Programming w/o a programming track with other locos removed?

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videobruce

Tower Operator
I know it can be done (sort of), but this has to do with an existing older layout that has three power blocks, but no programming track. This isn't mine, I'm tiring to help out a fellow MRR that isn't familiar with DCC. The layout is kinda large, it's HO scale in his basement. He has Digitrax system and his locos are 20 or so years old (Proto 2000, Broadway Limited & Life Like) , originally equipped with DCC decoders, if any of that matters. Most of his power AFAIK were never programmed or are programed wrong.

If all the locos are removed from one power block segment (assuming both rails are gapped), would that be ok to program a DCC equipped loco?

Lastly, I have little experience with DCC, the above is assuming that will change shortly.
 

Greg@mnrr

Section Hand
Only if the power is switched off to all the other blocks except the block the locomotive you want to program is sitting on, then you can program that single locomotive. The DCC programing "signals" will be sent to all track blocks connected to the DCC system unless the blocks are not powered.

Many layouts use a single dead end spur that can be isolated...is a common way to do programming on a track dedicated to programming. A double pole toggle switch is used to power either the layout or programming track with DCC signals. The toggle switch in one position one way powers the programming track and thrown to the opposite position powers the layout.

Greg
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
The short answer is yes.

The longer answer is that it sounds like many of the decoders need to be reset (the ones that are programmed wrong). There are several ways to do this. The easiest is probably as you suggest remove all the locos from the block in question. Hook that block up to the programming track and follow directions for re-setting and then program as desired. The second way would be to use the OPS mode programing, the track would be connected to the normal track power outputs. Using this programming mode one has to know the channel number of the locomotive to be programmed. Call up that channel and program away. The only locos effected would be the ones with that channel number.
 
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videobruce

Tower Operator
Those 3 power blocks are feed with DPDT toggles. He use to have a DC tri-pack with the DCC, but it was removed some time back. He didn't do nay of the wiring, just laid track & scenery.
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
The most important thing to do with DCC equipped locos is assign and activate an individual extended (long) address to each, so each has it's own "name" by which it is "spoken" to. If this has never been done, then those that haven't will be all responding to the same "name" of 3. As by your description, it sounds as though confusion reigns, a full reset (similar to a computer restore) is the best option, then start over again. To be fully safe, I suggest clearing all other locos off the layout, do one at a time.

Now, I use NCE DCC and it has a recovery program that resets every CV, one after the other, in a decoder back to the factory default, i.e. a guaranteed clean slate.
I'm not familiar with Digitrax as to whether it also has this, but instructions should be available. The usual CV8 = 8 reset is not always sufficient.
 
N

NP2626

Guest
I believe Digitrax wants you to do the reset procedure 3 times to be sure it takes per loco IIRC.
Could you quote where in the instructions Digitrax states you need to do this?

It's my thinking that installing a programing track is pretty simple to do and if your going to use DCC why not install one? I have used the end of a stub siding track as my programing track. When in use as a siding, only freight cars will be parked on it. When needed for programing, I push the freight cars off of the siding and place the loco I want to program on it. Pretty Simple!
 

videobruce

Tower Operator
In their website FAQ's under;
DCS100 & DT400 factory decoder reset;
http://www.digitrax.com/tsd/KB628/performing-factory-decoder-reset-using-digitrax-dc/

5. Using the left hand throttle knob on the throttle, select CV08 by rotating the knob clockwise until “008” is displayed on the left side of the LCD display.
6. Using the right hand throttle knob on the throttle, select the value of 08 to program CV08 to, by rotating the knob clockwise until “008” is displayed on the right side of the LCD display.
7. Press the ENTER key on the throttle. (The LED display will read “008=wr” for a short time, then “008=Good”, followed by “008=008”)
8. Repeat Step 7 two more times to ensure that the command has been received by the electronics.
9. Press the EXIT key on the throttle.
 

Greg@mnrr

Section Hand
Besides the instructions above it's wise to lift the locomotive partially off the track so one side isn't making contact with the rails, breaking the electrical connection for 10 or so seconds.

Remember, not all decoders use CV8 for the reset, the instructions above are for Digitrax decoders.

https://nmra.org/sites/default/files/sr201402_dcc.pdf

Enjoy your adventure.

Greg
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Although CV8 to a value of 8, is a widespread reset for most decoders, the method of getting there is often not that simple, or direct, just as you have explained. Why I did not advise on the method, especially with Digitrax having a number of controller types. As Greg has mentioned, the breaking of current to the loco and then remaking after a few seconds, is part of the sequence with some brands and also might help if it doesn't reset otherwise.
I hope your acquaintance is/was able to sort his out.
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
O.K. I don't have that system, my Digitrax Zephyr Express does not say to do this.
When I was choosing a system and knew nothing to next, much, I looked at Digitrax and was at just the time, able to attend a demonstration at the club. I studied a bit more and found NCE's sounded more to my liking. As far as programming addresses, resetting, It's always worked easily. (Except the time I had to get advice from NCE's helpdesk when I locked an engine out of both short and long address access) The only Locos I've had complication with and had to do the individual CV17 & CV18 method has been the early MTH PS3+DCC and the latest, these 2 Atlas SD35's with QSI Quantum, with it's "indexed" method.
 
N

NP2626

Guest
Where I starting over, I might go with NCE, too. Their system does "SEEM" to be the most popular. I don't know if it even was a choice back when I started in DCC? However, I have had so little problems with my Digitrax Zephyrs: DCS-50, DCS-51 and now DCS-52 that I think, for me, it was simply the right choice!
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Where I starting over, I might go with NCE, too. Their system does "SEEM" to be the most popular. I don't know if it even was a choice back when I started in DCC? However, I have had so little problems with my Digitrax Zephyrs: DCS-50, DCS-51 and now DCS-52 that I think, for me, it was simply the right choice!
If you're used to it, stick with it. It's like the new Soundtraxx Tsunami2 and Econami decoders over the original Tsunami. I would have been happy with just the better motor sound files.
 

Railrunner130

Well-Known Member
What I did with mine is connect the programming track outputs on DCS51 to a few pieces of unused track. It's a little ghetto, but my theory is that programming track works best with just enough track to put the locomotive on. This way, the power is spread "on thick", versus being spread out amongst the rest of the powered area. It's always hooked up, so I don't need to do anything extra to use it.

In the past, I've connected it in place of the regular power connections on my small, temporary layout and it just doesn't seem to work as well.
 



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