NCE Decoder in Athern HO

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by taylorg01, Dec 27, 2006.

  1. taylorg01

    taylorg01 New Member

    NOTE - I don't have a way to change CVs, but I can get the loco to a friend who can.

    Got my 6-yr-old train-addicted son a Athearn -9 at a railroad show recently and it came slightly weathered, seemingly in good condition, and with a NCE decoder hard-wired.

    The hard wiring I don't understand as the loco was ready-plug equipped.

    Anyway, the previous owner had a lot of momentum braking setup and the throttle steps were a bit wide so I had a friend reset to factory defaults. After getting it back everything was great for a 6-yr-old to run without knocking cars off the tracks.

    Shortly thereafter teh headlight stopped working. The rear light still worked directionally and we could toggle it off/on. The headlight does not respond. The situation, however is somewhat intermittent as the headlight will come on once in a while and will remain working and controllable for the duration of that session when things are powered up. This functionality is VERY sporadic.

    All connections are good. This is our only Athearn and we really like it. Our friend who sets up our CVs for us until we get everything we need to do it right thinks the NCE decoder most-likely is either faulty or more settings need tweaked beyond resttting defaults.

    So, what do we do to restore headlight functionality on a consistent basis and ensure everyhting works as it should...? We could try coninuing with the NCE or I could get another decoder and wire it in and see where we are.

    Let me know your suggestions.

    thank you.
  2. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    NCE decoders are know to have the headlight flash/not work properly if you have the decoder set to 14 speed steps, and your controller is at 28 speed steps. However, This may not be the problem, as you say the rear headlight, works flawlessly.

    Are you running your Athern on a pure DCC track and controller? or in DC compatable mode?
  3. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

    sounds to me like its a bad connection(you said the problem was intermittent), but if you say its not, then its probably the decoder. if the headlight working is of high importance, and the connections ARE OK, then you will more then likely have to replace the decoder:(.

    As far as why the previous owner hot wired the decoder in the engine, even though it had a socket, i would have done the same;). Athearn makes some NICE engines:thumb:, but the socket to plug decoders in on the circuit boards on Athearn engines are REALLY SLOPPY:rolleyes:. HONESTLY, hot wiring the decoders in on Athearns IS the way to go:thumb:.

  4. taylorg01

    taylorg01 New Member

    Running the headlight is of high importance to a 6-yr-old. :)

    It is a DCC-only track...mostly. We've got a Bachmann EZ-command and mostly lifelike snap-track. We don't run DC engines on it much.

    We're probably going to get a digitrax decoder for it and take off the factory board as per one of my friend's recommendations.

    You think that is the best route...?

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