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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello,
I recently finished my first ever layout. Everything was working great until my DCC loco suddenly stopped on the tracks while it was moving. The reverse light on the loco remains lit whenever the train is on a live track, no matter if the controller is set to forward, reverse, or brake. I have wiped and cleaned both the track and the wheels of the loco. I do not think the issue is related to a dusty or dirty track. If I take the loco off the track, the light will go out, but if I put the loco back on the track anywhere (with track power on) the reverse light comes back on and the loco will not move. My first thought was that somehow the decoder’s programming got messed up or its address changed? I am really not sure. I am using a Zephyr Difitrax DCS 52. Any help would be appreciated. I just want my loco to move again!

Edit:
I should add that when I tried to put this same loco on a programming track, thinking that if I reprogrammed the address it would work again, my controller did not even recognize that a loco was on the programming track and could not read it or write to it.
 

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I’m seeing two possibilities.
1; a solder connection somehow broke loose. Even a motor wire not being connected can cause a decoder to not register properly.
2; a component on the board itself failed.
Because the loco seems to be frozen in time, I’m going to lean towards #2 as more likely, but it’s possibly a combination of both.

I forgot to get my speculations pre-approved by CTValley before posting. Maybe next time.
 

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Loose wire or a solder joint or a component issue in the loco. Have you got another loco to try on the track? If that works it would confirm the loco. If not then check the connections to the track.
 

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I’m seeing two possibilities.
1; a solder connection somehow broke loose. Even a motor wire not being connected can cause a decoder to not register properly.
2; a component on the board itself failed.
Because the loco seems to be frozen in time, I’m going to lean towards #2 as more likely, but it’s possibly a combination of both.

I forgot to get my speculations pre-approved by CTValley before posting. Maybe next time.
Wow! And I really did think you were just overstepping on the other thread. Thanks for proving me wrong. This is a night and day situation from the other one, and it's really problematic that you can't see why. We just got rid of a troll. Please don't try to take his place,
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I’m seeing two possibilities.
1; a solder connection somehow broke loose. Even a motor wire not being connected can cause a decoder to not register properly.
2; a component on the board itself failed.
Because the loco seems to be frozen in time, I’m going to lean towards #2 as more likely, but it’s possibly a combination of both.

I forgot to get my speculations pre-approved by CTValley before posting. Maybe next time.
Thanks for the response. I am not sure why the board would suddenly fail as the loco is moving but it is definitely a good thought. Would the best course of action to begin troubleshooting this problem be to resolder the decoder board connections to the copper connections?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Loose wire or a solder joint or a component issue in the loco. Have you got another loco to try on the track? If that works it would confirm the loco. If not then check the connections to the track.
I do not have another loco. What do you mean by check connections to the track?
 

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Check the wiring from your controller to the track. I don't know how the power feed is connected to the track, soldered to joiners or directly to the rails.
I had a similar issue recently and after much searching found it was a power feed wire that was particularly cut through, sometimes it would work and sometimes not. It drove me nuts, I thought my controller was dud as it hadn't been used for some time. Don't know how the wire was cut. Sometimes it's the simplest thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Check the wiring from your controller to the track. I don't know how the power feed is connected to the track, soldered to joiners or directly to the rails.
I had a similar issue recently and after much searching found it was a power feed wire that was particularly cut through, sometimes it would work and sometimes not. It drove me nuts, I thought my controller was dud as it hadn't been used for some time. Don't know how the wire was cut. Sometimes it's the simplest thing.
My power feed is connected to rail joiners (kato unitrack). I follow your reasoning. I convinced myself that the issue must be with the loco or decoder itself because of the fact that the light on the loco turns on at all. If the wiring to the track was faulty, I would think that the light would not then on at all.
 

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Do you have a multimeter to (set to A/C) to check the voltage at various parts of the track? You should see something within a few volts of 14 . (reading should be the same on all point of the track.) In particular the voltage at the DCS 52 should be there. Been a while between posts Cycleops!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Do you have a multimeter to (set to A/C) to check the voltage at various parts of the track? You should see something within a few volts of 14 . (reading should be the same on all point of the track.) In particular the voltage at the DCS 52 should be there.
Thanks for your response. I do have a multimeter that I will test. I do think that the track’s voltage is fine though considering that the light will appear on the loco no matter where it is placed on the track. The loco also abruptly stopped pretty close to the power feed when this issue started.
 

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That would seem to be a problem with the loco but might still be track wiring. Check it as Lemonhawk suggests.
After that lift the shell and have a look at the decoder and associated wiring and see if anything is loose, wiggle the connections.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
That would seem to be a problem with the loco but might still be track wiring. Check it as Lemonhawk suggests.
After that lift the shell and have a look at the decoder and associated wiring and see if anything is loose, wiggle the connections.
I will do that. Thank you for all your advice. I will update this thread and when I have a chance to test the various solutions that have been posted here.
 

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Cycleops has it right. Take off the shell. Check the
motor wiring. Since the light works when the loco
pauses, the indication is that power from the tracks
is getting to the decoder. You can check that with
your meter set to DC. Put probes on the motor tabs
as you raise and lower the speed control. The voltage
should vary. If it does, and motor doesn't run, either a
wire is loose or the motor is defective...my bet is on
a loose connection.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Cycleops has it right. Take off the shell. Check the
motor wiring. Since the light works when the loco
pauses, the indication is that power from the tracks
is getting to the decoder. You can check that with
your meter set to DC. Put probes on the motor tabs
as you raise and lower the speed control. The voltage
should vary. If it does, and motor doesn't run, either a
wire is loose or the motor is defective...my bet is on
a loose connection.

Don
Thanks for the help. Since I am a model train novice, I have not previously dealt with the motor inside my loco. As such, I am not entirely sure where to look for the motor/loose wires. Do I need to remove the decoder to do this? What are the wires that originate at the motor connected to? Essentially, I am asking for some guidance on where exactly look inside the loco for potential faulty wires. Thanks in advance.
 

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Can you please say what loco you have and in what scale. Do you know if the decoder is factory fitted or an addition?
You may have either a plug in decoder or it may all be on PC board.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Can you please say what loco you have and in what scale. Do you know if the decoder is factory fitted or an addition?
You may have either a plug in decoder or it may all be on PC board.
I have an atlas Santa Fe b36-7 #49933. It is in n scale. It was a dcc ready loco that I added a dcc decoder to.
 

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Those have a split chassis that the decoder pc board sits between the two taking power from both sides. Check the board is seated well and making contact board and metal chassis at the contact points.
If that checks out okay I’m out of ideas. Could be a faulty decoder of course, shame you don’t have another loco which could eliminate or confirm that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Those have a split chassis that the decoder pc board sits between the two taking power from both sides. Check the board is seated well and making contact board and metal chassis at the contact points.
If that checks out okay I’m out of ideas. Could be a faulty decoder of course, shame you don’t have another loco which could eliminate or confirm that.
I do really appreciate all the ideas you have shared. I have attached photos of my loco, hoping that someone with more experience might recognize an issue.
Sleeve Musical instrument Beige Wood Rectangle

Sunglasses Wood Textile Sleeve Beige

Circuit component Finger Electronic component Electronic instrument Electronic device
Train Plant Vehicle Track Wood
 

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That center-most solder point; is that a shadow being cast? Or discoloration on the board? If the latter it could be an indication that the decoder has cooked.
 
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