DCC controlled town lighting

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dubdee1000
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DCC controlled town lighting

Postby dubdee1000 » Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:03 am

I have an answer to this question, but its cumbersome and I wonder if anyone has thoughts

I use a lenz setup and part of it uses point decoders to power turnouts. (LS150). Works fine. Each point has its own cv that I can control from the handset, a very simple L/R switch. (nb, these cv's are different to loco cv's). I can control how long power is applied to the point up to a max of 10 seconds. (For peco motor switches, 0.1 secs is enough). Power to the motor switches comes off its own transformer and circuit and it taps into the rails to get its DCC signal.

I'd like to control my lighting the same way and use this circuit since most of the time, its not powering much. I can't see that lenz makes such an accessory, in fact I can't find much reliable sources of people who do. I know you can use an old decoder, but I wonder if the current draw for half a dozen yard lamps could fry it.

My thought was to use a point decoder and some old points and motors and mount these on a board. Power would go to one end of the point and the load at the switched end. By throwing the switch, the lighting circuit would be complete and light up. Throwing the switch the other way would break the circuit and lights go out. I could have up to six lighting circuits per decoder and they wouldn't have to all come on and go off at the same time. Computer control could also be used. But! It strikes me as a hellishly cumbersome way requiring old points and motors and a decoder just to do this?

Any other solutions?

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End2end
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Re: DCC controlled town lighting

Postby End2end » Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:23 am

I have a saying that I made up many moons ago. "You don't buy a ferrari to drive to the shops!"
This sounds VERY expensive for what you want. Why not a psu, some switches and just wire the lights up into seperate circuits running from the psu?
I have even forgone the switches for my bufferstop lights. Plug in the psu and thier on.
Hope it helps.
Thanks
End2end
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RAFHAAA96
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Re: DCC controlled town lighting

Postby RAFHAAA96 » Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:24 am

I am not familiar with that make of points decoder but set it to give continuous output if it so can.
If the load of the lamps is going to be too much then use the decoder to pull a relay to route a power circuit to the lamps.
If you can only set pulse then use self latching relays. Pulse one way is on and the other way is off.
Rob
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Ironduke
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Re: DCC controlled town lighting

Postby Ironduke » Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:24 am

Most accessory decoders are designed specifically for points. They have outputs that either drive solenoid point motors or stall type point motors. Decoders set for stall type motors would be the way to go because they provide a constant output instead of a burst of power. You could add relays if the output didn't provide enough current for the lighting circuit.
A DAC20 could do it easily.
Regards
Rob

Bigmet
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Re: DCC controlled town lighting

Postby Bigmet » Mon Oct 09, 2017 10:00 am

dubdee1000 wrote:...Any other solutions?

Cheap loco decoders surely?

Lights are a benign load so little chance of burning out decoders if you stay within the rated current of the decoder, which is easy enough to work out. I don't know which loco decoder offers the most outputs per pound, but at least 4 for under £10 (motor plus 3 auxiliaries) is possible and superior to a point decoder on two counts:

The motor output can ramp up and down to any brightness setting chosen.

Any auxiliary outputs on the decoder are on/off, but typically offer output setting, and may offer variable effects such as flicker.

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TimberSurf
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Re: DCC controlled town lighting

Postby TimberSurf » Mon Oct 09, 2017 12:10 pm

Eeeeek!
Buy a Megapoints DCC Module - converts DCC to Megapoints coms - £30
Relay / Frog Driver module - converts Megapoints coms to 12 discrete on/off (at 5v) - £36
Relay / Frog Board (4-way) - converts 5v input to 10A volt free for external powered lights - £12 (or way cheaper on ebay)

https://megapointscontrollers.com/wp1/w ... -Guide.pdf

Or forget DCC and use Tip 201 for manual and PC control with full 32 channel PWM for £30!
Image
Lumsdonia <--- Hit link to go to my website for full story and wiring advice!

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dubdee1000
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Re: DCC controlled town lighting

Postby dubdee1000 » Mon Oct 09, 2017 3:40 pm

Had a chat with the man of Coastal DCC at lunchtime. Never used them before but they seem to get positive reviews. When I talked him through my 'solution' he got it straight away! To have lighting on a separate bus is unusual he said and with LED's there should generally be enough juice left to run the track without incident. This is how the Train Tech stuff works. However, add other bits and you may run into a problem. I didn't tell him that I have a soft spot for the Noch Naughty Scenes! Lighting would be fine but anything with a fair degree of moving parts might be better on its own circuit and simply tap into the layout to get its signal.

Turns out that such a setup is not as common as you might think but after much racking of his brains, he came up with the ESU accessory decoder:

http://www.coastaldcc.co.uk/products/esu/51820-switch-pilot-accessory-decoder-v2

which will switch points with momentary burst (like the lenz 150), but also has the ability to give a lower continuous burst (which the Lenz cannot). It *should* operate in the same way as the lenz in that the controller will automatically assign it an accessory address so in time, I can have the computer control it. It can also be configured to have some of the effects BigMet described like the gradual fade in and out of lights and be added to should it be needed.

Thanks to everyone who very kindly offered advice

Mike Parkes
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Re: DCC controlled town lighting

Postby Mike Parkes » Mon Oct 09, 2017 10:02 pm

These ESU decoders were sold for some time by Bachmann (their ref 36-561) The originals, of which I have three overheat, had fixed screw fitted terminals
https://hattonsimages.blob.core.windows ... Qty1_1.jpg
whereas the two I got changed under warrenty were replaced by ones that have screw terminals in plugs which then plug into the fixed terminals.
http://www.hattons.co.uk/138299/Bachman ... etail.aspx

The four terminals are programmed by CVs, you can set a range of 4 addresses but you cannot individually assign addresses. Each terminal can be set to pulse or continuous output or you can use an external switch to set all to pulse or all to continuous output. First dislike of them is that the switch cannot be deactivated so any fumbling around the underside of the layout could result in point motors buzzing to burn out.

Programming is a bit long winded. You have to put a load on the first output, the instructions advise a resistor but I understand a point motor works equally well and the ac connection has to be removed and dcc applied to ac terminals. A real pain when you are trying to program the two servos outputs ( again these take continuous addresses and the first two of four - so you can have the servos as 1 and 2 but not 3 and 4 for example) and the servos have to be disconnected whilst programming.

The common connection is positive

Of course its possible the v2 in the description linked above is of a completely different decoder to that I have described, on the other hand the photo is of one with fixed screw fitted terminals....

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dubdee1000
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Re: DCC controlled town lighting

Postby dubdee1000 » Mon Oct 09, 2017 10:23 pm

Mike Parkes wrote:These ESU decoders were sold for some time by Bachmann (their ref 36-561) The originals, of which I have three overheat, had fixed screw fitted terminals
https://hattonsimages.blob.core.windows ... Qty1_1.jpg
whereas the two I got changed under warrenty were replaced by ones that have screw terminals in plugs which then plug into the fixed terminals.
http://www.hattons.co.uk/138299/Bachman ... etail.aspx

Of course its possible the v2 in the description linked above is of a completely different decoder to that I have described, on the other hand the photo is of one with fixed screw fitted terminals....


Cheers Mike. I had a look at the images you sent - certainly very similar. I went on the ESU site and found this :

http://www.esu.eu/en/products/switchpilot/switchpilot-v20/

Again, at first pass looks the same, but if you look just to the side of the reset button (between sw1 and sw2), there is no yellow LED like in the other links. The programming is very similar to the Lenz - a default of 1-4, programmable to other cv's by applying assigning a cv and load when in the programming mode to output 1. The lenz would then assign all the other outputs with sequential cv's. The lenz was really nice and easy to use. Shame it didn't offer continuous output as it would have been perfect

Should come in the next few days. I'll report back here.

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dubdee1000
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Re: DCC controlled town lighting

Postby dubdee1000 » Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:33 am

Right, well the esu arrived and after around five hours of trying to program it the wretched thing was about to go back.

The manual is pretty poor, lots of Google translate, but if you're had experience of programming the lenz, then it's much the same. Right?

Wrong.

It wires up in exactly the same way, but that's your first mistake, because now you can't program it. You can only program this on a programming track. Except that's not right either because if you have a lenz programming track, you'll find it won't program. I had this issue with tts decoders. I bought a gaugemaster decoder doctor to sort the TTS and it thankfully sorted the esu too.

It would seem that to program it, you need power of sufficient umph, more than a programming track may chuck out. Connected to a transformer and with DCC feeds to the gaugemaster, it seemed to program ok. Set the address to 90 and lights flashed that command sent. It wouldn't read back, but I'd got used to that.

Removed the gaugemaster and connected it back to the layout and guess what, it doesn't work. I was beginning to get to the end of my patience. Then I had a moment of inspiration. Maybe the CV should be a multiple of four since it has four outputs. So I went through the same palava again and changed the address to 80. And it still didn't work....... because it should have been 81.

Finally, this time it worked and switching the lights on and off is a button on the lenz handset. I have edited cv2 to 64 which means that output 1 is now continuous until switched off, exactly as i wanted.

Got there in the end

ianjeffery
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Re: DCC controlled town lighting

Postby ianjeffery » Tue Oct 17, 2017 2:46 pm

have you thought about going down the arduino relay route ?

you can get an arduino ( nano if your tight on space ) and hook it up to a relay board.

then you could get one of these...

http://www.dccinterface.com/product/ard ... -interface - about £10 with postage

and hook it in to the arduino.

then the fun stuff - you simple program the arduino to respond to 1...2....many dcc accessory addresses and throw the relay to turn the lights on....

in fact you could then program it to do a simple chain of lights, or sequence etc...


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