Jump to content


Google Ads are only seen by non-members of RMweb - Create an RMweb account and you'll only receive modelling ads.

Photo
- - - - -

Problems with Econami and ESU Lokprogrammer





  • Please log in to reply
25 replies to this topic

#1 chaz

chaz

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 5,271 posts
  • LocationEastleigh Hampshire

Posted 09 October 2017 - 10:24

I am having a problem getting my Lokprogrammer to work with an ECO-200 decoder and would welcome some help.

 

I will explain the set-up.

 

The loco is a Bachmann Spectrum On30 ten-wheeler (4-6-0) into which I have put a Soundtraxx ECO-200 (for steam) decoder. I pulled out the original Bachmann decoder and plugged in the Soundtraxx one - a direct swap into the 8-pin socket using Soundtraxx's 810135 wiring harness. The decoder is connected to a sugar-cube speaker and has a Soundtraxx CurrentKeeper (810140) plugged in.

 

The loco and tender are wired together using the two Bachmann connecting plugs which are firmly in their sockets. They are standing on a length of Peco OO track which is completely isolated (not part of the layout at all) to which I have soldered two wires which run to an ESU LokProgrammer interface.

 

The interface is connected via a USB port to a laptop in which I am running the ESU programmer software which I recently upgraded to V4.4.11

 

Clicking on "Read CV" or "Write CV" produces the message "could not read ( or write) CV" after a few seconds, during which time the two data LEDs flicker.

 

If I click on "Decoder information" the software is busy for several seconds, again the data LEDs flicker, but no error message is generated but no information appears in the on-screen table. While the software is busy the sound on the decoder comes on with the air-pump chugging away.

 

I have checked all the connections which all look good. I have tried disconnecting the current keeper (stay-alive) device but this had no effect.

 

Any ideas? I have used the laptop and LokProgrammer in the past with no problems. 

 

Chaz


Edited by chaz, 09 October 2017 - 10:26 .


Google Ads are only seen by non-members of RMweb - Create an RMweb account and you'll only receive modelling ads.

#2 PaulRhB

PaulRhB

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 7,379 posts
  • LocationSalisbury

Posted 09 October 2017 - 10:35

Might be the tsunami wanting more power than the lokprogrammer can provide?
They originally sold a booster circuit to help with programming them.
I've had issues with the old tsunami with randomly not wanting to read cv's but the SPROG handles it fine probably because you can upload the templates and just write not relying on feedback?
Try writing a new address and I expect it will work fine, just won't respond to say it has written it. It does leave you blind when programming though so you have to rely on the default cv list or a reset to go back all the way if you get something wrong and had no idea what the default was.
Fortunately SPROG is a lot cheaper and very useful once you get outside programming ESU chips.

Edited by PaulRhB, 09 October 2017 - 10:36 .


#3 chaz

chaz

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 5,271 posts
  • LocationEastleigh Hampshire

Posted 09 October 2017 - 10:40

Might be the tsunami wanting more power than the lokprogrammer can provide?
They originally sold a booster circuit to help with programming them.
I've had issues with the old tsunami with randomly not wanting to read cv's but the SPROG handles it fine probably because you can upload the templates and just write not relying on feedback?
Try writing a new address and I expect it will work fine, just won't respond to say it has written it. It does leave you blind when programming though so you have to rely on the default cv list or a reset to go back all the way if you get something wrong and had no idea what the default was.
Fortunately SPROG is a lot cheaper and very useful once you get outside programming ESU chips.

 

 

Thanks for that Paul. I will try putting the loco number into CV1 and then using the "Drivers Cab" facility to test whether the new value has gone in. I will report back.

 

Chaz



#4 chaz

chaz

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 5,271 posts
  • LocationEastleigh Hampshire

Posted 09 October 2017 - 10:55

Paul, excellent, that's a fix!

 

I just wrote the loco running number (25) into CV1. The software responded with "could not write CV" but it was a fib! Going in to Driver's cab and setting the loco address to 25 and off the loco trundled in response to the on-screen throttle. The one down-side to this is that it doesn't give any protection if the decoder is wrongly wired - you just have to check thoroughly before driving the loco.

 

Having no "read" feedback does mean that I will need to record the CV settings on paper as I set and change them - particularly as I will want to program my other ten-wheeler with the same settings.

 

Thanks very much for that helpful nudge. Now I can go and play with setting a top speed, synchronising the chuffs to the wheels, choosing the whistle etc.

 

Chaz

 

PS - if I got a SPROG would that give me the feedback facility? - presumably I would use the JMRI software to work it?


  • Friendly/Supportive x 1

#5 PaulRhB

PaulRhB

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 7,379 posts
  • LocationSalisbury

Posted 09 October 2017 - 11:12

It does most of the time but even then not every time and a friend couldn't get his to read them at all. The main advantage is the panes so you can just adjust stuff then write it without trying to find which cv does what by scrutinising the manual.
I haven't used the current SPROG on a tsunami so it might be worth searching the net to see if the issue persists. Mine is the older model and the new one can act as a command station so might be more consistent.
Andrew is on here as 'Crosland' and very helpful.

Edited by PaulRhB, 09 October 2017 - 11:14 .


#6 chaz

chaz

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 5,271 posts
  • LocationEastleigh Hampshire

Posted 09 October 2017 - 13:26

It does most of the time but even then not every time and a friend couldn't get his to read them at all. The main advantage is the panes so you can just adjust stuff then write it without trying to find which cv does what by scrutinising the manual.
I haven't used the current SPROG on a tsunami so it might be worth searching the net to see if the issue persists. Mine is the older model and the new one can act as a command station so might be more consistent.
Andrew is on here as 'Crosland' and very helpful.


Thanks again Paul. Is Andrew the SPROG-Meister?

Chaz

#7 PaulRhB

PaulRhB

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 7,379 posts
  • LocationSalisbury

Posted 09 October 2017 - 13:29

Yes he makes them :)

#8 chaz

chaz

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 5,271 posts
  • LocationEastleigh Hampshire

Posted 11 October 2017 - 09:31

OK, ignoring the fibs that the ESU software sometimes tells lies I'm now into the programming of CVs in the Econami 200. 

 

I am having problems setting CVs 2-6 to get a good performance from the Bachmann 4-6-0.

 

When I program an ESU chip I usually start with CV5 to tame the top speed and pop in some values into CV3 for acceleration and CV4 for braking, adjusting these up or down until the loco runs nicely. 

I'm finding this much more difficult with the Soundtraxx decoder. The first problem is getting a slow enough start. Any value I put into CV2 (start voltage) seems to produce too fast a speed on notch 1 and this also results in a very sudden stop.

I know the Bachmann model is capable of running very slowly as it certainly did so with the original Bachmann decoder in place.

 

If you have successfully got a Bachmann On30 loco to run nicely with the Econami decoder could you please tell me what values you used? Are there other CVs that I need to set to match the motor to the decoder? I have read the on-line manual (more than once) but find it rather baffling.

 

Any help would be much appreciated.

 

Chaz


Edited by chaz, 12 October 2017 - 10:52 .


#9 PaulRhB

PaulRhB

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 7,379 posts
  • LocationSalisbury

Posted 11 October 2017 - 09:53

 

 

When I program an ESU chip I usually start with CV5 to tame the top speed and pop in some values into CV3 for acceleration and CV4 for braking, adjusting these up or down until the loco runs nicely. 

I'm finding this much more difficult with the Soundtraxx decoder. The first problem is getting a slow enough start. Any value I put into CV2 (start voltage) seems to produce too fast a speed on notch 1 and this also results in a very sudden stop.

I know the Bachmann model is capable of running very slowly as it certainly did so with the original Bachmann decoder in place.

 

 

Did you put in a bit of acceleration and deceleration? that usually smooths out sudden starts and stops. Ricketrescue might be able to help as Paul sells them and installs them, I haven't got an econami yet.


Edited by PaulRhB, 11 October 2017 - 09:53 .


#10 chaz

chaz

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 5,271 posts
  • LocationEastleigh Hampshire

Posted 11 October 2017 - 10:18

Did you put in a bit of acceleration and deceleration? that usually smooths out sudden starts and stops. Ricketrescue might be able to help as Paul sells them and installs them, I haven't got an econami yet.

 

 

Yes Paul, I have tried various values in both CV3 & 4. In fact I spent most of yesterday trying different values in the CVs 2 to 6. I'm not overly impressed with the speed compensation either. My 24 inch curves and slight grades produce a marked slowing. 

 

Ricketrescue ? Who he?



#11 chaz

chaz

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 5,271 posts
  • LocationEastleigh Hampshire

Posted 11 October 2017 - 10:42

I am just wondering - I have plugged the decoder into the 8 pin socket in the tender of the Bachmann loco. This socket sits on a PCB with various components on it. Is there anything on that board that might interfere with the operation of the decoder? I would assume not as the old Bachmann decoder was also plugged into it BUT.....

 

Chaz



#12 PaulRhB

PaulRhB

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 7,379 posts
  • LocationSalisbury

Posted 11 October 2017 - 11:04

Ricketrescue on here is Paul Martin of EDM models and I think he's on hols at the mo. Paul has installed and fixed pretty much anything US NG in the Bachmann range ;)

I wouldn't expect issues with the Soundtraxx stuff because they also supply the built in Bachmann stuff so it should all be compatible.

Paul might know any issues but he may not have tried this decoder yet as he only recently had stock.


  • Thanks x 1

#13 Nigelcliffe

Nigelcliffe

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 3,138 posts

Posted 11 October 2017 - 11:54

OK, ignoring the fibs that the ESU software sometimes tells I'm now into the programming of CVs in the Econami 200. 

 

I am having problems setting CVs 2-6 to get a good performance from the Bachmann 4-6-0.

 

When I program an ESU chip I usually start with CV5 to tame the top speed and pop in some values into CV3 for acceleration and CV4 for braking, adjusting these up or down until the loco runs nicely. 

I'm finding this much more difficult with the Soundtraxx decoder. The first problem is getting a slow enough start. Any value I put into CV2 (start voltage) seems to produce too fast a speed on notch 1 and this also results in a very sudden stop.

I know the Bachmann model is capable of running very slowly as it certainly did so with the original Bachmann decoder in place

 

 

1 - Soundtraxx don't have quite such a good reputation for motor control as ESU and Zimo, so you start with a bit of a disadvantage. But you should be able to get "decent". 

 

2 - In common with most makers, there is far more to "tuning" a decoder than just CV2,5,6.   There are numerous parameters which affect the back-emf sensing algorithm which can be adjusted to improve running.  The CVs for this are decoder/maker specific.   

 

3 - if the loco has capacitors or other suppressors fitted, then remove them.  They make it more difficult for any back-emf sensing mechanism to function.

 

 

 

- Nigel


  • Informative/Useful x 1

#14 chaz

chaz

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 5,271 posts
  • LocationEastleigh Hampshire

Posted 11 October 2017 - 14:16

Ricketrescue on here is Paul Martin of EDM models and I think he's on hols at the mo. Paul has installed and fixed pretty much anything US NG in the Bachmann range ;)

I wouldn't expect issues with the Soundtraxx stuff because they also supply the built in Bachmann stuff so it should all be compatible.

Paul might know any issues but he may not have tried this decoder yet as he only recently had stock.

 

 

Thanks for that Paul. I know Paul Martin very well, indeed I bought the decoder from him. I will speak to him and see if he has suggestions as to how to configure the set-up.

 

Chaz



#15 chaz

chaz

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 5,271 posts
  • LocationEastleigh Hampshire

Posted 11 October 2017 - 14:26

1 - Soundtraxx don't have quite such a good reputation for motor control as ESU and Zimo, so you start with a bit of a disadvantage. But you should be able to get "decent". 

 

2 - In common with most makers, there is far more to "tuning" a decoder than just CV2,5,6.   There are numerous parameters which affect the back-emf sensing algorithm which can be adjusted to improve running.  The CVs for this are decoder/maker specific.   

 

3 - if the loco has capacitors or other suppressors fitted, then remove them.  They make it more difficult for any back-emf sensing mechanism to function.

 

 

 

- Nigel

 

Thanks for the reply and info' Nigel.

 

1 - OH! I hope that doesn't mean that the motor control is below what I will accept - because the sound quality is excellent and the range (choice) of effects is really good. However if the running is poor the decoder will be out. 

 

2 - I am sure you are right about "numerous parameters" but that makes it a minefield for the tyro - and changing things almost at random is not good - that's why I seek to get advice from those who know!

 

3 - I will check out what's on the PCB - it may only be resistors to limit current through the LEDs etc. As the model came with a decoder already installed (a non-sound one) I would not expect there to be any components that are not compatible with DCC.

 

Chaz



#16 Izzy

Izzy

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1,062 posts

Posted 11 October 2017 - 15:35

Paul, excellent, that's a fix!

 

I just wrote the loco running number (25) into CV1. The software responded with "could not write CV" but it was a fib! Going in to Driver's cab and setting the loco address to 25 and off the loco trundled in response to the on-screen throttle. The one down-side to this is that it doesn't give any protection if the decoder is wrongly wired - you just have to check thoroughly before driving the loco.

 

Having no "read" feedback does mean that I will need to record the CV settings on paper as I set and change them - particularly as I will want to program my other ten-wheeler with the same settings.

 

Thanks very much for that helpful nudge. Now I can go and play with setting a top speed, synchronising the chuffs to the wheels, choosing the whistle etc.

 

Chaz

 

PS - if I got a SPROG would that give me the feedback facility? - presumably I would use the JMRI software to work it?

 

Chaz,

 

Just to help illustrate what you get with a Sprog/JMRI combo here is the Eco-200 definition with the motor tab selected.These are the apparent default motor settings. Seems there are quite a few options for fine tuning the motor parameters besides the other relevent tabs. No cv's to bother with! Don't know how this compares to a Lokprogrammer.

 

RMweb Decoder Pro Economi 200.jpg

 

It will read all the cv's on a tab (called a sheet) when asked and may return different values if they have been set differently. To change a cv you just change the value and ask it to 'write' it to the sheet. Records of all the settings can be saved as a roster - you are prompted about this.

 

My personal view is that my Sprog+Jmri is quite probably one of the best pieces of DCC stuff I have, and indispensible when needed.

 

Izzy

 

p.s. The default for the 3 V's - start/mid/max - (basic speed control tab), is all 0.


  • Informative/Useful x 1

#17 Nigelcliffe

Nigelcliffe

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 3,138 posts

Posted 11 October 2017 - 15:49

Thanks for the reply and info' Nigel.

 

1 - OH! I hope that doesn't mean that the motor control is below what I will accept - because the sound quality is excellent and the range (choice) of effects is really good. However if the running is poor the decoder will be out. 

 

2 - I am sure you are right about "numerous parameters" but that makes it a minefield for the tyro - and changing things almost at random is not good - that's why I seek to get advice from those who know!

 

3 - I will check out what's on the PCB - it may only be resistors to limit current through the LEDs etc. As the model came with a decoder already installed (a non-sound one) I would not expect there to be any components that are not compatible with DCC.

 

Chaz

 

Point 2 - see screen shot from Izzy above, and also read the Soundtraxx extensive manuals.    I don't have any Soundtraxx decoders, though I can point you at the Kp and Ki parameters (because those are part of the back-emf sensing algorithm).  Consult the manuals for advice.

 

Point 3 - I would not make your assumption.   Most UK train makers have components (capacitors and inductors) in their locos which make life harder for the decoder.  That includes their DCC-fitted models, as well as the DCC-ready.   They do it as a quick and simple way to say they've met the regulations on electrical and radio noise.  

 

 

 

- Nigel


  • Thanks x 1

#18 chaz

chaz

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 5,271 posts
  • LocationEastleigh Hampshire

Posted 11 October 2017 - 22:21

Chaz,

 

Just to help illustrate what you get with a Sprog/JMRI combo here is the Eco-200 definition with the motor tab selected.These are the apparent default motor settings. Seems there are quite a few options for fine tuning the motor parameters besides the other relevent tabs. No cv's to bother with! Don't know how this compares to a Lokprogrammer.

 

attachicon.gifRMweb Decoder Pro Economi 200.jpg

 

It will read all the cv's on a tab (called a sheet) when asked and may return different values if they have been set differently. To change a cv you just change the value and ask it to 'write' it to the sheet. Records of all the settings can be saved as a roster - you are prompted about this.

 

My personal view is that my Sprog+Jmri is quite probably one of the best pieces of DCC stuff I have, and indispensible when needed.

 

Izzy

 

p.s. The default for the 3 V's - start/mid/max - (basic speed control tab), is all 0.

 

 

Thanks for posting that - an excellent resource. The ESU programmer and software does a similar job with ESU LokSound decoders but gives no feedback or help with Soundtraxx at all. You can write values to CVs but can't read back or save. One is reduced to keeping pencil and paper notes.

 

Am I right in thinking that the JMRI software is still free? I am seriously considering buying a SPROG based on what you have shown me here. Trying to program is a pain for me at the moment - the combination you illustrate looks like it would be fun to use.

 

Chaz



#19 hobbyhorse

hobbyhorse

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 363 posts
  • LocationKent

Posted 12 October 2017 - 07:05

I've never had any problem fitting the soundtrax chips to the Bachmann locos, mostly leave the pcd board in as it's useful with the resistors for the lights.
I've used JMRL for tuning the locos after fitting the chips and motor control is very straightforward with excellent results.

Simon
  • Thanks x 1

#20 Izzy

Izzy

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1,062 posts

Posted 12 October 2017 - 08:30

Thanks for posting that - an excellent resource. The ESU programmer and software does a similar job with ESU LokSound decoders but gives no feedback or help with Soundtraxx at all. You can write values to CVs but can't read back or save. One is reduced to keeping pencil and paper notes.

 

Am I right in thinking that the JMRI software is still free? I am seriously considering buying a SPROG based on what you have shown me here. Trying to program is a pain for me at the moment - the combination you illustrate looks like it would be fun to use.

 

Chaz

 

Yes, JMRI is free, it's volunteer based open source, constantly being updated, and runs on a range of platforms with Java installed, Windows/Mac/linux etc. You can hook up many DCC systems to it and the computer it's installed on in a similar way to using a Sprog, but it does seem that in most cases the computer interfaces cost as much/more than getting a Sprog.

 

I have found that the advantage of a Sprog+JMRI is that it basically gives you a second/independant DCC system that can do pretty much everything and be used anywhere. You can even use tablets/phones as wi-fi controllers with a router added into the mix so it's very flexible in what you want to use it for. Like many I particularly value it for the Decoder Pro part, and there is a large number of Decoder definitions listed these days covering just about all makes/versions. Quite a few hook things up to an old computer sat on the workbench/program track away from their main system/layout. This is especially handy if you have the layout in a loft/shed and in a totally different location to the workbench. Just can't imagine having to rely on using my PA2 system for all decoder programming however good and easy it is to use.

 

Izzy


  • Informative/Useful x 1

#21 chaz

chaz

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 5,271 posts
  • LocationEastleigh Hampshire

Posted 12 October 2017 - 11:03

I've never had any problem fitting the soundtrax chips to the Bachmann locos, mostly leave the pcd board in as it's useful with the resistors for the lights.
I've used JMRL for tuning the locos after fitting the chips and motor control is very straightforward with excellent results.

Simon

 

 

That's very helpful and reassuring Simon. I have plugged the decoder into the socket on the board - no need to make more work.

 

If it's not too much of a pain could you tell me what values you have put into CVs to tune them? You will have gathered that the low speed performance of #25 is disappointing the way I have set it.

 

I'm quite happy to do a CV8 reset and start again. I always tame the top speed - a narrow gauge ten-wheeler on 2 foot radius curves definitely needs that!

 

Chaz



#22 chaz

chaz

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 5,271 posts
  • LocationEastleigh Hampshire

Posted 12 October 2017 - 11:09

Yes, JMRI is free, it's volunteer based open source, constantly being updated, and runs on a range of platforms with Java installed, Windows/Mac/linux etc. You can hook up many DCC systems to it and the computer it's installed on in a similar way to using a Sprog, but it does seem that in most cases the computer interfaces cost as much/more than getting a Sprog.

 

I have found that the advantage of a Sprog+JMRI is that it basically gives you a second/independant DCC system that can do pretty much everything and be used anywhere. You can even use tablets/phones as wi-fi controllers with a router added into the mix so it's very flexible in what you want to use it for. Like many I particularly value it for the Decoder Pro part, and there is a large number of Decoder definitions listed these days covering just about all makes/versions. Quite a few hook things up to an old computer sat on the workbench/program track away from their main system/layout. This is especially handy if you have the layout in a loft/shed and in a totally different location to the workbench. Just can't imagine having to rely on using my PA2 system for all decoder programming however good and easy it is to use.

 

Izzy

 

That's exactly my set-up. I use an old laptop hooked up to a ESU programmer with the loco on a programming track or rolling road. This was good with ESU chips which used to be my standard but if I am to move to Soundtraxx (the jury is out) I will need a SPROG.

 

Chaz



#23 hobbyhorse

hobbyhorse

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 363 posts
  • LocationKent

Posted 12 October 2017 - 18:38

That's very helpful and reassuring Simon. I have plugged the decoder into the socket on the board - no need to make more work.
 
If it's not too much of a pain could you tell me what values you have put into CVs to tune them? You will have gathered that the low speed performance of #25 is disappointing the way I have set it.
 
I'm quite happy to do a CV8 reset and start again. I always tame the top speed - a narrow gauge ten-wheeler on 2 foot radius curves definitely needs that!
 
Chaz


I'll fire up the laptop tomorrow and have a look at the settings I've used.

Simon
  • Thanks x 1

#24 chaz

chaz

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 5,271 posts
  • LocationEastleigh Hampshire

Posted 12 October 2017 - 21:52

I'll fire up the laptop tomorrow and have a look at the settings I've used.

Simon

 

 

That would be very helpful, Simon. I can have a go at putting any values you suggest in with the ESU programmer. I'm stuck with that until I get a SPROG.

 

Chaz



#25 hobbyhorse

hobbyhorse

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 363 posts
  • LocationKent

Posted 13 October 2017 - 12:03

These are two different locos and chips, the first is a Locsound L fitted into the Bachmann 2-8-0 and the second a soundtrax Tsunami 2 fitted to a Bachmann 2-4-4-2. Both of these are still being worked on and run well, and the 2-8-0 will have the motor overload protection on when complete.
I've only ever programmed with the JMRI setup so not taken much notice of the cv numbers.
One thing worth pointing out is you can't always use the same settings in the same types of locos, I've found that some variations exist on the same locos, some motors run differently, might be a bit of stiffness in the drive etc.
I've done a lot of programming for customers in the past and JMRI makes it straightforward once you understand the program. It does take a bit of time to get them running well and would point out always save the settings and keep a backup copy on a USB.

Simon

Attached Thumbnails

  • IMG_4265.JPG
  • IMG_4264.JPG

  • Informative/Useful x 1







Google Ads are only seen by non-members of RMweb - Create an RMweb account and you'll only receive modelling ads.