Author Topic: Do you isolate your loco storage tracks?  (Read 1776 times)

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C855B

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Do you isolate your loco storage tracks?
« on: January 26, 2023, 11:56:30 PM »
+1
My current project with the layout (...yeah, I'm sorta back at it...) is to clear some of the backlog of power in need of DCC decoders. It seems that back when TCS decoders were affordable I stocked-up on GP-CN, discovering about a dozen in the box, plus a dozen miscellaneous decoders that need to be matched to locos hiding in boxes somewhere in the collection.

This all leads to the question posed in the title. The long-term goal is a large-ish engine terminal where everything is stored and available at the touch of a button, sort of creating a hostler position on the layout, assembling and breaking consists to hand-off to the yardmaster for making up trains. So...

...should I, or shouldn't I, leave all the terminal tracks "hot" for this function, storing anywhere from 20 to 25 units on live tracks? Or should I, for safety or track power conservation, have another hostler function of switching power on/off for the storage yard tracks? I have no sound decoders anywhere, so idle power consumption is minimal (can you imagine the racket?), as proven by the 15 locos currently parked around the layout with no apparent impact to operations.
...mike

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John

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Re: Do you isolate your loco storage tracks?
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2023, 06:01:07 AM »
+3
A couple of experiences I've had

1) I've fried a couple of decoders while doing scenery with my static grass machine. A zap got to the track, and scrambled the brains of every loco in the yard.

2) I've reprogrammed every loco on the track a couple of times - not intentionally

3) If you have operators over, you have to account for the lowest common denominator

I'd add one of those old rotary selector switches so that you can power the appropriate storage track not only on the engine terminal, but maybe even staging

C855B

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Re: Do you isolate your loco storage tracks?
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2023, 09:18:26 AM »
0
Thanks, John. I think I have #'s 2 and 3 covered by not having accommodation for anything other than WiFi throttles. I've experienced more than my share of mass reprogrammings on the club layout perpetrated by beginners. The single DT402 directly attached to the control station will be spirited away during op sessions. There's nothing I can think of that can't be handled through JMRI.

But interesting point about the static zap. I have a grassy knoll in my near future, so there we go. Or don't go. I have microcontrollers everywhere on the layout and now you have me thinking that throwing a static generator into the mix may be a risk I might not want to take.

There are no mechanical switches on the layout, everything is on cheap tablets with JMRI web pages. Scheme I'm envisioning right now is each track controlled by a relay powered by a Tam Valley/N3IX controller so I can handle power distribution through software. A single N3IX controller can handle up to 12 relays on those really inexpensive "Arduino" relay boards, so it's not stupid costly to do it that way.
...mike

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Pomperaugrr

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Re: Do you isolate your loco storage tracks?
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2023, 09:48:54 AM »
+2
I isolated the area next to the shop, where the HRRC normally keeps its small fleet, when not on a road job.  Since there are only between 3 and 5 locomotives running at any one time, depending upon how many operators I have, it is a simple matter to park them like the prototype does.  I use a simple on/off toggle switch on the fascia, which gives an easy visual indication as to whether the power is on or off.  I like the idea of not having constant power to all unused units.  I will also park all 9 of the locomotives here, if doing static grass applications, as John mentioned, or other track work, primarily as a little extra bit of insurance.  I may do the same for my staging tracks, although I don't usually leave any locomotives parked there, as it merely represents an interchange in Pittsfield, MA, with CSX.  The HRRC drops off and picks up in Pittsfield, without any layovers.

You can see the insulated gap here, between the fueling area and the shop building.  (Damn, I just noticed I'm missing some ties near that gap.  :facepalm:)
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« Last Edit: January 27, 2023, 09:59:52 AM by Pomperaugrr »

Dave V

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Re: Do you isolate your loco storage tracks?
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2023, 10:13:47 AM »
+5
I do.

I have kill switches for almost any track where a locomotive is likely to sit for a while. All of my enginehouse tracks, all of the tracks in Ridgway Yard and Rico Yard, and a few others. I figure there's no good reason to juice a decoder if you're not going to use it for a while. And while one of the big advantages of DCC is not needing them, I see it as an added insurance policy.

You can see them as the black, circular switches on the fascia.




Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Do you isolate your loco storage tracks?
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2023, 10:17:01 AM »
0
Hmm. I hadn't planned on it for my layout, but now I'm kinda thinking about it.

Thanks guys.


peteski

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Re: Do you isolate your loco storage tracks?
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2023, 10:45:57 AM »
0
2) I've reprogrammed every loco on the track a couple of times - not intentionally

John,
Warning about this happening pops up in every conversation I see about using the POM process.  But since when you POM, you have to select a specific address of a loco, how exactly did you program all the locos?  I was told that if someone selects address zero, (DCC broadcast address), all the locos will receive the programming packet.  Is that how you did it?

POM is very useful for things like adjusting sound volumes or some other dynamic function of a decoder while the loco is moving. 
. . . 42 . . .

Scottl

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Re: Do you isolate your loco storage tracks?
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2023, 11:37:00 AM »
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Hmm. I hadn't planned on it for my layout, but now I'm kinda thinking about it.

Thanks guys.

This.  I like @Dave V switch solution over a rotary.  That way you can have multiple tracks operational or everything off.

John

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Re: Do you isolate your loco storage tracks?
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2023, 11:40:03 AM »
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John,
Warning about this happening pops up in every conversation I see about using the POM process.  But since when you POM, you have to select a specific address of a loco, how exactly did you program all the locos?  I was told that if someone selects address zero, (DCC broadcast address), all the locos will receive the programming packet.  Is that how you did it?

POM is very useful for things like adjusting sound volumes or some other dynamic function of a decoder while the loco is moving.

Pete .. see this .. https://dccwiki.com/Decoder_Programming


C855B

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Re: Do you isolate your loco storage tracks?
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2023, 01:05:23 PM »
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This.  I like @Dave V switch solution over a rotary.  That way you can have multiple tracks operational or everything off.

Agreed. If I'm expecting hostler moves I'll want the from/to tracks and ladder live at the same time.
...mike

http://www.gibboncozadandwestern.com

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peteski

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Re: Do you isolate your loco storage tracks?
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2023, 02:31:08 PM »
0
Pete .. see this .. https://dccwiki.com/Decoder_Programming

Thanks John, I'm quite familiar with all of that, but I was curious how you managed to program  all the locos.  Did you accidentally select address zero while programming on main?
. . . 42 . . .

John

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Re: Do you isolate your loco storage tracks?
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2023, 03:19:36 PM »
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Thanks John, I'm quite familiar with all of that, but I was curious how you managed to program  all the locos.  Did you accidentally select address zero while programming on main?


It's been many years ago .. my memory is fuzzy - but I suspect it was "0" meltdown .. I think I just got my new DCC and had no clue ..

Carolina Northern

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Re: Do you isolate your loco storage tracks?
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2023, 12:08:35 PM »
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I'm in the shut them off camp.

I divided my track into blocks with one common connection and feeder from the command station. I did it for signalling someday, but have already set up the sidings on switches.

I'm planning to add cheap relay boards and accessory decoders to control the blocks, but that's ways down the road.

Don

central.vermont

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Re: Do you isolate your loco storage tracks?
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2023, 01:08:44 PM »
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You can see them as the black, circular switches on the fascia.


Dave, I like these round rocker switches you have. Can you tell me more on what size they are and who makes them, I'd like to get some myself. Jon

MK

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