Converting to DCC

Discuss your experiences with systems, decoders, installations, wiring, control and any general hints & tips you have found.
nigelcliffe
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Re: Converting to DCC

Postby nigelcliffe » Fri Dec 20, 2013 6:35 pm

John McAleely wrote:
nigelcliffe wrote:
You can add a socket to an existing loco if you want.


Do you happen to know a reliable source for the sockets? I've tried to figure out the specification from the NMRA website, and cross referencing a couple of online electronics suppliers, but not been positive yet I've got the right thing.

It's the 8 way socket I've tried with, but the 21 pin (?) will also be useful one day. I'm currently tempted to install sockets as a way (I know there are other options) to swicth locos between DC & DCC, when I want to guest them on a DC layout.


The specs are on the MOROP site (European model manufacturer's trade body), probably in German, because there are not enough English speaking subscribers.

8-pin is easy, just a standard pin spacing in two rows. 21pin, don't know about the raw socket, though ESU list it as a spare with a bit of PCB which you can easily wire into locos. 21pin is officially obsolete, and you should be using the new PLuX connector for high pin counts.


- Nigel

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Tim V
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Re: Converting to DCC

Postby Tim V » Fri Dec 20, 2013 7:05 pm

Make your own sockets, piece of cake http://euram-online.co.uk/contents.htm

NOTE There is no such thing as a cheap decoder, you will regret buying that cheap decoder when you buy the more expensive one you should have bought in the first place. Zimo, TCS, Lenz give superior performance out of the box.

Also clean track - another myth. DCC needs no cleaner track than DC control.
Tim V
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steve howe
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Re: Converting to DCC

Postby steve howe » Sat Dec 21, 2013 8:07 pm

I have had a chat with those nice chaps at Digitrains and for those like me, stumbling into DCC control without wanting lights, music, smoke or heaven knows what else crammed into their toys, it seems that the Zimo MX623 at around £25 does all that it says on the tin without breaking the bank. Importantly (for me) it has the capacity for fine tuning a range of motors including coreless. This is a bit of a grey area for me which no doubt will clear in due course, but the handful of locos that I have accumulated over the years have a selection of motors from Escap RG4s to open frame Anchoridge (remember them when they were the 'bees knees'?) so I need to be sure that they will perform consistently.

I wonder if Santa's on email? :D

Steve

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Flymo748
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Re: Converting to DCC

Postby Flymo748 » Sat Dec 21, 2013 8:32 pm

steve howe wrote:I have had a chat with those nice chaps at Digitrains and for those like me, stumbling into DCC control without wanting lights, music, smoke or heaven knows what else crammed into their toys, it seems that the Zimo MX623 at around £25 does all that it says on the tin without breaking the bank.


On the recommendation of Nigel, I started off in DCC with a couple of MX621 chips, and I've been very pleased with them. I have no doubt that the MX623 will be just the same.

Performance has been very smooth, and that is before I start "tuning" them away from the standard settings.

As a "newbie", wiring them in was very easy. The only thing of note that I was paranoid about was some heatshrink on the leads over the soldered joints to make sure that I didn't short them out accidentally on the insides of the locomotives.

HTH
Flymo
Beware of Trains - occasional modelling in progress!
www.5522models.co.uk

DougN
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Re: Converting to DCC

Postby DougN » Sat Dec 21, 2013 8:46 pm

Steve I think you are on the right track with that advice. I use TCS M1 when I started out I am still using these today, although TCS have up graded them a number of times.I think as long as you use good quality the performance and reliability will keep things going. I still have locos I chipped over 10 years ago running! Good luck with it all. You will at some point realise you are driving the loco independently of the track. Which makes the experience so much more enjoyable!
Doug
Still not doing enough modelling

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Paul Townsend
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Re: Converting to DCC

Postby Paul Townsend » Sun Dec 22, 2013 7:39 am

Tim V wrote:Make your own sockets, piece of cake http://euram-online.co.uk/contents.htm



I hadn't seen this website before and it does have some useful ideas so worth a visit.

BUT I dis-recommend that design for D-i-Y socket. The "female" contact is bare copper wire or tinned at factory or solder tinned by you. The contact pressure will always be low.
It will probably work on day 1 but will be subject to corrosion and oxidation and WILL fail in due course. How long will be unpredictable from weeks to years, according to local conditions.

Non-Electronic Engineers can't be expected to realise that a plug and socket connection is quite sophisticated and many designs use gold to gold for best life. Cheaper contact materials use high pressure to exclude or delay air and corrosion.

It is daft to follow Tim's reasonable recommendation to buy a decent £25 -£35 decoder and wreck its performance with a crap connector. Please don't do it.

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Tim V
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Re: Converting to DCC

Postby Tim V » Sun Dec 22, 2013 9:47 am

The decoders sold as "N" gauge - with the six prongs will fit into a very useful decoder socket sold by Bachman, have a look in your nearest hobby/train shop.

Something like a few pounds for three sockets.
Tim V
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Alan Turner
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Re: Converting to DCC

Postby Alan Turner » Sun Dec 22, 2013 10:00 am

The six pin socket shown on the web site is a little puzzling as it appears to use a standard 6 pin Molex socket (which is fine) but then fails to use the proper contact inserts. If you are going to use the Molex socket then you should use it properly.

Molex sockets are designed for this type of use and should provide a very adequate solution.

regards

Alan

nigelcliffe
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Re: Converting to DCC

Postby nigelcliffe » Sun Dec 22, 2013 11:05 am

steve howe wrote:I have had a chat with those nice chaps at Digitrains and for those like me, stumbling into DCC control without wanting lights, music, smoke or heaven knows what else crammed into their toys, it seems that the Zimo MX623 at around £25 does all that it says on the tin without breaking the bank. Importantly (for me) it has the capacity for fine tuning a range of motors including coreless. This is a bit of a grey area for me which no doubt will clear in due course, but the handful of locos that I have accumulated over the years have a selection of motors from Escap RG4s to open frame Anchoridge (remember them when they were the 'bees knees'?) so I need to be sure that they will perform consistently.


The Zimo should work well. It *will* benefit from adding a stay alive capacitor circuit, so don't block off the option of fitting it. Practical stuff in part-2 of my Snooze article. The circuit prices vary from around a pound to £30++, there are pros and cons of each, and spending lots isn't always the best option.

The chip should work well out of the box, without the stay alive circuit. There is a lot of optional fine tuning available. And a fair number of tricks available for those who like playing.

The major downside of a Zimo is the 60-odd pages of manual, which takes some understanding. It was a lot simpler a few years ago with a shorter manual and incremental additions to reach the current monster.


- Nigel


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