programming track

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by taylor_up_bnsf, Dec 16, 2007.

  1. taylor_up_bnsf

    taylor_up_bnsf taylor_up_bnsf

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    Can sombody give me directions as to making a programming track? Maybe include a photo of what they look like?bounce7
  2. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

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    What kind of dcc?

    Loren
  3. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

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    A programming track is just an isolated piece of track, maybe in your yard, or completely all by itself, to which you connect the programming leads from your control station. The idea is to have just the one loco you're programming get the programming signals...otherwise ALL your locos would be re-programmed.
  4. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

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    The ez command I used to have was supposed to have a resistor in line to limit the voltage during programming. That's why I wonder what brand he has.
    But, come to think of it, I could never program with the resistor in line anyhow.

    Loren
  5. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    If anyone has the 2007 issue of Great Model Railroads from Model Railroader Mag, on page 81 there is a picture of a section of track in a cut under a bridge on the mainline. The caption at the top says, "It's not just a dummy track." The section of track goes from the table edge through a cut under a bridge and curves out of sight. It is representing another railroad passing through the the scene under the mainline of the owner's model railroad. In fact it is the programming track. It is right in plain sight, and fully sceniced.
  6. taylor_up_bnsf

    taylor_up_bnsf taylor_up_bnsf

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    It will be a digitrax super empire builder
  7. PWRR-2207

    PWRR-2207 Rogue Islander

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    Hi, it does not have to be anything fancy. For the past 8 years I have used my Digitrax DCS-100 hooked up with 22 AWG wire to a piece of flex track with cork glued to a 30" long board:

    DCC Programming Track.jpg

    PS: There are two big pins on the ends that stop me from running the engine off the end when using it as a testing track too. And, yes, that is wax paper taped to the desk because I was hand painting some stuff when I saw your question ;)
  8. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

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    I integrated my programming track right into the engine service area of my yard. It's connected to the programming and "normal" wiring through a DPDT switch (it's isolated on both ends, of course), so I can program and then flip the switch and check if I like the settings by running the engine all over the layout..!! :mrgreen:
  9. DeckRoid

    DeckRoid Member

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    I got an early Xmas present from my wife when my DC controller took a nose dive of my work bench onto the garage floor. (Ever seen a grown man cry?) I tried to revive it, but there was too much damage.

    Enter the Digitrax Zephyr. Installation was SO easy. I went to the club and retrieved my DCC stuff that night. I, too, have issues setting up a programming track. I took a stick of flex track and put the wires from Program A and B and put them on the track, but I still can't get it to work. Thanks for the pic, it looks almost like my set up... I haven't glued my track yet. I will look at the Digitrax site for more info.
  10. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

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    Hey guys, remember that a programming track is lower voltage to protect the decoder. A loco will not run on them, that I am aware of.

    Loren
  11. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    DeckRoid,

    Can you give us more detasil on "can't get it to work"?

    Loren's note is correct - at least with the Zephyr. It also has issues with Broadway Limited locos which luckily (;)) I have none of :(.

    Andrew
  12. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

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    I've never had any trouble with the programming track with the Zephyr...The instructions may not be all that clear, but if followed, they work....

    The programming track will not run a loco. The voltage has been reduced considerably so that if you goof something up while programming, you won't let the smoke out of your decoder. :cry:
  13. DeckRoid

    DeckRoid Member

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    I have a 3 ft stick of flex track with the leads going to Program A and B, like the book says.

    When I try to program anything, the Zephyr's readout says "d nd" which means "there is open circuit on the programming track and no current draw is detected by the programmer."

    Am I supposed to do anything with the other end of the track? I just put the leads on it and left it as is. Do I need to wire something else? Maybe put isolators at the end of the track? I can't imagine that making a difference, but then I am still new to all this.
  14. nolatron

    nolatron Member

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    I plan on setting up my programming track on the layout on a siding track probably, following the MRR February 2006, page 59 article.
  15. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

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    DeckRoid, have you ran that loco on the layout? Or tried a loco that does run on the programming track? Your reading usually means the programmer is not detecting a load ( decoder or locomotive on the track ) so you might have a loose wire or something in the loco.

    Loren
  16. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

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    Hmm...is this a technical isssue or an aesthetics one? :mrgreen:

    As far as aesthetics go, I've been toying with a couple of clever ways to disguise a programming track.

    One of them would be to lay some tracks nearby the yard and make it look like an old siding track next to the yard which has been abondoned and no longer in use. Heighten the illusion by separating it from the yard by running a fence line cross it at an angle or something.

    A more elaborate one which I would like to try and make a steel girder train bridge at the east end of the layout over the engine facilities and use that as a programming track.

    I've already set up and wired DPDT switch for a programming track. I just have to figure out where or how I'm going to put it???
  17. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    Sounds right... You get this result no matter what decoder-equipped loco you try? If that is the case, it sounds as if something is not right with the Zephyr, or possibly that all your decoders are installed in the same "wrong" way...

    There are a couple of other sources to check - try the Digitrax website, and also the yahoo Digitrax group.

    Hope that helps...

    Andrew
  18. DeckRoid

    DeckRoid Member

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    Thanks for the tips. I will try them out when I get a chance to get out to my hidey-hole. Xmas just kills my Train Time. Family, parties, get togethers, dinners, honey dos...

    George