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MTH's announced closing motivated me to finally set up DCS.  Here is what I've experienced:  1.) The only issue I faced was updating the system with Windows 10.  After downloading the Loader and Firmware to my laptop, it was difficult to get my computer to recognize both the TIU and then the remote.  After several hours of trying everything, I got it to work by unplugging the usb connection and replugging it in while the software was searching for both  the TIU and then the remote.  2.)  Wow!  DCS is awesome!  I love being able to use the remote to adjust the volume/smoke.  And also, for the first time, I can run more than 1 engine on the tracks.  3.  OGRR'S "Video Guide to DCS" DVD is still a must buy for newbies to DCS  -- even though it was done during PS2.  I bought this a while ago and have played it before to ease my anxiety over jumping in.  Melvin puts you at ease.  But now it is a really nice reference and the menu allows you to jump to each section easily -- and there are some great tips!    I'm also happy I purchased the DCS Companion book a while back which I will also be using as I explore more.   4.  This might be mentioned in these resources (haven't gotten to them yet) but I noticed passenger cars light up instantly because the volts are set-up at 18 volts.  Is there any way to adjust the track voltage for non engines or are all other lighted cars/cabooses/rotary plows destined to be run at a full 18 volts during DCS?  And at constant 18 volts, doesn't that make incandescent bulbs burn out more frequently and suck more voltage, particularily on passenger sets?  I know changing to LEDS is an option -- but I want to avoid doing that for now.

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@AGHRMatt posted:

I use Windows 10, but I use a USB-to-Serial adapter and use the serial port on TIUs. I've never had a problem since the USB-identified device is just an RS-232 adapter.

Thanks for the reply.  That's good to know.  I actually bought the serial adapter not realizing I actually had the USB port in because my TIU is a Rev L.  It's not labeled USB port and the female on the TIU is actually a printer-type plug.  I was getting ready to try the serial port because I wasn't having success with this port.

FWIW, a couple of Windows updates ago, my bench TIU suddenly stopped properly loading sound and chain files with the USB port.  I switched to the serial port and all was well.  I'm not sure what happened, but it was a Windows 10 change that broke the USB in my case.

FYI, the USB connector on the TIU is the same type that appears on a vast range of USB products, it's the industry standard.  The most common USB cable on the planet is the USB A to B cable, it's used in a LOT more than printers.  I have disk drives, scanners, UPS boxes, etc. that all use the same connection.

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FWIW, a couple of Windows updates ago, my bench TIU suddenly stopped properly loading sound and chain files with the USB port.  I switched to the serial port and all was well.  I'm not sure what happened, but it was a Windows 10 change that broke the USB in my case.

FYI, the USB connector on the TIU is the same type that appears on a vast range of USB products, it's the industry standard.  The most common USB cable on the planet is the USB A to B cable, it's used in a LOT more than printers.  I have disk drives, scanners, UPS boxes, etc. that all use the same connection.

Thanks for the reply, John.  Yes, I humbly admit I was thinking the cord would have a rectangular end on both ends and the input on the TIU would match the rectangular plug on the right side of the photo above.   I discovered it was the cord above after watching MTH's DCS video on You Tube (which was very helpful, too.)

I'm glad my TIU has both serial and USB.  That way I have a back up in case one does not work.  On the next update I  think I will try the serial port.

I don't see that anyone has addressd your mention of rolling stock with incandescent bulbs.  A word of caution the extra heat in some plastic bodied cars can melt the roof above the lamp. The most common bulb that Lionel used in conventional control was 14v so you may consider switching to 18 or 20v bulbs or adding a diode to the center rail pickup. The smoking caboose is also at risk. The constant 18v will generate enough heat in the smoke unit to melt the roof.  There are several remedies a simple diode on the center rail pickup is about the easiest.  I am rather allergic to smoke made by heating glycerine and polypropylene glycol which is the primary way model trains produce smoke so I generally turn my smoke units off though when doing TMCC upgrades I always upgrade the locomotive smoke to a fan powered unit with a regulator.   This would be a bit of overkill on a caboose and I have used the diode on some of my cabooses and cheap chinese voltage regulators which I bought on eBay on others.  I know that some like the look of incandescent bulbs over any color you can achieve with leds and if you are in this camp you will need to play around with different bulb voltages diodes and heat shelds above the bulb in your plastic bodied rolling stock.   I am in the led camp and use various combinations of warm and cold tone leds and cheap chinese regulators as well as different ways to tent leds to adjust the color.  There have been many discussions on the forum with drawings and schematics on converting to leds so I will let you do a search for these discussions rather than try to cover every method people have come up with here.  One other caution when using strings of led lamps or diodes you must be carefull to switch the anode and cathode of your diode or leds from car to car  to minimize DC offset.  This gets addressed in some of the discussions on upgrading to leds.  So search the forum and read up.          j

The diode method above gives the bulb half wave. So it sees power 50% less time per second (half an ac wave) and is cooler because of it. Some folks might see that pulse rate as flicker though

The evening out of the waves done by additional diodes in other cars as mentioned. But that means keeping track of which cars might be run.  However, two diodes back to back ,opposite bands, lowers the ac in both directions of ac by about 0.75v.  Two pair inline, about 1.5v ...etc etc. But that also means a dimmer light. Cheaper and easier to change bulbs than either diode method imo.  But it will run cooler and be bright with halfwave; just maybe a little flickery.  (can add a cap to smooth that, but again bulbs are cheaper& easier imo... In fact, you have to use diodes for LED on ac; so might as well go led at that point.

@JohnActon posted:

I don't see that anyone has addressd your mention of rolling stock with incandescent bulbs.  A word of caution the extra heat in some plastic bodied cars can melt the roof above the lamp. The most common bulb that Lionel used in conventional control was 14v so you may consider switching to 18 or 20v bulbs or adding a diode to the center rail pickup. The smoking caboose is also at risk. The constant 18v will generate enough heat in the smoke unit to melt the roof.  There are several remedies a simple diode on the center rail pickup is about the easiest.  I am rather allergic to smoke made by heating glycerine and polypropylene glycol which is the primary way model trains produce smoke so I generally turn my smoke units off though when doing TMCC upgrades I always upgrade the locomotive smoke to a fan powered unit with a regulator.   This would be a bit of overkill on a caboose and I have used the diode on some of my cabooses and cheap chinese voltage regulators which I bought on eBay on others.  I know that some like the look of incandescent bulbs over any color you can achieve with leds and if you are in this camp you will need to play around with different bulb voltages diodes and heat shelds above the bulb in your plastic bodied rolling stock.   I am in the led camp and use various combinations of warm and cold tone leds and cheap chinese regulators as well as different ways to tent leds to adjust the color.  There have been many discussions on the forum with drawings and schematics on converting to leds so I will let you do a search for these discussions rather than try to cover every method people have come up with here.  One other caution when using strings of led lamps or diodes you must be carefull to switch the anode and cathode of your diode or leds from car to car  to minimize DC offset.  This gets addressed in some of the discussions on upgrading to leds.  So search the forum and read up.          j

Thanks for the response, John!  I never considered actual heat damage by bulb while running at 18 volts!  I have a newer Lionel smoking caboose -- wonder if the roof could melt on that?  Also, I wonder what year MTH and others changed their passenger cars to LED?  Is there an easy way to determine what passenger cars use LED versus incandescent?  At 18 volts, is there a risk I could melt the roofs of passenger cars?  What about searchlight cars and rotary snowplows?  I will take your advice and read up....

Mike

 

 

 

 

@Ron045 posted:

I don't have WIN 10.  But this driver like helped me connect USB.

If your computer is having a difficult time using the TIU USB connection (FT232R USB UART) and finding a COM port connection on the DCS loader, go to Protosound2.com and download the Windows USB drivers.

Full Thread Here

Have Fun!

Ron

 

 

Ron,

Thanks for the response.  I actually searched the forum for a driver when I initially had issues and did download it.  Without it, I do not think I could have made it work.  Unplugging and re-plugging the USB connection while the software was searching for both the TIU and then the remote ultimately made it work but that was a weird twist.  I literally played with it for 6 hours until it finally worked -- not a frustrating task I would wish on anyone.  Next time I will try the serial port instead of the USB.

@IRON HORSE posted:

Thanks for the response, John!  I never considered actual heat damage by bulb while running at 18 volts!  I have a newer Lionel smoking caboose -- wonder if the roof could melt on that?  Also, I wonder what year MTH and others changed their passenger cars to LED?  Is there an easy way to determine what passenger cars use LED versus incandescent?  At 18 volts, is there a risk I could melt the roofs of passenger cars?  What about searchlight cars and rotary snowplows?  I will take your advice and read up....

Mike

 

 

 

 

Mike,  yes the smoke unit will heat up enough to melt the plastic around the stack.  As far as checking for leds in a car you should be able to hold a small mirror below the windows with the car on the track and look up to the roof inside to see bulbs or leds. Perhaps a track on your layout is near the edge of the layour and you can get low enough to look up to the roof inside. Or turn the car on it's side on your bench so that you can see the roof inside the car. Then hook some wires to the trucks.  If I don't like the color of the light coming from a car I just assume that leds are inside.  I dip my leds in "Great Glass" a clear paint designed for simulating stained glass to adjust the color.   "Great Glass available at the craft stores, Hobby Lobby, Micheal's etc. Someone on the forum recently mentioned that Tamiya has a clear orange which does a good job also.  Finding a color which your eyes accept as incandescent takes some experimentation.  Incandescent was the order of the day for all the passenger trains I ever rode on or stood next to the tracks in the evening. I have been playing around with bare leds and tinting for about three years and yet to nail the color I just resigned myself to close enough.           j

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