Programming a loco used for operations

Discussion in 'Model Rail Operations' started by Gary S., Dec 4, 2007.

  1. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    I'm hoping to get some thoughts on setting the CVs for my locos to be used on my industrial shortline. I know each brand and loco is different, but we can generalize here. Also, I don't want to use the complicated speed tables and such, I will just use CV2 through CV6 for setting up each loco.

    First, the start voltage, CV2 is set just below what it takes to make the loco move when the throttle is barely turned. Let's say that is CV2 = 25

    I am setting the max speed CV fairly low to hold the top end speed down. CV5 = 70

    And, CV6 is set at 40 to give a very sensitive response in the low speed range.

    Any thoughts on this so far?

    Next, what about Acceleration and Deceleration, CV 3 and 4? If these are left at 0, then the operator has to control the throttle to give realistic starting and stopping effects. For example, when starting a train, I will need to gradually increase the throttle as the train starts to move to mimick a slow start with acceleration as the train begins to move. Similar pattern with stopping.

    The alternative is to set the loco with slow acceleration and deceleration, and let the decoder do the work of realistic starting and stopping. For example, to start the loco realistically, just crank the throttle up to whatever speed you want, and the loco will automatically start very slowly and gradually increase speed.

    Any thoughts on this? How do you set up your locos which are used in operations, setting out and picking up cars?
  2. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    I'd be interested to hear more about this too.
  3. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I like all the suggestions, but you may want to consider CV3 and CV4. Sure you can set accel/decel, but for what situation? I prefer to keep this minimal - just enough to prevent a jackrabbit start/ stop on a dime performance. The rest I like to control myself. Because if I am starting off with a long, loaded train, acceleration looks like one thing. If I am light because I am running around the train to do some switching moves, acceleration is significantly different.

    My $0.02.

  4. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    I think that Andrew has raised a good point. While I operate strictly DC, I've always found the momentum feature that comes with some systems to be too intrusive. A truly heavy train will introduce its own momentum effect into your operations, and as long as your low-speed control is good, the operator can provide the same, via throttle adjustments, as the situation requires. You don't want to take the operator out of operations.

    The momentum effect on my MRC ControlMaster 20 is absolutely useless, and I never use it. About the best that I've seen, for DC operation is this one:

    The momentum effect in the throttle knob is mirrored with a similar effect in the multi-position brake handle. With a little practice, you can set the speed, then control the train entirely with the brake. Lotsa fun for mainline operations, but not so much when switching. ;)

  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Actually, reading Wayne's note about controlling the engine with the brake has me thinking the opposite of his conclusion.

    In DCC, having a switcher set with just a bit of momentum (to avoid jackrabbit starts and screeching stops) allows you to set the throttle for a realistic switching speed, and use the forward/brake/reverse switch only. One such throttle is the Digitrax UT-4(R). I use this to move my 0-6-0 switcher around, simply flicking the direction switch. Everytime I change direction, the loco slows, and comes to a halt, then starts up in the opposite direction. I like the effect. I think my accel/decel CV's are set at about 6 or so.

  6. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Thanks for the thoughts. So far, I have only played with the momentum settings a little; I felt like I had a loss of control versus no momentum, but that may have gone away after a bit. I just wanted to see what you guys were doing.

    Andrew, that is interesting about just using the for-rev switch for switching. I am using the UT4 myself. I'll set some acc and dec and play around with that to see how I like it.
  7. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool! Power Cab has a "Yard" and "Normal" mode you can select when setting up the cab. I tried the yard mode for a little bit and noticed right away how slow the speed increments were. I also noticed how by simply turning the thumb wheel in the opposite direction, it would slow the loco down, stop it, then back up (or go forward). Seemed like a realistic way to operate to me. Although, personally speaking, I didn't like it for control. Perhaps I takes some practice to get used to.

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