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Problem with DCC Programming

Steve sent in this question for fellow train buffs:

“My son recently purchased what he was told were HO DCC locomotives. One is a Bachmann that is DCC equipped and is working fine. The other is an Atlas FM Trainmaster that we can’t seem to program to run. I tried loco 3 setting as well as the road number. The lights will come on, but it sounds like a dial-up modem. So my question is, did Atlas offer this locomotive in DC? I looked for information on the web, but only found information on it in DCC with sound. Any help would be appreciated.”

7 Responses to Problem with DCC Programming

  • warren duncansays:

    Steve, I recall an Atlas FM Trainmaster on Ebay that was dc only. The way it’s acting it seems to be dc. Also, I read somewhere about trying loco setting 00 to determine if loco is dcc or dc only (NCE does not support 00). Remember with dcc loco’s, dcc supplies ac current to the the track which the decoder in the loco converts to dc. With dc only there is no decoder to convert the dcc power supply to dc. Some dc loco’s may run for a while until the motors burn out from being over heated. I don’t know what a dial-up modem sounds like but, humming is bad.
    Good Railroading, Warren

  • Edsays:

    take the shell off and check to see if it has a decoder

  • Jay Rosssays:

    To really be able to program DCC decoders, I suggest downloading JMRI Java Model Railroad Interface. You will need a desktop PC or Laptop, and an interface from the computer to the DCC system. JMRI’s “Decoder Pro” program allows you to test and program almost every decoder out there. You can do searches with Decoder Pro to find out just what kind of decoder is installed. I purchase lots of DCC locomotives, many of them with problems. Most of the time just learning the DCC address can be an issue. One time I purchased a BLI Cab Forward like new in the box for just $25, it was listed as “defective” cause it didn’t work. When I brought it home and trouble shot it, I realized that the seller was trying to use the wrong address, and couldn’t get it to run. I programmed the correct cab number into it, and it ran fine, and all of the sounds too. Using JMRI allows you to get a real good look at your locomotive’s brain. Of course, if you buy a locomotive that just doesn’t react to any DCC system, you will have to pull off the shell to investigate if it is even DCC or not. You may find no decoder at all, or that it is DCC ready, and has not been upgraded to DCC yet. Buying used locomotives is always a risk, but I am willing to take the risks (if the price is right) because I have the facilities and experience to repair almost all locomotives.

  • Frank Whittlesays:

    They definitely did produce dc models

  • Robertsays:

    DC motors on a DCC system will hum or sound like a Dial-up Modem Set our DCC Throttle to Address 0 or 00 and the throttle should move the loco in question down the track.
    Or like Ed said takethe shell off and physically look for a decoder in the Loco.
    I and as Jay Ross has said JMRI is the way to do programing fast and simple. http://jmri.sourceforge.net/download/index.shtml#prod-rel and download the version for your computer operation system.

  • Chucksays:

    Set cv to 0 if it starts to move then it does not have a decoder in it

  • captain mikiesays:

    I got a manual with my Digitrax. Read it and follow the directions to a “T”. If you don;t have luck, go back to the manual and write down each step in order. That solved my problem with one of my locos. The other ones went in without problems, but I found the trouble was not with sophisticated anaylsis, but OPERATOR ERROR.

    Also, the best thing you can do with any Bachman product, especially locos, is either send them back, sell them, or use them as decoration. They are ridiculously cheap and notoriously LOW quality historically. Bachman also doesn’t know what “customer service” is, I had troubles with a loco I bought from a reseller and Bachman was so busy giving me CV answers why the loco would not stay on the track, (which has absolutely nothing to do with tracking) that I called the company I bought it from and they took it back, no questions. Plus the guy who was trying to obfuscate my solution, made a wise crack about my email address. Lesson to Bachman: before you try to be a smartass, make sure you are smart, otherwise you are just an …

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