Beginner DCC Locomotive Programming Question

Hardcoaler Oct 17, 2019

  1. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    I've been an N Scaler for 50+ years, but have no DCC experience. A generous friend gave me his MRC Prodigy Advance DCC system which dates from 2005 and a few DCC equipped locomotives. I've been having a whole lot of fun running them on my temporary oval and have a few questions about programming their decoders.

    How do I know what CV values to start with when programming Start Voltage, Acceleration Rate, Deacceleration Rate, Top Voltage and Mid Voltage? The throttle's LCD screen shows three spaces for the CVs, but I don't know what to key in. I'd like to begin by slowing down the Acceleration rate on the steam locomotive, an Athearn Challenger which runs beautifully and has sound too.

    I'm really worried about messing things up and ruining my DCC locomotives. :unsure: Thanks y'all!
     
  2. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

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    Well I can help!

    CV3 is forward Momentum, the higher the momentum setting, the slower the locomotive takes off and the longer it take s to get up to speed.
    CV4 is Reverse Momentum, similar to forward momentum the is how fast the locomotive slows down.
    CV5 is the Max Speed
    CV6 is the Midpoint Speed (Corrected, do not know what I was thinking )

    If you use the speed tables, you have CV67 through CV94 with CV66 and CV95 as Forward and Reverse trim respectively.
    CV65 is also helpful and is called KickStart, it adds a little extra voltage to locomotives that need a little extra power to get started.

    Hope this helps!
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019
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  3. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    By DCC Standards
    CV 2 = start voltage
    CV 3 = acceleration
    CV 4 = deceleration
    CV 5 = Max speed
    CV 6 = Middle Speed

    If you really want to get into DCC locos, highly suggest installing JMRI Decoder Pro and connecting that up to your command station (the MRC Prodigy). This allows you to see all the settings for the individual decoder (and many CVs are used differently across brands; only some are standardized), with descriptive words for what the setting is for.
     
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  4. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks guys. (y) Are the numbers for CV 3, 4, 5 and 6 that I'm to enter anywhere on a scale between 0 and 100? Is there a factory reset function for the chip in case I really mess things up?
     
  5. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    They are 0-255 (a single byte)
    Yes, all decoders have a way to reset them to "default" settings, but unfortunately, it varies by manufacturer. Most use "set CV 8 = 8" as reset (Digitrax, TCS, etc). CV 8 is actually a read only value which provides the Mfg's ID (which allows one to identify the decoder). CV 7 also is read only, and is a model number for the decoder (usually).
     
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  6. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Okay, that gives me something to go on. I've been trying to program a locomotive's CVs, but nothing changes when I'm done. I'm reading something wrong in the instructions no doubt and will take another look.

    I stumbled into the throttle function where I can go on the fly to 128 speed steps and man, that is cool. Talk about precise speed control! :)
     
  7. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    There are two ways to program: Programming Track and Program-On-The-Main. The former allows direct programming of any loco on the track, regardless of address, to be changed. The latter uses the loco’s address and the loco is on the main track.

    I do not know the Prodigy, so don’t know how you set them up.
     
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  8. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for the help so far Rick and DCE. I tried Main Line Programming and it worked! (y) I've been experimenting with the various CVs related to locomotive actions such as Starting Voltage, Top Voltage, Acceleration and Deacceleration. I'm beginning to understand what action a low number produces vs a high number and am having fun with the process.

    I'm now very happy that I wired my (modestly sized, one man) layout to accept both DC and DCC input. Despite my gray hair, I'm becoming a fan of DCC after just a few hours with it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2019
  9. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Oh, another question about DCC. So my Athearn Challenger is now programmed the way I want and it runs great with my MRC Prodigy Advance DCC system.

    Does the DCC chip inside the locomotive remember what it's been taught or does the programming reside only in my throttle's memory? In other words, if I take my newly programmed locomotive to a club layout, will it remember what I taught it when running on a different layout?
     
  10. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

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    It is all in the decoder chip in the locomotive!
     
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  11. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Such neat technology -- thanks DCE! Just what I hoped. (y)
     
  12. p jones

    p jones New Member

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  13. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks p jones -- I downloaded each. Much of this is VERY complicated to me, but I can see that DCC is simple to start with and can expand in sophistication as one might want. When I get my layout built, I know that I'll want a diesel with sound.
     

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