Heljan O Gauge Western with ESU XL DCC

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Richard08
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Heljan O Gauge Western with ESU XL DCC

Postby Richard08 » Sat Oct 16, 2021 6:02 pm

Hi,
I have the engine as per the title, and very nice it is too. In the 14ft available it's never attained anything like max speed, and never (deliberately) will, but 'rapid' would seem to be a good word. It's 'sets off' with a slight lurch from stationary to moving, even on notch 1. It's not disastrous, but I kind of like the way the my Dapol O8 'drives', smoothly going from 0 to 1 and then happy to take 40 mins or so to travel the 14ft (when I want it to, or more accurately when I left the controller on notch 1 by mistake - it's very difficult to see if its really moving - the crawl is amazing). The 08 also 'brakes' correspondingly - like inertia - it's kind of fun (though the Big Red Button gets used sometimes!). Which brings me to the question - would altering CVs allow me to change the Western's characteristics to match the 08s, bearing in mind top speed isn't an issue. Is there a tutorial somewhere that shows this? I've googled and to be honest just ended up more confused that I started out. It's a Lenz controller and I have Rocrail set up if that aids CV programming.

Cheers

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Mountain
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Re: Heljan O Gauge Western with ESU XL DCC

Postby Mountain » Sun Oct 17, 2021 1:36 am

Before you begin programming, what are both locos like running on DC? This will give you an idea of what their gearing is like, as normally for models they will try to gear them to represent the prototype speeds which were once set at 30mph for the class 08 (Later reduced to 25 and after that reduced to 20mph top speed as they found it was possible to bend con-rods if they ran them at 25 to 30mph) , and I believe that Westerns had a 90 or a 95mph top speed if I recall correctly. Naturally in model form their gearing ideally will reflect this.
The issue is that 14ft may sound a lot to play with but in 7mm scale when it comes to a large mainline diesel locomotive like a Western, it is not going to give much space to run if it is an end to end layout. Understandably though one has the space one has, and the chunkiness of the larger scale is easier when it comes to placing the things on the track and painting or making models in. (I noticed this in 7mm narrow gauge).
I would imagine it should be relitively east to program them. Which Lenz system do you have? I know the older ones can do 128 speed steps which will give you a lot of extra fine control without the need for programming speed curves, but if not, I believe the newer ones can access speed curves just like the older versions can? (As long as one does not have the starter Lenz Compact which is a simpler controller).

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Peterm
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Re: Heljan O Gauge Western with ESU XL DCC

Postby Peterm » Sun Oct 17, 2021 1:55 am

I might draw a bit of flak for this, but I have one ESU sound decoder in a blue Deltic and where the sound is pretty good, I can't get a smooth start as I do with Zimo. How you'd tame it I don't know but if the answer comes up on here, I'd be as pleased as you.
Edited to add: have you altered CV2 (start voltage)?
Pete.

Bigmet
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Re: Heljan O Gauge Western with ESU XL DCC

Postby Bigmet » Sun Oct 17, 2021 12:48 pm

This comes in three parts, the mechanism, mechanical performance and then decoder set up.

I believe these twin bogie O gauge models have a motor per bogie. For a short slow speed run with no great tractive demands your best bet is to run on one motor. Disconnect the other motor from power, and disengage the gear train - I cannot advise on how as I have never had one of these to fiddle with - so that the bogie freewheels.

Then the mechanism needs to run freely and stably at the slowest creep along speed obtainable on DC. This often needs some running time, (two hours is typical in OO) to get the mechanism to give of its best, with regular reversals in direction and turning the loco around on track so it is 'exercised' fully in turning left and right. Difficult if there is no continuous run; a rolling road is a poor substitute, but needs must when the devil drives...

The essential decoder CV is CV2, 'start voltage' as already mentioned above. This needs to be set as small as possible, to just start the loco consistently. (There may be other applicable CV's available, of the manufacturer's own devising and therefore not in the small basic set of CV's defined by NMRA DCC, these will be found in the decoder manual.) Once this is set, apply some good size values in CV's 3 and 4 (nothing less than 40).

Richard08
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Re: Heljan O Gauge Western with ESU XL DCC

Postby Richard08 » Mon Oct 18, 2021 2:18 pm

Mountain wrote:Before you begin programming, what are both locos like running on DC? This will give you an idea of what their gearing is like, as normally for models they will try to gear them to represent the prototype speeds which were once set at 30mph for the class 08 (Later reduced to 25 and after that reduced to 20mph top speed as they found it was possible to bend con-rods if they ran them at 25 to 30mph) , and I believe that Westerns had a 90 or a 95mph top speed if I recall correctly. Naturally in model form their gearing ideally will reflect this.
The issue is that 14ft may sound a lot to play with but in 7mm scale when it comes to a large mainline diesel locomotive like a Western, it is not going to give much space to run if it is an end to end layout. Understandably though one has the space one has, and the chunkiness of the larger scale is easier when it comes to placing the things on the track and painting or making models in. (I noticed this in 7mm narrow gauge).
I would imagine it should be relitively east to program them. Which Lenz system do you have? I know the older ones can do 128 speed steps which will give you a lot of extra fine control without the need for programming speed curves, but if not, I believe the newer ones can access speed curves just like the older versions can? (As long as one does not have the starter Lenz Compact which is a simpler controller).


I'm aware of the relative prototype speeds (Westbury to Bath Road at max speed of 15mph!), incidentally 25mph being towed with coupling rods removed, and 25mph for 09s as an aside. I have a Lenz LZV200 which has 128 steps. The 08, DC or DCC, has a pretty realistic top speed (and crawl) and I'm after configuring the Western to match the layout similarly - £750 running towards the wall at '90mph' is not something I desire! It's just handier and less open to mistakes to follow a guide. Whether or not it's true, I'm probably being over cautious with fiddling settings after tales of woe with engines just setting off 'randomly' etc.
Cheers!

Richard08
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Re: Heljan O Gauge Western with ESU XL DCC

Postby Richard08 » Mon Oct 18, 2021 2:23 pm

Bigmet wrote:This comes in three parts, the mechanism, mechanical performance and then decoder set up.

The essential decoder CV is CV2, 'start voltage' as already mentioned above. This needs to be set as small as possible, to just start the loco consistently. (There may be other applicable CV's available, of the manufacturer's own devising and therefore not in the small basic set of CV's defined by NMRA DCC, these will be found in the decoder manual.) Once this is set, apply some good size values in CV's 3 and 4 (nothing less than 40).


Thank you, the CVs not being in the NMRA standard was a point where I assumed I was missing something! Unfortunately the engine only came with a list of the 'feature' CVs (lights etc) but I dare say I can find more info now I know what to look for.
Cheers!

Richard08
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Re: Heljan O Gauge Western with ESU XL DCC

Postby Richard08 » Mon Oct 18, 2021 4:02 pm

Peterm wrote:I might draw a bit of flak for this, but I have one ESU sound decoder in a blue Deltic and where the sound is pretty good, I can't get a smooth start as I do with Zimo. How you'd tame it I don't know but if the answer comes up on here, I'd be as pleased as you.
Edited to add: have you altered CV2 (start voltage)?


I'll post solution, assuming there is one! Yes, the sound is good - only the engine revs after it's started moving... Maybe changing the set up will help with that too. Who knows :-)

Bigmet
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Re: Heljan O Gauge Western with ESU XL DCC

Postby Bigmet » Mon Oct 18, 2021 4:34 pm

Richard08 wrote:... I have a Lenz LZV200 ...

Excellent choice of system, because it's 'bullet proof' Now nearing 20 years service from the Lenz 100 system, which I use every day I am home. Nothing has gone wrong or behaved unexpectedly, hopefully the 200 will be as good, because that's probably in my future...

Richard08 wrote:... I'm after configuring the Western to match the layout similarly - £750 running towards the wall at '90mph' is not something I desire!...

Once you have the start set the way you want it, set CV5 to a pretty small value; 20 may well be enough, and try CV6 at half that value. Then it will creep around with no chance of a runaway. You actually don't need 128 speed steps, I operate everything in 28 speed steps, which for 15mph max means the steps are in near enough 0.5mph increments - that's how I operate my OO 08s. The smoothing applied by CV's 3 and 4 uses exactly the same technique as DCC uses for creating 128 speed steps, the decoder performs the interpolation between the steps, and the locos glide about, lovely simulation of the inertia of real railway vehicles.

Richard08
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Re: Heljan O Gauge Western with ESU XL DCC

Postby Richard08 » Mon Oct 18, 2021 4:40 pm

Bigmet wrote:
Richard08 wrote:... I have a Lenz LZV200 ...

Excellent choice of system, because it's 'bullet proof' Now nearing 20 years service from the Lenz 100 system, which I use every day I am home. Nothing has gone wrong or behaved unexpectedly, hopefully the 200 will be as good, because that's probably in my future...

Richard08 wrote:... I'm after configuring the Western to match the layout similarly - £750 running towards the wall at '90mph' is not something I desire!...

Once you have the start set the way you want it, set CV5 to a pretty small value; 20 may well be enough, and try CV6 at half that value. Then it will creep around with no chance of a runaway. You actually don't need 128 speed steps, I operate everything in 28 speed steps, which for 15mph max means the steps are in near enough 0.5mph increments - that's how I operate my OO 08s. The smoothing applied by CV's 3 and 4 uses exactly the same technique as DCC uses for creating 128 speed steps, the decoder performs the interpolation between the steps, and the locos glide about, lovely simulation of the inertia of real railway vehicles.


Thanks - I'll have a play over the weekend and report back.

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Mountain
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Re: Heljan O Gauge Western with ESU XL DCC

Postby Mountain » Tue Oct 19, 2021 1:49 am

Richard08 wrote:
Peterm wrote:I might draw a bit of flak for this, but I have one ESU sound decoder in a blue Deltic and where the sound is pretty good, I can't get a smooth start as I do with Zimo. How you'd tame it I don't know but if the answer comes up on here, I'd be as pleased as you.
Edited to add: have you altered CV2 (start voltage)?


I'll post solution, assuming there is one! Yes, the sound is good - only the engine revs after it's started moving... Maybe changing the set up will help with that too. Who knows :-)


That is one of the hardest things to do with these sound decoders. Either the loco moves with no sound, or the engine sound will sound as if it is pulling away and the loco is stationary... And there is no setting to adjust this to be spot on because one value on the CV will do the first senario but alter the CV just one step down and it will give the other senario, and one can't program in half settings like one would like to do to get the setting just right. It is most annoying! :D

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Peterm
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Re: Heljan O Gauge Western with ESU XL DCC

Postby Peterm » Tue Oct 19, 2021 6:45 am

Mountain wrote:
Richard08 wrote:
Peterm wrote:I might draw a bit of flak for this, but I have one ESU sound decoder in a blue Deltic and where the sound is pretty good, I can't get a smooth start as I do with Zimo. How you'd tame it I don't know but if the answer comes up on here, I'd be as pleased as you.
Edited to add: have you altered CV2 (start voltage)?


I'll post solution, assuming there is one! Yes, the sound is good - only the engine revs after it's started moving... Maybe changing the set up will help with that too. Who knows :-)


That is one of the hardest things to do with these sound decoders. Either the loco moves with no sound, or the engine sound will sound as if it is pulling away and the loco is stationary... And there is no setting to adjust this to be spot on because one value on the CV will do the first senario but alter the CV just one step down and it will give the other senario, and one can't program in half settings like one would like to do to get the setting just right. It is most annoying! :D

Start delay wherever that is on an ESU might help. You'll have to trawl through the online manual.
Pete.

Bigmet
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Re: Heljan O Gauge Western with ESU XL DCC

Postby Bigmet » Tue Oct 19, 2021 9:55 am

Mountain wrote:...sound decoders... most annoying!

That's the short version. Unless the latest versions have dramatically improved, you are stuck with what the creator of the sound package considers to be the appropriate movement settings and timings with what sound effects have been matched. I'd rather have the loco movement set as I choose from a good decoder, and play the sound in my head.

But, for some the sound effects are clearly worthwhile, so finding the best decoder set up for movement requires experimentation.

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Mountain
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Re: Heljan O Gauge Western with ESU XL DCC

Postby Mountain » Tue Oct 19, 2021 8:29 pm

I no longer have a sound loco. They are lovely things though, but the problem is they get so realistic that one hs to have modelling skills to match to gain a consistent approach. I know this may sound strange, but having accurate sound just meand everything else one has has to jump up to unbelievably high standards or it will not look right.

Another issue is that apart from the cost, if I was able to afford it for all my locos to have DCC sound, all those sounds at once is not my idea of fun! Quiet locos are a blessing at times. :)
Also DC saves me from added complications. There is me saying that and I was looking at radio control which looks just as complex as DCC... Probably why I am looking and not buying (Yet!) :D

Richard08
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Re: Heljan O Gauge Western with ESU XL DCC

Postby Richard08 » Wed Oct 20, 2021 4:02 pm

Mountain wrote:Another issue is that apart from the cost, if I was able to afford it for all my locos to have DCC sound, all those sounds at once is not my idea of fun! Quiet locos are a blessing at times. :)
Also DC saves me from added complications. There is me saying that and I was looking at radio control which looks just as complex as DCC... Probably why I am looking and not buying (Yet!) :D


My only motivation for having DCC (I only have, and likely only ever will have, two engines) is lighting! Might be a bit silly, but hey ho. If I'm not in a sound mood (most of the time since I have music on 99% of the time in my Man Loft!) I just turn it off, or more accurately don't turn it on. I built the layout for DC, but then had a 'I'm interested in the technology' moment and DCC'd it (I'm going to blame Lockdown for all of this - 'I'll just build a diorama with one set of points and a few yards of track' turned into Clapham Jusction). FWIW, I hate the din at exhibitions from sound equipped layouts! Volume controls would be nice (the Western kind of has one).

I got as far as preparing orders for all the bits and bobs to go for radio control, but at the last moment spotted two serious flaws (at least to me) : 1. None of the systems (this was 2 years ago) had a Big Red Button (one had it, but you needed to go through a menu to get to it, so not really a Big Red Button) - on and end-to-end (wall-to-wall) layout this is important; and 2. Should the train derail it will happily continue ploughing through the scenery knocking expensive bits off until you can stop it. Pity really, I still really like the radio control idea. Mostly so I don't have to clean track (and can have 'rusty rails' in sidings etc).

Horse for course I guess :-)
Cheers!

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Mountain
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Re: Heljan O Gauge Western with ESU XL DCC

Postby Mountain » Wed Oct 20, 2021 11:17 pm

That is also the fun of clockwork... Off they go, and go and go... Who needs track? :D

Ordinary DCC decoders without sound can operate lights. It is rare to find DCC decoders that do not have an extra function or two, as even most of the older ones from 20 years ago have two or three function outputs for adding lights.


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