First attempt at DCC failed Now it is working

Discussion in 'DCC Control' started by Graeme, Feb 2, 2021.

  1. Graeme

    Graeme Full Member

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    I did my very first decoder install today (Lais decoder) and then tried to program it using my NCE powercab.
    I could "talk" to the decoder first up ie it showed me the manufacturers code but on the powercab none of the displays were as per the manual.
    I searched NCE and found how to do a factory reset, my logic being that the cab is secondhand and I have no idea what was programmed into it.
    After the reset the cab kept telling me "cannot read CV".
    At first I thought the issue was my programming track which is a piece of track with a plug the same as the main track which I swap over.
    After getting nowhere for over an hour I plugged in the main track and attempted to use "program on main" with the only loco that I have chipped.
    Again I was getting the same message so thinking I had blown up the decoder I fitted another and received the same message.
    The cab address is set to 2 and the cab loco defaults to 3.
    I attempted to change the loco number to 722 which is on the side.
    I am now at a point where I do not know what I am doing or have done and need help to undo whatever it is that I did.
    Think I have described everything.
    Any help with this will be greatly appreciated.

    I would really like to use the DCC cab but if there is no way out I will bin it and go back to DC (the bus was tested using a DC controller)
     
  2. gormo

    gormo Staff Member Administrator

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  3. Jim Freight

    Jim Freight Full Member

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    Cannot help with NCE but I would advise that if a loco does not respond on the programming track then do not put it on the main track otherwise permanent decoder damage is likely.

    I must admit I have had difficulties programming Lais decoders on my Lenz system, but many seem to be very happy with them.

    The NCE system is popular so I expect someone will be able to help you shortly.

    There can be quite a learning curve with DCC but it is well worth the effort, persevere :headbanger:

    Jim
     
  4. Gary

    Gary Wants more time for modelling.... Staff Member Administrator

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    Hi Graeme,

    I have not had an issue with Lais decoders. Make sure the decoder has been placed in the loco the right way round.

    You can program the loco on the main after removing all other locomotives off the track and selecting programming track.

    All decoders are set to address #3 and I'm guessing you are following each step on page 2 of the NCE manual ??

    Page 2...


    Page 3...


    After the SEL MODE (time) USE PROGRAM TRK page comes up and you hit ENTER, you need to select 1=STD, do not select 2=CV.

    Cheers, Gary.
     
  5. Andy_Sollis

    Andy_Sollis Full Member

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    If all else fails, cv8=0 that will reset the decoder back to default. (Ie it’s address will be 3)

    I would stick to a program track and not program on main as that’s just asking for issues till you know what your doing.
    I wonder if it may be an issue with your handset set to cab 2?

    I think it should be 1 if it’s the only one?

    try and just get the loco to respond to a loco number of 3 to begin with, then fiddle with altering the number..

    Is it a plug in decoder or have you had to hard wire?
    Andy
     
  6. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    I'm somewhat surprised that Jim Freight has had difficulties programming LaisDCC decoders with a Lenz system as I've had no problems whatsoever with mine (Version 3.6 software, LZM100/LH100) and I've around 50 or more Lais decoders in my 125 loco stable. What kind of issues have you had Jim?
    Keith.
     
  7. Jim Freight

    Jim Freight Full Member

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    Hi Keith

    I was using one of the function only versions of Lais for use in an accessory.

    Programming on my Lenz system either with the Lenz DecoderPro app on my laptop or with JMRI two out of 3 would not program, 3rd I hadn't tried. Put them aside for trying again later. :hammer:

    Busy on other things right now, but I will try again :headbanger: :avatar:

    Most of my fleet uses Hattons with some Lenz, and quite a few Digitrax, and a few other brands tried.

    I only use DCC for driving locos, without sound so my requirements are basic.

    Jim
     
  8. Walkingthedog

    Walkingthedog Full Member

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    I am given to understand that pressing down lightly on the loco will help ensure good contact between rail and wheel.
     
  9. Andy_Sollis

    Andy_Sollis Full Member

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    No, Only if you want to wear out the gears etc. That is to find the current draw of a locos stall point before you add a decoder (to ensure you have the correct one)

    Best thing is to ensure clean wheels and clean track - try and avoid locos with traction tyres as they just leave debris on the rail - same with nylon wheels - best is all metal where possible.
     
  10. Walkingthedog

    Walkingthedog Full Member

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    Good grief not when it’s running, when on the programming track. Can you imagine following a loco along a layout with your hand on it. Bit tricky if you have two running in opposite directions. :avatar:

    When programming a loco it is important to have good contact with the programming track hence my advice. It is fairly common advice given on several forums.
     
  11. Andy_Sollis

    Andy_Sollis Full Member

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    Still a no. When programming the decoder does an acknowledgment which is the motor turns a small way, so your still trying to stall the motor. If your doing a number of cv updates you could end up doing half or a 3/4 revolution of a wheel sometimes. I’ve even had to push locos back on occasion to where they were as they could have gone off the program track due to the gear ratio. There is no point putting the whole motion and motor through extra stress of holding it down? I’ve never heard of that in 20 years?

    Andy
     
  12. Walkingthedog

    Walkingthedog Full Member

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    Fair enough I’m only passing on advice that I have read on other forums. Don’t use DCC myself. To be honest I’m only referring to a gentle pressure.

    I have read it many times on the Model Railway Forum and others.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2021
  13. Gary

    Gary Wants more time for modelling.... Staff Member Administrator

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    I programming all my locos on my layouts (main) and selecting Programming track and never had an issue. If you treat your layout as a programming track, then there are no issues. Then again, I only have small switching layouts and no other dcc controlled items.

    Cheers, Gary.
     
  14. Graeme

    Graeme Full Member

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    As the title now says I have successfully programmed my first DCC loco.
    What I did;
    First up after reading a note from NCE I cleaned my track and the wheels of the loco within an inch of their lives, first sanding rubber then methylated spirit.
    The controller then recognised the decoder so I followed the bouncing ball of the NCE manual and the loco moved Fwd and Rev.
    Next up I swapped the plugs and connected the controller to the mainline and gave it a go
    Success!!!
    All I now have to do is get the headlight working as it does not light when the loco is running forward.

    Then I tried to get the loco around the loop using DCC (it went OK on DC so what problem could there be) well it stuttered and stopped and need so many pushes to get it around the first time I started muttering "using a piece of string would be better than this"
    So I then ran the abrasive rubber over the entire layout except for where I could not reach in my one and only tunnel (guess where it stopped every circuit?)
    I then put some "Wahl" hair clipper oil that I had used on previous layouts and after a couple of runs the loco ran smoothly except for through the tunnel.
    After pushing the loco through the tunnel (using the persuader, a piece of long timber molding) the loco now runs around smoothly.

    The point of this long winded description is to suggest to other people that they may try the clipper oil to get around poor track/wheel contact.
    It worked for me when I was in a tropical environment and when I moved to a temperate environment.

    Next up is the other 3 locos, how much trouble can that be ????? :facepalm:
     
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  15. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    The first rule for DC to DCC conversion is :- If it doesn't run well on DC then don't convert it until it does as conversion to DCC is not a magic bullet to improve poor running.
    Keith.
     
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  16. Andy_Sollis

    Andy_Sollis Full Member

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    Warning!! Tracks have to be kept much cleaner with DCC than DC. Most issues are down to dirty contacts. Your not just passing a current to a motor now, your sending digital information along the rails.. it’s a broken wire where fishplates make a poor connection at each joint.
    Clean the track, ensure the fishplates are good or where so, add another feed etc.

    best of luck..

    ps.. there is a cv which will tell the loco to work lights as in on with the button or only on depending if going forward or back..

    is it a plug in decoder? You didn’t reply to that before?
     
  17. Stainsacre

    Stainsacre Full Member

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    You need to turn the headlights on, they don’t come on by default. The headlight button is at 1 o’clock from the red button right in the middle of the handset.

    Referring back to your first post, my unit is set at cab 2 as default.
     
  18. Graeme

    Graeme Full Member

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    Sorry missed the question all 4 decoders have plugs but 1 will have to be removed to install into my 0-6-0 as the wires have to be soldered onto a board in the loco.
     
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  19. Graeme

    Graeme Full Member

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    I read in some NCE literature that the default for the powercab is 2 so I am staying with that.
    I will look at the headlight issue later once I have all 4 locos running.
     
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  20. Graeme

    Graeme Full Member

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    Well I now have 2 of the 4 locos running on DCC, the 2-8-0 and the 4-8-2, next up is the Shay.
    My journey to the Dark Side is complete.

    I just discovered the "Recall" button which is a handy function when running 2 locos at the same time, more research about running 3 at a time to be done.
     
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