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I am new to DCC, I have a layout which was wired for DCC with autofrogs on 8 points. However, when I tried to setup a new decoder in a DCC Ready farish diesel, I could not get it to work, although the decoder was moving the loco slightly when the control unit was talking to it so it seems that some data was going to it but still no joy on the main track. I then realised there was a short on the main track, although I checked every connection as I went along. I then installed a separate piece of track to act as the main track, but still nothing. After 2 days of trying I decided to run DC instead, as I don't understand starting voltage, acc, dec, etc.

So i ran the diesel on DC and it works perfectly, as I sorted the short out. My questions are: Could I have damaged the autofrogs by leaving them connected while running DC, and could the short circuit have damaged the decoder in the diesel, as I still now want to get help to run DCC, as the Prodigy 2 I have cost a packet and I won't get much for it on ebay, and it may be damaged by the short as I did not realise it only cuts out for 2 seconds, and i left it on for about 15 minutes, and the base unit got very hot, so I switched it off. tried it later with another loco from ebay fitted with a decoder, and it runs okay. Please help, as I'm lost in a blur of brain fade at the moment.

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Step back and test things one thing at a time. 

 

So, Prodigy, connect it to a single length of plain track.   Can either of your locos run ?  If so, the Prodigy appears to be working.  If not working, talk to the supplier.  If its a Gaugemaster badged unit, then Gaugemaster are usually very helpful about sorting things, even if owners have damaged them by doing things they shouldn't.  If its a MRC badged one, then you're talking to MRC in the USA. 

 

Having shown the Prodigy is working, and at least one loco.  Then, does the other loco now work when programmed for its address ?   Did you put the decoder in backwards - that's quite easy to do with a six-pin N gauge decoder.  It may program OK, but not run.  Turn the decoder over and try again.  The newer 18 pin decoders should only fit one-way round.    (You don't need to understand "starting voltage, acc, dec", etc..  so don't touch them at this stage - those settings should not be needed for a loco to just run). 

 

Next move onto the layout.  Ideally only have one turnout connected, and prove that works.  Then move on to connect the next bit, and so on.  

 

The Autofrogs shouldn't be used on DC,  I've no idea if they will be damaged by it (can't see that they would be, but I don't use such devices). 

 

 

- Nigel

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Thanks Nigel, I was testing every bit of track as I went along, but it was on DC, and then I connected all the droppers afterwards, and somehow, I caused a short. I am now using 2 separate bits of track, one for program and one as the main track to try things out. I have cut all the droppers off the bus wiring and will connect and test each pair as I go. Thanks for the reply, no doubt I'll be in touch again soon.

Alan

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7 hours ago, R300AML said:

Is there a way to reset the decoder with a Prodigy advance? I think I may have deleted it's address in some way

Yes, but you need to know what kind of decoder is fitted as there is no single 'standard' decoder reset method.

 

If you don't know what is fitted then you need to read the value of CV8. You then look up this value by searching the web for a DCC Manufacturer ID list.

For example a value of 145 means that you have a Zimo decoder fitted, Bachmann/Farish resell these as their own decoders.

 

Regards,

 

John P

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I have now succeeded in getting the loco to move both ways and the lights toggle on and off as well. I connected the prodigy to the main track, I only have two pairs of dropper wires connected to the layout, as it showed a short circuit, so I disconnected all wires from the main bus. It is connected with 2-core lighting flex to the main bus, which is 2.5 solid core cable, removed from it's outer sheath, and stripped in various places for droppers to be connected. on booting up the prodigy, even with no loco on track, it shows OVLD which is overload. How can this be, when there is no short, and only two pairs of droppers which are exactly midway around the main line track? I am new to DCC, but this is really upsetting me, and DC is becoming ever more inviting so if you can help solve the problem I may continue with DCC although I am only using it for loco control .

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18 minutes ago, R300AML said:

I have now succeeded in getting the loco to move both ways and the lights toggle on and off as well. I connected the prodigy to the main track, I only have two pairs of dropper wires connected to the layout, as it showed a short circuit, so I disconnected all wires from the main bus. It is connected with 2-core lighting flex to the main bus, which is 2.5 solid core cable, removed from it's outer sheath, and stripped in various places for droppers to be connected. on booting up the prodigy, even with no loco on track, it shows OVLD which is overload. How can this be, when there is no short, and only two pairs of droppers which are exactly midway around the main line track? I am new to DCC, but this is really upsetting me, and DC is becoming ever more inviting so if you can help solve the problem I may continue with DCC although I am only using it for loco control .

 

How do you know that there isn't a short?  It sounds as though the command station is detecting a short circuit, which implies that there is a short circuit somewhere (and there would still be a short circuit if you were using DC control instead).  Unfortunately, without seeing your track plan and where you have installed insulated rail joiners, I can't advise where that short circuit is.  Clearly, if you only have two wires to the track then the problem is most likely somewhere in your configuration of points where you should have an insulated rail joiner but don't and therefore a particular combination of points set a particular way causes a short circuit.

 

You've indicated that you have a DC controller, so you could always try disconnecting your Prodigy entirely and connecting a DC controller to the same two wires.  Whether you need to disconnect the Autofrogs, I don't know, but they could be the source of your short circuit if the frogs aren't properly isolated.

 

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On 01/08/2020 at 10:47, R300AML said:

Am I doing something stupidly wrong here? The prog track reads the address as 0033

When I put 0033 into the main track, the loco does not run - why?

 

Not having a Prodigy unit, I don't know why this doesn't work because it sounds as though it should, but some DCC command stations differentiate between short address 33 and long address 0033.  I assume you are using consistent address lengths on both the programming and main track outputs?

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On 31/07/2020 at 07:41, R300AML said:

So i ran the diesel on DC and it works perfectly, as I sorted the short out.

 

Is this a typo? Did you mean to say "So I ran the diesel on DC as it sorted the short out"

 

Or did you sort it out? and if you did what did you do?

 

Regards,

 

John P

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I’m not at home to check instructions,  so cannot confirm this, but from memory, I recall Prodigy does not recognise addresses beginning with zero. Hence 0033 may be a problem.

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Do you have a multi meter with a continuity test function? Very helpful in tracing shorts. Disconnect the DCC command station and simply check for continuity between the 2 rails. If there is continuity - you have a short. By process of elimination, you should be able to track it down. A common error - I know, I have made it - is to have one pair of droppers in opposite "polarity" to the others or miss an isolating fishplate from a live frog point.

 

On 31/07/2020 at 16:47, Nigelcliffe said:

Step back and test things one thing at a time. 

Good advice - resolve one thing at a time or confusion reigns.

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