Caution when fitting decoders to so called Ready locos

Discussion in 'DCC Control' started by Jim Freight, Sep 16, 2019.

  1. Jim Freight

    Jim Freight Full Member

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    Welcome to the DCC club, I love the operation, and tolerate the 'readiness' :headbanger:
     
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  2. paul_l

    paul_l Staff Member Administrator

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    Hi Bernie

    Dont worry about the warranty, give the loco a good running in on DC, at least 30 min in each direction, if anything is going to fail it will probably do it in this run in.
    If all is ok fit the decoder.

    What makes me smile, is the instructions normally tells you to clean off grease etc from the motor gears before running in, which taking it apart is the bit that invalidates the warranty :headbanger:

    On short wheel based loco's, if you can fit a "stay alive" in it's well worth the extra cost. Especially a Factory Sound fitted Hornby 08, the pickups are exceptionally bad, and the decoder continually resets - it's on my todo list.

    Paul
     
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  3. Andy_Sollis

    Andy_Sollis Full Member

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    I’d also suggest changing the speed steps on that loco that doesnt start till speed step 5... it will be much smoother on the 128 speed step setting. And you can adjust the CV settings for the start and stop (maybe even set a speed curve?) if you look in to which cv to adjust.
    I use Decoder Pro, a free download software connected to a sprog2 interface (about £50) which not only can read and write to your locos decoder, it can be used as a layout connection so you can control your layout from a laptop, mobile or tablet via WiFi, much cheaper than many of the RTR products and just as good (it will also do points if you have the modules to connect to the point motors)

    DCC is a whole new fun ball game... but be prepared to occasionally let the smoke out!
     
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  4. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    Hi Bernie.
    Regarding your DCC fitted Hornby 'Jinty', it sounds to me as though this loco is not actually using DCC when you state that it makes a buzzing noise, and doesn't move until you give it at least 4 or 5 on the controller. I use the "Lenz" DCC system, and by programming my handset for a non-DCC loco to '0000' I can run it on my layout, but it will then work exactly as you say your 'Jinty' does, buzzing and slow off the mark. I think if you continue to use this loco like this then you may be risking burning out the motor, so I would suggest you remove the body and then carefully check the wiring to the DCC SOCKET not the plug, is as per Paul's diagram, as I think it may well be yet another of Hornby's "Cock-up's" in the wiring. The only two Hornby 'DCC fitted' loco's I have, had the decoders removed and binned, replacing with my usual LaisDCC branded decoders. Functionally, Hornby (and to a certain extent, Bachmann) decoders are inferior to just about every other brand available, mostly much lower current carrying/short circuit protection, and cost more than much better decoders, so why pay more for an inferior product? Loco motors are intended to run on 'pure' 12 volt DC voltage, but on a DCC system, the controller actually supplies a higher frequency 12-16 volt AC voltage than AC mains frequency, (which in the UK is 50 cycles or "Hertz") to the track. This is changed within a DCC chip to a variable almost DC voltage then applied to the motor. If no DCC chip is fitted, said chip is not functioning or the socket is wrongly wired, then the motor is being supplied with an AC voltage instead of DC, and to quote Corporal Jones of "Dad's Army", "They don't like it up 'Em, Mr Mainwaring!" and the motor is likely to have a short life, the buzzing noise being generated by the AC supply frequency in the motors commutator windings, which will then get hot, eventually to the point of burning out.
    The reason for using AC voltage from the controller is that it is then possible to 'superimpose' signal voltages within the AC waveform, impulses which then do the actual switching of the various functions the decoder is capable of, the final voltage supplied to the motor is then changed back into almost pure DC, all within the decoder chip.
    Keith.
     
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  5. Bernie

    Bernie Full Member

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    Thanks for that tip Andy, I have yet to play with settings, just happy getting things going before breaking them by fiddling (thus my motto):facepalm:. I will try to do that to 128 speed steps. NCE Power cab system, has good instructions and should improve smoothness for all locs. Some decoders come with built in pre-set momentum others do not, just another trap for young players.
     
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  6. Bernie

    Bernie Full Member

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    Thanks Keith, certainly worth thinking about and experimenting. The Jinty has a 4 pin Hornby decoder and it did make a difference when I removed it and cleaned the pins. The loco is also new old stock, I bought it years ago collecting bargains, and have only just set up baseboard and track, thanks to lockdown I have time. I have cleaned and oiled the bits as per instructions and run it in. I was thinking of using the hook up leads with pins from arduino breadboard to temporarily install another decoder to see if it made a difference. Others say on Utube, just cut the socket out and solder in a proper decoder. I do have decoder pro installed on the lap top, and have a USB interface for my NCE Power Cab. Now I do have a reluctance to fiddle so I have not set it up yet, preferring to take one step at a time.
     
  7. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    Hi again Bernie.
    Do you have a DC plug for the 'Jinty'? If so, substitute it for the Hornby decoder and try running it from a DC supply instead. This could be maybe a 'Wall Wart' DC power supply to some other device, maybe even a 12 volt car battery if available, the idea being to find out if the loco then runs smoothly and quietly on DC without the buzzing you report. The daft thing about 'DCC ready' or even 'DCC fitted' loco's is that, even if you buy a non-fitted loco, the instructions invariably tell you to run it on DC first, and only if it runs as it should (ie. smoothly and quietly!) to go ahead and fit a decoder. Unfortunately, with 'DCC fitted' loco's, the manufacturers DON'T do this for you, effectively contravening their own advice, so if it runs as rough as a bears bum already DCC fitted, it's left to you to sort it out, not good. It might of course be that the buzzing is from the gears rather than the motor, but again you'd need to remove the body and run it to see if the motor got hot, and also if you can pinpoint where the buzzing noise actually comes from.
    Keith.
     
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  8. Bernie

    Bernie Full Member

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    Thanks Keith, I will try that. I do have a Hornby Sentinal (still DC) and gradually running it in on my 1 length of flex track on a primitive DC controller (takes ages as I can't set and forget). I will swap the two over (both are 4 pin hornby chip), use the Jinty chip to convert the sentinal to DCC and use the blanking plug to test the jinty. The buzzing sound seems to be the motor straining to move (maybe more running in and another lube to free things up - old new stock stored for about 5 years).
    As I gain confidence, I will try to swap different decoders to see if they or the loco are better. The hornby Grange seems to be my smoothest slowest runner with a DCC Concepts chip, moving off instantly on speed 1, but is it the chip or the loco? I support completely the original post, that 'DCC ready' does not mean easy. Regards Bernie
     

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