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Block detection and automation test/practice layout


gavino200

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gavino200
3 hours ago, chadbag said:

Digikeijs is coming out with the DK50018 switch decoder

 

https://www.digikeijs.com/en/dk50018-switch-decoder.html

 

I don't know how different it is other than having a wireless app for configuration.

 

 

I also don't see any big difference. Not sure wifi is much help. The input wires are simple. It's the output wires that become a mess. 

 

However.....being an update, it's possible they may have fixed the programming track recognition problem with the 4018.

 

Also, it has a groovy blue LED.

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gavino200
1 minute ago, chadbag said:

 

 

I feed my DR4018 using the Railsync wires from a Loconet output from the command center (or a booster in my case)  (the outermost wires in the loconet cable).

 

 

 

I've been planning on asking you in more detail about this trick of yours. I picked up a LocoNet hub in anticipation of trying it. But I wanted to read up on how LocoNet works internally before discussing it. I know LocoNet has two way communication capability. And that it has it's own "protocol". But I don't know what information is carried over these two "Railsync" wires that you used. Is it simply DCC information? Or a different kind of communication. Put otherwise, is LocoNet transmitting the same "language" over the Railsync wires, as the "language" used in the track wires from a DCC command station?

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10 minutes ago, gavino200 said:

 

Track power? Or signal from the track output? The DR4018 receives signal from the track output wires of the command center. It can also be wired be powered by those wires too but it's recommended that it should be powered independently. 

 

Can you explain more about why the DS64 (whatever that is) loses it's configuration by being "Powered" by the track?

The DS64 can be power 3 different ways. The rear has a DC jack for the PS14, the front board has a Track TRKA/TRKB connection and an Aux Power connection.

When you use the TRKA/B which supplies the power and signaling for the DS64 it will lose or change its configuration from time to time.

 

In these cases track power powers the decoder segment and the external DC power supplies the power to operate the switches or other DC devices.

 

It appears the introduction of a alternative programming method may be addressing the very issue.

 

Inobu

 

 

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gavino200
30 minutes ago, chadbag said:

I would expect everything on the railsync wires to be on the track itself and vice versa -- from the command center output point of view.. 

 

I would too, in this case. As far as I know, in a true LocoNet system, the Layout control signals are sent by Loconet and are included in the regular DCC track output. Is my understanding correct, to your knowledge. That and two-way communication are the advantages. 

 

Given that the DR5000 "expects" to me sending signals to the DR4018 by track wire, and given that it is not receiving signal back from the DR4018, I'd assume it continues to send the signal via the track wire. 

 

I wonder if Digikeijs will release a true LocoNet version of the DR4018. I expect they will. 

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gavino200
2 minutes ago, inobu said:

The DS64 can be power 3 different ways. The rear has a DC jack for the PS14, the front board has a Track TRKA/TRKB connection and an Aux Power connection.

When you use the TRKA/B which supplies the power and signaling for the DS64 it will lose or change its configuration from time to time.

 

In these cases track power powers the decoder segment and the external DC power supplies the power to operate the switches or other DC devices.

 

It appears the introduction of a alternative programming method may be addressing the very issue.

 

Inobu

 

 

 

Thanks. The DR4018 can be set up so that the track power powers the decoder and the switches.....but it's not recommended. 

 

It's recommended that the Decoder/4018 be powered by a 12V power supply. In that case the decoder AND the switches are powered by the 12V power supply. It's only getting signal from the track wire.

 

That's how both I and Chad have ours connected (correct me if I'm wrong, Chad). The only difference is that mine receives signal from the track wires, while Chad's receives signal from two LocoNet Railsync wires. 

 

I'll do the same trick if I can see any advantage to it. Currently I don't know enough to evaluate that. 

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33 minutes ago, gavino200 said:

 

I would too, in this case. As far as I know, in a true LocoNet system, the Layout control signals are sent by Loconet and are included in the regular DCC track output. Is my understanding correct, to your knowledge. That and two-way communication are the advantages. 

 

Given that the DR5000 "expects" to me sending signals to the DR4018 by track wire, and given that it is not receiving signal back from the DR4018, I'd assume it continues to send the signal via the track wire. 

 

I wonder if Digikeijs will release a true LocoNet version of the DR4018. I expect they will. 

 

 

This explains the Loconet cabling.   https://www.digitrax.com/static/apps/cms/media/documents/documentation/LocoNet Overview App Note.pdf

 

The railsync are a lower powered *copy* of the DCC track output, which to me means it re-outputs the same DCC commands on the railsync (and not physically using the same output signal) which should limit interference from the track.  The purpose is to send the DCC signaling to boosters and other devices that need it so they can output it.

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46 minutes ago, gavino200 said:

 

Thanks. The DR4018 can be set up so that the track power powers the decoder and the switches.....but it's not recommended. 

 

It's recommended that the Decoder/4018 be powered by a 12V power supply. In that case the decoder AND the switches are powered by the 12V power supply. It's only getting signal from the track wire.

 

That's how both I and Chad have ours connected (correct me if I'm wrong, Chad). The only difference is that mine receives signal from the track wires, while Chad's receives signal from two LocoNet Railsync wires. 

 

I'll do the same trick if I can see any advantage to it. Currently I don't know enough to evaluate that. 

In DCC track power serves two purposes. It multiplexes a data signal onto a power line. The decoders de-multiplexes the signal and converts the power to DC power.

The decoder can use this DC power to operate lights and motors. The external DC power alleviates power constrants on the decoder.  

 

 

The DR4018 has 2 sides. The Decoder side and the Relay side. The Relay side is the 1-C-2. The external DC power is to support that side of the DR4018.

 

Now it you have the DR4018 signal connected to the DR5000 center connector labeled Track Main then you have full track power (DCC Signal at 3amps).

 

That is totally different from what Chad has.

 

Inobu

 

Edited by gavino200
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6 minutes ago, chadbag said:

 

 

This explains the Loconet cabling.   https://www.digitrax.com/static/apps/cms/media/documents/documentation/LocoNet Overview App Note.pdf

 

The railsync are a lower powered *copy* of the DCC track output, which to me means it re-outputs the same DCC commands on the railsync (and not physically using the same output signal) which should limit interference from the track.  The purpose is to send the DCC signaling to boosters and other devices that need it so they can output it.

One can see how the full track power can potentially effect and trigger a POM sequence. 

 

So Chad,

 

You pulled the Blue and white leads from the Loconet cable and connected it into the DR4018 signal terminals?

 

Inobu

 

 

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5 minutes ago, inobu said:

One can see how the full track power can potentially effect and trigger a POM sequence. 

 

So Chad,

 

You pulled the Blue and white leads from the Loconet cable and connected it into the DR4018 signal terminals?

 

Inobu

 

 

 

 

Yes.

 

I did not figure this out myself but read it on a blog or in a document or something somewhere.  But that is exactly what I did.   It work great in all the testing I did (until it got bumped and fell and the wire broke).

 

I only set it up in test mode so did not make a great job of the wiring (seen below).  I think I would make something with a jack on it to plug into the DR4018 and then just plug a Loconet cable into the jack for real layout use.   My test one had a wire break when I bumped the table and it tilted over and stuff fell off a while back.

 

IMG_4236.thumb.jpeg.de563dc16f176484ddfbfe3cc1b2f682.jpeg

 

 

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gavino200
12 minutes ago, inobu said:

Now it you have the DR4018 signal connected to the DR5000 center connector labeled Track Main then you have full track power (DCC Signal at 3amps).

 

That is totally different from what Chad has.

 

 

 

 

In this case the signal input is the track output of the 5000. It's 3 amp. But unless you make a jump connection to the power input terminals of the 4018 then this 3 amp track input is not "powering" the device. At all. I'd assume that the 3Amp signal gets stepped down before the signal is analyzed by the decoder. 

 

I don't mean to be pedantic, but if you talk about "powering" a unit, I assume you mean exactly that. It seems that you just mean that the signal connection carries 3amps of current. 

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gavino200
20 minutes ago, inobu said:

One can see how the full track power can potentially effect and trigger a POM sequence. 

 

 

That's kind of speculative. Have you read any account of this happening with a Digikeijs DR54018? It would be interesting to ask the question to Digikeijs or the dealer. It seems likely that they would have at least thought of this. 

 

If there is a step down inside the unit then this is a non-issue in need of no solution, regardless of how clever that might be. 

Edited by gavino200
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gavino200
7 minutes ago, chadbag said:

 

 

Yes.

 

I did not figure this out myself but read it on a blog or in a document or something somewhere.  But that is exactly what I did.   It work great in all the testing I did (until it got bumped and fell and the wire broke).

 

I only set it up in test mode so did not make a great job of the wiring (seen below).  I think I would make something with a jack on it to plug into the DR4018 and then just plug a Loconet cable into the jack for real layout use.   My test one had a wire break when I bumped the table and it tilted over and stuff fell off a while back.

 

IMG_4236.thumb.jpeg.de563dc16f176484ddfbfe3cc1b2f682.jpeg

 

 

 

It's a nice trick and looks easy. I may do it just for fun if nothing else.

 

I'm curious, did the person who you learned it from give the reason they were doing it? Did they have problems with the recommended setup? Did they hear of someone else having problems? 

 

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2 minutes ago, gavino200 said:

 

That's kind of speculative. Have you read any account of this happening with a Digikeijs DR54018? It would be interesting to ask the question to Digikeijs or the dealer. It seems likely that they would have at least thought of this. 

 

If the is a step down inside the unit then this is a non issue in need of no solution, regardless of how clever that might be. 

 

The speculation is from knowing how DCC works. High level Power spikes can effect decoders and cause them to lose their CV settings. This occurs on derailment which is

a form of power spike. Just know the basics one can conclude the cause and effect. It you have your DR4018 connected to the track main then you have 3 amps there.

Google current in rush.

 

The very fact that Chad found the method seems to support the idea. I think it would be good that you continue with your method and Chad with his and see who

ends up with a problem. Based on the fact that Chad found someone doing it supports the argument. Then the fact that the new product is designed with a new

programming point would support it.

 

Inobu

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10 minutes ago, gavino200 said:

 

It's a nice trick and looks easy. I may do it just for fun if nothing else.

 

I'm curious, did the person who you learned it from give the reason they were doing it? Did they have problems with the recommended setup? Did they hear of someone else having problems? 

 

 

I don't remember where I got the idea from.   But why pump actual track signal into when you can put a lower power, hopefully cleaner version in.   This is what Loconet is for -- I know this is not a Loconet device, but the idea for propagating Railsync so you can use boosters or other devices that use or amplify the signal is one of those easy use cases for this.

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I just purchased these on Amazon

 

https://smile.amazon.com/Plastic-Degree-Network-Modular-Connector/dp/B00E1L8H6S/ref=sr_1_13?dchild=1&keywords=RJ12+jack&qid=1612211945&sr=8-13

 

I'll cut off the pins from the back not being used (ie, everything but 1 and 6) and maybe solder some stiff on material to it so that I can attach it to the signal inputs and then just use a regular Loconet cable and not my lobotomized one.

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gavino200
9 minutes ago, chadbag said:

 

I don't remember where I got the idea from.   But why pump actual track signal into when you can put a lower power, hopefully cleaner version in.   This is what Loconet is for -- I know this is not a Loconet device, but the idea for propagating Railsync so you can

 

I bet there's a step-down in the unit so it'll make no difference. But I'm going to do it anyway. 😜 I have tons of extra LocoNet cable and I have the LocoNet hub now. 

 

9 minutes ago, chadbag said:

 

use boosters or other devices that use or amplify the signal is one of those easy use cases for this.

 

IIRC you have a booster, no? How do you know if you need a booster? Trains start running slower? Is there a way to estimate the power needs for a layout?

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gavino200
15 minutes ago, inobu said:

 

The speculation is from knowing how DCC works. High level Power spikes can effect decoders and cause them to lose their CV settings. This occurs on derailment which is

a form of power spike. Just know the basics one can conclude the cause and effect. It you have your DR4018 connected to the track main then you have 3 amps there.

Google current in rush.

 

The very fact that Chad found the method seems to support the idea. I think it would be good that you continue with your method and Chad with his and see who

ends up with a problem. Based on the fact that Chad found someone doing it supports the argument. Then the fact that the new product is designed with a new

programming point would support it.

 

Inobu

 

Not really, inobu. It's still speculation. People do lots of things that are unnecessary. An account of an actual problem would be more interesting.  But your theoretical speculation is always entertaining. 

Edited by gavino200
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gavino200
5 minutes ago, chadbag said:

I just purchased these on Amazon

 

https://smile.amazon.com/Plastic-Degree-Network-Modular-Connector/dp/B00E1L8H6S/ref=sr_1_13?dchild=1&keywords=RJ12+jack&qid=1612211945&sr=8-13

 

I'll cut off the pins from the back not being used (ie, everything but 1 and 6) and maybe solder some stiff on material to it so that I can attach it to the signal inputs and then just use a regular Loconet cable and not my lobotomized one.

 

It would look pretty slick. And I'd bet it works. 🙂

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3 minutes ago, gavino200 said:

 

IIRC you have a booster, no? How do you know if you need a booster? Trains start running slower? Is there a way to estimate the power needs for a layout?

 

I got the Booster so I could test and learn how boosters work.  Not that I needed it at the moment.  I divided my test layout into two and run half from the command center and half from the booster.  I also have two DR5088RC so that one is used with each -- one on the CC and one on the booster.  It was a learning experience.

 

I've also read about people using the DR5000 only as a command center and driving the actual layouts from Boosters only.  Ie, the DR5000 feeds the DCC signal to each Booster (over Loconet or however they are hooked up) and does not drive anything itself.   The people doing this were running Garden layouts and needed more than 3A but it seemed like an interesting idea.

 

I am all for dividing up responsibilities amongst the different pieces.   Once I get started on the big layout, at some point in the future (house mortgage gods willing) I'll start in earnest to apply what I've learned...

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Just now, gavino200 said:

 

Not really, inobu. It's still speculation. People do lot's of things that are unnecessary. But your theoretical speculation is always entertaining. 

I know, everyone says that.......

 

Oh, he's another speculation....Remember your programming issue and you went upstarts and came back and the problem cleared? It cleared because the 

DR4018 is a decoder with a keep alive. Changes will not take place until the decoder restarts. So one with entertaining  speculation could speculate that your trip upstairs was enough time

for the DR4018 to deplete its power and restart with the new settings.  

 

Inobu

  • Haha 2
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gavino200
1 minute ago, inobu said:

I know, everyone says that.......

 

Oh, he's another speculation....Remember your programming issue and you went upstarts and came back and the problem cleared? It cleared because the 

DR4018 is a decoder with a keep alive. Changes will not take place until the decoder restarts. So one with entertaining  speculation could speculate that your trip upstairs was enough time

for the DR4018 to deplete its power and restart with the new settings.  

 

Inobu

 

LOL, really. Theorizing is important. And I love a good abstract discussion. 

 

That's a good thought. But I had already left it overnight. The more trouble I had, the more I moved toward using the program track method with the resistor. I wasn't able to get a good read, which is a common problem. The other attempts were mostly with the unit actually powered with the track output through jump wires. That's what the manual recommends. 

 

I think the key was to go to using the 12V power supply and do everything else in the reset protocol, programming on main with address 9999. 

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2 minutes ago, gavino200 said:

 

LOL, really. Theorizing is important. And I love a good abstract discussion. 

 

That's a good thought. But I had already left it overnight. The more trouble I had, the more I moved toward using the program track method with the resistor. I wasn't able to get a good read, which is a common problem. The other attempts were mostly with the unit actually powered with the track output through jump wires. That's what the manual recommends. 

 

I think the key was to go to using the 12V power supply and do everything else in the reset protocol, programming on main with address 9999. 

Yes Theorizing is part of the process it helps you to understand issues and potential problems.

 

The mere fact that address 9999 is used indicate the DR4018 is a locomotive type decoder. Which causes you to look at it like a loco decoder. This means that it will have

loco decoder type issues.

 

So don't blow my cover as I have a lot of people thinking my speculation is experience and knowledge.

 

LOL

 

Inobu

 

 

  • Haha 2
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1 hour ago, chadbag said:

I just purchased these on Amazon

 

https://smile.amazon.com/Plastic-Degree-Network-Modular-Connector/dp/B00E1L8H6S/ref=sr_1_13?dchild=1&keywords=RJ12+jack&qid=1612211945&sr=8-13

 

I'll cut off the pins from the back not being used (ie, everything but 1 and 6) and maybe solder some stiff on material to it so that I can attach it to the signal inputs and then just use a regular Loconet cable and not my lobotomized one.

That's a good idea, Forgot I had some of those......

 

Inobu

 

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Be careful with cutting the pins. I just took a pair of dikes to cut the pins and they shoot out like darts. Luckily I was looking at an angle. It hit

really hard against the wall.

 

Inobu

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10 minutes ago, inobu said:

Be careful with cutting the pins. I just took a pair of dikes to cut the pins and they shoot out like darts. Luckily I was looking at an angle. It hit

really hard against the wall.

 

Inobu

 

Maybe better with dremel cutting wheel or something 🙂   And wear safety glasses.

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