Digitrax DN 163AO problem

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by woodone, Aug 5, 2007.

  1. woodone

    woodone Member

    Hi out there.
    I have just installed a Digitrax DN 163AO decoder into a Atlas SD35 unit.
    Everyting went well, put on a program track everything read OK.:thumb: I did not program any new information. I test using the 003 address.
    Loco went forward so I let it run a few minutes. Did the same in reverse mode. I then ran forward again and this time,turned on the headlight- All good. It ran a few minutes and then, the headlight stoped working.:confused: I turned the light off and on while the loco was still running, still no light . Stopped loco, went to reverse and the rear headlight was on. So then I went forward again, turned on light and it came on. Ran a few minutes, and then stopped working again?:eek:
    For a drop in decoder this thing has been a pain.:curse:
    Anyone out there have any ideas .:idea:
    Thanks in advance
  2. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

    Jerry:wav: , i know you probably checked, but it sure sounds like a loose wire some where. your in N scale?:confused: Honestly, JUST MY opinion, i haven't been impressed with Digitrax decoders:eeki: , i know, there are MILLIONS out there that TOTALLY LOVE THEM:winki: , and sure, the ones i have installed work/ed fine, but i have seen no advantage in them over any other brand:cry: . seems quite a few on here have had problems with them:frowns: .

    the only other thing i can come up with is, is it being crushed by the shell? in tight spots, if there is a lot of pressure on the decoder, it could act like a short, or actually be shorting its self out:winki: . those two things are all i can think of going by your description. perhaps someone else has an idea?:confused:
    :deano: -Deano
  3. woodone

    woodone Member

    Hi Deano.
    Well there are no wires on this install, plug and play.
    There are the two motor contacts that make contact with the decoder. I don't like them so I replace with a small jumper wire and solder to the decoder. The split frame tabs that hold the board onto the frame were loose and I bent the tabs down so they would make good contact. Like I said I had it working except the front head light.
    I took the shell off and took out the board, did not see anything wrong. put back together.Put on the program track and now I can't read CV's. Keep moving the board and I had some luck in reading the vender code.
    Kept fussing with it and poof! Out came the smoke.:cry:
    I should have just left the thing alone.wall1
    My first and last Digitrax I think.
    Oh well it is only money.:rolleyes:
  4. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

    WOW, i am so sorry to hear the decoder is smoked:frowns: .

    **After reading all the problems that some of you folks are having i am about sick to my stomach just thinking about the money and time spent, all lost:frowns: , i feel VERY FORTUNATE that out of about 40 some installs(and thats low balling it:winki: ),I haven't had these problems. KEEP IN MIND i ONLY USE MRC Brilliance, and Loksound Decoders:thumb: , DON'T GET ME WRONG, I'm NOT saying this is the answer, ANYTHING can go wrong, but using those brand sound decoders the worst i have had to do is change the bulbs out in some engines, and the fact is, no matter what decoder, or sound decoder i would have used, the bulbs would have had to have been changed anyways due to DCC compatibility:winki: . ALSO, i have NEVER had to use the program track with those two brands, they ran right off the bat PERFECTLY, and i was able to program them and adjust the CV's right on the mainline:thumb: . i use MRC Prodigy Advance on dads layout, and Express with an Advance cab on my layout, i don't know if that has anything to do with it?:confused:

    the problem with the sound decoders i am using is they are expensive:frowns: , but in the same token, i don't run into the problems many on here run into, so in a sense i guess its worth it:winki: . i am into HO, so i am not sure what the success rate is of those products in their N scale versions:confused: .

    MILLIONS use Digitrax, etc., NON sound decoders and have great luck with them:thumb: , since i am addicted to sound i don't use NON sound decoders, so i hate to say it, but i really have know idea what my success rate would be installing them:confused: . i have installed about 6 Digitrax NON sound decoders, ALL of them worked:thumb: , though 2 of them i installed in Atlas engines required me to adjust the speed curve...NOT FUN:frowns: , but in the end they worked fine:winki: . I have replaced 4 of the six Digitrax NON sound decoders with sound decoders, two of the Digitrax NON sound decoders are still in my dads engines, and they still work fine.

    to be honest and fair, i bought one MRC Brilliance steam sound decoder to put in my 4-8-8-2 cab forward, it worked right off the bat, but i ended up having to adjust the speed curve, and the chuff rate, this took an hour to do, and was NOT FUN:cry: , but i finally got it to where i was happy with both:winki: . still, if i ever had to get a steam sound decoder again, i think i would try the Tsunami:winki: .

    well, that sums up MY experiences with installs:winki: , i hope it helps, or gives you some thought:winki: .
    :deano: -Deano
  5. woodone

    woodone Member

    Well so far I have installed only Lenz (ten or so), one LocSound, one TCS drop in, and one Soundtraxx. Most of all are in N scale. I have done three in Z scale. I guess I should count the one Digitrx, but I did not ever get it to work right. Will get a new board today, hope it works this time.
    The LocSound unit I still have to get the sounds adjusted, need to use there programer. The sound is a little weak.( its in a Kato Mikado)The Lenz's have been a good install. All hard wired. Both steam and diesel.
    The last install I did was a Soundtraxx TSU-750. It went into a Kato Mikado. The sound is good so far,( I like the volume better) but I am having trouble getting the CV's set. Seams like I set them, then when I go back to see or adjust the same CV, it has defaulted to a 255 setting.:confused:
    Going to call today for tech support.
  6. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    Yeah, my digitrax are giving me weird problems. some days they forget who they are:rolleyes::cry:

    although, it looks like i've got them to work better now. my DH163AT decoder in 3401 (an athearn GP40-2) was giving me problems the other day but is now opwerating fine. I had to reset the new DH165AO decoder i had in my U23B, and now it looks like it running fine, although i'll have to see today if it remembers when i'm turning on. (as it turns out, the dim light issue is a result of the decoder being factory set to use 1.5v lamps for headlights:rolleyes:, so the atlas's big lamps are no good. And i just burnt out almost all my little 1.5v lights to!)

    so far, the only digitrax decoders not killing me is the one DZ123 i put in my 44 tonner. the rest are giving me crazy problems.

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