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 Posted: Tue Jun 5th, 2012 03:47 pm
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Paul Chetter
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Hi Everyone,

I've finally worked out where Max hangs out!

My MR interests are wide and varied, but my 'specialist area' is DCC sound, and Zimo sound decoders in particular.

Some of you will already know something of me from Max's earlier posts and Hornby Magazine articles.

For those who do not, I provide UK sound projects for Digitrains and, now, Rail Exclusive.

I'll be happy to respond to any questions that I am qualified to answer.

Kind regards,

Paul

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 Posted: Tue Jun 5th, 2012 06:26 pm
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Robert
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Hi there Paul and welcome to the forum. I feel sure that there will be plenty of questions coming your way on your subject.



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 Posted: Tue Jun 5th, 2012 06:45 pm
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Bob K
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Hi Paul, welcome aboard lots of interesting stuff here. I have one question to kick start to do with sound decoders and decoders in general. Given that DCC has been around for a few years now I was wondering if there was any data on how long decoders last before they give up the ghost, become corrupted etc. Do you know if anyone has looked at that aspect of the business. I have plenty of decoders where the smoke has escaped, but most of that is due to my own clumsiness!

Again welcome.

Bob

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 Posted: Tue Jun 5th, 2012 07:38 pm
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Paul Chetter
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Robert,

Thanks for the welcome. Seems you were right!

Bob,

I don't know if this has been fully researched.

From my own experience, and I've had experience of hundreds of decoders, they seem pretty robust if they are treated correctly. I normally use an anti-static pad and wrist straps when handling them, though grounding/earthing yourself beforehand is probably as good.

I'm still using ZTC decoders first installed in 1993/4. On the other hand I've had expensive modern decoders which fail almost immediately - manufacturing faults.

And I have had a couple of 'idiot' moments too, it may only take a moments lapse in concentration to blow some components.

Since I currently buy only (Zimo) sound decoders, I make sure I've learned from past mistakes. Sound decoders are just too expensive to 'chance it'.

For example, if a speaker wire from the decoder accidentally touches track power (before fitting to the speaker) then it's goodbye amplifier. So, either fit these to the speaker to keep them from harm's way, or insulate them with a little tape until ready.

So, apart from the odd 'Friday afternoon' manufacturers' fault, provided you take reasonable precautions and operate them within their designed parameters, they should be good for a very long time. I think that with decoder technology advancing all the time, they will most likely become obsolescent before they expire.

I see you like Class 37s - maybe this will interest you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lr993guvkv0

or this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=np39dh3K1Tg


Kind regards,

Paul

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 Posted: Tue Jun 5th, 2012 09:50 pm
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AUSSIETRAINS
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A warm welcome from Mackay Paul.



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 Posted: Tue Jun 5th, 2012 10:45 pm
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Bod
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Welcome to the forum Paul.
I have just fitted a digitrains decoder to a Class 20 and have a 37 on the bench now. If these are your projects well done, I like them very much.

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 Posted: Tue Jun 5th, 2012 11:24 pm
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MaxSouthOz
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Hi Paul

Didn't see you sneeak in.  :mutley

Folks, this man is by any estimation a DCC sound Guru - especially Zimo.

I'll have to watch myself.

Welcome, Paul.   :cheers



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 Posted: Tue Jun 5th, 2012 11:52 pm
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Bob K
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Paul Chetter wrote: Robert,

Thanks for the welcome. Seems you were right!

Bob,

I don't know if this has been fully researched.

From my own experience, and I've had experience of hundreds of decoders, they seem pretty robust if they are treated correctly. I normally use an anti-static pad and wrist straps when handling them, though grounding/earthing yourself beforehand is probably as good.

I'm still using ZTC decoders first installed in 1993/4. On the other hand I've had expensive modern decoders which fail almost immediately - manufacturing faults.

And I have had a couple of 'idiot' moments too, it may only take a moments lapse in concentration to blow some components.

Since I currently buy only (Zimo) sound decoders, I make sure I've learned from past mistakes. Sound decoders are just too expensive to 'chance it'.

For example, if a speaker wire from the decoder accidentally touches track power (before fitting to the speaker) then it's goodbye amplifier. So, either fit these to the speaker to keep them from harm's way, or insulate them with a little tape until ready.

So, apart from the odd 'Friday afternoon' manufacturers' fault, provided you take reasonable precautions and operate them within their designed parameters, they should be good for a very long time. I think that with decoder technology advancing all the time, they will most likely become obsolescent before they expire.

I see you like Class 37s - maybe this will interest you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lr993guvkv0

or this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=np39dh3K1Tg


Kind regards,

Paul


Thanks for that and it is encouraging to know. People do tend to share the good aspects of DCC/sound, which are many, but rarely do you hear of the problems. As you say maybe it is because they are robust and relaible and generally trouble free. I have 7 or 8 sound fitted locs, including 2 Class 37s which have been very reliable and I do enjoy giving them a good run once in a while, although after about half an hour I tend to switch the sound off as it can become irritating, especially if more than two are running. Anyway, I look forward to learning more about DCC and sound systems in the coming weeks. Good tip on anti static pads too.

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 Posted: Wed Jun 6th, 2012 12:08 am
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Paul Chetter
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Bod wrote: Welcome to the forum Paul.
I have just fitted a digitrains decoder to a Class 20 and have a 37 on the bench now. If these are your projects well done, I like them very much.


Bod,

Thank you.

The current Class 20 is not my project, but the Class 37 Multi-Drive certainly is: do you have the latest V2.0 with coasting in the 'normal' driving scheme?

All the 'Multi-Drive' projects on Digitrains are my work, I'm gradually working though the list. Just sent off the Class 31 multi, and I'm doing a 56, literally at this moment.

If you are going to Hartlepool show in July, call and see me on the Hornby Magazine stand where I'll be running DCC sound clinics.

Several of my installs, smoke, lights and sound, will be running on the HM layout.

Kind regards,

Paul

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 Posted: Wed Jun 6th, 2012 12:12 am
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Paul Chetter
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MaxSouthOz wrote: Hi Paul

Didn't see you sneeak in.  :mutley

Folks, this man is by any estimation a DCC sound Guru - especially Zimo.

I'll have to watch myself.

Welcome, Paul.   :cheers


Hi Max,

You are too generous.

I hope to be complementary, not competitive. Ha ha!

Kind regards,

Paul

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 Posted: Wed Jun 6th, 2012 12:27 am
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Paul Chetter
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Novice wrote: Paul Chetter wrote: Robert,

Thanks for the welcome. Seems you were right!

Bob,

I don't know if this has been fully researched.

From my own experience, and I've had experience of hundreds of decoders, they seem pretty robust if they are treated correctly. I normally use an anti-static pad and wrist straps when handling them, though grounding/earthing yourself beforehand is probably as good.

I'm still using ZTC decoders first installed in 1993/4. On the other hand I've had expensive modern decoders which fail almost immediately - manufacturing faults.

And I have had a couple of 'idiot' moments too, it may only take a moments lapse in concentration to blow some components.

Since I currently buy only (Zimo) sound decoders, I make sure I've learned from past mistakes. Sound decoders are just too expensive to 'chance it'.

For example, if a speaker wire from the decoder accidentally touches track power (before fitting to the speaker) then it's goodbye amplifier. So, either fit these to the speaker to keep them from harm's way, or insulate them with a little tape until ready.

So, apart from the odd 'Friday afternoon' manufacturers' fault, provided you take reasonable precautions and operate them within their designed parameters, they should be good for a very long time. I think that with decoder technology advancing all the time, they will most likely become obsolescent before they expire.

I see you like Class 37s - maybe this will interest you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lr993guvkv0

or this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=np39dh3K1Tg


Kind regards,

Paul


Thanks for that and it is encouraging to know. People do tend to share the good aspects of DCC/sound, which are many, but rarely do you hear of the problems. As you say maybe it is because they are robust and relaible and generally trouble free. I have 7 or 8 sound fitted locs, including 2 Class 37s which have been very reliable and I do enjoy giving them a good run once in a while, although after about half an hour I tend to switch the sound off as it can become irritating, especially if more than two are running. Anyway, I look forward to learning more about DCC and sound systems in the coming weeks. Good tip on anti static pads too.


There are plenty of horror stories about DCC sound, but it's not the decoder reliability usually; it's poorly crafted projects or more commonly shoddy speaker installation that cause the problems.

There have been a spate of reports about new RTR Bachmann models with old Lok V3.5 projects incorrectly converted to Lok V4.0 that simply do not work correctly. Typical example is brake release sounding only after the loco has moved off!

Paul

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 Posted: Fri Jun 8th, 2012 11:25 am
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Petermac
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Paul Chetter wrote: .................................. I normally use an anti-static pad and wrist straps when handling them, though grounding/earthing yourself beforehand is probably as good.

...........................


For those of us modelling "on the kitchen table" Paul, how would we do that ?



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 Posted: Fri Jun 8th, 2012 12:24 pm
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Paul Chetter
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Peter,

In the first case, buy an anti-static workpad with wrist straps and put it on your 'table' under your work.

Alternatively, to 'earth' yourself to discharge any static charge you may have built up (synthetic clothing and carpets are prime causes) touch any metal which is already earthed. Central heating radiators and pipework, copper water pipes and taps (faucets) are useful earthing points.

Paul

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