Help needed - Digitrax Zephyr, TrainController, Loconet, Solenoid point motors

Discussion in 'DCC Control' started by scottystitch, Apr 1, 2018.

  1. scottystitch

    scottystitch N Gauge Society Publicity Officer Full Member

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    Well, I've taken delivery of an award winning layout.

    But despite everything working as expected earlier today, when I came back to it this afternoon, the point control does not work.

    Points can be thrown either by clicking on the item on the screen of TrainController or by commanding the point from the Digitrax controller......except suddenly it doesn't work.

    Can anyone suggest a possible reason/solution?

    I have to say, this computer control m'larky really isn't for me, and I'll probably rip it out and replace with Megapoints and a proper control panel with proper switches.

    Best

    Scott
     
  2. SMR CHRIS

    SMR CHRIS Staff Member Moderator

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    Have you tried a full reboot may have gone to sleep and something not come back on line.

    Failing that check all the basics from the wall socket for the power supply and work towards the points could just be a loose wire.

    Best of Luck
     
  3. SMR CHRIS

    SMR CHRIS Staff Member Moderator

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    You had better post some photos of this layout now you have mentioned it :giggle:
     
  4. Toto

    Toto Staff Member Founder Administrator

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    :scratchchin: Don't be too hastie. There will be something straight forward. I'd maybe try a quick call to the previous owner. I'll bet he will have had this glitch before. As Chris said, it could be something as simple as a reboot.

    Paul maybe able to suggest something when he gets a chance to get his head around how it all interfaces. Bung a few pictures up whilst you are at it. :thumbs::avatar:

    Cheers

    Toto
     
  5. scottystitch

    scottystitch N Gauge Society Publicity Officer Full Member

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    I'm thinking that it's not the computer/DCC side of things, maybe it's the CDU or the AC supply for throwing the Solenoids........

    I'll start a pic thread later this week.

    EDIT: Hmmm, but it can't be teh CDU as the servos for the signals don't change either..........
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2018
  6. scottystitch

    scottystitch N Gauge Society Publicity Officer Full Member

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    Even if/when I get it working again, eventually I think I will change to manual control. I much prefer manual point control.
     
  7. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    Must admit that although I'm DCC when it comes to controlling loco's, I'm sticking to analogue switch control for the points!
    Keith.
     
  8. Chatty

    Chatty Full Member

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    Scott

    As Toto said the first thing is to contact the previous owner.

    Usually the stationary decoders for points usually have the CDU built into them and given that the servo's aren't working I am beginning to suspect the problem is somewhere in the power train.

    If stationary decoders been wired for Loconet it is probable that they have their own power source. That is where I would start.

    Could you please provide some additional information such as decoders being used and any further details of the wiring you may have.

    I would like to point out in the long run there is nothing stopping you running the trains with DCC but have you points operating in the usual analogue manner with a push button. That would save on a lot or rewiring as you would need to cut the track into blocks for analogue control.

    Depending on the stationary decoder you can simply wire a push button as the input without radical rewiring.

    On my new layout I am planning to have both control from fascia switches and from the handle.

    Kind regards

    Geoff
     
  9. Colin_W

    Colin_W Full Member

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    Hi Scott, you mentioned that the solenoid points aren't working AND the servos aren't working. Solenoids as you rightly say are driven by CDU but servos and decoders are usually powered by 5 volts. It may be that the power for the servos is derived from the same supply as the solenoid CDU's. I'm with Geoff on this one, check for shorts, loose wires and plugs. The other thing is does your software connect via a USB cable? Are your engines driven by throttles on the computer? If you are using Windoze zzzz check that the com port hasn't changed, unplug any new USB peripherals you may have plugged in and restart the system.
    Good Luck
    Col
    EDIT:
    Just gone back and re-read your initial post, is the digitrax controller not working either? Are you able to run the layout without the computer attached?
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2018
  10. scottystitch

    scottystitch N Gauge Society Publicity Officer Full Member

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    Thanks for the replies.

    Problem solved. A Zephyr OpsSw reset after consulting with previous owner. I can only imagine that I have inadvertantly changed an OpsSw setting with my sausage fingers. So, all working as it should again.

    I'm still going to replace with Servos and MegaPoints though in the long run.

    Thanks again for the assistance.
     
    Ron likes this.
  11. Ron

    Ron Staff Member Moderator

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    Glad your sorted! :thumbup:
     
  12. Colin_W

    Colin_W Full Member

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    Good news indeed Scott but give the system a good try you might get to like it, after all what could possibly go wrong :scratchchin:
     
  13. scottystitch

    scottystitch N Gauge Society Publicity Officer Full Member

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    Thanks guys.
     
  14. paul_l

    paul_l Staff Member Administrator

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    And by the time I get to here it's solved :whatever:

    Hang fire on ripping anything out, you may just get to like it :scratchchin: - and Traincontroller has a system called Smarthand+ (I think) which allows you to use mobile phones or tablets as controllers (just like JMRI with Wi-throttles), this would allow you to use a tablet(s) as a mimic panel, just touch the screen and things will change. Be prepared for the Darkside to grab you by the short and curlies and squeeze :avatar:

    Paul
     
  15. Chatty

    Chatty Full Member

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    I am with young Paul on this one.

    A number of attempts I have seen at converting from DCC back to DC ending up damaging the layout.

    Unlike others, including myself, that wanted use DCC you have come to it buying a layout that already had it installed so I can understand your frustration. But if you are prepared to hang in there a whole new world will open up to you.

    There is a certain young man of this parish who was totally against DCC. You should have heard him rally against it at some meetings. But once he got involved there was no stopping him.

    Paul's suggestion of using Smarthand+ is a very good one as it simple to implement on the other hand you could use something like a CML Tower master https://www.signatrak.co.uk/products/cml-electronics-products/dtm30-tower-master which allows you to make a panel "like the good old days" of switches and still use your DCC. The beauty of that is rather than having dozen of wires running from the control panel to your layout you only have a 3 pair cable. Something like a telephone cable in your house but has an extra pair.

    There are number of video's on how to use Digitrax products at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXPThuKQQdzWrnokcI_gY7A

    Kind regards

    Geoff
     
  16. Sol

    Sol Full Member

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    I think DCC Concepts CobaltAlpha is inclined that way https://www.dccconcepts.com/manual/overview-of-cobalt-alpha/
     
  17. scottystitch

    scottystitch N Gauge Society Publicity Officer Full Member

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    Guys, guys, I'm not against DCC at all. I'm not sure how that came across at all. I fully embrace DCC for TRAIN control, and I use NCE for my other projects, but I just don't wan't it for point control.

    And the more I use it the more I don't want DCC point control. I accept that Megapoints is another electronic (arguably computerised, in the real sense) solution, but the point is it is a separate solution, completely removed from the train control.
     
  18. Sol

    Sol Full Member

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    In my distant past, I was a DC man through & through, used DCC on other layouts but held off on mine until I redesigned the layout & DCC was the only way I could efectuively & simply for operators benefit to go DCC for loco control only.
    Turnouts are either solenoid or manual slide switch operation.
     
  19. jakesdad13

    jakesdad13 Staff Member Moderator

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    On my new layout I am using DCC (NCE Powercab) for train control, and Megapoints for servo point control which from what I have seen both on their sales stand and on their youtube videos are a doddle to set up and use.
    I will try and post up how I do it on my build thread.

    Cheer's, Pete.
     

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