HEY, it works!

A friend was gracious enough to loan me his digitrax system and I connected it my layout.  As mentioned, previously, I set up one of the four DC blocks to be able to switch to DCC or DC.  I put all the blocks to DCC and ran a DCC engine from one yard to the other a distance of 400' going through 12 different blocks.  The whistle was blown often to test to see that the engine was receiving a signal along the full length of the railroad, through all blocks and at the end of blocks: all worked well    

I'm guessing no problems due to all the wiring that was need for the PFM sound system.

The track is all hand laid so  rail is in 3' lengths and a jumper wire is soldered between each length of rail.  Plus more than one set of wires had to be run to each block to get the PFM chuffing to work effectively over the entire mainline.

I ran the engine into the yard, flipped the toggle to yard DC power and ran the engine to the roundhouse. 

I haven't checked out the NCE system yet. 

I like the digitrax with a knob for speed as that's what I've been using for 70 odd years.   I run all steam (plus electric) so, for the most part, all I need is whistle and bell.  I can control two engines easily with one remote.  Just turn one of the two knobs and the remote, immediately, gives you control of that engine.  Press the dial twice and it reverses direction and puts an arrow indicating direction. 

The system is very easy to connect to the railroad: two wires from the power source into the main station and two more wires from the station to the tracks.

The engine tested was a BLI GN S-2.  The engine automatically knows if the track is DC or DCC and runs accordingly.

I need to find out if engine receivers are also that sophisticated as I want to be able to run the engine into the roundhouse on DC power.  Also, I want to be able to run the DCC engines on DC. 

I've got way to many engines so it's not practical (also financial)  to convert all of them.  I'm figuring 10 or so converted to DCC having full sound functions.

Also, During operating sessions, railroaders may have engines but no layout and they can bring their engines over to run on the GNRW.

DCC digitrax 01DCC digitrax 02

 

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Thanks, Mike.

===========

Cool.
Put the DC operated switcher on the other throttle, dialed in 0 and she ran (one digitrax can run two engines at once, two knobs).  The switcher didn't run very fast but I'm guessing a CV can be changed for that.  Kind of like the old Lionel: AC but put a DC 'override' onto the rails.
Another nice option for digitrax; don't know if the other systems have the ability to run one DC engine.

Sam I have the MRC But never tried to run 2 locos at the same time, but I did have to buy the 8am booster to run O gauge!

Mike

USMC 5/11 Battalion Oscar Battery 155 Big Guns!

Semper Fi !

Menards addiction Meeting member! /  LCCA# 41824

Mike,

I'll probably also buy the 8 amp as it doesn't cost that much more: more power is good.

====================

New improved tonnage ratings for the motive power!

Got some more PM done on the lower yard.

A friend talked me into using new steel wheels (intermountain) so a lot of cars got new wheel sets.  I also had a lot of kadee wheel sets.  Will need to buy more.

The wheel sets definitely make the car roll better.  Also, nice 'wheel sounds' when the train passes.

 

The old:

wheel set replacement 01

And the new:

 

wheel set replacement 02

 

Did some DCC testing with a full train.

GN S-2 4-8-4 at Steven's pass:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dy2gX47mqyU  

GN S-2 at Chumstick canyon trestle:

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjTBA9apMWo

GN S-2 at Everett (camera battery died on this last video):

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOKlwb3GQGU

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Last of the DCC testing for digitrax.

Going through one double cross over, the engine had a momentary short (overload lights came on my panel for a 'blink of the eye') but, I'm guessing, the decoder has a capacitor to keep the train running. 

Videos:

UP 8500 turbine at Tye.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTMQK9Gf-ZA   

UP 8500 turbine at Hillyard:

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jd0EvVIojA4

 

GNRR313

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Replacing wheel sets.

Have to watch on putting 'insulated' side of both wheel sets in the truck when they are metal.  

Also, had two metal trucks where the metal sides of the new wheels were, occasionally, shorting out by touching the sides of the metal truck.

The bulk of my trucks are all plastic. 

I had a lot of, what I believe, Walthers wheel sets (brass axles with plastic wheels) that I put on a few decades ago and were still 'rolling' well and didn't have to replace them.

A lot of the replaced wheels had rusty axles.

I find it best to replace versus using any oil as that will 'only gum up the works, over time'.  Dry graphite is a good substitute but I just stick with new axles with no lubricant.  

Thanks, Mike.

There's always something to do.

===========

More PM of the layout.

After PM'ing some of the cars in Seattle, it was time to give them a test on the mainline.  Three derailed immediately leaving the yard, crossing a double crossover and they went onto the bench.  The rest of the mainline everything worked great.

Used an SP AC-5 cab forward to test the cars.

Figure I might as well video it while testing!

SP AC-5 at Skykomish: By accident, I have a car about 2/3rds into the train where it sounds like a prototypical flat wheel on one of the cars.  The light at the back top of the engine was for the fireman to check, at night, the exhaust to see how efficient his fire was doing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2zs2Z3cPCQ  

SP AC-5 at Tye:

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqSBKyS-GeQ   

SP AC-5 at Chumstick canyon trestle:

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRkX8lsBYww

SP AC-5 at Steven's pass:

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAqZci_c6JE

SP AC-5 entering St. Paul's freight yard: The St Paul's yard is not as long as Seattle's yard thus, the train exceeds yard length but the drill track is long enough that the switcher at the end of the drill track can get to the back of the train.    The train crosses a double slip switch installed to save space in the yard (the only turnout that I bought as it was easier to buy a slip switch versus making one!).

 

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lRoWUSqcMA

 

SP AC-9 leaving Seattle's freight yard: Very short 'clip' of SP AC-9 leaving Seattle's freight yard. The engine wasn't functioning right so the SP AC-5 was it's 'backup'!  

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-S93Md3fA8

GNRR314

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More PM using the 3rd throttle.

I like having the bulbs as backups to the CB's as they provide a quick reference that there is a short, plus the throttle's CB doesn't 'pop'.

I think I've figured out how to easily break the DCC mainline into blocks without actually doing it.  If a short occurs, I'll just turn off the existing DC block toggles that the DCC routes through until the short is eliminated.  I see no easy way to easily break up the mainline into DCC blocks and still have the option to also switch to DC without adding a lot of extra toggles.

More videos:

DM&IR 2-8-8-4 yellowstone crossing Chumstick canyon trestle:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ajwlZbrlH0   

D&RGW 4-6-6-4 challenger at Hillyard:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grLOS_KrlTw

Memory lane!

While putting new wheel sets on the freight cars in Seattle, it was fun looking at 'reefers' that are no longer made.

Some of these cars date back to the 60's.

A very nice wood kit:

GNRR315

Just a plastic car but, I think, train miniature (TM) but unusual.

 

GNRR316

While I did use up all but 20 wheel sets of the 200 that just came in, when the

wheels roll a foot without pushing the car where it started at the uncoupling ramp (see following picture), it's hard to justify replacing them.  The axles and wheels are, virtually, new.   A few decades ago, I purchase a 'ton' of replacement trucks, but, over time, the ones that used to roll freely, needed the intermountain wheel sets.

 

GNRR317GNRR318

I remember when TM came out with these 'state of maine' cars.  Each hobby shop only had a few of them so I had to go to several HS to get the set that I wanted.

I always thought it looked cool having a 'string of them' in a train.

 

GNRR319

Another old wood kit with a beer that only our grandfathers remember!

 

GNRR320

I only remember Nestles!

 

 

GNRR321

A metal sided reefer by Varney.

 

GNRR322

Even has a coupler that, I think, predates Kadee (the two do work together).

 

GNRR323

Another old metal sided Varney car.

 

GNRR324

Well, all cars in the Seattle yard are converted.  Now to test them in the yard and on the mainline.

 

GNRR325

First test worked for one string of cars.  A GN C-1 0-8-0 switcher pushing 47 cars into the yard.

Video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SA6tA3pbwaw      

Not exactly scale speed through the yard but, still, a good test!

 

 

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samparfitt posted:

Memory lane!

While putting new wheel sets on the freight cars in Seattle, it was fun looking at 'reefers' that are no longer made.

Some of these cars date back to the 60's.

A very nice wood kit:

GNRR315

Just a plastic car but, I think, train miniature (TM) but unusual.

 

GNRR316

While I did use up all but 20 wheel sets of the 200 that just came in, when the

wheels roll a foot without pushing the car where it started at the uncoupling ramp (see following picture), it's hard to justify replacing them.  The axles and wheels are, virtually, new.   A few decades ago, I purchase a 'ton' of replacement trucks, but, over time, the ones that used to roll freely, needed the intermountain wheel sets.

 

GNRR317GNRR318

I remember when TM came out with these 'state of maine' cars.  Each hobby shop only had a few of them so I had to go to several HS to get the set that I wanted.

I always thought it looked cool having a 'string of them' in a train.

 

GNRR319

Another old wood kit with a beer that only our grandfathers remember!

 

GNRR320

I only remember Nestles!

 

 

GNRR321

A metal sided reefer by Varney.

 

GNRR322

Even has a coupler that, I think, predates Kadee (the two do work together).

 

GNRR323

Another old metal sided Varney car.

 

GNRR324

Well, all cars in the Seattle yard are converted.  Now to test them in the yard and on the mainline.

 

GNRR325

First test worked for one string of cars.  A GN C-1 0-8-0 switcher pushing 47 cars into the yard.

Video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SA6tA3pbwaw      

Not exactly scale speed through the yard but, still, a good test!

 

 

Sam, you sure know how to put a smile on a guys face! Just seeing the cars and the story to go along with it sure makes for a happy man! Lucky you!

Mike

USMC 5/11 Battalion Oscar Battery 155 Big Guns!

Semper Fi !

Menards addiction Meeting member! /  LCCA# 41824

Got back from a railroader (see next post for pictures of his layout) that uses digitrax on his N gauge layout.

He said that a common ground and running also with DC may create problems.

The first thing  I did, when I got home, was run a DCC engine while operating the yards with the DC throttle and all works well.

A nice mod:

The remotes need to have the 9 volt battery removed after each operating session.  A big hassle but Bob cut a slit in the back of the remote and then slides a piece of plastic between one contact to break the connection.

DCC digitrax 03

Digitrax also doesn't recommend rechargeable 9 volt batteries because they only charge to about 7 volts.  He used NIMH (nickle metal hydride) which charges to 9.6volts (I used NIMH batteries in my RC airplanes).

 

DCC digitrax 04

Location to get telephone connectors to make extension cords.

 

DCC digitrax 05

A booster  (PTB100) is, sometimes, required when programming an engine.

 

DCC digitrax 06

Interface from you PC to digitrax.

 

DCC digitrax 07

Location to get kit connectors for decoders:

Just cut off for how many wires, needed.

Female end:

 

DCC digitrax 08

Male end.

 

DCC digitrax 09

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PM'ing layout.

I've run a good dozen trains up and down the mainline and a D&RGW L-105 challenger came off the track at two locations.  After checking the track, both places had too wide of a gauge and the drivers were falling between the rails. 

Amazing how several different engines plus about 400 different freight cars have passed these two location without any problems.  Either the engine's gauge is a little narrow or the tire width is more to 'scale' ie, narrower than my other engines!

GNRR326GNRR327

Used this DCC engine to test while running DC in the yard to insure no interference between the two. 

 

GNRR328

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Sam, I am starting to think your a little confused between PM and the fun of running Trains! Don't  take me wrong I think its a great excuse! But come on Fun is Fun! SO lets call it what it is! FUN RUNNING TRAINS! LOL

Mike

USMC 5/11 Battalion Oscar Battery 155 Big Guns!

Semper Fi !

Menards addiction Meeting member! /  LCCA# 41824

Mike,

When I had a lot of problems on the railroad during the last operating session, it wasn't fun.  But now that I've diagnosed what the problems are and fixing them, it's a lot of fun, plus I like video taping while operating the trains.   I'm sure glad that I've got that 'topside creeper' as that out of gauge track was 5' high and 3' back from the edge of the layout.   It's easily paying for itself.

I know Sam, I just had to pull your leg! I love the videos also! Please keep posting! Most of it is my neck of the woods anyways!

Mike

USMC 5/11 Battalion Oscar Battery 155 Big Guns!

Semper Fi !

Menards addiction Meeting member! /  LCCA# 41824

Some videos of Bob Lawson's layout that, previously, I showed pictures of that is one of the most detailed layouts that I've ever visited.

Videos are from the engineers viewpoint:

Tons of detail: people, vehicles, telephone wires, etc.  The passenger cars interiors are even detailed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?...DQz_j9UnU&t=109s  

pictorial view of his river scene video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlRbJnMofRI

Pictorial view of railroad video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_c9qTOcLu4c&t=49s

All better again.

Using a friend's digitrax, I was re-addressing my three DCC engines.

The first two went great (The two BLI GN S-2's).  The third was a disaster (scaletrains UP 8500 turbine).   After putting in the new address, nothing moved. 

Another friend came over with his laptop JMRI software and checked out the turbine.  After reading the manual (who does that!), it said best to update the decoder on the programming track and do each unit, one at a time (of the 3 units).

Well, we had a good time as he brought over some of his DCC engines so we ran trains, video taped them, told 'railroad' stories, had pizza and, also, fixed the turbine.  All three units have their own decoder: I was surprised the tender had a

decoder: just for the tender light.   Separate decoders is nice: no wires between units.

All's good again in the GN world   

https://www.youtube.com/watch?...amp;feature=youtu.be  

On Thursday, I put my order in for digitrax and it should be here on Monday.

bummer:

UPS tracking says the package is at their main facility, only about 7 miles from my house

but UPS doesn't deliver on week ends so, not until Monday.

Sharonville,  OH,  United States02/03/201812:29 A.M.Arrival Scan

GNRR330

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Nice video Sam, But sometimes don't you hate having tracking numbers, just to see what your waiting for is just down the road. I know sometimes I wish I could just go get it, but nobody is there!

Mike

USMC 5/11 Battalion Oscar Battery 155 Big Guns!

Semper Fi !

Menards addiction Meeting member! /  LCCA# 41824

New delivery.

Now that's fast.  Order the digitrax from Tony's in Vermont at noon on Thursday and they said it would get to me on Tuesday via UPS.  UPS delivered it around 2 PM on Saturday (didn't know they had Saturday deliveries without paying an additional charge). 

Got everything connected and all is working well.  cool.

The only problem I had was having to read the instructions (bummer).

Didn't have the power going to the transceiver panel.

Have to plug the throttles into the transceiver panel to get them to operate remotely.

 Only ran the engine a few feet, so far.

Need to start walking around to see if there are any 'dead' spots.

The 10 lb box.  The smaller box are some RC airplane parts that were delivered at the same time.

DCC digitrax 10

Lots of parts.

Besides the main starter set, got reverse loop system, switch machine system to automatically throw the reverse loop switches, programming booster, PC interface, a Wow 101 steam decoder and 10' of decoder wire.

 

 

DCC digitrax 11

Command station.

DCC digitrax 12

UR92 duplex transceiver panel.

 

DCC digitrax 13

No room to store duplex, wireless throttles near the main dispatchers panel so mounted them on the other side of the steps. 

 

DCC digitrax 14

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More testing of mainline, cars and new DCC.

Turbine pulling Seattle cars full length of mainline to and back from St. Paul.

One car came off and another came off with pizza size metal wheels (both on bench).

Nice detail on the turbine:

walkway lights for crew.

GNRR331

Lighted steps for crew.  Marker lights from white, red and green selection.

 

GNRR332

Might as well take pictures while testing the GNRW.

 

GNRR333GNRR334GNRR335GNRR336GNRR337GNRR338

A few freight cars with 'not so common' railroads.

 

GNRR339GNRR340

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A new day.

Nice defaults on the digitrax.

Went to the basement to test more cars and the remotes shut down after 20 minutes of inactivity plus no need to re-connect, physically, with the transceiver panel (which is mounted on the ceiling and would be a hassle to reconnect for each operating session), eliminating a need for a second panel at 'ground' level.

Set up the drill (spur) track to handle DCC. 

Needed another toggle to route DCC to the drill track since the  'mainline' toggle only provides power to the yard.   The drill track is a 20' long track running to the yard yet doesn't interfere with the mainline track.

Ordering some basic decoders for the switchers.  Figure I don't need a bunch of chuffing when using the switchers. I've got enough switchers that I can have some DCC and others DC. 

With the DCC installed, only the roundhouse will not be DCC powered. 

GNRR365

The supplied coupler on the UP turbine does not uncouple from the kadee couplers on an uncoupling ramp so a kadee coupler was added.  The uncoupling ramps are beyond arm's reach to do manually.

 

UP 8500 HP turbine 17

So much for that idea!

Scaletrains left the safety chains not connected to the trucks so the engine can negotiate sharp curves.  Having 48" minimum, I thought I'd attach them.  

Those little hooks are plastic and very fragile and it just snapped off.  A hole would have to be drilled and a hook made out of brass wire would have to be used.

 

UP 8500 HP turbine 18

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