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LTechG

ESU Decoder tester - help required

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Recently purchased a ESU 53900 Decoder Tester but problem when connected to my DCC controller, a Gaugemaster Prodigy Express.

Have connected the tester to the programming track output as per the instructions, but can only programme decoder number.

Track leds flicker for a few seconds and then extinguish.

Unable to test any other aspect: lights, motor, direction etc.

When using the DCC controller normally (connected to the programming track/layout, can only programme the decoder number on the programming track - to operate direction, lights, acceleration etc, have to place loco on main layout).

Can I connect ESU Decoder tester to the main layout output of the Prodigy Express controller for testing other functions?

Thought I might ask the more experienced, before risking damaging the tester.

Many thanks,

Stephen 

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It should be ok, just remember you will be able to write CV's but not read them on the main.

 

I use a sprog3 and DecoderPro with mine, much easier than swapping connections as not only can it read and write on the programming track but can also run one loco for testing motor, lights, sound etc.

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I have my ESU tester rigged to both Prog and Track connections of my controller via a DPDT switch so I can program then test run without having to faff with swapping wires.

 

In general per NMRA a Prog output cannot have enough oomph to run motor or lights, but you may see the loco kick or lights flicker during programming as the decoder sends an acknowledgement of programming instructions.

 

The reason the ESU tester lights flicker is because programming output is only live during actual command send in accordance with NMRA rules and regs.

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6 hours ago, LTechG said:

Have connected the tester to the programming track output as per the instructions, but can only programme decoder number.

 

You should be able to program any CV, not just the address.

 

6 hours ago, LTechG said:

Track leds flicker for a few seconds and then extinguish.

 

That's a signal from the decoder that it has received the programming command.

 

6 hours ago, LTechG said:

Unable to test any other aspect: lights, motor, direction etc.

When using the DCC controller normally (connected to the programming track/layout, can only programme the decoder number on the programming track - to operate direction, lights, acceleration etc, have to place loco on main layout).

Can I connect ESU Decoder tester to the main layout output of the Prodigy Express controller for testing other functions?

 

That would be a bit pointless since you mention placing the loco on the main track. To use the tester you would need to take the decoder out of the loco again. If you have successfully changed the address then it's generally safe to use the loco on the main track. You can run it and test the lights, etc.

 

f the prodigy Express supports it then you can use "ops mode" or "programming on the main" to change other setting, but you can only write to them, not read them back.

 

2 hours ago, RAF96 said:

In general per NMRA a Prog output cannot have enough oomph to run motor or lights, but you may see the loco kick or lights flicker during programming as the decoder sends an acknowledgement of programming instructions.

 

That's not strictly true. The original spec was for simply "limited current" with no limit actually specified. The current spec is a bit strange "Service Mode operations should be performed in an environment with limited energy to prevent damage to decoders during programming. For the purposes of this RP, limited energy is defined as 250 mA, sustained for more than 100 ms." I think that wording is open to some  interpretation. 

 

2 hours ago, RAF96 said:

 

The reason the ESU tester lights flicker is because programming output is only live during actual command send in accordance with NMRA rules and regs.

 

Again, not strictly true. There's nothing in the NMRA service mode standard that says power has to be turned off between programming operations. It's just safer if done that way in case of a fault decoder installation. As soon as you have been able to successfully program one CV it's generally safe to assume all is OK. Turning the power off after every operation is a belt and braces approach that most systems implement.

 

 

  • Agree 1

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That's why I use the Sprog3 with decoder pro, it can read and write in low power programming mode but you can then open a throttle and the run that loco without changing anything, so good for testing settings on the fly without lead swapping or switches etc.

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