Mar 17, 2013
I saw the one in Deadwood...It's ok at best!
I enjoyed the Deadwood layout. It would have been nice for there to be someone there to operate stuff other than the two 'programmed' trains, but there was a lot of little vignettes and details here n there. As all layouts, more to do, but the trains ran well.
On to my layout. I had time this morning to go play in the Trainshed, so here's a couple of video's.
Yes, some thinking going on about possibly moving the layout to the house, eventually....... But in the meantime, trains to run and play with. Here's a few of the #12 after cleaning tender wheels, then loco wheels.
I am still fairly certain that I will be deleting the Soundtraxx decoders from my loco's. Their lighting effects don't play well with the NCE system and have to be reset anytime that there is a hiccup in power. Even if there is a small Keep Alive Cap. Loksound works very well with the system, so it will win. Eventually, I will have about 6 to 8 Econami and Tsunami 2's to unload.
Hope you all are having a great labor day! For my morning labor day, I set up the video and did some switching at the oil refinery, with rambling commentary and some small issues. Fun!!!
So, this week it turned out that the issue I was having with the 11 was a split cylinder mount. This is the second one for this loco, so am going to ponder and research what it will take to fix this...
So, while pondering that, I drove a train!
After driving a bit, and having done some research, I decided to sacrifice some tender weight and install a KA3 onto the Tsunami2 and see if it is any better, or not. A video will follow after testing it some.....
And after setting a few CV's a bit and letting the caps charge, here's a test run shot.
I really liked these vids.
I noticed you use the same 'bridge supports' I do except yours are much neeter.
How did you cut the foam so smoothly? What tools? Did you make a jig?
That unit sounds really good Alan and looks like a really smooth runner.
Greyone - I used foam and a very sharp new #11 blade. Then paint and set them and then the scenery around them. Fun!
BNSF Fan - It is much better than when it was BLI. Now I just got to set CV's and speed control and we will see! Thanks!
So now the thing is reacting badly and getting unresponsive to commands. Weird. Sent email to TCS and will see what they have to say.
Here's a vid of it from last night. I sent this with a description of the issues to Soundtrax, will see what they have to say.....
Have you removed the power pack to see if anything changes? If not I'd try that and run it for a while. Then if still having problems restore the CVs you changed back to factory defaults and test again.
Got this reply from Soundtrax support. Now to start on this, I do have CV 29 set for no DC, but will double check. I did notice the blue pilot light stays on, and wondered why. Will update y'all when I have some progress....
Fri, Sep 17, 10:10 AM (19 hours ago)
I’m not sure the issue is in the loco.. Here’s why. First, lets talk about the loco. When it’s stopping, the blue pilot light is not going out, which would indicate the stay alive is not working, but toward the end, I do notice the lights flickering.. You said the model had poor track pickups, so the stay alive will keep the decoder running for ~5-6 seconds, but takes 45-90 seconds to charge. So, the flickering light may be due to the stay alive running out of power and not having time to recharge before being called on for more power. To test this, if you start noticing the light flickering, stop the model, let the SA charge up, then run it and see if the light stops flickering. Also, if you enabled DC in CV 29, this could be a result also of the bad track. When the decoder loses the DCC signal, if analog mode is enabled, the decoder reverts to DC mode, then with no input power, in DC mode, the loco reads that as a stop command, then starts to slow/stop the loco. If these pickups are that poor, make sure DC mode is disabled fully in CV 29.
Second, The decoder has no free will of its own. It follows the NMRA DCC commands being sent to it. This means that if a decoder starts ‘acting up’ or starts some erratic behavior, then there is something in the commands. This, to me was illustrated when the loco was running at speed, then seemed to be ‘slowing’ and then speeding up. This is not a feature of the decoder, so there are no CVs to adjust to mimic this behavior, so then we look at the DCC system and the commands. If the DC mode is disabled, then this leads me to look at errant DCC commands also intended for the loco’s address. Since we cannot ‘see’ the DCC commands like we could a variable voltage DC powerpack (with a multimeter set to DC volts), we make assumptions that the command on my ‘active’ throttle is the only DCC commands being sent. In a perfect world, the system would realize that you are sending commands from your throttle and override/erase any other DCC commands, but alas, we do not live in that DCC utopia. NCE is one of the better ones when it comes to this, but it is not immune. Many times, there can be multiple commands being sent from the DCC command queue to the decoder’s address. Even if this DCC command is stop, with all functions off, the command is being sent, so the decoder, again, having no free will of its own, just ‘follows orders’. This may appear that the decoder is acting up, but in reality, it’s just doing what it’s told..
On the NCE throttle, there is a button labeled ‘recall’. This allows you to toggle between multiple loco addresses when running. This then allows your hand-held throttle to become 2 or 4 separate throttles. This can be a cause of the multiple commands being sent.. There are some quirks with the NCE that I have not personally figured out how and why, but I know sometimes when I see some of these issues, I reset the DCC system. In the case of the unresponsive bell. We have a NCE PowerCab that occasionally gets to the point where it’s not sending out commands, so again, I reset the system. But, in your case, this could be 1 of 2 things, either the cab is internally freezing as I mentioned here, or the F1 bell is being sent as off by the ‘phantom’ command, and your F1 on command is being overridden faster than the decoder can respond. I have seen this happen too. There are other DCC systems that the phantom command is more prevalent, and you can occasionally get the F3 short horn to constantly blow. It’s not the decoder misbehaving, it’s the DCC command sending the commands.
My recommendation is first, reset the decoder (CV 8 to 8, cycle the power) and then reset the DCC system (in the Menu option: Set CMD Parameters) and with a freshly reset DCC system (all DCC commands cleared out) and the reset decoder (CV 29 defaulted to DC disabled) and see what happens. Again, let the Stay Alive module fully charge, then run and watch the lights as it runs and see if the flickering gets worse as it runs.. Ideally, the decoder gets the bulk of the power form the track, which also gets the DCC signal to the decoder. Try this and let me know what you find. I have never seen this behavior be a result of issues with he decoder. We do hand-test every one here before it leaves, and during the design phase, we endurance tested the hardware to make sure that once it works, it works. But, if you cannot find anything else, and the above yields no good results, then you are welcome to send it in and we can take a look and confirm whether it is or is not in the decoder. Here, we test on a NCE system with wires hard-wired to the decider directly so we get the power supply out of the issues list. If you do decide you want to send it in, Remove the decoder from the model and send the decoder in along with a copy of the receipt (dated within 90-days for warranty, otherwise a $45 service fee will be applicable) and the Service Request Form: https://soundtraxx.com/content/decoderservice.pdf and we will get this handled as quickly as we can for you..
Here is a quick overview of the process:
I hope this helps. Let us know if you need any further assistance. Feel free to reach out and I’ll help any way I can.
Wow! That's an impressive Tech Support reply from any company, let alone a MRR company!
Well, I thought so. So I followed the advice, first checked that CV 29 was correct, no DC allowed. Check. Still weird. So, CV 8 = 8 next, still weird. Then I took the NCE and reset the controller, still weird. Lastly, I cut the wire to the KA3, still weird. Dang. Back on the workbench with it and there it will sit until I decide what to do. . . . probably go to a Loksound.
What is the value of cv29 at this time?
Yep, bit 5 is set for dcc only ops. I know this suggestion is a PITA but if you have another loco you could install the board on to test that would help eliminate or confirm issues with track power/pickup of this particular loco. Not everyone is willing to go through that hassle but if you are motivated it's worth trying for at least the educational benefit.
I've used the ka1 and 3 on several installs but with the loksound micro. My experience on those is it takes about 10 seconds to fully charge if the loco is idle with sound and lights off. If I allow that time then start the loco and pull it off the track it will continue to run as is for about 5 seconds. If that is not happening for you double check the connections including polarity. you mentioned you removed the keep alive and it still ran "weird" so I take that to mean no change at all from the vid you posted. I wonder if the pickup is so poor on the loco that the signals getting to the decoder are attenuated enough to prevent proper relay of the signals from the command station. Switching the decoder to a known reliable loco would help to answer that question.
Am thinking that the loco pickup issues may be a bit of a problem. However, the fact that it still chugged along and would not respond to any commands after cutting out the KA3 causes me to wonder if the decoder is the issue, or the connections to the circuit board at the front of the loco. Two pages back at post #638 shows photos of that board.
Anyway, back to IRS paperwork, and trains another day.
Actually did accomplish something last week, stitched the cylinders back together on the #11. The set on the right will cause a frame short side to side, so I extended the wire a tad and got it right the second time.
And the frame is ready. You can see the axle wear marks in the frame. Apparently I run this engine, a lot!
That "second" time repair looks really good. Look forward to seeing one of your video's of this one when it gets back on the rails