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Discussion Starter #1
When people talk about MTS/DCC a common benefit that is mentioned is that it eliminates so much wiring.

Now that I've decided to add MTS/DCC capability to my layout (not convert to but simply add the ability to switch between analog track power and MTS/DCC) I suddenly realized that operating with MTS/DCC may not be as simple as it sounded.

For years people have been telling me that I could have saved so much work and so much wiring because I wired all of my sidings (where I park my trains) with switches so I can turn off the sidings holding the trains that I am not running.

The first "benefit" I liked about MTS/DCC was that my coach lights stay illuminated when I pull a train into a station.

Then I thought it was nice that I could remotely turn the loco lights on and off.

Then I realized that I CANNOT turn the coach lights off.

Then I realized that if I did not have my switches to enable me to turn off all the sidings with trains parked on them that the 5 amps of my MTS Central Station and even an extra 5 amps from my MTS Booster could not even come close to having the power to light up every coach I have parked on every siding. Heck, it would not even be enough to power the lights just on the coaches being pulled by locos with factory sound and factory decoders. Besides, who would want dozens of coaches brightly illuminated (and burning out expensive light bulbs) while they are just sitting parked on sidings without any intention of running them that particular day?

I would guess that the coach lights of the six (average) coaches I pull with each passenger train probably use as much current (amps) as the loco and sound system I am running with them.

This means that even a simple two trains (12 coaches) that are running on MTS/DCC would need sufficient power to keep all 12 coaches illuminated even if one loco with one sound system is turned off. If the inner loop is being powered by the MTS Booster and it also happened to have two trains running on it I could have another two trains with two sound systems and another 12 illuminated coaches to power. My block controlled passing sidings would reduce the power demand on the Central Station to just the train being run but at the lost benefit of a lighted train on the passing siding.

The result would be a total of only 10 amps to power 4 locomotives (assuming multi-unit diesels are not being run) and 4 sound systems and 24 coaches to get the benefit of running the MULTI-TRAIN SYSTEM (MTS) and where would extra power come from to illuminate perhaps another 60 coaches parked on the sidings if I did not have my switches to turn those sidings off?

Am I missing something or did I need my block wiring to control power to my sidings after all.

Jerry
 

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Jerry:

Actually no you are not missing anything in that department. Of course you could always put functon decoders in ever single coach and turn them of one buy one or as a group (I give you a discount on the purchase of 100:D).

Also you do need block insulation if you ever want to engage into automated train operation, unless you use much more primitive track magnets. True automation would be based on train/locomotive recognition and needs track segments to see who is where.

But please don't mistakje my comments for being something negative. DCC is great and it still saves you tons of wires. You want to solve your problem less sophistiacted without the switches turning of the track?

I function decoder plus one relay and you are all set. Now oyu can address the deocder an turn of the track anytime you want to./DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/satisfied.gif
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi Axel,

Thank you for the comments.

After I posted my comments a thought occurred to me and it just might be something I may want to look into for just a few trains.

It happens that I prefer to light my LGB 3080 style coaches etc. with car to car wiring harnesses in turn powered via the tender. This saves me the friction of brushes against the wheels and the cost of ball bearing wheel sets.

This leaves the possibility of a decoder control of the power outlet at the rear of the (mainly LGB Mogul) tenders.

A decoder there (I have no idea what type of decoder I would need) would seem to offer the ability to switch all of the coach lights off at the same time as the loco lights are switched off.

Regards,

Jerry
 

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Jerry, you put a subject on the thread about eliminating block wiring. To most people, that's all about not having to have separate blocks to isolate DC locomotives.

DCC delivers on this promise. Also the availability of autoreversers minimizing the blocks needed for reversing loops. I can explain this separately, but it does reduce wiring significantly.

You focus more on being able to turn off coach lights, and the current they draw also.

Most DCC people running lots of passenger cars will change over to LEDs because it's not uncommon for a passenger car to draw up to one amp with incandescent bulbs. This problem exists for DC and DCC, but of course if you have all the layout powered and you leave a bunch of passenger cars on the line it will draw more current.

As Axel points out, a simple decoder with a relay will solve the problem. You can buy simple decoders for about $23, so if you use one of them for a $600 string of passenger cars, it makes economic sense.

Since you have already wired siding with switches, you can avoid being forced to change lights. If you had started with DCC, you would probably not done all that extra wiring, for example my 7 track switchyard has all tracks powered, just one pair of wires powering the entire thing.

You could use any simple decoder to turn things on and off, and an inexpensive relay to switch as many amps as your passenger car string needs.

Regards, Greg
 

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Jerry - another thing to consider is to use the LGB 12070 switch pack that mounts on the back of the EPL switch drive to bridge a gap on the siding. That way the siding - and your lighted coaches - won't receive power until the turnout is switched to the sidiing.

I don't have nearly as many passenger coaches as you do, but mine draw well over 3 amps. This is really the reason I added a 55090 booster to my system. The passenger coaches are well distributed over my two blocks, providing enough juice for both locos and lighted coaches.

Even with the addition of the 55090, I still have only four wires going to the layout.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi Greg,

My approach to MTS/DCC is that of a complete novice.

I readily admit that I may use terms such as block wiring in a way that might be different from others because I've designed and wired my layouts from scratch without any prior knowledge or experience (other than a O gauge layout that I also designed and wired without assistance).

When you do something by yourself you (I) simply use terms that seem to fit the situation without awareness of how others might interpret those terms.

Apparently "block wiring" means different things to different people. To me it simply represents a section of track that is insulated (blocked) from the rest of the layout.

Part of how we approach things is the result of who we are and what our past life experiences have been. I am a retired electrical products sales rep (3M) so after a career of selling wired electrical products I am comfortable with and I prefer hard wired circuits and light bulbs over LED's.

I don't suggest that my way is best. I just do it my way because it never occurs to me not to do it my way.

I also have never had any sort of master (or any other) plan for my layout. I simply put a few pieces of track together and when I want something to happen or run into a problem I do whatever it takes to make the immediate problem go away without concern for how it might conform to any sort of standards.

I don't try to be different. I just don't think about trying to be anything.

Until I hooked up MTS I never thought about turning off the coach lights because I never had any reason to think about doing it with a decoder.

Since LED's would involve work to retrofit to accommodate them and lack the convenience of plug in or screw in (and are not as bright) I prefer light bulbs. My local Radio Shack dealer could not even tell me which end of a diode is positive or how to wire their voltage limiter. My solution was to buy an extra one so I could sacrifice it if necessary to figure out which lead was positive etc.

"it's not uncommon for a passenger car to draw up to one amp with incandescent bulbs. This problem exists for DC and DCC"

This is very true and why I tend to get bigger and bigger power supplies but MTS limits that option. I like multi-engine trains with lots of lighted coaches and I run trains 95% of the time in my darkened crawl space.

Where would I find a $23 simple decoder with a relay and how would I know which decoder to buy and get the information on how to program it?

When one lives in the middle of the woods in central Arkansas and there are no local hobby shops that sell any G Gauge "stuff" or local clubs or anyone within 50 miles (perhaps 100+ miles) who runs MTS or DCC, such information is hard to come by.

My advice to a newbie is always to look for someone locally doing what they want to do. There is NO ONE locally running MTS or DCC. For that matter I am not aware of anyone in the entire State of Arkansas that runs MTS or DCC.

Regards,

Jerry



Posted By Greg Elmassian on 04/22/2008 8:42 PM
Jerry, you put a subject on the thread about eliminating block wiring. To most people, that's all about not having to have separate blocks to isolate DC locomotives.
DCC delivers on this promise. Also the availability of autoreversers minimizing the blocks needed for reversing loops. I can explain this separately, but it does reduce wiring significantly.
You focus more on being able to turn off coach lights, and the current they draw also.
Most DCC people running lots of passenger cars will change over to LEDs because it's not uncommon for a passenger car to draw up to one amp with incandescent bulbs. This problem exists for DC and DCC, but of course if you have all the layout powered and you leave a bunch of passenger cars on the line it will draw more current.
As Axel points out, a simple decoder with a relay will solve the problem. You can buy simple decoders for about $23, so if you use one of them for a $600 string of passenger cars, it makes economic sense.
Since you have already wired siding with switches, you can avoid being forced to change lights. If you had started with DCC, you would probably not done all that extra wiring, for example my 7 track switchyard has all tracks powered, just one pair of wires powering the entire thing.
You could use any simple decoder to turn things on and off, and an inexpensive relay to switch as many amps as your passenger car string needs.
Regards, Greg
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hi Stan,

My 55090 Booster arrived yesterday. I will be using it to power the inside loop.

I will just have to make some adjustments to how I run trains but normally my Jumbo indicates that I seldom actually get up to 5 amps on the inside layout.

Most of my over 5 amp trains are run outside and do not have decoders.

A concern I have is that the Central Stations (unlike the Jumbos) do not have amp meters and I do not know if an amp meter would accurately show the amps going to the MTS powered tracks.

Would you (or anyone) know if an amp meter would measure MTS power?

Thanks,

Jerry



Posted By stanman on 04/22/2008 9:41 PM
Jerry - another thing to consider is to use the LGB 12070 switch pack that mounts on the back of the EPL switch drive to bridge a gap on the siding. That way the siding - and your lighted coaches - won't receive power until the turnout is switched to the sidiing.
I don't have nearly as many passenger coaches as you do, but mine draw well over 3 amps. This is really the reason I added a 55090 booster to my system. The passenger coaches are well distributed over my two blocks, providing enough juice for both locos and lighted coaches.
Even with the addition of the 55090, I still have only four wires going to the layout.
 

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Jerry, you can buy the RampMeter from Tony's Trains. It correctly measures DCC and DC and AC voltage and amps, very useful.

Also DCC itself is not limited in current it can supply, there are DCC boosters that supply up to 25 amps. I use 10 amp boosters. I will wind up using 3 of them due to the current drawn, and my 1 amp each passenger cars.

The $23 decoder is a Lenz, look for the inexpensive ones.

I would look at Tried and True Trains for these, but many people sell Lenz.... there are many other decoders that will be this inexpensive.

Regards, Greg
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hi Greg,

Thanks,

Jerry

Posted By Greg Elmassian on 04/25/2008 12:26 AM
Jerry, you can buy the RampMeter from Tony's Trains. It correctly measures DCC and DC and AC voltage and amps, very useful.
Also DCC itself is not limited in current it can supply, there are DCC boosters that supply up to 25 amps. I use 10 amp boosters. I will wind up using 3 of them due to the current drawn, and my 1 amp each passenger cars.
The $23 decoder is a Lenz, look for the inexpensive ones.
I would look at Tried and True Trains for these, but many people sell Lenz.... there are many other decoders that will be this inexpensive.
Regards, Greg
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I ran into another situation yesterday as I was programming my LGB Mikados.

The Mikados pulling LGB Streamliners draw about 2 amps but the Mikados pulling Aristo-Craft Heavyweights draw about 4 amps.

It became immediately obvious that, because of the MTS Central Station 2's 5 amp limit, I could never run two Mikados pulling Heavyweights or even one Mikado pulling an Aristo Heavyweight consist and another one pulling a LGB Streamliner consist. All of my Moguls and Mikados pull six coach consists (that just happens to be what I like).

I believe the Aristo-Craft lights are rated at 18 volts so I would not be surprised if they start burning out at the higher MTS voltage.

Does anyone happen to be aware of a higher (voltage) rated lamp that would fit the sockets of the Aristo Heavyweights and perhaps might have a lower current draw?

I really am NOT interested in converting to LED's. I want to keep the coaches as they were wired from the factory. Also Aristo coaches are not typically easy to disassemble and reassemble so it is not something that I would want to do unless and until I have to as the result of a burned out light bulb.

On the other hand if I have to disassemble a coach to replace one burned out light I may want to replace all of the lights in that coach with higher voltage rated bulbs with a lower amperage that would be less likely to burn out.

Thanks,

Jerry
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hi Greg,

I am still trying to keep my "investment" in MTS/DCC at a minimum. The LGB Central Station 2 and Booster plus Universal and Loco Remotes were not cheap but since so many LGB locos started coming with decoders I felt I needed to start with MTS/DCC somewhere.

The next thing I knew was that my older but never used MTS components were out of date and only the Central Station 2 was P rated (welcome to the world of computers and electronics).

My efforts to gain advantage from my "free" decoders was getting expensive.

I bought a P rated Loco Remote, Transmitter and Receiver and decided I would use the non-P rated stuff with my LGB analog power supply (or now with the Central Station 1's) where I don't think P or non-P makes a difference.

Now I've figured I can also use them as tethered remotes with the Central Station 2 or as tethered or wireless remotes for the Central Station 1's.

Rather than to chase an ever more expensive higher capacity MTS/DCC system I've decided to stick with my original plan of learning to live within the 5 amp limit and stay with analog track power for anything that calls for more than 5 amps.

I appreciate all of the information and I am still going through a learning phase.

Regards,

Jerry

Posted By Greg Elmassian on 04/25/2008 12:26 AM
DCC itself is not limited in current it can supply, there are DCC boosters that supply up to 25 amps. I use 10 amp boosters. I will wind up using 3 of them due to the current drawn, and my 1 amp each passenger cars.
 

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The good news for you is that LGB locos are typically low current, so living in the 5 amp limit is possible. I run MU diesels so can get to 5 amps in a hurry.

Regards, Greg
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I gave up on looking for the perfect system long ago. Every power choice has its warts.

I remember asking about the 5 amp limit many years ago only to be told there was no need for more than 5 amps.

I also remember being told that there would never be a need for anything more than a 10Mb hard drive, 640K memory, 360K floppy drive, CGA monitor and a 4.77MHz processor. Compared to a Commodore C64 the IBM PC XT seemed like Utopia.

But then at $5,000 for the computer system, $1,400 for dBase, Lotus and Word Perfect, $2,500 for a Laser-Jet printer and $900 for a IBM Selectric III it was a LONG time before I could afford to think about anything better.

I KNOW I'm getting old when the spell checker does not even recognize CGA dBase or XT.

Now we can buy an entire computer system for about the price of a nice locomotive or build a fantastic layout for less than what old personal computer systems used to cost.

Everything is relative and there never is or will be a limit to what we will end up thinking that we will need.

I've had my priorities backward. I should have been a train nut when I was a computer nut and I now should be a computer nut instead of a train nut.

Cheers,

Jerry

Posted By Greg Elmassian on 04/25/2008 8:48 PM
The good news for you is that LGB locos are typically low current, so living in the 5 amp limit is possible. I run MU diesels so can get to 5 amps in a hurry.
Regards, Greg
 

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Posted By Jerry McColgan on 04/26/2008 7:52 AM
I gave up on looking for the perfect system long ago. Every power choice has its warts.
I remember asking about the 5 amp limit many years ago only to be told there was no need for more than 5 amps.
I also remember being told that there would never be a need for anything more than a 10Mb hard drive, 640K memory, 360K floppy drive, CGA monitor and a 4.77MHz processor. Compared to a Commodore C64 the IBM PC XT seemed like Utopia.
But then at $5,000 for the computer system, $1,400 for dBase, Lotus and Word Perfect, $2,500 for a Laser-Jet printer and $900 for a IBM Selectric III it was a LONG time before I could afford to think about anything better.
I KNOW I'm getting old when the spell checker does not even recognize CGA dBase or XT.
Now we can buy an entire computer system for about the price of a nice locomotive or build a fantastic layout for less than what old personal computer systems used to cost.
Everything is relative and there never is or will be a limit to what we will end up thinking that we will need.
I've had my priorities backward. I should have been a train nut when I was a computer nut and I now should be a computer nut instead of a train nut.
Cheers,
Jerry





I am still seeking perfection, but my definition has changed considerably and I am willing to play with less until I find it!

Ah, yes! A 10 meg harddrive... All the storage in the world! Wish I'd had that much, I only had 5!

And "dBase"... what a program! A joy to write programs in "dBase III+"!

I was with ya' up until you ended with your "should'a's"... need to have been and always be a Train Nut! Maybe you should go to Live Steam to rekindle the nuttyness!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/hehe.gif That will also eliminate the need for block wiring altogether, too!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Yep.

Instead of block wiring I could enjoy the thrill of watching my Aristo Mikado engulfed in a butane fire.

I could also enjoy spending about as much time getting the Mikado ready to run and putting it away from running as I normally spent running my trains.

I could enjoy having it modified to eliminate smoke box fires.

Then I could enjoy charging the battery the night before so it would be ready when I might want to run it the next day.

Of course there too is the fun of waiting for the hot loco to cool down before it goes back into its box "until the next time."

But then, since I put the LGB Mikado sound unit into the Aristo tender, my live steam Mikado now sounds like a locomotive instead of a self propelled tea kettle. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/hehe.gif

Unfortunately all power systems have their warts. Even live steam.

Before I rekindle the LS Mike I need to remember to first

1. recharge the battery
2. replace the steam oil
3. add distilled water to the loco
4. add butane to the tender
5. warm water for the preheat
6. install the warm water to preheat the butane
7. turn on the ignition switch
8. turn on the fuel
9. ignite the fuel
10. wait for the pressure to come up
11. still waiting
12. still waiting
13. still waiting

On the other hand with analog track power:

1. turn power on
2. flip switch to siding with loco to be run
3. turn power on to siding

Then - RUN TRAIN.

OK. I like my Aristo live steam Mikado. I just don't like live steam as much as I like the flip of a switch and instant running of analog track power.

Cheers,

Jerry


Posted By Semper Vaporo on 04/26/2008 8:26 AM
Maybe you should go to Live Steam to rekindle the nuttyness!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/hehe.gif" border=0> That will also eliminate the need for block wiring altogether, too!
 

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You're being facetious, ain't ya! /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/tongue.gif

Them ain't "Warts"... them's "Beauty spots". (Are you old enough to have any idea what "those" are?:wow:)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Sometimes even I don't know when I am joking.

I don't take myself seriously so I tend not to take others very seriously either.

It's a hobby and hobbies are all about having fun (not getting serious). :)

Cheers,

Jerry

Posted By Semper Vaporo on 04/26/2008 9:50 AM
You're being facetious, ain't ya!.
 
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