Author Topic: Kato SD40-2 and DCC  (Read 2755 times)

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Ali Kenneth

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Kato SD40-2 and DCC
« on: August 18, 2007, 01:02:46 PM »
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Has anybody had any problems using and fitting Digitrax DN163K1C decoders to the latest batches of Kato SD40-2s?

Reason is I has just spent an hour, with two locos (one BN and a BNSF one for those who want to know), three decoders and my Lenz Set 100 and have achieved nothing! I have followed the instructions to the letter and put plenty of insulating tape down on the chassis but all I get out of the handset is an error 2, i.e. No decoder detected!

I would think I was doing something wrong but it has been the same with both locos and all 3 decoders in each.

The stupid thing is I installed 2 in SD70m's and 1 in a Dash 9 with no issues whatsoever!!!!

So any ideas guys??????????

Alasdair

mavrick0

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Re: Kato SD40-2 and DCC
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2007, 02:02:54 PM »
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The biggest problem isn't you, it is digitrax.  Lately they have not been tinning the contact points on the boards were they would meet the frame halves.  So they slide in nicely but make no contact.  The way I solve it is to lightly and I mean lightly tin the contact pads and then they make great contact.  Others have shimmed the boards from the bottom and other has pushed down the contact tabs on the frame halves to make it tighter.  But it's up to you what you feel comfortable with.  Also the digitrax boards have a little bit of the board left on the ends that don't allow them to go into the frame as far as it should.  I just use a pair of Xuron flush cutters and nip off the little bit of extra PC board.

mmyers

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Re: Kato SD40-2 and DCC
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2007, 08:28:47 PM »
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The new ROHS compliant Digitrax decoders have thinner circuit boards.
I've had good luck using a small piece of brass cut from leftover etched brass part frets to shim between the frame and decoder contacts.

Martin Myers

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Re: Kato SD40-2 and DCC
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2007, 06:10:22 AM »
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I recently (last 10 days) added 2 of these decoders to 2 BN SD40-2's.
I had do what the others have said so far. I used some thinly sliced tooth pics to wedge between the decoder and the frame to make a sound electrical pickup. Tho, I like the idea of the brass pieces to make sure you have good contact on both sides a bit better and may go back and redo mine.

Be carefull when you push the boards forward into the lock position. I almost broke one of the thin decoders in half when it tried raising up in the middle instead of sliding forward and in.

Aside from that, I've gotta say, those Kato SD40-2's are some SWEET running loco's!

ednadolski

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Re: Kato SD40-2 and DCC
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2007, 07:35:24 PM »
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The way I solve it is to lightly and I mean lightly tin the contact pads and then they make great contact.

I just use a pair of Xuron flush cutters and nip off the little bit of extra PC board.

That's exactly what I had to do with mine, and it's worked out fine.

Another symptom of this issue: sometimes you can even add the decoder and have it work fine, but then it stops working as soon as you put the loco's shell back on.

HTH,
ED

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Kato SD40-2 and DCC
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2007, 06:13:48 PM »
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I'm really pissed at digitrax for this crap.

I had the same issue with a DN163A0.

"drop in decoder" my a$$.

mavrick0

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Re: Kato SD40-2 and DCC
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2007, 07:39:27 PM »
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I'm really pissed at digitrax for this crap.

I had the same issue with a DN163A0.

"drop in decoder" my a$$.
How would you rather have it?  Take a dremel to the frame and solder up 6 or more 30awg wires or add a little solder and slide the decoder in.  The Atlas engines aren't even PNP in my opinion because you have to loosen off the frame halves to do the swap.  Also from experience you need to make sure the frame doesn't have any edges that can dig into the board and cause a short and let out the magic smoke.

mmyers

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Re: Kato SD40-2 and DCC
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2007, 09:46:12 AM »
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Ed,
Can't put all the blame on Digitrax. I've had NCE boards that needed a little tweaking as well.

The main problem with Atlas N engines is the motor contacts. At the Chantiily convention, I had an opportunity to ask A.J.Ireland about it. He told me that Digitrax made recomendations to Atlas  those contacts before the first DCC equipped engine hit the streets. He suggested they turn them along the length of the mechanism instead of across the width. Atlas didn't follow them. Rest is history.

Martin

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Re: Kato SD40-2 and DCC
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2007, 11:14:06 AM »
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Maybe I'm just an inveterate tinkerer, but none of the modifications you mention really bother me.  We have to do all kinds of tweaking to get our equipment to run right (wheel gauge, coupler height, contact strips... you name it...) If you aren't prepared mentally to look under the hood once in a while, you should probably be collecting stamps.

The main problem I have with Digitrax is their wired decoders, which are pretty hit and miss on quality control.  Usually things like loose connections, solder blobs bridging contacts, stuff like that.  I typically have to send back 2 out of 5 decoders due to quality problems from the factory.  The light board models not so much trouble.

Lee
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Mark5

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Re: Kato SD40-2 and DCC
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2007, 11:36:04 AM »
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The main problem I have with Digitrax is their wired decoders, which are pretty hit and miss on quality control.  Usually things like loose connections, solder blobs bridging contacts, stuff like that.  I typically have to send back 2 out of 5 decoders due to quality problems from the factory.  The light board models not so much trouble.

Lee

Yikes!

fieromike

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Re: Kato SD40-2 and DCC
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2007, 10:13:54 AM »
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I'm still stuck at finding a way to open it up without breaking anything...

Three Thumbs Mike

Edit: Problem solved, RTF(D)M!
Now there seems to be a dual definition of P&P:
Plug & Play
and
Pull & Pray

Yes nurse, I'll go quietly now...
« Last Edit: December 07, 2007, 10:43:36 AM by fieromike »