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Author Topic: Trying to get my train running SPROG  (Read 423 times)

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Offline funkyorange

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Trying to get my train running SPROG
« on: December 21, 2018, 12:05:05 PM »
I bought a Bachmann N guage Country Coal set.

I have since created an awesome layout in my table but im struggling to get any thing working at all.

I just purchased a SPROG unit, it seems set up fine, but when I try and auto detect the decoder on the test track it wither dosent work or gives me obscure and inconsistant decoder result and even then once on the manifest it dosent work.

I have also tried to plug in my Backmann DCC command on my test track ans this dosent work!

So how do I diagnose and fix this? I have a multimeter. I was thinking of just buying a new N guage train but dont want to just throw even more money at this!
 

Offline sprogman

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Re: Trying to get my train running SPROG
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2018, 12:27:34 PM »
I have since created an awesome layout in my table but im struggling to get any thing working at all.


I'm not sure if "awesome" was meant to be tongue in cheek :)

Is this using setrack? How big is the layout? Any turnouts (points)? How is it wired up?

DCC really requires better wiring practices than DC. Relying on rail joiners is not a good idea, especially in the longer term.

Quote
I just purchased a SPROG unit, it seems set up fine, but when I try and auto detect the decoder on the test track it wither dosent work or gives me obscure and inconsistant decoder result and even then once on the manifest it dosent work.

I have also tried to plug in my Backmann DCC command on my test track ans this dosent work!


So we can probably rule out the controllers.

First step is to take a single piece of track and connect it to the SPROG. Can you now reliable read CVs from the decoder? MAke sure the SPROG is setup in programmer mode (not command station mode) to do this. This will give confidence that the SPROG is OK.

You might get away with reliable running on a very simple layout, relying on rail joiners, so build a simple, small oval and try it out. After this you may need to think about a more permanent setup with better wiring.
 
Andrew Crosland
http://www.sprog-dcc.co.uk

Offline ntpntpntp

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Re: Trying to get my train running SPROG
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2018, 02:16:07 PM »
Follow Andrew's advice above - use a single separate length of track as your programming track with the SPROG.   

Make sure the loco wheels and the track are well cleaned, this is essential for reliable decoder read/writes as the loco will do little "jiggles" when it responds to programming instructions from the SPROG.

Nick.   2016 celebrating the 20th anniversary of "Königshafen" exhibition layout!

Offline funkyorange

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Re: Trying to get my train running SPROG
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2018, 02:44:53 PM »
No track layout is awesome!

I used a round cicrular test track to test it on.

How do you clean the wheels? I have only used the train for about 20 mins since I got it, but its been sitting around for ages!

Its using KATO track. Yes the SPROG was set to programmer mode and it was jolting when the auto detect function was working?! So presume everything is sound electronics wise...

Offline Nigel Cliffe

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Re: Trying to get my train running SPROG
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2018, 04:02:05 PM »
Go back to absolute basics.

1 - wires from Sprog direct to a short length of track, nothing else. 

2 - gently push down on loco whilst it is being read.  That usually gets over poor pickup.

3 - try only reading a minimum of information, such as the loco address.  Then try one other value. 

Its impossible to know what decoder you have in the loco.  There are a handful of cheap crummy decoders which have been used by trainset makers in the past which don't read back reliably.   

Offline funkyorange

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Re: Trying to get my train running SPROG
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2019, 03:04:40 PM »
Thanks Nigel.

I have tried your suggestions.

1 - used only a short length of track and short wires
2 - Tried to push down the loco it does read it but as different strange loco addresses, none of which seem to operate when they are added to the inventory.

In the event the loco was not working I purchased a second hand unit from eBay, however its not DCC. It doesnt work so presumably it needs to be retrofitted with new DCC decoder to work?

Offline jpendle

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Re: Trying to get my train running SPROG
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2019, 03:37:04 PM »
Was the set bought new or secondhand?

If new I would assume that the decoder address is set to '3'.

Try to get it working with the Bachmann DCC controller that came with the set.

If it refuses to work then depending on how long it's been sitting on the shelf you should be able to return it to wherever you bought it.

If you can't return it, try swapping out the DCC decoder in the loco with a new one.

Regards,

John P

Offline funkyorange

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Re: Trying to get my train running SPROG
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2019, 04:37:19 PM »
It was new but sitting in a box for a few years and it did work at one point.

Tried it with the Bachmann dcc but didn't work.

It's a countryside coal dc c set , so you suggest get a new dc c in the train?what one do i need ?

Also as a backup what dc c could i put my other loco?

 


Offline ntpntpntp

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Re: Trying to get my train running SPROG
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2019, 04:48:44 PM »
Is there any way you can find someone with some knowledge of DCC who could check things over for you?  A local model shop, a local model railway club, someone on here who offers DCC fitting services?   If it was working before then it should still work if nothing actually failed on that previous occasion when it was working ok?

We'd need to know precisely which loco your other one is, to be able to advise on its suitability for a DCC decoder and which decoder to use?
« Last Edit: January 12, 2019, 04:56:57 PM by ntpntpntp »
Nick.   2016 celebrating the 20th anniversary of "Königshafen" exhibition layout!

Offline sprogman

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Re: Trying to get my train running SPROG
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2019, 10:23:59 AM »
Tried it with the Bachmann dcc but didn't work.

That suggests it is the loco that is the issue. I would give it a good clean, not just the wheels but where the pickups wipe on the wheels. Make sure the pickups are actually touching the wheels.

If that doesn't work, take the body off and check that the decoder is installed correctly. Post a photo if you want a few other eyes to look over it.

Offline funkyorange

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Re: Trying to get my train running SPROG
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2019, 05:06:35 PM »
Thanks sprogman.

I have finally got round to this. I have picture of the two locos side by side. The left is a lima shunter and the right is a DCC country coal Bachmann. I have taken both apart and given them both a good clean.



Tried both on the sprog. The lima gives me no loco found and the right DCC one gives me:

"Found mfg 141 (Throttle-Up (SoundTraxx)) version 81; no such decoder defined"




Offline sprogman

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Re: Trying to get my train running SPROG
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2019, 05:13:07 PM »
I can't see any decoder in the Lima shunter.

I would recommend you DO NOT try and use this on a DCC layout.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2019, 05:42:35 PM by sprogman »

Offline Paul-H

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Re: Trying to get my train running SPROG
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2019, 05:14:38 PM »
My guess from the photos is the Lima  is DC only and with the other if you open the dropdown list from Soundtraxx you will see a Bachmann OEM listed, and that's the one you select for the Bachmann right angle decoder as it is made by Soundtraxx.
Please excuse any poor spelling, I am Dyslexic, just think yourself lucky if you can actually read what I typed.

All tiepin as bean spell chequed on mi Pea Sea

Offline ntpntpntp

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Re: Trying to get my train running SPROG
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2019, 06:09:31 PM »
You'll have to hard-wire a dcc decoder in the Lima loco, probably in the space currently occupied by one of the weights.   You'll  first have to isolate the motor from the track pickups, if I remember correctly it has phosphor-bronze strips  to  carry power from the axles and the back of the flanges , so you'll have to cut those at a suitable place and solder the decoder pickup wires to them.

I'm sure it's possible for someone who knows what they're doing but not sure I'd bother, those old Lima centre-cabs where cheap and cheerful, not the best of runners and only have 4-wheel pickup. Removing one of the weights to make space for the decoder will reduce it's reliability.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2019, 06:21:11 PM by ntpntpntp »
Nick.   2016 celebrating the 20th anniversary of "Königshafen" exhibition layout!

 

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