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Digital Z (WAS: RE: Extremely Useful web sites attn. Anders L.)

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  • Anders Lattermann
    Hi Ole! ... I m not a seller of this system, but since I plan to use it, please share your comments where it is lacking in your opinion? ... If you are not
    Message 1 of 3 , Oct 2, 1999
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      Hi Ole!

      > >I paste the text for the Smart Cab from CTIs webb:
      > >The only thing you can't do with this system is to run 2 locos
      > on the same
      > >track next to each other
      > Just as I thought! I haven't overlooked anything after all.
      > This is NOT enough and not what I want from a digital control system
      > for trains.

      I'm not a seller of this system, but since I plan to use it, please share
      your comments where it is lacking in your opinion?

      > The control system must be able to control a number (why not 256) of
      > adressable units tx. locomotives on an individual basis at the *same*
      > time and on the *same* tracks. Block control is not sufficient in my
      > opinion.

      If you are not using some kind of block control, how do you plan to keep
      track of where all your 256 locos are at the moment?

      > I want the whole track system to be powered by a fixed voltage from a
      > source that will be able to suply to each addressable unit (locos,
      > turnouts, signals etc.) with what is needed to make them work
      > according to the digital signals sent to them.

      Why do you want to be able to run two locos on the same track? That's the
      only thing the CTI system doesn't of the above.

      > But in Z-locos there is not much room for the decoder etc. It can be
      > done, though or the parts could maybe be built into a passenger car or
      > another roomy wagon of some sort. I don't know! The first year (or two
      > - or three or....) I intend to use on building a stable and well
      > functioning track system for my digital experiments.

      Decoders do fit into bigger Z-locos and steamers with a tender. Marklin
      actually introduced a digital Z system in the catalog 1988 (I think it was
      88), but it never reached the market for reasons unknown to me.

      Best regards from a rainy Stockholm!
      Anders Lattermann
    • Ole Rosted
      On Sun, 3 Oct 1999 00:18:41 +0200, you wrote: Hello Anders, ... I don t - all I have is four(4) locos :-), but I think I would use some kind of photoelectrical
      Message 2 of 3 , Oct 3, 1999
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        On Sun, 3 Oct 1999 00:18:41 +0200, you wrote:

        Hello Anders,

        >I'm not a seller of this system, but since I plan to use it, please share
        >your comments where it is lacking in your opinion?

        The reason for this actually followed in the next paragraph:

        >> The control system must be able to control a number (why not 256) of
        >> adressable units tx. locomotives on an individual basis at the *same*
        >> time and on the *same* tracks. Block control is not sufficient in my
        >> opinion.
        >
        >If you are not using some kind of block control, how do you plan to keep
        >track of where all your 256 locos are at the moment?

        I don't - all I have is four(4) locos :-), but I think I would use
        some kind of photoelectrical sensing. I haven't given this problem
        much thought)

        >Why do you want to be able to run two locos on the same track? That's the
        >only thing the CTI system doesn't of the above.

        Do we mean the same, when we say: "the same track"? Of course I don't

        consider it relevant to run two/more locos on the same 11 cm (5 " ??)
        stretch. But I want to be able to run more than one loco (not
        necessarily 256 locos) on an individual basis on my entire trackSYSTEM

        I must admit, that my interest in digital control is influencing my
        attempts in Z. Yeeeaaars ago I built a remote control system based on
        digital codes received in the item to be controlled. The german
        monthly magazine: "Funkschau" started me. The "digital-code system"
        was, in contrast to the pulse modulated systems seen at that time,
        able to control a lot of things. And then - I have allways felt, that
        the way to control things from a distance ought to be like sending
        someone a message instructing the receiver to do something.

        (This sceme is the heart of object oriented programming for instance)

        In my opinion decoding digital pulses and delivering the result to a
        servo is not "correct". A matter of taste no doubt!

        My intention then was to build my systerm into an aircraft model, but
        the evident risk of loosing aircraft AND electronics in a crash, made
        me build it into a model of the german Tiger-tank. Not much to do
        there, though. On/off control of the two caterpillars sufficed.

        But I have since that time looked for some "carrier" to make further
        attempts into remote control appealing. My Z train came in handy!

        But to you and other members of the list: This is what I WANT to do!!!
        In the coming months (years??) I will be busy finishing my track
        layout to a degree that will allow smooth running of trains on a
        physical stable platform for my digital experiments.

        I'm working hard on this! One thing worries me: my turning loops!
        I don't quite see, how the polarity change can be done. But I'll find
        out - maybe.

        >Decoders do fit into bigger Z-locos and steamers with a tender. Marklin
        >actually introduced a digital Z system in the catalog 1988 (I think it was
        >88), but it never reached the market for reasons unknown to me.

        I'm aware of Digitrack's efforts.

        >Best regards from a rainy Stockholm!

        You too? It has been pouring down here for days now.

        regards Ole Rosted, Denmark
      • Anders Lattermann
        Hi folks! ... This is the big problem I have concluded. If you don t know where your trains are you cannot run more than you can see with your eyes and handle
        Message 3 of 3 , Oct 3, 1999
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          Hi folks!

          > I don't - all I have is four(4) locos :-), but I think I would use
          > some kind of photoelectrical sensing. I haven't given this problem
          > much thought)

          This is the big problem I have concluded. If you don't know where your
          trains are you cannot run more than you can see with your eyes and handle
          with your brain. Digital control or not doesn't care.

          The CTI system handles this by having several types of sensors. My favorite
          in visible places is current detection since it's installed under the layout
          imposible to see, all it needs is to be hooked to the wires feeding the
          track with power. It then actually senses the locos motor (running or not
          running) to know that a train occupies a block. The only drawback with
          current detection is that you don't know that the last car has cleared the
          block if you don't paint your cars axles with a special electrical leading
          paint (extremly high resistance, but enough for the current detector to pick
          it up).

          > >Why do you want to be able to run two locos on the same track? That's the
          > >only thing the CTI system doesn't of the above.
          > Do we mean the same, when we say: "the same track"? Of course I don't
          > consider it relevant to run two/more locos on the same 11 cm (5 " ??)
          > stretch. But I want to be able to run more than one loco (not
          > necessarily 256 locos) on an individual basis on my entire trackSYSTEM

          This you can do with the CTI system. You can either put one Smart Cab
          controlling each block of your layout, gives the total running locos at the
          same as the amount of Smart Cabs/blocks on your layout minus one. The
          software is cleaver enough to know that one train know leaves block X and
          passes over to block Y and therefor also adjust the speed on the Y Smart Cab
          to the same you had on X. All smart cabs (and other CTI equipment) are
          connected in a ring type of network with the same type of plugs as mothern
          telephones uses, very easy. With the one smart cab per block method, you of
          course need to buy one smart cab per block you have.

          The other method is to dynamically assign a smart cab to one loco and switch
          that smart cab to the block your loco is at at the moment. With this method
          you don't need to buy one Smart cab per block which reduces cost, but you
          have on the other hand to buy more TBrains for switching the Smart cabs to
          the right block. You can only run as many trains simultainously as you have
          smart cabs.

          The best way to do it cost wise is probably to mix these two methods with
          say, one smart cab per 4 blocks.

          The Smart Cab uses pure DC (except for the 16 first speed steps of a total
          of 100. On these first 16 it pulses to get the locos starting good). Pure DC
          is good for all your locos and you can run Faulhauber motors on it without
          problems. I also like that you can spread the 100 steps out on to your own
          voltage range. From step 0 with of course 0 volts, to step 100 with, and
          here comes the catch: 0-10 Volts depending on what you have adjusted it to.
          This gives that you have all the 100 steps spread out on a voltage range
          where your locos run at step 100 in the highest speed you like them to have.
          No locos will fly at 350 kmh at step 100 leaving you with maybe just using
          the first 30 steps where you have the prototypical velocity.

          Also what I like about the CTI system is that you don't need to try to
          squeze a decoder in your locos. You take any Z-loco, even the V60 and BR89
          steamer and run them digitally. When calculating cost, you might at first
          think the CTI system is expensive, but check again what a DCC decoder per
          loco costs (I have 40 locos), the time you invest into installing them into
          the locos (and the second hand value going down the drain). And then you can
          only run the locos you could get squeeze a decoder into. To a DCC system
          cost, you also have to count the central system box, the feedback system
          (sensors) and switch controllers. CTI has all this in the TBrains.

          And finally, it's working on my layout (well, an experimental one - no
          landscape) right now, not maybe in some years.

          The only system I've come to find that is in the same legue is the system
          from Gahler and Ringsmeier, but it's so much more expensive and less
          flexible.

          I don't make money in telling you all how good this system is, but I have
          been using the CTI system on my test track for over one year and so far it
          has met all my expectations.

          Best regards from a raining, raining Stockholm!
          Anders Lattermann
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