[Coco] Model Railroading with a CoCo...

John Donaldson johnadonaldson at sbcglobal.net
Fri Jan 11 21:13:02 EST 2008

   BTW, I am a N-Scaler myself. All of my engines, both Steam and Diesel 
have built-in DCC decoders. Some are factory installed, some I installed 
myself. Some of the newest N-Scale DCC engines have sound too. I have 
recently seen Z-Scale engines with built-in DCC decoders. That is how 
small the DCC decoders are getting now.
   I currently use both decdicated and computer control with my DCC 
layout. I use the computer to controll the operation of the hidden 
staging yard. The computer also monitors the movement of all the 
engines. Most DCC decoders have transponder mode, where they will upon 
receiving a request, send back a code that tells the computer where it 
is at.

John Donaldson

George Ramsower wrote:

> John,
>  I think it's time to re-check prices on the Digitrax stuff. When this 
> stuff first began, there were more than one maker of control systems 
> and they were all very expensive. I know the Digitrax protocol is very 
> good, but I couldn't afford to do what I wanted then. The last time I 
> checked, they were just beginning to make N-scale stuff. HO is much 
> easier to make because of the larger size.
>  This topic has re-kindled my interest.
>  And now the research begins.... again.
> George
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "John Donaldson"
>>   If you look at Digitrax's DCC system, this is exactly what they do. 
>> IMHO, the best way to use a COCO for model railroading is the use the 
>> serial port interface on a DCC system. Use the COCO as programmable 
>> Throttle. You can sense track detectors and such, talk to 
>> muti-engines, switchs, and etc. Thus you put the layout on the 
>> screen, sense the engines, and plot them on the screen as they move. 
>> There are open source C programs that you can get, that will speed 
>> things along. Why re-invent the wheel, unless that is what you want 
>> to do and if so, they by all means go for it.
>> John Donaldson
>> George Ramsower wrote:
>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Aaron Banerjee"
>>> <snip>
>>>> I was wondering if anyone had ever worked with pulse encoders -- 
>>>> like the kind pulse telephones use.  I'm working on finding new and 
>>>> unique ways to connect a coco to a model railroad...
>>>>                   - Aaron
>>> Aaron,
>>>  I've pondered and studied using a Coco to run a model railroad for 
>>> years. Studied the internet and even have a small N-Scale layout 
>>> just for testing some ideas.
>>>  I wanted a way to identify the location of two locomotives on the 
>>> layout so I could make them operate on the same track without 
>>> colliding. The problem is identifying which loco is which when they 
>>> cross over detectors. There are devices today that can do that and 
>>> report back to the computer the info.
>>>  I can't imagine how a dial pulse could help with this, unless you 
>>> are thinking of using pulses to control speed and direction. If this 
>>> is your intent, then you may be on the right track. Today, Pulse 
>>> Width Modulation (PWM) is the way to go.
>>> To control speed and direction with PWM, you can make a loco go so 
>>> slow, you can't even see it moving. It's speed is almost always 
>>> constant regardless of the load as PWM uses the full voltage 
>>> potential with each pulse. The longer pulse on time and shorter off 
>>> times makes the loco go faster. The high voltage pulses will burn 
>>> through poor connections on the wheels that make the electical 
>>> connections and result in a more reliable drive over not so perfect 
>>> rails.
>>> I started playing with PWM back in the seventies and I loved it. 
>>> Would never go back to variable voltage DC again.
>>> What was you original thinking on this subject?
>>>  George
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