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Athearn Iron Horse HO Starter Train Set

Wayne asks this question:

“I acquired an Athearn Iron Horse HO starter train set which I understand is DCC ready but I haven’t got a decoder yet. When I use the dial to start the loco there is some sound but it doesn’t move until the dial hits 25. Is this to be expected or is there a power distribution issue? I have no problems with it because it is taking off smoothly.”

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5 Responses to Athearn Iron Horse HO Starter Train Set

  • Hervey says:

    Your set is DCC ready but it is an analog (DC) system. While not familiar with this set movement of the loco will be determined by how many volts the loco is receiving. If 25 is 1/4 throttle it appears high. Has the loco been broken in? Let the loco run for a while at various speeds in both directions. Do you hear the motor trying to run (humming) a while before it actually moves? If so it is binding and you will have to open the loco (remove the shell) and see where it is being restricted.

  • phil johnson says:

    You already have a decoder on board. DCC unit require upwards of 6 volts to start moving, sound usually around 3.


    An analog system is varying the amplitude of the voltage on the rails, like a light bulb.

    DCC always has about 14-16 volts AC on the rails. The decoder rectifies this into DC and uses pulse width modulation (PWM) to the motor, based on your DCC throttle setting.

  • Frank B says:

    A DC electric motor will begin to turn at a certain minimum voltage. In a model loco, this voltage willl depend on the weight of the loco and friction of its gearbox, and the weight of the train it is pulling. Most DC controllers will need to be turned up a little way before the loco will start moving.

  • Wayne says:

    I have been educated. Much appreciated guys.

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