Oct 28, 2009
Hey, if we start taking off for grammar and spelling I'm done!!!!!!!!!
I only learned recently myself but forgot about it completely till you mentioned it again. One of the things I like about model railroading is it challenges me to learn more about the real life stuff where otherwise I'd be completely oblivious to these tidbits of cool information.
JUST LEFT the work bench and trails a GN freight past SP&S FA's into Spokane. Great Northern # X198. A 30' wood caboose built from
a standard offset cupola caboose
Very nice caboose!
HR is gonna hear about this !
Very funny homette
Guess ya gotta have a sense of humor....
So I started to experiment with my modules and why the switches like to cycle over and over again, uncommanded. Well I didn't completely fix the issue, but I did get it to be manageable for the time being. I took the cable and split it into 2 cables, and this seemed to help a lot. I also re-wrapped one of my triple harnesses to make it more flexible. The way I did it made the middle portion way too stiff and it wasn't as nice looking as I thought it would be. So I re-engineered it a little bit and now it is just fine.
That went well…
I did some measurements, and designed a part of my station platform. Then I set a low quality version for a test print and my printer crashed the head into the work surface…. I have an auto leveling sensor, but for some reason it didn’t go to the points and find 0. Off to try again after a calibration cycle.
Gotta love cats. Calibration didn’t work, the printer just sat there. Ok, this isn’t right… then I remembered one of my cats was playing with the printer when I had it on the floor a while back. A quick inspection and there we go, one of the motors and sensors were unplugged. Yea, no wonder why it wasn’t working, it had no clue what was happening. I really wish these were smart enough to give error messages when things are unplugged. But I guess that would make them cost more than $300. Anyway it’s printing now. I will let you all know how it turns out.
Ohhhhhh a wissssse guyyyyyyyyy
Well I am down to my last 18 locomotives to test. Mostly Kato SD70ACE's and a few SD40's.
Now the philosophical question, what is the best move forward, fix the array of dead or defective decoders or to start on the remaining 100 or so locomotives that yet to have decoders installed?
I have fixed one that has a bad solder joint. But that was a simple fix on a Kato P42 locomotive.
60% of the defective units have early wired decoders installed like Digitrax DZ143 or DZ125.
Also 3 Zimo decoders in my FOX Valley units were bad.
The ugly numbers
Zimo 3% of the failures
Lenz either Silver Mini wired decoders or early Altas decoders 4%
TCS 22% of the failures
Digitrax 73% of the failures
Yes 100 Defective decoders
That is why the question, to repair these or focus on new decoders in new locomotives?
Sharkman, I guess look at which ones you want to get running first.
I guess it would depend on your budget. 100 new locomotives at $100-$250 each can get a bit steep, but would be offset by the sale of the old equipment. New decoders will be $30-$120 depending on brand and sound which can get up there in price too. Some of the "failed" decoders could just require a cleaning of the contacts and some soaking in vinegar to remove the corrosion. If they are Digitrax in Kato locomotives I would strongly suggest soldering the engine tabs to the decoder for best results. There are a couple in the Atlas family that are much the same with the motor tabs coming through the board and then to be folded over. I always solder those. If you have an GP38-2s that need a new home... I have a sanctuary for old engines and they will be washed and oiled as needed for the rest of their lives here!
I always solder the motor tabs, I am an Electrical Engineer, solder is our friend!
I have about the same number of bad decoders in wonderful locomotives as I do for new locomotives in a few boxes.
It is a weird situation, granted, but that is pretty much normal for me.
I have a question on the engines with the failed decoders. Would those engines still run as a DC engine?
I just did a soldering clinic at the last train show in my area. I subscribe to the get in and out fast mentality of soldering and for that I have my iron up to 480C to get the job done. When I started the clinic I could see right away a few of the guys were skeptical about my methods. I also am a firm believer in rosin flux to clean the wires. I tinned a 1/2" section of wire using the flux in the solder to clean and I was getting burnt about 1 or so inches down the wire when I felt for the temp. I did it again with the same size area, but this time I dipped it in the flux and the solder on my tip was enough to cover, but I added just a little more for good measure, then I put my fingers on the freshly tinned bare area about 3 seconds after the solder was liquid. No I do not have thick callouses that protected my fingers, my hands are soft and I have no callouses at all. It was how my method works, get in get out fast and do not transfer much heat into your work. I did it a couple times, I even had one of the audience give it a feel after I was done and he confirmed it was not hot. Just seeing how their faces changed when I showed them that it works was amazing. I also soldered 2 wires together with the same results. They wanted me to try and do it with the soldering iron at a lower temp. OK, I found the melting point of my solder was 150C, so I turned the iron just a little above that and went to 175C. I dipped the wire in rosin, tinned my iron tip and tinned the wire, it needed a bit more solder just as I thought it would and I added more... but it wasn't quick like before and no I couldn't touch the wire when I was done. It was a good 30 or so seconds before I could touch it. That really changed their minds on my methods.
Test print for the station platform I done, and it will work! I am currently printing the part of the platform where the building will be. If the spacing goes well I will continue with it, if not I will make it a bit different, and thus easier to accomplish my tasks.
Fix the array of dead or defective decoders.
By the time you are done with those you will enjoy the fresh new installs on the other 100 even more. JMO
Unfortunately, that is an "I am not sure" They would in many cases if I replaced the decoder board with the original DC board.
I have a lot with the Digitrax DZ143 and the DZ125 wired decoders that that may not be doable as well. But with the hollowed out fuel tanks, make me wonder about a sound installation.
That would be me...yuppers.