Author Topic: Problems with DCC  (Read 2175 times)

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Chris333

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Re: Problems with DCC
« Reply #30 on: September 02, 2019, 06:39:02 PM »
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I'll sell my power cab... very low miles  :lol:

Maletrain

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Re: Problems with DCC
« Reply #31 on: September 02, 2019, 08:55:37 PM »
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It really isn't a bad idea to get the PowerCab updated to version 1.65B (from v1.28).  He could do that himself by getting the chip from NCE, or sent it to them to do it for him.

But, I am pretty sure that isn't going to make a difference to these 2 locomotives. 

Hawghead

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Re: Problems with DCC
« Reply #32 on: September 03, 2019, 01:43:26 PM »
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If you will try this before you return. Put the loco on your track. Don’t hook the track power up just yet!
Make sure all wheels are on the rails ! Plug the Power Cab power supply in. NO HOOK UP  to the rails.
Now press the left lower button (PROG/ESC) four times- the display should read use program track- hit inter.
Display should read PROG TRK- just under that is 1=STD. 2=CV 3=REG.
NOW hook up the track power from the panel to your test track. ( BTW) you should see a red LED on the panel shinning red. Now hit 1 for STD. Should take a few seconds but the display should read back to you a number.
Depending on which decoder is in stalled. Like 141 on the Blackstone.
If you see, can’t read cv —- you are not getting power to the decoder. Rails,wheels or a bad connection.

If there wasn't any power to the decoder wouldn't the sounds not work?  Before I send it back I'm going to crack open the K-27.  I have to admit it could be the leads from the decoder to the motor and the headlight, I'm just not looking forward to opening it up and possibly damaging something.

Thanks,
Scott
There's a prototype for everything.
If you can't make it perfect, make it adjustable.
DCC is not plug-n-play.

Hawghead

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Re: Problems with DCC
« Reply #33 on: September 03, 2019, 01:53:57 PM »
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I doubt the Power Cab is defective. It sends DCC signal to the rails, and even controls the addresses both locos are set to. It intermittently runs one loco, and controls sound functions of the other loco. I really think that both locos are problematic.

Pete,

I don't necessarily disagree.  But if not, could it be that voltage from the power supply is low?  I'm wondering if that would account for the fact that one runs poorly and the other not at all.  Don't sound decoders need more current/voltage to operate than non-sound decoders?  If I'm thinking right, low current/voltage from the power supply could make the non-sound decoder not respond correctly and the sound decoder with it's higher current/voltage requirements might not be able to pass on enough voltage to the motor?????  I wonder what the output voltage of the power supply should be?

Thanks,
Scott
There's a prototype for everything.
If you can't make it perfect, make it adjustable.
DCC is not plug-n-play.

Dave V

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Re: Problems with DCC
« Reply #34 on: September 03, 2019, 04:22:47 PM »
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I can't speak to your narrow gauge SW7, but as for the Blackstone K-27, when mine shat the proverbial bed it started similarly to yours.  It did all the sounds, but when I cracked the throttle she stood still and gave me the 11 headlight blinks of death.  Eventually the sounds quit too, about the time the smell of toasted electronics became detectable.

Good news and bad news on that.  Good news is that if you can get a replacement Tsuanmi board for it, it's about the easiest decoder replacement in the history of everything ever.  The bad news is that the K-27 Tsunami boards aren't in production anymore.

Blackstone does have a nice video out there on how to easily hardwire in Tsunami 2 and current keeper into a K-27 tender.

Good luck!

P.S.  To the narrow gauge SW7...  I see that guy on eBay that converts all sorts of standard gauge diesels to narrow gauge like the CF7, GP30, etc.  My first instinct was one of cognitive dissonance...but then I can imagine an alternate world where the D&RGW--rather than attempting to smother its remaining narrow gauge lines--embraced them during the San Juan Extension oil boom of the 50s and 60s and bought narrow gauge versions of first- and second-generation diesels.  If my RGS ever runs a diesel, though, it would most likely be a pair of Grandt Line boxcabs painted for the San Juan Central.
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peteski

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Re: Problems with DCC
« Reply #35 on: September 03, 2019, 06:37:02 PM »
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Pete,

I don't necessarily disagree.  But if not, could it be that voltage from the power supply is low?  I'm wondering if that would account for the fact that one runs poorly and the other not at all.  Don't sound decoders need more current/voltage to operate than non-sound decoders?  If I'm thinking right, low current/voltage from the power supply could make the non-sound decoder not respond correctly and the sound decoder with it's higher current/voltage requirements might not be able to pass on enough voltage to the motor?????  I wonder what the output voltage of the power supply should be?

Thanks,
Scott

IN my experience with electronics and DCC in general, I don't think  too low of a voltage would result in the symptoms you are seeing.  Like you, I own the NCE Power Cab.  The "wall-wart" power supply outputs IIRC around 13.5V DC (I don't have it handy right now).  Byt the time the DCC voltage gets to the track, it will likely be about 1 volt less, but die to the way the DCC signal is, you can't really measure it accurately using any standard multimeter.

Hey, at least sending the Power Cab to NCE will result in having a verified known-good DCC system.  If the locos still act up, you know it is not the Power Cab.  And it will have updated firmware.
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peteski

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Re: Problems with DCC
« Reply #36 on: September 03, 2019, 06:40:13 PM »
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I can't speak to your narrow gauge SW7, but as for the Blackstone K-27, when mine shat the proverbial bed it started similarly to yours.  It did all the sounds, but when I cracked the throttle she stood still and gave me the 11 headlight blinks of death.  Eventually the sounds quit too, about the time the smell of toasted electronics became detectable.


I seem to recall you mentioning this problem elsewhere (in your layout thread?).  IIRC, you posted a photo of the smoked decoder, and it seemed to  me that one of the transistor pairs (which are part of the H-Bridge that drives the motor) was blown.  If that's all that is wrong with your decoder, that should be fixable (if the part number of that dual-transistor can be found).
--- Peteski de Snarkski

-"Look at me, I'm satirical!!!"
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-"Look at me, I have OCD!!!"
-"Look at me, I'm a curmudgeon!!!!"
-"Look at me, I'm not negative, just blunt and honest!!!"

Dave V

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Re: Problems with DCC
« Reply #37 on: September 03, 2019, 07:41:39 PM »
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I seem to recall you mentioning this problem elsewhere (in your layout thread?).  IIRC, you posted a photo of the smoked decoder, and it seemed to  me that one of the transistor pairs (which are part of the H-Bridge that drives the motor) was blown.  If that's all that is wrong with your decoder, that should be fixable (if the part number of that dual-transistor can be found).

Yes, your memory is correct.  As it happens, someone I know sent me a replacement board for the cost of shipping, as he'd upgraded his to Tsunami 2.  What I can't vouch for is whether that's all that's wrong with the OP's K-27.  I mentioned my experience only to suggest that it may well be the decoder at fault in his K-27.  If he's lucky the component can be replaced...it's a very big board and relatively easy to work with.
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Hawghead

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Re: Problems with DCC
« Reply #38 on: September 03, 2019, 09:53:32 PM »
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Quote
My first instinct was one of cognitive dissonance...but then I can imagine an alternate world where the D&RGW--rather than attempting to smother its remaining narrow gauge lines--embraced them during the San Juan Extension oil boom of the 50s and 60s and bought narrow gauge versions of first- and second-generation diesels.  If my RGS ever runs a diesel, though, it would most likely be a pair of Grandt Line boxcabs painted for the San Juan Central.

Dave,
The SW-7 was never meant to be an operating locomotive, but rather something used to test track work and switches as it's easier to re-rail it, put on and off the track and would prevent me from smoking a decoder with a short etc.  (It was relatively cheap)  Additionally I wanted something that could pull a heavy track cleaning car.

Quote
IN my experience with electronics and DCC in general, I don't think  too low of a voltage would result in the symptoms you are seeing.  Like you, I own the NCE Power Cab.  The "wall-wart" power supply outputs IIRC around 13.5V DC (I don't have it handy right now).  Byt the time the DCC voltage gets to the track, it will likely be about 1 volt less, but die to the way the DCC signal is, you can't really measure it accurately using any standard multimeter.

Pete,
In my time in Uncle Sam's canoe club, as an electronics type, and I learned over the years when you have an electical/electronics problem always start with power and ground.  You may be right and low voltage would not exhibit my symptoms but it is a possibility and it's easy to check.  From what I've read (on NCE's web site I think)  I should see about 10ish VAC on the track if the wall wart is working properly.  I realize that's an approximation and that I'd need an "O"scope to see what's really going on at track level but if I measure it and get something like 3-4 volts I can feel pretty comfortable that there is a problem in the system.  Additionally I read somewhere (I've been doing a lot of research and often don't remember where I read something), that some of the early power cabs shipped with problem power supplies.
 
Quote
Hey, at least sending the Power Cab to NCE will result in having a verified known-good DCC system.  If the locos still act up, you know it is not the Power Cab.  And it will have updated firmware.

My thoughts exactly.  Tomorrow I'm gonna crack open both locomotives and see if there is something obviously wrong and check the P/S output both at the power panel connector and at the track and insure it's at least in the ball park.  If that doesn't bear fruit I'll send the system in and go from there.  I have to go pick up a VOM as I can't find mine.  Do you by any chance have a good source for canned smoke?  My training also taught me that if the smoke leaks out of electronic components they don't work anymore until you put the smoke back in and I want to make sure the decoders aren't low on smoke.  :D

Thanks guys for all your help,
Scott
There's a prototype for everything.
If you can't make it perfect, make it adjustable.
DCC is not plug-n-play.

peteski

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Re: Problems with DCC
« Reply #39 on: September 04, 2019, 02:06:44 AM »
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Pete,
In my time in Uncle Sam's canoe club, as an electronics type, and I learned over the years when you have an electical/electronics problem always start with power and ground.  You may be right and low voltage would not exhibit my symptoms but it is a possibility and it's easy to check.  From what I've read (on NCE's web site I think)  I should see about 10ish VAC on the track if the wall wart is working properly.  I realize that's an approximation and that I'd need an "O"scope to see what's really going on at track level but if I measure it and get something like 3-4 volts I can feel pretty comfortable that there is a problem in the system.  Additionally I read somewhere (I've been doing a lot of research and often don't remember where I read something), that some of the early power cabs shipped with problem power supplies.
 

Scott,
In my professional experience as a troubleshooter (electronic tech like you, and now more of a software troubleshooter), I have learned that the more details about the problem and about the environment I have, the easier it is to arrive at possible fixes/solutions.  :)

I have to say that you have omitted some of info (like measuring 3-4 volts at the track with your non-DCC-specific AC voltmeter).  If I knew that I wouldn't have been so quick to dismiss the Power Cab as the possible problem.  But I still doubt that the Power Cab is the problem.  If the DCC track voltage was too low, you would not be able to get the sound decoder to properly "boot up" and also play the non-running sounds.

Still, as we both agreed, sending the Power Cab to ESU for service and upgrade will quickly eliminate it as the problem component in this puzzle.  Hopefully you will update this thread (or continue troubleshooting) once you get the Power Cab back.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2019, 04:17:05 AM by peteski »
--- Peteski de Snarkski

-"Look at me, I'm satirical!!!"
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-"Look at me, I have OCD!!!"
-"Look at me, I'm a curmudgeon!!!!"
-"Look at me, I'm not negative, just blunt and honest!!!"

wvgca

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Re: Problems with DCC
« Reply #40 on: September 04, 2019, 02:52:24 AM »
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you should get 12 to 15 volts on the track, unit plugged, no loco's or lighted observation cars on the track .. i get 14.5 with a rrampmeter and a mrc prodigy ...
as previously stated, you should upgrade your system to the current chip / value first, just in case ..

Hawghead

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Re: Problems with DCC
« Reply #41 on: September 04, 2019, 04:02:38 PM »
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Scott,
In my professional experience as a troubleshooter (electronic tech like you, and now more of a software troubleshooter), I have learned that the more details about the problem and about the environment I have, the easier it is to arrive at possible fixes/solutions.  :)

I have to say that you have omitted some of info (like measuring 3-4 volts at the track with your non-DCC-specific AC voltmeter).  If I knew that I wouldn't have been so quick to dismiss the Power Cab as the possible problem.  But I still doubt that the Power Cab is the problem.  If the DCC track voltage was too low, you would not be able to get the sound decoder to properly "boot up" and also play the non-running sounds.

Still, as we both agreed, sending the Power Cab to ESU for service and upgrade will quickly eliminate it as the problem component in this puzzle.  Hopefully you will update this thread (or continue troubleshooting) once you get the Power Cab back.

Pete,

Sorry perhaps I was misleading.  I was saying that IF I measured 3-4 VAC on the track then I would know something was wrong with the system.  I was trying to suggest, that even with a basic VOM, if something was really wrong with the system's P/S it could be identified.

I just found and ordered a brand new, Blackstone RGS #40 from a dealer.  Should be here in a few days and that should settle the issue of where the problem lies.
Sorry if my previous post sounded a$$haterish, I didn't mean it to be.

Thanks,
Scott
There's a prototype for everything.
If you can't make it perfect, make it adjustable.
DCC is not plug-n-play.

MK

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Re: Problems with DCC
« Reply #42 on: September 04, 2019, 04:04:14 PM »
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a$$haterish

Oh?!  That's the foundation of TRW.  :D  :facepalm:  :trollface:  :ashat:

Hawghead

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Re: Problems with DCC
« Reply #43 on: September 04, 2019, 04:49:23 PM »
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you should get 12 to 15 volts on the track, unit plugged, no loco's or lighted observation cars on the track .. i get 14.5 with a rrampmeter and a mrc prodigy ...
as previously stated, you should upgrade your system to the current chip / value first, just in case ..

I plan on upgrading the chip, but first I want to see if the system is the cause of the problem.  If there is a problem with the system I'll send it in to be repaired and have them install the new chip while it's there.  If it turns out the system is OK, I'll just order the chip and install it myself.

Thanks,
Scott
There's a prototype for everything.
If you can't make it perfect, make it adjustable.
DCC is not plug-n-play.

Hawghead

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Re: Problems with DCC
« Reply #44 on: September 04, 2019, 04:50:39 PM »
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Oh?!  That's the foundation of TRW.  :D  :facepalm:  :trollface:  :ashat:

Well in that case I'm just glad I could do my part.  :trollface:

Scott
There's a prototype for everything.
If you can't make it perfect, make it adjustable.
DCC is not plug-n-play.