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CaptOblivious

Railstars: Gauging interest in decoders for EMUs

Were specially designed EMU decoders (see below) to be offered for sale, would you buy?  

24 members have voted

  1. 1. Were specially designed EMU decoders (see below) to be offered for sale, would you buy?

    • No.
      7
    • Yes, but they'd have to be cheaper than what's out there now.
      4
    • Yes, and if it makes my life easier, I'd pay the same or more than what's available.
      10
    • Yes, I'll take 10 sets please.
      3


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Spaceman Spiff

Hey there, just so I completely understand what is going on here,

Cap'n is wanting to sell boards and decoders that we can install (easily) into non motorized end units so we can control the headlights via DCC?

 

Spiff

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CaptOblivious

Hey there, just so I completely understand what is going on here,

Cap'n is wanting to sell boards and decoders that we can install (easily) into non motorized end units so we can control the headlights via DCC?

 

Spiff

 

Not the boards, no, just the decoders.

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Spaceman Spiff

Ok so how would this be different then using using a DN125 or simular for the head unit lights?

 

Spiff

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CaptOblivious

Ok so how would this be different then using using a DN125 or simular for the head unit lights?

 

Spiff

 

Several points of difference: no need to cut up the circuit board to isolate the headlights from the taillights, my decoder is smaller, and you'd have the support of a Japanese rail enthusiast ;)

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Spaceman Spiff

CaptOblivious, so your decoder would just require soldering onto the light board?

 

Spiff

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keitaro

it should work soldering to the prongs as the decoder sounds like it will just reverse polarity somethign many decoders cannot do..

 

i really wish i could help and buy some but transponding is a must.

 

this is one thing stopping me from doing dcc atm as i don't want to pull apart the light boards.

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Spaceman Spiff

Thanks for the info.  What is transponding and back emf?

 

Spiff

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keitaro

in basics transponding is where you create sections on your track isolated from each other with sensors enabled on each section to know where the train is and automate it like slow down stop etc.

 

back emf is where the power to the motor is increased to keep a constant spee on grades etc.

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Martijn Meerts

Transponding just adds a little extra security to an automated layout, but it's definitely not a must. In fact, a lot of the computer control software don't really support transponding yet for automating layouts ..

 

Basically, you tell the software which train is in which block once. After that the software will keep track of where the train is. (easy enough, since the software decides which block a train drives to) What can go wrong here, is when a turnout doesn't switch, and the train ends up in a different block. That would cause the software to loose track. A better (and cheaper) solution would be to make 100% sure (or well, 99.99% at least :)) turnouts are switched by using servo's, and possibly micro-switches.

 

Layouts such as Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg and Rails in Rotterdam don't use transponding, yet they're remarkably reliable, especially considering how many and how often the trains run there. (In Hamburg, a locomotive seldom lasts more than 2 years before it's completely worn out, and gets new wheels/gears/motor/etc. regularly :))

 

 

All that said, I do prefer buying decoders with transponding (or, in my case Railcom as I use mainly Lenz decoders), but that's just in case transponding becomes more than a gimmick :)

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Spaceman Spiff

Thanks for the info.  My fleet is all DCC equipped for the motors. Capt, is it possible to just get decoders for the light boards? If so I'll need quite a few. I need to do inventory but I figure I will need 8 sets for the end units.

 

Spiff

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CaptOblivious

Thanks for the info.  My fleet is all DCC equipped for the motors. Capt, is it possible to just get decoders for the light boards? If so I'll need quite a few. I need to do inventory but I figure I will need 8 sets for the end units.

 

Spiff

 

Cab car decoders only? Not a problem. (sorry to be so terse, busy moving house right now).

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The_Ghan

Thanks for the info.  What is transponding and back emf?

 

Spiff

 

Spiff,

 

BEMF stands for "Back Electro-Motive Force".  Decoders equipped with this feature read the BEMF coming off the motor.  The decoder can tell if the motor is slowing down, or speeding up, despite no change in the amount of power being supplied by the decoder.  The decoder then compensates by providing more, or less, power to the moter as required to maintain a constant speed.  It's a bit like cruise control on a car.

 

Transponding is a proprietary Digitrax standard that enhances occupancy detection (described below).  Decoders equipped with Transponding report their identity to the system.  All Digitrax and Kato decoders are equipped with Transponding.  As keitaro said, by breaking your track into short segments or blocks you can tell what train is where on a layout.

 

There is another proprietary stadard made by Lenz called RailCom.  It does basically the same thing as Transponding.  Several other manufacturers use RailCom under licence.  The two standards are not compatible

 

Neither standard is supported by NMRA.

 

Occupancy detection enables the system to detect a train on specific isolated blocks of track, but you don't know WHICH train it is.

 

On complicated layouts, combining Transponding or RailCom with occupancy detection allows you to reduce the number of sections or blocks that are being monitored, particularly if you're using software like TrainController.

 

Hope that helps.

 

Cheers

 

The_Ghan

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Spaceman Spiff

Thanks for the reply The_Ghan.

 

CaptOblivious, I am assuming that for your decoders to work on the non motorized end units would just require some minor soldering? if so I may need 10 sets.

 

 

I will pm you fleet list and you could let me know if your decoders will work.

 

Hope the move is going well.

 

Spiff.

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Spaceman Spiff

Order placed :-)

 

How many order have you received so far?

 

 

Spiff

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CaptOblivious

Order placed :-)

 

How many order have you received so far?

 

 

Spiff

 

Thanks! That brings the total number of deposits to 28.

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cteno4

Capt,

 

I will be interested in the future as I've put off dcc with a lot of trains I would need to convert. I've figured it would keep improving and get cheaper and this might be more of a retirement thing for me to attack.

 

That being said the idea of having to purchase two additional decoders for head and tail cars is one big thing that slows down thinking on dcc for me.

 

Cheers,

 

Jeff

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Spaceman Spiff

Capt, any updates on how the project is coming along?

 

Spiff

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keitaro

Capt, any updates on how the project is coming along?

 

Spiff

 

might take capt a few days to reply I think he mentioned possibility of evacing due to colorado fires.

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Spaceman Spiff

Ok, I hope all goes well for him.

 

Spiff

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CaptOblivious

There are some minor update. I may have a large order for decoders, albeit a larger 2-function variety. The Italian forum seems to have silently dropped the idea of pre-ordering anything, and so we stand at precisely the same point as before for pre-orders. I am working on the firmware for the larger order, so I'm not dropping the project (for the smaller decoders) yet, but still need to see more interest before I can justify having the smaller decoders manufactured.

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CaptOblivious

Further updates: The Italian forum seems to have gone nowhere. Nevertheless, I am having four prototype boards made up for testing. The firmware is about, let us say, halfway complete.

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The_Ghan

It would be really interesting if you made a board that matched the Kato EM13 and FL12 configurations.  Especially if you could simply pull or cut off the wires and fit it straight into a DCC-FuReNDuRi train.  Of course, the legs of the motor decoder could be designed to snap off for a wired install too ...  :cool:

 

Just looking for a niche ...

 

Cheers

 

The_Ghan

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Dani

It would be really interesting if you made a board that matched the Kato EM13 and FL12 configurations.  Especially if you could simply pull or cut off the wires and fit it straight into a DCC-FuReNDuRi train.  Of course, the legs of the motor decoder could be designed to snap off for a wired install too ...  :cool:

 

I'll second that!!!!

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CaptOblivious

It would be really interesting if you made a board that matched the Kato EM13 and FL12 configurations.  Especially if you could simply pull or cut off the wires and fit it straight into a DCC-FuReNDuRi train.  Of course, the legs of the motor decoder could be designed to snap off for a wired install too ...  :cool:

 

Just looking for a niche ...

 

Cheers

 

The_Ghan

 

Why is that? Are the Kato decoders difficult to source? They are reasonably capable things, and at a very good price I should add—I don't think I could come close to it. I'll play around, and see how hard it would be to get the hardware into an EM13 or FL12 form-factor.

 

Since we're talking about custom form factors, what about a drop-in Tomix cleaning car decoder? I know several already exist, but have to be imported to North America.

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The_Ghan

Why is that? Are the Kato decoders difficult to source? They are reasonably capable things, and at a very good price I should add—I don't think I could come close to it. I'll play around, and see how hard it would be to get the hardware into an EM13 or FL12 form-factor.

 

No, not difficult to source, but here's a couple of reasons (a freeby from the Digitrax fan):

1. Kato decoders have Transponding, what about a RailCom version?

2. Kato FL12 cab car decoders only emulate the DC mode of cab lighting.  They fail the Rule 17 test.

 

Since we're talking about custom form factors, what about a drop-in Tomix cleaning car decoder? I know several already exist, but have to be imported to North America.

 

Good idea.  There's no English language based decoder.  I think the NGDCC version is superior to the Euro product, but neither have Transponding or RailCom.  Neither is marketed in English and very few people knew about the NGDCC product until I posted a link here a few weeks ago.

 

Generally, my point is to create a versatile form factor: either cut off the wires with a Box Cutter or snap off the legs.

 

Then do the same with your Wizz-Bang, Next-Gen, OpenLCB decoder !!!

 

Cheers

 

The_Ghan

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