Using DCC functions

Discuss your experiences with systems, decoders, installations, wiring, control and any general hints & tips you have found.
allanferguson
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Using DCC functions

Postby allanferguson » Sun May 22, 2011 9:52 pm

As a recent convert to DCC I am very taken with the whole concept. I have also been very impressed by Nigel Cliffe's DCC uncoupling system, and have essayed to fit it in one of my locos (a CR 4-4-0T with not much room inside). The loco runs very well with the Lenz Gold Mini chip, and all is controlled from a Lenz Compact controller. There are three function wires from the chip, blue (common), yellow and white. As supplied these are set as direction controlled, i.e the yellow or the white will be energised depending on the direction set. These are switched on or off by F0 on the controller.

I want to control the couplers through one of the function wires using F1 on the controller. It would appear from the Chip instructions that I need to alter CV's 33--35 for this. However I find that the controller (in programming mode) only lets me access CV's 1 -- 4 and 29.

So am I doing something wrong? Or is it just that I have a cheap controller? And would it be possible for me to connect the yellow and white wires together, and use the F0 button to accomplish my objective without blowing something up?

Apologies if I'm being naive

Allan F

craig_whilding
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Re: Using DCC functions

Postby craig_whilding » Sun May 22, 2011 10:38 pm

If your Compact has a later firmware you can access all CV's after reading back the address. ie r1 - press tick, get the address, go back with the x and then plus through the cvs and you should get them all.

I can't remember what the firmware version needs to be to allow this but mine was bought in 2003 and can do it.

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Dave K
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Re: Using DCC functions

Postby Dave K » Mon May 23, 2011 7:10 am

Allan,

As an alternative to using your Compact for programming you could download 'Decoder Pro' from the 'JMRI' site which allows you to access all the CV although I'm not sure if the Compact will work with the Lenz computer interface. I saw the "IT" man using with the 'Sprog' computer interface at ExpoEM last weekend.

By the way the "IT" man is Tim Venton.

nigelcliffe
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Re: Using DCC functions

Postby nigelcliffe » Mon May 23, 2011 8:22 am

The Compact is not the easiest device to use to setup CV's. If its a newer one, then Craig's advice works. But using something else, either owned or borrowed would be easier.

Adding computer connection to the Compact strikes me as a waste of money; the Compact is a long obselete product as far as Lenz are concerned, and Lenz' computer interface hardware is viciously expensive. A Sprog would be far more cost-effective at around £60.

Yes, you could connect Yellow and White together, and without any CV programming this would make function key F0 non-directional.

(Not dependent on connecting yellow/white). If the function power/current output is found to be on the high side, then instead of using "blue" as the common positive, you can use one of the track pickup wires (red or black). This will give half-wave power to the functions rather than full wave from blue.


A general point on Lenz Gold chips - apart from costing lots more money, they are no different in motor control or features to silver versions, unless one also adds the Power-1 module to the Gold chip. For future chips, look at the smaller Zimo chips; similar price to Lenz "mini" chips and superior.

The older Lenz Gold/Silver chips do not have a timed output on their functions, so the power to the coil won't be dropped after a few seconds unless you remember to turn the function off again (or have a controller with non-latching function keys). The more recent "plus" versions of Lenz chips do have a timed output feature. I would not be confident of the coils being left powered on for an extended period, so would strongly recommend setting up the timed outputs.



As I get couplers into 2mm scale shunters, I've yet to see a 4mm loco without enough space, it just takes some thinking through possibilities !

If planning to attend RailEx and wanting to discuss this, I could bring some stuff with me.


- Nigel

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dcockling
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Re: Using DCC functions

Postby dcockling » Mon May 23, 2011 1:43 pm

nigelcliffe wrote:
If planning to attend RailEx and wanting to discuss this, I could bring some stuff with me.


- Nigel


Hi Nigel,

Presumably you aren't attending as a demonstrator, as I can't see you listed. If not please feel free to use the Scalefour Society stand as a focal point if you so wish, I'm sure that we can make some space available. I know the 2mm Association has a stand too, so won't be offended if that's more suitable for you.

All the Best
Danny

nigelcliffe
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Re: Using DCC functions

Postby nigelcliffe » Mon May 23, 2011 2:40 pm

dcockling wrote:
nigelcliffe wrote:
If planning to attend RailEx and wanting to discuss this, I could bring some stuff with me.


- Nigel


Hi Nigel,

Presumably you aren't attending as a demonstrator, as I can't see you listed. If not please feel free to use the Scalefour Society stand as a focal point if you so wish, I'm sure that we can make some space available. I know the 2mm Association has a stand too, so won't be offended if that's more suitable for you.

All the Best
Danny


Hi Danny,
you're correct, I am not demonstrating at RailEx; I'll be paying visitor / stand clutter depending on your perspective !

Thanks for othe offer of table space. If someone wants to discuss any of my models, then I'll probably attend on Saturday. I won't have a DCC controller with me, so will be relying on scrounging signal from somewhere !

- Nigel

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dcockling
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Re: Using DCC functions

Postby dcockling » Mon May 23, 2011 3:38 pm

Dave Keeler is keeping me company on the stand this year and I believe that he's bringing some DCC stuff with him, so we should have a signal for you.
All the Best
Danny

allanferguson
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Re: Using DCC functions

Postby allanferguson » Mon May 23, 2011 4:07 pm

Thank you Dave, Craig and Nigel. I have Lenz stuff because I originally got it from McKay Models -- relatively local to me, and since I knew even less at that time I bought what they advised; but I know a little more now. The Lenz Compact that I was trying to use for programming was one I aquired cheaply on Ebay, and may well be quite old; the newer one is up in the loft attached to the layout. Nigel, I was very impressed with your demo of the uncoupling system at Scaleforum 2009, but this is the first of me getting round to implementing the system. Thanks for your advice; I'll get there in due course!

Allan F

nigelcliffe
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Re: Using DCC functions

Postby nigelcliffe » Mon May 23, 2011 6:28 pm

allanferguson wrote:Thank you Dave, Craig and Nigel. I have Lenz stuff because I originally got it from McKay Models -- relatively local to me, and since I knew even less at that time I bought what they advised; but I know a little more now.


Back when McKay's were trading, the Lenz Compact was a good entry system compared to the price of many others on the market. With some years hindsight one can see that Lenz have cast it aside, deciding that their entry point are the much more expensive LH90/LH100 based systems.

I don't know if Compacts can be updated to the last revision, and if they can, what the update might cost. A phone call or email to A&H Models in Northants would give a definitive answer (current Lenz UK importer, and in my experience very helpful).

- Nigel


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