DCC points controller

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rogiefalls
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DCC points controller

Postby rogiefalls » Tue Oct 06, 2015 12:00 pm

I am in the process of changing over to DCC from DC. The present (and future) layout has 22 points which are fitted with Hornby R8014 motors and are working on DC, I also use a Cobalt CDU2+ which gives me great points operation I guess it would be easy to keep them as operating on DC but I would like to change over to DCC and intend to use DCC Concepts ADS-2 accessory decoders to “clean” the wiring circuit up.

I will be making a wall mount layout board that will show me point position via red/green lights but it seems obvious that there is no way I could operate, say four loco’s and work the points from a normal controller.

Does anyone know of a separate DCC Accessory/Points Controller that would be easy to use on the above system. I have looked at MegaPoints Controllers and they look as though they would do the job but I thought I would ask the question before going ahead.

Any help would be gratefully received.

Tricky Dicky
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Re: DCC points controller

Postby Tricky Dicky » Tue Oct 06, 2015 2:54 pm

I do not know what you use to switch your points at present, stud and probe, passing contact switches, centre off switches, but there is no reason why you cannot continue to use the system. If you wish to use DCC accessory decoders then as you say that can be a faff using a single controller for both loco and accessory control depending on system used. My own system Lenz is probably one of the worst requiring several key presses to perform the switch. The answer might be DCC Concepts new Alpha system, I have no experience of it just basing this on reviews and research but check it out yourself.

http://www.dccconcepts.com/Cobalt-Range ... -main-unit

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pete12345
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Re: DCC points controller

Postby pete12345 » Tue Oct 06, 2015 2:55 pm

Personally, I prefer to operate points, signals etc using a conventional switchboard, particularly if it's already set up and working. The DCC controller gets used for locos only. Unless you intend to use PC control, there's little if any benefit to changing over IMO.
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Bufferstop
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Re: DCC points controller

Postby Bufferstop » Tue Oct 06, 2015 3:46 pm

[Admin Edit] Duplicate threads merged
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Flashbang
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Re: DCC points controller

Postby Flashbang » Tue Oct 06, 2015 4:25 pm

The DCC Concepts AD-S2fx or the larger AD-S8fx decoders allow direct DCC point motor operation or via switches etc on a control panel. It also provides LED indication feeds for point position indications.
So you can have the best of both worlds if wished. :D

Equally you can just keep your existing (analogue) point operating system and use the DCC just to power the trains! But if you do this ensure the two systems cant connect together!
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BananaRepublic
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Re: DCC points controller

Postby BananaRepublic » Sat Nov 07, 2015 12:58 am

There are a number of modules available that will allow DCC operation of points, signals or even route setting from switches, buttons, mini point levers.
This means a mimic panel, bank of switches or even a mini lever frame assembly can directly interface with the DCC system, without having to run masses of wires from the panel, to the layout.

Up to now, these modules have usually been designed and tailored to work with particular brands of DCC, e.g. the NCE Mini Panel, for use only with NCE systems, but the new DCC Concepts Cobalt Alpha (mentioned above by Tricky Dicky) has been designed to work with any DCC system.
The Cobalt Alpha even allows the use of Stud & Probe as one of its options.




Suzie
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Re: DCC points controller

Postby Suzie » Sat Nov 07, 2015 9:50 am

Usually the most cost effective way to go is to use a computer and have a mimic diagram. This allows you to set routes and do other time saving things that makes life easier. If you have a tablet with a touch screen it could be very easy to use.

Depending on your command station there are products available that allow point control like the Roco Routecontrol, but they are tending to go out of production as people tend to use mobile devices for driving and control nowadays.

If you have a computer JMRI is free to download and use and might be a good place to start. Yo can run it on an old computer or buy an inexpensive Raspberry Pi to run it on.

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RAF96
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Re: DCC points controller

Postby RAF96 » Sat Nov 07, 2015 10:18 am

As the OP already has an operating DC system, why not keep it and use the new DCC pulse to fire a relay coil (or more complex electronic circuit if you want smaller, neat and tidy). The relay main contacts pass along the DC action to the motor. Saves having to rewire under the board as much and you keep the benefit of a CDU if you have one.

This is how I did it with rotary switches and push buttons, but any analogue method can by added to as shown:

points800.gif
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Bufferstop
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Re: DCC points controller

Postby Bufferstop » Sat Nov 07, 2015 10:56 am

Has no one produced an encoder for a matrix of press buttons? I'm using one at this very moment, to type this, it's called a keyboard. It just needs someone to program the translation of keyboard codes to DCC instructions and feed them into the controller/computer interface. Yet another job someone will say is perfectly suited to a Raspberry Pi. I'm pretty sure I could do it eventually, but at my current age I have better uses for my time.
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BananaRepublic
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Re: DCC points controller

Postby BananaRepublic » Sat Nov 07, 2015 3:15 pm

Suzie mentions the Roco RouteControl, which is long out of production and getting rarer to find secondhand. Basically they're like gold dust.
They only work on XpressNet and XBus based systems (e.g. Lenz & Roco).

Interestingly, DCC Concepts are bringing out a new interpretation of the RouteControl, but useable on almost any DCC system.



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wiggy25
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Re: DCC points controller

Postby wiggy25 » Sun Jan 03, 2016 7:57 pm

Bufferstop wrote:Has no one produced an encoder for a matrix of press buttons? I'm using one at this very moment, to type this, it's called a keyboard. It just needs someone to program the translation of keyboard codes to DCC instructions and feed them into the controller/computer interface. Yet another job someone will say is perfectly suited to a Raspberry Pi. I'm pretty sure I could do it eventually, but at my current age I have better uses for my time.


Yes they have.

MERG have kit 51 which is a DCC accessory Encoder.
You can connect up to 128 switches to it as a diode matrix.

When the switches are operated this kit sends the required data packets to the accessory decoders to operate them.
as you can't have two DCC signals on the rails at the same time, this would need to be on it's own DCC accessory bus.
It is designed to work with accessory decoders that run off their own power.
I used the MERG 5amp booster, again bought as a kit, I fed the output of the Encoder kit into the Booster, the output of the Booster is a two wire DCC accessory bus solely used for powering accessory decoders.

The DCC controller is used purely to drive the trains, keeps everything separate and works very well.

The new DCC Concepts Cobalt Alpha panel works directly with NCE equipment, for other DCC controllers you need to buy an interface which will convert the protocols to match that of the DCC system you are using.
if this can't be done, you will need to buy the Cobalt Alpha Black-Box, which looks to be a packet generator, you plug the Cobalt Alpha into this and you then have your DCC accessory bus.
The Black Box also requires a power supply again another purchase.

There is still a lot of information missing about the Cobalt Alpha panel, I did send emails and got replies but still not all information was quite how it's made out to work.

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Bufferstop
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Re: DCC points controller

Postby Bufferstop » Sun Jan 03, 2016 10:55 pm

I should have looked at MERG first, now that you can get their modules ready assembled they seem to have a solution to suit everyone. Now what I want is an actuator to simulate the drag of the signal wire when you pull the lever, a USB compatible telegraph key and bell and..........daydreaming again :roll:
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Gordon H
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Re: DCC points controller

Postby Gordon H » Mon Jan 04, 2016 12:33 pm

Bufferstop wrote:...now that you can get their modules ready assembled...

Where did you get that idea from?
Not as far as I know.

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Bufferstop
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Re: DCC points controller

Postby Bufferstop » Mon Jan 04, 2016 12:53 pm

Gordon H wrote:
Bufferstop wrote:...now that you can get their modules ready assembled...

Where did you get that idea from?
Not as far as I know.


From a friend who acts as one of their "assembly elves". It may be done at a group level but they are doing enough to do batches for stock.
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BananaRepublic
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Re: DCC points controller

Postby BananaRepublic » Mon Jan 04, 2016 2:23 pm

Off the shelf options....
Lenz system users can use an LW150 module to operate points from a mimic panel.
Each LW150 can operate up to 16 accessory addresses and power 32 panel LED's. More modules can be added.


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