Connecting Rokuhan turnouts to a decoder

fredz May 8, 2012

  1. fredz

    fredz New Member

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    I am considering switching from Märklin Z Track to Rokuhan Z. However, I need to have my turnouts digitalized, for connection to my ESU digital central (50200). "Normal" turnouts have 3 wires, which are easiliy turned into DCC using (for example) Viessmann turnout decoders. Rokuhan only has 2 wires. How can I digitalize those? Thanks
     
  2. Svein-Martin Holt

    Svein-Martin Holt TrainBoard Member

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  3. fredz

    fredz New Member

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    Have you actually used the DS52 with Rokuhan? Digitrax tells me the DS64 "should" work as well. I dont see a lot of difference between DS52 and DS64, though, except for the case and price.
     
  4. Svein-Martin Holt

    Svein-Martin Holt TrainBoard Member

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    Yes, I have tested them with Tortoise, Märklin and Rokuhan turnouts, and it works well with all types. You can use the DS64 also, but DS52 was the cheapest solution, so I selected to use them.
     
  5. fredz

    fredz New Member

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    That's great, at last someone who uses them. How many do you have? What digital central do you use? Do you have a site with pictures? ;-) From your website, it seems you don't use Rokuhan anymore?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 9, 2012
  6. Svein-Martin Holt

    Svein-Martin Holt TrainBoard Member

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    I have bought all necesarry decoders for my new layout and tested it before I bought all of them. So I know it will work.
    In the layout i have different types of turnouts. I use 4 Rokuhan, Märklin turnouts in hidden areas(expect for one), and have also many Fast-Track turnouts powered with Tortoises. I also have a few Wright turnouts from old layout.
    I will mainly use the DS52 and for the Tortoises I will use the NCE Switch8 decoder. This specific items were selected because they were the cheapest and fit my needs. There are more than 40 turnouts on the layout.
    If the Wright turnouts were easely available, I think I will have used them everywhere. I love them.
    You can read about this in my projectblog.
    http://www.platelayer.com/project-blog.aspx

    I have the NCE PowerCab system and using the NCE USB interface to the computer, running the JMRI-software to control the engines and the turnouts.
    In this entry I talk about the DCC-system: http://www.platelayer.com/some-turnoutmotors-installed-basement-for-city-in-place.aspx

    Why am I using all the different types of turnouts? I basically take what I have. I bought 4 Rokuhan to test them. In general the are very good, the price is good, but I don't like the trackbed good enough to want to use it. Then I like the Märklin turnouts because they are very easy to use and install. No extra wiring, and you can also "run-up" in the opposite direction if the turnout is thrown "wrong". I like that very much. But, I don't like the magnets on them, so I use them only in hidden areas. Of course I could have replaced the engines with under-the-layout engines. My plan was to use Fast-Track a lot of the places, but I have so many projects with this layout that I feel it take too long time to produce all this turnouts in a good quality. So I stopped at about 10 homemade turnouts.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 9, 2012
  7. fredz

    fredz New Member

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    Does this mean trains derail with Rokuhan, if you run-up in the opposite direction and if the turnout is thrown wrong? To me, that sounds extremely annoying! I don't see any reason why this would be "by design".
     
  8. Svein-Martin Holt

    Svein-Martin Holt TrainBoard Member

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    You can't "run up" the Rokuhan switch in the wrong direction if the switch is et "wrong". It will stop the train and derail. The Rokuhan switch also switch the power, so you will easely have a short in the current, with the problem that could give you fried wheels, etc. The Märklin turnout is very easy to use, since you don't need to set the switch correct and can "run it up". All other turnouts with Tortoise, etc will normally have the same "problem" as Rokuhan. But is prototypical, so I guess the best is to set all switches in correct position before running train on them.:happy:
     
  9. fredz

    fredz New Member

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    What do you mean by "prototypical"? I've had many layouts, in Märklin Z, H0, but also N, and none had this "run up" problem. What's the point precisely?
     
  10. Svein-Martin Holt

    Svein-Martin Holt TrainBoard Member

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    I am thinking about the tie-spacing. I run American prototype and the tiespacing is not correct on Märklin an Rokuhan. MicroTrains flextrack has the correct spacing. Ideally all my turnouts should also have the same tie-spacing. But I mix the types, so I am not so prototype myself either. But in an ideal world, I would use turnouts with the correct tie spacing. :)
     
  11. fredz

    fredz New Member

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    And the "run up" problem does not bother you? It's a completely different "state of mind" when running trains, I find - you need to take care that every turnout is good, even if the train doesn't actually take the turnout, but just runs over it.
     
  12. Svein-Martin Holt

    Svein-Martin Holt TrainBoard Member

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    In general I like to set the turnout in the correct position for both direction, and if the Märklin turnout have had the correct tie spacing and a hidden motor, that would have been my main choice. Because you can "run it up". And because the train run good in the turnout. And because its easy to use, no extra wiring.
    But I end up with different types. I use what I have. :)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 14, 2012
  13. Garth-H

    Garth-H TrainBoard Supporter

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    This is not correct about derailing as the points are spring loaded and not over sprung so they easily will move over. Rokuhan has a video which shows you how to modify power routing to non power routing and the newest versions have instructions and are set up to be configured as either type determined by where you place a couple of screws on the back plate.
    The problem is the frog is power routed according to position of points in either type. in the power routing type, you can extend the dead section out from turnout by placing an insulator Rokuhan A013 between two sections of track, one or two joints from the frog end of turnout, so with 3 or 4 engines on point your train is stopped before entering the turnout and shorting out at the frog, but this only works with power routing type.I have not used non power routing type and tried to run through it to see what happens.

    regards Garth
     
  14. fredz

    fredz New Member

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    So if I switch them to non power routing, I won't have this "run up" problem at all?
     
  15. David K. Smith

    David K. Smith TrainBoard Supporter

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    That is correct.
     
  16. Svein-Martin Holt

    Svein-Martin Holt TrainBoard Member

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    So if I will buy some more Rokuhan and modify them, I can run them up in "wrong" direction.
    Actually, because of the powerrouting I experienced the short in current and that stopped the train, because I did not know about the modification that could be done. Thank you to Garth. Good to see that they can be configured the same way as a Märklin turnout.
     
  17. Garth-H

    Garth-H TrainBoard Supporter

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    http://jamesriverbranch.net/clinic_4.htm

    David K Smirh's no solder required solution to conversion

    Rokuhan's Video on how to convert power routing to non power routing on existing turnouts or original version of tournout

    regards Garth
     
  18. David K. Smith

    David K. Smith TrainBoard Supporter

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    This link takes you directly to the page on changing the power-routing behavior, instead of the general information page: http://jamesriverbranch.net/clinic_4c.htm
     
  19. CSX Robert

    CSX Robert TrainBoard Member

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    Let me preface my comments by saying that I do not have any personal experience with Rokuhan turnouts, but I do have a lot of experience with Kato Unitrack turnouts, to which they seem to be very similar in design(I am an N scaler who often checks out the Z forum because I am considering dabbling in Z scale).

    I don't believe that if you do the modifications talked about in this thread that you will be able to run the turnouts in the wrong direction. The problem is the frog will still be powered with it's polarity or phase switched according to the direction the turnout is aligned, causing a short when a train approaches from the wrong direction.

    I see two relatively easy ways around this, both of which require removing the power routing mechanism from the turnout. The first method would be to just leave the frog isolated and unpowered, but that might cause stalling problems. The other method, which will only work with DCC, is to connect the frog to a "frog juicer", which will automatically switch the phase of the frog for you.
     
  20. fredz

    fredz New Member

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    I have now done some testing with the Rokuhan R039 and R040 turnouts and Digitrax DS64 decoders. Short version: it works just fine. But there is a major problem: Rokuhan turnouts work best at 10V or 12V DC. The Digitrax DS64 ALWAYS outputs 20V DC to the turnouts, independently from the input voltage. The DS64 works fine with voltages as low as 7.5V DC (I tested it), but then it still outputs pulses of 20V to the turnouts. Thought it works, in the long run, this might kill the turnouts. This is from the DS64 manual:

    "For the pulse output mode for use with solenoid and bi-polar turnouts, the voltage is always approximately 20 volts." (using
    a built-in capacitive discharge unit.)
    I contacted Rokuhan about this, and they say:"our turnout is worked over 9V DC. Maximum probably 15V or 17V DC. "

    Moreover, when using an external power supply with the DS64, which is recommended, the DS64 always takes power from the source with the highest voltage. Eg if you DCC central delivers 10 or 11V, and your auxiliary power source to the DS64 delivers 9V, the DS64 will take power from the DCC central. For the Rokuhan turnouts: the lower, the better:

    In the case of track connection and external power (AX1/AX2 or the Aux power jack), the DS64 will take power from whichever is providing the greatest voltage, as the input diode for the lower voltage sources will be reverse biased.
    (source: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Digitrax/message/178830 )

    So I won't be using the DS64 after all. I have now switched to ESU, a combination of the Switch Pilot 51800 and the Switch Pilot Extension 51801. This works perfectly, and input voltage = output voltage. Moreover, it is much easier setting it up, as you can write CV values straight to the Switch Pilot using any DCC central, unlike with the Digitrax. And you can read them back straight away. There you need to use sDCC using the more "primitive" method of sending open or closed commands to certain turnout numbers.
    In Europe, the DS64 costs about € 50. The ESU method comes down to about € 55 if you buy online.
     

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