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Troubleshooting Help - 'E.S.U.' Sound Decoder
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 Posted: Sat Feb 29th, 2020 03:56 pm
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Reg H
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I am looking for some troubleshooting help.

I just acquired a 'Lifelike' SW1200 with an aftermarket sound decoder. 
It looks like an 'ESU' decoder.

The aftermarket installation looks very well done. 
It was done in Great Britain, so I don't have access to the installer.

The locomotive does not respond until a little weight is applied to it. 
Then it will buzz, and the motor will turn VERY slowly, but in only one direction. 

Changing the locomotive direction on the controller,
does not affect the direction the motor turns. 

Reg




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 Posted: Sun Mar 1st, 2020 03:07 am
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Reg H
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Some more info.

Another member provided a link that had some suggestions. 
The main one being a contact problem between the frame and the walk way.

That doesn't seem germaine to my problem,
as the wires to the decoder from the trucks, appear to be soldered to the brass pick ups.


Some photos.















I have run continuity checks between the wheels and the pickups (bearings?). 
No problems.

I will try and figure out a way to run a check between the pickups and the decoder,
when I have a few more minutes.  

Reg




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 Posted: Sun Mar 1st, 2020 07:04 am
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2foot6
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Have you reset the decoder,

to erase any possible problems in the programming?


.......Peter





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 Posted: Sun Mar 1st, 2020 01:07 pm
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Steve P
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I would eliminate the track/wheel issue.

ie. make a set of jumper-wires that attach to the controller,

and can be connected solidly, to a central point of the wiring inside the loco.


If it still buzzes, the wheels/pickups are eliminated from the puzzle.

(Unless you are fighting a short)


Steve




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 Posted: Sun Mar 1st, 2020 09:16 pm
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Reg H
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Peter

Haven't tried that one. 

Good idea.

Reg




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 Posted: Sun Mar 1st, 2020 09:17 pm
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Reg H
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Steve

That was next on my list. 

This weekend has been busy and I only get a few short windows.

Reg




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 Posted: Sun Mar 1st, 2020 09:57 pm
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Steve P
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Reg

Do you have another working loco, that you can put on the same track,

to verify the controller to track integrity?





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 Posted: Sun Mar 1st, 2020 11:04 pm
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Reg H
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Steve


Oh yes. 
My other locomotives operate just fine.


I clipped test leads to the track and to the pickups. 
I got the very slow speed turning of the motor,
and only in one direction, as before.

I confirmed continuity between the wheels and the pick ups. 
I can see the wires all the way from the pickups to the decoder. 

I confirmed that the wires are firmly soldered to the pickups,
and that there is continuity from the wheels to the solder point.

Still the same response.


I checked to be sure the motor was properly isolated. 
My meter says it is and it appears to be isolated,
by the plastic mounting bracket.  

Checked for shorts. 
None detected.

I set the locomotive on the programming track,
and did the CV8 routine.
The controller said it was good.

Reprogrammed the decoder with a new address,
and some adjustments to 002, 005 and 006.  
Controller said all that was good.


Good news. 
The humming and slow turning of the motor are gone. 
But the locomotive would not respond.

Took apart one of the trucks,
so I could check continuity between the pickups.
 
At the point the wires are soldered to the pickups
(checking the solder joints in the process, which were solid)
and the connection point on the decoder. 
Complete open! 
Both black and red!


I can see the wires! 
They are completely intact, and not in contact with any moving parts. 
Besides, if that were truly the case, how could I program the decoder? 

It is beyond belief that there really is no continuity,
from one end of the wires to the other. 

And why would the motor respond at all (before CV8 to 008),
if there was no continuity between the pickups and the decoder? 
Makes no sense. 


It would be nice if ESU used edge connectors like Digitrax,
so I could just unplug one decoder, and plug in another. 

I am not sure what I am going to do next. 
 
Because ESU decoders are hardwired, replacing the decoder is a major undertaking. 
All for naught if it is not the decoder. If I replace the decoder, I will go Digitrax.  

I wasn't going to tackle this project yet, but I am awaiting a decoder for my SW7 project
(see my thread under "Logging & Mining"). That part is supposed to arrive on Tuesday. 

I thought it would be entertaining if I could get the SW1200 sorted out,
(I am starting to sound like my friend in Great Britain) while awaiting the decoder. 
If I haven't figured out the SW1200 by then, it will go on the shelf for awhile.  


I essentially paid nothing for the locomotive. 
I bought a collection of items, one of which, other than the locomotive,
is worth at least the purchase price for the lot. 

I really like this locomotive. So...if worst comes to worst,
I just might buy a new Lifelike SW1200 (with decoder) and swap the chassis. 
But that will have to wait until my checking account recovers from large, recent hits. 


Meanwhile, working through this challenge is a good deal of fun. 
Yeah, I know.  I'm kind of twisted.

Reg




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 Posted: Mon Mar 2nd, 2020 12:18 am
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Steve P
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Thinking out loud here ...


Continuity thru a circuit might "look good" resistance wise,
for which the meter passes very little current, for continuity reading,
but fail completely when higher current runs thru it, to power the motor.

I strongly suggest connecting test wires directly from the controller,
to the connection point of the decoder.


I'm out of my element with DCC, I use DCS.

I think that the controller uses different outputs,
for the programming track, versus the regular track?

Can you command the motor to "run" from the programming track?
Try experiments with the test wires directly between decoder,
and each output of controller, looking for differences.

Look at the decoder outputs to the motor with a meter,
to see what voltage levels occur for commands of each direction.


Aren't there pickups on both trucks? 
Are the circuits from BOTH trucks to the decoder open?


Steve




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 Posted: Mon Mar 2nd, 2020 01:19 am
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2foot6
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If on CV8 you are getting a loco number the wiring of the loco is OK, there is continuity.

I had a similar problem years ago, and the result was, the brushes in the motor,
were not being pressured against the armature, because the springs were too soft.

Probably over-heated at one stage.
Perhaps check the brushes and the springs?

.......Peter




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