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Connecting the N8042C 4-LED (gumball type) Rotating Beacon Simulator
Installing the N8042C is very straightforward. Its tiny size and thin construction will allow it to be placed in many spaces too small for even the smallest Z-scale decoder. Because the module has circuitry on both sides, care must be taken to be sure that the components or wires soldered will not make contact with any metal object (such as a locomotive frame) causing a short circuit.
If the N8042C is to be used in a stationary (not track powered) application, it can also be powered by any well-filtered and regulated DC power source with an output of 6-18VDC.
Included with the module are two 6” lengths of #32 insulated wire. If necessary, these can be used for power input wires.
Most wired decoders have a blue wire which is the common connection for all wired functions (F0, F1, etc.). It is the + DC connection and will be connected to solder point #1 as shown in Fig. 1.
If the decoder is a “drop-in” style without wires, consult the decoder manual and use the blue wire supplied to connect point #1 to the appropriate + solder pad.
If the solder pad has a resistor in series with it, be sure to connect the blue wire behind the resistor (see Fig. 2). This will ensure full voltage is supplied to the module.
Important note: A low-wattage iron with a pointed tip should be used for connection of wires. Too much heat or solder can easily damage the wires, decoder or module and void the warranty.
Also, all connecting wires should be pre-tinned before soldering them to the module. This will make connection quick and easy and ensure excessive heat is not applied to the solder points.
Next, choose the function you want to control the N8042C module and connect the appropriate function wire to solder point #2. For example: If you want F1 to turn on the Beacon, connect the green wire to #2.
Again, if the decoder is the drop-in style, use the enclosed green wire to connect the appropriate function solder pad to #2. Make sure the pad chosen for this connection is not a “+” pad , but a function pad (– DC connection).
Whichever function you choose, make sure it is programmed for On/Off control only. Do not program the function for special effects. The N8042C will control the special effects.
Direct Track powering (without a decoder connection)
All of our Simulators require a clean DC voltage of known polarity for their power source. Track power is typically provided in one of two forms. DC voltage (analog), or DCC.
Analog track power has been around for more than 75 years. Simply put, a DC voltage is applied to the two tracks with one being +DC and the other, -DC. Increase the voltage and the electric motor in the locomotive spins faster making the train go faster. If the train is required to reverse, track polarity is reversed so the loco's motor turns in reverse. Also, what defines "forward and reverse" is dependent on which way the loco is facing when it's put on the track. Bottom line here is that track polarity is not fixed. Our Simulator needs fixed polarity.
DCC track power is such that to devices requiring plain DC voltage, it looks like AC power. That is because voltage levels on each track go both + and – continuously. The DCC decoders in locomotives “descramble” the track signals and provide correct polarity so their motors can function normally. It is this process that will allow multiple locomotives to go in different directions on the same section of track, at the same time (a feature not available with analog track power). Once again, our Simulator needs fixed polarity and it needs to look like DC voltage.
Due to our Simulator's very small size, there is insufficient space to include additional circuitry and components necessary for proper power conditioning when direct track pickup is to be used. There are two solutions to this problem and both are inexpensive:
When wiring LEDs, proper polarity must be observed. LEDs are “polarity sensitive” and will not function if connected backwards. The N8042C is configured to connect to 20 ma LEDs with device voltages of 1.75-2.2 VDC. This covers all of Ngineering’s Micro & Nano yellow & red LEDs, as well as many yellow & red LEDs available.
This module will connect to 4 LEDs pre-wired and configured as described in detail in LED Construction. See Fig. 5 below for a complete overview of wiring.
Once again, be sure to use a low-wattage soldering iron when connecting wires to the module.
Our N40M2 12-watt Iron with either the N408I (iron clad) Needle Tip, or the N408X (bare copper) Needle Tip would be an excellent choice for this operation (or any DCC decoder work).
This completes hookup of our N8042C Rotating Beacon module. We hope the added realism it provides enhances your enjoyment of the hobby.
© 2008 Ngineering