G Scale Model Train Forum banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
3,001 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have a large mostly LGB layout that runs both indoors (in a crawl space under my home and in the garage) as well as outdoors.



Additionally I built a trailer mounted portable layout to take to train shows etc. to promote our local club.



The layouts are run primarily on analog track power but recently I decided to add the capability to run them on MTS/DCC mainly for when I have visitors. This would enable multiple operators using different remote controls.

I have too many non-decoder equipped locomotives to consider converting totally to MTS/DCC but enough to make it practical to switch to MTS/DCC on occasion to run the layouts with decoder equipped locomotives that I do have.

I have two primary concerns about my LGB MTS equipment which are:

1. The LGB Central Station 2 and one Loco Remote with transmitter and receiver have the "P" upgrade but another Loco Remote and Universal Remote and their transmitters and receiver do not have the "P" upgrade.

What improvement in MTS/DCC locomotive operations would I find if I upgraded the addiitonal remotes, transmitters and receivers to the "P" upgrade?

2. I have several reverse loops that I currently control with separate electrical blocks but occasionally a loco or caboose will momentarily short out as it breaches the reverse polarities due the train to being too long for the reversing block.

This has never harmed anything running on analog track power but could it burn something up if I had a reverse polarity short running on MTS/DCC?

I just have a very basic understanding of MTS/DCC and for now I am just trying to set things up where I can switch between analog and MTS/DCC power on the various layouts according to whether the locos are decoder equipped and how many operators are present.

I would appreciate any comments or suggestions (other than a total conversion to MTS/DCC which is not a consideration).

Thanks,

Jerry McColgan
 

·
Super Modulator
Joined
·
20,525 Posts
I'll address one of your questions, but as usual, I feel that we need to know more about what you want to do first. (and I know you want to know all the options before you make your decision! )

If you want to set up your layout to be able to handle DC analog or DCC, how much money are you willing to spend? The reason is how "automated" and to what "granularity" is the ability to switch between DC and DCC?

Examples:

would you have only 2 modes, entire layout DC or entire layout DCC?
If not the whole thing, then in three or 4 "Sections", following the organization of your layout?
Can you spend $60 for each reversing section? And if so, can you handle a special switch to turn off the autoreversers when running on DC?

Regards, Greg
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
3,001 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Hi Greg,

Perhaps this is the best way to answer your questions:

The layout(s) are interconnected but also individually isolated so that I can connect or disconnect any of the separate sections from the others. Normally I operate each section isolated from the others except for when I want to run a train from one section onto another (as when I am running a train from an inside yard to the outside main lines).

The sections include Crawl Space (including separate controls for the main line and for the inside loop); garage (upper and lower decks can be operated with single or dual controls); and outside layout (dual main lines).



For my present purposes I am only immediately concerned with the crawl space layouts and my objective is to run the main line and the inner loop either with individual analog power supplies (Jumbo and 51070) or to switch the main line to LGB MTS via a Central Station 2 and to then switch the inner loop to being powered by a LGB MTS Booster.

A further switch is included to enable me to switch the inner loop's power (LGB 50111) to either analog power to the 51070 or MTS power to the 55090:



In effect, with all three switches to the left both mainline and inner loop would be powered by individual analog power units or with all three switches to the right they would both be under MTS with the main line powered by the Central Station and the inner loop powered by the MTS Booster.

Prior to switching from analog to MTS I would (under analog power) remove all non-decoder equipped locos from the main line and inner loop (parking them on sidings) and drive decoder equipped locos out on to the mainline and inner loop.

My intention would be instant conversion to and from analog to MTS with the flip of 3 switches.

I would not anticipate any additional changes because the only digital operations would be the operations of the locomotives which already have factory installed decoders.

As for expenses I have the Central Station 2 and several Loco Remotes along with transmitters and receivers plus I've ordered a new 55090 Booster

"Can you spend $60 for each reversing section?" Regarding this I could but I would not want to because it would complicate analog operations. The simple solution for me would be to leave the reversing sections as electrical blocks where I would simply reverse the polarity with a DPDT switch as I currently do.

Once I have everything in the crawl space working the way I want I would then advance to figuring out how to extend the MTS power to the outside and garage layouts but first I would probably wait and see how much I like and use MTS in the crawl space.

As for the modes, each layout would be "sorted out" individually. I seldom run indoors and outside on the same day. Since they are (fully) isolated from each other normally it would not be a problem to leave all but one or two on analog while I ran the other(s) on MTS.

The 5 amps of the MTS system would probably be insufficient for some of the trains I like to run outside so if I ever decided to convert the outside layout to DCC it might be a totally different system. Currently I neither have nor plan on running any decoder equipped trains outside. For the outside layout I would probably work out a Analog/DCS switching system instead.

Regards,

Jerry

Posted By Greg Elmassian on 04/16/2008 9:55 AM
I'll address one of your questions, but as usual, I feel that we need to know more about what you want to do first.
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
3,001 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Why?

It's no more complicated than getting two wires from the wall outlet converted to DC or MTS and then two wires to the two rails. What could be complicated about that? :)



Cheers,

Jerry

Posted By Cougar Rock Rail on 04/16/2008 1:48 PM
I think you need to hire a consultant, Jerry. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif" border=0>/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/tongue2.gif" border=0>:D" border=0>
Keith
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
3,001 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
As a secondary measure to handle MTS/DCC on my smaller shop and trailer layouts I just bought a couple of LGB Central Stations (original models) on eBay for $50 each.

I have a LGB Universal Remote and Loco Remote that do not have the "P" upgrade so I will use them with the old Central Stations as (tethered and wireless) remotes for those smaller layouts or as analog (tethered and wireless) remotes on the outside layout via the LGB 51070.

If all I am going to do is to run locomotives on MTS )at least for the small layouts) I doubt that I will notice much difference between the Central Station 2 and remotes with the "P" upgrade and the Central Station 1 and remotes running serial operations.

This will allow my granddaughters to run multiple trains on the same tracks of the trailer layout at the same time as well as allow me to fiddle with the shop layout which is not much more than an oval running around the walls.

Am I missing anything?

Jerry
 

·
Super Modulator
Joined
·
20,525 Posts
You will find that DCC itself is much less track wiring, and the automatic reversers will eliminate switches and are much less complicated.

But, it seems you want to be able to switch over to DC, and you will continue to have the attendant complexity, no hope there.

Regards, Greg
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
3,001 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Hi Greg,

Yes I do intend to keep my DC capabililty. I see it as simplicity rather than complicated.

Unlike depending on electronic circuits which can be complicated to set up and complicated to trouble shoot I much prefer a hard wired circuit to operate my turnouts and reverse loops. Two wires and a couple of diodes is a far more dependable and easier circuit to trouble shoot with nothing more than a multi-meter.

It is also a heck of a lot cheaper. 150+ electric turnouts have probably cost me on average less than $5 each to control. I would hate to think what it would have cost with MTS/DCC and I have never had a single problem with operating them other than occasionally replacing a half wave circuit with a full wave circuit. Of course the cost of wiring should be added but I've always elected for the cheapest available wiring for the controls sometimes using free telephone wires.

For track power I've used heavier wiring but I would have done that with MTS/DCC as well.

MTS/DCC has a lot to offer depending on how one wishes to run his railroad. For me, my only interest so far is in locomotive control.

Going back to my original questions:

*******************************************************************

I have two primary concerns about my LGB MTS equipment which are:

1. The LGB Central Station 2 and one Loco Remote with transmitter and receiver have the "P" upgrade but another Loco Remote and Universal Remote and their transmitters and receiver do not have the "P" upgrade.

What improvement in MTS/DCC locomotive operations would I find if I upgraded the addiitonal remotes, transmitters and receivers to the "P" upgrade?

2. I have several reverse loops that I currently control with separate electrical blocks but occasionally a loco or caboose will momentarily short out as it breaches the reverse polarities due the train to being too long for the reversing block.

This has never harmed anything running on analog track power but could it burn something up if I had a reverse polarity short running on MTS/DCC?

***************************************************************

Thanks,

Jerry



Posted By Greg Elmassian on 04/17/2008 8:52 PM
You will find that DCC itself is much less track wiring, and the automatic reversers will eliminate switches and are much less complicated.
But, it seems you want to be able to switch over to DC, and you will continue to have the attendant complexity, no hope there.
Regards, Greg
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
3,001 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I should add that I've decided that I can add MTS/DCC cheaply to the garage and outside layouts by buying inexpensive ($50 each) Central Station 1's and using them this way:



This should enable me to drive decoder equipped locos outside under either the crawl space Central Station 2 or with the Central Station 1 (#3) in the garage.

Once the trains are outside I can disconnect the Central Stations that got them there and instead run the trains with Central Station 1's (#1 & #2). Central Station 1 (#2) would be used to control the trains until whichever trains desired were on the inner loop at which time that line would be disconnected from CS1 #2 and taken over by CS1 #1.

It happens that I prefer tethered remotes so it would be quite easy to run the outside layout that way but if friends were over or I wanted to, it would be easy to plug in a transmitter and receiver and run the outside layout via wireless remotes.

If I should surprise myself and discover that I really like MTS operations (or discover that I do not care for it) I will have had a minimal expense of getting into MTS/DCC operations.

My objective is maximum benefit at minimum expense. This may not be the way MTS/DCC was intended to be installed but I see no reason why it should not work (for me anyway - this is NOT a recommendation for others to do anything).

Regards,

Jerry
 

·
Super Modulator
Joined
·
20,525 Posts
Jerry you quoted me but responded to something I did not say.

The track wiring on DCC and the controllers are WAY less complicated than your current DC situation, and WAY WAY less than the additional stuff you will need to add to switch between the two.

Yes, in the case of turnouts, DCC remote control is more expensive than NON REMOTE CONTROL hardwired switches, but comparing a remote wireless system to a hardwired non remote control system is not really apples to apples.

Also, maybe the hardware internally is more complex than a DPDT switch, but it's way more simple to have the DCC autoreversers do it automatically, rather than switching them manually.

But this is not to be a debate over DCC vs DC.....

Sure, I agree, you can add any other system simply to the your simple loops outside.

You seem to want to stay with MTS hardware, so your answer to your question seems reasonable. I would use a single system and a few more switches to swap between DC and DCC all over, not limiting myself to certain parts of the layout. I hear your preference for tethered remotes, but I would use wireless systems.

But those are my preferences.

I see no problems with what you are asking.

Regards, Greg
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
3,001 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Hi Greg,
I was not trying to suggest that you said something you did not say but was simply trying to explain my situation and preferences.

It happens that a technique I use to resolve issues that confuse me is to voice my "problem" along with my "solution" to someone else (often my wife) because (as with my schematics) often it is the process of explaining what I am trying to do to others that opens my eyes to the solution that had been eluding me.

Each step is an awakening for me. So far I've managed (in a week) to build my switch assembly but as yet I have not reached the point of everything working. I am still awaiting the MTS Booster and a "P" transmitter plus an additional 55111 power supply to complete the wiring.

I just got out the instruction books because the mainline runs on DC but the coaches do not even illuminate under MTS so obviously I've done something wrong.

I could not figure an easy way to extend MTS to the garage and outside layouts until it dawned on me that $50 Central Station 1's was by far the cheapest way to do it.

Now I've got to figure out how to run a Universal Remote and or a Loco Remote.

Thanks,

Jerry
 

·
Super Modulator
Joined
·
20,525 Posts
Sounding out a solution is a time honored method, although my wife often wonders why I talk to myself!

Weird about coaches not illuminating under MTS, are they bulbs or leds?

Regards, Greg
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
3,001 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
I think the lights simply are telling me that I hooked up the wrong wires to the Central Station (from the Central Station to the rails) or that I need to push a button somewhere.

I changed my wiring because the 2nd 55111 is not here yet so I wired it to power both the Central Station and the analog throttle (with a switch to flip tracks between the two inputs).

Sometimes I get too smart for myself and it takes me awhile to find out what dumb thing I did.

I know so little about MTS that I don't know which buttons to push to make a loco move (no kidding).

I do know the coach lights should illuminate (LGB Chicago Streetcar which is decoder equipped). No streetcar lights means no MTS power to the tracks because the Jumbo analog power works fine on the same rails.

18 wires from my 3 switches is enough for me to screw something up.

Jerry



Posted By Greg Elmassian on 04/19/2008 2:10 PM
Sounding out a solution is a time honored method, although my wife often wonders why I talk to myself!
Weird about coaches not illuminating under MTS, are they bulbs or leds?
Regards, Greg
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
3,001 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
I am making progress. I found my wiring error that was causing the confusing power situation and now the switch to go from analog to MTS is working fine.

The next problem was that the lights on the streetcar would not come on. Eventually I figured out that I had to push #1 instead of #9. Then I figured out that #9 controlled the headlights.

Next the streetcar ran the wrong way. I thought that would be simple so I reversed the wires from the Central Station to the tracks. No help there so I put the wires back the way they were and realized I am now going to have to reprogram every single decoder equipped loco etc. to run the reverse of the factory decoder setting.

So far I have figured out two things:

1. the main advantage I have discovered of MTS so far is that it keeps the streetcar lights on when stopped (I knew it would but it is still nice to see it).

2. I have not noticed any difference between tethered serial or parallel Loco Remotes in how fast they control things with the streetcars.

I'm making slow progress (or should I say progress slowly).

Jerry
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top