KB911: Advanced Consisting With Digitrax

This article was last updated on Oct. 17, 2013, 8:35 a.m. | Print Article | Leave Feedback

Advanced Consisting

There are three types of consisting available:.

Basic Consisting is performed by merely programming the same address to the locomotives that are to be MU'ed together. All decoders are capable of basic consisting.

Universal consisting is handled by the command station. To do universal consisting the command station assigns two or more locos to a "TOP" locomotive (the one that controls the consist) a temporary basis. When locos that are part of a universal consist are moved to a different layout, they will run individually. This is performed by having the TOP loco assigned to the right throttle knob, the loco to be consisted with the TOP loco assigned to the left throttle, and presssing MODE, MODE, + (plus) on the keypad for DT300 series throttles or MU, + (plus) for DT402 & DT400 series throttles. Breaking up consists is done by selecting the locomotive to be removed from the consist on the left throttle and hitting MODE, MODE, - (minus) for DT300 series throttles or MU - (minus) for DT402 & DT400 series throttles. If you are using a different throttle, check the instructions for that throttle for universal consist information. All decoders are capable of universal consisting. If you are using a Digitrax Command Station, we strongly recommend that you use Universal Consisting because it is much more straightforward.

Advanced consisting is handled within the locomotive decoders themselves. With Advanced consiting, the consist address is programmed into the decoder to permanently MU locomotives together, even if removed from the layout and taken to another layout. This has been known to cause problems when locos consisted using advanced consisting are moved and not put back in the EXACT arrangement in which they were originally mu'ed together. Some older decoders are NOT capable of advanced consisting. Pre-FX Digitrax decoders are not capable of Advanced Consisting because the protocols for this method were not defined at the time they were designed. All FX and later Digitrax decoders incorporate advanced consisting.

Advanced consisting considerations:

1. Decoders installed in your locos must be capable of advanced consisting.

2. Decoders must be set up correctly for use with advanced consisting. With advanced consisting, programming an advanced consist address is performed automatically by the DCS100 when the locomotive to be MU'ed has a status number of 4 or 7 for the second digit. The status number is the number that appears to the right of the address when selecting a locomotive. For example, if a decoder is using 128 speed steps and one attempts to select this locomotive, the address will be to the left of the colon and 13 or 23 will be to the right if it is available to be selected. The "1" and "'2" means that the locomotive is available and the "3" means that it is using 128 speed steps. To perform Advanced consisting, it is necessary to change the "3" to a "7" for 128 speed steps or "4" for 28 speed steps. This is accomplished by performing a Status Edit.

To Status Edit a locomotive, press SEL as usual and turn a knob to the address, then hit FUNC and turn the right knob to 14, 24, 17, or 27, and hit SEL. Now that the locomotive is selected and the right digit is a "4" or "7", the DCS100 will recognize that this is a decoder that is capable of being part of an Advanced consist.

3. The TOP (control) locomotive must be a two digit address for Advanced Consting. The best way to handle this is to simply select a two digit address that does not actually exist on the layout on the right throttle of your Digitrax throttle and then consist all the other locos in the advanced consist to it by selecting them on the left knob and pressing MODE, MODE, + (plus).

4. CV19. Once the locomotives to be added to an advanced consist have the correct status, consisting is then performed in the exact same manner as with Universal consisting (MODE, MODE, +). When the consisting takes place, the DCS100 automatically assigns the consist address to CV19 in the decoders being added to the Advanced consist. When locomotives are removed from the consist, CV19 is automatically changed back to '00'.

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