MRC Athearn RS3 1820 Board

For those that like their electrickery delivered digitally...
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torikoos
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Re: MRC Athearn RS3 1820 Board

Post by torikoos » Sun Feb 23, 2014 2:15 pm

A brave man, to try out MRC's, but thanks for sharing. If indeed MRC's are okay nowadays then please report here, also of course if the quality is still below par let us know.

What was the problem with the Tsunami's as you report the running has improved? If it's low speed performance, then Tsunami's can be tamed, but are pretty tedious to set up and require a lot of trial and error in some cases.
If and when I can, I've now made the switch to ESU Loksound decoders, low speed running is fantastic, and good quality sound files are becoming available more and more.
Their newest EMD 567 non turbo sound file is great !

Koos

PS : Chris I deleted your other post as it appeared to be a duplicate.

Also done a quick search and it appears the lights are not programmable? It just seems to offer directional lighting on F0 , so no option to have both lights on at the same time for yard switching duties.

The manual seems to be here: http://www.jimsmodeltrains.com/userguides/MRC_1820.pdf
Koos Fockens -Devon UK. North American Model Railroading
Age is just a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, then it doesn't matter.

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torikoos
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Re: MRC Athearn RS3 1820 Board

Post by torikoos » Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:41 am

Thanks Chris,

no problem being biased , it's good to read that there are positive experiences with MRC equipment. (I've never read anything 'bad' about their DCC systems, with the exception that they don't seem to follow the standards that closely, but that goes for some others too), it's mainly decoders that had bad press, and for that reason I've always steered clear of them so far.

Something seems not right with that RS3 though, as Tsunami's are generally quite reliable. Hope you find the problem soon.

Cheers, Koos
Koos Fockens -Devon UK. North American Model Railroading
Age is just a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, then it doesn't matter.

Mike_R
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Re: MRC Athearn RS3 1820 Board

Post by Mike_R » Mon Feb 24, 2014 3:05 pm

The decoder does look a bit limited, on the other hand it should just work as there is not much to alter, unlike my SD40-2 Loksound Select which took a few hours to figure out why the dynamic brakes did not work. I do like the way I can set it to do most combination of sounds and functions though.

If your meter measures a.c. current it might be a good idea to put it in series with the supply to see how much current is being drawn.
Make sure nothing conductive is touching the decoder, strands of wire chassis, etc.
Check the flywheels are not rubbing against the chassis or wires, the motor shaft usually has some end float and moves when changing direction.

Are the lights fitted to the decoder? if not and if LEDs, are they connected the right way around?
Mike Ruby

Mike_R
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Re: MRC Athearn RS3 1820 Board

Post by Mike_R » Tue Mar 04, 2014 8:45 pm

From searching several forums, 1K is too large, 700 to 800 ohms seems to be the recommended value. Lamps take a high current on starting and the resistor may not allow it so they don't get going, once they light their resistance increases and the current reduces.
Athearn lamps are 1.5v.

I change them for LEDs. My favourite for twin lamps are 2mm LEDs with square bases, side by side they are about the right spacing. I wire the two LEDs in series and with a 680 ohm resistor and they are bright at 10mA.
Mike Ruby

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torikoos
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Re: MRC Athearn RS3 1820 Board

Post by torikoos » Wed Mar 05, 2014 4:29 pm

Another option for lights are mini leds.
I use warm white mini leds from express models (see http://www.expressmodels.co.uk/acatalog/WHITE_LEDs.html) . I remove the athearn bulbs, carefully insert the minileds (from the outside, I find it's much easier to fish the wires and guide them on the inside that way, than trying to guide a led into the lamp housing from the inside) and fix them in place with micro Crystal Klear. These mini leds are also small enough to fit inside ditch lights and similar sized items.

It is a bit tricky, but the light colour is nice, they should last forever, and are very bright which I like personally.

Koos
Koos Fockens -Devon UK. North American Model Railroading
Age is just a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, then it doesn't matter.

Mike_R
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Re: MRC Athearn RS3 1820 Board

Post by Mike_R » Sat Aug 09, 2014 10:32 pm

Lamps also have another problem in that they take even more current in a surge as they turn on, which can make a decoder shutdown its output. Sometimes a low value resistor (less than 100 ohms?)in series with the lamp will restrict the surge and allow the lamp to light. It would take a bit of experimenting to find if it works.
Replacing the lamps with LEDs should make it work as they take far less power than incandescent lamps, but I'm not sure if LEDs will work with the decoder outputs. I think I've tried one on an Athearn Genesis lighting board and it worked.
Mike Ruby

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torikoos
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Re: MRC Athearn RS3 1820 Board

Post by torikoos » Sat Aug 16, 2014 9:40 pm

Looking great, and you won't regret the choice of LED's. Those will last a lifetime, one less thing needing maintenance/repairs :-)


Koos
Koos Fockens -Devon UK. North American Model Railroading
Age is just a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, then it doesn't matter.

Mike_R
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Re: MRC Athearn RS3 1820 Board

Post by Mike_R » Sun Aug 17, 2014 2:52 pm

Looks good, plus no danger of over heating the body work if something goes wrong. LEDs tend to blow before getting too hot, smell a bit though!
Mike Ruby

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