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DCC Assistance

Posted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 9:40 am
by Semaphore05
Have just purchased latest Z21 controller which has a TP-LINK_14F8 router with it and having problems with setting it up.
With the Z21 App when setting up WIFI it comes up with the following message "WIFI connected. not connected to Internet".
Have had a long 'chat' with TP LINK and problem still not resolved.
Can anyone assist please?

2. Can anyone recommend a numbering system for DCC codes for DCC signals?

Thanks in anticipation if you can.

Re: DCC Assistance

Posted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 11:58 am
by Bufferstop
This isn't a DCC problem, it's an internet connection one. Do you have anything else connected to the internet? The router cannot come pre-configured for the internet as it doesn't know who is your service provider or what are your login details. (often an ISP will send you a router when you sign up as they can pre configure it for you. The information needed will have been supplied when you first installed an internet connection, and will be installed on either an existing router or modem. Service providers don't encourage people to go looking at those settings as getting them wrong can cause their support desk a whole lot of problems.
Tell us what you already have and it should be possible to tell you what to do, but you may have to get the actual details from your internet provider.

Re: DCC Assistance

Posted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 12:56 pm
by Bufferstop
Actually it's a bit early in the day for my brain to come online, as I can look at your registration and see who your provider is, I don't think you could have changed it since you opened your account. By the way welcome to the forum.
I can see you are with Virgin Media, if you have a cable TV feed then Virgin will have supplied a cable modem, or a combined cable router and switch, if you aren't in a Virgin cabled area they will have supplied a connection over the Openreach BT network, but the information they supply when I ask "who is ip address 77.nn.nn.63" suggests you are on their own cable.
I can't find any info particular to the router you have been provided with but TP-link supply a whole host of different models re-badged from other manufacturers. I have one myself which is piggybacked off a combined fibre modem/cable/wifi router supplied by Zen internet. What you have is likely to be an adsl/fibre router intended to be plugged into an Openreach cable which if you follow the instructions for ADSL is definitely not going to find the internet.
Does your controller connect via wi-fi or does it have an ethernet cable that plugs into the back of the router. If it has the ethernet lead and assuming that Virgin's box has some ethernet ports on the back you could try plugging it in there and use whatever ID and Password you use to get a PC, phone, I-pad or anything else to connect to the internet. I presume you are trying to end up with a controller connected to a router which your phone's access by wi-fi.
What does the system use the internet for whilst you are controlling the trains? I suspect it doesn't, only connecting to the net for setup info and updates.
I can see a couple of ways by which you could combine the router with your Virgin router to give a separate "railway network" to which you could switch phones when you were operating. I think the best thing would be for you to tell me in a PM how your internet is set up, don't want to make it too easy for the hackers, and I'm sure there are a few read our pages.
John W

Re: DCC Assistance

Posted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 1:30 pm
by mahoganydog
Semaphore05 wrote:TP-LINK_14F8

This is the device's broadcast identity not it's model number. The reason it will come up with "not connected to internet" is because it isn't connecting/connected to the main router. You don't need it to be for what you are trying to do but trying to access other devices to operate them might be a bit of a pig. Some settings may need to be disabled for it to work.


Re: DCC Assistance

Posted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 2:02 pm
by Bufferstop
Jim is it the case that the device is in fact working or does it use the internet for part of it's set up. If the internet is not essential a mobile phone should be able to discover it as a wi-fi router and the controller as the server behind it. I've used printers in this configuration for attendees at a lecture to print out notes using their phones. I've just found the controller's manuals on line, I'm hoping that they are multilingual, otherwise they could be a long read.

Re: DCC Assistance

Posted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 2:36 pm
by mahoganydog
If it's broadcasting and you are able to connect to it (without internet) then it is working as an offline network. A mobile should be able to connect to it but how you go about setting up so the mobile can talk to the controller I can't advise, the book of confusing words (also known as the instruction manual) needs to be read carefully.

The last time i played with computer control it was with a Roco interface that allowed me to operate points via a DCC controller. It was supposed to control the locos too but I never managed to get it to work.

Re: DCC Assistance

Posted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 2:39 pm
by Bufferstop
Got it, the Z21 or is yours a z21 connects the into the router provided and then another cable from the WAN port on the router to a LAN/WAN port on Virgin's hub or router. Follow the instruction for connecting devices running the app to the wireless router, you may have to enter your Virgin hubs ID and Password ( it may be called SSID and keyphrase) at some point to connect to the internet. (Virgin's instructions are a bit woolly due to the many versions of their devices they have supplied.)

Re: DCC Assistance

Posted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 2:41 pm
by Bufferstop
PS only the Germans would differentiate the case colours by the case of the letters Z21 black z21 white or is it the other way round.

Re: DCC Assistance

Posted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 3:46 pm
by alex3410
I am half asleep at the moment, so maybe totally missing the point :lol:

Do you need to connect it to the internet? my understanding was the wireless router is provided alongside the z21 to enable a wireless connection from your device to the z21 itself, this may just work as a standalone 'offline' network between your device and the z21. has an interesting video on the system - the link should take you straight to the 'connecting up' section.

that all being said, you may be able to connect it up to the internet as Bufferstop suggested with a cable from virgin to your router, we have a similar set up in the office as the virgin box is upstairs and our wireless router is downstairs (the office has networking cables installed)

If your set up is too far away from the virgin router, a HomePlug set up which uses your homes power cables to connect network devices may be able to help.

Screenshot 2020-02-21 at 15.42.08.png
Screenshot 2020-02-21 at 15.42.08.png (147.58 KiB) Viewed 550 times

Alternatively, you can get wireless range extenders that can also be set up to act as 'wireless adapter' for other networking equipment - this is what I used in the past with my ECoS DCC controller to connect my phone to it.

I would go back to my original point, do you need/want it to be connected online?

Bufferstop wrote:PS only the Germans would differentiate the case colours by the case of the letters Z21 black z21 white or is it the other way round.

its a really daft system, but from the video linked above the white version (z/Z?) is one that came with a starter system and the black one is the more advanced version that includes program track features etc

they really should have just added 'pro' or something to make it clearer they are two different things :roll:

Re: DCC Assistance

Posted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 4:10 pm
by Flashbang
MOD NOTE: I have moved these posts to the DCC forum area as it may help others later on who use Z21/z21 DCC systems.

Re: DCC Assistance

Posted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 4:11 pm
by Bufferstop
My German is exceedingly rusty having only done a year of "German Translating for Science Students" a very long time ago, but there looks to be a bit more info in the German pages than the English ones that follow. Looking in the parts that tell you how good it is and what you can do with it, they seem to be suggesting exchanging set-ups between users. If you are putting a PC on there to manage Libraries of settings I suppose you want the internet to still work when you've connect to your "Railway WLAN" rather than having to disconnect and revert to your non railway configuration. Personally I think using a mouse or touchscreen to control the trains is only appropriate for modelling the current main line scene, otherwise it's levers, rods pulleys and cables, and don't forget the yellow duster when pulling off a signal.

Re: DCC Assistance

Posted: Sat Feb 22, 2020 7:28 am
by Semaphore05
Thanks all - when I get a minute (??), probably Monday I will reply and try the set up again.

Re: DCC Assistance

Posted: Sat Feb 22, 2020 8:49 am
by Semaphore05
A quick update to answer one of the questions.

I have setup in the garage with a wifi extender in there along with the black Z21 controller with the TP-LINK_14F8 sitting on top LAN hard wired to Z21 but obviously I need to link my mobile phone to the TP-LINK_14F8 through wifi.

As I say I will have a long session on Monday.

Re: DCC Assistance

Posted: Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:18 pm
by Semaphore05

By simply not inserting LAN in LAN socket in my TP Link router and inserting in one of the others everything running now - thank you - and managed to update Z1 as well!

Only problem now is to find how to DCC code my DCC Train Tech signals - i did a bit if 'surfing' around the web earlier but no joy.

When signals on Main Track just showing a Green and does not change to Red after DMU passes. I tried Programming Accessories on Z1 on Programme Track but can't seem to achieve anything. I am trying find out in very much 'layman's' language.

Will carrying on 'surfing' net and try and find a detailed Black Z1 Manual.