Recent DCC advances?

Post all your DCC only problems, solutions and discoverys here.
Undereaves
Posts: 34
Joined: Sat Dec 29, 2007 10:36 am
Location: Yorkshire

Recent DCC advances?

Postby Undereaves » Tue Oct 13, 2015 6:23 pm

I've come back to railway modelling after an absence of 5 years and I'm wondering if there have been any major (or minor, even) developments in DCC during that period. I have a dynamis from that time which wasn't without issues. Is there anything better nowadays?

GWR_fan
Posts: 4750
Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:57 pm
Location: Antipodes

Re: Recent DCC advances?

Postby GWR_fan » Tue Oct 13, 2015 8:33 pm

Perhaps look to the Bachmann bluetooth operating system, requiring no actual DCC controller. A bluetooth receiver forms part of the onboard hardware, either as an adjunct to a decoder or part of the decoder. A constant power supply is applied to the rails and a smartphone is used to control the locomotive.

Bigmet
Posts: 7638
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2007 2:19 pm

Re: Recent DCC advances?

Postby Bigmet » Tue Oct 13, 2015 8:46 pm

What are you looking for in terms of 'better' in a DCC system'?

For example, I've had a Lenz 100 in use for over twelve years, total reliability in all that time. Now working out at well under £20 a year, gets cheaper with every additional year of ownership, quite a bargain for complete reliability and full system capability from a DCC system. But that's just my opinion.

There's new kit from various makers, but DCC still functions as when you last used it.
Smaller and cheaper decoders from an expanding range of makers.
Probably more people adopting sound with a better choice of decoders and speakers, and several independent sound project suppliers.
The 'new standard' PluX Decoder socket is deader than a dead thing, no OO maker appears to have active plans to use it now.
Coreless motors are beginning to appear in RTR OO, typically demands a more sophisticated decoder.
A few OO models have better access for installing a decoder, but it is still not perfect,; most newly tooled locos are designed to take a speaker.


There's various product proposals floating about for wireless control, often combined weith rechargeable on board power cells, but nothing so far that looks like it might make a serious dent in DCC's grip on the digital control market.

Undereaves
Posts: 34
Joined: Sat Dec 29, 2007 10:36 am
Location: Yorkshire

Re: Recent DCC advances?

Postby Undereaves » Tue Oct 13, 2015 8:52 pm

GWR_fan wrote:Perhaps look to the Bachmann bluetooth operating system, requiring no actual DCC controller. A bluetooth receiver forms part of the onboard hardware, either as an adjunct to a decoder or part of the decoder. A constant power supply is applied to the rails and a smartphone is used to control the locomotive.

I like the sound of that being an iPad and iPhone user. Will take a look. Do they work on / fit in n gauge locos?

GWR_fan
Posts: 4750
Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:57 pm
Location: Antipodes

Re: Recent DCC advances?

Postby GWR_fan » Tue Oct 13, 2015 9:56 pm

Undereaves,
check Bachmann's You-Tube site. I do not know if 'N' scale is planned but given the size of the market these days I cannot see Bachmann ignoring this sector.

I posted this last year. The link includes a link to Bachmann's video.

viewtopic.php?f=27&t=46981

Another link on the product.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMdeUPESBJU

Something else that is new, the MRC Decoder Doctor -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsE0RNbpKh4

User avatar
Peterm
Posts: 1597
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2007 1:26 pm
Location: Bribie Island. Australia

Re: Recent DCC advances?

Postby Peterm » Wed Oct 14, 2015 12:03 am

As Bigmet says, Lenz 100 is totally reliable even if some say it's old fashioned and clunky. I've had mine for over ten years now and not had a problem.

If you like the idea of wireless control you could look at the Z21, There's also the z21 which I think doesn't have as many features.
Pete.

Bigmet
Posts: 7638
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2007 2:19 pm

Re: Recent DCC advances?

Postby Bigmet » Wed Oct 14, 2015 10:49 am

Undereaves wrote:
GWR_fan wrote:Perhaps look to the Bachmann bluetooth operating system, requiring no actual DCC controller. A bluetooth receiver forms part of the onboard hardware, either as an adjunct to a decoder or part of the decoder. A constant power supply is applied to the rails and a smartphone is used to control the locomotive.

I like the sound of that being an iPad and iPhone user. Will take a look. Do they work on / fit in n gauge locos?

Control of an N gauge motor (and any auxiliaries on a loco) won't be the problem, physically fitting it into an N bodyshell will be. The promotional material I have seen to date for these type of systems is HO - and thus for us in the UK OO - oriented.

You will need to do your own research but my take on it is that this is very immature at the moment. There are several other systems available or proposed, using different approaches. Check out 'ACC + ESS protocab' for another alternative. Hopefully much as happened with DCC for which there were multiple proposed systems thirty years ago, the market will in time home in on a single solution for universal adoption. I'd wait for that shake out, because this is what brings prices down as well as improving choice; the choice relevant to you being receiver/decoder units definitely small enough for easy use in N gauge.

I might add that I am interested in a wireless with onboard rechargeable power control system; technically it's fully possible, still needs work to become a real contender. What I would be looking for includes full compatability with DCC; so for a start locos with either of conventional DCC or wireless coms are all controlled seamlessly from a single control interface. Nothing like this available yet. Some of the protagonists of wireless are unwise enough to take an 'out with the old, in with the new' approach. This simply won't get anywhere for the mass of the market; which confines anything offered on that basis permanently to a very small niche, which will most likely soon fold through insufficient sales. (A good parallel, Hornby's 'Live Steam' : could have been designed to work compatibly with DCC; wasn't, and it's dead, despite being much liked by those who did try it.)

User avatar
Peterm
Posts: 1597
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2007 1:26 pm
Location: Bribie Island. Australia

Re: Recent DCC advances?

Postby Peterm » Fri Oct 16, 2015 1:26 am

I've fitted decoders in to a few of a mates N gauge GF loco's. Not the easiest, but not impossible. Some brave people have fitted sound too, but I think that mostly it has to be in a separate wagon/van.
Pete.

BananaRepublic
Posts: 114
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:03 pm

Re: Recent DCC advances?

Postby BananaRepublic » Sat Nov 07, 2015 12:29 am

Bigmet wrote:.....I might add that I am interested in a wireless with onboard rechargeable power control system; technically it's fully possible, still needs work to become a real contender.
What I would be looking for includes full compatability with DCC; so for a start locos with either of conventional DCC or wireless coms are all controlled seamlessly from a single control interface. Nothing like this available yet. ......


"Nothing like this available yet" !!!!
Wireless transmission of DCC to self powered locos (e.g. on-board batteries), has been commercially available for years.

There's even an EU legal product available, that'll allow almost any DCC system to transmit DCC signals to battery powered, DCC decoder fitted locos, operating on dead rails.





Bigmet
Posts: 7638
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2007 2:19 pm

Re: Recent DCC advances?

Postby Bigmet » Sat Nov 07, 2015 4:53 pm

Please do enlighten us. Product names, suppliers, web links, whatever.

BananaRepublic
Posts: 114
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:03 pm

Re: Recent DCC advances?

Postby BananaRepublic » Sun Nov 08, 2015 10:33 pm

Bigmet wrote:Please do enlighten us. Product names, suppliers, web links, whatever.


Wireless transmission of DCC signals to DCC decoders on-board battery powered locos, has been around for at least 15 years or more in the shape of commercially available systems.
Some of these systems can be used with both dead rail (battery power) and power through the rail (DC and DCC), but re-charging batteries via the rails has not yet made an appearance, as far as I know?

Because of the nature and size of the electronics used, much of which is very "old hat" by modern standards, plus the size of batteries required, the systems that have been available have been aimed at the larger scale market and in particular at outdoor use.
Fitting the electronics and batteries into H0 (and 00) would have been extremely difficult, a decade or so ago and still presents a huge challenge today.
Add to that the perception that there is no really serious market for battery power on the smaller scales and any impetus for development on shrinking the electronics has been rather hampered.
The systems I'm aware of have also been mainly, if not exclusively, licensed and sold only in the USA and Canada.

Manufacturers have included....

NCE - their G-Wire cab system is no longer available.
https://ncedcc.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/art ... re-Retired

Image



CVP, one of the main 4 DCC manufacturers in the USA - AirWire
AirWire has been around in several forms for many years.
The current version is AirWire 900
They have recently introduced the miniAirWire 900 receiver, for use in H0 and larger scales, but it appears to still be quite a large board, being 2 inches long.
http://www.cvpusa.com
http://www.cvpusa.com/airwire_system.php
http://www.cvpusa.com/mini_airwire_convrtr.php


The EU legal system I mentioned, is the Tam Valley Depot's DRS (Dead Rail System).
This is not a DCC system in itself, but can be used to send DCC track signals between any DCC system and any on-board decoder.
They produce a North American version and an EU approved version.
Again, at the present time, the size of the electronics makes it quite challenging to fit all the kit into H0 or 00 sized locos.

http://www.tamvalleydepot.com/deadrailsystem.html
http://www.tamvalleydepot.com/products/ ... nents.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6w0niIUqA6I






G

Bigmet
Posts: 7638
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2007 2:19 pm

Re: Recent DCC advances?

Postby Bigmet » Mon Nov 09, 2015 10:46 am

Thanks for that, I was wondering if I had missed something. I stand by what I posted previously:

Bigmet wrote:...I might add that I am interested in a wireless with onboard rechargeable power control system; technically it's fully possible, still needs work to become a real contender. What I would be looking for includes full compatability with DCC; so for a start locos with either of conventional DCC or wireless coms are all controlled seamlessly from a single control interface. Nothing like this available yet...

At present it's a techno-clunkfest, and the available tech is really oriented toward large scale models, typically for outdoor operation.

We are still ten years - in my opinion - from a settled standard for a product suitable for HO at least, which will offer the full basket of capabilities I am looking for. That includes seamless compatability with DCC, conventional DCC equipped locos and wireless dead rail capable locos fully co-existing on the same rails and controlled via a single handset; and on board power cells with continuous recharging from any powered rails, for the wireless dead rail capable locos.

BananaRepublic
Posts: 114
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:03 pm

Re: Recent DCC advances?

Postby BananaRepublic » Mon Nov 09, 2015 8:55 pm

Bigmet wrote:......which will offer the full basket of capabilities I am looking for. That includes.....


"seamless compatability with DCC" - Already exists, as demonstrated above, systems designed for DCC have been around for years.
"DCC equipped locos and wireless dead rail capable locos fully co-existing on the same rails" - Already exists....
"and controlled via a single handset" - Already exists....
"and on board power cells with continuous recharging from any powered rails, for the wireless dead rail capable locos" - only continuous charging is missing. Battery power + DCC has been around for a long time.

The issue is that these capabilities have until recently, only been available for the larger scales (due to size of the relatively old electronics and the limitations of battery technology) and that there has been an almost negligible demand to see battery power being extended to the smaller, predominantly indoor scales (H0, 00 etc).
Hence the technology and products offered are quite dated and limited in capability by modern standards. NCE withdrew from the market altogether.

Tam Valley's DRS is a more recent move and offers access to the full capability of the DCC system and decoders of your own choosing.
However, despite more compact electronics, which are still bulky when combined with a decoder, there is still a problem with size and available on-board space.

To move the discussion on, I'm personally all in favour of migrating control signals over to the wireless domain and off the tracks, DCC, Bluetooth or otherwise, but after consideration have concluded that for most model railway use, dead rail is a dead end.
There are loads of people across the modelling forums experimenting and advocating the use of battery power, but I rather think they are trying to find a solution for a problem that don't really need to be resolved.




m

User avatar
Bigglesof266
Posts: 924
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2009 9:59 am
Location: Australia

Re: Recent DCC advances?

Postby Bigglesof266 » Mon Nov 09, 2015 10:51 pm

Bigmet wrote:We are still ten years - in my opinion - from a settled standard for a product suitable for HO at least, which will offer the full basket of capabilities I am looking for.

+1

In my observation, model railway lags behind other hobbies tehnologically. e.g. 2.4GHz RC; EP brushless motors & ESCs. Even DCC, a wonderful advance, has been a tumultous change.

In my assessment, this is partly a consequence of its interest demographic being the older adult -mea culpa, of which one could argue a majority are so 'set in their ways' to be resistant to change. Certain cultures are also more susceptible to this in my observation, exacerbating the relative slowness of change within their naturally occurring SIGs. Compounding this enormity of technological change resistance, is the pragmatic reality of material effort and expense required of anyone already committed to existing technical equipment on a complex layout to embrace it as a positive advance of benefit to them rather than a sheer negative impost of expense.

It will occur. That is inevitible. But not before I'm cinders scattered to the wind.

User avatar
AustralisRico
Posts: 132
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2014 1:22 am
Location: Australia

Re: Recent DCC advances?

Postby AustralisRico » Wed Dec 02, 2015 1:05 pm

Undereaves wrote:
GWR_fan wrote:Perhaps look to the Bachmann bluetooth operating system, requiring no actual DCC controller. A bluetooth receiver forms part of the onboard hardware, either as an adjunct to a decoder or part of the decoder. A constant power supply is applied to the rails and a smartphone is used to control the locomotive.

I like the sound of that being an iPad and iPhone user. Will take a look. Do they work on / fit in n gauge locos?

I'm also into using tablets and smartphones which is why I bought the Roco Z21, it's got the ability built in and also allows you to plug in a traditional controller (that uses the correct connection) so you can still use a physical controller when you feel like it.
So far I have yet to see any advantage of the bluetooth Bachmann option over the Roco, if anything the Roco is safer as it connects to the track and has a physical connection so if the wireless drops (it uses wifi to connect to tablets/phones) you can hit the stop button on the command box.
Bigmet wrote:Thanks for that, I was wondering if I had missed something. I stand by what I posted previously:

Bigmet wrote:...I might add that I am interested in a wireless with onboard rechargeable power control system; technically it's fully possible, still needs work to become a real contender. What I would be looking for includes full compatability with DCC; so for a start locos with either of conventional DCC or wireless coms are all controlled seamlessly from a single control interface. Nothing like this available yet...

At present it's a techno-clunkfest, and the available tech is really oriented toward large scale models, typically for outdoor operation.

We are still ten years - in my opinion - from a settled standard for a product suitable for HO at least, which will offer the full basket of capabilities I am looking for. That includes seamless compatability with DCC, conventional DCC equipped locos and wireless dead rail capable locos fully co-existing on the same rails and controlled via a single handset; and on board power cells with continuous recharging from any powered rails, for the wireless dead rail capable locos.

Question, why do you want an on board battery? I can think of disadvantages but not many advantages (other than on a badly maintained layout with lots of unusable track).


Return to “DCC Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest