Model Train Forum banner

1 - 40 of 67 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,035 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
It's a long story so sorry for the long post.
If you don't want to hear a tail of woe, stop right here.

The DCC gods have not smiled on me lately.

Started with my 6 Athearn Genesis GP9 sound locos, problem is intermittent power pickup.
The cause might be loose wires but I'm not so sure.
These locos are all from the same time frame, about 5 years ago, and seem to all have the same problem.
What happens is they will lose power on turnouts and sometimes on turns but not all that often.
A GP9 8 wheel pickup should not do this ever.

After I bought these I read something on Tony's Train Exchange about a problem with the drive axle lengths causing intermittent power
The fix was to replace the wheels with some from Northwest Short Lines.
Well one by one they all keep getting worse and now all 6 are dead, won't run worth a darn.
I too POed about this to even look at them much less repair them.
What makes me think that the wheels are the problem is if I lift one set of drivers off the track the other will power the sound
until I wiggle the loco and than it looses power, wiggle it more and power comes back.

I did take the shell off of one and found all the wiring is black, no color coding at all and
I can't see any way to take the bottom cover off the trucks to remove them to get at the wiring on that end.

The way I feel about them right now is if I try to fix them they will on doubt see the business end of an 8 pound hammer.
I have a fairly long fuse but when it hits the dynamite out comes the 8 pounder.
It's happened before. The more expensive the item the longer the fuse and with these it's getting close.

So unless I can find someone to repair them they are dead and gathering dust on the bad order track.
I might just give them away to anyone here that wants them, I want them running or out of the house.

If anyone is interested what I'll do is send you all 6 locos and if I can get two back in good running order you can keep the other 4
and I'll pay shipping both ways and a good amount for your labor and parts.
It's over $1,200.00 worth of junk as it is so I'm willing to pay a fair price to get something running.
I'm not looking for something for nothing but someone to fix the darn things.

I have the right wheels to repair one loco.
The wiring will need to be hard wired as well, this is the part I don't think I can do,
my soldering skills on small wires is non existent. I'll screw it up for sure.
It's 2 Southern Pacific in bloody noise and 4 Black Widows.


But wait there is more.

About three weeks ago one of my Bachmann F7Bs fried the decoder.
Haven't sent it in to Bachmann yet but maybe I will soon if I don't give up on this whole thing first.
So it's on the BO track with the 6 GP9s.

Still more.

Just after the F7 died my Bachmann GE 70 ton switcher died as well. It's on the BO track with 6 Athearn and 1 Bachmann.

More yet.

Went to hook up my little used Digitrax 402D radio throttle, Yep dead as well.
Can't do anything with it as far as running locos is concerned.
Won't fit on the BO track so it's on the work bench.
This is the one and only problem I've had with my Digitrax system.

I'm not done yet.

I needed to have something for yard switching and short line work,
that's what the now dead GP9 were for, so I ordered an Atlas Gold RS11 with Loc sound decoder from Yankee Dabbler.
From what I've heard a good dealer.

It arrived today. Fast shipping, good price and well packaged, I was happy.
Looked everything over very carefully and all was good, brand new in box as stated.

After a quick read of the manual I put it on the tracks and it sounded great and ran good as well. FOR ABOUT 150 FEET.
It died on the third lap.
The start up sequence is just fine, lights work but as soon as you put it into run 1 it dies. Nothing, no lights, no sounds and no runs.
Three decoder resets had no affect. DEAD.
I bought this off E Bay but I'm going to call Yankee Dabbler tomorrow and see what is up. Don't want to deal with E Bay unless I have to.

I do not believe that this is in anyway Yankee Dabbler's fault, I just want to check in with them to see how to proceed with this.
It might be as simple as a loose wire but I don't want to open it up and void the warranty.

I have no idea why I'm loosing decoders, I've checked the track etc. and can see no problems at all.
I have an even 14.8 volts around the entire layout, I've checked every inch with a RRamp meter.
0.04 amps with no trains running. That's what it takes to run the meter.

My track work is good enough that I'm not getting any derails or things like that to cause shorts so I don't think that is the problem.

I'm really getting discouraged and don't know if I'll continue or not.
I closed the door to the train barn and don't know if I'll open it again except to tear down the layout. I'm that discussed, at least I am tonight.

There's even more.
Just to put frosting on the cake the DCC in my washing machine is acting up and didn't want to wash cloths this morning.



Magic
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,088 Posts
Is it possible that you are getting intermittent power spikes? I have not seen this with trains but with other electronics. Is it possible that you are getting a momentary higher spike on the line that fries sensitive stuff. I run all electronics of any value from a surge protector in my home just for this reason. I have lost a PC before to just this issue.

Have you verified that the power supply to your track is putting out a consistent / proper number of amps? You state you have verified the number of volts but people often forget that amps can kill too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,000 Posts
Magic, I am so sorry to admit you had me laughing at all your problems. Its not right
but I was. When it rains it pours. You are experiencing it. Do not get this discouraged.
It all can be fixed. Remember that. Just think about how happy and proud of yourself when you fix it all. Walk away from the railroad for a couple days. You have a stack
of problems. And can't fix them all at once. Start with one engine. Take the shell off.
Start looking at the works and see how it works. You can do this. Look for the path of
power from track to motor. Somewhere between the wheels and the motor is the problem.
You are having the same problem with some of your engines. Once you fix one of them the rest will be easy. If it were me I would take it apart. All of it. It might be broken wires,
that's possible, it might be dirty contacts, Not much else. Go slow and lay out parts on your work table in order of disassemble. These model trains are not all that high tech. I will say again, you can do this. Do not force or break any plastic parts. If you try and still
can't get the first one running right, you can send me one of the dead engines. Just one.
And I will give it my best. If I (and I will) get it running right we will talk about the others.
I hate to see anybody this disgusted.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,786 Posts
If you mentioned your connection from your command station to the track, I missed it.
Anything less than solid soldered connections is asking for problems as you are describing sooner or later. You may be able to measure voltage at all track points but that doesn't mean you are delivering the amps that are needed to run the locos.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,000 Posts
Do you have someone elses layout to try your engines on? That would eliminate any
command station or wiring problem. Maybe a local train shop's layout.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,246 Posts
I am very inexperienced in problems like this. But, since it is happening to so many of your power units, I tend to think there's something amiss in the layout wiring...perhaps some cold solder joints, corroded joints, or just plain poor connections.

I agree with Mopac, though, this can be solved. It's just a matter of tracing it down. Unfortunately I don't have any suggestions on how to do that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
538 Posts
Stop.

Count to ten.

Walk away.

Come back after a thorough calming down.

I will second 50% of my Athearn Genesis' are pieces of crap, I can relate.

I can see one or two things wrong, but everything means you are missing something.

Calm down, hit the local hobby shop or club up and talk to some folks.

Then assess things 1 at a time starting with power.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,443 Posts
I'm willing to get some of them going as well ..
whatever you send you will get back .. maybe not real quick, but working and tested..
but can't do much after they've been adjusted with an 8lb :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,035 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
One two three four five six seven eight nine ten. Nope they still won't run.

First off I would like to thank everybody for the comments, suggestions and offers to help.
It's great to have some support in time of need.

mopac get ready to laugh some more, my new smart cell phone is having the
same DCC problems as everything else. It just does whatever it wants, when ever it wants, just dropped two calls to Atlas.
I just E Mailed them, don't trust the phone. Yankee Dabbler suggested I send the RS11 back and not mess with it.

Part of the reason I haven't done anything with Digitrax or Bachmann problems is that stupid phone.

I do have 6 more locos that run just fine, MTH F3s in ABB lash up.
Way more amp draw than a single GP9. It's not a track or command station problem. The system is on a surge protection power strip.

I also have three more Bachmann locos that run just fine as well.
I think the Bachmann is a one of a kind of thing.

There are no train hobby shops in Reno, nor any other layouts I can try these on. I'm a lone voice crying in the wilderness.

As for the Athearn I'm just afraid to work on them the frustration level is high.
I do have one Athearn a SD70ACe the runs OK. Fits right in with my '50s layout.
The Athearn doesn't use wheel wipers but the axle bearings for power.
I have tried cleaning as good as possible but no go.
Even some conductive grease.

I think I may have picked the wrong hobby.
I spent my entire working life repairing BIG stuff, heavy equipment, trucks etc.
That 8 pound hammer is the smallest I have. If it don't go, get a bigger hammer.
This does not bode well in HO scale. I was at one time a certified high pressure pipeline welder yet
I can't solder these tiny wires to anything, you wouldn't believe some of my wire solders.
Can do track feeders no problem but not 28 gauge wires??????

Dirty Harry once said "A man should know his limitations."
Well mine are 28 gauge wires and tiny parts.

mopac, crusader and wvgca I think I'll take another look at the Athearns and see if I can do anything with them
besides the 8 pounder. But I'll keep you guys in mind if things don't go well. Thanks for the offers. I no doubt will take you up on this.

Magic
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,936 Posts
My FIL has issues electrical with three brass ATSF ABA set up. Two sound one not. MR decoders. Swapped them out with all Soundtraxx. Same issue. Found shorts occuring in the body and chassis of the locomotive. All fixed now. Took me about four days to figure it out, as it would only happen on curves, but not at the same spot. At first I thought it was bad decoders or a poor install. It was a poor install, places that needed insulation were not insulated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,035 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
It passes the quarter test with flying sparks Jake.

I've tested track voltage and amp draw with and without trains running.
I could see the voltage and amps react to different loads, up to 6 MTH locos running and they have super caps.
My PSX 1 circuit breakers wouldn't handle the start up load and I had to remove the breakers. Power does not seem to be the problem.

I really don't think it's a power or track issue.
Only the Athearn Genesis do this intermittent power loss both as a single or AA lash up.
The 13 other locos run just fine.
I did a little research and there are others that have had the same issue and fixed it the same way, NWSL wheels.
But this was some time ago and the wheels they were replacing were steel and mine appear to be nickle silver.

I just now got one of the bottom covers off and could replace the wheels. Won't do much good however as the cover came off in three pieces. So one loco is now a parts loco. I did learn two things, first how the cover is held on and second that the wires are soldered to the side frame so no soldering there.

BINGO I just got the second cover off with no problem.
Pulled the side frames and found two broken wires. I knew that this loco had this problem so was not surprised.

So this project is doable after all and it only cost one loco.
Looks like my 8 pounder will have to wait for another day.

I'll decide what I'll do later for now I'm calling it quits.

Magic
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,246 Posts
"I (we) get by with a little help from my (our) friends"...Ringo Starr
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,000 Posts
See, I knew you could find the problem. You just have to take them apart. You really get to know them then. Probably the same problem in all the athearns. The others will repair
much quicker once you learn that first one.

Ya gotta love the Babe.

Watch what way the wheels are installed. The insulated wheel has to be on a certain side.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,035 Posts
Discussion Starter #23
Well I decided to take the good advice offered here and attack one problem at a time.

Atlas answered my E Mail promptly and I've got an RA number so into the mail goes my RS11 on Monday.
Since I'll be there anyway I'll also send the 402D back to Digitrax for repair. Two items down. :smilie_daumenpos: :smilie_daumenpos:

The DCC problem with my washing machine seems to have cured itself and cloths washing has resumed :thumbsup:

That's the good news and now for the bad.

I wear sweatpants around the house and I was mixing some glue for some scenery work and spilled some on my pants. :eek: :mad:
Into the wash they went, that's how I found out the washer was working . :thumbsup:

Doing this also solved another problem, namely the cell phone not working right. :thumbsup: It isn't working at all now. :smilie_daumenneg:
Forgot it was in the sweatpants and into the washer it went.
It's drying out on a heater vent now, we'll see.

On to the GP9
Got the wheels replaced today, made sure they were in gauge with a NMRA gauge and the gear was centered.
Lubed the axles with Conducta lube and cleaner.
Cleaned all the old lube from the bearings with 91% alcohol and let dry.
Check the gear lube and cleaned out excess and added a little Red and Tacky.
The gears looked good and are not binding or anything like that.

I did not take the shell off or solder any wires. Doing one thing at a time.

Once everything was checked I put it back together and went to test it.

Started by testing it in the yard and it handled all the turnouts just fine, on to the mainline it went.
Ran great and than I gave it the wiggle test, one set of wheels off the track and wiggled the powered ones,
this is where it failed before. Passed with flying colors. :smilie_daumenpos: :smilie_daumenpos:
Looking good.

Now for the bad news. With the loco not stalling on turnouts anymore I decided to give it a good run test.
It made about 15 laps on the mainlines and than stopped dead. Sounds and lights working but won't move.
Put it on the programing track to do a reset and it won't read any CVs. Dead as a door nail. One step forward and two back.

Got the 8 pounder warming up next to the now drying cell phone.

Got a good decoder in the loco I destroyed the truck on (5634) so I have to decide if I want to replace the decoder on 5622 or replace the wheels on 5624.
Maybe I should use 5623 and try an odd number.

Anyway here is a pic of the bottom cover that gave me so much trouble.
You can see the little latch thingies in the corners, these lock over pins in the truck frame.
Takes an Xacto knife to release them, just pry outward from the bottom. Easy to do once you know what to look for.
The side frames just pry outward at the center to separate them to remove the axles.
GP9 cover.JPG

The 4 straight pins towards the center lock the side frames in place. It was these that I thought were the cover locking pins and was working to release these. Stupid is as stupid does. :D :D

I'll take a look at all this tomorrow and see what happens but for now it's off to bed.

Magic
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,917 Posts
"Well, Jane, it just goes to show ya it's always something. If it ain't one thing it's another. Either your washing machine takes a dump on ya, or it eats your cell phone."
Something Roseanne Roseannadanna might have said.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
480 Posts
One thing ive learned as a newbie, try try again. us mechanics are a stubborn bunch. we will win!

good luck. dont give up brother.

p.s. if it comes down to it ill rewire, clean and return your locos.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,035 Posts
Discussion Starter #27
One thing ive learned as a newbie, try try again. us mechanics are a stubborn bunch. we will win!

good luck. dont give up brother.

p.s. if it comes down to it ill rewire, clean and return your locos.

Thanks for the offer. :smilie_daumenpos::smilie_daumenpos:
So many helpful folks here, great board.

The cell was no big loss as it didn't work right anyways.
It did come out nice and clean. :smilie_daumenpos:
Replaced it with a simple flip phone, I only use it for calls anyway, no text and such.

What's got me worried is why am I loosing so many decoders?
Going to re read all the tips here and see if I can find a problem.

We'll see what happens.

Magic
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
480 Posts
Dont use you loco as a parts donor just yet. look on ebay. i searched "lots ho" and found several batches of dead or parts loco lots. fair pricing. see if you can find a replacement part that way.

You said your set up was in an out building, any unusual moisture/dampness or heat that may affect power sources or circuit boards?

good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,102 Posts
Magic, sorry to hear you're having so many problems lately. How frustrating!!!

In regards to this:
With the loco not stalling on turnouts anymore I decided to give it a good run test.
It made about 15 laps on the mainlines and than stopped dead. Sounds and lights working but won't move.
I had a similar issue on an N Scale Atlas GP38 loco I bought used. I did a thorough review on the cleaning and modification work in another thread here, but to summarize this particular issue – I had to remove the shell and run the loco chassis and mess with the motor while powered / running to eventually discover the problem. Even thought the loco would stop running, the lights still worked, so I knew the decoder wasn't fried and that it was still getting power.

Long story short, turns out the motor was loose in the chassis frame, and if it shifted to the side ever so slightly it would kill the motor – almost like a short circuit, but just to the motor and not the entire unit!

So, the magic fix was for me to wedge a toothpick underneath the motor to keep it in place and to prevent it from shifting. I never did figure out what the real issue was (short circuit or something else), but I don't care as long as the toothpick works (and it does).

Godspeed my friend!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
984 Posts
Magic, sorry to hear about the problems you are having. I admire your layout work and the stories that go with it. Am glad to hear you are making progress. As for all the wires being back on your Atherns locos maybe you could put a drop of color on them as you figure out which are which. But as has been said by all don,t give up, take a break and logically go after one thing at a time. I know you will figure this out as you already have started to. As for the 8 pounder wipe it down and put it back in it's place.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,035 Posts
Discussion Starter #32
Thanks for all the input. :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Overkast what you are saying may have something to do with it.
It's really acting strange, I just tried it out again and what I find is this.
1 When I power up the track the engine sounds come on.

2 When I call up it's address I can work the horn and lights, can't do this unless the command station is finding the loco.

3 When I advance the throttle the engine sounds will increase just like the locos moving but it ain't going any were, just sits there.

4 I just put it on the programing track again and I can't read any CVs or loco address. :confused: :confused: very strange.

So there are several explanations for this
Some thing like you suggest, or possibility no power getting to the motor or something in the drive line disconnected.
The later is unlikely as it ran for a time and than just stopped dead.

A look under the hood may shed some light on the other two. A loose wire or something locking up the motor.

Point 4 above is the fly in the Pea soup, why can't I read CVs?

ExONRcarman the layout is in a bedroom so no issues there.

Lemonhawk. Good point.
I've got a Zephyr DCS51 command station and two DB150 boosters and each has the proper Digitrax power supply just to avoid this issue.

Most of the problems started when I added the second DB150, so I disconnected it about a week ago, before all this started.
The DCS51 powers the south yard and the (now) one booster the rest of the layout.
Plenty of feeders, soldered rail joints and the buss runs are pretty short as the booster is located in the center of the layout on the west wall.

jlc41 Well we're working on it and color coding the wires is a good idea, can't see any other way to do it.
Gotta wonder how they do it at the factory?????
I did take the day off today and will hit it again tomorrow.

But it's such a nice 8 pounder, painted the head a bright red and the cut off two foot long handle is stained a nice walnut.
If you're gonna smash something it should be with a nice hammer. :D :D

Thanks again for all the support and help. We'll work it out. :smilie_daumenpos:
Magic
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,126 Posts
Most of the problems started when I added the second DB150, so I disconnected it about a week ago, before all this started.
The DCS51 powers the south yard and the (now) one booster the rest of the layout.
Plenty of feeders, soldered rail joints and the buss runs are pretty short as the booster is located in the center of the layout on the west wall.
So I'm not a Digitrax guy, but did you assign a unique throttle number to each of your cabs? Not doing so can cause input conflicts, which can cause your system to behave strangely.

Just a thought.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,699 Posts
One common mistake that triggers strange behaviour is having a loco's address assigned in two or more different throttles.Make sure the loco is erased (dispatched) from every throttles it's ever been assigned with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,699 Posts
I re-read the previous posts and have come to believe that your problems may not be related to your locos at all,or at least not all of them.Here's what I think MAY be the problem:

The DCS51 is a rather new power station,so I believe that you may have run your layout with one of your boosters as a command station.If so,the booster('s) may still have past commands in its memory bank that are fighting newer commands from the Zephyr.I'd make sure that your boosters are clear of any commands by resetting them.I don't have any of these boosters but suspect it's done as with a DCS command station,with OpSw 39 (page 118,Super Chief manual).

I too have a Zephyr Extra and have come to love it after some head scratching.I had planned to turn my DCS200 into a booster and control the locos with the Zephyr wich I did.Everything ran smooth until I plugged my DT400 to the Zephyr...it immediately showed "FULL" on the screen and refused to accept any additional address.Obviously,my DT400 has a memory of its own.

I suspected a memory overload so started to dial the addresses I had used and hit "exit" to clear them and it worked.To make sure,I did the same with my whole roster,not being sure wich locos had been used or not previously.It cleared the "FULL" issue but I still had weird throttle issues.

The other thing I did then was to turn the DCS200 back to Command Station and clear its memory with OpSw39 then turne the Zephyr into a throttle,wich is why I bought it at first.I haven't noticed any problem since.

It's important not to forget "dispatching" every locos after use,specially with the Zephyr wich is a fine component but has a very short memory bank (20 locos).Also,Digitrax components are flexible as they offer different operational options.However,only the Command Station can hold instructions and all other components need clear memories so that no corrupted and/or conflicting datas create hair pulling issues.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,035 Posts
Discussion Starter #36
CTValley Good point and I have not done that, I have run the layout with two cabs and had no issues.
I don't think with my system it is necessary BUT when I get the 402D throttle back I'll do that.
I mostly use the Zephyr DCS51 and haven't used the 402D in a long time.

Brakeman Jake. You really got me thinking. A problem in and of itself. :confused: :D

The way it went was I started with the Zephyr DCS51 command station, added the 402D throttle and than last the DB150 boosters.
Never used the boosters as a command station BUT when I installed the DB150 I forgot to jumper it as a booster.
It would not properly install. Re read the manual and remembered the jumper and did it right.
Things ran with no issues. I never actually used the DB150 as a command station but there may be something there.
Can't do anything about it till I get the 402D back.
It has major issues and is definitely bad.

I learned the hard way about the full message and dispatch all locos when I'm done with them.

What has me worried is loosing decoders, three in just two weeks time. None in the 4 prior years.
It all started when I removed the PSX 1 breakers because they wouldn't take the start up load of my 6 MTH locos.
That's why I added the second DB150. I don't get very many derails so not that many shorts
but I think I'll call Tony's Train Exchange and see if there are breakers that will work.

The only locos running bad are the 6 Athearn geep 9s.
Its an Athearn loco problem. Wheels not picking up power all the time.

Here's what happened today.

Taking a tip from Overkast last post I got my toothpicks out and removed the shell from 5622, new wheels.

It looked pretty good in there, the motor was clean and shinny and not loose and no excessive play in the bearings.
Spun the motor and there's nothing binding.
Couldn't see any problem with the wiring and all connections were tight.
I put a small amount of lube on the bearings.

I just set the shell on top and tried it out on the layout.
The stupid thing ran just fine. Sounds, lights etc. put it in gear and off it went. :confused: :confused:
I don't know why but it seems to be OK and no decoder problems. :smilie_daumenpos: :smilie_daumenpos:
It's reading CVs again as well.

Snapped the shell on tight and ran it on the mains, OK.
Ran it into the yard and through all the turnouts.
At first just fine than it began to stall again.
Gave it the wiggle test again and it failed. The new wheels
improved things but didn't cure them. :thumbsdown: :thumbsdown: I'm back to square one.

The wiggle test:
I put the front truck on a paper towel and the rear on the track.
I give the rear truck a little push to the right and I lose power, push to the left power comes back.
Center the wheels on the track and have power, only to the right will be a power loss.
The front truck seems to be better but still an occasional power loss when running.

I crawled it around the two mains and it stalled a couple of times in turns, maybe dirty track, went through the Peco turnouts fine.

I just don't know guess I'll mess with it tomorrow, bed time now.

Magic
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,102 Posts
The wiggle test:
I put the front truck on a paper towel and the rear on the track.
I give the rear truck a little push to the right and I lose power, push to the left power comes back.
Center the wheels on the track and have power, only to the right will be a power loss.
The front truck seems to be better but still an occasional power loss when running.

I crawled it around the two mains and it stalled a couple of times in turns, maybe dirty track, went through the Peco turnouts fine.
Magic, this is a huge revelation IMO! The stalls on the curves are probably directly related to the stalls when the truck turns to the right in the wiggle test.

I am willing to bet there's an issue with one of the wheel pickups. I would say the truck turning to the right is either creating a short circuit or creating a loose contact and thus not transferring power from the wheels. Check those pickup ribbons!


Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,443 Posts
Magic ...
there is a known issue with the Genesis as far as power pickup is concerned ..when they make them, the metal portion is painted black, and in some cases the paint will prevent proper contact ..
Take the trucks apart, and where the ends of he axles contact the power pickups in the side frames, scrape any paint away ..also make sure the plastic doesn't prevent the bushing from contacting the axle ends, again a little scraping, finally wash the factory lube off the bushings and axles, and replace with a good quality lube, LaBelle or similar ..
then make sure the axles are at the correct width
last thing to check is where the power pickup wires go onto the decoder, the ones that use a plastic clip to hold the wires on sometimes have issues as well ..
Usually when people replace he wheels, they also do the above, and figure the wheels are the fix, but the nwsl axles are a little longer, so they do get a better chance of proper contact in the side frames..

good luck :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,699 Posts
I can't believe you actually lost decoders.Unless you can see any burn marks on any of them,there's no confirmed lost of the item.You likely have wire issues in a few locos but six seems too much of a coincidence too.I'm still convinced that you have a glitch somewhere in the DCC hardware or the layout itself.

If I had your problem,I would:
1)Disconnect both boosters from the track and Loconet
2)Install temporary jumpers in place of the boosters so that the whole layout is powered
3)Remove all locos sitting on the layout to avoid overloads.Though most unlikely,you may have a faulty decoder in one of them that's polluting the layout.
4)Connect your Zephyr to the layout
5)Make sure your locos are all cleared by dispatching them.
6)Try a few of your known good locos everywhere on the layout.If everything goes well,you will then have a good base to test your suspicious locos knowing that both the DCC system and the layout are good.

If you went through this with flying colors,then start trying your suspicious engines using your Zephyr ALONE.Whenever one won't go,try reading the decoder with the Zephyr.You may need to use "Blast mode" for sound decoders.A decoder that will not read is a good indication of faulty motor wiring (or the motor itself),many decoders (Tsunami's for instance) need motor detection to read back and/or reset.

If a suspicious decoder does read,then try a reset (CV8=8 for most,CV30=2 for Tsunami).

May seem tedious but not so bad.Anyway,only a methodical approach will pinpoint the problem.Keep us updated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,035 Posts
Discussion Starter #40
Thanks for all the help and I've been working on your suggestions.

I think I have some good news on all issues.
Overkast and wvgca I looked at the issues you both suggest and here is what I found.

I went to Tony's Train Exchange and found the tip about Athearn power pick up problems.
Tony's fix is to replace the wheels with Northwest Short Lines wheels, which I did.
But It turns out that the wheels I got are not the right ones.
What I needed are an axle length of 0.475", the ones I got are only 0.472" too short.
That's the same as the factory axles.

I'm going to order the right axles, NWSL 37191-4 40/110 1/2 axles 1.5mm x 0.475, wheels.
This should fix the Athearn problem.

Jake I have gone through all the steps you have suggested.
Everything is working just fine with other locos.
I've run known good locos over every inch of the layout using Zephyr power only, All good.

As far as loosing decoders goes I think the problem is removing the PSX-1 breakers.
If a short happens I'm getting a full 5 amp short to the locos, not good for decoders.
The DB150 circuit breaker protection is not good enough, I need the PSX-1s.

I just talked with Tony's Train Exchange about this.
They can re program the PSX-1s to handle the start up load of MTH locos.
This should fix the shorting problem, I'm sending them off today.

The Bachmann F7 and the new Atlas RS11 lost the decoders for sure. They won't do anything.

The Athearn with the new, but wrong, wheels did start working OK after I took the shell off.
So it was a short or motor power problem as you suggested but I have no idea which or what happened.
It's OK now as far as the decoder is concerned.

I'm going to get all the right stuff and attack this at that time and will update this thread as I progress.

Thanks to all of you who have helped soooo much. :smilie_daumenpos: :smilie_daumenpos:
Really a great bunch of guys here on MTF. :appl: :appl:

For now it's back to the layout and getting some scenery work finished. :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Magic
 
1 - 40 of 67 Posts
Top