Programming not on a decicated program track?

videobruce Feb 10, 2020

  1. videobruce

    videobruce TrainBoard Member

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    I know it can be done (sort of), but this has to do with an existing older layout that has three power blocks, but no programming track. This isn't mine, I'm tiring to help out a fellow MRR that isn't familiar with DCC. The layout is kinda large, it's HO scale in his basement. He has Digitrax system and his locos are 20 or so years old (Proto 2000, Broadway Limited & Life Like) , originally equipped with DCC decoders, if any of that matters. Most of his power AFAIK were never programmed or are programed wrong.

    If all the locos are removed from one power block segment (assuming both rails are gapped), would that be ok to program a DCC equipped loco?

    Lastly, I have little experience with DCC, the above is assuming that will change shortly. [​IMG]
     
  2. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    Take a short section of track in any district. Isolate it on each end. Power that section with a DPDT switch so that throwing the switch one way connects the section as the main and the other way as the program. Mike Fifer has a good video doing this.......................



    Sumner
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2020
  3. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    For most programming, you don't need a dedicated, but can Program on the Main. The key to "power blocks" is that they are not normally isolated from the rest of the layout in terms of track signal, they are simply different "circuits" all fed from the same main. But, as Sumner notes, a true program track must be completely isolated from everything else, with only one loco on it at a given time. Your friend may just want to take a 2 foot piece of loose track, hook up leads to it, and use that as a programming track.
     
  4. videobruce

    videobruce TrainBoard Member

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    Understood, I was looking for a 'easy' way around his wiring setup which he didn't do and really doesn't know much about it other than there are 3 sections that are feed with DPDT toggles. He use to have a tri-DC pack w/ the DCC.
     
  5. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    My bet is those DPDT simply reverse the polarity of the block. If they are fully isolated from the connecting tracks, both at the rails and at the wires, then it should work. Before putting anything on it, I would check everything with an multi-meter
     
  6. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    After going back and reading the original post I'm wondering if the whole layout now is running on DC and the DPDT switches that are there are in fact, as you suggest, reversing the polarity. Most DCC decoder equipped locos will run on DC so maybe they have been running all along that way. So first step is determining if the layout is currently wired as DC or DCC before attempting to program any of the loco's. At least that is my thought,

    Sumner
     
  7. videobruce

    videobruce TrainBoard Member

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    No, the DPDT toggles were for a separate "tri-pack'" (3 cab) PS. It may be a MRC model, I didn't look closely. The supply is still there, stored under the layout NOT connected. I did look at that wiring and it appears to be dead ended. There is a large opening in his control panel for that pack which now is open now.

    There are other issues with the layout, I'm just tiring to get more of his locos running. :unsure:
     
  8. John W Zerbe

    John W Zerbe TrainBoard Member

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    Frankly, I'd just get a couple short straight sections of track to set down somewhere near the layout and wire the programming leads to that for the programming. Once you get the ids set in the locos and can read from the decoders, you should be able to do any tweaking of settings by "programming on the main" where you can send programming commands to specific locos but won't be able to read back responses. This would get you started and you could later isolate a section on the lay to toggle as programming track.

    Also, yes, there is no reason you couldn't remove all locos from a power district but one and use that as a temporary programming track.
     
    videobruce likes this.
  9. videobruce

    videobruce TrainBoard Member

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    Roger, as I thought after I figure how to program. ;)
     

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