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It's great that DCS veterans are sharing their wisdom with novices here.

Somewhere I read, maybe in Barry's book, that one can keep the auxiliary power source (for me it's a Z500 brick) plugged in all the time to power the TIU, and doing so avoids the need to reboot the TIU. Also, doing so is comparable to keeping one's computer on all the time.

Do you think that keeping the TIU powered up all the time (with the little red light on) is a good idea? Could doing so be a safety hazard?

Arnold

Well My TIU is powered with an extra 12 volt DC power adapter that I had in the parts drawer. These can bought online for around 10 bucks or so. Just make sure that you get one that is rated for 1.5 or more amps (in case you decide to and an AIU later on). But Arnold's z500 brick also works.  Th AUX power port on the TIU is not picky, just keeps the volts to 21 or less.

My TIU Aux power supply turns on and off with everything else on my layout, I don't see the need to always leave the TIU powered up if everything else is powered down. My who layout is plugged into a nice power strip that provides me with a master switch or one can opt to get one of those remote control outlets so that all of your power can be hidden under the layout and turned one and off with a small dedicated remote control button.

Last edited by H1000

It's great that DCS veterans are sharing their wisdom with novices here.

Somewhere I read, maybe in Barry's book, that one can keep the auxiliary power source (for me it's a Z500 brick) plugged in all the time to power the TIU, and doing so avoids the need to reboot the TIU. Also, doing so is comparable to keeping one's computer on all the time.

Do you think that keeping the TIU powered up all the time (with the little red light on) is a good idea? Could doing so be a safety hazard?

Arnold

Hi Arnold. My tiu is powered by a leftover brick from a z-1000. Both are plugged into a power strip and when I’m finished running trains, I turn off the strip, removing power from both. Start up is the same way, with the press of the power strip button. I have never had a problem and my tiu has operated flawlessly doing  this for over 15 years. I never leave the tiu continuously powered on.

I would NEVER leave any device on a layout powered up.  AT my age, I can't accept the grief that would accompanying rebuilding my house.  I also don't know what you mean by booting up a TIU.  When powered up, it's functional in well under 5 seconds.  I do not believe that Barry would have countenanced leaving a TIU or anything else powered up.  I also have everything plugged into a power strip.  One switch turns on everything

For those, like me, who love to do switching maneuvers, especially with locomotives with front and back electrocouplers, DCS using the remote unit is such a pleasure, as is LC+ using the remote or App, and I imagine the Legacy operating system (which I don't have) is too.

In fact, switching maneuvers using the remote when running PS2 and 3 is the main reason I got DCS to begin with.

It might be interesting for us to share why we each got DCS, and what we like best about it.

Again, for me, it was to improve my switching operations on my switching layout. Arnold

Here's a question related to DCS:

With the transformer at 17 or 18 volts running DCS, the illuminated caboose is so bright it looks like a nuclear fusion reaction is happening in the caboose. What can be done to make the light in the caboose less bright?

Does changing the bulb to an LED make it less bright?

Same questions for the lights in passenger cars.

Arnold

Last edited by Arnold D. Cribari

Here's a question related to DCS:

With the transformer at 17 or 18 volts running DCS, the illuminated caboose is so bright it looks like a nuclear fusion reaction is happening in the caboose. What can be done to make the light in the caboose less bright?

Does changing the bulb to an LED make it less bright?

Same questions for the lights in passenger cars.

Arnold

When I first installed command control on my layout, I noticed the same with my older postwar lighted rolling stock. They were made to operate on layouts with much less voltage and the bulbs were all 14 or 16v. I changed a bunch to 18v. You can get them cheap on Amazon. I’ll see if I can post the link to the ones I used  when I get a chance. The LED option should also work if you get the bulb made for 18v or install the right resistor.  The traditional bulbs from Amazon are much cheaper and an easier solution, imho.



Edit - Here is the link to the 18v bulbs - https://www.amazon.com/CEC-Ind...QP74FD81AA3ED3V3NPMQ



You can find the ones with the Ba9 base (non screw) also with a quick search at similar prices.  One other point though, I have found that for smaller layouts, you do not need to run the DCS at 17-18 volts. I regularly run mine "cool" at 16 v. I believe lower voltages significantly extend the life of the the electronics (i even have 2 engines with the dreaded  ps-2 5 volt boards that are over 20 years old that run superb after heavy usage).  If you are not running many trains simultaneously or lashing up, lower voltages easily work. Also, don't judge track voltage by the z-4000 readout - use the track voltage as measured by the dcs handheld as read by your respective engine. Its in the engine's menu and its far more accurate of a measurement of track voltage. Try it out and  see for yourself. At 16 volts, you may find that you don't need to change any bulbs after all.

Last edited by Strap Hanger

Hi Arnold, it's been awhile.

I've been running DCS for 6 years on my two layouts.  One TIU for the table layout and one for the overhead.  Both are powered with PWZW's,  and both use the AUX power for the TIU's.  Both are plugged into a power strip that I shut off when done running trains.   I use the handheld remote, only.  Seems more intuitive.

My overhead runs 4 MTH engines, pulling an average of 25 cars each, along two 100 foot mainlines.  The power draw is large with all that consist to pull.  One thing I did to help that issue was to replace all the passenger car lamps with GRJ's device that allows you to use LED light strips instead of the incandescent bulbs.  Each mainline has a bus wire, and is only connected in the four corners.  I've never had an issue with signal loss.

That layout has five switches, which are separately controlled and rarely used.  Since it goes around the rec room ceiling, I mostly run it every two weeks during poker games.  I'm mostly a looper.  The boys love watching the trains go by during happy hours.

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The larger table layout uses DCS on only two of the 7 mainlines.  The upper three levels utilize Lionel LCP+ engines and one Z4000.  Two of the lines are for conventional trains only, using one PWZW.

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This layout is much more complicated than the overhead.  I still don't do much switching, but the DCS system allows the MTH NH and UP engines the ability to go up and down between levels without those, otherwise dramatic, changes in speed. 

My motive for DCS is two-fold.  First, I wanted to be able to run multiple trains on the same long mainline.  Second, I wanted to maintain consistent speed on inclines, declines, and corners.  All the features of DCS are cool.  The sound capabilities are great, smoke is great, PSA's are great.  Like many of the guys, I don't use all these features often.  Best is the portability of the remote in a large room.

Of course, I'm familiar with your layout.  You should have no trouble with your DCS power and setup as you describe it.  BTW, I finally was able to add a Yankee Stadium to my layout!!  Haha, the only thing is, I had to build an N scale layout over the pool table to accomplish it...

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Regards to all,

Jerry

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It is a good idea to power your TIU through the AUX port rather than Fixed 1, but no need to keep it on all the time. Just plug the AUX power source into a strip and turn it on/off each time you run trains.

In my case, for convenience, I have most of my electronics plugged into a strip connected to a common light switch. I just flip the switch and everything fires up, but no need to go to that extreme.

As to the lights, one alternative is to buy a bottle of paint, such as Tamiya Clear Yellow, and paint each bulb as heavily as needed to turn the brightness down.

Thanks, also, to Strap Hanger, RJR and Mallard4468.  Your contributions on this thread were very helpful to me. Arnold

Agreed. So many folks share, understanding that there are n00bs sitting in the stands, watching how Kewl it can be. Arnold, your baseball field is FUN. Jerry, I had Yankee Stadium on our bucket list with my wife. She taught me how to scorecard games while watching them on t.v.  maybe someday

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