Running DCC on older controller

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by jambo101, Mar 17, 2008.

  1. jambo101

    jambo101 Member

    I have a Proto 2000 limited edition SW8/900 locomotive with factory installed DCC and sound.the controller i'm going to use is an MRC Tech2 Railmaster 2400 hooked up in the back to the variable DC terminals,Can any one foresee any problems?
  2. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

    jambo101:wav: , with the setup you have in THAT Proto 2000, you will be OK running it the way you are:thumb: . Heres why, P2K engines that come with factory installed DCC & sound have the QSI system in them:thumb: , QSI is the combo decoder and sound decoder, and it is whats considered a "smart board":winki: , that means the engine will automatically detect what is running(DC or DCC) and will adjust its self accordingly, without you doing anything:thumb::mrgreen: .

    HOWEVER, DON'T think that every decoder/sound decoder is the same:eeki: , there are MANY different brands out there, and NOT ALL of them have "smartboards" in them:winki: . P2k and BLI for example only use QSI, so you would be safe using those engines as you are:winki: . defiantly do the research before making future purchases running the way you are though:winki: .

    :deano: -Deano
  3. jambo101

    jambo101 Member

    As a recent returnee to the hobby after 25yrs all these new fangled operating systems are very confusing..Thanks for the info
    P2k i presume is Proto 2000 but i dont know what BL1 is.
  4. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

    BLI is: Broadway Limited:winki: .

    and dont worry about the "new fangled systems", they are really NOT as confusing as they may seem:winki: .

    :deano: -Deano
  5. jambo101

    jambo101 Member

    I just tried my first operation of the loco with the factory installed DCC and while all the sounds are kinda neet and the mimicking of real start off speeds make for realistic starts the wife gave me the "can you turn the damn sounds off on that thing"So i look in the manual for the on off switch and realize there are 7 or 8 pages of computer settings that occur when you turn the bells on and off 3 times then play with the reverse direction switch to change programmed parameters when the thing starts talking to youwall1Then there is a magic wand thingy that also does a number of various tricks when rolled over the top of the cab. :rolleyes:
    Also for some reason the train will frequently just stop running i assume because i dont have a program parameter set right:cry:.So after reading all this stuff and playing around for an hour i never did figure out how to turn the sound off. I'm not sure i'm liking the prospect of having to learn all this new tech stuff just to have a train go 6ft down a shelf layout.:p
  6. jambo101

    jambo101 Member

    The engine keeps shutting down/turning off and i have no idea why but i suspect its a circuit breaker of some sort.its a new engine on new track so i've ruled out dirty contacts,if you are following this post you will understand i know nothing about DCC so when the train stops i have no idea why or what to do about it.I'm running the train on an older analogue controller.:confused:
  7. jambo101

    jambo101 Member

    Have i stumped every one or has no one ever had this problem with DCC?
  8. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    A new engine on new track doesn't necessarily mean all the contact points are clean.

    Unless you have a short circuit indication, the problem should be an open circuit somewhere. Open circuits are more common?

    It's not clear what you are actually doing at this point. Are you using a DC or DCC controller? If DC, does the locomotive start moving again after you nudge it? If DC, how much voltage does the locomotive take to start moving (sound locomotives on DC take a lot)? Can you take it somewhere to see if the symptoms are different on DCC, or different track?

    You are asking us to troubleshoot without seeing what is happening, and without a lot of information from you. I'm just guessing, and that's why there aren't many responses.
  9. jambo101

    jambo101 Member

    To give you some more info.i am running this engine on just 2 pieces of new flextrack and the joiners are done correctly,as for wiring its just 2 wires coming from the variable dc terminals on the back of the controller to the track, the controller is an MRC Tech2 Railmaster 2400 and is DC,
    funny you should mention nudging the unit as that does make it come back to life,but more often than not the unit just recycles by itself.When it does run the control dial has to be set at 3/4 power position before the train will move.
    My best guess at the problem would be some kind of power misconfiguration/discrepancy between the power pack and the engine resulting in the engine throwing a breaker of some kind.but as to how to solve the problem i feel like a blind man in an art gallery.
  10. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    If a nudge causes things to start working again, you definitely have an open circuit somewhere. A decoder recycling itself is another indication of an open circuit. What happens is that the electrical circuit to the decoder is somehow interrupted momentarily. When that happens, unless there is a keep-alive capacitor installed on the decoder, the decoder loses its active memory and starts itself over. Flickering lights or lights going out are another good indication of an open circuit.

    An overload condition caused by a cracked gear or something similar would not likely cause a decoder reset, nor would a nudge get things going again.

    There are several common causes (and it is often a combination of these!) of this circuit interruption:
    • dirt on the track
    • dirt on the wheels
    • power pickups installed on the locomotive not contacting correctly
    • broken wire or solder joint
    I would try another locomotive on the same track. If it stalls in the same spots, the problem is most likely the track or the wiring to the track.

    If the other locomotive runs fine on the same track, then the problem is in your SW8. First start by getting the wheels perfectly clean. If that doesn't solve the issue, you have to take the locomotive apart to find the problem or return it for service/warranty.

    The 3/4 power setting is normal for a sound decoder equipped locomotive running on DC. Sound decoders are designed to run best on DCC; running n DC is an afterthought. Running capability and control on DC will be limited because the sound electronics typically need 7-9 volts DC just to get going.

    Which brings up one other (unlikely) possibility. If you are running a locomotive with a sound decoder on DC right at the minimum voltage, just the slightest change in circumstances could be enough to drop voltage to the decoder below minimum, causing it to recycle. Make sure you are testing significantly above the minimum voltage on DC.

    hope this helps
  11. jambo101

    jambo101 Member

    That would be my bet but how do i increase the voltage output of my controller or decrease the DCC"s power demand.
    I have also heard of a DCC adapter that goes between the controller and the track (Quantum Controller add on) would that be worth a try? Thanks
  12. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Turn the voltage up higher. If you are already at maximum on an MRC power pack on a piece of test track with no cars, you do not have a voltage supply problem. The QSI decoder should need no more than 9 volts for the sound, and your MRC power pack should be supplying a full 12 volts under load. Make sure pulse power and momentum (if either are present on your power pack) are turned off. If you have a multimeter, check the voltage on the track when the locomotive stalls/resets.

    The Quantum Controller could be a worthwhile add-on for controlling the sound features of your locomotive, but it will not fix the problem you are having. Switching to DCC will give you even better control of the sound and the locomotive, but will not fix the problem unless it is CV configuration.

    You have got to find the intermittent open circuit, or find where your locomotive is not working correctly (could be decoder settings or problems, or mechanism is binding). As I said previously, running a known good locomotive on your test track should reveal whether or not you have a track or track wiring issue. And running your SW on somebody else's known good track will also isolate the problem to the locomotive or the track.

    If the problem is in the locomotive, it likely has to be taken apart (at least partially) to be fixed (except for dirty wheels). You have to decide whether you are up to the challenge of doing it yourself (better for you in the long run) or returning to the seller for repair.
  13. jambo101

    jambo101 Member

    Problem solved.replaced wheel with rubber traction aid with solid metal wheel and now the engine runs as it should .
    Thanks for all the info and if i ever get enough space to have a sizable layout instead of a 5ft shelfie i'll give that DCC a try.:wave:
  14. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Reading through your problems, it did indeed sound more like intermittent contact (i.e. dirty track, even if you can't see the dirt) than a short. Sound decoders are notoriously picky about a clean, steady power supply. While shorts will cause them to reset, it is much more likely that it is a microscopic piece of stuff.

    As you have discovered, the more pick-ups for power, the better off you are.

    :thumb: :thumb:


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