Author Topic: How Do You Split a LocoNet Connection?  (Read 319 times)

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Maletrain

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How Do You Split a LocoNet Connection?
« on: May 06, 2022, 03:36:23 PM »
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I am having a problem with a Digitrax device that I plugged into the "5th" jack on the side of a facia panel, a UP5 that has 2 jacks outside the facia for throttles and 2 on the back edge to daisy-chain the LocoNet, plus this 5th jack that the manual says is to be used only for connections that are not going to be daisy-chained further, which is true for my use of that jack (a UR93 duplex radio module). 

Since I am having trouble with it, I asked on the Digitrax group and did not get an answer that helped, so I opened a ticket with Digitrax.  Digitrax responded (among several things - they are groping) that I should plug the device into one of the back jacks, because that side jack is "only for throttles".  Besides the fact that that is not what their manual says, it seems to be really strange for a throttle jack to be behind the facia.  But, I am obviously going to have to try it.  And, if it solves my issue, I will need to find some way to split a back jack connection so that I can also use both back jacks for the LocoNet daisy chain.

Looking for splitters, I can't seem to find an RJ11 type plug that has all six positions wired on both the input and output sides, labeled 6P6C.  (That would technically be an RJ25 splitter, but merchandizing folks seem to be quite unreliable with designations.) It seems to me that this issue must come up often for DCC systems, but I am not finding splitters for LocoNet or other vendors 6-conductor buses.

Any sources for RJ type 6P6C connectors that you folks know of?

John

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Re: How Do You Split a LocoNet Connection?
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2022, 03:47:43 PM »
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Amazon

QUALCONNECT Phone Splitter (Straight), RJ11/RJ12 6P6C Male to 2 RJ11/RJ12 6P6C Female


Maletrain

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Re: How Do You Split a LocoNet Connection?
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2022, 04:04:25 PM »
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Thank you, John!

Even though I put a cut-n-paste of your "QUALCONNECT Phone Splitter (Straight), RJ11/RJ12 6P6C Male to 2 RJ11/RJ12 6P6C Female" directly into the "Search" box on Amazon's website, this product did not come up until the middle of page 5!  But, I did find other vendor's 6P6C versions on earlier pages - damn merchandizing.  And, strangely, I was not finding any on Mouser, McMaster Car, eBay, etc., so I was not even thinking about Amazon.

Have you used one of those successfully, John?

POVC

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Re: How Do You Split a LocoNet Connection?
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2022, 04:50:26 PM »
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Baltimore Ntrak just recently ordered some of these:

https://www.showmecables.com/rj12-female-to-dual-rj12-female-telephone-splitter-adapter-6p6c-straight-pinout

I'm told we used one at the last show we did in April and that it worked.  I've also seen ones that are male to dual female.

Tim

Maletrain

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Re: How Do You Split a LocoNet Connection?
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2022, 05:21:23 PM »
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Thanks, guys.

What I am looking for is the single male to double female. (No snide comments, please. :facepalm:)

It is interesting that the female to double female says "straight through".  DCC cables are supposed to be "straight-through". 

But, I get confused with what that means when combining cables end-to-end, because "straight through" actually puts a half twist in a cable to make the pin #1 in each jack connect to each other, counting pins from the same side when looking into the jack with the catch prong facing up. 

Connecting 2 cables in the middle would make a full twist, and end up with pin #1 connected to pin #6, unless the connector effectively has a half-twist in it, too.  So, I am guessing that they mean that the female to double female has pin #1 on one side connected to pin #1 on the other side, as you turn around to look into each jack. 

For a male to double female, "straight through" would actually be straight through the connector with no twist, because it is really just a jack extension. 

Have I go that right, or did I just confuse myself?

John

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Re: How Do You Split a LocoNet Connection?
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2022, 06:29:05 PM »
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Thank you, John!

Even though I put a cut-n-paste of your "QUALCONNECT Phone Splitter (Straight), RJ11/RJ12 6P6C Male to 2 RJ11/RJ12 6P6C Female" directly into the "Search" box on Amazon's website, this product did not come up until the middle of page 5!  But, I did find other vendor's 6P6C versions on earlier pages - damn merchandizing.  And, strangely, I was not finding any on Mouser, McMaster Car, eBay, etc., so I was not even thinking about Amazon.

Have you used one of those successfully, John?

I haven't  used this particular seller -- but am using 1-2 and 1-3 breakouts around the layout ..     


A UR93 can be placed inline to your loconet .. so go out the back of the UP5 -- to the UR93, then from the UR93 to the next UP or other device .. not sure how big your layout is -- so can't give you much more advice on the wiring .   as far as the cables go .. just make sure the same color wire is always in the same location on the plugs .. if you have white on the left looking at the plug -- you should have white on the left on all the other connectors ..
« Last Edit: May 06, 2022, 06:33:29 PM by John »

Maletrain

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Re: How Do You Split a LocoNet Connection?
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2022, 08:06:56 PM »
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Putting the UR93 in-line instead of off on a short bus spur (like a throttle) doesn't seem like it should be necessary, since it is really just acting like a surrogate throttle, putting commands on the LocoNet for the Command Station to turn into DCC signals for the track.  But, now that I have tried all the logical stuff, I am trying not-so-logical stuff, so I will add your suggestion to the list for my next visit to the club.

My reason for putting the UR93 on its own short tether was so that I had the second UR93 jack available to plug-in a DT402 throttle to change some settings.  That strategy is working fine on the LNWI that I added at the same time.  Now that my wife has decided she needs a UT6D, I may not need to plug in the old DT402 any more, anyway.  Or, maybe I will - a lot of Digitrax things don't seem to work quite like the manuals say they will.

The issue that has me doing all this is that I am having trouble getting UT4Ds to sync radio to the UR93 on the club's N scale layout when I plug them in, if they have last been used on the club's HO layout (which uses a UR92).  Going from the N scale layout to the HO layout is easy, just plug the UT4D into a UP5 facia panel, and it syncs the radio so I can use it untethered.  But going from the HO to the N scale layout, the UT4D will run trains when plugged-in to a UP5, but not when unplugged via radio.  However, after plugging-in to the N scale layout, the UT4D is no longer capable of running trains on the HO layout until plugged back into that one.  So, something changes when I plug into the N scale layout (which has a different Layout ID #), but the radio does not sync.  The only work-around I have found is to shut down the Command Station and the UR93 and then restart the whole system with the UT4D already plugged into the LocoNet.  That seemed to always make the radio sync the first week I tired it, but last week, it took multiple tries to finally get 2 UT4D throttles synced to the N scale layout.

Apparently, some time long ago, Digitrax changed the wiring in the RJ plugs on their UP5 panels, and I have no idea whether the two I am using on the 2 different layouts are the same or wired differently.

I have already asked the Digitrax Groups.io list members and the Digitrax customer support people for suggestions, and am working on the Dixitrax suggestions at this point.

Thank you all for your suggestions.  When (fingers crossed)  I finally get this figured out, I will post any useful knowledge gained on here as well as to the groups.io.

mmyers

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Re: How Do You Split a LocoNet Connection?
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2022, 07:46:08 PM »
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I'm wondering if this could be a problem with the IR ID that would be assigned to the throttle when connected to a UR92. UR92 also has Infrared capability and the ID can be set to 8 choices 0-7. Default is 0. UR93 has no infrared capability so no ID would be set when connected to it if there is no UR92 or UR91 in the mix.

mmyers

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Re: How Do You Split a LocoNet Connection?
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2022, 08:13:39 PM »
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Baltimore Ntrak just recently ordered some of these:

https://www.showmecables.com/rj12-female-to-dual-rj12-female-telephone-splitter-adapter-6p6c-straight-pinout

I'm told we used one at the last show we did in April and that it worked.  I've also seen ones that are male to dual female.

Tim

I was the guy that used it and yes it worked as advertised. i even checked it with a cable tester to be sure it was straight through. It is. BTW, a telco style cable would work if it was the last cable in the chain and two telco cables make a straight cable.
Not sure why the side jack would not work to connect a UR93. I connect our UR92's to the side jacks of our UP5's. Those UP5's were purchased about 2004. I've never seen one that matched the original published documentation. The documentation has never been updated. I believe they had one design in mind and changed the board either before or just after the first run and just didn't bother to change the manual.

Martin Myers

Maletrain

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Re: How Do You Split a LocoNet Connection?
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2022, 03:01:51 PM »
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Just to update:  I did try plugging the UR93 into the back of a panel instead of the side, with no effect.  I did try putting it in the daisy chain, with no effect.

I am working on a couple of other possibilities suggested on the groups.io Digitrax group and will update here when I learn something useful. 

I did find a more useful work around - I don't actually have to shut down the whole thing and bring it all back up with the UT4D plugged in.  I can simply plug the UT4D into a facia panel, and then use the DT402 to turn power off to the track and back on again.  That does reliably sync the UT4Ds that are plugged in without losing sync for already synced UT4Ds that are not plugged in.

One interesting development is that another user posted that he had a Digitrax ticket that showed the identical problem, and he had traced it to an LNWI on the LocoNet.  But, Digitrax has told me they had never seen this problem before. I even have the other guy's ticket #, so I intend to refresh Digitrax's memory the next time I communicate with them.  (I am getting really tired of their standard response of "First update the firmware in everything on your layout and then get back to us if that doesn't solve your problem.)

I also found some issues with the rechargeable batteries I am using in the UT4Ds.  Those are the "voltage boost" types with internal circuits that maintain the output voltage at 9.4 volts until the internal cells go flat.  When I started getting intermittent/sporadic results - 2 UT4Ds acting differently during the same test with both being treated identically- I changed out the battery in the one that did not succeed, thinking it may be running down.  With a regular alkaline 9 volt, the UT4D worked.  So, I checked its voltage, and it was 9.4 volts, even while powering a small incandescent bulb. Checking the "9" volt battery, I got only 8.5 volts, but the UT4D was working flawlessly except for needing to use that work-around to get it to sync.  A bit later, the other UT4D gave sporadic results, so I took out the rechargeable and put in an alkaline, with the same positive results. 

So, this is making me wonder if the voltage-boost circuits in the rechargeable batteries could be interfering with the radio reception in the UT4Ds.  I will try to test that further next week, along with the LNWI interference with LocoNet theory.  Strangely, neither the batteries nor the presence of another LNWI on the HO layout causes any problems with these same UT4Ds syncing there by just plugging into a facia panel with everything powered-up.  The only real difference that I know of is that the HO layout uses a UR92 radio, and the N scale layout that is having problems uses a UR93 radio.