This project began with a goal to investigate use of QSI's Titan decoder with S-CAB radio and battery power. It evolved into a project to install Titan decoders in S-scale brass locos using BPS battery power and controlled by S-CAB radio.
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Fact is, Titan does not distinguish itself from the crowd until its CVs are well-tuned to the characteristics of a loco. In other words, making Titan compatible with S-CAB and installing it in a loco with radio control and battery power is only the first half of the challenge. Completing the battle requires diligent work programming CVs, a process that requires QSI's Quantum Programmer connected to a PC running their CV Manager software.
In theory, Titan can be programmed without a computer, but it's practically impossible without the capability to both read and write CV values. Without the ability to read a CV value, each change must be documented manually during a trail and error process to refine decoder behavior.
Eventually, Bill placed an order for Titan installation in his locos and we have been working on this for over a year. It has become a journey, and it goes on, with Bill testing locos on his layout and learning how to program CVs while I kept trying to debug Titan's strange behavior. I'm now cautiously optimistic that we have reached an important milestone of realistic loco operation. Bill has been generous with his support as well as periodic reminders to get on with it. I've produced material during this project to write several blog posts (and I might do that) but we need to refresh our motivation with a little show and tell.
QSI's DCC Reference Manual, which documents Titan CVs, is 421 pages of difficult reference information. I now believe our difficulties with Titan were all associated with configuring the decoder; i.e. CV programming. Quantum Programmer assumes a Programming Track is used to read CV values, which an incorrect assumption when using battery power. With S-CAB and a device I call "RAPA", I eventually found a simple way to work around this problem.
Let's See Some Action
Above Demo 2. Whistle
Here, I sound the whistle and, if you listen carefully, you'll hear brakes applied at the end of run.
Above Demo 4. Braking
Here, a newbie engineer backs up too fast, misjudges end of track and is hard on the brakes.
Left Demo 1. Speed Control
This video shows decoder control of acceleration and deceleration. I use the throttle only twice. First, I move the throttle to full speed to begin the run. Since I have only 6 feet of track to work with, the loco does not reach full speed before I move the throttle to zero so that the loco can slow normally and safely stop without additional braking. After a little practice, sure enough, the loco stops before reaching end of track without further throttle action. In a later video demo 4), I'll demonstrate more aggressive braking action.
Above Demo 3. Bell
We're running backwards with bell ringing. Aside from sounds, this video captures how realistically the loco comes to a stop, controlled by the decoder. I turn of the bell as the loco comes to rest. Finally, I use a magnetic wand (actually a magnet on a pencil) to turn off battery power and end the operating session.
Since S-CAB uses only 28 speed steps, I could not control a stop this precisely if Bill had not set realistic values for momentum. I'm only using the throttle to send a speed command. The decoder's configuration variables (CVs 3 and 4) determine how the loco responds and Bill's efforts have produced a good representation of prototype locomotive performance.
End of demo videos