DCC Consists with Mixed Brands - Sound Issue

C&O_MountainMan Jul 2, 2024

  1. C&O_MountainMan

    C&O_MountainMan TrainBoard Member

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    I have two Scaletrains ET44s and one BLI ET44 set up to run consisted. (All N scale)

    My problem is that I have never been able to run with the sound from both brands enabled at the same time.

    No matter how I establish the consist, things always end up being one press of the F8 button mutes one brand and turns on the sound for the other.

    With the locomotives consisted, I can’t independently manipulate the individual sounds of individual engines.

    I expect the process will entail reprogramming some function keys for each locomotive, which thing I have never done.

    I have an NCE Powercab DCC system.

    Anyone with experience in this area, please provide your input.
     
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  2. Metro Red Line

    Metro Red Line TrainBoard Member

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    I don't have NCE, but question for you - Is the address for your consist the same as the lead locomotive or a unique address not used by any locomotive?
     
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  3. Rasputen

    Rasputen TrainBoard Member

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    Have you tried opening the throttle on your consist first, before manipulating the F8 function?? Unfortunately BLI decoders have the practice of keeping the sound muted until the throttle is opened once, which no other decoder does. I wish there was a way to correct this on Paragon decoders but I haven't been able to determine if this is possible. You could also try downloading the ESU project for the ET44, and re-map the function button F8 to be the opposite, ie F8 = on, and !F8 = mute, (requires LokProgrammer) and see if the units remain in sync with each other.
     
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  4. jhn_plsn

    jhn_plsn TrainBoard Supporter

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    NCE uses advanced consisting as its default, so I would imagine there is a cv that needs adjusting. Likely 21 and 22, but I would go to the BLI website to see if there is a tech article on the subject. As a quick test you could change cv's 21 and 22 to a value of 255. Then add it to the consist. This should allow all functions to respond while in a consist, but the NCE system should turn off the lighting functions if not the leed unit.
     
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  5. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    From a prototypical point of view, isn't the lead loco (the crewed one) the only one that will run any sounds?

    But I can see where if you prefer certain sounds from different locos in the consist, and some of those sounds are not available except from a non-lead loco, then how does one do that. It could vary considerably between different DCC systems/throttles too.
     
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  6. jhn_plsn

    jhn_plsn TrainBoard Supporter

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    All the locos should have the prime mover and braking sounds. The lead loco would have lights, bell, and horn. There are CV's to control these within a consist.
     
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  7. C&O_MountainMan

    C&O_MountainMan TrainBoard Member

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    No, the prime mover of all of them is easily heard.

    And with that, let me boil this down to the simplest of scenarios. I want to force the prime mover sound of both brands to be on at once when operating as a consist: I run one of the scaletrains as the lead engine, for reasons of both appearance, and for the sounds it gives me: it’s horn sounds better than the BLI, and I leave the flange squeal on all the time.

    Also I run a distributed power lashup, with the BLI right behind the leading Scaletrains, and the other Scaletrains about 22 cars back in a 33-car train. And it makes sounds in unison with the lead engine (excluding horn, bell etc. -stuff that only is generated at the lead engine. But it delivers both prime mover sound and flange squeal when the lead engine is. And sound from just the two Scaletrains has been fine for me until now.

    Now, enter the good-heartedness of my wife: she knew I was considering a BLI rolling sound system, and she went and ordered me one. It arrived exactly one hour ago.

    I know it will only broadcast sound from, and do its subwoofer thing with, only the BLI engine.

    And no matter how you slice it, I still want to hear the prime movers of both brands, as I don’t want a dead-silent mid-train engine rolling by, or a dead silent lead pair. And I still want my flange squeal sounds, etc.

    Yes, I’ve tried getting it up to speed before manipulating F8. It behaves the same either way: both Scaletrains mute, and the BLI comes on; press again and vice versa.

    Leaving the BLI muted has been fine until now. But now, I want to do some subwoofing, but not give up prime mover sounds from both points of distributed power, nor the othe niceties of sound the Scaletrains provide me.

    Yes, the NCE gives a separate consist address, but also selecting the lead loco will select the whole consist:

    Selecting 3440 results in CON:3440 being the selected engine.
    Selecting 977 (the BLI) results in LOC:977.

    Now, interestingly, if, while the consisted train is running, if I select 977, , I can turn on the BLI sound, and have all my happy sounds, but I have no control over the consist. If I select the consist to get control back, the BLI goes silent, and the scaletrains prime movers stay on, but the flange founds drop out, and the lights go out. Which gets me back to where I started, with the additional frustration of having to turn lights and sounds back on.
     
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  8. Mike C

    Mike C TrainBoard Member

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    What about taking both of the S T locos off the track ,then power up the BLI loco . After it's running then put the S T locos back on the track . That should get the sound on all the locos , I think :cautious: Mike
     
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  9. C&O_MountainMan

    C&O_MountainMan TrainBoard Member

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    Well, that is functionally the same as what I have tried numerous times, which is to eliminate the consist, get each engine going with sound individually, then rebuilding the consist.

    I’m also rather disinclined to frequently handle engines I’ve put a lot of effort into weathering.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2024
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  10. C&O_MountainMan

    C&O_MountainMan TrainBoard Member

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    I have the basic DCC problem essentially solved, along your lines: I changed CV21 to 191 for the BLI. It was defaulted to 255. The F8 key was defined by Bit 8 of that CV, so, I subtracted 64 from 255: 191.

    And up on startup I hit the F9 key, that takes the BLI through its startup sequence. Hitting F8 takes both Scaletrains through their startup sequence. Wait a couple of seconds for the engines to run smooth, then I can throttle up.

    I might tweak around on CV21 to get the behaviors of both following engines to be more prototypical.

    The problem now has shifted: the Rolling Thunder will not pick up the BLI ET44.

    It will, however pick up my y6b when I run it.

    All of the CVs appear to be in order. And I keep the y6b on an unpowered track when running my diesels. I’ve also run it alone on the track, with the Scaletrains both pulled off.

    So, now: on to why the BLI and the Rolling thunder are not hooking up.

    Thanks for everyone’s input.
     
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  11. C&O_MountainMan

    C&O_MountainMan TrainBoard Member

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    Do BLIs have any onboard dip switch or anything to enable/disable the little radio/transmitter?
     
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  12. C&O_MountainMan

    C&O_MountainMan TrainBoard Member

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    An update for correction: CV21 was defaulted to 176, I changed it to 112.
     
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  13. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Sorry, I was thinking of horns & bells, etc., not the prime mover, etc. How are the former handled in a 1:1 consist? Does each loco in the consist blow its horn or ring its bell in concert?

    Clearly, I have a lot to learn, both prototypically and decoder-wise in consists.

    At least I know boolean logic, binary and hexadecimal numbers, and logical operations (AND, OR, etc.) like the back of my hand. Using decimal arithmetic to describe bit-wise logic operations is painful (at least to me, having a better alternative.*)

    *Though too late for most of us, I really believe binary and hexadecimal numbers, arithmetic and bitwise logical operations (AND, OR, XOR, NOT, etc.) should be taught to everyone in grade school. In fact, learning to count in Binary/Hex is much easier on your fingers than decimal. In binary, you can count to 31 decimal (11111 binary or 1F hex) on one hand, and 1023 decimal on two hands. There are even 7-segment display patterns for 0-F hex digits (0-9,A,b,C,d,E,F)
     
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  14. C&O_MountainMan

    C&O_MountainMan TrainBoard Member

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    CV21 handles all that, and offers a fair amount of flexibility. The DCC system one uses will likely dictate how CV21 is set up when a consist is made.

    You can, however, after the consist is made, put the locomotives on the programming track (individually) and change the value of CV21 to get the behavior you want.

    Hope you had a good 100th of July.
     
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  15. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Yeah, but Star Wars Day, "May the 100th be with you" doesn't seem to have that ring to it...

    Luckily, both July 4th and May the 4th work in hexadecimal or octal, as well as decimal.
     
  16. C&O_MountainMan

    C&O_MountainMan TrainBoard Member

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    Of course it does - if you say it aloud. It’s only when you write it it that people fail to get it.
     
  17. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    No, binary numbers are not pronounced in decimal (they are pronounced in binary "ones" & "zeroes.") Same way with F in hex: it is not pronounced "fifteen" it is pronounced "F". because "fifteen" (15) in hex has a different value of twenty one decimal.

    Trust me, I worked in binary and hex my whole 31 year career (and most of college before that.) When going through register/memory checklists (with two-man verification rules), we don't flip bases when pronouncing register values. If the readout is hex, we pronounce it in hex, not decimal, octal or binary, because the checklist is written in the base matching the readout.

    The point of the joke, "Happy July 100" is that most people assume you would use decimal numbers, and pronounce it as "Happy July one-hundredth." But if someone knew it was binary, they would pronounce it as "Happy July one zero zero," "... one oh oh," or perhaps even "... one double-oh"
     
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  18. fordy744

    fordy744 TrainBoard Member

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    I'm fairly new to rolling thunder too but have learnt a few lessons in my short time. Forgive me if you know these already but it may help.

    The Rolling Thunder system can only "pair" to one loco at once, it works on a first come first serve basis.

    The RT locos have a separate RT address, can't remember the default, but having two locos with the same RT address will cause some weird noises from the subwoofer.

    The RT system defaults to scanning it's range of addresses (30 I believe) but I think you can manually set it to a single address. May be worth checking it is on scanning function so it can search for your ET44.

    As far as i'm aware you can't turn the transmitter on/off in the loco. Silly question but are you sure your ET44 is RT equipped? RT came out with Paragon 3.

    I had issues with the RT picking up locos, I had the receiver on top of the subwoofer on the floor for testing purposes but not all locos were as easily picked up. They are supposed to pick up locos up to 30ft so I don't understand why a few extra feet below track level affected it so much... I place my RT receiver 6-12" below track level and not had any problems even 30ft away. The ET44 transmitter may not be a well positioned as in the Y6b...

    I assume you have tried running the BLI ET44 on it's own with nothing else on the track and the RT system?

    The different decoder manufacturers default on/off for functions has been a point of contention for many years, in more recent releases some decoder manufacturers have allowed the user to alter the default status. I don't know if BLI or ESU are either of those, I suspect ESU would be most likely of the two but you would need Lokprogrammer or maybe JMRI to alter them.

    If you have the locos in an advanced consist you should be able to alter the BLI units response to either loco or consist address, which if you put startup on the BLI on loco rather than consist, you should be able to address the loco, fire the prime mover and even when you enter the consist address the prime mover should still be running on the BLI.
     
  19. C&O_MountainMan

    C&O_MountainMan TrainBoard Member

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    Yes, it is Paragon3.

    Like, I said in one of my responses to this thread I have the independent sound control issue resolved. The sole remaining issue I gave is with the ET44 not getting properly picked up by my rolling thunder.

    Yes, I have tried the BLI ET44 on the track by itself. Not only physically by itself, but also with the consist having been cleared from all consisted locos.

    My Rolling Thunder is not in its permanent place, but the engine can get no more than even feet from it. The engine gets as close as three inches from it. I have tried it at, above and below layout track level, at every conceivable orientation. I know that:

    1. It ALWAYS picks up my y6b.
    2. It NEVER picks up my ET44.
    3. The Rolling thunder is very directionally sensitive.

    I also know that when I turn on my ET44’s sound for the first time after firing up the layout for a session, that the Rolling Thunder causes a quiet THUMP from the subwoofer, just like it does with the y6b. So, it picks up SOMETHING from the loco.
     
  20. fordy744

    fordy744 TrainBoard Member

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    Have you done a factory reset on the ET44?

    Have you opened it up and checked connections to/from the transmitter? not sure if it separate or integral and may not be the same between HO & N. I recall someone talking about adjusting the antenna in the fuel tank area but can't remember model or scale.

    The quiet thumb I thought was just the RT system coming online, I wasn't aware it was related to the loco coming on line...

    Have you looked at the RT addresses in the locos?
     

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