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Connecting the N8031n N8031A & N8031C Marslight Simulators
Installing the N8031/A/C 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 N8031/A/C 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 N8031/A/C module and connect the appropriate function wire to solder point #2. For example: If you want F1 to turn on the Mars light, 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 N8031 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 to function properly. If wired up with DC polarity reversed, the Simulator has on-board protection to prevent damage, but it will not operate until correct power input polarity is established. 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 for continuous operation.
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 connecting the LED, proper polarity must be observed. LEDs are “polarity sensitive” and will not function is connected backwards. The N8031 is configured to connect to a 20 ma LED with a device voltage of 3.3-3.6 VDC. This covers all of Ngineering’s white, yellow-white and incandescent white LEDs, as well as most of the white and golden-white LEDs available. This LED will use the Simulators on-board resistor for current protection.
Using wire appropriate for the size of the LED and its placement in the locomotive, connect the LED cathode (the – connection) to point #3 on the module and connect the LED anode (the +) to solder point #4.
The N8031C is configured to connect to a 20 ma LED with a device voltage of 1.75-2.0 VDC. This covers all of Ngineering’s red LEDs, as well as most of the red LEDs available. This LED will use the Simulators on-board resistor for current protection.
The N8031A has two extra functional solder points for connection of an optional headlight (in addition to the active Marslight. Connect this LEDs cathode (the – connection) to point #5. This LED requires the use of an external resistor (supplied with the Simulator, plus a spare). The anode of this second LED is connected in series with the external resistor as shown in Figure 5 below.
Analog (DC) operational note for the N8031, N8031A & N8031C:
In some DC operational circumstances, the need to control headlight flicker as a result of track gaps or dirt may not be of concern or deemed important enough to worry about.
If this is the case and track voltage will never exceed 18-volts, either the N8031, N8031A or N8031C can be wired directly to the track pickups (solder point 1 to Engineer's side, solder point 2 to Fireman's side), and will function properly for locomotive direction control. That is, when the loco is in reverse the Marslight (and headlight if using the N8031A) will be turned off because the module's on-board polarity protection will shut down the Simulator. When forward motion is reestablished the module will turn back on.
This completes connection of the N8031 module. It is recommended that a thorough re-inspection of all connections and module placement be performed prior to applying power to the locomotive. We hope you enjoy the added realism our module provides.
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