Author Topic: Noob Question [Bachmann N PRR K4)  (Read 464 times)

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Mark5

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Noob Question [Bachmann N PRR K4)
« on: September 07, 2020, 08:35:04 PM »
+1
I bought one of these (for some reason I always wanted a K4). Anyway, although the sound is decent, I can't seem to get happy with the slow speed performance.

Are there any settings I could change to improve the slow speed performance? (I have a NCE Power Cab).

Thanks!

Mark5

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Re: Noob Question [Bachmann N PRR K4)
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2020, 07:55:51 AM »
0
Ok, I've been reading ... maybe I can tweak the speed tables. From the Wiki, it sounds like the tables can be accessed from my Power Cab, but the Wiki suggests software to do this.

https://dccwiki.com/Speed_Table

https://ncedcc.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/202449995-Fine-tuning-locomotive-operation

Mark

Maletrain

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Re: Noob Question [Bachmann N PRR K4)
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2020, 10:33:16 AM »
+1
I have a PowerCab and some other Bachmann locomotives, but not a K4.  So, I am hesitant to post anything like "Set CV xx to value yy," because Bachmann is notorious for having custom decoders that are slightly different from their namesakes that are directly available from the decoder manufacturers.

However, typically the Bachmann locomotives come with enough instructions to tell you what CVs to change to get different sound effects and to change the start, mid and max speeds.  I have found it easy enough to change those on the programming track with the PowerCab.  But, tweaking BEMF or setting whole speed tables is a little more hinky without something like JMRI that "knows" what all the CVs are for that particular decoder - if, in fact, somebody has already figured it out and fed it into JMRI.

At least on the programming track, you can read the value of a CV before messing with it, and put it back to the original value if it turns out to be the wrong CV for what you want to do.

If you do use the Power Cab in Programming Track Mode, be advised that there is a glitch in the PowerCab itself that sometimes results in some of the commands for speed and sound being messed up, after exiting program track mode, until the power to the PowerCab is cycled off and back on.  The usual technique of just cycling the power to the decoder by tipping the loco so all contact is lost to one rail does not solve that.  I was getting upset that I had really somehow messed up my decoder settings until the guys on the NCE-DCC@groups.io told me about that glitch.

Hopefully, somebody with a Bachmann K4 will come on here and tell you what CVs to mess with to get the best low-speed performance.

« Last Edit: September 10, 2020, 05:11:35 PM by Maletrain »

Mike C

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peteski

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Re: Noob Question [Bachmann N PRR K4)
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2020, 06:24:52 PM »
0

If you do use the Power Cab in Programming Track Mode, be advised that there is a glitch in the PowerCab itself that sometimes results in some of the commands for speed and sound being messed up, after exiting program track mode, until the power to the PowerCab is cycled off and back on.  The usual technique of just cycling the power to the decoder by tipping the loco so all contact is lost to one rail does not solve that.  I was getting upset that I had really somehow messed up my decoder settings until the guys on the NCE-DCC@groups.io told me about that glitch.

I'm puzzled about the required power cycling and that it does not work.  I only seen requirement for a power cycle when a decoder is reset to factory defaults (and it takes power cycle to complete the reset).  I never heard of needing to power cycle after setting any other CVs.  Or are you saying that after programming in programming track mode, when normal operation (on main) is resumed, the DCC packets being sent through the track are somehow corrupted or wrong?

I have a NCE Power Cab and have not run into this problem.  Can you point me to the specific info about that glitch?
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Mark5

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Maletrain

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Re: Noob Question [Bachmann N PRR K4)
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2020, 10:02:03 AM »
0
I'm puzzled about the required power cycling and that it does not work.  I only seen requirement for a power cycle when a decoder is reset to factory defaults (and it takes power cycle to complete the reset).  I never heard of needing to power cycle after setting any other CVs.  Or are you saying that after programming in programming track mode, when normal operation (on main) is resumed, the DCC packets being sent through the track are somehow corrupted or wrong?

I have a NCE Power Cab and have not run into this problem.  Can you point me to the specific info about that glitch?

Peteski, all I an do is copy some posts from the NCE group that discuss the problem and the fix (power cycle the whole system).  Apparently it can be any program mode, including on the main.  Read below:

Quote
> Not sure how I did it, but some how, now when I hit the bell button on my Power Cab, the headlights turn on and off, but the bell doesn't ring, can someone please point me in the right direction to reprogram it properly?
>
> thanks
> TIM

Hi Tim,

There is a small gremlin in the PowerCab software that does this upon exiting the program track mode.

Just power cycle the PowerCab and all should be returned to normal.

Ben.


Quote
> On 28 Oct 2019, at 11:40 AM, Steve wrote:
>
> I just received an new ScaleTrains Dash9, and checked it out on my test track with my NCE PowerCab.  It worked perfectly when tested on short address 3.  However, when I changed the long address and activated it on the programming track, something weird happened.  The "Bell" button on the PowerCab stopped turning the bell on and off, and instead, it toggled the headlight.  The Headlight button also toggled the headlight.  The Horn, F0, F1 and F2 buttons continued to perform properly, "playing" the horn, and toggling the headlight, bell and horn.  And, as expected, the PowerCab display reverted from displaying the current draw and displayed the clock, after I did programming on the programming track.
>
> But, wait - after I powered-down the PowerCab and turned the power back on after dinner, all was suddenly right with the world.  The "Bell" button once again was toggling the bell, and the PowerCab display was back to displaying the current instead of the clock. (Yes, I was still using the long address.)

Steve,

The messing up of the Bell button (and possibly other F key effects) and temporary loss of Recall slots after using Program Track mode are two other known bugs in Power Cab firmware. I'm afraid they're not fixed in V1.65B. As you discovered, it needs a power cycle to rectify these.

Dave in Australia

Quote
Steve,

First a disclaimer: I am a new PowerCab user, definitely not an “experienced PowerCab user”. However, I have seen this exact same behavior on my small setup using an ESU LokSound decoder. I have also confirmed it using a friend’s PowerCab, so it would appear the bug is in the PowerCab software/firmware. The trigger (at least for me) is entering “Programming on the Mains” mode (I don’t have a separate programming track).  I don’t even need to change any CV values while in programming mode.  If I enter and then leave that mode the bug will appear.  As soon as I power-cycle the PowerCab, the bug goes away. I meant to write NCE about the issue, but got distracted and never did. Hope this helps!

Bill in VA

I think I also remember something about speed or direction control issues with this bug, but can't find that now.  But, any bug in that area could really affect the OPs intended use to tweak low speed features, so that is why I mentioned it.

peteski

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Re: Noob Question [Bachmann N PRR K4)
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2020, 10:44:16 AM »
0
Thanks!  That helps.  I didn't realize that it was the throttle unit (not  the decoder) that was gettign messed up and has to be power cycled.  My bad.

Now that I read those quotes you posted, it all make s sense. The function button alignment gets messed up on the throttle itself.  Got it!

Now that I understand it, I think I might have ran into this too.  There is another annoying bug in the Power Cab:  SInce I use it as a DCC tester/programmer on my work bench, I find its built-in ammeter function very handy.

The problem is easily reproduced.
Take a Power Cab unit with default parameters and configure the cab settings to display track current. From this point on the current display should persist while the display is in the throttle mode. But it does not.

Is the groups.io  group you mentioned monitored by ESU?  I might want to join it.

Enter PROGRAM ON MAIN mode and either go through the motions, or even just press ESC to exit.  Now ammeter is replaced by clock.
Enter USE PROGRAM TRK mode and either go through the motions or ppress ESC to exit. Now ammeter is replaced by clock.
Rest of the programming modes do not replace the ammeter display with the clock display.

There is also a third action which will replace the ammeter display with clock.
In the throttle mode go to the EXTENDED FUNCTION CONTROL (shifted value 122 assigned to HEADLIGHT button by default) by pressing the HEADLIGHT button once or twice. At that point either toggle one of the higher numbered functions (using numeric keypad) or simply exit the extended function control by pressing ESC. Next press the EXPN button to display the function status, then press it again to go back to the cab mode display. Now the ammeter is replaced by the clock display.

Since I use all those 3 functionalities very often, I find it extremely annoying to have to reprogram the cab parameters to display ammeter every time I do any programming, or even access the extended decoder functions.

I asked NCE to fix the bug, but it doesn't appear that are willing to do that. I like the Power Cab system but I'm disappointed in the support it gets from NCE.  Is the groups.io  group you mentioned monitored by ESU?  I might want to join it.

NOTE:  Sorry for this NCE off-topic diversion TRW is so well knonn for.  :oops:
« Last Edit: September 11, 2020, 12:31:02 PM by peteski »
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jdcolombo

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Re: Noob Question [Bachmann N PRR K4)
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2020, 12:01:42 PM »
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Hi Mark.

When you say you are unhappy with slow speed performance, what exactly do you mean?  Is the slowest speed too fast?  Is the engine jerky or not as smooth as you would like?

If it is running too fast at the slowest speed, then adjust CV2.  Start with it at a value of 1 and go from there.

If the engine isn’t smooth, then you need to play around with the BEMF parameters, like I did with my Bachmann Berkshire.  The Soundtraxx decoder Bachmann used has several BEMF adjustments in CV209-CV216.  See the link posted by Mike C. 

  Here is a post I did on changing the BEMF values on the Bachmann Berk to smooth out the low speed performance, which might help:

https://www.therailwire.net/forum/?topic=35593.msg419571#msg419571

Note that I link to another resource that describes how to adjust the BEMF parameters.  But understand that this is going to be a lot of trial and error to find the best combo.

John C.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2020, 12:06:42 PM by jdcolombo »

Maletrain

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Re: Noob Question [Bachmann N PRR K4)
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2020, 12:34:28 PM »
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...  Is the groups.io  group you mentioned monitored by ESU?  I might want to join it.

The group my quotes came from is NCE-DCC@groups.io, and is focused on NCE products.  It has several really knowledgeable people who monitor it and help solve problems, including Mark Gurries and Dave Heap. I don't know that NCE monitors it as a company.

I suspect there is a goups.io group list for just about everything, so getting a groups.io account and shopping for the lists that address your various interests is a good idea.

Mark5

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Re: Noob Question [Bachmann N PRR K4)
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2020, 06:44:07 PM »
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Hi Mark.

When you say you are unhappy with slow speed performance, what exactly do you mean?  Is the slowest speed too fast?  Is the engine jerky or not as smooth as you would like?

If it is running too fast at the slowest speed, then adjust CV2.  Start with it at a value of 1 and go from there.

Thanks John.

The main problem is that it starts too fast (compared to a real locomotive) - I'll try your suggestion (thanks!) and see if that placates me.  :D

FWIW, I have 5 other sound locos, and this is the only one that was bugging me that way (the only Bachmann of the bunch).

Mark

jdcolombo

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Re: Noob Question [Bachmann N PRR K4)
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2020, 07:48:47 PM »
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Thanks John.

The main problem is that it starts too fast (compared to a real locomotive) - I'll try your suggestion (thanks!) and see if that placates me.  :D

FWIW, I have 5 other sound locos, and this is the only one that was bugging me that way (the only Bachmann of the bunch).

Mark

You may find that you have to play with the BEMF settings in addition to fiddling with CV2 to get where you want to be.
Try CV2 first.  If that doesn’t solve things, read the source material in the link in my Bachmann Berk post.  That might get you pointed in the right direction.

John C.

John C.

peteski

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Re: Noob Question [Bachmann N PRR K4)
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2020, 09:46:56 PM »
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The group my quotes came from is NCE-DCC@groups.io, and is focused on NCE products.  It has several really knowledgeable people who monitor it and help solve problems, including Mark Gurries and Dave Heap. I don't know that NCE monitors it as a company.

I suspect there is a goups.io group list for just about everything, so getting a groups.io account and shopping for the lists that address your various interests is a good idea.

Oops, I meant to say "monitored by NCE", not ESU.  I've been a member of groups.io for 14 years, but not too active until Yahoo decided to shut down their groups last year.  I'm the owner of three groups (migrated from Yahoo groups), and belong to a total of 10 groups.  I just don't want my membership to get out of control. But the NCE-DCC one sounds like one more I should join.
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