February 26, 2017

The Mysterious Ways of Dr DCC

While I was in Florida last week, I purchased a Soundtraxx PTB-100 Programming Booster. The booster is supposed to provide "reliable programming of all Soundtraxx DCC decoders." It was simple to wire up, except that I had to cut the power input wires to my Easy DCC system to splice in the taps for the input power to the PTB-100 circuit. It turned on and the status light gave a reassuring blinking green glow.

I put the troublesome GENSET loco with the Tsunami 2 sound decoder on the programming track. Alas, the PTB-100 status lights gave brief red flashes when I entered programming instructions, indicating that there was insufficient voltage input to the circuit. I got these red indicators for both the GENSET and one of my O scale locos with a Tsunami decoder.

I put the GENSET on the rails and it fired up. Things seem to work normally. But, after about a minute the loco would not respond to inputs. I shut everything down, checked my wiring and input voltage to the PTB-100. All seemed OK. I tried to program again. Red error lights again. But when I tested the loco it worked properly.

I did a full reboot cycle to see if to would still work and it did. I have no idea why it worked, but for now I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

There are two special functions FX26 nd FX 27 for ditch lights that I can't access from the Easy DCC system as there is no way to address as 2x function (or perhaps I can but don't know how. I may have to remap these to different function buttons. But having read the manual, I have no clue how to do it. I also have no clue what the dynamic brake function does. Gosh, I hate DCC!)

Also, when we arrived home, the USPS had already delivered the bow and stern parts to the bulk carrier  ship model that I mailed from Florida. Good job USPS. I placed the wooden ship hull on the intended wharf area. It fills the space quite nicely. I may make the borax pier an inch narrower, and the water area a matching inch wider to have a bit water between the hull and the fascia. Right now the hull comes right up to the edge of the fascia.

So all in all a good day. One more loco in service, and the ship hull in house. The jury is still out on the PTB-100.

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