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gavino200

Anyone tried LaisDCC decoders?

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gavino200

I recently learned about this company form @Dani's Tomix Type 500 decoder installation guide. As far as I can tell they seem to Chinese company. Their English language page seems to be abandoned. It looks like they are selling directly from a store on Aliexpress. The prices are very competitive. I'm guessing they are good based on the fact that Dani used them, and he consistently does excellent conversions that he meticulously documents on his blog. 

 

Anyone have any experience with these decoders? Any drawbacks or problems? Currently I'm specifically looking for a decoder to operate cab lights in a Tomix shinkansen. I'll buy as soon as I work out which one would be suitable. But at these prices, I'd consider using these things exclusively it they work well. 

 

I don't use my decoders for anything fancy. Just motor and light control. No transponding and generally no sound.

 

This is their AliExpress page.

 

https://laisdcc.aliexpress.com/store/group/Decoders-and-Spare-Parts/2977030_511588112.html?spm=2114.12010608.0.0.5245498c4AfFNR

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Kiha66

I remember reading some reviews a while back.  Allegedly they are reverse engineered copies of TCS decoders at a much lower price.  The downside is no support if one goes bad on you, but for $10 a pop I suppose that's forgivable.  I've been meaning to order a few and try them out, could be great for non sounds installs.  

I have a friends HO 0-6-0 that really needs a keep alive to run properly.  I may order one of their deocder and keep alives and see how it works.  If I do I'll report back how they are.

Edited by Kiha66

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gavino200
10 minutes ago, Kiha66 said:

I remember reading some reviews a while back.  Allegedly they are reverse engineered copies of TCS decoders at a much lower price.  The downside is no support if one goes bad on you, but for $10 a pop I suppose that's forgivable.  I've been meaning to order a few and try them out, could be great for non sounds installs.  

I have a friends HO 0-6-0 that really needs a keep alive to run properly.  I may order one of their deocder and keep alives and see how it works.  If I do I'll report back how they are.

 

I'm going to order a few as soon as I can make sense of the difference between their products. In general the only statistics I look at for a motor decoder are the size and the price. 

 

But I'm confused by function decoders. I recently installed a function decoder into a train front cab only to find it didn't have directional control capability. I can't work out from the online information if the LaisDCC function decoders have directional control. 

 

But on the other hand all their decoders are essentially the same price. I wonder if I should just forget about 'functional decoders with directional control' and instead just buy motor decoders and place a small resistor across the motor circuit. 

 

I say the "keep alive" but I've no idea what that is. What is it?

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gavino200

This one appears to be a four function decoder with directional control for the white and yellow wires.

 

https://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/Function-Only-Decoder-with-4-Functions-Stay-alive-wires-LaisDcc-brand/2977030_32808695443.html?spm=2114.12010610.8148356.20.164d184cXM5X3j

 

I wonder what I could do with the other two functions. I've often wondered If train cabs should have a dim cockpit light?

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gavino200

I'm guessing the stay alive wires must be for a capacitor??

 

This is one of their "stay alive" kits. I like the idea of a cap circuit. There are a few points on my layout where the lights flicker. On my next layout (this summer) I'm going to solder all the tracks, but in the meantime caps would be nice.

 

Anyone know if a "stay alive" kit contains more than just a capacitor? I already have a bunch of smd capacitors. Can I just solder these to a decoder with stay alive wires or do I need a "stay alive kit"?

 

https://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/Stayin-Alive-Kits-Lite-860007-for-LaisDcc-Standard-Series-decoders-LaisDcc-Brand/2977030_32843777566.html?spm=2114.12010610.8148356.9.164d184cRNCTa5

Edited by gavino200

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Kiha66

They would be for a stay alive circuit, which would include a capacitor among other things.  The idea is to keep the voltage past the rectifier (where it is changed into DC the lights, motor and logic can use) at a steady 12 volts or so.  This requires both a capacitor as well as a resistor and sometimes some other components to keep the voltage level steady.  TBH trying some homemade stay alives have been in my to-do list for a while now.  In theory you can add them to any decoder with a little wire tracing and a steady soldering hand.

 

Heres a page on where to find to attach the keep alive on a decoder not made for one.  I'm still researching, but I'll try to make a topic about it if I find success with the project.
http://www.members.optusnet.com.au/mainnorth/alive.htm 

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gavino200
5 minutes ago, Kiha66 said:

 

Heres a page on where to find to attach the keep alive on a decoder not made for one.  I'm still researching, but I'll try to make a topic about it if I find success with the project.
http://www.members.optusnet.com.au/mainnorth/alive.htm 

 

Thanks! I'm interested in trying these for cab lights. I pretty much never notice any motor fluctuation - I'm guessing momentum takes care of it. But any amount of light flicker really bugs me me. It sort of ruins the illusion.

 

A little more research and I think I'll order a bunch of these decoders to try out. If they work well they may just become my standard.

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Kiha66
1 minute ago, gavino200 said:

I pretty much never notice any motor fluctuation - I'm guessing momentum takes care of it. 

 

Flywheel momentum will cancel out motor fluctuation, but the programmed momentum values only make the controls less responsive, loss of power will stop it just as fast no matter what CV you change.  This drives me nuts at the local club, people keep adding momentum to the cleaning train thinking it will mean they dont have to clean the wheels, not realizing it doesnt help with dirty track at all.  

But for keeping lights from flickering a keep alive will work great, and you dont need a very big one just to stop momentary flickers. 

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gavino200
14 minutes ago, Kiha66 said:

 

 but the programmed momentum values only make the controls less responsive,

 

Ha. I also loath programmed momentum. Lots of decoders seem to come with it pre-programmed. I really need to learn more about programming decoders so I can get rid of it all. Noting more annoying to me than when I spot a collision and take appropriate action only to have the collision occur anyway because of pre-programmed momentum. I didn't know what that was even called until your post. Now I have a name for my pain!!! That's oddly therapeutic somehow. 

 

Besides, using the controls to make my trains slow down and pull into the station realistically is part of the fun! 

Edited by gavino200
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Kiha66

Try setting CV 3 and 4 to 0.  They are the basic acceleration and deceleration momentum CVs.  

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gavino200
chadbag

I just ordered several of their 2 function decoders (non motor) for using with wagon lighting.  We'll see how these turn out.

 

My daughter received her Tomix Kitty 500 yesterday, and I will be converting it this week (without all the wagon lighting) if I can get to it.

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gavino200
3 hours ago, chadbag said:

I just ordered several of their 2 function decoders (non motor) for using with wagon lighting.  We'll see how these turn out.

 

My daughter received her Tomix Kitty 500 yesterday, and I will be converting it this week (without all the wagon lighting) if I can get to it.

 

Its a really nice model. Your daughter will love it. I'm holding off on converting it until I'm ready to install interior lights. I'm planning on using Dani's technique so I've ordered a bunch of LED strips and rectifier chips. I'll convert when the materials arrive. 

 

Good luck with your install!

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chadbag
1 hour ago, gavino200 said:

 

Its a really nice model. Your daughter will love it. I'm holding off on converting it until I'm ready to install interior lights. I'm planning on using Dani's technique so I've ordered a bunch of LED strips and rectifier chips. I'll convert when the materials arrive. 

 

Good luck with your install!

 

 

Thanks.   I happen to have enough Tomix light sets to do one train, so I will use them on this one.  Other Tomix (and other brands) in the future will have more DIY lights.   WHat light strips and rectifiers and other pieces did you order?

 

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gavino200
1 hour ago, chadbag said:

 

 

  WHat light strips and rectifiers and other pieces did you order?

 

 

I bought these LED strips. You can cut them at any length. There's a pair of solder pads after every third LED. Two colors available bright wight and warm white. I got one of each. This is actually my second attempt to buy these. The first time I bought the "waterproof" ones in spite of Dani's specific instructions to get the non-waterproof ones.

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/5M-3528-5050-SMD-300-led-Flexible-strip-light-RGB-warm-white-cool-white-12V-DC/262126110767?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&var=560892853737&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

 

 

These are the rectifier chips. I hope they are the right size. 

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/100pcs-New-MB6S-B6S-0-5A-600V-Rectifier-Bridge-Rectifier-SMD/152781676348?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

 

Dani's istructions are partly in this blog post, and partly clarified in the JNS thread below,

 

http://www.clubncaldes.com/2017/03/tomix-shinkansen-500-eva-digitalization.html

 

 

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nah00
On 1/24/2019 at 12:56 AM, gavino200 said:

 

Ha. I also loath programmed momentum. Lots of decoders seem to come with it pre-programmed. I really need to learn more about programming decoders so I can get rid of it all. Noting more annoying to me than when I spot a collision and take appropriate action only to have the collision occur anyway because of pre-programmed momentum. I didn't know what that was even called until your post. Now I have a name for my pain!!! That's oddly therapeutic somehow. 

 

Besides, using the controls to make my trains slow down and pull into the station realistically is part of the fun! 

 

The only time I like it is at start up if you have sound equipped loco that will go through all the start up noises. Problem is at shows you can't even hear locomotive noise since the annoying O gauge club has their stuff cranked up to 11. One of our members has the rolling Thunder sound unit that works for BLI Paragon 3s, we're going to bring it to a show sometime and blow them away.

 

Programming isn't too bad, I have to speed-match some of my locos and up the speed on some. Only thing that's annoying is when you do a speed table for one locomotive even if you have the same loco from the same manufacturer you have to tweak it to match the other. 3 step tables make it easier but 28 step ones make the loco run better. 

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cteno4

doesn’t your dcc system have an e stop button? My nce has one where one press on the red button stops the current train and three presses shuts everything down. My experience with dcc systems is limited to my nce and playing on others layouts. 

 

Other idea is a power cutoff switch to the tracks for emergency stop. 

 

Jeff

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chadbag

The Z21 Throttles I am running with the DR5000 have a "STOP" button which stops everything and kills power to the track.  It puts it in standby.   (Technically it puts it into the same state a short in the system does).  I think the soft throttles I have been using will do this as well.

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gavino200
4 hours ago, cteno4 said:

doesn’t your dcc system have an e stop button? My nce has one where one press on the red button stops the current train and three presses shuts everything down. My experience with dcc systems is limited to my nce and playing on others layouts. 

 

Other idea is a power cutoff switch to the tracks for emergency stop. 

 

Jeff

 

Yes, it does. Pressing the emergency stop caused it to stop suddenly, which is super non-prototypical, not that that matters. The issue is more for when something looks like a doable manual stop, and you choose to use the knob instead of the button to slow down, only to find that the thing just keeps trundling on. Or if I'm not expecting the decoder to have this function and find out about it my having the thing slam into something. Or I forget that I haven't reprogrammed a loco and am reminded by a similar slam.

 

I do get the purpose of the programmed momentum. It's for people who want to pretend they're driving a train that takes time to stop due to actual momentum. I don't feel any need to incorporate this into my play. I'd consider the "momentum play" a somewhat odd and at least specialized form of train play. So I'd prefer the decoder makers didn't set this function as the default. 

 

I'm in no way saying that programmed momentum is bad. Just that it isn't my cup of cocoa.

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gavino200
3 hours ago, chadbag said:

The Z21 Throttles I am running with the DR5000 have a "STOP" button which stops everything and kills power to the track.  It puts it in standby.   (Technically it puts it into the same state a short in the system does).  I think the soft throttles I have been using will do this as well.

 

Yeah, I think they all have the "emergency stop" function. I guess that's for when the super realistic momentum play becomes just a little too realistic. Sort of cheating maybe. But I shouldn't comment because the whole momentum game is just not really my thing.

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gavino200
4 hours ago, nah00 said:

 

The only time I like it is at start up if you have sound equipped loco that will go through all the start up noises. Problem is at shows you can't even hear locomotive noise since the annoying O gauge club has their stuff cranked up to 11. One of our members has the rolling Thunder sound unit that works for BLI Paragon 3s, we're going to bring it to a show sometime and blow them away.

 

Programming isn't too bad, I have to speed-match some of my locos and up the speed on some. Only thing that's annoying is when you do a speed table for one locomotive even if you have the same loco from the same manufacturer you have to tweak it to match the other. 3 step tables make it easier but 28 step ones make the loco run better. 

 

That's interesting. I could see how the momentum function could be fun when you want to really get the most out of your sound effects. But for me I'd have to have a way to toggle in and out of momentum mode with a function key, or else it would be too annoying. But that's just me. Each to their own. 🙂

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chadbag

The "momentum" is there to simulate how a real train works.  But it takes away the "fun" factor unless you are into super realistic operations.  My daughter got out her Sumikko Guraschi Yamanote Line E231, on which we had, probably accidentally, programmed some "momentum".  It made for more realistic starts and stops of the train, at the expense of the kid driving it.  She asked me to take it off, which I could thanks to @Kiha66 saying off hand which CVs controlled it.

 

But f you look at it this way, when a train driver moves the speed from 10 to 20, or whatever (some arbitrary scale), the train does not lurch to the new speed.  And on the backside, going from 20 to 0, t he train does not just stop in its tracks.  In both cases, in real life, the train is told at what speed it should go, and it then accelerates or decelerates up or down to that spot.

 

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chadbag

I think the "emergency stop" button is for when things get out of hand 🙂  averts sudden disasters, like a switch that was thrown that you forgot about taking your streaking express all of a sudden off to the side and into a parked commuter train, or maybe off the layout if it cannot negotiate the new track.   Or to remove power from the tracks to avoid problems when things fall on it, etc.

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gavino200
44 minutes ago, chadbag said:

 

But f you look at it this way, when a train driver moves the speed from 10 to 20, or whatever (some arbitrary scale), the train does not lurch to the new speed.  And on the backside, going from 20 to 0, t he train does not just stop in its tracks.  In both cases, in real life, the train is told at what speed it should go, and it then accelerates or decelerates up or down to that spot.

 

 

You can easily simulate the look of a train slowing down gradually by slowly turning the know. Very simple, but still you have control. 

 

I can see that the programmed momentum sort of 'gamifies' the act of driving your trains. You need to know where exactly to throttle down and from what speed, to stop at the right place. I get the appeal of this kind of play. Personally I prefer more imaginative play so this does't appeal to me. 

 

I think the PM mainly appeals to the guys who like to do "operating sessions" where they pretend to be guys working on a railroad parking freight cars etc. That's not for me.

 

The application that I think might be some fun would be to use programmed momentum in conjunction with an "in train video" and a "realistic style" control cab. That way you could experience a Densha de go type train simulation experience on your own layout. That could be fun. 

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katoftw

Kill switch to stop all power to all layout/trains.

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