If I use a non-Digitrax compatible system, what features of the PM42 Auto reverse/Short Circuit Managers (SCM) will I lose?
The PM42 can be used as a stand alone Auto reversing unit and Short Circuit Manager with many other non-Digitrax systems, but for systems without LocoNet capability a number of networked management features will not be available.
For example, the PM42 sends out real-time, event driven (non-polled) information to the LocoNet about fault problems and resolution, auto reverse actions and also identifies the affected sub-districts. This allows other devices, such as PCs, the Digitrax Signaling system, Digitrax Transponding or other detection and sub-systems systems to know when sub-district is shut down. In addition, other network aware devices can influence the PM42 actions by programming the PM42's Option Switches and can turn ON and OFF or sequence power sub-districts as needed. The PM42 has is configurable through its Option Switches and a Digitrax throttle must be used to access these settings. A Digitrax Command station is not needed to access the Option Switches. A PC equipped with an MS100 and appropriate software can also access the PM42's management feature.
This option allows a PC to "bind" or combine some LocoNet resources with other systems, i.e. the PC is used a logical "bridge." This option is also available for the BDL16 Occupancy and Transponder detection system, which is also designed to operate and communicate stand alone without a DCC command station.
Exercise care when combining systems and their ground return or common legs. In particular be sure that the LocoNet common ground return is not energized to rail potential if it going to used with other equipment.