Using Digitrax Block Detection on a Non-LocoNet DCC layout

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by Agatheron, Jan 12, 2007.

  1. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    I've been looking into the possibility of using block detection and signals on my layout, and am wondering what would be the best system to work with. I have MRC's Prodigy Express, which I am very happy with, but I do realize it's limitations, particularly in relation to not part of Digitrax's proprietary LocoNet system.

    Initially I thought I would not be able to use Digitrax at all, beyond the locomotive decoders, but I've stumbled across some information that seems to call that into question. Namely, that Digitrax block detection can actually work with both DC and DCC systems. If that stands to reason, then the block detection units could work with a Non-LocoNet DCC system, as long as I am not wanting to manually control signals from my throttle. That's actually fine by me.

    Has anybody else done something like this? What would be involved?
  2. NYNH&H

    NYNH&H Member

    You would of course need a computer to handle the Loconet. Other than that it would work OK, other than a lot of extra wiring. If you use a Loconet based DCC system, you can have all of the data travelling on one bus around the layout.
  3. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    It's certainly still not a for-sure type of thing, but having signals on my layout would be a nice touch. It's fortunately not all that big... I understand that the BD168 is actually a LocoNet master unit, which means it can run without a computer... but I would need the computer to get it set up properly to begin with.
  4. NYNH&H

    NYNH&H Member

    You may be able to run them without a computer, but they won't do anything. Any modern signalling system is going to need a computer to provide the logic. I think you need a "Digitrax throttle" to program many of the boards, but you should be able to use JMRI Decoder Pro, as a viritual throttle on your PC to do programming, and frankly, for the more complex programming, this is the easiest thing to do anyways. Chubb C/MRI would also work, although that is a LOT more involved, and has a LOT of wiring.
  5. Tomytuna

    Tomytuna New Member

    I also wanted to get some signals up on my road and i saw the "new" Atlas systems last yr ( 2006 ) at the big train show in Springfield Massachusetts. Well they finally arrived at LHS and I just had to have them. I have installed them on my layout and here is a couple of things you need to know if you decide to install them
    1. the signals are made to run with traditional DC ( analog ) layouts...can be made to work DCC...( will explain how I did it below )
    2 to get one light signal up and running you want to purchase Atlas product #236. This contains 1 signal light,1 signal light controller, and a DC dectector.
    3.Every signal MUST have a signal light controller and these do not come in signal light only items,
    4.the signal light controller is a plug and play type set up to connect signal light to controller. Atlas did a very nice job on this part.
    5. I purchased a NCE current decteector and installed them on my power bus under table.either cut rail or installed rail isolators and placed lights at each end of "Block". they a re wired uder tabl with a "DC" power supply which we ran to terminal strips under table.
    6.they work and look GREAT.
    7. spoke to NCE at this yrs train show and they are comming out with a controlled to work with the Atlas system
    Hope you look into this system as it may be your answer to getting signals up and going on your road...regards Tom

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