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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I've been trying to get back into the model railroad hobby after a long hiatus, and am discovering a lot of cool features that I'd like to use. I had a Digitrax DCS 50 as a kid and had no idea that it could program the decoders and am trying to set up a programming track. However, I keep getting a D nD error whenever I try and read or write a decoder address. I've tried with two different locomotives (One Athearn, no sound, and one Broadway Limited Imports, with sound) and both give the same error. A digitrax website said to put a resistor in the Prog A and Prog B outputs, and when I tried that, the Broadway limiteds sound and lights cut on when I attempted to write the decoder address. I'm sure that I've got my wires hooked up right. I read a constant ~1.5 volts on the programming track.

What am I doing wrong?

Thanks in advance!
 

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One of the purposes of the program track, was to limit voltage to the track, therefore limit the current. With sound decoders, they need much more voltage. I have found on the Broadway Limited units, that they require a programming booster. I use the one from Soundtraxx. PTB-100, I believe is the part number.
 

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This is an important step often misunderstood, neglected, dismissed, misread, or simply forgotten by many newcomers to DCC:

Follow the steps in the manual for resetting, or addressing, decoders. Manuals can be downloaded at Digitrax's site.

This is the key step often overlooked: When you finally press 'enter', the locomotive will shunt two or three times, beep, and lights may/may not flash, depending on the decoder.

At this point, the newer Digitrax throttles will prompt you to enable a 'long' or 'extended' address, numbers greater than 127.. You must tell the system Y or N. There'll be another beep and shunting...maybe. From there, and here we finally get to the critical missing piece...YOU MUST ENSURE THAT THE TRACK POWER IS OFF. Some Digitrax systems, or all of them, not sure, will automatically shut off track power when you complete the Y/N. You must turn it back on manually, pressing the right buttons, and then acquire the new address on your throttle.

Another thing: You didn't forget that you have assigned it a new address, and you have it enabled and active on your throttle. Nothing happens when you stop putting in numbers and click on the encoder knob...if you have one. That's because BLI decoders won't do any thing until THE FIRST SPEED STEP is entered and you want the loco to begin to move. Sounds and other effects, and movement, will only start at that time...after you dial in a single speed step.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies.

ncrc: my concern is that buying that won't fix my problem, because I can't get it to work with either of my DCC locomotives. My athern genesis diesel gives a d nd error as well.

mesenteria: I think you've misunderstood my problem. I can run the trains fine. One of them was already set to the address I want, the other is set to 03. I'm trying to change it to a different address but the control system doesn't detect the engine when I put it on the programming track, and it won't even detect the engine that has the right address either. I haven't even gotten to the Yes/No step because it gives me an error. I'm using the digitrax manual that came with the DCS 50.
 

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How far is the programming track from the control unit?
 

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Are you using a isolated programming track? If so I don't think you should be using a resistor between the track and certainly not directly across the A and B terminals. Once on the programming track when you push the "Program mode" button does its little LED lite? The DCS display should read D ir (direct programming). If you don't get this far, then something is wrong. You can Google "DCS-50" and a video by digitrax is one of the search returns and it covers changing 03 to a 4 digit address and reading and writing a different CV.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks again for the help.

In regards to distance, its about 6 inches away from the unit on a single piece of straight track connected to the unit with 14 gauge wire.

The LED will light up and it pops up PAGE on the display--I can hit program again and it will then go to direct mode. I have tried setting the address using both modes but it still gives me a d nd error.

Thank you all again!
 

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I take it you have also tried just to read a cv location just to see if it will respond? You also might check the power supply. I know my old PR3 took about 18-19 volts to program and with with sound decoders. not so sure I would want to go that high with a DCS50, but the voltage should be above 14 volts.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yes, I tried reading them as well--still just a d nd error.

Do you mean 14 volts on the main track or the programming track? I show 17 on the main track when I send it power and ~1.5 on the programming track when I put it in programming mode.
 

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Programming track voltages are usually lower to keep from blowing a decoder that has not been installed properly.

That was the reason I asked how far the programming track was from the control unit. A lot of wiring between the two could lower the received volltage by so much that the locomotive will not respond at all.
 

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Sounds like the voltage is OK. I would call Digitrax (call not email) I think they can talk you thru what is going on and recommend something.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Allright,

I did win an auction for a power booster on eBay, so I'll see if that helps, and then if not call them up.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Right so still having issues. Got the booster in from the eBay auction and it works. However, I still can't read or write the address on any locomotive. I also got a new Digitrax decoder in and wired it up. Its running address 03 but won't read either. I've tried switching programming tracks as well--no dice. With the new booster, when I try and read or write the address the light in the engine comes on and I can hear the motor trying to turn a bit, so its obviously getting the signal. Any other ideas?
 

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Call Digitrax. You may have a bad unit.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I plan to on Monday, but even if I have a bad unit I doubt there's anything they can do--its over 15 years old...
 
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