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| | |-+  Digitrax Zephyr, Decoder Pro, and sound decoders
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Author Topic: Digitrax Zephyr, Decoder Pro, and sound decoders  (Read 8546 times)
Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


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« Reply #30 on: May 19, 2009, 05:38:33 PM »

Rangerover, you win the bet and I will gladly buy you a beverage of your choice next time you are in Saskatoon.  I had in mind that the E-Z Command power pack was up around 18 volts unloaded but I just checked three of them and measured 16.0, 16.0 and 16.1.  The odd ball was an older one, identical with the other two except for having a primary power cord instead of the prongs built in.  The difference in our measurements of  output may be just the difference between US line voltage and Canadian line voltage (ours is 120 volts and was bang on during this test) and are not significant.  I used a $14 DMM that I check from time to time against my AVO meter (model 8 mark III with traceable calibration.)  I like the low cost meters because I can throw them in the tool box and even if I run over one with my truck, I am not out much.  I rarely use the AVO directly because there is no way I could ever afford to replace it.

I did read and understand that you were programming a DZ143.  The comment about the DZ125 if for the next guy who may not realize the difference.  In fact, Digitrax now rates the DZ125 at 22 volts but there may be some of the earlier ones still around.  But again, using a 15 or 16 volt supply on your PR-3 should not affect even one of the older ones.  I would be interested if you could tell  me the track voltage with the PR-3, either with its own power supply or with the E-Z Command one.  You have got my curiosity going here.

Jim

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Rangerover

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« Reply #31 on: May 19, 2009, 09:54:52 PM »

Rangerover, you win the bet and I will gladly buy you a beverage of your choice next time you are in Saskatoon.  I had in mind that the E-Z Command power pack was up around 18 volts unloaded but I just checked three of them and measured 16.0, 16.0 and 16.1.  The odd ball was an older one, identical with the other two except for having a primary power cord instead of the prongs built in.  The difference in our measurements of  output may be just the difference between US line voltage and Canadian line voltage (ours is 120 volts and was bang on during this test) and are not significant.  I used a $14 DMM that I check from time to time against my AVO meter (model 8 mark III with traceable calibration.)  I like the low cost meters because I can throw them in the tool box and even if I run over one with my truck, I am not out much.  I rarely use the AVO directly because there is no way I could ever afford to replace it.

I did read and understand that you were programming a DZ143.  The comment about the DZ125 if for the next guy who may not realize the difference.  In fact, Digitrax now rates the DZ125 at 22 volts but there may be some of the earlier ones still around.  But again, using a 15 or 16 volt supply on your PR-3 should not affect even one of the older ones.  I would be interested if you could tell  me the track voltage with the PR-3, either with its own power supply or with the E-Z Command one.  You have got my curiosity going here.

Jim



Hey Jim I ain't bet'n, heck I'm only learning and I'm way behind you guys with DCC. I got curious from your post. I thought he must know something that I don't nor was I concerned before. What I found out is weird to say the least.

The extra Bachmann EZ Command power pack is measuring 14. 35 volts out of the wall. That's the one I used on my program track. Hooked up to the PR3 I get 14 volts on the track with a loco turned on. Well I kind of knew that from when I first measured it.

The Digitrax PS 14 reads 14.96 volts out of the wall, but only 8.31 volts on the track with a loco turned on and 12.35 volts with nothing on the track. Strange!!!!!!!

The Bachmann EZ Command I run on the layout with the 5 amp booster measures 16.97 out of the wall and 15 volts avg on the layout track measured in various places, with no loco's on the track, I knew that though. I have quite a number of led's that are on with the track power on so I accept the loss of voltage there.

The 2 Bachmann EZ Command power packs are identical in appearance and the extra one I had was never used in the 3 years or so since I bought it until I used it with the PR3. Odd !!!!!!!!!! One measures 14.96 while the other measures 16.97.

I sure am glad I mentioned this, thanks for your warnings I appreciate it. Fortunately I plugged the right one in the PR3, no more. I'll wait for the Power Pax to program the Tsunami and other such sound decoders as per Tony's Trains suggestion.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2009, 10:18:09 PM by Rangerover » Logged
Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


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« Reply #32 on: May 20, 2009, 01:18:38 AM »

Rangerover, you may be onto something.  It sounds like your PS14 is not putting out enough current to properly program the decoders you had trouble with.  I wonder if this is because the PS14 is a tranformerless supply with current limiting.  (You can tell transformerless supplies by their light weight compared to transformer ones of similar current rating.)  The older PS12 which they used to reccommend for the PR-3 had a transformer and would happily go into overload, at least for short periods of time.  So it could produce more than 300 milliamps if asked to and do it without a great deal of voltage loss.  But current limiting supplies drop off very quickly above their rated current.  Needless to say, your E-Z Command supply, which is rated at 1000 milliamps and you know produces 14 volts is not being loaded down so badly.  You might want to confirm this with an email to Digitrax, but in my opinion, you should be okay with that particular E-Z Command power supply.

The link below is the manual for the PR-3.  On page 4, they mention a blinking red LED if the output falls too low.  Did you by any chance notice this with the troublesome decoders when using the PS12?

http://www.digitrax.com/ftp/PR3%20Programmerweb.pdf

Jim

p.s. we are all learning, and learning from one another.
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Rangerover

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« Reply #33 on: May 20, 2009, 10:01:07 AM »

The link below is the manual for the PR-3.  On page 4, they mention a blinking red LED if the output falls too low.  Did you by any chance notice this with the troublesome decoders when using the PS12?

http://www.digitrax.com/ftp/PR3%20Programmerweb.pdf


No nothing with the leds were anything out of ordinary. I studied those leds for hours, I must say when first reading the info on the leds was confusing, I did experiment by disconnecting the power supply to see for myself what they meant. Also the same with disconnecting the track power wires and the USB port, just so I would know why an led was blinking different than what normal is.

I really don't feel comfortable with continuing use of the Bachmann power pack programming with the PR3. I bought the PR3 for a specific reason, so I could download loco sounds from the soundloader program using the digitrax soundbug. Also it gave me the interface so I could "play" with cv's using the JRMI program since I'm using the Bachmann EZ Command which we all know has no cv programming capability. I won't knock Bachmann for that, but for the low cost and simplicity of Bachmann I don't think I would be this far in my adventure of DCC. I love it by the way!

One of our friends and posters here (Stephen) stopped by a few weeks ago at my home and I of course showed him my pike. He was praising the Dyamis System, which I am taking an interest in.

The Power Pax system has more of what I need in so far as protection with still the right juice, so to speak, to program the more sophisticated sound decoders. I would imagine the frustration of smoking a $100.00 decoder in seconds if something was shorted out in my installation that the Power Pax would detect and cut off so as to prevent the loss. That Bachmann power supply won't do that. Here's the last paragraph from Tony's which really sums it up for my reason to purchase that power supply.

How PowerPax Works:

PowerPax is microprocessor controlled. When hooked up for programming, the PowerPax initially provides power to the programming track to charge-up decoder components like capacitors that would otherwise reduce programming energy and cause a programming failure. When you initiate the programming sequence through your DCC System, the PowerPax also boosts and controls the programming energy to about 200 mA. In the event of an overload or short the PowerPax instantly shuts down to protect the decoder and your DCC Systemís programming circuits.

http://www.tonystrains.com/technews/powerpax.htm

Hey Jim I read your posts and all I can say is I'm glad your here and pointing guys like me in the right direction, thanks, my name is Jim also!
« Last Edit: May 20, 2009, 10:06:12 AM by Rangerover » Logged
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