Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by wdsrwg, Jan 6, 2007.

  1. wdsrwg

    wdsrwg Member

    First its been ages since I have posted and that may be my problem.
    But here is the real problem;
    I just installed the MRC Prodigy express. Now don't go off on the system
    I am sure its my fault but, I have only two Locos at this time and I
    programed both on the program track.
    Both booted and ran through the programming with no fail.
    Now, when I set either on the main track they start to buzzzzz!
    The (GP9 Life-Like Proto 2000) just buzz's but the (Athern ac4400's) lights come
    on before I get it to the track! And it also buzz's.
    I'm thinking a short or stray voltage but after surveying the track haven't come
    up with where it could be.
    Any and all help would be very appreciated.


  2. wdsrwg

    wdsrwg Member

    Lookers but no takers must mean I have a real dumb
    question here! :rolleyes:

    I actually hooked the program track to the main line oulets
    and it did the same thing. At least its not my track. I think!
    Can a loco be both DC & DCC equiped? I checked the manual again,
    and it said to test the track with a DC loco. If it buzzes its
    working. Hmmm. :rolleyes:
    And I thought this was going to be real easy. Of course not, its me
    for gosh sakes!! :mad:

    Any takers here?

    Thanks, :wave:

  3. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Hi, the only time I hear buzzing on my dcc system is when I put a dc loco on there. I have heard that some locos have jumpers that need to be switched from dc to dcc. That's all I can think of offhand, hope that helps.
  4. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

    wdsrwg:wave:, i highly doubt its your system, i have BOTH Prodigy Advance, and Prodigy Express, and think they are GREAT systems for some of us;), regardless of what some might say:rolleyes:.

    from the way it sounds, i would have to agree with grewsome:thumb:, sure sounds like the engines are DC, or are the chips in them ARE NOT converted to DCC(might have to pull 2 pins or move a plug.) if your engines are "DCC ready", they DO NOT have a decoder in them yet. if they are "DCC EQUIPPED", then the decoder IS IN THEM, but you might have to pull out 2 jumper pins;). the box, or the paperwork that came with them should tell you what you have, and what to do. hope this might have helped:thumb:. :D -Deano
  5. wdsrwg

    wdsrwg Member

    Thanks guy's,
    Yes I have both locos open and I looked for a switch but
    could not determine what or where they would be.
    I am usually very good at stashing the manuals but in
    this case the time between the purchases and the operation
    has been too long! :rolleyes:

    One thing I do remeber from the GP-9 manual is something like
    I would have to remove the DC board from the unit and leave of course
    the DC chip. I talked this over with the train shop guy's and none had
    ever heard of this operation.
    I do believe they are on DC mode so..... its back to the room for another day. :D

    I do not know about anyone else but I just can't stay on one thing when
    I am in there. :confused: If one project drags or stops, its on to another!
    No wonder I never get anything done. :oops:

    Thanks again for confirming my thoughts, The good Lord knows that's
    a difficult thing to accomplish! :thumb:

  6. davidstrains

    davidstrains Active Member

    When you got your system, did you also get decoders for your locomotives. The DC locos have a light board installed in them by default. If they are newer locos they are probably "DCC Ready", meaning you have to buy and install a decoder that will generally replace that light board or plug into a socket on the light board to make them work on DCC.

    Putting a DC engine on a DCC powered track will cause your "whine". You might confirm whether the engines are infact DC by setting the address on your controller to 00 and then turn up the power to see of they move. If they do, you have DC locos and need to install an appropriate decoder.

    Good luck:)
  7. NYNH&H

    NYNH&H Member

    The 00 thing may not work, as I don't think the PE/ PA has zero stretching, but not sure. Sound like you didn't put decoders in your locos. If they are DCC ready, you will need decoders for them. Either that or the signal is so screwed up, that the decoder is not recognizing it as DCC, and sending it through to the motor, but that is not likely. If you need help getting the right decoder, Call Tony's, and you can order it over the phone after you figure out what one you need. They are great.
  8. wdsrwg

    wdsrwg Member

    Once again, thank you all! :D
    I tore the GP-9 down and indeed found no decoder or socket! :curse:
    Was supposed to at least be dcc ready.
    Had to pull the small board off of the larger board and discard it.

    The athearn ac4400 has the decoder in it. That is what is so confusing.
    This decoder has a soft top to it and almost looks like a dummy.
    Do they make them?
    I will take it to the shop tomorrow and hopefully get an answer.

    I am also going to buy another RTR DCC engine just to show the
    wife and kids that I am not an absolute idiot!!! :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
    I am patient and in the future will go the whole shot with the GP-9 and install
    it with sound.

    You have all been a great help and I will post with the result's
    good, bad or ugly.

    This is just taking up time I could be dedicating to the layout.

  9. NYNH&H

    NYNH&H Member

    The Athearn AC4400 DOES NOT have a decoder in it. It is a DC directional lighting board. You can unplug it, and then plug in a decoder with a JST plug on it. I use a DH123D in my AC4400, and it works great. Note that a JST plug IS NOT an NMRA 8-pin plug-in decoder. It is a totally different type of plug, one which Digitrax, among others, uses heavily.

    As for the GP-9, small board and larger board? Sounds like the small board was again a DC directional lighting board, this time probably an 8 pin NMRA one. In this case, you will need a decoder that has that plug on it, either right on the decoder, or on the end of a short cable. Call up Tony's if you have any questions about what decoder to put in a loco, you can order the decoders right over the phone, and have them in a few days!

    Installing sound is an ugly mess. Installing regular decoders is just a matter of plugging in.

    DON'T buy a Bachman DCC euquipped loco. They have horrible decoders.
  10. davidstrains

    davidstrains Active Member

    Depending how new the manufacture of those GP-9 units, you might have light boards at both ends of the frame and NO slot up top for a decoder. In this case the frame needs to be milled down to accept a decoder and you have to solder the appropriate wires to the light boards, motor brushes and frame to connect DCC. I have 3 the 2003 model Atlas machines that I need to get milled frames from Aztec. I hate the soldering work.:curse: The drop-in Decoders are so much easier.
  11. NYNH&H

    NYNH&H Member

    Milled in HO? I thought that was only for N? Or are we talking about N? I am REALLY confused now. I am talking about HO, what about everyone else? Can't find any references to scale.
  12. wdsrwg

    wdsrwg Member

    First thanks David & NTNH.
    The AC4400 Atearn has an 8-pin decoder plug.
    It has a board for the wiring of the various lighting and such
    and also an open slot for the sound. At least that is how it
    is marked on the curcuit board. The smaller curcuit board
    is mounted on to the front of the larger board with the decoder
    socket coming off of that. It has what appears to be a decoder
    plugged into it already and it can be removed and re-installed.
    I am taking this engine to the train shop a.s.a.p. to see if I can
    confuse them too! :D :D

    The Life-Like proto 2000 GP-9's II had a lighting board that according
    to the instructions is to be removed (which I did) and that left the
    much smaller curcuit board to be srcewed back into place.
    Ido not see where to connect the decoder plug to it so, that
    will be a project down the line with sound and all.
    A note here is that when I placed this engine on the tracks it blew
    both lights! :rolleyes: :oops:
    Of course I then carefully read the instructions and they
    indeed said to replace them for DCC operation before you
    place them on the tracks!!

    I am going to by a DCC EQUIPPED engine this weekend to quite
    the doubters in the family and work with all the others as time affords.
    I am more interested in getting the layout work done on phase I and
    getting to the other 3 stages before I worry about running them.

    I will have time to get them up & runnin' when the layout loop is done. :thumb:

    Thanks again,

  13. wdsrwg

    wdsrwg Member

    Yes we are talking HO! :D :rolleyes: :thumb:
  14. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Some HO frames will require milling (removal of metal) to accomodate decoders.

    Unfortunately, "DCC ready" means different things to different manufacturers. Sometimes it means full NMRA-compliant plug installed, so all you have to do is remove a light board or possibly jumper pins and plug in the decoder. Other times all it means is that the motor is isolated from the frame so you don't have to completely rewire it, just mostly... ;) :rolleyes:

  15. NYNH&H

    NYNH&H Member

    The Athearn AC4400 has both an 8 pin (4x2) NMRA socket, and a 9-Pin JST socket (9x1), but only the JST plug actually WORKS right. The 8 pin plug, at least on mine, was loose it was worthless. Go the JST route. "DCC ready" means it has either an NMRA 8-pin plug, or the 9-pin JST. Anything else is false marketing by a dishonest company. Or Bachman with awful QC, and the wrong colors and wires hooked up to everything.
  16. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    wdsrwg: A few posts back I saw you make a statement that you "removed a small board off of the larger board and dicarded it". For shame, a good model railroader never discards anything. Occasionally we "misplace something", but discard, never.
  17. wdsrwg

    wdsrwg Member

    That's it! wall1

    I don't have time for this.
    I am going to buy the engines DCC equiped and pay for it.
    The trains running are the reason but, the layout
    being right is the prize!

    How are you Andrew? Nice to hear from you again. :wave:
    How is everything in your neck of the world?

    I am not giving up, just giving in! :p

    Thanks again to all!
  18. wdsrwg

    wdsrwg Member

    Discard meant remove it from the engine.
    I (THROW AWAY) nothing!
    Want to see un-numbered pieces of scrap cork, styrofoam, wood,
    plastic, peanut cans, odd containers, packing material,
    bins of small stupid parts I have trouble seeing not alone working
    with and bodies of old out dated trains from 1955-now!
    You know, an old caboose makes a great yard office?
    Peanut cans make great 100,000 gal. storage tanks.
    Anything and I mean anything can be used on a layout!
    Have a great weekend all!:thumb:
  19. NYNH&H

    NYNH&H Member

    Don't give up. DCC is pretty easy. Just get the decoder, and pop it in. If you need selection help, just order it from Tony's, they will be happy to help you.
  20. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I would second NYH&H's suggestion - don't give up! It really is not as hard as it seems (most of the time... ;)).

    If there's anyone nearby that you can get help from (club, store, friends, etc.) - do it. If you can get some pics up here too, that might help us help you more.

    Maybe having a DCC equipped engine will give you more motivation to get those others fixed up... Once you've got one going the temptation will be stronger... ;)


    PS - Things are great - thanks for asking.

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