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Author Topic: Digitrax  (Read 13762 times)
WTierce1


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« on: March 19, 2011, 05:59:54 PM »

I have something to say NEVER get a digitrax decoder. Me and one of my friends bought some and when we tried to run his train with the decoder, it burned up and I burnt one of mine up when I reprogrammed it.
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A fan of the Tennessee Valley Railroad
jward


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« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2011, 07:48:51 PM »

i have had a similar problem with some of the dh123 decoders. a couple burnt out, and a couple more have had thermal shutdown issues. when they heat up, they shut down stranding your train until the cool.

might i suggest talking to digitrax tech support to see if they can help?
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


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« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2011, 12:05:03 AM »

Burned up a decoder just programming it???  Did you boys perhaps take the shell off the locomotive to do the reprogramming?  Or were you programming to something other than the factory defaults right after installing the decoder but before you test ran it?  Did you install some very old Digitrax decoders?  Their present production decoders are internally protected against overload (they shut down) and against motor shorts (they flash the headlights) but after reading the manual, I am sure you knew that.  What you may not have know is that they are NOT protected against input-output shorts so if you do not properly isolate the motors, they can go up in smoke.  What tests did you perform to make sure the motors were properly isolated?

I would really like to hear just what you did and did not do with your installs.   I would also like to hear how you made out installing other brands of decoders.   Then one of us may be able to give you some helpful hints to prevent it happening again next time.

Jim
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WTierce1


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« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2011, 07:30:35 PM »

Jim-
I actually ran the locomotive with the decoder in it but when I programed it to a different number, it fried litterally. I am using the DH123.
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Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


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« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2011, 08:43:47 PM »

That is freaky.  I hope you will contact Digitrax about this and post their response.  Enquiring minds want to know.

Jim
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jward


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« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2011, 08:49:07 PM »

what wtierce has said about the dh123 is the reason i don't buy them anymore. i've never had anything similar occur with any other digitrax decoder, and the dh163/165s are reasonable in cost, certainly much less than the cost of replacing a dh123 in kind.....
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
Len

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« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2011, 09:13:16 PM »

I'm really curious about this, as I've been using DH123's in my old Athearn locos for years and never had a problem. If you find out what happened please let us know.

Len
 
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Ken G Price


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« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2011, 06:14:44 PM »

I'm really curious about this, as I've been using DH123's in my old Athearn locos for years and never had a problem. If you find out what happened please let us know.

Len
 
I really don't expect this person to answer. I think he just wanted to let off a rant.
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Ken G Price N-Scale out west. 1995-1996 or so! UP, SP, MoPac.
Pictures Of My Layout, http://s567.photobucket.com/albums/ss115/kengprice/
WTierce1


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« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2011, 06:29:22 PM »

Thanks for the suggestions, I was thinking about taking back the decoder after I get it fixed and just get a three pack of Bachmann Hard wire decoders of maybe a different digitrax decoder.
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A fan of the Tennessee Valley Railroad
sly


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« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2011, 03:39:59 PM »

Iwas the friend we were putting the first one that burnt up like instantly it was in a 1952 Lionel southern pacific 4-6-2 YES it is ho scale runs great with out it though
 
 
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ACY


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« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2011, 04:33:47 PM »

Iwas the friend we were putting the first one that burnt up like instantly it was in a 1952 Lionel southern pacific 4-6-2 YES it is ho scale runs great with out it though
You problem is fairly obvious, your decoder was not rated for the amount of amps your locomotives draw. With old locos from the before 1965-1970 or thereabouts, the locos will draw considerably more.  I have an old American Flyer HO loco that draws a little over 3 amps, I would expect Lionel locos from then would be in the 2.5-3 amp range also.
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WTierce1


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« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2011, 07:28:44 PM »

I hooked mine up exactly like it said and actually ran it until I tried to program it to another number. The loco that I had is a Life-Like Teakettle and is fairly new. What decoder would you suggest for the Lionel and mine?
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Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


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« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2011, 07:32:57 PM »

Keep in mind that the DZ125 is basically a Z-scale decoder.  But you can use it in N and H0-scale locomotives that draw less than 1.0 amp running and less than 1.25 amp stalled at 12.0 volts (I think Rich was thinking of the DH123 when he mentioned 1.5 and 2.0 amps.)

Next time, do the stall current test (how many amps the motors draws at 12 volts dc with the shaft held from turning.)  The decoder MUST be able to handle this much current when the motor starts up.  It only takes a few minutes when you have the locomotive opened up anyway, and all you need is a low cost digital multimeter (about $5) and a dc power pack capable of handling the load.  For the record, many new locomotives draw less current, something around .5 amps.  But I test them all anyway and occasional find one that draws more than it should even though it is new from a sealed box.

Many years ago, I had a Tenshodo brass FT.  It pulled close to 3 amps running light.  Figured it had to have a short in the motor so I rewound it.  It still drew almost 3 amps.  Checked the diameter and length of the wire I had pulled off, then calculated the expected current at 12 volts.  It was well over 3 amps.  The motor drew so much that it was dragging down the voltage of my power pack.  I used it as a paper weight for a quarter century or so until I finally replaced the chassis with a chassis, motor and all, from an Athearn F-7/9.  With the brass body and the Athearn lead weight, it will pull stumps.  My point is that these old locomotives can draw a surprising amount of current.  If you want to run them with today's electronics, you may have to replace the motor or even install a whole new chassis to get them to play nice together.

Jim  
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richg
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« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2011, 07:35:09 PM »

I hooked mine up exactly like it said and actually ran it until I tried to program it to another number. The loco that I had is a Life-Like Teakettle and is fairly new. What decoder would you suggest for the Lionel and mine?

Measure the current at 12 volts DC. Below is a link to a multimeter I use. I have three of these meters. Get the cheapest one.
They work very well with a DIY DCC amp meter.

http://www.harborfreight.com/catalogsearch/result?category=&q=multimeter

Rich
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WTierce1


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« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2011, 08:11:10 PM »

I will have to tell Sly that about the motor unless he sees this post again. He really didn't want to change the motor out in it but I still don't understand the thing about my engine. It is relatively new.
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A fan of the Tennessee Valley Railroad
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