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3 Truck Shay with DCC

Started by nymark, January 17, 2021, 11:09:43 AM

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I bought some stationary rollers to run my Bachmann Climax and Shay in place. Glad I did as it's a great way to display and also watch for problems. Both ran great on Friday but when I tried to run the Shay on Saturday, the engine sound came on but nothing else. I put it directly on the track and tried again. No forward or reverse movement, no lights, bell or horn just engine sound. I tried reprogramming CV 8 to #8 and also resetting the address. I run it through an NCE Pro Cab with an NCE 5 amp smart booster. The Climax works fine. While messing with it I did get a message to come up that a short circuit was detected. I'm wondering if anyone has had such a problem and what they did to resolve it. I'll be trying to figure it out today.

I have a Broadway Limited HO RS unit that did something similar. I put it in its box for a few years and pulled it out recently and it ran great. Incredible sound in those things!

Thanks for reading and any suggestions.

Update: After posting this, I went out and worked on the problem. Put it on DC and nothing. Not sure if there's a switch inside but thought the decoder was dual mode. What I did was program the short address to 003 and it ran. Forward and reverse, lights, bell and horn all worked. I then reprogrammed the long address to the road number 2147 and it worked too. No chuff sound though. Now I wonder if my soldering of the cylinder assembly failed and maybe caused a short and the problem. Going to see right now.


Greg Elmassian

Sounds like the first time, wrong address... that's why no response (Engine sounds usually come on irrespective of address...)

The second time, sounds like you got it right.

That's my theory of what happened.

Visit my site: lots of tips and techniques:


Thank you Greg,

I re soldered the connections to the chuff switch in the cylinder assembly. Still no chuff but I think I just need to reprogram the sound correctly now as I seemed to change some things with my previous efforts. I learned I need to shut the power off after trying to set it to factory settings. Since it's running pretty well, I'm hesitant to do anything but probably can't help myself.

Your input is much appreciated,

Greg Elmassian

I assume this is the stock decoder, sold with the loco by Bachmann?

I do not think that it will use the chuff switch, typically these are OEM decoders from SoundTraxx, and the OEM versions typically are missing some features, notably a chuff switch input.

Let's make sure of the decoder first, and then the manual on the decoder.

Visit my site: lots of tips and techniques:


The decoder did come with the Shay. One of my problems is that I misplaced the literature for my Shay in my last few dormant years.  It's around here someplace. The box for the Shay says it's a Tsunami decoder which I think is made by Sound Traxx. It did have the chuff sound when the engine was put in forward and reverse. My Climax is the same and has the chuff sound. I lost the F key noises like cylinder blowdown, dynamo, water stop and coupler. I've been looking at the literature that came with the Climax and it says there is a switch on the circuit board that allows for two chuffs or four. That's interesting. I wasn't going to mess with it today but you have my interest piqued. I'm going to try to figure some of this out.

Thank you for your expertise!

Edit: I put my Shay on the rollers. The status was the same, forward/reverse, engine noise all worked but no chuff. Horn, whistle and headlight all worked but no hiss, water, dynamo etc (F functions). I reprogrammed CV 8 to a value of 8 and pulled the plug. When I powered it up again, there was engine sound but no control at all like in my first post in this thread. So, I reassigned the short address to 003 and tried again. Everything worked, even the chuff! I then reassigned the long address to the road number, "2147" and it is all good. Glad to have my chuff back. Now, I have to figure out why my cab light doesn't work but that's for a new thread.


A couple of thoughts.

1) The climax decoder is an entirely different decoder then the 3 truck shay decoder and has many different features.

2) From your email let me guess.  You have an NCE system.  With NCE address 003 is a long address while 3 is a short address.   When you reset the decoder it went to address 3, the short address.  You reporgrammed it to address 003 which is a long address and now it works when you enter 003 on the handheld.

3) I suspect when you did a factory reset of the decoder you reset many of the CVs that were set for the 3 truck shay to the decoder factory setting and not to the settings for the 3 truck shay.

The above URL lists the default CVs for this locomotive.  Find the ones that are different and reset them to these values and it should work as you expect.

I would start with CVs 33 - 46

Hope that helps



Hi Stan,

The URL you sent is the exact document I have around here but can't find! Thank you for that as I was unsuccessful finding it online (I knew it had to be online somewhere but solved my problem without it so quit looking). I run them on my NCE 5 amp smart booster and Pro Cab.

I bought both of my engines on Ebay from a great and well known large scale dealer in Las Vegas. Both came with decoders. They also have sound, engine chuff, bell, whistle and the F functions I listed above. I haven't had any problems with the Climax so it runs and sounds as it came. The Shay also runs and sounds as it came again and I was able to program the long address to the road number," 2147".

Will reprogramming the CV's in the Shay give it more realistic sounds? I'm happy enough with the generic way it came but it might be fun to customize it too.

Thank you for your reply, expertise and the URL,