Help!!!! - Bachmann decoders

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098240
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Help!!!! - Bachmann decoders

Post by 098240 » Thu Mar 28, 2013 11:06 pm

Hi,

This is an appeal for some help. I'm new to this DCC lark but am trying to get up and running.

My command station is a Digitrax DCS50(Zephyr). I've managed to successfully program a Digitrax decoder I fitted to a N Scale LifeLike 0-8-0 and it works a treat. I also have a number of the newer Bachmann Spectrum locos with built in dual mode decoders. These locos work fine in analog mode and also in DCC mode as loco number 03, the default address. However any attempt to read the address cv or change the loco address to something more meaningful just gets a 'd nd' display. According to the Zephyr manual (yes I did read it) this is an open circuit on the programming track. However it seems Ok on the Digitrax equipped loco.

Does anyone out there have a solution? The Bachmann leaflet with the loco says the decoder is fully NMRA compliant and can be reprogrammed using the 'method described for your system'. Is the Zephyr just not powerful enough?

Thanks in advance

Ralph

calaf01
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Re: Help!!!! - Bachmann decoders

Post by calaf01 » Fri Mar 29, 2013 12:00 am

On one of my Bachmann Spectrum locos there was a jumper that had to be moved or removed between DC operation and DCC operation. It's not something like that, is it?
Alan C.

098240
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Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2009 7:05 pm

Re: Help!!!! - Bachmann decoders

Post by 098240 » Fri Mar 29, 2013 2:47 pm

Thanks for the suggestion. Unfortunately these decoders don't have any changeable jumpers - However, I have found a solution. In order to reprogram these dual mode decoders you need to use 'Blast' mode on the Zephyr. This isn't covered in the Zephyr manual at all, but I looked in another book by a third party and it suggested that decoders requiring a current for programming, eg Broadway Limited decoders and some sound decoders needed to use this programming mode. I tried it and my Bachmann 2-6-0 now responds to the correct address. So - anyone else trying to reprogram a Bachmann N scale dual mode decoder - you'll need to use blast mode to get it to change.

Ralph

Mike_R
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Re: Help!!!! - Bachmann decoders

Post by Mike_R » Sat Mar 30, 2013 2:30 pm

Just make sure that on the loco being programmed is the only one connected or all of them will programmed. Once you have the locos number in, then use program on the main, where only that loco is programmed and you can see the results immediately.
Another option is to use one of the program track boosters that increase the power to the program track.
Mike Ruby

098240
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Re: Help!!!! - Bachmann decoders

Post by 098240 » Sun Mar 31, 2013 6:57 pm

Mike - Thanks, a good point and one to remember.

The alternative guide to the Zephyr I used to look up this problem really stresses this point. Fortunately I have the Zephyr connected to a specially set up programming and test track at present so there's normally only one loco 'on tracks' at a time but it would be a real problem on a bigger layout. I wonder if other systems have a better output capable of programming these decoders in normal mode? Anyone know?

Ralph

Mike_R
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Re: Help!!!! - Bachmann decoders

Post by Mike_R » Sun Mar 31, 2013 8:24 pm

I wonder if other systems have a better output capable of programming these decoders in normal mode? Anyone know?
Lenz V3.6 programs Soundtrax decoders, it didn't before V3.6, so would probably do these.
I also have a Digitrax PR2 programmer and that programs most decoders, it is now replaced by the PR3, which is a computer to Digitrax interface and programmer. It will program Digitrax sound decoders if that interests you, the reason I bought the PR2, though I now use Loksounds. The PR2 is still useful at times.
A program track booster can be used, I haven't used one so can't comment on their use.
I think the Sprog is also good at programming decoders and is a cheaper option, I know someone who bought one for that purpose instead of a more expensive Lenz interface.
Mike Ruby

098240
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Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2009 7:05 pm

Re: Help!!!! - Bachmann decoders

Post by 098240 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:50 pm

The mystery deepens! Using boost mode on the Zephyr has enabled me to reprogram the decoders in the N Scale 2-6-0 and 4-6-0 steam locos. So far so good.

But nothing seems to be able to touch the decoders in the 44ton and 70ton diesel switchers (again both N-Scale dual mode decoders). They both work fine on DC and as loco 03 on DCC and in boost mode seem to reprogram but when you return to running mode you're back to loco 03! - Was DCC meant to be this frustrating?

Ralph

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BrianMoore
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Re: Help!!!! - Bachmann decoders

Post by BrianMoore » Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:32 pm

098240 wrote:The mystery deepens! Using boost mode on the Zephyr has enabled me to reprogram the decoders in the N Scale 2-6-0 and 4-6-0 steam locos. So far so good.

But nothing seems to be able to touch the decoders in the 44ton and 70ton diesel switchers (again both N-Scale dual mode decoders). They both work fine on DC and as loco 03 on DCC and in boost mode seem to reprogram but when you return to running mode you're back to loco 03! - Was DCC meant to be this frustrating?

Ralph
I'd venture it's the Bachmann decoders that are making things frustrating...
Brian Moore

098240
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Re: Help!!!! - Bachmann decoders

Post by 098240 » Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:04 pm

It pay's to read the manual, or in this case the Digitrax web site! Buried in the trouble shooting section is a reference to Bachmann decoders and the advise to put a 1K ohm resistor between the Prog A and Prog B terminals and then try programming on the programming track. Hey - it worked! These Bachmann decoders can be tamed with a bit of brute force, research and electronics but should it be such a pain? I think not but then I don't run Bachmann. It's a great idea of their's to put dual mode decoders in all their Spectrum locos as it helps new starters like me get up and running quickly and perhaps other control centres chuck out enough power to do the programming, but...

My thanks to al those who have tried to help me with this problem.

Ralph :D

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