Author Topic: Programming a decoder  (Read 3906 times)

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Chris333

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Programming a decoder
« on: February 24, 2018, 05:57:29 PM »
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I probably did a stupid thing. I bought a DCC system for a On30 Heisler I have. Really only got it for the sound. The Bachmann loco comes with DCC, but if you want sound you have to buy a "sound card" that plugs into the decoder. The sound card is about $100 and a whole new sound decoder is about $100. So I just bought a new decoder.
I bought a NCE power cab a TSU-750 decoder with light logging sounds and a keep alive capacitor. Wired it up and it actually works. This is the first time I've ever ran DCC.

The decoder only came with printing on the card with basic instructions like put black wire on the motor, etc. There was nothing about programming the sound. When I search online for the manual I got a 77 page pdf file. How the heck am I supposed to view that in my basement.

Anyways is there a site with simple directions on how to change the cv values?

jdcolombo

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Re: Programming a decoder
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2018, 06:29:13 PM »
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What CV values do you want to change?

Unfortunately, sound decoders like the Soundtraxx Tsunami series are very, very complex creatures.  You probably need to read the 77-page manual if you want to do anything other than adjust the top speed (CV5) or change the address.  When I used to use TSU-750's in my steam locos, I kept a copy of the user manual in a 3-ring binder in next to my DCC command station.  And I kept a copy of their Technical Reference manual, as well, which is another 75 pages or so.

And then after digesting the manual(s) you probably need to download JMRI's software, hook a computer to your Power Cab, and get to know Decoder Pro, which will make programming advanced functions on the TSU a lot easier.

Welcome to the world of sound.  It's great, IMHO, but simple and good sound decoders just don't exist.

John C.

PS - JMRI stands for "Java Model Railroading Interface".  It is a program that you run on your computer (Windows, Mac or Linux) that consists of different modules.  One of the most useful modules is called "Decoder Pro" which uses a graphical interface for programming DCC decoders, including sound decoders.  However, to use JMRI, you must interface your computer with your DCC Command Station.  This usually means running a USB cable to a small box that then connects to your command station.  In the case of the Power Cab, I think there is a small box that you plug between the Power Cab and the layout to interface it with a computer, but I'm not entirely sure (I use Digitrax).  I'm sure the NCE web site would have information on this.

It IS possible to program the Soundtraxx decoders with just a throttle, but it really will require you to read the entire 77-page user manual.  Sorry - that's just the way it is.


Chris333

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Re: Programming a decoder
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2018, 06:44:00 PM »
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I sort of figured out how to do the CVs on you tube. It sort of sucks though. I did the whistle, it comes with 7 whistles. You scroll through everything and punch in a number for the sound and then escape to listen to it. It is very hard to compare the different sounds. Wish there was a way to scoll through the different sounds to find the one you like.

I set the air pump to 0 because this loco doesn't have an air pump.

I want to set the rod clank sound up pretty high and the chuff down. When I listen to real Heislers it is mostly clanking and very little chuff. Guess I need to find the page that lists what numbers they are.

Also the sounds are F1- F12. 1-9 I can use the keypad, but the F10 F11 and F12 buttons seem to do some sort of programing and not the sounds.


There is no way I'm hooking this up to a computer. I've already spent enough for one single loco.

Chris333

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Re: Programming a decoder
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2018, 06:52:31 PM »
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Here is the other problem. I bought a TSU-750 decoder:
http://www.soundtraxx.com/dsd/tsunami/750.php
When I click on "Tsunami Manual" at the bottom of the page I get this:
http://www.soundtraxx.com/manuals.php
What link am I supposed to use?

peteski

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Re: Programming a decoder
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2018, 07:53:30 PM »
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I sort of figured out how to do the CVs on you tube. It sort of sucks though. I did the whistle, it comes with 7 whistles. You scroll through everything and punch in a number for the sound and then escape to listen to it. It is very hard to compare the different sounds. Wish there was a way to scoll through the different sounds to find the one you like.

No scrolling through sounds Chris - this is not a smart phone and ring tones.  :)
But some manufacturers of sound decoders offer special decoder programming hardware and an app you install on you computer to mess around with the sounds. You can use those apps to quickly play those sounds through your PC to test them out.

Like others said, sound decoders are usually quite complex.  Some even use indexed CVs (because there are not enough NMRA standard CVs defined to handle all the sound features).  The indexed registers make programming even more of a chore when using a standard DCC system for programming.  Again the special software and interface provided by sound decoder manufacturers (or JMRI DecoderPro) make this process much easier.   But you are correct - PowerCab does not interface to JMRI. it is a standalone DCC system.
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jdcolombo

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Re: Programming a decoder
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2018, 01:13:22 PM »
+1
Here is the other problem. I bought a TSU-750 decoder:
http://www.soundtraxx.com/dsd/tsunami/750.php
When I click on "Tsunami Manual" at the bottom of the page I get this:
http://www.soundtraxx.com/manuals.php
What link am I supposed to use?

Download the Tsunami 2 Steam User's Guide here:
http://www.soundtraxx.com/manuals/tsu2_steam_usersguide.pdf

Then download the Steam Technical Reference Manual here:
http://www.soundtraxx.com/manuals/tsu2_steam_technical_ref.pdf

I think the information you want is on pages 37-38 of the User Guide.

John C.

Lemosteam

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Re: Programming a decoder
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2018, 07:02:54 PM »
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I probably did a stupid thing. I bought a DCC system for a On30 Heisler I have. Really only got it for the sound. The Bachmann loco comes with DCC, but if you want sound you have to buy a "sound card" that plugs into the decoder. The sound card is about $100 and a whole new sound decoder is about $100. So I just bought a new decoder.
I bought a NCE power cab a TSU-750 decoder with light logging sounds and a keep alive capacitor. Wired it up and it actually works. This is the first time I've ever ran DCC.

The decoder only came with printing on the card with basic instructions like put black wire on the motor, etc. There was nothing about programming the sound. When I search online for the manual I got a 77 page pdf file. How the heck am I supposed to view that in my basement.

Anyways is there a site with simple directions on how to change the cv values?

Dear Lord, I am not ready for the apocalypse.

Chris333

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Re: Programming a decoder
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2018, 04:04:25 AM »
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Oh it is far from a take over. I don't really like the controller, but wanted sound. I'm not impressed with the sound so I ordered 2 different "sugar cube" speakers to try out. If I don't like those I'll just sell this DCC stuff and put the Heisler on the shelf. I was just trying to be happy.

I figured out you need to hold down the shift button to use the F10 F11 and F12 sounds.  Some times I press a button and the loco won't move any more till I unplug and re power everything.

Also it is odd that the is no on/off switch. You need to pull the plug to shut it off.

Could you imagine my questions if I was running more than one loco?   :scared:

peteski

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Re: Programming a decoder
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2018, 04:33:17 AM »
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Oh it is far from a take over. I don't really like the controller, but wanted sound. I'm not impressed with the sound so I ordered 2 different "sugar cube" speakers to try out. If I don't like those I'll just sell this DCC stuff and put the Heisler on the shelf. I was just trying to be happy.

I figured out you need to hold down the shift button to use the F10 F11 and F12 sounds.  Some times I press a button and the loco won't move any more till I unplug and re power everything.

Also it is odd that the is no on/off switch. You need to pull the plug to shut it off.

Could you imagine my questions if I was running more than one loco?   :scared:

Power Cab is actually a regular NCE throttle with some extra circuitry (basically with added DCC command station, and a booster) - that is why there is no power button. It is a very inexpensive but complete DCC system.  The handheld unit will behave like a standard NCE throttle if connected to any "full size" NCE DCC throttle bus.  I think it is actually pretty clever design.  I never missed the power button.

If you run more than one loco, if you want to get confused, you can store and recall few different locos on that throttle. But for a less hectic experience you could buy a standard NCE throttle and hook it up to that little panel board where the Power Cab plugs in.

Not sure why things stop working when you press the higher number functions - it should not affect the speed setting on the throttle.  Does the display still show anything (and what does it show)?

As you can see, DCC is not as simple to operate as a plain DC throttle, but it gives you all those bells and whistles not available in DC.  :D  You are dealing with bunch of computers, and you know what happens when computers get introduced into things - you get added functionality, but things get complicated.  But the wiring is simplified!   :trollface:
--- Peteski de Snarkski

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Chris333

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Re: Programming a decoder
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2018, 06:04:55 AM »
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If I press the shift key and press F12 (coupler clank) the locomotive will no longer move. The speed numbers go up and down like if it was moving, all the sounds still work, but no movement till I re-boot.

Also I just now noticed the is a "bell" and "whistle" button  :facepalm: I have been pressing 1 and 2 to do that.

Think I heard a brake squeal sound from pressing a button, but shouldn't that be something automatic when I slow the loco?
« Last Edit: February 26, 2018, 06:09:46 AM by Chris333 »

peteski

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Re: Programming a decoder
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2018, 07:16:28 AM »
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If I press the shift key and press F12 (coupler clank) the locomotive will no longer move. The speed numbers go up and down like if it was moving, all the sounds still work, but no movement till I re-boot.

Also I just now noticed the is a "bell" and "whistle" button  :facepalm: I have been pressing 1 and 2 to do that.

Think I heard a brake squeal sound from pressing a button, but shouldn't that be something automatic when I slow the loco?

The behavior you describe is really odd.  I wonder if it is something with the decoder. Too bad you don't have another DCC decoder to try.

The bell and whistle buttons simply activate F1 and F2 (and the display shows that), except that the "2" key has a latching function while "whistle" key is momentary.  I guess you are not much into RTFM.    :|

Brake squeal is normally triggered automatically during deceleration, but maybe there is a manual trigger too. Again, RTFM.  :D  You can only learn so much just by randomly pushing buttons.
--- Peteski de Snarkski

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woodone

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Re: Programming a decoder
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2018, 08:22:56 AM »
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I have been reading this for a bit before posting. First off the TSU-750 is an older Soundtraxx decoder. There is a newer decoder that has been on the market for over a year. The manual you need to read is in the older manuals.
All the questions you have brought up are covered in the manual! RTFM !
You ask how are you going to be able to do that? PRINT the manual and take it to where you are running you locomotive! You can hear all of the sounds by bring up the sounds on your coumpter.
On your Power Cab, what did you think bell and horn buttons were for? Did you read it’s manual?
The brake squeal to work needs to have a CV adjusted to do that. RTFM !
I am guessing the the dealer where you got your system and decoder was unable to help you?
You took the time to install this,
but now you don’t want to spend the time to make it work by not reading the manual?
Your best bet is to remove the decoder, return the PowerCab!
Going to take some heat by posting this-



Chris333

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Re: Programming a decoder
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2018, 02:05:06 PM »
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Didn't come with a manual and it is a 77 page PDF. I'm not office max, ain't nobody got time for that. Plus the manual is full of words I'd have to look up like "address" and "consist".

And from what I've looked at on the manual it only tells you what each CV number is, but doesn't tell you what each one does. Some of them are self expository and some aren't.

jdcolombo

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Re: Programming a decoder
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2018, 02:37:47 PM »
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Woodone is correct - if you have a TSU-750, this is an older model Tsunami, and the manual you need is here:

http://www.soundtraxx.com/manuals/tsunamisteam_users_guide.pdf

The information on programming sound levels for individual sounds starts on page 35.  You can print just the pages from 35-38 and you'll have the information necessary to adjust the individual sound levels.

If you're not willing to read the manual, then no one can help you.  Sorry.  In that case, you really should return everything.  You can't do sound without a willingness to learn some new and relatively complicated stuff.  It's not microbiology, but it does take some heavy-duty reading.

John C.

wcfn100

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Re: Programming a decoder
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2018, 03:29:49 PM »
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  You can't do sound without a willingness to learn some new and relatively complicated stuff. 

Perhaps the best reason to not like sound.

N scale needs it's own Baby Ruth High Cube.

Jason
« Last Edit: February 26, 2018, 03:34:45 PM by wcfn100 »