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Yep, Stans sketch is what I am following.
Those two wires, out to the track, are where I would plan to attach the DCS-RC.
These wires would also extend to the distribution system ( Hot and Ground terminal strips).

There would be three separate DCS-RC receiver boxes, with one for each of the three separately powered tracks.
These would also be, strategically, placed around the inside edges of my "L SHAPED" layout, such that only one would read the remote at any one time.

Each side of the ZW will feed one of the two loops:
           Each loop is approx 40 feet long.
           Each loop is divided into 3 approx equal length blocks.
           Each loop will have Hot and Ground Terminal strips with:
                      4 sections: 1-In / 3 Out
                      Each "Hot Side" will be separately switched (On-Off).
           All 3 blocks would be running at the same time, except during switching exercises.
                     ,when a train might be parked on the far side of the loop.

The Z-1000 will feed the sidings, which total about 80ft of track:
          Divided up into 8 separately fed blocks.
          Hot and Ground Terminal strips with:
                      9 sections: 1-In / 8-Out
                      Each "Hot Side" separately switched (On-Off).
          Only 2, or maybe 3 of these would ever be live at the same time.

So do you think there is trouble here

I am still trying to understand the reason for the switch.  Since the ZW, when the throttle is set at maximum power (10 amps max), produces close to a pure sine wave (see GRJ's inputs above), the more complex wiring seems overkill for the very small benefit of a pure sine wave.  No added switch, no cutting off the PH180 plug (I assume), and easier troubleshooting. Use the same circuit on the other throttle for the second loop.

TRANSFORMER – DCSRC_Passive - TRACK

If you are using a Z-1000, which only puts out 6 amps max, I do not think you need to wire the DCS-RC in passive mode, which makes the wiring even simpler.  You do need to find a plug for the DCS-RC.

TRANSFORMER – DCSRC - TRACK

I guess I'm a KISS kind of guy. 

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  • TRANSFORMER – DCSRC_Passive - TRACK
  • TRANSFORMER – DCSRC - TRACK

Not that close to a sine wave, that's why I recommend the switch.  Those vertical edges play havoc with the DCS carrier.

Z-Controller Fill Throttle

ZW-C Full Throttle

This waveform is much more "DCS Friendly"

As for passive mode, that jack on the DCS-RC really is straining to handle more than a couple of amps, I've already replaced several of them that melted down.

Last edited by gunrunnerjohn

 

Not that close to a sine wave, that's why I recommend the switch.  Those vertical edges play havoc with the DCS carrier.

...

As GRJ says, it's those pesky vertical edges.  To wit, while I haven't seen anything "official" from MTH, it has been reported that the "best" track power waveform type for DCS is plain-old DC which of course is a flat-line and as benign as they come.

Last edited by stan2004
@RWL posted:
..

Each side of the ZW will feed one of the two loops:
           Each loop is approx 40 feet long.
           Each loop is divided into 3 approx equal length blocks.
           Each loop will have Hot and Ground Terminal strips with:
                      4 sections: 1-In / 3 Out
                      Each "Hot Side" will be separately switched (On-Off).
           All 3 blocks would be running at the same time, except during switching exercises.
                     ,when a train might be parked on the far side of the loop.

The Z-1000 will feed the sidings, which total about 80ft of track:
          Divided up into 8 separately fed blocks.
          Hot and Ground Terminal strips with:
                      9 sections: 1-In / 8-Out
                      Each "Hot Side" separately switched (On-Off).
          Only 2, or maybe 3 of these would ever be live at the same time.

So do you think there is trouble here

I don't know if I'd use the term 'trouble" but there is what might be an unexpected behavior when using the DCSRC in this way.

You may have noticed if you power up your DCSRC with a PS2/3 engine on the track, the engine turns on silently in the Shutdown condition.  You then press StartUp on the remote and the sounds start, lights come on, and you can then send the engine on its way.  When a DCSRC first turns on, it sends a so-called watchdog signal telling any DCS engines to turn on in the Shutdown condition.  It only sends this brief watchdog "bark" once when first turning on in active or passive mode.  OK, hold that thought.

Consider your 8-out yard with 8 output sections individually controlled by an on-off switch.  Most, if not all, 8 sections will be turned OFF when you power up your layout.  The DCSRC will turn on, send out its watchdog bark once which no engine can hear.  Then you flip on the one or more switches to power up one or more sidings.  Power is applied to the engine(s) on the newly powered sections but there is no accompanying watchdog bark signal!  The engine(s) think they are in a conventional mode environment and start-up with lights, sounds and possible immediate violent motion if they were locked in Fwd or Rev given 18V AC on the track.  Yikes!

This is a well-known behavior for which there are many OGR threads.  Some guys find this to be a SWWC (So What, Who Cares) and yawn.  Others are more, say, agitated and prefer a method where a DCS engine on an unpowered siding turns on silently in the Shutdown condition when the siding is turned on.  If this makes any sense whatsoever and you feel any anxiety or agitation, then we can explore it further. 

@stan2004 posted:

I don't know if I'd use the term 'trouble" but there is what might be an unexpected behavior when using the DCSRC in this way.

You may have noticed if you power up your DCSRC with a PS2/3 engine on the track, the engine turns on silently in the Shutdown condition.  You then press StartUp on the remote and the sounds start, lights come on, and you can then send the engine on its way.  When a DCSRC first turns on, it sends a so-called watchdog signal telling any DCS engines to turn on in the Shutdown condition.  It only sends this brief watchdog "bark" once when first turning on in active or passive mode.  OK, hold that thought.

Consider your 8-out yard with 8 output sections individually controlled by an on-off switch.  Most, if not all, 8 sections will be turned OFF when you power up your layout.  The DCSRC will turn on, send out its watchdog bark once which no engine can hear.  Then you flip on the one or more switches to power up one or more sidings.  Power is applied to the engine(s) on the newly powered sections but there is no accompanying watchdog bark signal!  The engine(s) think they are in a conventional mode environment and start-up with lights, sounds and possible immediate violent motion if they were locked in Fwd or Rev given 18V AC on the track.  Yikes!

This is a well-known behavior for which there are many OGR threads.  Some guys find this to be a SWWC (So What, Who Cares) and yawn.  Others are more, say, agitated and prefer a method where a DCS engine on an unpowered siding turns on silently in the Shutdown condition when the siding is turned on.  If this makes any sense whatsoever and you feel any anxiety or agitation, then we can explore it further. 

My interest is truly peaked.
I think I understand.
Any DCS loco that I want to run, would need to be on a powered up siding, or track section, when ever DCS RC box is powered up.

So, that would be whenever I flip the DPDT to the DCS-RC side, correct?

If so, what if I flipped the DPDT to the Center Off position, then opened the switch to which ever track the DCS located on, then flipped the DPDT to the DCS-RC side again.
That should send the watchdog signal to that engine.
Would that be correct?

How close am I to an understanding of this?

Also, what about DCS locos on a powered track that is powered thru the controller only side?
I guess that would never be possible, since the DCS-RC is connected to the mains to the track.

@RWL posted:
..

If so, what if I flipped the DPDT to the Center Off position, then opened the switch to which ever track the DCS located on, then flipped the DPDT to the DCS-RC side again.
That should send the watchdog signal to that engine.
Would that be correct?

Correct!  Honestly that is quite an astute assessment of the situation!
 
dcsrc watchdog by momentary power interruption
So for your sidings (powered by Z-1000), let's say there are 8 SPST on-off toggle switches as shown on right.
When you want to turn on a siding with a DCS engine on it,
1. set the DPDT to the center-off position.  This removes power from the DCSRC (and to any sidings that happened to be ON).
2. set the SPST switches to enable one or more sidings - as you mentioned earlier you might have more than 1 siding ON at a time.
3. flip the DPDT to the Z-1000 brick position.  This simultaneously powers up the DCSRC and the selected siding(s).  The DCSRC watchdog barks and any DCS engines on a newly powered siding will startup silently and ready for action from a DCSRC remote command.

So. If willing to perform steps 1 and 3 (which only takes a second or two), you do NOT need a DCSRC modified with the Perpetual Barking Watchdog board.

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  • dcsrc watchdog by momentary power interruption
@RWL posted:

...
I could really use three of these.

To be clear, the PBW board is an add-on to a DCSRC.  You must supply a stock DCSRC base unit itself (handheld remote not needed).  Once you modify the DCSRC to become a Perpetual Barking Watchdog, that becomes its sole purpose in life.  It cannot be used to control DCS engines via the handheld remote.

So the configuration might look like:

dcsrc watchdog by pbw

The stock DCSRC on the left is what controls any DCS engines via the handheld remote.  The modified DCSRC on the right barks the watchdog about once per second as long as there's power from the DPDT.  As shown, if going this route you should put a piece of black tape over the PBW DCSRC's red sensor window so that any handheld remote commands do not cause the PBW to issue DCS signaling commands in competition with the left DCSRC.

Of course going this route means you can skip steps 1 and 3 in previous post.  In other words, just turn sidings ON with the SPST and count on the PBW to issue a timely watchdog bark to keep a newly powered DCS engine silent in the shutdown mode.  To each his own as to the value of this convenience.

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  • dcsrc watchdog by pbw
Last edited by stan2004
@stan2004 posted:

To be clear, the PBW board is an add-on to a DCSRC.  You must supply a stock DCSRC base unit itself (handheld remote not needed).  Once you modify the DCSRC to become a Perpetual Barking Watchdog, that becomes its sole purpose in life.  It cannot be used to control DCS engines via the handheld remote.

So the configuration might look like:

dcsrc watchdog by pbw

The stock DCSRC on the left is what controls any DCS engines via the handhelf remote.  The modified DCSRC on the right barks the watchdog about once per second as long as there's power from the DPDT.  As shown, if going this route you should put a piece of black tape over the PBW DCSRC's red sensor window so that any handheld remote commands do not cause the PBW issue DCS signaling commands in competition with the left DCSRC.

Of course going this route means you can skip steps 1 and 3 in previous post.  In other words, just turn sidings ON with the SPST and count on the PBW to issue a timely watchdog bark to keep a newly powered DCS engine silent in the shutdown mode.  To each his own as to the value of this convenience.

I absolutely love this solution.
It seems very simple elegant, and does exactly what I want it to, with out going full boat DCS, which I really do want to avoid.

I have done a cursory search, for the DCS RC Receiver only, but the only ones that I find are with the remote, and or with the track lock on.
They are all going for about $50, which is a bit steep, $100 per track, plus the PBW.
Approaches the cost of a DCS System, however, I think that I still prefer the simple nature of it.

Do you think that any of the guys here would have any of these lying around from sets that are now running on full DCS?
I guess I will check out the "Want To Buy" forum.

@RWL posted:
..

Do you think that any of the guys here would have any of these lying around from sets that are now running on full DCS?
I guess I will check out the "Want To Buy" forum.

I know they do.  Half of the problem is getting them to rummage thru the garage/attic to find it!  There was a period of several years during which MTH shipped the DCSRC in their "Ready-to-Run" train sets.  My understanding is this was Marketing 101 - get guys hooked on the idea of DCS command control so they "graduate" to full DCS/TIU.

dcsrc ebay

If you bide your time on eBay, you can usually find one for about $25 like this one which just sold - it may be the receiver unit only but of course that's all you need.

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Note that there is no difference in the wiring between the 3-step single-DCSRC method and the "automatic" dual-DCSRC (one being a PBW-DCSRC) method.  That is, if you don't want to cough up MSRP for 3 additional DCSRC receivers, you can use the 3-step method until they pop up on eBay or on the OGR Buy/Sell forum.  Then just connect the PBW-DCSRC with 2 wires and you're off to the races!

You may even find the 3-step method is not much of a burden...but instead discover you really want to go with the full DCS/TIU system, you have 3 DCSRC receivers that can become the donor units to become PBW-DCSRCs!

I have to be honest here, I think you're probably making a long term mistake not going for the full TIU, it offers a lot more capability than the basic functionality of the DCS-RC.  I think if you start investing in a forest of DCS-RC boxes, you'll quickly discover shortcomings in the operation.

I am beginning to see your point, more and more.
I would need 2 DCS-RC's per track, for a total of 6.
I have 1 now, so I would need another 5, and at approx $50 each I would be looking at another $250, plus the cost of 3 PBW's.

Now, I will say that these would be added, slowly, as I slowly add Track #2 (Inner Loop), then finally Track #3 (Sidings&  Pass Thrus). So, from a cost standpoint, I could spend the money over time.

It does seem to be getting a bit busy, however, it does still seem simpler that Full DCS.

DCS Questions:
1) The TIU has 4 channels, but all are not variable. 
          Can all types of trains (DCS, Lion Chief, Conventional) on all channels?
2) How critical is the Star Pattern wiring?
          My plan is to run all feeders, for each track, to a dedicated terminal strip, then out from there.
          I then plan to keep the feeders approx the same length.
3) What equipment is required other than a TIU and a Remote?
4) Would I have any use for me ZW or Z-Controller?
          Would all of the bricks attach directly to the TIU?

I do have a copy of the DCS O GAUGE COMPANION 2nd Addition.
I will go back and reread.

My head hurts....................

@stan2004 posted:

Note that there is no difference in the wiring between the 3-step single-DCSRC method and the "automatic" dual-DCSRC (one being a PBW-DCSRC) method.  That is, if you don't want to cough up MSRP for 3 additional DCSRC receivers, you can use the 3-step method until they pop up on eBay or on the OGR Buy/Sell forum.  Then just connect the PBW-DCSRC with 2 wires and you're off to the races!

You may even find the 3-step method is not much of a burden...but instead discover you really want to go with the full DCS/TIU system, you have 3 DCSRC receivers that can become the donor units to become PBW-DCSRCs!

So, if I understand correctly, the PBW is required for use, at each track, with the DCS/TIU as well.
Does the TIU, also, only send out the watchdog signal upon startup?

Do you happen to know the cost of a PBW?
If not, I can reach out to Tom to find that out.

If I would need three DCS/RC boxes anyway, I may, just as well, buy one more DCS-RC box, and one PBW to put in it, and run my current single loop with the two DCS/RC receiver system, to see how it goes.
I will can put a two position On-Off switch in the hot wire, downstream of the two boxes and just before the track connection, to simulate the block switches in the hot wires coming out of the terminal strip. I can then experiment to see how it goes.

I won't be out anything if I decide to go DCS/TIU, as I would seemingly need another DCS-RC receiver and two more PBW's anyway

@RWL posted:
..

DCS Questions:
1) The TIU has 4 channels, but all are not variable. 
          Can all types of trains (DCS, Lion Chief, Conventional) on all channels?
2) How critical is the Star Pattern wiring?
          My plan is to run all feeders, for each track, to a dedicated terminal strip, then out from there.
          I then plan to keep the feeders approx the same length.
3) What equipment is required other than a TIU and a Remote?
4) Would I have any use for me ZW or Z-Controller?
          Would all of the bricks attach directly to the TIU?

I do have a copy of the DCS O GAUGE COMPANION 2nd Addition.
I will go back and reread.

My head hurts....................

I think the O Gauge Companion will address your questions.

BTW, I believe it also addresses yet another "manual" alternative to the PBW-DCSRC.  That is, as long as you send ANY valid DCS command to a newly powered DCS engine, it will start up silently in the shutdown mode.  So.  There is a 2-step process to power up a siding with a DCS engine:

Step 1. Flip the SPST switch to power up the siding and presumably a DCS engine.

Step 2. Within 1 sec (or so) of Step 1, press a DCSRC remote button so that the DCSRC receiver sends a DCS command on the track to the engine.  That is, a DCS engine will power up in the silent shutdown mode if it sees ANY valid DCS command.  It does NOT have to be the watchdog bark.

I believe this is the first instance of a pair of DCSRCs in this configuration.  All previous OGR discussions have been with a full-blown TIU augmented by a PBW-DCSRC.

So if you only have 1 DCSRC at present, I guess one way to look at it is you need at least 3 DCSRCs.  If you end up converting the 3 DCSRCs to PBW-DCSRC and pony-up the cash for a full-blown DCS/TIU then so be it.  Otherwise, from what I can tell using eBay as a metric, you should probably be able to re-sell any extra DCSRC units and make a small profit!  I'm not sure I've seen a PBW-DCSRC on eBay, but then again that too may be an avenue to at least breaking even on your experimentation!

Last edited by stan2004
@stan2004 posted:

I think the O Gauge Companion will address your questions.

BTW, I believe it also addresses yet another "manual" alternative to the PBW-DCSRC.  That is, as long as you send ANY valid DCS command to a newly powered DCS engine, it will start up silently in the shutdown mode.  So.  There is a 2-step process to power up and siding.

Step 1. Flip the SPST switch to power up the siding and presumably a DCS engine.

Step 2. Within 1 sec (or so) of Step 1, press a DCSRC remote button so that the DCSRC receiver sends a DCS command on the track to the engine.  That is, a DCS engine will power up in the silent shutdown mode if it sees ANY valid DCS command.  It does NOT have to be the watchdog bark.

I believe this is the first instance of a pair of DCSRCs in this configuration.  All previous OGR discussions have been with a full-blown TIU augmented by a PBW-DCSRC.

So if you only have 1 DCSRC at present, I guess one way to look at it is you need at least 3 DCSRCs.  If you end up converting the 3 DCSRCs to PBW-DCSRC and pony-up the cash for a full-blow DCS/TIU then so be it.  Otherwise, from what I can tell using eBay as a metric, you should probably be able to re-sell any extra DCSRC units with a small profit!  I'm not sure I've seen a PBW-DCSRC on eBay, but then again that too may be an avenue to at least breaking even on your experimentation!

Thank you for the info Stan,

I really do appreciate that you appreciate what I am trying to do.
It may be a bit out of the box, but again, even if I do go full DCS, I will need three PBW's anyway.

Roger

@RWL posted:
..

It may be a bit out of the box, but again, even if I do go full DCS, I will need three PBW's anyway..

Right.  Who knows how the MTH business shutdown will shake out, but as I stated previously I think you won't be left holding-the-bag on extra DCSRC receivers...whether equipped with the PBW board or not.  You'd have to contact member rtr12 as it seems the ability to buy a packaged kit, assembled unit, or whatever for the PBW comes and goes.  The "official" OGR Electrical Reference thread is here.

Untitled

If you do get in the "business" of assembling the PBW add-on board, I'm confident you could sell any extras.

 

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@RWL posted:

So, if I understand correctly, the PBW is required for use, at each track, with the DCS/TIU as well.
Does the TIU, also, only send out the watchdog signal upon startup?

..

Correct.  The TIU only sends out the watchdog bark when one of its 4 channels first turns ON. 

As stated previously, it has ALWAYS been a TIU augmented by a modified PBW-DCSRC to silently start-up engines on yard sidings, passings, roundhouse whiskers, etc.  This is the first example I can recall where a DCSRC would be augmented with a 2nd PBW-DCSRC.

Talk to a dozen guys and you will get a dozen opinions on whether you should go the full-blown DCS/TIU route.

I can't remember if it was at a train show or a LHS meet-and-greet but I remember talking to the boss of MTH 10 years ago or so.  He said that the overwhelming majority of their customers had what amounted to 4' x 8' layouts.  And that a surpising percentage of customers were simply "collectors" that never even opened the box of an engine!  And while I can't recall the exact words, it was something to the effect that most O-gauge operators simply want one train to go forward and back and go "whoo whoo" (whistle) or "ding ding" (bell).  The point being I think there is no "shame" in just using a DCSRC rather than a full-blown DCS/TIU system.  That is, the DCSRC lets you control an engine forward/back, blow the whistle, ring the bell.  Who can ask for anything more?!

Last edited by stan2004

That's true.  I believe this limitation has come up in discussion before.  IIRC the idea is you use the manual (conventional mode) smoke on/off slide switch.  Of course this is not wireless remote control.  But from what I can tell the overwhelming majority of users either love or hate smoke...so it's either always on or always off...period.  When you want to show off to your friends who come to your house you would have to reach under the engine and turn ON the smoke.  Given current events at least your friends will bring their own masks if they don't want to inhale the smoke.  

The order is in.
I had 3 PBW's on the way.
I will need them one way or the other, whether I use the DCS-RC's or if I go full DCS.

So, I stopped my my LHS to talk DCS, and he has non in stock.
Hi has the TIU's and Remotes on order for receipt in a few months, however, and I am in no rush to buy.

However, he mentioned that MTH is coming out with a new WIFI system, that will have the WIFI unit built right into the TIU
He told me that this sill be out in a few months, and that it will replace the current TIU with Remote, as well as the stand alone WIFI box, that comes with the current WIFI system.
Based on this, he suggested that I not go with the current system but to wait and go with the new WIFI in the TIU system, as the remotes will not be available much longer, and that the Phone/Tablet remote app is much easier to use tnat the current remote.

Can any speak to all of this?
Again, I am in no rush to go out and buy, as I need to do some experimenting with my existing loop of Fast-Trak, and I need to finish adding the "L" to my table so that I cal lay down my first, outer, loop of Ross track.

@RWL posted:
However, he mentioned that MTH is coming out with a new WIFI system, that will have the WIFI unit built right into the TIU

He told me that this sill be out in a few months, and that it will replace the current TIU with Remote, as well as the stand alone WIFI box, that comes with the current WIFI system.
Based on this, he suggested that I not go with the current system but to wait and go with the new WIFI in the TIU system, as the remotes will not be available much longer, and that the Phone/Tablet remote app is much easier to use tnat the current remote.

I'm not so sure he has the facts right.  The TIU/Wifi box he mentions appears in the HO catalog and appears to be a DC output only unit.  That really isn't suitable for conventional running or if you ever plan on running TMCC/Legacy.  Here's a clip from that catalog page, take particular note of the indicated sentence.  If you're putting DC into the input channel, the only thing that's coming out the other side is DC!  Even if your conventional stuff ran on DC, the horn or bell would be sounding continuously.  Forget about TMCC/Legacy, they require AC power.

____HO TIU

 

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Thanks for the clarification John. Yes it does seem that that is strictly a DC only . I will have to contact him and ask if he knows more about that.

I did order 3pb W's from Tom because I'll need them anyway. For now I'm going to run my one loop with the two box system and a switch in the power just to test it out. However I am leaning toward a full full DCS system and I'm thinking in terms of the Wi-Fi set.

What is your opinion of running trains with the DCS remote versus a tablet or smartphone app? It would definitely be cheaper not to have to buy one or two remotes.

The PBW kits are $8 shipped and assembled ones are $11 shipped. Public discussion is ok with me, but I don't want to get on the bad side of the moderators for trying to sell things and not being in the for sale forum or a forum sponsor.

But.... I'm actually not selling them, only putting the PCBs and parts together and re-shipping to anyone that wants one. It's more as a service to the OGR forum members. I just try to cover the actual costs for everything and make things come out even. 

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