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Discussion Starter #1
This is an Athearn BB locomotive with an MRC EMD Sounder DCC decoder in it. This is an old decoder from 10 or 15 years ago. The engine was not run for a few years. It has been recently broken down and lubed.

First the decoder keeps resetting the locomotive number to 3 when the bell is hit. After running 15 minutes last night it stopped working. The locomotive would not move no response at all. Smelled like smoke too. Waited 20 minutes and it would move but vary slowly. Is it possible that the decoder is fried? Could the motor have finally given up. I am leaning stores the decoder but looking for your thoughts.
 

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If you got 10 or 15 years from an MRC decoder, you've done better than most! It's probably the decoder.
That was my thinking. Also knowing that MRC was not the best quality at the time either. And the BB motor draw it on the high side compared to newer locomotives.

Is their newer line of decoders any better? I have used NCE for everything but I went the no sound rought. My son wants sound. Little budget with high hope on this rebuild.
 

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I would say use an NCE, Digitrax, or TCS decoder for best results. You were lucky to get one year out of an MRC decoder, let alone as many as you did.
 

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I don't see how the decoder can be faulty if its drive is making the locomotive move at all. Electronics like that are not hit 'n miss. They are binary. Yes, or no. On, or off. Work, or they're toast. The only thing that will make them intermittent is intermittent electrical power, and that comes from bad pickups, bad soldered feeders, bad joiners, bad wiring, bad solders inside the locomotive....that type of thing. Or, they'll cut out because of a thermal cycling circuit that won't let them stay powered if they heat up too much. And if they're getting warm, it means their throughput is too high; too much amperage. And if the amperage is close to the limit, it means it's forcing more voltage to the motor to get it to turn. So, my money is on the motor, itself. It may need cleaning, new magnets, or new motor.
 

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I have not personally used one of these decoders, but others who have say it's pretty good. They also have a premium version with 16 bit sound.
Again, I have no personal experience with these, just passing along what I've read.
 

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I have not personally used one of these decoders, but others who have say it's pretty good. They also have a premium version with 16 bit sound.
Again, I have no personal experience with these, just passing along what I've read.
I have one of those in a switches and it is good for the price.

Looks to be that the decoder may have an issue. Does the same thing in a different locomotive. Place an ICE no sound one in and there is no issue. Having the 9 pin plugs makes it easy to swap between engines.
 
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