Athearn 2-8-0 N Scale Decoder Install Help

Fredsmi Apr 3, 2010

  1. Powersteamguy1790

    Powersteamguy1790 Permanently dispatched

    Fredsmi:

    It's a straight forward installation. Make sure you use a Lenz silver mini decoder for the installation.
     
  2. Fredsmi

    Fredsmi TrainBoard Member

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    I have purchased my decoders (all Digitrax) in stores that do not carry Lenz.

    I have a Digitrax decoder (PS125ps) with the 8 pin plug plugged into my 2-8-0. The front or back light works when in forward or reverse, and the light function button will turn the lights off completely. But the train will not move. Any help is appreciated.

    Does this mean I have a short in the motor or decoder ... all I did was plug it in. Did the loco come with a short (its new).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 27, 2010
  3. tony22

    tony22 TrainBoard Member

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    Fred, if I understand correctly you put a NMRA 8-pin plug onto this decoder and then put it in the 2-8-0? How did you ever get it to fit?

    To your question, it can be a short. I discovered a short in my LL 0-8-0 that allowed DC to work but caused DCC to fail. Carefully check the motor connections and track pickup connections for shorts.
     
  4. Fredsmi

    Fredsmi TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks. I didn't get it to fit. The shell is not on. I just wanted to see if it would run on DCC before I started the full decoder installation. Now I know something is wrong ... I hope the short is in the tender and not the engine.

    It runs on DC properly with the bridge plug, but on DCC with a decoder, only the lights work.
     
  5. tony22

    tony22 TrainBoard Member

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    Bingo! That's exactly what happened to me. Turned out one of the wires was shorted against the frame. It was delivered that way. A real b!tch to find, too. :pmad:

    It'll be a good bet if pins 1 and 8 and / or 4 and 5 are shorted together. Check that first, then you might try gently separating the wires from everything but their contact points and then see if the short is still there.
     
  6. Fredsmi

    Fredsmi TrainBoard Member

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    I feel like the little train who couldn't (or didn't feel like it). I'm bummed. I got three new engines last weekend and have problems with two of them:

    I was excited getting my LL 2-8-0, an A rated engine, that was DCC ready. I did not get what I bargained for since it only works on DC. I'm concerned that while looking for the short, and having to scribe the solder joints apart, etc. that I may break one of the connections or something. To make it worse, I smoked the decoder last night with the 8-pin plug on it so that will make looking for the short take more work.

    Also, I got my first Katos. I got a GG1 (with a decoder to install) and a Mikado (scared to put a decoder in it at this point). The Mikado is cool, and the GG1 was awesome until I screwed it up. Even though I see posts saying to never run locomotives at full speed, I always do at least a few laps on my outside track (15.5" radius). Well, the GG1 is tooo fast and tooo top heavy and drove off the end of the track and dropped two feet onto the carpet into pieces. The GG1 is fine but the little hex-drive-shaft broke so it is out of commission for now. Hopefully, Kato will come thru and not make me order a whole truck assembly to get that tiny shaft.

    :munhappy:
     
  7. tony22

    tony22 TrainBoard Member

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    Fred, really sorry to hear this news. Kato is usually really good with support. With any luck they'll just send you what you need to get that GG1 back up and running.

    If you have a multimeter you can still make some progress on the LL. Just check for shorts across the mating 8 pin connector (the one you've got the engine wired up to). Again, 1-8 and 4-5 are the key pairs. Good luck!
     
  8. Fredsmi

    Fredsmi TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks. I got another decoder with an 8 pin plug which motivated me to work on the short in the 0-8-0. Again, out of the box, it would run on DC, but only the lights would work on DCC.

    I used the continuity beeper on the multimeter and cannot find any problems, but I don't know exactly what I'm looking for. Each of the 8 female pin holes on the connector has no connection/short to any of the other seven (not 1-8 or 4-5, etc.).

    I checked the six pins on the front of the tender that plugs to the engine for continuity to the 8 pin connector. Each pin has continuity to one and only one of the 8 female pin holes on the connector at the back of the tender. That leaves 2 holes on the connector (#2 and #3) with no continuity to the six pins. The #2 has continuity to one side of the back light.

    I put it on the track with the decoder plugged in and the lights worked. I throttled forward a little and the engine moved forward but would not stop or respond once it started. This happened a few times until the decoder smoked.

    Would the engine be shorting it out somehow, or is the problem in the tender? Please help. Also, when I put the bridge plug back in, it runs on DC fine.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2010
  9. CSX Robert

    CSX Robert TrainBoard Member

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    When you were checking pin to pin continuity of the 8 pin socket in the tender, did you have the tender plugged into the lopcomotive? If not, and there is a short in the locomotive, then you would not see it. They need to be connected together when testing for shorts.

    There is also the possibilty that if a wire got pinched or the insulation rubbed of it that there is an intermittent short, which can be very hard tofind sometimes.
     
  10. Fredsmi

    Fredsmi TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for the comments. Kato sent me hex-shafts for the GG1 so I fixed it and put a decoder in it. I set CV5 to 90 to slow it down so it won't shoot off the track/table again.

    No, the 0-8-0 was not plugged to the tender, and ya'll were right. I plugged the engine to the tender and there is continuity between 1 and 8 on the socket so I guess there is a short in the engine. What would the next step be? Is there anything short of dismantling the engine?
     
  11. tony22

    tony22 TrainBoard Member

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    I think it's time to pull the shell, Fred. In doing this you take the risk of maybe relieving the short, if it's a case of maybe a wire being crimped by the shell against the frame (or something like that). So you may have to be prepared (after getting the obvious checks out of the way) to carefully examine each wire for a small nick. Good luck.
     
  12. Fredsmi

    Fredsmi TrainBoard Member

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    I just picked up the 0-8-0 with the parts diagram laying in front of me and started to take the cab off ... then I got irritated thinking about how much it is costing me, both money and time. I bought it new and out of the box it has a short making it not dcc ready as advertised. It has smoked two decoders (they shouldn't of smoked based on what there manuals indicate, but that's another issue). Now, my next step is to take apart a brand new finely detailed "A" rated locomotive. That just sucks.
     
  13. tony22

    tony22 TrainBoard Member

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    I know, but hang tight. If it's too late to send it back for a replacement then you might be looking at a long turnaround sending it back to the manufacturer for repair. That why I decided to do mine. It was too late to return my 0-8-0 and at the time Walthers was looking at a pretty long turnaround.

    Plan it, get in a good frame of mind, make sure you have the right tools, and work slowly. You can do it.
     
  14. Fredsmi

    Fredsmi TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for the encouragement. I fiddled around with the 0-8-0 then finally pulled the shell. Some of the detail is no longer pristine, but it's all back together fine. I don't know exactly where the short was, but I put kapton tape in a few places, relaid the wires and put it back together with NO SHORT. I ran it on DC for an hour or two pulling six MT cars, and now it's running purty well.

    THEN, I took the Digitrax decoder with the 8-pin plug that I flamed/smoked the other day, literally flamed up and smoked (if you had a cigarette in place, you could have lit it), and plugged it in the tender and it is running laps on DCC right now. It even programmed. It'll go forward, reverse with both lights working properly. I'm amazed. I wonder what may happen with that decoder now????
     
  15. Fredsmi

    Fredsmi TrainBoard Member

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    AFter I posted this, I went and soldered the decoder in direct to the socket since the plug was too big to ever get the tender. Took 15 minutes to hard wire the decoder and get it up under the weight and put the tender on. I was feeling great. It did a couple of laps running smooth so I slowed it down and had it pick up a few cars. Then it stopped. As I looked close, I noticed the linkage was laying on the side of the tracks. When I get the linkage on properly so the locomotive will run, it will not stay in place.

    I am quite frustrated. Obviously, I enjoy the challenge, but this purchase has been a frustrating rip off to me. I don't know what to do. I'm not happy with it. Now its got a decoder hard wired in the tender, the detail is not pretty any more, and the linkage is flopping around. I'm out money and a lot of effort. I don't believe I got what I bargained for.
     
  16. tony22

    tony22 TrainBoard Member

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    OMG, this is terrible Fred. I'm so sorry to read this after seeing that you had gotten the DCC problems solved.

    I'm not an expert in fixing linkages but maybe there's a way to do it. Trainboard members, jump in and help Fred out!
     
  17. Fredsmi

    Fredsmi TrainBoard Member

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    All thru this I've been thinking that each locomotive install deserved its own thread but just kept posting here. People may have stopped reading it. May be I should ask the question about how to fix linkage on a LL 0-8-0 with a new thread.

    I'm thinking I get the linkage into the hole in the wheel with the right hex orientation/slot (so it'll run), then glue it so it will stay. I dunno???
     
  18. tony22

    tony22 TrainBoard Member

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    I'm not sure, Fred. I agree it may be time for a new thread for this problem.
     

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