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TCS decoder and Hornby Elite


bunclodyboy

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I apologise if you have seen this problem on another forum but I seem to have exhausted ideas and I am hoping someone here has a solution. I have been trying to change the address on a Lima Class 31 loco. I am using a Horby Elite with a dedicated programming track and a TCS T1 decoder.. I have polished the rails and checked the continuity of supply. When I write the new address, in this case 15, the red light flashes 6 times. When I put the loco on my layout it will not run on the new address. It still runs on the default 3.In May I got a DCC ready Bachmann loco and changed the address with no problem at all. Earlier in the year I sent a loco back to the suppllier to check and I got the following reply:

 

I've got to the bottom of the problem it is a quirk of TCS chips it would seem that on certain systems when re-setting the decoder or changing the address that the changes will only take effect when the chip is powered down left for 10 seconds or so and then powered back up. Or to put it simply take the loco off the track and put it back on again and all should be fine.

That said it does not always happen and i have found after doing this once the loco/decoder will usually respond better after this in the normal manner.

 

I have tried to adopt this method in the one I fitted this week and I cannot get it to change address. Has anyone else experienced this problem or offer a suggestion ??

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Hi

I would....

1) Ensure the programming tracks rails are spotlessly clean. Clean them before use is the best option.

2) Ensure the pick-up wheels on the loco are clean too.

3) Place loco on programming track and if necessary apply a little downward pressure on the loco during the whole programming sequence. (A third hand - another helper is useful /almost essential for doing this!)

 

If it wont budge you could try doing a reset - CV8 enter value of 2. This should reset the decoder to its default settings including address to 3. Then re programme from there.

 

As you have an Elite, can you read any CV values - address number etc? If so, it means the decoder/wheels/rails are making good contact and allowing read to be obtained.So it should reset or be able to alter CVs. If not, then carry out cleaning as per 1 & 2 above and retry.

 

Good luck.

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This has happened to me once with a TCS chip on a digitrax system. Coincidently, this is the only time I had not set the chip up with my NCE system before using elsewhere. It would not work at all that time on digitrax, a couple of weeks later with no changes once again back on digitrax it worked perfectly, the only time I have seen a self healing chip, and none of the other blokes there had seen such a thing either.

Matthew

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Speaking from expirence, I would suggest it is more to do with the system not the decoder.

 

TCS chips not working properly with Hornby Elite is most likely a hang over from the Hornby select which would not talk to TCS chips ar all.

 

Digitrax I know would some times not talk properly to Lenz chips specially when programing. It is possible the TCS chips are in the same boat with the big D.

 

Naturally the respective manufactuers blamed the decoders but when the same chips work well with most other DCC systems it does make one wonder.

 

BTW, I speak from 17yrs op DCC. 4 of those yrs working in a large hobby shop demoing/selling many DCC systems and decxoders.

 

Cheers

 

Ian

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Still no luck. A few more clues might help someone to tell me how stupid I have been. I have just connected my programming track to my Select and used a Hornby DCC Fiited loco. This one changed address properly and runs perfectly on the layout powered by my Elite. I then tried to re-address the Lima 31 with the TCS decoder on the programming track but it would not change address. It just moved forward a couple of cm. Back on the layout it runs properly on address 3. One other thing, the loco with the TCS does not run on the programming track when I try to run it on address 3 or any other address for that matter. I hope this helps someone point out my failings.

 

John

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Hi

Have you cleaned the programming tracks rails and the locos wheels? Can you read the address back with the Elite?

 

Programming tracks fed by a dedicated Programming output on a DCC console are not normally able to power a loco regardless of its address. The Programming output from a DCC console specifically provides a safer low current power level to the loco being programmed to help prevent accidental decoder failure should the decoder be installed incorrectly and often giving an 'Error' message on the display.

Putting the loco onto the main and under normal DCC power will cause a incorrectly installed decoder to blow!

 

Also have you tried reprogramming the loco on the main? Use the Elite and I would remove all other locos before proceeding. I think Hornby call this 'Operate Mode'? You need to change CV1 (address) or even try a reset of the decoder CV8 enter 2 for TCS.

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Well I would in your position...

a) Clean the programming tracks rails.

b ) Ensure the two wires from the programming track to the Elite Programming terminals are sound and correctly inserted into the terminals of the Elite. Ensure the bare wire is trapped by the Elite terminals not onto the wires insulation.

c) Ensure each loco being programmed has clean wheel treads.

d) After the above, test a known working loco on the Programming track to see if you can either - read its address or try setting its address to a new number.

 

If still nothing works having ensured 'a' to 'd' have been carried out.and all is correct, then it is possibly the Elite isn't programming at all. If so, it will need returning to Hornby for repairs but do ensure everything is spotlessly clean and checked before considering returning it.

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We have now had three suggestions to clean the rails!

If another loco is OK why would the track be the problem?

In my experience cleaning the track does not have much effect when trying to programme the loco.

 

Maybe I'm just lucky but I have had very little problem with dirty rails with DCC, unlike analog where I had perpetual problems with stuttering performance.

The only time I need to clean the rails is when I am programming the speed profile on TrainController and the very slow speed is affected by possible poor contact

 

Keith.

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Clean rails, clean wheels and wheel wipers are the main criteria with DCC, whether programming or normal running for the best possible connection between the console and the decoder.

Dirty connections, especially where programming is concerned, will often prevent programming occurring. The Programming output from the console is at a much lower current level than than on the main lines, in fact its at milliamp level compared to often several Ampere on the main tracks. Therefore the slightest failure to make a good connection will in most cases cause a failure to programme correctly.

 

The reason I have mentioned it several times is because its so important and there has been no conformation this has been carried out! I have also suggested trying a POM programming sequence but so far this hasn't been stated whether it was successful or not.

 

It is possible of course that a Decoder lock of some sorts has occurred, perhaps by accident?

But the decoder should be able to be read back as I suggested previously, again no confirmation re this as yet.

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Sorry Brian but did I say at the very start of my first post that I had polished the rails. I have repeatedly cleaned them after each attempt.

I also said that I had tested the continuity of supply to the programming track rails. Being fairly new to DCC I am not sure what you mean by POM. Unfortunately we do not all have your vast knowledge of the subject. If you mean have I tried programming on the layout then the answer is Yes. When I do again the red light flashes 6 times and the loco moves forward a couple of centimetres but will not run under control. I have tried to read the manufactuer on CV8 and get the result 255, I also tried to reset the decoder on CV8 but get the same results.

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I think thats a little unfair - Brian is only trying to help when I had a similar issue with my Hornby DCC controller with TCS chips. If you don't want his 'vast knowledge' then why did you ask?

 

The issue at hand is that Hornby & TCS don't play well together which I found was the crux of the matter. My engines did exactly the same as yours move forwards a couple of jerks, then back a couple of jerks then on the track... and nothing happened - or the flew of entirely out of my control. After reading up on the matter I had two options - only buy Hornby Decoders (which I have found to be unreliable) or switch DCC systems. Which ultimately is what I did - and boy I do not regret it in the slightest.

 

As you said you've cleaned the track; perfect. I don't usually bother cleaning mine until my 2-EPB produces a sparks effect similar to trying to pull away with iced up conductor rails. It sounds to me that reading the above posts a few times the main issue lies with the controller - rather then the decoders. Sounds silly but have you got someone who could programe the decoders on their system? That way if they take the new addresses from another system that rules out the decoder as the main source of agro - of course if they don't take the new adresses then it could be the decoders at fault.

 

Cheers,

~ Gary

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Hi

Thanks for the update on what you have tried :-)

One last question..

What is the software status of the Elite?

It needs to be now at version 1.41. Whether this version will improve things fro Programming I don't know? But it needs to be at this version so as it works at its best available outputs all round.

A free download of software v1.41 is available from the Hornby website, if your console isn't at this latest software stage it may be advisable to install it.

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Sorry Brian but did I say at the very start of my first post that I had polished the rails. I have repeatedly cleaned them after each attempt.

I also said that I had tested the continuity of supply to the programming track rails. Being fairly new to DCC I am not sure what you mean by POM. Unfortunately we do not all have your vast knowledge of the subject. If you mean have I tried programming on the layout then the answer is Yes. When I do again the red light flashes 6 times and the loco moves forward a couple of centimetres but will not run under control. I have tried to read the manufactuer on CV8 and get the result 255, I also tried to reset the decoder on CV8 but get the same results.

Reading the decoder and getting the result 255 means that the Elite isn't able to read the decoder.

If you can, connect a LED with a 1K resistor to the programming track. When you try to program a loco the LED should flash on and off as you read and write the decoder. It should only light when reading and writing as there is normally be no voltage on the programming track.

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Gary, I am sorry if you thought that I was being unfair. I was only trying to point out that I had done most of what Brian was suggesting. I was trying to point out that I don't have the vast knowledge that he has and I am very gratefull for his and every one elses advice. Thank you all and if anyone has taken offence at what I have said then I am truly sorry. I will now spend the afternoon working through the suggestions and see if I can solve my problem. The first thing to do is upgrade to V1.4

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O.K. I have upgraded to Vers.1.4 I have connected a led and resistor across the track. I have checked my soldering by connecting led/resistor across the layout track and it lights up. So far so good.

I have connected it across my programming track and tried to read CV 8 but still get XXX and the led does not light. I have tried to alter the address with the same result. No light.

I have connected my Hornby Select to the programming track and the light comes on. I have gone through the procedeure to alter the acceleration rate on a Hornby loco that is DCC fitted and the led goes on and off as Smokebox described. It looks to me as if the Elite is not working properly. . I will take the loco down to my local MRC and try it out on someone else's equipment.

In the meantime may I thank everyone who offered me their suggestions. We all have to start somewhere and I now know just how little I know and just how much I have to learn.

 

John

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As I said in earlier reply, the Select would sometimes run a TCS loco but programing them was always a problem.

 

NCE deoders were also a problem with the Select.

 

When the Select was released it was not compatable with propper NMRA specs.

 

The Elite was/is but very clunky to use, compared to most other DCC systems, and still would not talk to some decoders properly.

 

Hornby may be able to sort the problem, I hope they can, but as has been sugested, if possible, quit the Hornby DCC systems and go for something far better.

 

Nce Power cab is a very good low cost DCC system and by all reports from those that got them, very easy to op/program.

 

I have not heard of any decoders NCE will not talk to with the possible exception of Hornby decoders.

 

I am freinds with a local hobby shop owner and he sells more NCE Powercabs than all others in the price range.

 

Cheers

 

Ian

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Having used NCE, Digitrax, Hornby Select and Elite, and the Bachman Dynamis; the only one I can recommend is the NCE. It is by far the most user friendly and has been able to communicate with and program all chip brands that I have used so far. It is the one I eventually purchased to help with all the chip fitting I have been doing lately. Prior to that I had been using an Elite that I had access to.

 

The Digitrax is second for use, and both the Hornby are clunky, the Elite is frustrating with their programming track and main track outlets with having to swap between the two and not at all intuitive. The Dynamis is also a problem with it being infra red back to the base unit and heavy on its batteries. This makes it of even less use than an Elite. Perhaps the one I had for evaluation is not as good as later versions, but it had issues with fluoro lighting and going through the start up procedure each time it dropped out was agranoying to say the least. Especially with sound locos.

 

Further to this is if you wish to use a computer with the system, don't bother with Hornby. Just look at their own forum for the problems people have.

 

Matthew

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Thanks guys. It looks like I will have to sneak an NCE Power cab underneath the wife's radar and start again.

 

John

 

Hi John

 

I am not sure if you found out the full answer to your question. But looks like you have come up with te right solution! I have had some customers with the same problem. When I spoke to Hornby they did not say it was a sore wear problem with there system and there update may or may not work. I can tell you that the NCE Power Cab will work with all the decoders you have mentioned and many more.

 

James

DCC Train Automation

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  • 2 weeks later...
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Hi John I am not sure if this is possible or already been suggested but if you have an Elite why don't you rig it to the programming outlet on it to a length of track and programme your TCS decoder like that. I use Elite and have never had any trouble programming TCS decoders

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