How to Program a DCC Decoder

DCC, Tips and Tricks
I’ve found the best way to program a DCC decoder, and it’s free (depending upon your DCC system)! DecoderPro is a free application that runs on pretty much any WindowsXP, Windows7, MacOS or Linux computer (OS list updated 12/31/12 to include Windows7 and delete Windows98). If you have an NCE Powerhouse Pro system of just about any vintage, you can simply plug your computer into the serial port and you’re ready to program just about any decoder currently on the market. Other systems will require some sort of computer interface (for Digitrax users, that’s the MS100). Decoder settings, including those pesky custom speed curve tables, can be easily adjusted and sent to the loco, along with literally every other setting in the decoder, and all through easy to read and…
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Just for Fun

Miscellaneous
Just for fun this morning, I composited yesterday’s progress picture with a shot I took on the Eastern Shore a couple of years ago — just to get an idea.
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Yes, I’m Still Working

Miscellaneous
Just in case you all thought I’d stopped working on the layout … We went away for a couple of days, which kept me from messing with things I shouldn’t mess with. The result is that the new “water� poured into the swamp area has set up nicely, although it’s still rubbery. This is how it looks now.
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Clever Models

Structures and Scenery, Suppliers
via e-mail This link came through on one of the e-mail lists some time today: Clever Models  Clever Models designs and produces high-quality structure kits and texture sheets — made from paper. The textures and designs come from a CGI artist and, presumably, modeler in the motion picture industry. He’s learned to apply the effects we see in movies to 3-dimensional models, which are sold at very reasonably prices. From the pictures on the web site, I’d say they look fabulous. I’m going to order one or two, and see how they come out. 
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Back at Work

Miscellaneous
As I mentioned last week, I had a lot of work to do to get ready for some Orchard Studios shows. Saturday, we had our first show of the season, and Sunday, I played! (click on the pix for full-sized versions) First, the area in and around the marsh was re-sceniced. I decided that the thing to do was to simply go over the bad. So, I scuffed up the surface of the old “waterâ€? and painted it a yucky brownish color. I then re-applied the bottom texture. I then turned my attention to the area a little further east of the marsh. One thing I remember growing up was that there were huge, huge piles of oyster shells all around near the waterfront. I chose to model this near…
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Quiet

Miscellaneous
Even with the sound systems installed, it’s going to be a little quiet around here for a few days. I’ve got to scurry around and get ready for a art show this weekend, so there won’t be much time to play with trains — a serious bummer! Don’t worry, though. I’ll be back, ASAP!
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Enlarging and Reducing Plans

Tips and Tricks
What I’m about to mention here, many modelers already know. However, I figure it’s a useful thing to have in one, handy place, like my web site. We all know that HO is the most popular modeling scale out there. So, many published plans and drawings are in HO (1:87) scale. Here are some simple rules to convert HO scale drawings to other scales: HO to Z (1:220): Multiply dimensions by 40% (0.40) HO to N (1:160): Multiply dimensions by 55% (0.55) HO to S (1:64): Multiply dimensions by 137% (1.37) HO to O (1:48): Multiply dimensions by 183% (1.83) Now, some of you may have drawings in electronic format on your computers, and wish to print them out. You can use these same percentages to scale the drawing to…
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