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

  1. nhguy

    nhguy Member


    When you place a DC engine on a DCC track it buzzes because there is no decoder in it OR there is plug which need to be turned around to make go to DCC like ATLAS decoders.

    "DCC ready" usually means there is no decoder in it but the engine can have one put in it "supposedly' without modification to the engine. Most engines produced now are really DCC ready. Unlike the first run of the P2K S1's They claimed DDC ready but they really weren't.

    SO when you are shopping for an engine that has a decoder it will usually say on the box 'Decoder Equipped' or' Dual Mode Decoder'like the Atlas. Dual Mode decoder means it will run on either DC or DCC. But you have to turn a plug around to change it from DC to DCC.

    One thing that bothers me is you said in your original post that it "booted up". Didn't the system give you an Error message like' Cannot Read CV' or 'no decoder detected'? If there is no decoder in the engine then the system should give you a message like that. I use NCE so I don't know what the Prodigy does or doesn't do. That seems like a basic system problem that MRC needs to address. At least it should tell you there is not decoder in the engine.
  2. wdsrwg

    wdsrwg Member

    Thanks again guys! :thumb:

    I will not give up just give in for a while. I have to much
    to do on the layout and a short time to get er' done.

    Bill, this is what confused me also. When I placed the engine
    on the program track and entered the code the lights lit up
    and I then went through the set up stages and they made a series
    of sounds like musical notes with each entry.
    That's why I thought they were accepting the programming and
    continued on.
    But then of course when they were placed on the main track they buzzzzzzzed! :rolleyes:

    I am taking the Athearn to the shop today because I know there is a
    decoder or something there.
    Now, when you say turn around a plug, what is that all about?
    Please inform.
    This is the stage of the hobby I should have no problem with and yet,
    here I am, stuck!!wall1

    The layout scenic wise is coming along but I gotta run a train!!! :D

    Yes, Andrew, I think once I get someting rolling it will be a BIG motivator! :thumb:
    I should have opened them right after purchase and could have had all this
    taken care of by now.
    I will also be visiting you over at the modular site as I have many questions for
    you over there. :rolleyes: :D

    Thanks to all again! :wave:

  3. nhguy

    nhguy Member

    Russel does this say "Equipped with Quick Plug DCC technology" on the box somewhere? If that is the case then your engine does NOT have a decoder in it. It has what's called a JST 9 pin plug only. There is a small electronics board plugged into it to let it run on regular DC. You have to buy a DCC decoder and plug it into this plug. I would recommend a Train Control Systems T1, a NCE D13SRJ, D14SRJ or a D15SRJ. These have a 9 pin end plug on the decoders that plug right into the Athearn plug. There are other decoders but these are the ones I have used in Athearn locos. Namely the RS3 and the 2-8-2 steamer.

    So check to see if it actually says Decoder Equipped somewhere. The ones I looked at on the Athearn website have no decoder in them.
  4. NYNH&H

    NYNH&H Member

    Digitrax DH123D works well in the Athearns as well. The turning the plug around is for Atlas locos, which have a silly jumper to select between DC and DCC, that is on DC by default!
  5. wdsrwg

    wdsrwg Member

    Geez! :oops:
    I believe I read the instructions for the Life-Like backwards!
    After reading some of the posts I think I should leave the
    lighting board and pull the smaller (DC?) board?
    This would make all kind of sense seeing how the main
    board has the lighting and other connections on it! (Duh!)
    So, I remove the DC module and replace it with the decoder
    Seems a lot more logical. :rolleyes:

    Well I made a trip to my local shop and the one in La Crosse!
    (121 mile rd. trip!) Seems no one is carrying the cheap dc equipped
    locos from Bachman right now so, I will continue to work on my Geeps
    and the AC4400. I also read a string here somewhere that the
    DC on board line from Bachman can be a real pain after a while.
    Anyone know about this? I just think I should wait and pay a little
    more for something better! Then work my stable over when time

    Thanks all!

  6. NYNH&H

    NYNH&H Member

    DON'T get bachman DCC locos. They are a PAIN to program. I like the Athearns, like you have, the install is so easy.
  7. wdsrwg

    wdsrwg Member

    Oh Great!
    I wish I would have logged on sooner!
    I just ordered a Bachman this morning!
    Well, I will just have to live with it. I knew this wasn't going to be
    a front-line loco for me but at less than $50 I thought it would just
    be used as a switcher and maybe sometimes for short lining.

    You know though, as bad as I am at all this, the big bad bachman and
    me just might get along. Hmmmm, I wonder.........

    Oh, sorry for the day dream there.:oops:

    I'll let you know how this latest mis-step treats me. :cry: :oops: :rolleyes: :D

    The thing is that even when I mis-spend, mis-judge and mis-calculate
    all the time, it is still better than just about anything else I do
    and, its just fine with the missus'!

    I really do love this hobby!!!! :thumb: :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:

  8. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

    Hmm, must be your Digitrax system, i can program the Bachmann DCC engines WITHOUT putting them on a program track, i program them on the main track, and i am able to change ANY of the CV's while its running too:thumb:. i use Prodigy Advance, and i can HONESTLY SAY, i have yet to come across an engine that i couldn't program OR adjust the CV's on the fly!:thumb: NYNH&H, BE CAREFUL on the advice you give, NOT EVERYONE uses what you do;). :D -Deano
  9. NYNH&H

    NYNH&H Member

    Let me know how you do programming that thing. Worst case, you can just use it as your 03 loco, and never buy another one.
  10. NYNH&H

    NYNH&H Member

    Interesting. The MRC must be doing some whacky stuff to compensate for those crappy decoders. The Bachman decoders can't possibly be in spec, as otherwise they would support ops-mode programming on a normal system. In fact, I have been told by two people to rip the decoders out and put in Digitrax or NCE decoders. Some people use the Bachman decoders they ripped out of locos to test stuff, as it is no loss if you fry one. I think I will just semi-retire the locos. I used to love them, but now that I have learned how awful their decoders are, I am never buying another one. That, and they don't run like the hex-drive Athearns. :D
  11. wdsrwg

    wdsrwg Member

    Holy Moley I feel much better now. :confused:

    I can't wait to get this thing just to give an opinion. :D

    I do feel a bit of rivalry in the dcc world. fence1

    I have a program track setup but, you and the guys at the train shop
    both program on the mainline. Why have a program track to begin with?

    After reading about these cheap little Bachmans I may want to program
    it outside in a snow bank with blast shields in place.

    announce1 FIRE IN THE HOLE! :D

    Thanks Guys :rolleyes:

    and good night to all! :wave:
  12. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

    wdsrwg:wave:, FIRST, STOP, take a deep breath...and clear your head;).

    OK, two things, 1- don't cry over spilled milk, before its spilled;). and 2- RELAX, don't make things harder then they really are;). when i was new to DCC, i had similar problems and worries:oops:, YOU WILL GET THROUGH THIS, in a year, you'll look back and laugh about it, BELIEVE ME!:thumb:

    AS far as DCC rivalry goes, theres NONE here with me;). i am VERY OPEN MINDED, and have stated SEVERAL TIMES my thoughts on DCC systems. to sum it up, there is NO ONE PERFECT SYSTEM THAT FITS EVERYONE!!! the "perfect" DCC system for one person MIGHT NOT BE FOR THE NEXT GUY! EVERY SYSTEM HAS ITS ADVANTAGES, AND DISADVANTAGES!!!;)(feel free to commit the last three sentences i wrote to memory:D) each one of us has certain wants and needs in a DCC system, and there are some REAL NICE systems out there RIGHT NOW:thumb:. even the cheap Bachmann system, could be just fine for some of us;). i would NEVER buy it, but it could be GREAT for the next guy:thumb:. for some of us, it just flat out doesn't make sense to buy a system that we will NEVER grow into, and it goes the other way too, if you want to use computer interface and such, DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY ON A CHEAP SYSTEM!;) So when someone writes that _____ system is THE BEST, IT IS SUPERKAJAFRAJICALLY AWESOME, AND ITS THE ONLY SYSTEM ANYONE SHOULD GET, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH...:rolleyes: :rolleyes:...keep in mind that though the system he is writing about IS JUST THAT PERFECT FOR HIM:thumb:, IT MIGHT BE TOTALLY WRONG FOR YOU!;) the same goes for decoders and sound decoders, its all just a matter of opinion. at the present time, i WOULDN'T EVEN CONSIDER buying ANYTHING other then the LokSound, or MRC Brilliance sound decoders(though i have had my eye on the Tsunami's), but the next guy might be perfectly happy with a simple 4 function decoder;). DOES THAT MEAN MINE IS BETTER THEN HIS? for ME...YES!, for him...NO! its all in what you are happy with, and want:thumb:. announce1NUFF SAID!:D

    I was at a show last year and seen the Bachmann DCC equipped engines for $35.00, at that price, i just had to try them out, i bought two. i took them home, and had NO PROBLEM with programing them!:D DON'T GET ME WRONG, these are bottom of the line DCC engines, they run OK, but are noisy, and not great crawlers:(. but for $35.00 you CANT COMPLAIN;). AND, for $35.00 if you think you are going to get an engine that runs like a Tower55, BLI, Kato, Atlas, or P2K, then your just being foolish. I gave them both to my dad, and he still uses them to this day:thumb:. i will add, the two i bought are F3s and the detailing on the shells was surprisingly GOOD!:thumb: they are also heavy, and CAN pull a BUNCH of cars, NO PROBLEM!

    A test track is used to read, and program engines on, you can adjust the CV's in them on it too:thumb:. LUCKILY, so far i haven't had to use mine:D, out of the 59 DCC w/sound engines i have, and all dads engines i have setup for him, i was able to do them ALL on the fly:thumb:. BUT, you can darn sure bet, one day i WILL have to use my test track;).

    i hope i have cleared up some of the things you, AND others that read this were concerned about:thumb: :D -Deano
  13. wdsrwg

    wdsrwg Member

    Superkala......... HUH?
    This is why I picked the prodigy system. It may not be the elite
    of the dcc world but is very, very expandable.
    With the quick upgrade to the advanced control and multiple
    cabs I felt at the price it was the best choice.

    I know I will get the hang of this and hopefully it is quicker
    than a year!

    The Bachman SD40 I bought will always be a secondary engine
    but for the time being I will at least have something to run my
    fingers over with while I am working on the layout!

    Once again you have been a great help in guiding this old mind through
    the jungle of opinions and second guess's!
    What ever that means. :confused:
    It is early here.

    Thanks Deano! :wave:
  14. NYNH&H

    NYNH&H Member

    Yeah, I have the Bachman FT units in B&O paint. Great runners. Poor decoders. Not worth replacing the decoders.

    The programming track is going out of style, as many sound locos don't work with the programming track. Ops mode is just too easy and convenient. You can read CVs, but it is usually easier to reset and re-program, as a full read back to Decoder Pro take a LONG time.

    It is practically a holy war between NCE and Digitrax, the two leading systems. Digitrax is the market leader, but NCE has its strengths and its fanatics. Digitrax tends to have some of the geekiest users who know EVERYTHING about the internals of the system and DCC in general. At train shows it is a war at 916.5mhz, as the two radio systems CANNOT coexist peacefully.
  15. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    Adding 2c, i got really impatient and couldn't wait to get my digitrax dh123's in the mail :), so i went out and bought a bachman 44913, i'm reading throught he instruction sheet and i'm noticing it's only one amp and 2 function. it costs 8$ more than the dh123 and that unit is 1.5 amps. I think i'm going to take it back help me change my mind. ;)

    Has anyone had any experiences w/ the ezcommand 1amp decoder #44913 being run in an athearn bbox f7 heavyweight, fp45 or a gp60 (or similar) on a digitrax based dcc layout?

    Also i've been advised that 1.5amps may not be enough for an older MDC/Roundhouse boxcab diesel. I'd like to use this engine as my yard shunter and track cleaner but i want to make sure it can handle a decoder. I saw shunters at my LHS for 15 bux on clearnace :).
  16. wdsrwg

    wdsrwg Member

    Alright, The Bachman runs and there is finally some life on the layout!
    You would think this would be cause for celebration.
    Well, yes and no. The lights do not work and I now know just
    how much work I have to do before I start running the big guys
    and have a smooth running layout.
    :rolleyes: :curse: :oops:
    This confirms my plan to do phase II,III,IV & V in more diorama
    type sections. It will be easier to control the flaws. Of course
    being me I am used to small inconsistancies!
    :D :D :D
    Has anyone else had to run the engine on the track several times
    before you get consistant operation?
    I know I need to clean the track up but this seemed a little funny.
    After having to help the Bachman out a time or two, it runs just fine.
    Soldering several joints really inproved the performance too!
    :thumb: :D
    Also, I would like to use the engine road name as the address but,
    cannot find how to change it from the default. Anyone know how to
    change the locos address?


    Have a great Sunday all,

  17. NYNH&H

    NYNH&H Member

    Bachman decoders are HORRIBLE, as I have said above.

    Did you try toggling to headlight on and off in a number of different places? It sounds like you have dirty track or conductivity or something.

    Loco address is CV001, with a value range of 01-99. Using an extended byte address is somewhat more complicated and annoying, so either use the last two digits, or the first two, and stick with it.
  18. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    I returned mine today and spent the extra 10 dollars on a digitrax dh163ko for the 10 dollars i got 4 more funtions, transponding and .5 to 1 amp (dt is 1.5 w/ 2a peak) more of engine current. I do have to wire it myself but small price to pay :).

    A quick question on that note, do decoders generate heat? Can in encase it in shrink tubing?
  19. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    decoders certainly do create heat my U34CH's shell gets warm over the decoder. I ought install a real exhaust stack on that thing... cool it all down!
  20. NYNH&H

    NYNH&H Member

    Cool. All decoders have transponding, and you probably won't need the extra amperage, although it is always good to have some margin of safety. That decoder has BEMF if you want it, and of course, like you said 4 functions! All of Digitrax's decoders are awesome, even the basic ones. The more advanced ones are mainly for the extra functions, which some modern diesels can use for ditch light, strobe lights, a mars light, etc.

    You must have a high draw diesel to create heat. Unless you are orbiting for display or while you work for long periods of time, I wouldn't worry about it. Electronic components get hot, and they are meant to deal with it.

Share This Page