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My Manchester Intermodal Service Center- MISC has a troubled past.
Those who follow my posts know that during construction the possibility of moving occurred-but it didn’t happen.

And I stopped constructing with longevity as my primary agenda..

And that has led to my problem

I run parallel power feeders to independent blocks of track.
I alternate the Z-4000 throttles to each block.

Now that I’ve rebuilt my power distributor center, and have SPST toggles to individually turn off each block-I have found that Toggle 1 Throttle 1 and Toggle 3 Throttle 2 controlled the same block of track.

I went searching my memory for the locations of the track block separating points…

I found an MTH ISOLATION SECTION..where the rails were touching

which defeated removing the 3 wires underneath.
So I took my side cutters and small hammer and persuaded them apart

I just tested my Toggles and the issue seems resolved.

But just in case, the MOW crew will take a dremel cutoff wheel to that gap-and improve the situation.

My question-how many model railroaders don’t bother with independent track blocks?

The BB DCS companion recommendation was for parallel feeders with only isolated center rails..but I chose to completely isolate all 3 rails.
Am I losing the benefit of a redundant return path for the DCS Engine reply through the rails?

And what remedy exists for the dreaded Engine start up, when I flip a toggle switch on?

It seems using these SPST toggles has an unwanted action that defeats the purpose of turning off track blocks.


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When it comes to track blocks recommended for running DCS I feel that most of us don't really have large enough layouts to make the issue of duplicate signals (ghosting) a problem. If you follow the recommended block process you most likely won't have any DCS signalling issues. If not, it may work, it may not, and may be more difficult to troubleshoot. There are many people who never bothered creating the blocks and report no issues running DCS.

I am following the recommended bock practice but I use long blocks (some 20-22') so I don't have many. I am a little more concerned about the possibility of a track power lead coming lose and wiring one lead per block would make it very obvious where a problem might be should it occur.

Yes, turning on a siding after the TIU channel is already passing track power will put the MTH engine in conventional mode with 18 vac on the rails. I can only image what this looks like and I hope I never find out.

The DCS watchdog signals are only generated for a brief time when track power is applied through a channel. This watchdog signal is what tells the engine that DCS control is present. One work around is to shut down track power on the TIU channel, flip the switch, then turn track power back on.

I am trying to Add DCS to my long time Legacy layout.

For the blocks for DCS for the optimum signal.   Do I have it correct that I would run Power and Common feeders out to the different blocks and the center rail would be the only rail isolated between the blocks?

Is that assuming all the feeds go back to the same handle?

My current Legacy layout is all fed by 1 single ZW-L transformer, but off 2 separate handles to 2 main blocks (the ZW-L is in 4 channel mode)

I tested DCS on it without any changes to my layout and when I trigger something it triggers twice (like the crossing whistle)

Thanks!

Sean, sounds like you have no breaks in the power rail, a big continuous loop. The signal is traveling around and around. There is enough power in left in signal that the engine sees a copy of the original. You've created the perfect argument for blocks. I suspect that one gap somewhere in the power rail would stop this.

It isn't necessary to block off the common rails for DCS but it shouldn't cause any problems. It's just work you don't really have to do.

The blocks next to each other don't have to be connected to the same handle or transformer but this will make your gaps more critical so you don't overload a block. I'm using two PH 180s and there are two places on the main where gaps are separating blocks fed by different transformers.

I am wiring with single pair of feeders to each block.

Sean, sounds like you have no breaks in the power rail, a big continuous loop. The signal is traveling around and around. There is enough power in left in signal that the engine sees a copy of the original. You've created the perfect argument for blocks. I suspect that one gap somewhere in the power rail would stop this.

It isn't necessary to block off the common rails for DCS but it shouldn't cause any problems. It's just work you don't really have to do.

The blocks next to each other don't have to be connected to the same handle or transformer but this will make your gaps more critical so you don't overload a block. I'm using two PH 180s and there are two places on the main where gaps are separating blocks fed by different transformers.

I am wiring with single pair of feeders to each block.

Thanks for the reply.  Yeah, I think something is up with the center rail somewhere.  Now I need to trace it down.  After 8 years it's going to be fun to find it, ha-ha.

Thanks!

When it comes to track blocks recommended for running DCS I feel that most of us don't really have large enough layouts to make the issue of duplicate signals (ghosting) a problem. If you follow the recommended block process you most likely won't have any DCS signalling issues. If not, it may work, it may not, and may be more difficult to troubleshoot. There are many people who never bothered creating the blocks and report no issues running DCS.

I am following the recommended bock practice but I use long blocks (some 20-22') so I don't have many. I am a little more concerned about the possibility of a track power lead coming lose and wiring one lead per block would make it very obvious where a problem might be should it occur.

Yes, turning on a siding after the TIU channel is already passing track power will put the MTH engine in conventional mode with 18 vac on the rails. I can only image what this looks like and I hope I never find out.

The DCS watchdog signals are only generated for a brief time when track power is applied through a channel. This watchdog signal is what tells the engine that DCS control is present. One work around is to shut down track power on the TIU channel, flip the switch, then turn track power back on.

This is a problem..

per BB DCS Companion, the SPST Toggle is recommended…with no mention of the P2/3 engines starting —so far, they only start-they haven’t moved. But it’s only been a day…

I hoped to be able to use block control to keep unused engines from adding time-

That watchdog signal is thwarting my plans-

I’m curious how this issue got past Barry.

So, if most don’t run blocks, do most run parallel feeders?

or do most just run a series bus feeder then tie into their track wherever there appears to be a drop in voltage?

by the way

here is The MISC

https://youtu.be/h96jQEJ__oo

UGLY BUT FUN TO RUN

Legacy uses a different type of signaling to the engines and would never have this problem. Not something you would have been concerned with before.

The DCS signal travels between the power and common rails. I think you just need to create a break somewhere in the center rail so the DCS signal doesn't keep going round and round. Sidings probably need attention also. It won't bother the TMCC/Legacy signal at all. I think it would improve conventional signaling but it doesn't seem to be much of an issue.

@1drummer I have the 3rd Edition of Barry's book and it has a section on page 172 Missing the Watchdog Signal where it explains what happens when the TIU channel first sees track power, not TIU power. Does this help cross-reference to the copy you have?

This is/was all known and Barry did document it. It's not always easy to find exactly the information you need at any one time but it is there.

I'm sorry if I misled, most people who use DCS do implement blocks. That doesn't mean it won't ever work without them. Blocks do help DCS signaling. I like to run a pair of heavier gauge wire from a terminal strip at the TIU output out to a place on the layout where I can feed two or three blocks from. I use a small terminal strip there. Most of the wires from these small terminal strip are 16ga (I used what I had, 18ga is sufficient) and soldered to the track. I have no problem with a single pair of these feeding 20' of track, the point being you don't have to implement a big number of blocks

Your layout is coming along nice. I wanted to do around the room but I had too many room access places to contend with.

@1drummer I have the 3rd Edition of Barry's book and it has a section on page 172 Missing the Watchdog Signal where it explains what happens when the TIU channel first sees track power, not TIU power. Does this help cross-reference to the copy you have?

This is/was all known and Barry did document it. It's not always easy to find exactly the information you need at any one time but it is there.

I'm sorry if I misled, most people who use DCS do implement blocks. That doesn't mean it won't ever work without them. Blocks do help DCS signaling. I like to run a pair of heavier gauge wire from a terminal strip at the TIU output out to a place on the layout where I can feed two or three blocks from. I use a small terminal strip there. Most of the wires from these small terminal strip are 16ga (I used what I had, 18ga is sufficient) and soldered to the track. I have no problem with a single pair of these feeding 20' of track, the point being you don't have to implement a big number of blocks

Your layout is coming along nice. I wanted to do around the room but I had too many room access places to contend with.

I asked Santa for the other two DCS Companions-but he didn’t come through.

Seems to me there should be a way to program the watchdog signal to be ongoing..possibly triggered by voltage that starts the engine-since the Engine communicates back to the TIU



I still want another yard😁

@Alan Mancus posted:

gunrunner John has made circuit boards that will keep generating a watchdog signal so if you need one buy it from GRJ here on the forum!

Proposed Solution to DCS Watchdog in Yard Tracks (DCS-RC WD Gerber Files Added to First Post) | O Gauge Railroading On Line Forum (ogaugerr.com)

Alan

WOW

reading that thread explains a lot..personalities, attitudes, opinions

I had to stop reading it…😁

One thing I did learn, if you seek help in this forum-you better take it, and don’t try to change it or question it😁

it appeared to me that GRJ solved the problem…with his add on.

And that I need to isolate the yards from their current track blocks..and see if lighted bumpers solve my issue

And that you can only have one engine on a siding -so that you can select  it in the remote before applying power

And if not, then maybe the Remote Commander might be the fix  I need-buy will that allow more than one engine in the yard?

will GRJ’s doodad allow more than one engine?

I saw GRJ state $3 in parts for his solution

how much is the final sale price?

can I buy a parts list and a schematic or is it proprietary?

What I really like about this hobby is that one question brings about a bunch more😁

@Tom Tee posted:

There are about 80 blocks on my RR and six independent power districts.  I would be very hesitant to have any non toggled portion of track for my track powered trains.

After doing all this I discovered battery powered R/C.  The Pennsylvania Dutch say "Too soon oldt, too late schmardt".

And how much does it cost to convert an engine?

I’ve only got 23 -



I say, only dumb dogs can’t learn new tricks 😁

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