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CaptOblivious

DCC Decoders for Cab Cars/End Cars

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quinntopia

Purple and Green wires! Oh No!  :o

 

What about us poor folks using using the Lenz LF101XF?

 

We're really talking about whatever color wires are the function leads for the lights, right? In the case of the Lenz LF101XF, those would be different, right??  :-\

 

lenz2.jpg

 

They seem to answer this in the instructions, but I am assuming by reversing the yellow and white wires on one of the cab car ends I can also avoid the CV29 change?

Lenz1.jpg

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CaptOblivious

Purple and Green wires! Oh No!  :o

 

What about us poor folks using using the Lenz LF101XF?

 

We're really talking about whatever color wires are the function leads for the lights, right? In the case of the Lenz LF101XF, those would be different, right??  :-\

 

They seem to answer this in the instructions, but I am assuming by reversing the yellow and white wires on one of the cab car ends I can also avoid the CV29 change?

 

The TCS function decoders presume (falsely in our case!) that they will be installed with a 2-function motor decoder that provides the yellow and white-colored leads. So, to avoid confusion, the function decoders start with green & purple.

 

The Lenz function decoder makes no such presumption. And so you are correct that you should use the Yellow and White leads for the lights in your cab car. And likewise, yes, reversing the leads on the other end avoids reprogramming for the trailing cab car.

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The_Ghan

Has anyone identified the contacts on the Kato FL12 decoder?  A diagram of some sort would be great.

 

I think I've decided to use that decoder for my cab cars - I'm using transponding and it seems to be the best choice in that regard.

 

Cheers

 

The_Ghan.

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Martijn Meerts

A quick note on the "dimmable lights", quite a few decoders allow you to set the brightness of the lights in a CV. While not as easy as pressing function button to dim the light, you can still dim the lights.

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The_Ghan

Good point Martijn.  There is, apparently, no perfect cab decoder.

 

Cheers

 

The_Ghan

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CaptOblivious

Has anyone identified the contacts on the Kato FL12 decoder?  A diagram of some sort would be great.

 

I think I've decided to use that decoder for my cab cars - I'm using transponding and it seems to be the best choice in that regard.

 

Cheers

 

The_Ghan.

 

There is a site out there with a diagram, but I can't find it at the moment. In the meantime, this site might be helpful. He uses the FL12 wired in for nearly everything it seems. Good photos here:

http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/okiraku_dcc/62731203.html

http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/okiraku_dcc/62928390.html

http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/okiraku_dcc/62313457.html

 

Don

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Martijn Meerts

True, there's also no perfect loco decoder, no perfect turnout decoder, no perfect digital system etc =)

 

With decoders, it really depends on the situation. The cheap ones often lack quite a lot of features, but then again, not everyone wants/needs those features. Often available space is a problem too, in which case you may be forced to go with a small, more expense and less feature rich decoder.

 

I've been quite happy with the Lenz Gold mini, and now with the Lenz Silver+ mini, but they're not the cheapest and not everyone will need to features it has. For me, the size of the Silver+ mini is what makes me buy it. I don't think there's any other decoder with as much functionality in such a small package.

 

I also buy the Uhlenbrock 73900, also for the physical size of the decoder. I can usually fit it where it needs to go. Of course, I need to be careful with connecting it, and sometimes need to do some major modifications to light boards. A bi-polar one would have been a lot easier.

 

Again though, a good soldering station helps a bunch.

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The_Ghan

Has anyone identified the contacts on the Kato FL12 decoder?  A diagram of some sort would be great.

 

I think I've decided to use that decoder for my cab cars - I'm using transponding and it seems to be the best choice in that regard.

 

Cheers

 

The_Ghan.

 

There is a site out there with a diagram, but I can't find it at the moment. In the meantime, this site might be helpful. He uses the FL12 wired in for nearly everything it seems. Good photos here:

http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/okiraku_dcc/62731203.html

http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/okiraku_dcc/62928390.html

http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/okiraku_dcc/62313457.html

 

Don

 

Don,

 

That's a great start. I can almost work it out from a couple of those photos.  I might have to get the breadboard out.  In the meantime, please let me know if you come across the wiring diagram.

 

Unfortunately, that guy doesn't seem to be modifying the LED board and has both head and tail lights illuminated at the same time.  I plan to modify the boards, probably with my stanly knife and engraver.

 

Cheers

 

The_Ghan

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Martijn Meerts

I was working on some function decoder installs recently (Uhlenbrock 73900, 3 in total), and while everything went smooth enough, programming the things just didn't seem to work. Or at least, not entirely. Every time I tried to read a CV, I'd either get an error message (ERROR 02 on the Lenz LZV100/LH100 combo) or nothing at all for about 5 minutes (ESU ECoS 50200). Rarely I got a return value with the ECoS, but it was always a bogus value.

 

Trying to write values to the CV's gave me errors as well, however, the values (or some at least) did get programmed. For example, I was able to change the address, as well as make the lights blink.

 

To make things worse, my Kato 800 series also has the 73900 decoders installed, and the CV's on those can be read without problems.

 

After some searching around, I found out that in order to read CV's, there HAS to be something connected to the A1 output (white wire, usually front head lights). Not only that, but whatever's connected needs to be drawing at least 60mA (this seems to be an NMRA standard.) Obviously, an LED doesn't draw 60mA, and LEDs are just what's installed in the cars.

 

Strangely though, the 800 series cab cars have LEDs as well, and yet those can be read. Those decoders may have an older firmware though...

 

 

Another thing I noticed, the 2 end cars of Kato's Orient Express base car set seem to make this barely audible noise when put on the track. It's almost like they're shorting out ever so slightly. I have no idea what's causing it though, because it's just an LED, a resistor and the function decoder.

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CaptOblivious

I've had a few function decoder installs make those noises you describe, Martijn. Never was able to determine what the cause was, but it doesn't seem to be making a problem.

 

I can read decoders on the programming track pulling less than 60mA just fine, even though it doesn't meet spec; I suspect the Digitrax Zephyr might be more sensitive than is necessary to meet the requirements. That not every CV you attempted to program stuck is not a good sign that it's only an undercurrent issue. Have you tried reseting them? I might wonder if it was a decoder lock issue, that at some point you accidentally programmed a value into CV15 (assuming the Uhlenbrock's support this feature)?

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Martijn Meerts

My Marklin ICE2 (factory fitted with decoder and interior lights) actually makes that noise as well, and it gets really loud when you turn the interior lights on =)

 

I have tried resetting the decoder a couple of times. It's annoying not being able to read CV's, because when you forget what you programmed into 1, you sort of have to reset the whole thing and start again .. I've gotten most things to work though, expect for 1 thing. Since it's not a MU train, rather than have the direction of the train determine which car has tail lights, I want to manually be able to turn them on and off. I thought I could just set it up so that F1 would activate tail lights in the front car, and F2 would activate tail lights in the rear car. That doesn't quite seem to work though. I had no problem programming them to F12 (just to test), so I might just have done something wrong.

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CaptOblivious

My Marklin ICE2 (factory fitted with decoder and interior lights) actually makes that noise as well, and it gets really loud when you turn the interior lights on =)

 

I have tried resetting the decoder a couple of times. It's annoying not being able to read CV's, because when you forget what you programmed into 1, you sort of have to reset the whole thing and start again .. I've gotten most things to work though, expect for 1 thing. Since it's not a MU train, rather than have the direction of the train determine which car has tail lights, I want to manually be able to turn them on and off. I thought I could just set it up so that F1 would activate tail lights in the front car, and F2 would activate tail lights in the rear car. That doesn't quite seem to work though. I had no problem programming them to F12 (just to test), so I might just have done something wrong.

 

That's very odd, and annoying. Such should be straightforward, and I've done it with TCS and Digitrax decoders. I wonder: Would it be worth the effort to temporarily wire in a bulb to one of the functions, to see if the additional current draw would permit CV readback? Might the decoder be defective or damaged?

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Martijn Meerts

I doubt the decoder is defective, otherwise all 4 of them would have to be defective =) Wiring in a lightbulb should do the trick, but not sure I want to do that. Might well be I did something wrong, or maybe the function outputs are reserved for something. If nothing else, I could switch to using outputs 3 and 4, they're by default set up to use F1 and F2.

 

I'll be ordering a couple of the Lokpilot FX micro decoders soon, which have Railcom. I can't say I've been impressed with Railcom so for, but the benefit is that it gives you a response whether or not programming the decoder was successful, even when using PoM.

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Martijn Meerts

Lenz just announced that instead of a new function decoder (they discontinued the only function decoder they had a while ago), they're now adding the option to use the standard+ and silver mini+ as function decoders. All new decoders will get the bipolar option, at least, I think it'll be bipolar (it actually mentions in the description the outputs are direction dependent.. It pays to read the entire text ;)), they'll allow you to hook up lights to the motor output. And as an added extra, all current silver mini+ decoders with software version 7.x will get a free, downloadable software update. Of course, you'll need the Lenz decoder programmer to upload the update to the decoder, but hey ;)

 

Maybe this announcement is why it's taking so awfully long for my silver mini+ decoders to arrive, they've been on order for 3-4 weeks by now....

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Martijn Meerts

Lenz have finally updated their Silver+ Mini to have the function decoder functionality. Most of the current Silver+ Mini's can be upgraded with a free firmware update (available on the Lenz site). The only disadvantage is that you need the Lenz decoder programmer to do so, which costs some 125-150 euro ...

 

The Silver+ Mini's aren't cheap for a function decoder, but they do allow you to use the motor outputs as function outputs, which means they're very easy to use. No need to modify the light boards (apart from maybe change the resistor to a bigger one.)

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kmcsjr

Hopefully, I did this OK, I copied it from another thread I posted in. This might be a better place...

 

Ghan: Each positive leg of one led is soldered together with negative leg of the other led. That's how only one led is lit on at the same time, and changing polarity (as in DC) changes the illuminated led.

 

Biggulz: With this polarity changing capable decoder you have to do almost nothing!!

 

That's the easiest way I see to install it:

- Isolate this circuit from the metal strips that pick up current from the wheels (with a piece of insulating tape).

- Solder white wire to one of the legs and yellow to the other (those legs of the circuit I remarked with an arrow in my last picture of the previous post).

- Solder black and red wires to any point of the metal strips taking current from the wheels to feed decoder.

 

Remember black wire goes to the left wheels and red wire to right wheels. If led are not illuminated in correct direction of travel, change white and yellow wire (well, test it before soldering better...  :cheesy )

 

Cheers,

 

Dani

 

Folks

I am planning on trying to put DCC in 10-449 165 Series Moonlight. It looks like I can put a Z2 in the motor car and easily hide it. The lights are more confusing to me. UNLESS, I am reading this post properly :), then it is easy. It looks like I can  use TCS FL4s, in both cars. Provided I wire the pickups properly, I will be able to have proper lighting, by following these instructions. Am I missing something? Thank you!

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The_Ghan

...

 

RailCom is an open standard developed by Lenz and adopted by the NMRA as a Recommended Practice for DCC. That is, it is now an official, if optional, part of the DCC specifications. RailCom responses can be detected by a Lenz LRC130 RailCom detectors and reported to a computer via the Lenz LRC135 RailComBus USB adapter.

 

...

 

I just thought I'd post this update as, to my knowledge, the NMRA has not adopted either Transponding or RailCom as a standard or recommended practice.

 

Cheers

 

The_Ghan

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KenS

I just commented on this on the Motor Car thread, so I won't repeat the details, but it's an RP in draft status that was just updated in May.

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KenS

I was just told by a supplier that Lenz has discontinued the LF101XF. I'd ordered a bunch, and only got what he had in stock as he was unable to order more.

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Martijn Meerts

The LX101XF has been discontinued a LONG time ago (it was huge and really old ;)) They sort of replaced it with the Silver Mini+ which has gotten function decoder options. The best thing is that you can switch the motor output leads to a bi-polar function output, which means no more adjusting of light boards and the ability to drive 2-color LEDs (the kind that only have 2 connections rather than 3)

 

It's a bit expensive for a function only decoder though.

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Darklighter
It's a bit expensive for a function only decoder though.

 

I love their statement: "Many model railway enthusiasts miss a low-priced function decoder, for example for the direction-dependent change of light of control cars. Instead of producing a separate cost-intensive function decoder, we have opted for an intelligent software solution." Sounds like a good deal, but in fact its only a good deal for Lenz.

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Martijn Meerts

True, but it's one of the very few easily available in Europe bi-polar function decoders, and it's also quite a bit smaller than pretty much any other function decoder.

 

They're still expensive though :)

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CaptOblivious
I love their statement: "Many model railway enthusiasts miss a low-priced function decoder, for example for the direction-dependent change of light of control cars. Instead of producing a separate cost-intensive function decoder, we have opted for an intelligent software solution." Sounds like a good deal, but in fact its only a good deal for Lenz.

Wow, that's brazen—"We recognize that there is strong market demand for product X, so we are instead going to make product Y, and work to convince the market that Y == X." Of course (warning: advertisement!) I'm working on just that—a low cost bi-polar function decoder, which will soon be in beta testing.

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Martijn Meerts

You know, if they'd have just taken the Silver Mini+ and removed all the features that are only useful to a motor car, they'd have a low-cost, low-effort, bi-polar function decoder... They're probably too busy with their 0-gauge stuff ;)

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KenS
They sort of replaced it with the Silver Mini+ which has gotten function decoder options. ...

It's a bit expensive for a function only decoder though.

 

Yeah, about twice the cost here in the States.  The LX101XF was a reasonably-priced cab light bipolar decoder, although I'll admit the size was larger than I'd have liked. The silver mini+ is massive overkill.  And I doubt Lenz cares that people have to pay them extra when all they want is a light decoder.

 

I'm looking forward to giving Don's a try. He's got an opportunity to own that niche.

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