Here we go again... Dim light?

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by green_elite_cab, Jun 17, 2007.

  1. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    My DH165AO decoder i preordered just came. At first i was out of luck, because it didn't fit in the intended locomotive (atlast B40-8 ).

    I had another atlas U34CH that needed a decoder, and since the instruction manual demonstrated with an atlas U33C, i just put it in there, figuring there was no way there could be a problem.

    the locomotive runs fine, it slows and stops, no weird noises, nothing.

    the only bizarre problem is that the headlight is dim, and does not light at all in the back. Perhaps this is a problem with the lights? I'm really hoping i didn't get a 3rd shot decoder in a row...

    Is there anyway i can check for issues here? the decoder shows no sign of damage. I did notice in DC operation that the lights were kinda dim, but not so excessivly dim as this.
  2. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

    hmm...could be a bad connection in the lights:confused: .

    i have had similar problems every so often after installing decoders/sound decoders, even with engines that "should" be DCC ready:winki: . Honestly, i have just got in the habit of changing out the lights just about EVERY TIME i install a sound decoder(i ONLY use sound decoders, but regular decoders would be the same). when doing an install, before i put the shell back on, i ALWAYS check for lighting problems:winki: , more often then not i end up changing the lights out in the unit. even in engines that say they are "DCC ready", usually the lights will go:eeki: , Athearns are usually famous for this:roller: . i have had to change lights out in Atlas, Bachmann, and even a couple P2k's, though usually P2k's lighting is OK. the ONLY brand i have NEVER had to change lights out on ANY of the engines they made was Kato, these guys have there engines down pat:thumb: .
    A word from the wise:winki: , i noticed you have been doing a few decoder installs now, THATS GREAT!:thumb: , but i WOULD DEFIANTLY keep a supply of 16v bulbs on hand just for instances like this:winki: . you can use whatever brand you prefer, i use: Walther's "grain-o-wheat" bulbs 16v clear #942-3453, and have NEVER had problems with them, or the unit after i installed them:thumb: . NO resistors required, just snip out the bad lights, and solder the replacement bulbs in:winki: . bulbs are cheap, if i would have noticed the lights were dim to begin with, without question i would have just changed them out, when i do an install, i want to get in and out of the unit ONCE, and be done with it:winki: ....just my thoughts on this matter:smilie: .
    :deano: -Deano
  3. TCH

    TCH Member

    you say the back light does not come on at all.
    could this be a programming problem ?

    just wondering

  4. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    I haven't tampered with the programming. the last thing i need is another decoder that i have no clue what the adress is... I really need to get prodigy advanced. there are to many things i need to buy.
  5. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

    The factory address to EVERY regular, OR sound decoder IS #0003 , :ANYWORD:THIS IS ALWAYS THE CASE NO MATTER WHAT BRAND YOU BUY, unless you are buying used decoders:winki: . the ONLY WAY the factory address #0003 would be changed is if YOU CHANGE IT. once you program the engine, it will become whatever address you have programed it to. if you feel your having problems, look in the book/papers that came with the decoder, in there it will give the CV# and the value to change the decoder right back to factory default #0003:winki: . you could do this on the test track, but i have done ALL my programing right on the mainline.
    :deano: -Deano
  6. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    yeah, i know its on 0003, but i'm just not gonna mess with it, lol. I'm going to have to find more specific instructions, since the digitrax ones are pretty miserable. I looked like to me that digitrax is supposed to be the industry standard, but i feel like none of their products so far have worked truely reliably. maybe i'm just doing things wrong or something, but ever since i started grabbing the digitrax equipment, i've been having trouble.
  7. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

    Honestly, i really don't care for Digitrax decoders:eeki: , before i discovered the wondrous world of sound decoders, i had a couple engines i installed regular Digitrax decoders in, and dad still has two engines that i installed Digitrax decoders in for him. i had no problems installing the decoders, and sure they worked fine:thumb: , but i did not see ANY advantages in using Digitrax's decoders as opposed to other brands. right now the ONLY digitrax decoder i am using is the one that came in my Tower55, and the truth be told, i feel Loksound & the MRC Brilliance line of sound decoders are FAR SUPERIOR to Digitrax's sound decoders:winki: .

    announce1BUT HEY, those are just MY THOUGHTS and OPINIONS on Digitrax decoders:winki: , believe me, there are 1000's of people out there that swear Digitrax decoders are by far the best, and for them, they are:thumb: . EVERYBODY is entitled to, and has their own opinions:thumb: .

    MY advice to you would be to do as i have(only i did this with sound decoders), try out different brands and see what ones you like best, and then stick with what you like:winki: . just because Jimmy Joe jack says one brand is the best doesn't mean it is for you:winki: , don't put all your money into one brand if your not happy with it, there are plenty of other brand decoders out there that you could try, and quite possibly be happier with:winki: .

    Installing decoders or sound decoders for some is quite fun & challenging:winki: , on the other hand, it can be a nightmare at times:frowns: , if you decide to do a few installs YOU MUST have a system that enables you to read decoders & CV's, and set them:winki: . it also helps to have a few sets of 16v bulbs around just in case the bulbs that came with the engine are not DCC compatible, believe me, this happens more often then not:winki: . It also helps to read up on installing decoders, and to be familiar with the brand you are using, most all of this information can be found with the booklet/papers that came with the decoder, OR, on the website of the brand you bought, here's the catch have to do the homework:winki: . DON'T get discouraged if problems arise, you will get through it, and if your not happy with one brand, try another, you will find one you like, then stick with it:winki: .
    :deano: -Deano
  8. dckuk

    dckuk New Member

    "MRC Brilliance line of sound decoders are FAR SUPERIOR"?

    Only if the correct sounds are offered on the decoder; still am annoyed I can't get my Amtrack P-42's sound equipped...

  9. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    yeah, i found a prodigy advanced cab for $80. i'll have to get that. I also need to send in those original DH163ATs for digitrax to repair. I have one more digitrax decoder i ordered. I don't know when its going instock again (apperently, i ordered just as someone else ordered the last one, gotta love them clogged internet tubes... lol).

    I probably should save for sound decoders, although its getting increasingly difficult to find good places for. speakers in my locomotives.

    I think in the future, i'll just get DCC ready stuff only. no more Athearn Blue box or RTRs, unless they are DCC ready. In the future, i'll have to see if i can't wire up any PC boards to the athearns first, because if i miswire them, atleast the motor won't blow up in DC. now that i took the PC board out of my U34CH to install the other decoder, maybe i'll wire this up to my philly GP38. that would work nicely.
  10. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    Today i tried switching this decoder over to another locomotive (an Atlas U23B). the U23B had no light problems, but now they are dimmed into oblivion. this time however, the rear light does come on, but only after a few seconds, and its still so dim that you have to hold your hand to block the light. Is there really something with my decoder? i don't remember reading anything about dim lights in the manual, but is there a way to "boost" the power going into the bulbs?

    I'll try poking at it again. I just did order those walthers lights Deano reccomended, but i only ordered them in red for my commuter engines, and i won't be home next week when they get here ( going for a camping trip. luckily, the NEC is visible crossing the susquehenna from across the chesapeake bay. WIN!). Is it possible that the Atlas lights need more power, or do you think there is still something wrong with the decoder? I'll test with the red lights next week (it will be the U-boat from hell with red headlights, lol), and if so, i might just pay that $50 for the bulk pack of clear bulbs.

    right now though i'm super broke, i got American GK E60CP kits that will all need headlights and such eventually. I actually got the rare kits off ebay at a good price, but they were dummys. i decided to get an extra motor and things for my Metroliners as well, so the prices for all of that are massive. Hopefully it will all be here by the time i get home.
  11. lester perry

    lester perry Active Member

    OK guys you speak highly of the MRC Brilliance decoders. I have tried a few of them and could not get smooth operation or sound.
  12. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

    Les, are you putting the Brilliance decoders in steam or diesels? i have put Brilliance decoders in MANY of my diesels, and had EXCELLENT performance without changing ANY CV's:winki: . for EMD engines, the sound is quite good:thumb: , but they don't offer sounds for other makers(Alco, etc.), thats kind of a draw back:oops: . as i mentioned, for diesels right out of the package, without changing ANY CV's they have always been spot on when it comes to running and sound sync with movement:thumb: . usually i will pick the appropriate horn sound for the engine, and adjust the bell ring rate to the lowest value, other then that, i don't mess with the sounds, as i think they are GREAT as is:winki: .

    on the other hand, i have only bought ONE Brilliance steamer decoder, i installed it in my cab forward and to be honest, it took me an hour of adjusting CV's to to get the speed curve right, adjust the cuff rate, and choose the sound options i liked, after that i got it to run & sound quite well:thumb: .
    as far as "running" goes, if your putting them in steam engines, it takes some time to get them right:frowns: .

    For EMD diesels, i think the MRC Brilliance sound decoders are FANTASTIC!:thumb::mrgreen: They offer sound decoders for NEWER engines, OLDER engines, and switchers(the switchers ARE 100% SPOT ON!, GREAT for geeps too:thumb: ).

    For steamers...well, on the next steamer i get i am going to try the Tsunami's out:winki: . though i DID get the Brilliance to work right for my cab forward, i feel it took to much time to get it right:frowns: .

    SIDE NOTE: i installed a Loksound decoder in my F-E-F Class3 Northern, and wasn't real happy with it either:eeki::cry: , though i find the Loksound diesel decoders to be GREAT!:winki:
    :deano: -Deano
  13. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    I'm going to temporarily hook up one of my red lights ( since i didn'g buy any clear ones) to see if the light comes on brighter.
  14. lester perry

    lester perry Active Member

    Deano, I tried it in steam and hated it. haven't tried diesel. I have been using soundtraxx and am satisfied the diesel is really good. I have one sunami, it is fantastic except I have occasionally had trouble with the sound getting way out of sync. Power it off and it does OK.
  15. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    well, it turns out the headlight is set for 1.5 volts, so that explains the dim light. they didn't make that clear in their instruction manual.
  16. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    Figures... I know this topic is old, but i FINALLY got around to wiring up the early mentioned E60 locomotives with the DH165AO, which had the 1.5 volt lamps. Once again, the decoder fails to light them. I will admit, the wiring is pretty crappy, and I don't have enough of those spare black wire clip things to hold the wires to the leads, but i did have it running, and i was DIRECTLY putting the lamp leads on the decoder pads, and still no dice.
  17. Nick8564

    Nick8564 Member

    If you have a volt meter handy try measuring the voltages of them. See what voltage the decoder is putting out then you might can either elminate the decoder or the lights. Thats what I had to do with the DH163AOs in the Athearn SD70s.
  18. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    Yeah, it turns out the decoder will only light one lamp at a time. How do i make it light more?
  19. Nick8564

    Nick8564 Member

    If I am understaniding you correctly, when moving foward only the front light comes on, and in reverse only the rear light comes on? If that is the case then it needs to be programmed to light both.
  20. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    No, I mean, my locomotive has two lamps for headlights. They should work, but they don't. Only when one lamp is connected to the terminal will it work, when i connect both lamps, it shuts down the lights. I'm wondering if this is a power issue, or is it possible to "up the power" to handle a pair of such light bulbs.

    the lights are in the middle section betweent he number boards. they will not light.


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