DCC test track

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D605Eagle
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DCC test track

Postby D605Eagle » Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:55 am

I quite often get asked by friends to service/repair/modify locos. In the past this has not been an issue but now several friends are using DCC. Some models its easy enough to take the decoder out and pop in a blanking plate, but others have had the decoders hard wired. I want to set up a DCC test track for the minimum of expense. Which controller shall I go for? I don't need any programming or any system for altering the decoders settings, just purely to see if they run after a repair etc.
Thanks
Jim

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alex3410
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Re: DCC test track

Postby alex3410 » Mon Jun 04, 2018 12:00 pm

I wouldn't discount programming the chips, you may well find it really useful in troubleshooting issues.

For example resetting the DCC chip to factory defaults is a common 'go to' troubleshooting technique when having any sort of trouble with a DCC loco - not all of the controllers offer this as a possibility.

You wouldn't want to spend hours trying to find a mechanical reason for issues only to find its a DCC chip thing, i would even say to default to resetting the decoder before trying anything else just to exclude as a possibility.

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D605Eagle
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Re: DCC test track

Postby D605Eagle » Mon Jun 04, 2018 5:57 pm

That sort of thing has been done before I get the locos. They only come to me with mechanical issues or just for a good service.

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RAF96
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Re: DCC test track

Postby RAF96 » Mon Jun 04, 2018 7:41 pm

I was going to suggest a cheap DCC controller but these often have limits on address handling such as only short or two-digit addresses.

If a repair candidate loco has a long or four-digit address then you obviously need a controller that will handle those.

If you could guarantee DC enabled decoders then the cheapest DCC controller is a 9-volt brick battery across the wheels.

As for the test track itself consider a rolling road although these can mask some types of rolling problems.

Rob
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MickleoverTestTrack
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Re: DCC test track

Postby MickleoverTestTrack » Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:21 pm

Cheapest but very limited: Hornby Select
Slightly more but NMRA compliant: Bachmann E-Z Command (not dynamis)
If you already have a laptop and think you could end up doing programming: SPROG II (A bit more technical though.)

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RAF96
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Re: DCC test track

Postby RAF96 » Tue Jun 05, 2018 8:30 am

Don’t confuse NMRA Compliance with NMRA Conformance (&) Warrants, either by self certification or submission for NMRA test.

https://nmra.org/nmra-conformance-warrants

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End2end
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Re: DCC test track

Postby End2end » Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:11 am

The Bachmann E-Z Command DCC Controller is in that list but for Hornby only the Elite is listed.
Does this mean the budget Bachmann controller IS NMRA compliant / conformant as it's in the list? Possibly making it a better (in DCC terms) choice than the entry level Hornby offering?
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End2end
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alex3410
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Re: DCC test track

Postby alex3410 » Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:19 am

What about Gaugemaster Controls DCC01 Prodigy Express DCC controller £138 at Hattons (shop around)

I used to have it and worked well, only reason i don't anymore is i upgraded to ECoS system with a touch screen

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TimberSurf
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Re: DCC test track

Postby TimberSurf » Wed Jun 06, 2018 1:41 am

alex3410 wrote:What about Gaugemaster Controls DCC01 Prodigy Express DCC controller £138 at Hattons (shop around)


or NCE Power cab is similar money
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Mike Parkes
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Re: DCC test track

Postby Mike Parkes » Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:20 pm

Certainly you need a system that reads back CVs - IME relying on the owner of a model to know its address is often a big assumption :evil:


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