Author Topic: "DCC in a box"  (Read 2497 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Ed Kapuscinski

  • Global Moderator
  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 17694
  • Respect: +2025
    • Conrail 1285
"DCC in a box"
« on: May 13, 2019, 03:16:55 PM »
+1
I'm looking to mount my DCC setup into a box to make it portable around the house (and out of it, if need be).

My current plan is to make one box that's the "brain box" that contains the MVP to get a layout up and running that has the following (all existing equipment):

The power supply: http://www.digitrax.com/products/power-supplies/ps2012e/
The command station, a DCS100.
A UR92.
A UP5.
All stuffed in one of these: https://www.lowes.com/pd/CRAFTSMAN-Versastack-System-17-in-Red-Plastic-Lockable-Tool-Box/1000578373

My goal is for 110VAC to go in one end and DCC and Loconet comes out the other.

I'm assuming someone around here has done something similar, and I was looking for any words of wisdom that might be worth hearing about.

I know about making sure there's adequate cooling (I'm planning on adding some ventilation and a PC case fan or two). Anything else I should think about?


« Last Edit: May 16, 2019, 10:40:35 AM by Ed Kapuscinski »

jpec

  • The Pitt
  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 703
  • Gender: Male
  • Perception and reality engage in a daily civil war
  • Respect: +115
Re: "DCC in a box" experience wanted
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2019, 04:25:33 PM »
0
I think Dave Clyde already invented the wheel for you...he had a breakdown of his setup on the T-Trak page on Facebook. Unless, of course, he took it down. If so, check Joey Ricard's Trackside Scenery page on YouTube...he took some video of it at Ranson.
"It's sad that you have to die to see how many people loved you..." - Rodney Bingenheimer

peteski

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 20567
  • Gender: Male
  • Respect: +1823
    • Coming (not so) soon...
Re: "DCC in a box" experience wanted
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2019, 05:02:12 PM »
0
I just bring my NCE Power Cab DCC system in a (cardboard) box to the NTRAK shows I attend.  It is nice  to have a separate fully-featured DCC system to supplement the main one powering the layout.

All the electronics are pretty much contained in the handheld throttle.  Then there is a wall-wart type power supply and a fascia panel. One of these days I'll incorporate the fascia panel into my train carrying box.

But I think you are asking about something to house all the "bits" of the main DCC system which will run the layout at the shows.  My club built a custom wooden box to hold the power supply with a circuit breaker and power switch, the Digitrax command station/booster, and fascia panel for the LocoNet.  The track output has Power Pole connector (and Y-adapters when needed) to power the layout.
--- Peteski de Snarkski
--- Honorary Resident Curmudgeon

Ed Kapuscinski

  • Global Moderator
  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 17694
  • Respect: +2025
    • Conrail 1285
Re: "DCC in a box" experience wanted
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2019, 05:14:52 PM »
0
Yep, definitely thinking of a box of the type Jeff is talking about. Something to power my popup TTRAK layout, etc...

MK

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 1917
  • Respect: +232
Re: "DCC in a box" experience wanted
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2019, 05:15:07 PM »
0
What perfect timing!  I'm looking to do the same for my club as they are upgrading the equipment from the 100 series of command stations and boosters to the newer 200 series.  I haven't really started yet but have some ideas, including custom cabinetry work (built by me) if the various tool boxes, cases, etc. out there won't work.

It's basically what Ed wants.  Single box with a handle and off to the shows we go!

If you guys above can post some links that would be great.

timwatson

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 237
  • Gender: Male
  • Respect: +10
    • N Scale Rail
Re: "DCC in a box" experience wanted
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2019, 06:01:37 PM »
0
North Texas TTrak has a box exactly like what you're describing. I don't know if they have instructions on the build but they did a great job on it. It has a retractable radio "antennae" and everything. Sergio helped build it I believe. Maybe Vic will chime in here.
Tim Watson

My pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nscalerail/sets/

Modeling a version of the Jay Street Connecting RR. in Brooklyn.

Ed Kapuscinski

  • Global Moderator
  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 17694
  • Respect: +2025
    • Conrail 1285
Re: "DCC in a box" experience wanted
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2019, 08:36:33 PM »
0
North Texas TTrak has a box exactly like what you're describing. I don't know if they have instructions on the build but they did a great job on it. It has a retractable radio "antennae" and everything. Sergio helped build it I believe. Maybe Vic will chime in here.

Haha, was actually just watching the YouTube video about that one.

MK

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 1917
  • Respect: +232
Re: "DCC in a box" experience wanted
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2019, 08:38:19 PM »
0
You got a link for that Ed?

CodyO

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 754
  • Gender: Male
  • Cody Orr-SPF
  • Respect: +129
Re: "DCC in a box" experience wanted
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2019, 08:49:43 PM »
0
@Ed Kapuscinski does it need to be the 20Amp Power supply? Seems like a bit of overkill.

Have a fixed power strip in the case with a hole in the side to stick the plug out then you can use whatever length cord you need to get to the wall.

This could be an easy win
Modeling the Pennsylvania Middle Division in late 1954
             Nothing Will Stop The US Air Force

Ed Kapuscinski

  • Global Moderator
  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 17694
  • Respect: +2025
    • Conrail 1285
Re: "DCC in a box" experience wanted
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2019, 08:53:55 PM »
0

Rivet Miscounter

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 63
  • Respect: +21
Re: "DCC in a box" experience wanted
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2019, 01:57:34 AM »
0
Great discussion.   Been interested in doing something similar for some time.

There was a gent on one of the forums probably close to a decade ago that was working on a killer version of this, including significant battery backup power as I recall.   (One of the big problems was spotty power at train show venues wreaking havoc).  He was documenting his progress meticulously...as I recall one of the last segments I read was some custom circuit boards that had been procured.    Then....poof.   I couldn’t find the thread, nothing on Google....it was like the guy walked right into witness protection.    I think it might have been during one of my sabbaticals and I somehow completely misplaced his name/handle.....so bizarre.    I think it was on Atlas or Trainboard but can’t say for sure....maybe one of you recall?    Anyway, I’m sure the newest iterations are even better but I just always wondered what became of that system.

reinhardtjh

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 1793
  • Respect: +116
Re: "DCC in a box" experience wanted
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2019, 02:07:51 AM »
+1
It's a bit outdated but there is an interesting (and long) thread by Leo Bicknell about a DCC in a box he designed and built in 2010-2011.  It was the subject of his "Reality Reduced" YouTube series.  Unfortunately, Reality Reduced is gone (and so are the videos) but the thread remains at NScale.Net ==>  https://www.nscale.net/forums/showthread.php?18063-DCC-in-a-Box-by-Reality-Reduced
John H. Reinhardt
PRRT&HS #8909
C&O HS #11530
N-Trak #7566

Rivet Miscounter

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 63
  • Respect: +21
Re: "DCC in a box" experience wanted
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2019, 01:02:28 PM »
0
It's a bit outdated but there is an interesting (and long) thread by Leo Bicknell about a DCC in a box he designed and built in 2010-2011.  It was the subject of his "Reality Reduced" YouTube series.  Unfortunately, Reality Reduced is gone (and so are the videos) but the thread remains at NScale.Net ==>  https://www.nscale.net/forums/showthread.php?18063-DCC-in-a-Box-by-Reality-Reduced

That's the one!  Thanks it was driving me crazy.

Also found a followup/summary post about the finished product: https://www.nscale.net/forums/showthread.php?34093-DCC-in-a-Box-Finished-or-I-m-crazy
« Last Edit: May 14, 2019, 01:12:50 PM by Rivet Miscounter »

Ed Kapuscinski

  • Global Moderator
  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 17694
  • Respect: +2025
    • Conrail 1285
Re: "DCC in a box" experience wanted
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2019, 02:49:49 PM »
0
That's the one!  Thanks it was driving me crazy.

Also found a followup/summary post about the finished product: https://www.nscale.net/forums/showthread.php?34093-DCC-in-a-Box-Finished-or-I-m-crazy

Whoa. Yeah, I'm definitely going for something MUCH simpler than that!

Also, in other news, the cases have been acquired. I got a big and small one to see how it works. Also got a trio of gangboxes to hold remote UP5s.

Ed Kapuscinski

  • Global Moderator
  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 17694
  • Respect: +2025
    • Conrail 1285
Re: "DCC in a box" experience wanted
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2019, 11:26:32 AM »
0
Ok. Got the box somewhat planned out.

[ Guests cannot view attachments ]

What you see here is the general layout. Somewhat.

That's the PS all the way on the bottom. I think it'll be affixed with heavy duty velcro.
The DCS 200 is above it. I'll probably connect the two with the same stuff.

There's a power strip above. I found a very short (1') power supply cable on eBay. It's on the way. The strip will likely be attached with... you guessed it. More velcro!

Coming out of the DCS 200 will be track power that gets split to the three circuit breakers. Two are OG-ARs and one is a regular OG. I figure I've got em, might as well use them. I figure I'll attach that all to a nice board to hold it all in place. The output from those will pop through the "deck" to three terminal strips. Those strips will then have the appropriate Unitrack connectors attached to them. By making those easily accessible screw terminals I can make it easy to connect it to something different if need be. I might also do another terminal strip that's just "raw" track power as well (straight from the command station without the intermediate circuit breakers). That depends on how it lays out.

On the Loconet side of things I plan on running it out to the UR91 on one corner, the UR92 on the other (again, I have both, might as well use em), and another UP5 in the middle. I also plan on doing some un-powered regular RJ12 jacks (probably in a wall plate) for expansion to other systems (like boosters, whatever...).

I'm also planning on mounting the PR3 on the deck as well with a short section of Unitrack for integrated programming.

I'm planning on making a plywood or MDF "deck" that'll be above all of the exposed components and will be where I can mount all the surface mount components. I plan on building a spot for a PC case fan into this and some vents so I can feed air down into the component section and exhaust it. Control for that is TBD. Might just be always on or I might install an on/off switch.

There's no master "off" switch that'll be easily accessible though, so I'm thinking I might mount one of these (or, you know, something actually appropriate) inline between the booster and the track power, for safety sake.

What am I missing?