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Author Topic: Decoder installation problems  (Read 12485 times)
Yampa Bob

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« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2008, 05:03:50 AM »

How about connecting the red and black pickup wires from the loco directly to the two wires leading back to the motor.  If it doesn't then run on DC, could be a poor plug in connection or something else in the loco. It it does run, that could indicate a bad pc board, so hard wire the sucker.  Cheesy

All you need is a pair of jumpers with small alligator clips on each end.  I bought a bag of them in various colors from Radio Shack, very handy for bypassing suspected bad components, either directly or in conjunction with an r/c substitution box. 

I have some male connector plugs scrapped from vandy tenders, I soldered jumper wires from the 2 pin male over to the 2 pins leading back to the motor.  By plugging the adapter in, I can run the loco on DC without the tender.  Eventually I will build a small tank to hold a decoder, add a Kadee and use it for a yard switcher.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2008, 05:42:12 AM by Yampa Bob » Logged

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pdlethbridge
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« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2008, 11:35:54 AM »

I'm partial to crocodile clips, they hold better. Grin
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Yampa Bob

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« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2008, 02:08:18 PM »

The next time I visit the store, I will ask for crocodile clips.

On my last visit, I asked the clerk for 3/32" and  1/8" stereo plugs. The clerk said they are not made, adding she should know since she has worked there for 10 years.   Strange, as the parts drawer had tags for the items, but the bins were empty. 

Excuse number two:(after locating them at their warehouse)  "Oh, we have never stocked them, since they don't sell".

I said, "how can you sell them, or not sell them, if you never stocked them?"

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Steve G.

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« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2008, 04:23:08 PM »

I had a similar problem installing a Digitrax decoder in a Doodlebug.  When I removed the old jumper plug from the PC board socket, the guts from the #1 socket connector came out with the plug.  Seems like the person that prepared the socket got a little too close to the connector with the cutoff wheel and damaged it. Angry

In my case it was the orange motor lead that was open.  I could get lights but the Doodlebug would not move.  Now, if a similar thing happened to your #4 or #8 (Red or Black track power circuits) you would get no track power to your decoder.  But, the decoder would work fine in another locomotive as mine did. Huh?

I removed the old 8-pin socket and replaced it with one that was carefully cut from the stock strip.  Why didn't I just solder direct?  I have an additional function only decoder in the Doodlebug for the passenger compartment illumination.  The plug and socket connection facillitates making changes and programming.  The motor decoder and the function decoder have the same address and you don't want to program them at the same time.
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Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


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« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2008, 04:42:48 PM »

On my last visit, I asked the clerk for 3/32" and  1/8" stereo plugs. The clerk said they are not made, adding she should know since she has worked there for 10 years.   Strange, as the parts drawer had tags for the items, but the bins were empty.

On your next visit, ask her if she has 2.5 and 3 millimeter stereo plugs.  Same thing, different measuring system.

By her logic, I am left wondering if this was the same woman who said she couldn't ship an item to Canada because she didn't do overseas shipping.
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pdlethbridge
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« Reply #20 on: August 22, 2008, 09:29:33 PM »

Jim, it wasn't Canada, it was Mexico overseas. I think I found the connies problem. One of the 2 coils next to the capacitor was broken. 1 wire lead was off. I got an old athearn diesel going with a decoder. Ran pretty good, now I just have to put in lights and get everything insulated and taped and it will be good to go. I got a dz123 decoder for the 0-6-0 t and I'll try installing that this weekend. Jim, I'll be going to your site for instructions to do my Baby trainmaster. Excellent instructions, by the way. I also used the site for my connie. I checked the Engines plugs and they work fine so the tender is the problem. I'll be getting a new one shortly from the favorite spot.
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Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


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« Reply #21 on: August 23, 2008, 12:05:04 AM »

PD, I am glad to hear you found the problem.  If you like, the coil can be replaced by a piece of solid wire but a new tender with a new board should do even better.

If memory serves, it was one of your postings that tuned me in to The Favorite Spot.  I ended up buying several trains worth of On30 locomotives and cars from him and found him great to deal with.  For that I thank you.  Now about my wife wanting to put a contract out on you ...
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grumpy

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« Reply #22 on: August 23, 2008, 12:20:48 AM »

Those crocodile clips can be tough on the fingers. They are a lot more aggresive than the alligator clips.
Don Wink
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pdlethbridge
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« Reply #23 on: August 23, 2008, 02:30:53 AM »

Australian croc clips are even worse Shocked
I got an athearn sw1500 going tonight. It worked great but when I installed lights the decoder went up in smoke. Not your typical electrical burning smell, but it did produce smoke and a black mark on the once new decoder. Poof Now I know that the gray goes on the bottom clip of an athearn diesel with it protected with electrical tape and orange on the top clip. Red to the metal l shaped bracket coming off the wheels and black to the light clip. After I got this far it was tested and ran real good. I put in front and back lights using the white wire for the front and yellow for the back. I had the proper resister installed for each light as well. The other leads off the bulbs were connected to the blue line. I had checked all connections but still got it fried. Angry
Jim, I tried to put a piece of wire at L1 but it still didn't work.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2008, 02:43:11 AM by pdlethbridge » Logged
pdlethbridge
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« Reply #24 on: August 25, 2008, 10:29:05 PM »

Well, I was successful in screwing up another install. So now I'm bating 500. I got an athearn GP7 going last night. Works great. Do I have to program the lights to get them to work?
Today I spent about 3-4 hours trying a dz123 install in my Bachmann 0-6-0 T. It Was a no go. Things were going slow but okay until I popped the black wire off the decoder.  Looks like that will be in the shops for a while. It didn't go up in smoke, it didn't do anything. I think I'll stick to plug and play and athearn Installs. They seem to be the easiest for me. My problem is that I can't use the right hand like I want, can't grip tight enough and wires that small are very hard to hold.
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Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


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« Reply #25 on: August 26, 2008, 05:42:55 PM »

PD, did you remember to isolate the Athearn headlight from its mounting bracket?  The bracket connects to the locomotive frame, which in turn connects to one set of wheels.  If you connect the blue wire to this bracket or to the outside shell of the headlight bulb base, it is the same as connecting the blue wire (an output wire) to the wheels (an input wire) which is a no-no.  Same goes for the rear light.

If you want to leave the headlight mounted that way, do not use the blue wire at all.  Just connect the white wire to the centre of the bulb base.  The return will be through the one set of wheels.  This has a down side if you are running some locomotives on address 0 (address 10 on E-Z Command) because the headlight will dim or brighten along with the speed of the dc locomotive.  Same goes for the rear light.

If this is what caused the demise of your decoder, then all you have done is blow one of the rectifier diodes on the decoder board.  Depending on the particular decoder, this may be anywhere from hard to dead easy to replace.

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pdlethbridge
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« Reply #26 on: August 26, 2008, 08:05:44 PM »

Well, the lights were a add on and I had them totally insulated, including the resistor. The decoder was a digitrax  dh123. The burn mark was about 1/8" from connector on the high side of the connector. Burned right through the plastic wrap of the decoder. If the connector was in the 12 o'clock position, the burn was at 11 o'clock.
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Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


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« Reply #27 on: August 28, 2008, 12:05:10 AM »

Well, the lights were a add on and I had them totally insulated, including the resistor.
That puts a different slant on things.  Did you use a resistor because of a lamp current over 50 mA or to drop the voltage for a low voltage lamps or as a ballast resistor for an LED?  Did you use a similar resistor for the rear lights or were they different?

Did you happen to measure the lighting current before hooking up the lights?  It would be easy to say you should have -  but I won't because I say it to myself too often, usually right after things go sideways and I let the smoke out.  Speaking of which, I popped a DH123 decoder about a year ago.  I hope I can find it to see what is located at 11 o'clock.
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pdlethbridge
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« Reply #28 on: August 28, 2008, 04:05:45 AM »

Jim,
I used the 12v 80mA from perfect with 33 ohm 1/4 w resistors. The athearn geep has the same set up but it runs, but no lights. I just got the Bachmann tender today for the connie and it is working great with the decoder, but no lights here either. Isn't there a rule 17 that has to be used for the lights? So far I have not programmed any of the decoders as I only have one unit running at any time. I got to look at the NCE manual to learn how to program. All I know now is use 3 for the decoder to see if it runs. I cut 1 end of the capacitor in the new tender and it works great. The tender was unlettered so I just swapped bodies with the other Maine Central tender. It seems like my computer building days, sometimes it would work, sometimes it wouldn't. The computers were much easier to deal with. These things are sooooo small. Paul
« Last Edit: August 28, 2008, 04:12:09 AM by pdlethbridge » Logged
pdlethbridge
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« Reply #29 on: August 28, 2008, 08:52:01 AM »

Bob, here's the link for the crocodile clips.
http://www.futurlec.com/Banana-Clips.shtml
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