Author Topic: Athearn N Scale Challenger / Tsunami 2 steam decoder -- Question  (Read 210 times)

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carlso

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Athearn N Scale Challenger / Tsunami 2 steam decoder -- Question
« on: November 16, 2019, 10:55:00 PM »
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I have checked DCC threads and searched "Challenger problems" and can not find a hint. I have gone on Tsunami web site and read through the steam file "User's Guide" to no real avail. So, I have come and ask for some help from TRW.

I have a friend who just came by a 2012 production Athearn N scale Challenger. The box says it has  Tsunami 2 Steam decoder sound file. It looks as if there is very little run time on the loco with no wear on drivers and wheel treads, no dings or dents on boiler or tender shells and screw heads to not show any signs of being removed. Maybe I am missing something but do not think so.

Now the kicker. When he first set it on track nothing happened, no movement, so lights, and no sound. Nada, nada! Today one of the club members put it on program track and went into JMRI and stated that he wrote "all pages" from Tsunami 2 file into the decoder. Well, it will now run in each direction, quite well actually, and the chuff sound is there as well. I am amazed at the very slow creep and the nice chuff sound. However no other sounds or lights work at all. We put it back on PG and tried to read the "basic info" page and it will not recognize the loco. We tried to read that one page and nothing. I know the PG track and JMRI are both working because I checked it with a club diesel.

The only thing that I can find that might be the issue is that the decoder, all CV's are locked.

I am not familiar with Athearn, except the new Big Boy that I had to re-build, nor the Tsunami's at all. So if someone could give some hints as to what to look for or a link to a thread that discusses this situation, I would very much appreciate it.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts,
Carl
Carl Sowell
El Paso, Texas
Southern New Mexico N Scalers, Las Cruces, New Mexico

NDave

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Re: Athearn N Scale Challenger / Tsunami 2 steam decoder -- Question
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2019, 12:08:45 AM »
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I have an Athearn N scale challenger from 2017, and I believe it has a first generation Tsunami decoder, not a Tsunami 2 (I don't know that Tsunami 2 was around in 2012?). I have installed Tsunami 2 decoders into two other steam locos, and many of the CV assignments (beyond those in the NMRA standards) are different.  Many of the sound CVs are identical, but the dynamic digital exhaust CVs are different, as are some of the motor control settings. So, if you wrote CVS based on Tsunami 2, they may be incorrect

The Tsunami decoder manual (available on Soundtraxx's site) has a section with tips on how to unlock a locked decoder.

If you PM me with an e-mail address, I can e-mail you an excel file with the CV settings I found to work in my 2017 release challenger.
Dave

NDave

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Re: Athearn N Scale Challenger / Tsunami 2 steam decoder -- Question
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2019, 12:25:51 AM »
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OK... I see now that it might have had Tsunami 2 installed aftermarket? I have Tsunami 2 Steam 2 decoders installed in two Bachmann N scale locos, a 2-8-0 and 4-6-0. I quite like the decoders, and plan to install the same in my challenger later this winter. Thus, I don't yet have challenger-specific CV values for the Tsunami 2, but I could send you the settings I use in my other locos, and they might give some insight...

robert3985

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Re: Athearn N Scale Challenger / Tsunami 2 steam decoder -- Question
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2019, 10:33:12 PM »
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It's been a while since I've worked on my Athearn Big Boys and Challengers, but one persistent problem area with the later Tsunami equipped engines I discovered when disassembling the tenders to shorten the drawbars was that a wire or two inside the tender would be pinched between a tender shell mounting peg and the chassis.  When brand new, the insulation was still intact, but might easily degrade and short just from age and the continued smashing effect.

I started disassembling the tenders on all of mine as soon as I could get them on the bench and making sure that wires inside the tender were tied, taped, CA'd or whatever to make sure they didn't get pinched again when I reassembled the tenders. 

I'd say about half of them were pinched from the factory, so you might want to removed the tender shell and see if you've got that problem.  In any case, use your own method to get the wires out of the way so they have zero chance of being pinched between the chassis and the mounting pegs when reassembled.

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore

carlso

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Re: Athearn N Scale Challenger / Tsunami 2 steam decoder -- Question
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2019, 06:02:19 PM »
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NDave and all,

I am happy to report that my friend got the decoder figured out and has the loco running quite well with all the expected sounds. He is ecstatic!

He contacted Athearn and was told, for sure, that his loco had only the original Tsunami and not a T-2. He went in and adjusted CV's according  to the original Tsunami and all is happy.

Thanks for input,
Carl

Carl Sowell
El Paso, Texas
Southern New Mexico N Scalers, Las Cruces, New Mexico