to something ECoS will understand. That way you can hook up any LocoNet device to the ECoS.

 

 

Thanks Martijn. That's exactly it. Interesting and expandable. I like both ESU and Dijikeijs. A RailCom system makes sense for me, as the majority of the decoders I use are ESU and D&H. I'm leaning heavily toward the Digikeijs command center with a Z21 maus controller. Mainly I'm just waiting to see if there's a Christmas/New Year's sale. 

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Martijn Meerts

If I were to start from scratch now, I might also go for either the Digikeijs system or a Z21. I could still switch actually, and use the ECoS for the H0 project, but that's something to consider at a later time 😄

 

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chadbag
6 hours ago, gavino200 said:

 

Thanks Martijn. That's exactly it. Interesting and expandable. I like both ESU and Dijikeijs. A RailCom system makes sense for me, as the majority of the decoders I use are ESU and D&H. I'm leaning heavily toward the Digikeijs command center with a Z21 maus controller. Mainly I'm just waiting to see if there's a Christmas/New Year's sale. 

 

We should have had this discussion a week earlier as they ran a several day black friday 20% sale...

 

They do sales off and on -- usually about 10%

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gavino200
1 hour ago, chadbag said:

 

We should have had this discussion a week earlier as they ran a several day black friday 20% sale...

 

They do sales off and on -- usually about 10%

 

Yes, it's a pity, but I hadn't made the decision at at time. I'll check the website and maybe call to see if they're having another sale soon. If not I'll just go ahead and buy. 

 

BTW how has the Maus throttle been with kids. My little dude is 12 now so I think he can master anything, but what have you found?

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chadbag

My kids have had no issues with the WLANmaus.  They have not done more than drive -- they have not needed to go into menus or anything.  I have two of the throttles so I can drive and a kid can drive at the same time (or both of them).  With phone based we can get even more going at once...  🙂

 

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