Help me w/ DCC Specialties Auto Reverse Module

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by TrainNut, Oct 16, 2007.

  1. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    Hey all,
    I've got a simple reverse loop. I'm using a Digitrax system. I have installed a DCC Specialties Auto Reverse Module. Reverse loop is isolated on both ends. Two wires into the module from booster and two wires out to isolated section of reverse loop. All LED's appear to be functioning properly.

    My locomotive enters the loop just fine but when it comes around and crosses the rail gaps coming out, it shorts out and stops. If I crank up the speed so that the momentum carries it across the gaps, it still stops but after a second or two, it resumes its merry little trip heading off in the proper direction. Woodone suggested I stagger the gaps by 1/8". This I did on one end to no avail. Same results. Any ideas?
  2. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    How do you have the jumpers set? I am guessing you have the trip voltage set too high, and the booster is kicking out before the reverser even detects the short. You enter ok because the polarity already matches. If you enter from the other direction I expect you'd short coming in.


    It looks like you also have to set CV 49 to 0, which is not the default. I just got some of these, but I have yet to hook them up. I did not realize I was going to need to set that CV to get a lower trip current, I may have to find a system to set it up on, since I've just been running an original Prodigy to get started. It may be time for an SPROG....
  3. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    When I purchased it, I was led to believe that it would be very easy to get this up and working. Two wires in, two wires out and Done! It seems that's not the case. I don't know about the jumpers. I'm going to have to study the diagrams and stare at the board to figure this one out. Also, somebody this morning mentioned that I may have to program it, as you suggested also. Frusturating but all in the line of my MR duties I guess. Thanks for the ideas.
  4. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    I think that if you have a booster with over 4A or so output you don't have to program it a all, and can just hook it up. I don't understand why they have the default programming be to not use the jumpers, I might drop them an e-mail about that, since it is going to be trouble for me. With any digitrax system setting the CV should be no problem.

  5. b28_82

    b28_82 Member

    I got a simple auto reverser circuit from Tony's Trains a few years back and it was as simple as that. I guess all reversers aren't created equal.

  6. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    Allright, I called DCC Specialists today, and after being accused of not reading the directions, got some pointers and then spent a considerable amount of time trying to program the module.
    The jumpers only have two options, program or operations. I have been back and forth between both several times today depending on which mode I am in. Yes, you are correct in guessing the trip amperage was too high. I had to go in and change CV value 49 from 5.08 Amps(04) to 2.54 Amps(02) because evidently my Digitrax Zephyr shorts out before the module senses the short.
    Unfortunately, I still have not figured it out. Somehow, now it thinks there is a short in the revese loop. (Big sigh :cry:) more trouble shooting I guess.
  7. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    According to the docs if you set CV 49 to a zero you can set the trip voltage using wires at J6. I see now that you'd have to solder them on, they are not jumpers.

    It makes sense that you needed to change the value, the Zephyr is only rated to put out 2.5 A, so it was giving up before there was enough current to flip the reverser.

    So, what are the symptoms now?

  8. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    I horsed around with the wiring and managed to get the alleged short to go away. Now I'm back where I started. So either, I've managed to do nothing at all or I need to drop the CV value one more notch. It's kind of hard to tell if your changing anything when there are no visible indicators that suggest yea or ney.
  9. woodone

    woodone Member

    So where are you now? (in resolving your problem that is).
    Looks like they make these things way to complicated for us non programing people. Would seen like you could hook up four wires and be done!:confused:
    The modules are so generic to work with many systems, you have to program them to fit your system and needs.
    Let us know how you got it to work for you.
    I will bet there are others out there that will run into the same thing.
  10. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    Where am I now? I'm going to wait until my boys go to bed and then I'm going back in there and bang my head on the wall some more!wall1wall1
  11. woodone

    woodone Member

    I understand- profanity won't help. Keep the faith you will get it whiped.
    Just make sure you let us know how you make it work.
    I take it the tech's were not very helpful? They should have been able to walk you right through it. They should know all of the ins and outs of there product.
  12. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    I'd take it down another notch. It won't hurt anything.

    The programming is there to allow for the different current capacities of different systems, the idea is to detect the short, so you want the setting to be near the max the system will put out. I would have expected the 2.54 setting to work, but ?????

    I would have liked it if the default on that CV was '0', which allows setting the trip current with a jumper wire, so you would not have to have the ability to program the CV to change the voltage.

  13. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    Allright so I'm officially fed up with this piece of...... fine electronic circuitry. After several hours of running through the same set of directions every possible way I thought they could have been misunderstood with no progress, things started to go awry. First it would not go into program mode, then it would not come on at all, then simply by turning off the power and back on again, everything came back on. Try again... won't go into program mode. Then something strange and every engine on my layout wants to do 100mph :eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::eek:. Turn the power off... disconnect the reverse module... power on again. Nothing.... no response from anything. The Digitrax Zephyr comes on and so does my DT400r but none of the engines will respond anywhere on the layout. I guess it's back to basics now. Time to tear everything down and try and figure out where the problem is. Even the penny across the track illicits no response.:cry:
  14. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    I'm sensing a bit of frustration :)

    So, we'll figure it out. First, if you bought it from Litchfield Station you should call Bruce. But I'll guess you didn't or you would have already.

    I've gone throught the instructions, I think what you needed from the beginning was there, but they are pretty poorly organized. So, off we go!

    I'm assuming all you want to use the reverser for is reversing, so I am not going to worry about setting up its stationary decoder features. We can cross that bridge later, if necessary.

    How many locos are on the track? I'd start by getting them all off, just to start from scratch.

    Then, carefully confirm that the Zephyr is connected to the layout as it was before you started. Turn it on (no locos) and confirm no short. Then do the quarter test to make sure you are back alive. Take this part slow and easy, 'cause you aren't getting anywhere without it. I think the Zephyr should be fine, more likely you pulled an important wire loose in you adventures.

    Next try a locomotive. If it doesn't respond, try reprogramming its address. Once you get one to work, I'd take it bak off the layout, having confidence that the worst case at that point is reprogramming your locos.

    Then power off the Zephyr, put the jumper on the reverser in the program position, and hook it to the Zephyr/track. Then power the Zephyr back up. (I'm guessing that when it wouldn't go into program mode you didn't start powered down, though I could be wrong).

    Then follow the instructions on page 12 of the manual for setting CVs with digitrax. I'd be really tempted to start off with a 42 into 63 to get back to defaults, then a 1 in CV 49 and a 1 in CV 53. Then power off, move the jumper to the operate mode, and hook up the reverse loop. Power back on, comfirm there is no short, and test the operation of the beast per page 9. You should be all set.

    The top of page 8 suggested the settings for the Zephyr.

    Good luck!

  15. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Sorry I can't offer any help with the DCC Specialist unit, but having read the above will state that I've had zero problems with Tony's reversing units and recommend them highly. Also, I tried the MRC units, which I do not recommend, they did not work reliably for me with steam locos.

    There is no programming with Tony's units.
  16. woodone

    woodone Member

    WOW!! I have a reverse loop that is in my plans. This post will bring things to a hault untill TrainNut posts something postive.
    Sounds like it it very frustrating, to have your whole system shut down on you.:curse:
    Hope we (The Gauge) can get TrainNut up and running again.
    Anyone with some input, please post. This DCC stuff is very good,:thumb: but some of the techincal things sure get in the way of HAVING FUN.:eek:
    Lets hear from some of your reverse loop modules hookups. Maybe someone will have some good information to share. We can all learn from one another.:yep:
  17. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    Tony doesn't sell its own brand reverser anymore. As near as I can tell the DCC Specialties reverser is the next generation of Tony's, and is being sold as its replacement. I think the problem here is at least partly a manual that is something of a cross between a sales brochure and manual. It makes the setup a bit confusing, since on the one hand it says you don't need to program it, but in reality for many (actually most) starter systems you do need to program it. Tony's needed to be set up with jumpers rather than programming. Looking at it I'm not sure the trip current could even be set low enough for a Zephyr, but that surprises me.

    I just looked at the documentation a bit more. I'm sure the DCC Specialties reverser is the next generation of Tony's.

  18. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Jeff, I was surprised by your post regarding Tonys unit, so went to check it out and sure enough looks like he made a deal of sorts and his original reversers are no longer available. Bummer. I did get mine over a several year stretch, from maybe 6 years ago to 2 years ago. And they changed over that period, but all work well. Oh well.
  19. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    Ya think? Just a little....wall1:p

    I sent him an email Monday night with no response as of yet. I did not want to call him until I have exhausted all other possibilities. I'm pretty durn close though.

    First thing this morning, I went back in there and my DCC system appears to be back to normal as well as all of my locomotives. I guess it just needed a good nights sleep.
    I then followed the rest of your instructions (and theirs) exactly as they have been printed. Upon testing, as per page 9, I get no response from the like side polarities as I'm supposed to but on the opposite side polarities, the inside rail shorts out when a screwdriver is inserted in the gap and the outside rail puts off a pretty little spark and changes polarity as verified by the now flashing LED #6. When I run the engine over it, the results are the same as before. If straddling the gap, the whole system shorts out. If the engine has enough momentum to carry both trucks across the gap, it comes to a complete stop on the other side but after the Zephyr finds that the short no longer exists, it proceeds on its merry way. Argh, outa time.... more thoughts in a while...
  20. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    Well, it's good that things are back to normal for starters.

    What happens if you change rails on the wiring to the loop (swap inside and outside)?

    Or, and I'm just thinking off the top of my head this a classic loop off of a single turnout? If so what type? How far from the turnout are the gaps?

    As I said.....hmmmmm


Share This Page