Zephyr program track error messages (N Scale)

MP333 Dec 23, 2016

  1. MP333

    MP333 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Howdy all!

    I dusted off the Zephyr and built a fresh programming track so I could do some programming.

    Atlas flex track soldered to two 22g leads. Leads correctly attached to PROG A and PROG B.

    I'm trying to do some speed matching on Atlas factory AN12AOs in Dash 8-40CWs. I keep getting error messages: Mostly dnd, but also dnA and dnr. The dnd indicates an "open circuit". I've changed CV29 a couple times, but now I can't seem to do much without shutting it down and trying again, etc. This is far too frustrating. The unit is old and has gone to Florida at least twice I can remember.

    Any ideas on what I'm doing wrong? The locos are 8 years old; could there be a decoder connection issue in them? They run like champions, although I can't get the ditch lights to work either.

    Thanks in advance, and Merry Christmas!
     
  2. MP333

    MP333 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Well, I ended up programming on the main in OPS mode. I just can't read back the values. I finally got the speed match done, but still had some (normal) trouble MUing, but I did get it done after a few tries.

    I think Santa is going to have to come up with an NCE system pretty quick here. I'm guess maybe time to lose the Digitrax, and step up the game.
     
  3. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

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    It is not the programming track, it is the decoders. Place the locomotives on the layout and program on the mains. All you want to do is reset the decoders back to factory settings. Now place them on your programming track.

    Atlas locomotives have issues with the mechanical spring contacts used to connect to the light boards and decoders.
     
  4. MP333

    MP333 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Thanks for your reply DCESharkman. These two only had the 4-digit address in them, nothing more, so I didn't reset them. Ditch lights work fine now. I still don't quite understand why I can't get the CVs to read back on the programming track. It reads them maybe 30% of the time, otherwise I get dnd, dnA and dnr. I've been away from running locos for a few years.

    I'll still play with it, but might step up to a better system. Sometimes when I MU two units, the Zephyr will switch the direction programmed into a rear-facing unit, so they pull opposite each other. That bug has plagued me for years.
     
  5. ken G Price

    ken G Price TrainBoard Member

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    Like MP333, I have Atlas n-scale engines and none of mine have any mechanical spring contacts connecting the decoder.
    You have HO most likely.
     
  6. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

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    I have over 400 Atlas N scale locomotives. Perhaps you misunderstand what I mean by a mechanical Spring contact. The fact that there is no soldered connection and the motor contact have to align under the light board/decoder board pads with relies on the bend of the motor contact for connection to the board. This is the definition of a Mechanical Spring Contact for an Electrical Engineer like myself.

    Vibration, change in temperature, accidental drop (still inn the jewel case) can cause the connection to lose alignment and the locomotive will not run. Driving on the crappy roads of California can easily cause the alignment issue. It has happened to me many times. That is why I always solder the motor leads to the boards.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2016
  7. ken G Price

    ken G Price TrainBoard Member

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    David. Got it. I also solder the the motor leads to the boards.
    I took it as if you meant the way the board was attached to the frame half's.
    "mechanical spring contacts used to connect to the light boards and decoders." No mention of the motor contacts.:(

    Only some of the roads are that way. Like the one in front of my house. But it has always been that way.:eek:
     

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