Tuesday, April 19, 2016

An Explanation of my Modified Eureka Models NSWGR D50 Lighting

Like all other QSI decoder controlled locomotives, by default the dynamo/generator and headlights, etc. come on when power is applied . This is to turn on the lights for the DC people and QSI won't step back from that (I think it is in the underlying code). The annoying thing about that is that you need to switch off the dynamo sound and lights when powering up in DCC as our steam locos didn't run with lights on during the daytime.

However, the Eureka Models D50 has been set up so that the dynamo is on Function 1 which is the default Bell button and the NSWGR didn't have bells on their locomotives of course. So as the 'spare' function button was handy Eureka Models requested that the dynamo be placed on the F1 button and that it actually controlled the lights.

So when powering up on DCC the dynamo will come on so just press Function 1. On a NCE cab it is the Bell Button - also on NCE I have to hit the Bell button (F1) once to turn it on then once turn it off and the dynamo winds down (the DCC system doesn't know that the function is on in the D50). Now, once the dynamo is switched off and runs down, if you turn on any lighting nothing happens. You have to run the dynamo first then the lights can be turned on. So very prototypical.

The QSI Titan has 10 outputs for lighting and as such it can be configured to have separately controlled pairs of marker lights. Unfortunately not totally separate markers so that you can operate correctly when the loco/train is in a passing loop, etc. I suppose that you could add a Function only decoder to get the extra outputs.

The problem with all these outputs is that most DCC cabs (throttles) have a restricted number of Function buttons available on the faceplate of the cab. I don't know about other brands but the NCE cabs have 12 functions on the faceplate and can access all 28 functions by pressing the Shift button and the Headlight at the same time. One press gives you the next band of function numbers and another press gives you the final band up to F28. Yet another press returns to the base functions.

So you could imagine that having a headlight, maybe a rear headlight, 4 separate white marker lights, 4 separate red marker lights, a cab light, a light behind the funnel (D59s, AD60s), a light on the tender (C38s), firebox glow and maybe a couple of under footplate lights would mean a lot of buttons that won't be available on the faceplate of any brand of cab.

Now, I have been trying to work out a suitable function list for those functions (up to F12) on the faceplate of my NCE cabs.

This is where I am now after modifying the Eureka D50 lighting.

F0 - Headlight
F1 - Dynamo (NCE Bell button)
F2 - Whistle
F3 - Front White Marker Lights
F4 - Front Red Marker Lights
F5 - Rear Red Marker Lights
F6 - Rear White Marker Lights
F7 - Brake
F8 - Mute
F9 - Dimmer
F10 - Cab Light
F11 - Swap to Alternate Whistle (QSI feature)
F12 - Vacant

I am considering moving the dynamo to F12 and putting a short whistle User Sound on F1 (NCE Bell) to align with my Soundtraxx Tsunami equipped locomotives that have a short whistle. I also have four ESU Loksound 4 decoders in steam locomotives that have short whistles on F1 for the same reason. I find that to get a short whistle on the D50 requires a very crisp, sharp button press and I often get the long whistle particularly when I am doing three short whistles to indicate the D50 is about to reverse. I will test this on the D50 and see how it goes.

The QSI Titan has two available sound 'slots' for user sounds and each of these can have three sound files allocated. Why three? A whistle for instance has a start file, a looping file and an end file. This is a very handy feature, for instance a nice recording of a single stage air compressor from one of our locomotives would be a nice replacement for the D50 one which is OK but it is always fun to fiddle with things.

By now it may be noticed that I have got rid of sounds on the base functions. I have a particular dislike of sounds that can't be heard on a real locomotive from the scale 200 - 300 feet distance that our ears are from the model. I also don't like the idea of playing a 'musical instrument' while operating the locomotive. I have also eliminated the QSI F6 Start Up and the F9 Shut Down (when stopped) as the Shut Down can cause problems in the hands of the uninitiated. The F9 Sound of Power that can be triggered when moving so that the throttle is used to change to the volume (working hard, drifting) was also eliminated. While some sounds may be valid, blower, injectors and the like, they are intermittent and can be allocated to the higher functions.

My only move into the higher functions at the moment is to put Volume Decrease on F13 and Volume Increase on F14.

For those interested in diesels here are my thoughts on the same function range:

F0 - Headlight / Rear Headlight (On/Off control and auto reversing)
F1 - Short Horn (NCE Bell button)
F2 - Horn
F3 - Front White Marker Lights
F4 - Front Red Marker Lights
F5 - Rear Red Marker Lights
F6 - Rear White Marker Lights
F7 - Brake
F8 - Mute
F9 - Dimmer
F10 - Number Boards
F11 - Swap to Alternate Whistle or User Sound file(s)
F12 - Dynamic Brakes when moving

Well, at the moment this is the stage I have got to in my ongoing search for more realism in lighting and operation.


Lindsay Lucas said...

Ohh for the day when the markers can be properly set when you're in the loop, Ray.
It would be great to get standard function mappings accepted industry-wide, but then, that would mean everyone would need to upgrade decoders to maximise the benefits (says he who is still procrastinating on walking away from DC control).

Colin Hussey said...

Ray, just a couple of small things, but will have a good read over the next few days, to see if I have any other comments, also good with the ability to control on off with the cab light in auto, on stationary & off when moving.

With crossing lights, short of trying to have an extra light for red or white for it, the only option that could work would be to remove the current leds & replace with Common annodes of red/white as they are a bit large, likely need to feed with fibre optic though.

RE whisltes/horns & keys to operate. Don't forget the NCE hand sets Cab & Power Pro have the separate whistle/horn button as well as the f2, one has the whistle on whilever the button is depressed, the other one a regulated long whistle. Trying to do the 3 short, whistle out/to loco, or 3 longs is not that hard on the single press key, just some practice. I have found that all I need is to give a momentary push, then release, & repeat with a pause. Its slower than with how we could do it on 1:1 gauge but achievable.

Bare in mind also it was a bit the same with steam loco's fitted with the air activated whistles such as 38, 57 & 58classes, as you had to hold the valve down or whistle chord open long enough for the air to travel to the opening port, & hold the port open with the valve pushed down. as soon as you released the air pressure was cut off & the whistle stopped quickly compared to opening.

Ray P said...


Unfortunately even with 10 outputs on the Titan there aren't enough to do the markers and other lights. Of course adding a function only decoder with 4 outputs would assist greatly but then we run into the 'not enough easily available buttons' problem.

I have some red/warm white LEDs already and these could be used as the D50 had 'piped lighting' already set up that could be modified (but then see the first paragraph).

The Whistle/Horn Button on the NCE Cab is a variation of the F2 Button that stays on only while it is pressed where as the F2 Button is a toggle, one click on and another to turn it off.

I do use the Whistle/Horn Button but the Eureka D50 needs a very short quick press to get the short whistle and the slightest longer press gives a long whistle so it is tricky to get three short toots. This is why I may use a recorded Short Whistle and also to align with my Tsunamis.

I am trying to align all my decoder brands to the same function buttons, not easy.

Of course I will have to have Function Lists for the operators.