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Author Topic: Digitrax ds44 with computer control  (Read 109 times)

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Offline codepoet

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Digitrax ds44 with computer control
« on: March 15, 2020, 09:37:19 PM »
This is my first post.I am very ignorant - please be nice!

I have got back into the hobby after almost 30 years, so starting again in n-gauge after having has a OO DC layout as a teenager. I have SO many questions and uncertainties, but the magic of the internet and youtube is helping me find answers to most things. I am now at the stage of doing the first of everything to ensure that my understand matches reality.

One thing I am struggling with a bit is accessory decoders and computer control. I have gone with  a new Digitrax system (not cheap!) and plan to get PR3 or PR4 USB interface so I can connect the layout to a computer and use JMRI or other software to run everything. Obviously I will want to the computer to control accessories (ie points). I plan to use tortoise point motors, so I have got one of these to learn with. I have also got myself a digitrax ds44 which is cheap and cheerful stationary decoder for driving slow point motors taking power and signal from the track/bus.

My question is if I will be able to change the points from the computer. All the examples I can find on the internet show people using digitrax ds64 which also has a loconet connection. Why not use a ds44 which is cheaper?
Someone has suggested to me that they choose ds64 because it is needed for the computer control to work. Surely not! Can anyone confirm that I can do computer control using a digitrax ds44?

Offline ntpntpntp

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Re: Digitrax ds44 with computer control
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2020, 10:11:27 PM »
I don't know the particular devices you mention (I use NCE DCC gear but only in larger scales not N), but it sounds like the DS44 just attaches to the DCC track bus and takes accessory commands from that (as the majority of accessory decoders do), whereas maybe the DS64 can receive commands on the Loconet control bus.

JMRI should be able to control either.  It needs an interface either to talk to your DCC base system (over Loconet?) to instruct the system to send out accessory and loco commands over the track bus, or to talk directly to  DS64s without involving the base DCC system?
« Last Edit: March 15, 2020, 10:13:13 PM by ntpntpntp »
Nick.   2016 celebrating the 20th anniversary of "Königshafen" exhibition layout!

Offline codepoet

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Re: Digitrax ds44 with computer control
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2020, 10:30:49 PM »
@ntpntpntp I assume the same as you - it should be just fine. What I can't work out is why folks are using the more expensive decoder when they do not need to.
the ds64 also seems to contain a CDU and can take its own power supply, but as I understand it, if we are driving slowmo point motors CDU and power are not going to be much of an issue.
I do not yet have the computer interface,  but I will need it regardless of which accessory decoders  I end up using, so I will eventually have a got and answer my own question....

Offline ntpntpntp

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Re: Digitrax ds44 with computer control
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2020, 10:41:03 PM »
It's often recommended to run accessory decoders from a separate DCC power district anyway, so that if a track short occurs you still have control of points etc.   DS64 presumably gives you that control, plus avoiding any unnecessary power draw on the track bus has to be a good thing. Even if they are stall motor point motors that's still a draw that might as well be powered from an independent supply - they all add up!
Nick.   2016 celebrating the 20th anniversary of "Königshafen" exhibition layout!

Offline tutenkhamunsleeping

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Re: Digitrax ds44 with computer control
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2020, 10:55:24 PM »
The DS64 is more advanced in that will control more types of point motor, eg Kato, Peco, etc.

The DS64 can be programmed to operate routes without using a computer, which the DS44 cannot.

The DS64 also supports up to 8 push buttons which the DS44 does not.

You pays your money and takes your choice ;)

Offline codepoet

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Re: Digitrax ds44 with computer control
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2020, 10:58:09 PM »
thanks.
I think I choose the cheaper one that does not have features I do not need.

Offline EtchedPixels

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Re: Digitrax ds44 with computer control
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2020, 12:58:14 PM »
I found the DS64 overlarge and overpriced compared to the alternatives. I ended up using DS52 (peco style motors) and for a couple of high density spots the Lenz LS150.


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