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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I quickly discovered that LGB MTS does not have a standard for what the various Function Keys do.

On one LGB loco F1 might turn a light on and on another LGB loco F1 might blow the whistle. With another loco F4 may turn the sound on but it might be F8 on another loco. I don't even know if all Moguls are programmed the same or if all Mikados are programmed the same (but I doubt it). I still don't know which F Keys turn the smoke on or off - I just keep pushing F Keys until I see smoke.

So what does everyone else do? Do you just live with it and try to remember what every key does with every different loco? Do you make up a check list to remind you of how each loco functions?

Or do you reprogram your locos so that the Function Keys do the same on each of your locos?

I'm lazy and I hate to reinvent the wheel. Rather than come up with my own system I would rather learn from those ahead of me who have worked out their own system.

What about YOU? How do YOU handle the functions of YOUR F Keys?

If you reprogram to a standard, what is that standard? Did you come up with it yourself or is it some sort of universal standard?

How difficult is it to reprogram the keys to a different standard? What are the CV numbers to be changed and what are the values to change them to?

Are there any disadvantages to reprogramming the key functions?

Is there anything else I should know before I start reprogramming function keys?

Thanks,

Jerry
 

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Jerry,

You need to direct your question to Bob Brashear, as he is the MTS guru..

BulletBob

PS On Digitrax you have F0F & F0R for the lites, F1 is the horn/whistle, F2 is the bell..
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Bob and I share several forums. As you know he is highly qualified about MTS so he gets a lot of questions from a lot of people. Of course Bob could answer most if not all of my questions but I would not want to monopolize his time and also I like to get an assortment of ideas from different people so that I can hopefully pick from an assortment of alternative solutions.

If I was going 100% to MTS Bob would be my first choice for answers or I could perhaps find a book for common answers to common problems.

I would of course appreciate comments and suggestions from Bob but I would also appreciate hearing from others.

Regards,

Jerry



Posted By Road Foreman on 04/26/2008 8:23 PM
Jerry,
You need to direct your question to Bob Brashear, as he is the MTS guru..
BulletBob
PS On Digitrax you have F0F & F0R for the lites, F1 is the horn/whistle, F2 is the bell..
 

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RE: Is there a "Standard" for Remote F Key Functions?

Jerry, your question is often asked. Other than F0 for headlight, F1 for bell, and F2 for horn, there seem to be no standards. F8 is often used to mute sound.

The best thing is to follow these, and then look at what is the most common for the decoders you will use the most.

Better quality decoders allow you to remap functions to different function buttons, as you have discerned.

Another consideration is how many functions your controllers can access. For example on my NCE system, functions 0-13 are easy to operate. You can reconfigure the throttle to change buttons and add more functions.

Hope this helps,

Regards, Greg
 

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RE: Is there a "Standard" for Remote F Key Functions?

Actually only Fo has a defination. F1 is often uses for independent lighting and sometime for Bell but has no defination.

In the early days there were only F1-F4 plus F0 and with so many uses for functions no definations were possible. Now with 28 functions and 100os of states a common set is possible but still hard to achieve.

Myself, most of my locomotives have a common set of frequently uysed functions. As I move to 28 functions I will try to totally standaridize them on my layout.

Stan
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Just knowing that there are no common standards is helpful. I did not want to put a lot of effort in working out how I would handle my function keyss only to discover that there was a better way.

While MTS/DCC may have a great amount of capabilities if it would take reading a bunch of manuals to understand them it would be more effort than it would be worth to me.

I've decided to standardize on the LGB Loco Remotes and to use both the original LGB Central Station and Central Station 2 so by limiting myself to what they can do it should minimize my options and learning curve.

Thanks,

Jerry
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I find the LGB MTS instructions to be confusing.

In the case of the LGB 23900 Auto Uncoupling Switchers, what I want to do is to run them back to back (with a sound car in the middle) and NOT use the back coupler on either loco (because it would detach the sound car and the other loco) but instead reprogram the front uncoupler on one loco to function at a different function key than the front uncoupler of the other loco.





That would allow me to independently use the front coupler at either end of the two locos.

I cannot figure out from the instructions how to do this or even if it is possible:

http://1stclass.mylargescale.com/JerryMcColgan/23900_062005.pdf

Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Jerry

Posted By Greg Elmassian on 04/27/2008 7:31 PM
Better quality decoders allow you to remap functions to different function buttons, as you have discerned.
 

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RE: Is there a "Standard" for Remote F Key Functions?

Jerry:

In most cases, you would "consist" the locos and the sound unit, so you could run them from one address, but still use the individual addresses to control that individual loco.

I see the decoder does not support CV 19, so "Advanced consisting" is out. If your MTS system supports "simple consisting" you can still do the same thing, set the addresses of the 3 devices to be unique, then use simple consisting to make all 3 respond to a single address. Use the individual address of either loco to control it's coupler.

Regards, Greg
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi Greg,

I will end up using the LGB Double Heading feature (what I think you are referring to) with my next MTS project (F7 ABA & ABBA's).

The reason I did not want to use double heading with the 23900's was because I wanted to keep the ability to use the keys to control the front and rear uncoupler but only one of each.
Once I got the loco apart I realized the solution was simple because the cables from both front and rear uncouplers were close enough to swap them.

If I understand double heading I would have to select back and forth between the locos to control a single uncoupler but by giving them the same loco address I think I am getting the benefit of single button front or rear uncoupling. I must have rewired one loco at some previous time because it runs backward without being programmed to do so.

I just unplugged both rear uncouplers and plugged the trailing loco's front uncoupler into its rear uncoupler socket.

Now neither rear uncoupler works and the front uncoupler button is uncoupled as the "front uncoupler" but the front of the rear loco's uncoupler is uncoupled as the "rear uncoupler."


It is similar but a bit more complicated than my analog LGB 21900's because the analog locos work straight from the track polarity and track voltage.

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

Unfortunately I have now run into a totally new problem.

The F8 key switches the 23900's from normal to half speed BUT it also switches the LGB 65002 Sound System on and off. This means that when I select half speed for the locos the sound quits.
Someone was not thinking at LGB when they did this.

http://1stclass.mylargescale.com/JerryMcColgan/65002.pdf

Is there any way to disable the F8 sound switch on the 65002?

Thanks,

Jerry
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Just when I get around to programming the LGB F7 ABA and ABBA's for MTS operation I get as far as programming them for double heading only to discover that apparently the LGB Loco Remote does not have the capability of running double headed trains!!! Only the Universal Remote seems capable of double headed operations. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/angry.gif

It seems that with MTS for every step forward there are two steps back. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/sad.gif

I stopped using my Universal Remote and bought Loco Remotes instead not because they were cheaper but because I prefer dial controls over push buttons.

Worse yet I never got around to sending my Universal Remote or its transmitter and receiver in for a P upgrade which is now going to be more complicated and expensive to do.

The icing on the cake is that apparently, while I had intended to order another Loco Remote I was lucky in that I discovered I need another Universal Remote instead only to discover that no one seems to have a Universal Remote left in stock anywhere.

No wonder I like Analog Track Power so much. It's simple to figure out, it works 99.9% of the time and it's a WHOLE LOT cheaper.

I guess I'm back to rewiring (reversing) the track power on the trailing F7A units.

Jerry

Posted By Jerry McColgan on 04/28/2008 12:04 PM
Hi Greg,
I will end up using the LGB Double Heading feature (what I think you are referring to) with my next MTS project (F7 ABA & ABBA's).
 

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RE: Is there a "Standard" for Remote F Key Functions?

Jerry, unfortunately, LGB took some "shortcuts", and did some things "funny", and the equipment is not cheap.

Many of their decoders are not fully functioned as compared to the rest of the DCC market.

Sorry you have to learn this the hard way. I'm not really familar with their entire product line, but maybe their boosters can accept commands from the command station of another manufacture, for example NCE and many others make boosters that will take just about anyone's command station. This modular approach helps the hobbiest have a greater number of options, but modularity also has it's price.

By the way "consisting" allows more than 2 locos to be controlled from a single address, so you don't really hear the term "doubleheading" in DCC. Not a big point, just trying to be helpful.

Regards, Greg
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hi Greg,

Unfortunately this situation (my partial conversion to MTS) has done nothing (for me) but to reconfirm my reasons for avoiding MTS/DCC in the first place.

My first reaction when I learned of MTS/DCC was that it would replicate my computer experiences of planned obsolescence. The more I buy the more committed I become and the more expensive it becomes and the less I can hope to eventually recover from my "investment."

I am not "against" MTS/DCC. I think that it is great IF it is something that really appeals to how someone wants to enjoy this hobby. For me on the other hand I am pretty much happy with the Chuff Chuff, Woo Woo and Ding Ding of analog track power.

I used to know far more than anyone I knew (non-professionals) about computer hardware and software. This led many to presume that I liked computers. The truth was that I only spent the money and time because I wanted what computers could do to help me with my job and I only put all that money and work into learning about them because there was no one ahead of me to do it for me.

Now I am back at square one. I find that it is taking a lot of work and money BEFORE I can sort out what MTS/DCC can even do for me.

That really is my primary objection to MTS/DCC. One almost has to be an expert (or to have an expert as a close personal friend) before he/she can even make a reasonable estimate of what MTS/DCC is going to cost and what (desired) benefits will have been achieved from that investment.

Looking back it was both smart and dumb (in my opinion) for LGB to have started putting decoders into their locomotives. It was long term smart because I have finally decided to spend the money to install MTS onto my layout but it was short term dumb because I was dragged into MTS screaming against paying for it and losing some analog features in the process (like low voltage sounds).

Now I am frustrated and annoyed because I need a LGB 55015P (parallel version) to complete my MTS conversion yet there seem to be none available and the DiMAX Navigator does not seem to be a practical substitute because it appears to need a Central Station 3 or comparable Massoth product to work properly.

There may be alternative products out there but as far as I know there is no easy way to sort out what various products are functionally interchangeable with LGB MTS products (like the Universal Remote) and the risk of buying something that might or might not work is a risk I would not want to take.

If LGB and Massoth had been American companies perhaps they might have produced more detailed and understandable (by the novice) documentation which might have resulted in a much greater appreciation for MTS/DCC (by me anyway). It would have been OK for them to be German companies if their instructions had been less difficult to understand and sufficiently detailed.

Regards,

Jerry
 

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RE: Is there a "Standard" for Remote F Key Functions?

Actually there are very simple ways to get into DCC, and entry level systems, and ones very easy to use, and ones that have a variety of cabs available, from simple to complex and highly functional.

The LGB system is a mess. It was not well thought out, and they did not include a lot of features found in "mainstream" DCC equipment.

Now add the fact that LGB is expensive and for now, out of production, you are in a bad spot.

Don't disdain DCC, disdain the unfortunate situation of LGB, both their fault and not their fault.

Regards, Greg
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I agree with your comments. In LGB's favor is the fact that if it had been left up to me and I had been given the option of paying for factory decoders I would not have anything with decoders but because of LGB including decoders I am now into MTS/DCC and trying to make the best of it.

In a way LGB provided almost what I wanted (Radio Control, Remote Horn/Whistle, Bell and Lighted Coaches) but by limiting power to 5 amps and not having double heading with the Loco Remote they failed to satisfy my needs.

It was my understanding that the 5 amp limit was a UL limitation. Do the non-LGB power supplies that are higher than 5 amp have UL approval or listing?

Ultimately it does not matter a lot in that I can live with what I have been able to figure out how to do with the exception of a couple of F7 ABA's and an ABBA. If I rewire three F7A's I should be OK.

Thanks,

Jerry

Posted By Greg Elmassian on 04/29/2008 3:00 PM
The LGB system is a mess. It was not well thought out, and they did not include a lot of features found in "mainstream" DCC equipment.
Now add the fact that LGB is expensive and for now, out of production, you are in a bad spot.
Don't disdain DCC, disdain the unfortunate situation of LGB, both their fault and not their fault.
Regards, Greg
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Just when I thought I was through spending money to get MTS to work a friend sent me an email that Ohio Valley (formerly Davis Trains) was going out of business and I found that they had Central Station III's.

http://www.ohiovalleytrains.com/

I've ordered a Central Station Starter Set so if I ever want to advance to a DiMAX Navigator the Central Station III will be able to work with it.

Jerry
 
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